19 Oct Post – Budget Breakdown
Steven Joyce got the lay of the land in South Taranaki when he spoke at the Te Runanga o Ngati Ruanui Trust offices recently.
The Associate Finance Minister was in Hawera to present the governments post budget speech -‘Investing in a Growing Economy’. Accompanied by New Plymouth MP Jonathan Young, the pair talked with about 35 iwi members about the economic outlook and government predictions.
Joyce said businesses were investing, job growth was solid and wages were rising faster than inflation. He said an increasingly diversified economy means that, despite low dairy prices, New Zealand’s exports increased by $2 billion last year.
Dairy exports fell by $3 billion in calendar year 2015, but total exports grew by $2 billion, he said. Tourism, construction, the beef sector, ICT, wine and much of the manufacturing sector are all performing well.
He said more than 200,000 more people are in work than three years ago, and they speculate a further 170,000 jobs will be created by 2020.
- Innovative New Zealand – a $761 million investment over four years in science, skills and regional development to help grow and diversify the economy.
- Health – $2.2 billion over four years to ensure New Zealanders continue to have access to high-quality healthcare.
Te Runanga o Ngati Ruanui Trust kaiarataki Debbie Ngarewa- Packer questioned the centralised nature of most of the health and social sector services despite the need for services and hospitals in smaller communities.
“For example, we notice every time the Taranaki District Health Board has a budget cut they go looking for the money from the South Taranaki services to buffer it.”
Questions were also asked of how the government plans to make an impact on social issues plaguing the rural areas. And how can iwi be involved in an enduring sense?
Joyce said Whanau Ora was a significant part of the answer.
“But it about making sure that there is someone there whose job it is to navigate some of these really tough issues.
“We spend a lot of money in this space and what we are trying to do is spend it better.”
He said a key driver to making the regions better was on giving businesses the confidence to invest in smaller communities.
“It all gets a lot easier if people have got work,” he said.
Te Runanga o Ngati Ruanui Trust chairman Haimona Maruera Jnr reminded Joyce that while it was good to see this government had added funding toward treaty negotiation in this budget, there was small concern it would fall short.
He said Ngati Ruanui needed the Government to know that this was not the right way to go, and he expected from now on there will be appropriate funding allocation during the treaty negotiations.