Planned increases in tertiary education spending cut in budget

May 28's budget will result in cuts to planned increases in expenditure in a number of areas, including tertiary education, Finance Minister Bill English said today.

Mr English accused the previous Labour government of "booking up" increases in future budgets that could not be funded and had had no money set aside for them.

This included a $200 million a year economic transformation package and more money for tertiary institutions planned to start in a few years' time.

Those spending promises would be weighed up against pressure on the probation and corrections service, Mr English said.

Most of the cuts to planned increases would affect budgets two or three years away.

"It will mean that some people won't get some of the things they might have been expecting, but equally no one will lose anything they already have." He also indicated there would be money for the national cycle way promoted by Prime Minister John Key.

In the past Mr English has poured cold water over the idea of spending large amounts of money on the cycle way, but today he said: "The prime minister in the next few days will be showing exactly who is boss".

Contractually agreed increases such as the $190 million for teachers' pay rises would be funded.

The Australian budget was delivered yesterday with plans to shield jobs from the global downturn through wide-ranging infrastructure spending that would plunge Australia into record debt.

Treasurer Wayne Swan revealed his budget for the next fiscal year beginning July 1 that would create a record $A58 billion ($NZ74.33 billion) deficit -- equivalent to 4.9 percent of gross domestic product.

Mr English said the Australian Government was also increasing pension payments significantly and to offset that was raising the age of entitlement.

"We are not raising the pension significantly and so we haven't contemplated raising the age at all." There would be no changes to superannuation arrangements in his budgets.

Australia had turned from surpluses into deficits over six months, whereas New Zealand had been going through that process over the past six months, he said.

 

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