Budget 2023 balances people’s needs with fiscal discipline: Robertson


Finance Minister Grant Robertson

Venu Menon
Wellington, May 11, 2023

The upcoming Budget 2023 addresses the cost-of-living pressures faced by New Zealanders and is focused on delivering “higher wage jobs with lower emissions,” Finance Minister Grant Robertson has said.

Robertson was addressing the Wellington Chamber of Commerce today.

He said the cyclone and floods earlier in the year had compounded inflationary trends which prompted the Government to “provide significant support to regions affected by the weather events.”

Answering the constant refrain of the Opposition that the Labour Government was on a spending spree, the minister said “the ongoing costs of the recovery will be met within the Budget operating allowance of Multi-year Capital Allowance.”

This meant recovery took precedence over other priorities, the minister added.

“In the lead up to the Budget, ministers were sent a clear message that if they wanted to progress particular priorities, they needed to be looking for savings and reprioritisation opportunities within their agencies’ existing budgets,” Robertson said.

As a result of this reprioritisation, “Budget 2023 will include $4 billion of savings and reprioritisations over the forecast period.”

The minister alluded to schemes that were scrapped in line with reprioritisation, such as the RNZ-TVNZ merger, the clean car upgrade and social leasing schemes, among others.

Reprioritisation also involved resetting the targets of government departments and “returning as savings underspends from existing initiatives.”

He said the government was taking the lead from New Zealanders practising fiscal prudence and “making trade-offs in their lives.”

Robertson said the upcoming Budget was defined by four key elements: providing cost of living support, service delivery, recovery and sustainable financial management.

“We will be making targeted investments to support these goals, while continuing to mange the books carefully,” the minister added.

The Budget needed to balance people’s needs with fiscal discipline, which required belt-tightening following the “emergency spending required to get us through COVID.”

“The Budget has seen us make difficult trade-offs to keep to our balanced approach. It is focused on providing support for people,” the minister noted.

Venu Menon is an Indian Newslink reporter based in Wellington.

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