child care

Talk to social workers and experts trying to get New Zealand's most troubled kids safely through to adulthood and the impression left is that the best thing to do may also be the thing that's most politically anathema to this government

When politicians start talking about "radical overhauls" and headlines speak of "sweeping changes", I confess a little scepticism, even nervousness.

The National-led government has delivered an “Optimist’s Budget” forecasting increased tax revenue, increased spending, and increased debt on its journey to a wafer-thin surplus by June 2015.

This was no “zero” budget. If all goes according to plan over the next three years, the Government sees its tax revenue increasing by nearly 23%, its spending rising by a little more than 7%, and its net debt growing more than 34% to generate a surplus of $197 million on a $75 billion budget in 2015.