April 30, 2018 / 9:08 PM / a month ago

NZ 2018 budget set to deliver surplus, special spending boost -finmin

    WELLINGTON, May 1 (Reuters) - New Zealand's Finance Minister
Grant Robertson said on Tuesday that the government would post a
surplus in the country's 2018 budget and planned to funnel
spending into health, education and housing.
    Robertson said in a speech in Auckland that investing in
regional infrastructure in addition to social services and
housing were priorities for his centre-left coalition government
which took the helm in October after arguing that country's
robust economic growth was tarnished by rising inequality.
    The minister reiterated, ahead of the May 17 budget
announcement that his government planned to stick to its "budget
responsibility rules", which included posting surpluses for the
next five years and reducing net core Crown debt to 20 percent
of GDP by 2022.
    "That means Budget 2018 will deliver a surplus, and
surpluses in subsequent years. We owe it to future generations
to be fiscally responsible, given the risks New Zealand faces in
terms of natural disasters and global economic shock," Robertson
said.
    New Zealand's budget will be delivered on May 17, the first
under the Labour-led coalition government after almost a decade
of centre-right National Party rule.
    Robertson said that in the first months in office, his
ministers had collectively "reprioritised" around NZ$700 million
($492.24 million) of funding over the next four years and
expected its ramped-up tax measures to collect a further $700
million, which would be directed toward social services and
regional infrastructure.
 ($1 = 1.4221 New Zealand dollars)

 (Reporting by Charlotte Greenfield, editing by G Crosse)
  
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