Budget 2018: Industries react to funding announcements

Newstalk ZB Staff,
Publish Date
Thursday, 17 May 2018, 7:23PM

The money's been allocated, now the reactions are flowing in.

The Government today unveiled their first budget, called 'Foundations for the Future'.

It's seen big amounts of money doled out for various sectors, including the police, defence, the environment and prisons.

But how do some of the other sectors feel about it?

Larry Williams spoke to a number of experts about their reactions to the announcement.


The government will spend an extra $42 billion on infrastructure over the next five years.

NZ Herald business editor Fran O'Sullivan says the Fletcher Building saga has caused a lot of uncertainty around big projects.

"You've got that situation till they have a really good hard look at this, it's going to be very hard to shift it along. People are going to be very careful on the contracting."


Business is describing the budget announcement as the political tail wagging the economic dog.

Employers and Manufacturers CEO Kim Campbell says it's what's not said about productivity and what's left out of the budget that's more important than what's in it.

He told Larry Williams the fundamentals are there such as the terms of trade.

"But that's going to mean not a jot if we've got industrial unrest and you are already seeing it now across New Zealand. So sitting behind all that if a bunch of industrial stuff that's going to be expensive and it's definitely going to affect productivity."


Disappointment from the early childhood sector that their acute teachers shortage has not been addressed in the budget.

Funding for an additional 1500 teachers has been announced.

Chief executive of Early Childhood Council Peter Reynolds told Larry Williams this was an opportunity for the government to say they would be spread across the sector, so that early childhood gets a shake from that as well.

"So we're still left with a dire shortage of qualified early childhood teachers in the ECC sector, and the Government is doing absolutely nothing to address that right now."

The Budget has increased operational funding per student for both schools and early childhood education by 1.6 per cent from next January, in line with inflation which is expected to accelerate from 1.4 per cent in the year ending next month to 1.8 per cent in the year to June 2020.

School principals are welcoming a Budget that just keeps up with inflation and population growth, but are disappointed that not much has been done to overcome a desperate teacher shortage.

"We are not going backwards - great!" said Secondary Principals Association president Mike Williams told the NZ Herald.

"But the teacher supply situation is our number one concern. There is a little bit extra for teacher supply and the voluntary bonding scheme, but quite small amounts added to what is already in there."


Housing gets $3.8 billion in this budget for 6400 more state houses over the next four years, and $170 million for emergency housing.

But the Industry Training Federation CEO Josh Williams told Larry Williams there's no new investment in this budget for on the job training or apprenticeships.

"That's our kind of shocking surprise today. There are thousands of houses to be built and actually hundreds of classrooms to and the question is who will do it? So we are actually surprised to see that there's nothing actually here for training places or apprenticeships."


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