The ‘wellbeing’ Budget has been heralded by the Government as transformational, but it’s left most New Zealanders wondering what the Government’s definition of ‘transformational’ is.
Because most Kiwis will look at the Botched Budget and ask if this is transformational, why are things getting tougher for us?
Nothing has been offered but more taxes for hardworking Kiwis who are struggling to keep up with the rising cost of living.
In fact, the first piece of legislation passed after the budget was delivered was to legislate for more fuel taxes, placing a huge additional burden on Kiwi families, especially when prices at the pump are already some of the highest we’ve seen in years.
What’s more galling is the fact motorists are getting less for all the extra taxes they are paying. The Labour, Greens, NZ First Government has cancelled, delayed or gutted more than a dozen major transport projects.
It’s hurting Kiwis’ wallets once again.
This time it’s not just a regional tax, this is hitting the entire country.
The day before the Government botched its Budget, teachers marched to Parliament demanding a pay rise. They got so little in the budget they announced further strikes that same day.
The Government managed to stump up the cash for classrooms, but what good are classrooms if there are no teachers to work in them?
There’s been a measly 1 per cent increase in medicines funding.
This is totally inadequate and doesn’t even keep up with population growth. Kiwis will miss out on lifesaving medicines because this Government’s priorities are wrong.
There’s been cuts to digital literacy programmes, the disability budget has gone backwards, school donations haven’t been fully scrapped and there’s a $200 million fund to drown farms in tough regulations and excessive bureaucracy.
The Botched Budget has found $30 million to paint the beehive and put more bureaucrats in Treasury, which is twice the amount set aside for new places in addictions services.
This Government promised wellbeing but then its left a litany of broken promises in its wake. There are fewer jobs, more people on a benefit and needing hardship assistance, huge increases in the numbers of people without housing and more people are missing out on elective surgeries.
That’s not wellbeing.
The economy is sharply declining and the Government is doing nothing to encourage growth. Surpluses over the next five years are $9 billion below where they were at six months ago.
Meanwhile, the Government has already racked up $20 billion more in debt. That’s a clear sign the Government is struggling to manage the books while it oversees a weakening economy.
But a strong economy is the best way to improve the living standards of New Zealanders. For National, a real wellbeing Budget would prioritise front line services in health, education and infrastructure and take steps to help address the rising cost of living for Kiwis.
More taxes on middle New Zealanders doesn’t increase wellbeing.
It just makes it harder for families to get ahead. That’s why National has promised no new taxes in our first term of Government.
The current Government has promised up large and raised expectations, but all its done is leave Kiwis disappointed. In its self-proclaimed year of delivery, there’s not a lot of delivering going on.
The Botched Budget is a lot like the Government, all style and not a lot of substance.
Amy Adams is National Party Finance Spokesperson.