All the government spending plans we already know

The Government isn’t waiting for a big reveal on Budget Day to announce all its spending – this is what we know is already in store for the coming months and years.

If you feel a sense of déjà vu when Finance Minister Nicola Willis releases her first budget, it could be because parts of that spending have already been announced.

While Willis continues to promise some “nice” surprises in the budget (as opposed to the “unpleasant” ones she says the previous Labor government left her with), here’s what we know for sure about tomorrow’s big reveal.

Education

The education sector has already revealed several of its spending plans for Budget 2024, courtesy of National’s plans to rewrite the school curriculum and a couple of pet projects of Associate Education Minister David Seymour.

Those pet projects include $153 million in new funding over four years for up to 50 charter schools and another $478 million for a revamped school lunch program, including new service for up to 10,000 preschoolers.

Education Minister Erica Stanford has also been busy unveiling spending plans within her portfolio.

The budget will include nearly $53 million over four years to help increase the number of teachers by 1,500.

Another $67 million has been allocated to support the implementation of structured literacy in schools starting next year.

The budget also addresses the costs of early childhood education (ECE). The government’s FamilyBoost scheme will come into effect from July 1 and parents will be able to claim up to $75 a week towards their ECE fees. More details about the plan will be received tomorrow.

Health

David Seymour has been busy revealing expenses in his capacity as Deputy Minister for Education and Deputy Minister for Health.

The Government has revealed little about its health spending plans ahead of the Budget.

While it was not labeled as a pre-budget announcement, David Seymour confirmed an increase in Pharmac’s budget last month, this time in his capacity as Associate Minister for Health. The drug purchasing agency will receive almost $6.3 billion over four years.

In other health-related funding, the Government recently announced $24 million in funding over four years for the Gumboot Friday mental health initiative.

That funding formed part of National’s coalition agreement with NZ First.

Transport

While the Government is yet to confirm its transport spending, Minister Simeon Brown offered some clues with the publication of the draft Government Policy Statement (GPS) on Land Transport earlier this year.

Brown revealed an investment of around $7 billion a year over the next three years, part of which will be funded through proposed increases to the Motor Vehicle License Fee (rego).

While spending plans for land transport are yet to be confirmed, Brown and Associate Transport Minister Matt Doocey have already revealed a budget increase for water transport.

Surf Life Saving and the Coast Guard will receive more than $63 million between them over the next four years. The funds have been allocated to training, equipment and security initiatives.

Corrections

More questions than answers have arisen after the Prime Minister and Prisons Minister repeatedly provided incorrect information about planned $1.9 billion spending on prisons.

The Government has already made announcements about $1.9 billion in funding to increase prison capacity and more frontline prison officers, although at the time there was some confusion over the exact figures.

Corrections Minister Mark Mitchell said the budget will also allocate $78 million to expand rehabilitation programs for prisoners on remand.

Accommodation

Housing Minister Chris Bishop revealed last week that the first home grant scheme is being cut and the Budget will allocate $140 million to fund 1,500 new social homes.

Bishop said the funds would be available from July next year.

Defending

The Defense Forces are set to receive $571 million in new funding in the Budget.

Defense Minister Judith Collins outlined a series of spending plans earlier this month, including pay rises for staff, upgraded equipment and the rental of 35 homes for navy staff.

External relationships

Winston Peters promised "A balanced foreign affairs budget".

The Budget is allocating $60 million to revamp New Zealand’s diplomatic infrastructure in the Pacific, Foreign Minister Winston Peters said last week.

He said the funding came from “administrative efficiencies” of $15 million a year.

Social investment

Nicola Willis has already revealed that $50.5 million is being set aside in the budget for a Social Investment Agency.

This new independent agency will come into effect from July 1 and will replace the Social Welfare Agency, which is currently part of the Public Service Commission.

The agency’s mandate includes setting standards for social investment practice across government departments, helping other agencies apply that social investment approach, and conducting an ongoing review of social sector spending.

What more can we expect?

Obviously, at 2pm tomorrow many more details about the Government’s spending plans will be revealed to the public.

Willis has said those plans will be “consistent with the (election) campaigns” of the three coalition parties.

People will also finally find out what tax cuts the Government has in store. National’s election campaign tax calculator is no longer online, but Willis said an official version will be released on Budget Day.

Live coverage of the Budget on 1News.co.nz from 2pm on Thursday, with a Q&A special on TVNZ1 from 2-4pm, and full details and analysis on 1News at 6pm.