Budget 2015 good for the Hutt Valley
Chris Bishop, National List MP based in the Hutt Valley, says that the 2015 Budget delivered on Thursday last week by the Minister of Finance is great news for the Hutt Valley.
“At the heart of the Budget is a significant $790 million package to help support children living in hardship. The Government is lifting benefit rates for families with children by $25 per week after tax. This is the first increase (outside inflation) in benefit rates since 1972. Around 110,000 families nationally, with 190,000 children, will be better off as a result.
The package also assists low-income working families. Families earning $36,350 or less a year before tax will get $12.50 extra per week from Working For Families, and some very low income families will get $24.50 extra per week. In total, these changes will benefit around 200,000 lower income working families.
The Government is also strengthening work expectations for parents on a benefit. From 1 April next year, most sole parents, and partners of beneficiaries, will have to be available for part-time work when their youngest child turns three, rather than five as it is now. Childcare assistance for families is also increasing, to lower the cost of childcare for around 40,000 low income working families.
“I know from the election campaign, and my work around the Hutt more recently, that there is concern in the community about hardship in the community, particularly for children. This package will make a real difference for thousands of Hutt Valley families and children, and reduce the depth of hardship these families experience.
“The Budget also continues the government’s commitment to diversifying the New Zealand economy and growing new innovative businesses. The Budget includes another $80 million over four years to encourage more private sector research and development through Callaghan Innovation, based in the Hutt. This funding is equivalent to a 14 per cent increase in Callaghan Innovation’s R&D co-funding budget, and is in addition to the $566m committed over four years for R&D grants in Budget 2013.
Other new science and innovation initiatives in Budget 2015 include:
- An international investment attraction programme – a new $1 million programme to attract multinational companies to undertake R&D in New Zealand will start in 2015/16
- An additional $2.2 million in 2015/16 to support the “Science in Society: A Nation of Curious Minds” strategic plan
- Another $11.4 million over four years to increase the number of engineering graduates, including $5.2 million for more engineering places, and funding for activities to raise the profile of engineering and support more people to become engineers.
“The Budget is a big boost for “Technology Valley” in the Hutt – where science, technology and high value manufacturing drive economic growth, new jobs and higher wages for Hutt residents – and continues National’s commitment to science and innovation,” says Mr Bishop.
Note: The child hardship package has a number of different elements and its exact impact on any given family will depend on individual circumstances. (Detailed fact sheets are available at www.beehive.govt.nz/feature/budget-2015).