WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand's government plans to spend billions of dollars rebuilding rotting hospitals and improving other infrastructure as the economy continues to grow at a healthy clip.
The liberal government on Thursday announced its first budget plan since winning national elections last year. It has ditched tax cuts planned by the previous conservative government and put more money into health, education, public housing and foreign aid.
The government predicts it will continue to run a small operating surplus. But the big increase in infrastructure spending isn't fully included in those figures and means the nation will actually add to its debt for at least a few more years.
Still, New Zealand's debt remains modest compared to that of many developed countries, with net debt equal to about 22 percent of GDP.