A balanced Foreign Affairs budget

  • Rt Hon Winston Peters

Foreign Minister Winston Peters confirmed today that Vote Foreign Affairs in Budget 2024 will balance two crucial priorities of the Coalition Government.

While Budget 2024 reflects the constrained fiscal environment, the Government also recognises the critical role MFAT plays in keeping New Zealanders safe and prosperous.

“Consistent with the central role of the Pacific in the Government’s foreign policy reset, Budget 2024 provides nearly $60 million in capital and operational investment for the necessary renewal of New Zealand’s diplomatic post infrastructure in the Pacific.

“Given the legacy of exploding debt and budget deficits across the Government’s books under our predecessors, we have found $15 million in savings per year in Vote Foreign Affairs from back-office efficiencies and lower priority activities to play our part in turning around the country’s fiscal position – for a total of $60 million across the forecast period,” says Mr Peters.

“Under new Board leadership, we are also turning around the serious fiscal risks we inherited on the stalled Scott Base Redevelopment project, reducing taxpayer liability for what remains a significant project of national interest,” says Mr Peters.

“The balance struck in this year’s budget is between risk and opportunity and between back-office savings and front-line investment. Its emphasis on fiscal savings and risks is entirely appropriate while we review the Ministry’s overall operations, including our overseas diplomatic network in the coming months to better align it to the Coalition Government’s foreign policy priorities and opportunities to seriously lift our export performance over the coming decade.

“MFAT will also be benchmarking its diplomatic reach against countries we compare ourselves to, as New Zealand more effectively advances our economic and security interests internationally,” said Mr Peters.

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