“The surplus and low levels of debt show the economy is in good shape," Finance Minister Grant Robertson announced today.

"This allows the Government to spend more on infrastructure and make record investments in health and education.” 

The Treasury reported a $7.5 billion surplus and its lowest debt levels since the global financial crisis in 2008.

The surplus has increased $2b to $7.5b and net government debt has fallen to 19.2 per cent of GDP, down from 19.9 per cent a year ago.

NZEI Te Riu Roa welcomed the Government’s signals to invest in education.

NZEI national secretary Paul Goulter said while the union has settled large collective agreements across primary, intermediate and area schools this year, there are still significant parts of the education sector that are severely underfunded and in need of Government attention.

"Our top priorities are fixing the pay gap in early childhood education, and a pay equity settlement for teacher aides, " he said.

"It's heartening to hear from Government that they see education spending as a priority.

"Now it's a matter of us pushing to see that increase in funding as soon as possible so that we can properly value the people working in those areas."