New Zealand unveils budget 2024

WELLINGTON, May 30 (Bernama-Xinhua) — The New Zealand government released Budget 2024 on Thursday, with savings across the public sector being reinvested in frontline services such as healthcare, schools, and police, as well as tax reductions, reported Xinhua.

The tax package in Budget 2024 is fully funded from savings and other revenue measures, which means it will not add to debt and inflation, said Prime Minister Christopher Luxon.

Tax relief will give the average income household up to 102 NZ dollars (US$62.18) per fortnight, plus childcare payments of up to 150 NZ dollars (US$91.44) for eligible families, Luxon said.

Budget 2024 sets out the government’s plan to rebuild the economy, ease the cost of living, deliver better health and education services, and restore law and order, said Finance Minister Nicola Willis.

The government is working to lift educational achievement, build better infrastructure, remove red tape, double exports, and attract investment, Willis said.

Opposition parties criticised Budget 2024, arguing that it takes New Zealand backwards.

The opposition Labour Party said the new budget managed to find 2.9 billion NZ dollars (US$1.77 billion) for landlords, but only 30 cents an hour for minimum wage workers in a tax cut plan they swore they would not borrow for.

“For months, New Zealand families were promised 250 NZ dollars (US$152.42) extra a week; in reality, this is going to be a tiny percentage of the population,” said Labour’s leader Chris Hipkins.

Saving money has become harder with the loss of half-price public transport, free prescriptions, and the first home grant, Hipkins said.