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Thread: Budget overshadowed by gloom

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    Default Budget overshadowed by gloom

    Budget overshadowed by doom and gloom
    Page 1 of 2 ....... 2:26PM Sunday May 18, 2008
    By Ian Llewellyn

    The historic nature of Finance Minister Michael Cullen's ninth budget on Thursday will be overshadowed by the current political and economic gloom.

    Not since Walter Nash looked after the Government's books through the Great Depression and Second World War or Rob Muldoon's domination in the 1960's and 1970's has any finance minister overseen the writing of so many budgets.

    But the history will mean little to the voting public who seem to be turning their back on the Government in droves as they tighten their belts.

    Dr Cullen has promised a "response", but "no silver bullet" to the economic situation with a mix of mild tax relief with investment and social spending as a tonic for the economic chills.

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    'Two blocks of cheese' budget too little - Key
    Page 1 of 2 ....... Updated 5:28PM Thursday May 22, 2008
    By Paul Smith

    National leader John Key mocked the Government's tax offering in today's budget, saying it was "too little, too late" and said Dr Cullen expected people to be grateful after nine years for what amounted to "no more than two blocks of cheese".

    Dr Cullen unveiled a three-year tax cutting package , with workers on the average $45,000 wage taking home an extra $16 a week from October.

    But Mr Key has pledged to top the tax cuts, which will reach $10.6 billion over the next three years.

    Speaking in Parliament after the Budget speech, Mr Key said: "Under National, New Zealanders will be better off. Under National, personal tax cuts are a priority."

    He did not immediately give any details of what those tax cuts would be.

    New Zealand First leader Winston Peters said the Budget had some good aspects but also some missing elements.

    Dr Cullen's ninth Budget dropped the bottom tax rate from 15 per cent to 12.5 per cent and raised the 33 per cent and 39 per cent thresholds.

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    Pension news for those retiring in NZ.

    Superannuation increase in Budget
    4:33PM Thursday May 22, 2008

    From October 1 net superannuation would increase, with a married couple getting $45.88 a fortnight more with $23.84 for a single person living alone, Senior Citizens Minister Ruth Dyson said.

    The increase was additional to annual adjustments.

    Other benefits for the elderly included the pre-announced gains New Zealand First won through its confidence and supply agreement with the Government.

    They included free off-peak travel on public transport costing $72m over four years and $18m over the same period for an increase in the hearing aid subsidy.

    Benefits that could help grandparents included a $24.6m boost to lift the unsupported child's benefit to match foster care allowances from April next year.

    There was $446.5m to fund services for vulnerable families and youth which would include elder abuse and neglect services.

    - NZPA

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    Warm fuzzies for householders but not conservation
    5:00AM Friday May 23, 2008
    By Angela Gregory

    The Budget sets low to middle-income New Zealanders up for a few warm fuzzies in the next few years with millions being poured into improving house insulation.

    Energy Minister David Parker and Housing Minister Maryan Street said yesterday spending would go towards energy efficiency investments to assist businesses, households, motorists and consumers,

    They confirmed $22.4 million capital towards insulation and clean heating retrofits for state houses.

    Another $23.3 million in operating funding would include $6 million over four years for another 32,000 insulation retrofits for low-income families in homes.

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    Mother Bear

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