25 May 2017

Steven Joyce to dress up his first budget

From Morning Report, 6:38 am on 25 May 2017

The Finance Minister, Steven Joyce, will today deliver his first budget.

A multibillion dollar package aimed at raising the incomes of low to middle income earners is expected to be its centre piece.

Finance Minister Steven Joyce at Printlink for the printing of the 2017 Budget.

Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

Mr Joyce has a surplus of more than a billion dollars to play with this year.

"I've made some statements about the things that we're focusing on.

"Public services for a growing country, infrastructure for a growing country, the importance of resilience, and if we get the opportunity to do something hopefully on family incomes," he said.

Top of the Green Party co-leader James Shaw's wishlist is money to clean up the country's rivers and for building more houses.

Labour's finance spokesperson, Grant Robertson, expects the government to throw some budget lollies around.

"I suspect in many cases that will just be half making up for things that they've ever cut or not funded properly in the past.

"Working for families is a good example of that where it seems they're going to put some money in but actually they cut nearly half a billion dollars out from that in 2011," Mr Robertson said.

The Prime Minister, Bill English, said the government has worked hard to put the accounts back into surplus.

"We've already announced some fairly significant commitments for instance the pay settlement for rest home and home care workers is, you know, two billion over four years.

"These are big commitments and in that case a big change in the incomes of those households," he said.

Listen to our political editor, Jane Patterson, and economics correspondent, Patrick O'Meara, discuss the upcoming budget.