Spotlight on Parliament: Budget Day | NZ Parliament
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Spotlight on Parliament: Budget Day | NZ Parliament

Budget day is right around the corner. Budget day…Is that even a big deal? Yes! Do I get the day off work? No. [sigh] Let’s explain… Kia ora, I’m Carmen. Hi, I’m Luke. Haere mai ki tēnei Ti whiri Pāremata and
welcome to this Spotlight on the Budget. Each year the government needs to spend money. Money? Whose money? Your money. MY money? What are they gonna do with my money?! Exactly. Our money forms part of the Government’s
income, which comes through things like taxes and GST. The Government is responsible for all national
services, including public health, education, and transport. Ah, so the Budget… they’re BUDGETING how
they’re gonna spend our money. Parliament’s budget process scrutinises
the Government’s financial policies and plans. The Bill of Rights Act, Constitution Act,
and the Public Finance Act make it illegal to tax without the grant of
Parliament. The budget is made up of votes and appropriations. OK, so what does that mean? A Vote is just a chunk out of the whole of
a government’s budget, split into a subject area groups. So imagine if lollies were a major government
issue. Vote Lollies would be all the money in the
budget that is spent on issues relating to lollies. Ohhhhh, Vote – because Parliament has to
vote to approve the spending! And appropriations are a smaller section within
a Vote, like the Appropriations for the Chocolate sector that sit within Vote Lollies. So what happens in parliament on Budget day? Well… the Budget documents are delivered
early in the morning and remain under lock and key with a staff member of the Office
of the Clerk until the documents are released by the Minister of Finance. But it’s not just the documents that are
locked-up… On the morning of Budget Day, more than 200
journalists, analysts, economists and commentators are briefed by the Minister of Finance on
the Budget. And then they are locked up. They stay in a room in Parliament with no
cell phone usage, crafting their news stories until they’re released just before the Budget
is introduced. And this is where it all happens. The Minister of Finance introduces Budget
documents to the House. Traditionally, the Minister walks around the
Chamber delivering copies of the Budget statement. The Budget Statement is also ribbonned in
the party colours of the current government. Once the Minister of Finance sits down after
they’ve delivered their Budget Statement in the House… …Budget documents are released from lockup,
press conferences are held and the internet goes into overdrive. Then the Budget Debate starts, which lasts
for up to 15 hours. The Budget is not just about Budget Day. It comes through in a bill, and Parliament
must examine the Budget decisions. The Estimates are the Who, What, Where, When
and Why of any decision in the Budget. Estimates are scrutinised by Select Committees. This is a rare occasion when the committees
get to question the minister responsible. The Budget process ends when the Budget related
legislation passes its third reading and receives Royal Assent. The Budget is a bill that outlines the government’s
plans to spend our money over the next twelve months. And they need Parliament’s approval to do
so. That’s all for this Spotlight… …so until next time: hei konei rā, and
we’ll see you again soon.

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