Kia ora koutou and welcome to another edition of Policy Buzz. Budget 2019 is only two days away from announcement so I thought I’d wrap up what’s been drip-fed so far, and make some predictions about where money will be spent in the coming year.
The build-up around this years so-called “Wellbeing Budget” has been in overdrive, with Finance Minister Grant Robertson setting out the priorities back in December and Treasury releasing the Living Standards Framework Dashboard at the same time. Prime Minister Arden ‘pitched’ her Budget at the World Economic Forum in January which received a fairly positive response from other world leaders. Minister Robertson was back at it in February’s IPANZ address where he outlined the Budget again but was fairly mum on what it may mean for those who work in the policy space, particularly those working overtime to get these deliverables out!
What We Know About the Budget Commitments (So far)
So, what do we know about specific Budget commitments so far? There have been quite a raft of announcements this year already which leads me to wonder what is actually going to be announced on Thursday – maybe they’re holding some sort of surprise up their sleeves? Minister Hipkins announced on the 2nd of May the Budget would address teacher shortages which hasn’t been enough to stop the ‘Mega Strike’ going ahead across the country tomorrow which will shut all schools nation-wide causing a huge headache for parents and a free day off for kids, but possibly a better seat on the bus for me though.
Homelessness is getting a strong focus, boosting funding to secure more places for those in need through the Housing First programme. Family and sexual violence is going to be a huge priority for the Government this year with a massive investment announced on May 19th which will be delivered across eight portfolios. We’ve already seen a lot of policy resources being pulled to help on FV/SV programmes and projects thus far so can expect more of the same moving forward.
Another big one is the Transition Support Service announced on Sunday which provides funding to Oranga Tamariki to assist those young adults moving out of state care. OT has received a lot of media attention recently so I predict a fair amount of funding coming their way on Thursday.
Wellbeing Budget Predictions
Speaking of predictions of which agencies will see a focus, here are mine for Thursday’s announcement:
- Ministry of Housing and Urban Development has been under fire a lot, particularly receiving a lot of heat on Twitter from Judith Collins around Kiwibuild. What will happen next? Who knows!
- Ministry of Education has a lot going on, from the Tomorrow’s Schools review to the teacher’s pay discussions; they will surely be receiving a bit of attention on Thursday.
- Ministry for Primary Industries deserves a mention here; M Bovis and Kauri Dieback aren’t going away any time soon, and Fisheries seem to be getting a bit of attention.
- Ministry of Justice and NZ Police are sure to be a focus, particularly around the Firearms Reform, and Buyback Programme, and let’s not forget the Cannabis Referendum next year.
- Ministry of Social Development and Oranga Tamariki will be front and centre on a lot of policy announcements I suspect, with welfare reforms being touted.
I’m sure there are plenty of others, what are your thoughts and predictions for Thursday’s Budget Announcement? Let me know your thoughts!
Lisa Johnston - Senior Consultant | email@example.com