Yesterday, in advance of today’s Budget, Bill English sent out an email to his supporters outlining his government’s 'achievements'. We thought we’d take a closer look at his claims...
"The economy is growing."
It’s true that by some measures, the economy is growing. But when it’s looked at on a per person basis - how much the economy is growing for individual Kiwis - it’s actually fallen. And the people who are suffering the worst under National are everyday New Zealanders. The economy is growing – but not for everyone.
30,000 more people are unemployed than when National took office, and unemployment is higher in every region of New Zealand than when Labour left.
In nine long years National have failed to ensure that New Zealanders have access to decent work.
"Wages are rising."
45% of Kiwi’s last year did not get a pay rise – and 67% got less than inflation, meaning wages are not even keeping up with the cost of living.
While some people are doing well, most Kiwis are struggling with sky-rocketing housing costs and huge rent hikes. It’s time for a fresh approach.
"We’ve turned the books around."
The surplus that National will announce has been built upon deficits, and cutting vital public services like the $1.7 billion they’ve cut from the heart of our health system.
And their short-term approach has meant National has not paid a single cent into the NZ Superannuation fund.
Our schools are increasingly over capacity, and affordable housing is a distant dream for most young people. National’s surplus is a measure of how much they have failed to plan for the future.
"Budget 2017 will include $4 billion of infrastructure investment."
We have huge challenges in our major cities – traffic is congested, infrastructure is at breaking point, and six years after the Christchurch earthquake, major developments are still incomplete or not even underway. After nine years, we need a fresh approach - not an empty election-year promise.
Every region of New Zealand needs a plan and support to deliver sustainable economic growth – only a Labour government will deliver that.
"And we’ve already announced funding for 1125 more Police staff, more lifesaving drugs, double crewing of ambulances, and to support our thriving tourism sector."
The police asked for 1165 police officers – yet they ended up with only 880. The Justice Minister said that iPads would make up the difference. Their Pharmac funding isn’t enough to make up for their previous funding freeze and the new ambulance staff won’t all be properly qualified. The tourism sector has grown, yet it is local taxpayers who are footing the bill for local infrastructure.
What has National’s economic plan delivered?
1. After nine years of failure, have they done something that will finally fix the housing crisis and get New Zealanders affordable homes?
2. Have they done enough to turn around their legacy of neglect in mental health and their $1.7 billion of health service cuts?
3. Have they given schools the operational funding they need to keep the lights on, pay their bills and make up for last year’s funding freeze?
4. Have they given the Police the resources they need to keep our communities safe?
5. After nine years of failing to contribute a single cent to the Super Fund, will they finally do the right thing by future generations?
6. Have they finally recognised New Zealanders’ birthright - to swim in clean rivers and streams and properly resourced making all waterways swimmable?
7. Have they reversed the imbalance between the migration numbers and the infrastructure deficit?
It’s time for a fresh approach. Help us change the government in September, by clicking here: labour.org.nz/volunteer