Kia ora kouto and welcome to another edition of Policy Buzz. This week I’m going to do a wee wrap up of the Budget (although if you’re anything like me, Budget-fatigue probably hit you 2 hours into Budget Day, if not earlier) and share some thoughts about how it’s going to shape the landscape in the public sector for the rest of this year, as it’s mid-June already (!!!!!)
In my last post, I made some predictions about which government agencies would benefit from this years’ budget, and to be honest I’m glad I’m not a betting type of gal as they were a bit hit-and-miss. Health saw a huge boost in funding, particularly for new mental health and addictions initiatives; Education (as predicted) received a large cash injection which is hardly surprising given the amount of reviews and policy changes going on there at the moment; Oranga Tamariki will be sitting front and centre at a lot of Wellbeing policies and this was fiscally represented with a $1.1 billion allocation.
I was quite surprised that Ministry for Primary Industries didn’t get more of a look-in, M Bovis received a fair amount of funding, but no mention of Kauri Dieback (well a token amount of $3.5m). A surprise which really wasn’t a surprise was the lack of anything Kiwibuild related, they’ve got their share from last year and that’s that, or so it seems. Do you think there are any glaring omissions? Did anything surprise you?
So what does this mean for the workings of the public sector in their new financial year? Every one is aware things are going to be busy, and to mention ‘the year of delivery’ again makes me feel like I’m in Groundhog Day. Essentially the Coalition Government needs to get some policies to land so they’ve got some campaign material come next year. This is good news for contractors as there are a lot of projects, reviews, consultations, and reforms that received a much-needed funding boost and there just aren’t enough permanent employees to get the work done.
In other developments, I completely missed an announcement back in April about the establishment of new independent infrastructure body, the New Zealand Infrastructure Commission - Te Waihanga. Spinning out of Treasury, the Commission will be officially operational in October of this year. As it stands at the moment, the Commission (currently operating as the Infrastructure Transactions Unit) will supplement work in agencies and local government, rather than replace their operating function. It’s looking like work coming out of there would be a lot more procurement focused than policy if they’re working alongside agencies.
Because I can’t get enough of talking about the Wellbeing Budget, I will be attending an IPANZ event this Friday titled “The Wellbeing Budget and Child Poverty” where Girol Karacaoglu and Jonathon Boston, both Professors at VUW’s School of Government, will be discussing the Budget in the context of eradicating child policy. I’ll come back with a summary of what was discussed as it’s fully booked and it’s looking particularly interesting!
I’ll give you a few days to recover from Budget discussions until I’m likely back again with further Budget discussions. Heoi anō tāku mō nāianei!