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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.

Our ninth Budget shows continuing improvement in the Government’s books and solid economic growth expected to average around 3 per cent over the next five years.

This is delivering more jobs and higher wages for New Zealanders. The average annual wage is expected to reach $64,300 by 2021 – up more than $17,000 since we came into office. Well over 200,000 jobs have been created in the last three years – and a further 215,000 jobs are expected over the next four years.

As Science and Innovation Minister I was particularly pleased to see the $372 million Innovative New Zealand programme, which invests in the skills and innovation that will keep our economy growing in the years ahead.

A $2 billion a 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.

Budget 2017 invests $4 billion to help build the public infrastructure we need to support our growing economy, as well as additional funding to strengthen the Business Growth Agenda which will help drive further economic growth, create jobs and lift wages.

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.

Our 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.

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