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New Zealand Parliament

The report of the Finance and Expenditure Committee on the Budget Policy Statement 2009.

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Date:
20 March 2009
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Debate on the Budget policy statement

On 25 March the House debates the 2009 Budget policy statement

What is the Budget policy statement?

The Budget policy statement is a paper presented to the House of Representatives by the Minister of Finance in the months before the Budget, setting out the Government’s strategy and policy goals for the Budget. The Minister of Finance must issue the Budget policy statement by 31 March each financial year if Parliament is in session. The objective of issuing a Budget policy statement (which has been a statutory obligation since 1994) is to make the bases on which the Government’s Budget decisions have been made more transparent.

Who decides the content of the Budget policy statement?

The Cabinet decides the relative importance of the overarching policy goals and which policy areas the Government will focus on in the next Budget.

What happens after the Budget policy statement is presented to the House of Representatives?

The Budget policy statement is referred to the Finance and Expenditure Committee. The Minister of Finance may be invited to attend the committee to answer questions about the Budget policy statement. The committee must report to the House on it within 40 working days. The committee’s report on the Budget Policy Statement 2009 was presented on 11 March 2009.

The debate on the Budget policy statement occurs on the first Wednesday that the House sits after the day on which the committee’s report is presented. It is usual for the chairperson of the Finance and Expenditure Committee (or, in the chairperson’s absence, another member of the committee) to begin the debate on the Budget policy statement. The debate is expected to occur after question time on Wednesday, 25 March 2009, and will last up to 2 hours. It can be viewed on Parliament TV . The verbatim report on the debate – known as Hansard – is available after a few days.

The Budget itself, in which the Government details its economic policies and plans for spending public money in the coming year, will be delivered to the House of Representatives on Budget Day, Thursday, 28 May 2009.