Eastern Bay teachers not hopeful in lead up to Budget

Eastern Bay teachers are not expecting a solution to their contract dispute in today's Budget.

The Finance Minister is due to present it to Parliament this afternoon, but teachers are not holding their breath.

Hundreds of Eastern Bay primary, intermediate and secondary teachers staged a protest at the Landing Road Bridge roundabout in Whakatane yesterday.

Local NZEI spokesman Peter Fitzgerald says they're not looking for relief in the Budget.

“The Minister has been quite vocal in saying the offer they have put forward is the only offer.

“He says this is the only offer, but then tells us to negotiate. There's no point in negotiating if they're not going to come meet us half way.”

Meanwhile predictions for other areas in the Budget continue to circulate.

Big things are expected in social development which has been the big winner in pre-Budget announcements.

The Government has already announced millions of dollars to fight domestic abuse, help troubled youth and tackle chronic homelessness.

It also announced a $200 million boost to improve the welfare system earlier this month.

Lifting Maori opportunities remains another focus point, with funding going to rheumatic fever programmes, corrections and education and training.

In the health sector, the Government hasn't announced much yet, although it's been teasing a major investment in mental health support.

Other pre-Budget announcements also include more funding towards creating affordable public transport, a "clean energy centre" in Taranaki, and new science research fund.

Further funds will also go to transforming New Zealand's forestry sector, a boost for Stats NZ to get ahead of the next census, an upgrade of the SuperGold card and the changes to levy paid by the racing industry

The 2019 Budget will be announced from 2pm.

Sam Gardner