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New Zealand’s government says it will hand out an extra few hundred dollars to more than 2 million lower-income adults to help them navigate what it describes as “the peak of the global inflation storm.” The payments are part of a package of new measures announced in the government’s annual budget. Other plans include increasing health spending by a record amount, putting more money into reducing greenhouse gas emissions and boosting defense spending. A report by Treasury painted a rosy picture of the nation’s economy through next year but warned growth would slow markedly from 2024 due to rising interest rates, a reduction in the government’s pandemic spending, and supply issues made worse by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

AP wire

Sydney businesswoman Allegra Spender has an impeccable pedigree for a career in Australian politics. She is the daughter of a conservative federal lawmaker and granddaughter of a conservative cabinet minister. More surprising than her decision to run for office, she has chosen to become a candidate of a breakaway political grouping that has emerged as a threat to the ruling conservative Liberal Party. Spender is known as a “teal independent,” a greener shade than the Liberal Party’s traditional blue color. The conservatives brand them “fake” independents because they are partially funded by a campaign war chest formed by a wealthy former Liberal Party donor. But the teal candidates insist their funding comes with no strings attached, leaving them truly independent.

AP
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A dog walks past billboards of independent candidate Zali Steggall and Labor leader Anthony Albanese outside a polling booth in her electorate of Warringah in Sydney, Australia on May 17, 2022. Australia's government, considered a laggard on combating climate change, faces a new threat in the form of highly-organized and well-funded independent election candidates who demand deeper cuts on greenhouse gas emissions. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

AP
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Stickers of Independent candidate for the inner city seat of Wentworth, Allegra Spender, sit in a bag at a public forum ahead of next weekend's general election in Sydney, Australia on May 16, 2022. Australia's government, considered a laggard on combating climate change, faces a new threat in the form of highly-organized and well-funded independent election candidates who demand deeper cuts on greenhouse gas emissions. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

AP
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A supporter of Independent candidate for the inner city seat of Wentworth, Allegra Spender, holds a sticker with her photo at a public forum ahead of next weekend's general election in Sydney, Australia on May 16, 2022. Australia's government, considered a laggard on combating climate change, faces a new threat in the form of highly-organized and well-funded independent election candidates who demand deeper cuts on greenhouse gas emissions. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

AP
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People listen as Independent candidate for the inner city seat of Wentworth, Allegra Spender, holds a public forum ahead of next weekend's general election in Sydney, Australia on May 16, 2022. Australia's government, considered a laggard on combating climate change, faces a new threat in the form of highly-organized and well-funded independent election candidates who demand deeper cuts on greenhouse gas emissions. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

AP
  • Updated

Independent candidate for the inner city seat of Wentworth, Allegra Spender, holds a public forum ahead of next weekend's general election in Sydney, Australia on May 16, 2022. Australia's government, considered a laggard on combating climate change, faces a new threat in the form of highly-organized and well-funded independent election candidates who demand deeper cuts on greenhouse gas emissions. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

AP
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Independent candidate for the inner city seat of Wentworth, Allegra Spender, center, gestures as she holds a public forum ahead of next weekend's general election in Sydney, Australia on May 16, 2022. Australia's government, considered a laggard on combating climate change, faces a new threat in the form of highly-organized and well-funded independent election candidates who demand deeper cuts on greenhouse gas emissions. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

AP
  • Updated

Independent candidate for the inner city seat of Wentworth, Allegra Spender, second left, holds a public forum ahead of next weekend's general election in Sydney, Australia on May 16, 2022. Australia's government, considered a laggard on combating climate change, faces a new threat in the form of highly-organized and well-funded independent election candidates who demand deeper cuts on greenhouse gas emissions. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

AP
  • Updated

A volunteer hands out "how to vote cards" as voters walk past billboards of Independent candidate Zali Steggall outside a polling booth in her electorate of Warringah in Sydney, Australia on May 17, 2022. Australia's government, considered a laggard on combating climate change, faces a new threat in the form of highly-organized and well-funded independent election candidates who demand deeper cuts on greenhouse gas emissions. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)