New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (not pictured) attend a joint press conference in Parliament House in Canberra on Feb 7, 2023. (PHOTO / AFP)
WELLINGTON – New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said on Thursday that the budget to be announced next month will focus on cost-of-living support, cyclone recovery, and investments in skills, science and technology, and infrastructure to propel economic growth.
In a pre-budget speech in Auckland, Hipkins said the government has ruled out a specific cyclone levy in the upcoming Budget to pay for the recovery from the Auckland floods and Cyclone Gabrielle in the first two months of the year, which killed at least 11 people in the North Island and caused 9 to 14.5 billion NZ dollars ($8.89 billion) of asset damage.
The costs of the recovery will be largely met within the Budget's operating and capital allowances, Hipkins said
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The costs of the recovery will be largely met within the Budget's operating and capital allowances, Hipkins said.
"There will be no new tax everyone would have had to pay, like a cyclone levy, to fund the recovery," he said, calling it "an orthodox no-frills budget" funding the things most important to New Zealanders.
There will also not be any major new tax changes like a wealth tax or capital gains tax, he added.
The prime minister also set out three areas of investment in the Budget which will lay the foundation for future growth and improved productivity – skills, science and technology and infrastructure.
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The government should do a small number of things that focus on growing the economy to make it more productive and secure, Hipkins said.