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English sets May 26 for NZ's annual budget

Tuesday 16th February 2016

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The government will deliver its annual budget statement on Thursday, May 26, Finance Minister Bill English has announced.

Budget 2016 will be English's eighth since the election of the National Party-led government in 2008 and is expected to forecast a small fiscal deficit, according to last December's budget policy statement. 

The budget would focus on "delivering policies that support more jobs, higher incomes and opportunities for New Zealanders," said English. "While there are a number of positive signs in the domestic economy, there is still a lot of work to do.

"There will be no let-up in the Government’s ongoing commitment to spending restraint after achieving a surplus in 2014/15," although the BPS forecast a slide back to deficit in the current fiscal year after last year's wafer-thin $414 million surplus - the first since the year to June 2007, before the global financial crisis and Canterbury earthquakes punched holes in the government's accounts, peaking at an $18.4 billion deficit in 2011.

In his speech to open the 2016 Parliament, Prime Minister John Key warned that lower growth forecasts would reduce anticipated tax revenues by $17 billion over five years, but the government remained committed to delivering tax cuts. The BPS included a $2.5 billion new spending allowance for the 2017 election year budget, up from $1 billion for Budget 2016 and falling again to $1.5 billion in 2017/18 and 2018/19.

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