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Budget 2017 shares the benefits of growth by improving public services, investing in the infrastructure needed for a growing country, reducing debt and lifting incomes, Prime Minister Bill English says.

“This is a budget that delivers for New Zealanders from a government that cares about people and knows how to get things done,” Mr English says.

“Our ninth Budget shows continuing improvement in the Government’s books and solid economic growth expected to average 3.1 per cent over the next five years.

“That translates to more jobs and higher incomes and gives us a once-in-a-generation opportunity to raise living standards for all New Zealanders. This Budget sets out the next steps in our plan to do that.”

Mr English says the $2 billion per year Family Incomes Package will help hard working New Zealanders get ahead by adjusting income tax thresholds, while also increasing Working for Families and providing additional support for people on low incomes with high accommodation costs.

“The Package will lift the incomes of 1.3 million families by an average of $26 a week. It is expected to lift 20,000 families above the threshold for severe housing stress, and reduce the number of children living in families receiving less than half the median income by around 50,000,” Mr English says.

“We are determined to seize the opportunity presented by a growing economy to permanently shift the country onto a more prosperous path.

“To that end Budget 2017 invests $4 billion to help build the public infrastructure we need as a growing economy, as well as additional funding to strengthen the Business Growth Agenda to help drive further economic growth, create jobs and lift wages.”

“But that is not the limit of the Government’s ambition. We are committed to improving the lives of vulnerable New Zealanders.

“As part of the $7 billion new investment in public services like health, education and law and order over the next four years, Budget 2017 includes $321 million in Social Investment initiatives to help the most at-risk New Zealanders become more independent,” Mr English says.

“All New Zealanders deserve the opportunity to make the most of their potential, but we cannot provide that opportunity without a growing economy.

“This Government will build on the economic success of the past few years by continuing to run sound fiscal and economic policy and by enhancing the competitiveness of Kiwi businesses.

“The better our businesses do, the more opportunity we have to make a positive difference to people’s lives.”

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