Budget 2018: Here are the key takeaways

News 17/05/2018

Budget 2018: What you need to know - the comprehensive edition

The big spend: Health

The vast bulk of new spending is going into health. $4 billion will go toward hospital buildings, with $2 billion of that going directly to DHBs.

Bad news, though - those $10-cheaper GP visits aren't happening any time soon. Very low-cost GP visits will be extended to all Community Services Card holders and eligibility for the card extended to all Housing NZ tenants and those receiving an income related rent subsidy or accommodation supplement.

Free doctor visits and prescriptions are extended to all under-14s.

Midwifery gets $103.6 million of new funding over four years, plus $9 million in 2017/18. Half of that goes toward pay - an 8.9 percent 'catch-up' increase in fees for over 1400 lead maternity carers.

The National Bowel Screening Programme will be extended to five more DHB regions.

School-based health services will be extended to cover decile four secondary schools.

$1m (which sounds like a lot but it's not really) will be spent on "developing" a free annual health check for seniors.

Biosecurity - is there enough here to face down increasing threats?

In the recent past, NZ has faced threats from Mycoplasma bovis, myrtle rust, Bonamia ostreae and kauri dieback.

MPI's operating funding will increase by $9.3 million over four years.

The cost of failing to prevent diseases entering New Zealand and spreading is huge - the specific cost for dealing with Mycoplasma bovis will be $38 million over two years.

During his Budget announcement, Finance Minister Grant Robertson acknowledged biosecurity threats are "happening more frequently" and said there would be "more to say in the future about how we can be prepared."

Housing $1 billion - and 1600 state houses a year

Budget 2018 allocated an additional $1 billion for housing, including $369 million in capital funding.

The Government has provided funding for an additional 6400 state houses over four years - or 1600 a year. It’ll come at a cost of $234 million over four years.

And a classic insulation win for the Greens - funding has also been made available for insulation grants for low income owner-occupied homes, at a cost of $142.5 million over four years.

$300 million in capital has been set aside for the Tamaki Regeneration Company for 1400 houses for the market and 700 new public housing units over the next six years.

An additional 550 places will be made available in the Housing First programme, using $43.9 million in operational funding over four years. It will target Auckland, Christchurch, Tauranga, Hamilton, Wellington and Lower Hutt.

Six week programme for unemployed youth

The Government is doubling the number of places in its six-week programme for unemployed 18 to 25 year olds, the Limited Service Volunteer (LSV) programme, to 1600 places at a cost of $26.8 million over four years.

Funding boost for refugees

The Government will fund two additional accommodation blocks at the Mangere Refugee Resettlement Centre, with a capital investment of $7.7 million and operating spend of $1.5 million a year over four years. The Government says this will support increasing the Refugee Quota to 1500 places per year.  

There’s also a funding boost of $3.8 million over four years for the Refugee and Protection unit.   

One Billion Trees

The Government has allocated $245 million for its One Billion Trees programme over the next ten years, with $13.5 million in operational funding for native trees over the next four years.


The education sector gets nearly $2 billion extra over four years. That'll go on 1500 new teachers, 200 new classrooms and a big boost to learning support.

Of that, learning support gets an extra $133.5 million over four years. That'll go toward the likes of speech language therapists and psychologists. There will be an extra $30.4 million over four years for students who are deaf and hard of hearing.

Climate Change

Budget 2018 sets aside $100 million of new capital funding for the Green Investment Fund, designed to encourage private-sector investment in high-value, low-carbon industries, clean tech and new jobs. The fund will be established by the end of the year.

An additional $14 million in new funding is provided over the next four years to help deliver on the Government’s commitments to address climate change, including:

  • passing a Zero Carbon Act

  • amending New Zealand’s emissions trading scheme

  • establishing an independent Climate Change Commission

  • meeting obligations under the Paris Agreement

The cuts

The Government is no longer funding long-acting reversible contraceptives for beneficiaries - saving $120,000 over 5 years.

It's also made cuts on policy advice on Energy and Resources and on ACC (saving $650,000 and $500,000 a year, respectively).

A planned $500,000 spending increase on the Prime Minister's scholarships to Asia won't be going ahead.

Funding arrangements for private schools are facing cuts - the removal of operational grant components and access to Te Kura subjects from private schools will save $3.5 billion.

There’s no funding for Waikeria Prison, instead there’s a funding boost for 600 new prison beds, through rapid-build modular units added to a number of prisons. Cabinet still working on decision, funds are still available to be used, but with mind to target to reduce prison population by 30 percent over 15 years.