Health, housing and education set for 'long overdue' boost in Budget 2018 - Grant Robertson

Grant Robertson says Kiwis should expect a major shake-up in the Government's first Budget - but not without having another dig at National's budgeting skills.

The 2018 Budget will be announced on May 17 and will focus on giving health, housing and education a "long-overdue" boost, Finance Minister Grant Robertson told The AM Show.

"There has been economic growth but I don't think a lot of New Zealanders are feeling the benefit of that economic growth," Mr Robertson said, referring to the nine years under National Government.

"Some of the surpluses that National were about to create were actually caused by not paying the bills, by not investing sufficiently in health or education or housing.

"Health, housing, education will get a long-overdue boost because that's what New Zealanders want and that's what we need to help create a fair society where everyone gets a share in that prosperity."

The Government has been highly critical of National's budgeting, with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern saying it didn't even cover the "core basics".

"There are things that as we had taken office we are seeing exist in other areas as well that we didn't foresee," she told The AM Show last month.

National's Finance spokesperson Amy Adams retaliated, saying the current Government is lining up its excuses now because it doesn't want to admit it didn't get the numbers right.

"There will be things that come up out of the blue. That is quite normal in Government. Under National, we managed that for nine years," she said.

Mr Robertson told the show it's going to "take some time" to build back up from the "neglect".

"Our priority, our plan, is to build back up health, education, housing."

Mr Robertson stayed tight-lipped about exactly what the Budget will include, but said the Government will also be putting an end to negative gearing before the year's up.

"We've said that if you are riding off against your income taxes the losses on a property portfolio, that's unfair. It's distorting the housing market and as we campaigned on, we are going to end that practice."

The tax working group is also looking into a potential income tax, to come up with recommendations to be put to the public.

Mr Robertson says those changes "wouldn't come into force until 2021" so that Kiwis have a chance to vote on them in the next election first.


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