The Government is set to announce the Budget for 2016 on the 26th of May, Finance Minister Bill English will deliver the National-led Government’s eighth Budget.
Housing and domestic violence has been thrust into the spotlight recently and as the cost of living creeps up for the average New Zealander, more and more questions are being asked about what, if anything the Government and this year’s budget can do to help?
Early announcements show pockets of funding earmarked for certain areas focusing on housing and domestic and sexual abuse.
However the full breakdown of what the country can expect will be kept close to the Ministers chest until Budget day.
Budget announcements made so far are listed below:
$46 million will be invested over four years into operating funding to boost support for victims and help prevent sexual violence.
The $46 million in total funding, of which $6.4 million is reprioritised funding, will be used to design and implement new sexual violence services and maintain existing services.
According to Justice Minister Amy Adams and Social Development Minister Anne Tolley the Ministerial Group on Family Violence and Sexual Violence has overseen a work programme to review the current system.
Anne Tolley says in the past the sector has been fragmented and has struggled to meet demand.
Additional funding will support:
- New frontline crisis response for victims – this will focus on trauma management and connecting victims smoothly and efficiently with the appropriate follow-up response. It includes a new 24/7 national advice and support helpline, specialist callout support such as crisis counselling and advocacy services, and follow-up support to access long-term recovery services. Where appropriate, a professional will accompany the victim to Police interviews and medical forensic examinations. The new services will provide a more effective and consistent response in the 72 hours after a sexual assault.
- Harmful sexual behaviour services – to reduce offending and reoffending, assessment and treatment programmes are provided to those who have committed acts of sexual violence and those at risk of developing harmful behaviour. Capacity is increasing for this service, focusing on adults who pose a risk to children.
- Services for male survivors of sexual abuse – this ongoing service includes one-to-one peer and group support for male victims, who are less likely than women to engage in recovery services.
Recent reports highlighting the current Housing crisis in New Zealand prompted the Government to announce a further $41.1 million over the next four years for emergency housing and grants.
The Government says this will help pay for about 3000 emergency housing places across the country per year.
Housing Minister Paula Bennett says, “Emergency housing provides an essential safety net for people in crisis, and is an opportunity to intervene and support families with complex needs.”
The bulk of the $41.1 million of new operating funding will be used in two ways:
The Ministry of Social Development will contract NGOs to provide about 3000 emergency housing places each year.
A new emergency housing Special Needs Grant to support individuals and families with the cost of emergency housing for up to seven days if they are unable to access a contracted place.
The new places will be available to anyone who can demonstrate they have a genuine need for emergency housing.
The first contracts with providers are expected to be in place by September.
$12.6 million will go towards the Māori Housing Network over the next four years which the , Maori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell says will help more whānau to realise their housing aspirations
The Minister says, “Māori are over-represented in housing deprivation statistics and this increase in funding would allow the Network to help more whānau in need,”
The Māori Housing Network, which was launched last year, provides funding for new homes and housing repairs for whānau. It also works to develop the Māori housing sector in areas of high housing need.
Since last October the Network has helped build 42 affordable rental homes and is supporting housing repairs for around 165 whānau. It is also funding infrastructure (power, water, sewerage system, roading, gas, and telecoms) for social and affordable housing and papakāinga housing on Māori land for 113 whānau.
The new operating funding means the Māori Housing Network, operated by Te Puni Kōkiri, will have a total of $17.6 million a year for Māori housing projects.
While a succinct figure wasn't provided the Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Maggie Barry has told Te Kāea that the government will allocate more funding to kapa haka.
Maggie Barry says, "I am very much in favour of them getting more funding to do what they have told me they would like to do. So I have been pushing hard to have consideration of more funding for kapa haka.'
However when questioned over a possible figure in terms of budget increase, the Minister responded with, "Im not able to discuss anything within the budget round at this stage."
Here is Taroi Black's story on the possible funding increase
NEW ZEALAND FIRE SERVICE MERGER
Further funding of $303 million over five years has also been announced to combine urban and rural fire services into one organisation from mid-2017.
According to Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne “The name of the new organisation – Fire and Emergency New Zealand – reflects the wide range of services that our firefighters provide for their communities, including callouts to road accidents and natural disasters,”
This package will eventually see the fire levy (paid on insurance for contents, property and motor vehicles) becoming the main source of funding for the new organisation, replacing a variety of funding sources for rural fire services.
The $303 million package over the next five years will be funded through:
• A $112 million capital injection for transition to the new organisation over four years from 2016/17
• A proposed increase in the fire levy of approximately $151 million over four years from 2017/18.
• $40 million of Crown funding over four years from 2017/18 towards the cost of public good non-fire activities, such as responding to medical emergencies, floods or other natural emergencies.
The Minister says, “The new funding arrangements will be much fairer and will ensure that both large and small property owners and most motorists will pay their fair share towards the cost of fire and emergency services.”
EDUCATION – TEACHER AIDE
A $15.3 million increase for in-class support has also been assigned over the next four years which will allow students who qualify for the fund five hours of teacher aide assistance each week.
Harata Brown gathered thoughts from educationalists on the announced funding increase.
Here is her story
$20.7 million in new operating funding for 2015/16 will be put towards a campaign aimed at targeting the pest population boom caused by a heavy forest seeding.
The largest pest control operation in New Zealand’s history will be launched this which has been titles ‘Battle for our Birds 2016.’
The project will see DOC ramp up pest control by 500,000 hectares, to cover more than 800,000 hectares of land. Aerial 1080 operations will be backed by on-going trapping and ground control programmes.
Pilot projects will also be run to test the effectiveness of using self-resetting traps to keep pests permanently out of an area following a 1080 operation.
An additional $39 million will be allocated to Pharmac over 2016/17.
According to Health Minister Jonathan Coleman this will provide more New Zealanders with access to new medicines,
This funding injection will boost Pharmac’s overall budget for 2016/17 to $850 million, which the Government says is an increase of $200 million since 2008.
Coleman says “This funding boost in Budget 2016 – an extra $124 million over four years -will mean that Pharmac can further increase access to new medicines, benefiting more New Zealanders.
Last year 41 new and widened access medicines were made available and around 3.5 million New Zealanders received a funded medicine in 2014/15.
At any one time, Pharmac has a list of proposals for new medicines and medical devices which medical experts have recommended as a priority for any funds that become available through savings or budget increases.
“The Government’s extra investment gives Pharmac more options on new medicines it can fund. It’s up to Pharmac to make these decisions.”
Funding for health research will increase by $97 million over the next four years.
Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce says “The annual amount available for health research through the Health Research Council (HRC) will increase by 56 per cent over four years - from $77 million in 2015/16 to $120 million in 2019/20,”.
The funding increase will also provide additional support for New Zealand’s long-running longitudinal health studies.
The Government has also released a discussion document to inform the development of a new health research strategy.
The strategy will also look at stronger research connections across the life sciences, social sciences and engineering.
Further information including the public discussion document and details on how to make a submission are available at: www.health.govt.nz or www.mbie.govt.nz
SMALL BUSINESS TAX PACKAGE
The Government announced the SME-Friendly tax package which its claims will simplify tasx for small business and reduce compliance costs.
Under the SME – Friendly tax package is expected to cos $187 million over four years and includes;
Provisional tax is being reformed, with a new pay-as-you-go option giving small businesses a way to pay tax as they earn income from 1 April 2018.
Use-of-money interest will be eliminated or reduced for some taxpayers.
Contractors will be able to choose a withholding tax rate that suits their needs, rather than one being set for them.
The ongoing 1 per cent monthly penalty will be scrapped from 1 April 2017 for new debt – although immediate penalties and interest charges for late payments will continue to apply.
$22.2 million from Budget 2016 has been assigned to the country’s cyber security infrastructure.
The Government will invest $20 million of operating funding over the next four years on a new national Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) to combat cyber-attacks and cybercrime, with an additional $2.2 million of capital for set up.
CERT will initially be set up as a separate unit in the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and is expected to be in operation in the first quarter of 2017.
Talisa Kupenga covered the announcement of this funding. STORY
$20 million will be invested over four years to maintain momentum in high performance sport and boost Drug Free Sport NZ.
NZ, Sport and Recreation Minister Jonathan Coleman says. “A $16 million investment in Budget 2016 over four years will enable High Performance Sport NZ to leverage all the work and preparation for Rio as we look ahead to the next Olympics in Tokyo in 2020.
Around 220 New Zealand athletes will compete at Rio. High Performance Sport NZ is targeting 14 medals, and also 12 gold medals at the Paralympics.
The Government invests $62 million annually in High Performance Sport NZ to provide a one stop shop for high performance athlete’s needs.
Budget 2016 also invests an additional $4 million over four years for Drug Free Sport NZ.
SCIENCE AND INNOVATION
Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce announced $15 million of additional funding over four years for two schemes that speed up the commercialisation of new technologies developed by scientists and entrepreneurs around New Zealand.
Funding for the Pre-Seed Accelerator Fund will increase by $12 million over four years, taking the Government’s total investment through the scheme to $8.3 million per year.
In addition, funding for the development of new Accelerator programmes will be extended following the scheme’s initial three-year pilot, with new investment of $3 million over the next four years. Both initiatives will form part of Government’s investment in the Business Growth Agenda in Budget 2016.
The Pre-Seed Accelerator Fund supports innovative scientists to turn the results of their cutting-edge research into commercially viable products and businesses. A recent evaluation estimated that Pre-Seed projects have so far generated $188.2 million in revenue, have resulted in many new companies being formed, and have the potential to generate export revenues of up to $3 billion.
An additional $20 million over four years will go towards tourism across New Zealand, Prime Minister and Tourism Minister John Key announced today.
The $20 million over four years will go towards:
A new Regional Mid-sized Tourism Facilities Fund to help communities with small infrastructure projects that enhance visitor experiences and help them cope with growing numbers of tourists and independent travellers, such as Freedom Campers. ($12 million over four years).
Additional funding for Tourism New Zealand to target key growth markets ($8 million over four years).
Prime Minister and Tourism Minister John Key says, “We recognise that some of our smaller communities need extra facilities to deal with the increase in tourist numbers, and in particular manage Freedom Campers,” says Mr Key. “Budget 2016 will include a new $12 million fund to help them fund some of their smaller infrastructure needs.
“The Budget also includes an extra $8 million over four years for Tourism New Zealand to target key growth markets such as India and the eastern seaboard of the United States which have huge potential.”
$25 million in additional funding over the next four years will go towards the New Zealand Cycle Trail, Nga Haerenga.
Tourism Minister John Key announced the boost as part of a $45 million tourism package in Budget 2016 to further support tourism’s contribution to economic and job growth in regions across New Zealand.
John Key says, “This funding builds on government investment of nearly $60 million to date in developing and maintaining the trail network, on top of co-funding from local communities.
Mr Key also announced details of how the new funding will be used to link trails in the Central Otago region, where there are four existing Great Rides.
Other regions interested in connecting or expanding existing Great Rides will be able to apply for funding, with communities and local councils required to co-fund local projects.