Last Thursday I sat in Parliament as finance minister Bill English, presented his seventh budget. It sets out the next steps in the National Government's economic programme and demonstrates our focus on helping families.
It is the type of Budget a responsible Government can deliver when it's following a plan that's working.
Budget 2015 contains $1 billion in new spending.
It continues to support New Zealanders and help families, while at the same time responsibly managing the growing economy and the Government's finances.
The Budget also confirms New Zealand has a strong and growing economy, which is forecast to deliver another 150,000 new jobs over the next four years - and that's on top of the 194,000 new jobs created since the start of 2011.
Average wages, which have increased by 15 per cent over the past five years, are also forecast to continue rising faster than inflation.
In fact the average wage is expected to rise to $63,000 in the next four years.
The Budget shows that we're making good progress in responsibly managing the Government's books and we are on track to a $176 million surplus next year, which will increase in future years.
We are investing more in the drivers of economic development too, including a further $360 million to deliver on our commitment to roll-out world-class internet connectivity for New Zealanders - bringing our total investment to $2 billion.
Our $790 million child hardship package is designed to assist our most deprived families and it will make a difference to those who receive it while at the same time respecting the taxpayers who pay for it.
The increase of $25 per week is the first raise in benefit payments in 43 years that is not CPI adjusted; and it will directly help 110,000 beneficiary families who are raising 190,000 children.
The package also includes greater work obligations for parents on a benefit; more childcare support for low income families to help parents get into work, education, or training; and an increase in Working for Families payments to low-income families of $12.50 a week in most cases.
If you would like more detailed information about what is in this year's Budget, please contact my Feilding office on 06 323 7253.
The Budget shows that we're making good progress in responsibly managing the Government's books and we are on track to a $176 million surplus next year