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April 16, 2018 | by  | in Politics |
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Prime Minister’s Post Cabinet Press Conference

Salient Chief News Reporter Angus Shaw went to the Prime Minister’s Post Cabinet Press Conference on Monday 9 April: mostly budget stuff, but also the Northcote by-election and the rebuilding of Middlemore hospital.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Finance Minister Grant Robertson spoke this week about the 2018 budget, with the Prime Minister stating that “work is underway across Government to transition to planning to build a stronger, fairer, and more sustainable economy”. She was surprised by the lacking state of many public services, particularly health and education, after opening the books from the previous National Government. “From the beginning we knew it would be bad, but we didn’t know it would be this bad.” Ardern stressed that it was not a problem that could be solved in just one budget.

Grant Robertson announced that the Government will reach the 20% debt repayment target two years later than proposed under National. One journalist questioned why the Government did not simply change the budget responsibility rules if public services were in such a crisis as suggested. Robertson replied that the Government needs to balance rebuilding the economy with keeping the books in shape.

Of particular note in the Government’s budget plans was the rebuilding of the Middlemore hospital in Auckland, which Ardern described as “A building that’s rotting around its patients”.

The Northcote by-election was announced for 9 June 2018, coming in the wake of National MP Jonathan Coleman’s resignation, who left his seat to take a job in the private health sector. Ardern said she wasn’t resigned to a National victory, despite the seat traditionally being a stronghold for National.

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