The New Zealand government is bringing in sweeping changes in its new budget, with free prescriptions and complementary childcare on the top of the agenda.
From July this year $5 prescriptions will be scrapped, whilst 20 hours of complementary childcare for 2 year olds will be brought in in March 2024. Finance minister, Grant Robertson, referred to this as their flagship announcement. He acknowledged that despite the $1.24 billion it would cost over 4 years to implement the programs, the benefits are huge, including helping out struggling families.
The budget is being referred to as a ‘bread-and-butter’ budget, with new Prime Minister Chris Hipkins acknowledging that ‘it’s tough on families right now’.
“When I became Prime Minister I said I would focus on the bread-and-butter issues Kiwi households are facing,” Mr Hipkins said.
After a year that has been trying for the New Zealand people after Cyclone Gabrielle, the budget has put people and infrastructure first. The Budget 2023 will focus on issues important to voters, including major funding boosts to build state homes, funding for disability support services, and towards the rail network. Those under the age of 13 will be able to travel on public transport for free, whilst under 25s will have half-price travel.