Middle New Zealand has again missed out in this year’s Budget with not a single fix for the housing crisis, and health and education woefully underfunded again, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says.
“This Budget is just a patchwork of ad hocery, a piecemeal package of measures that won’t fix even one of the major problems facing New Zealand, including an out of control housing crisis which the Government wilfully denies. It lacks vision and shows that after eight years in power, National has lost touch.
“What was needed today was a clear plan to build thousands of affordable homes, lift wages and fix our creaking public services. Instead we have a Government still focused on those at the top while most New Zealand families miss out.
“This Budget leaves offshore speculators running rampant in our housing market. The Government’s only response to kids sleeping in cars and a generation shut out of home ownership is a reheat of last year’s failed attempt to free up Crown land in Auckland.
“Nick Smith’s plan failed last year. It will fail again.
“Our health service has suffered from $1.7 billion of cuts over the past six years. Yet today’s announcement is $50 million a year short of what’s needed just to keep up with population growth and inflation. We are again going backwards in health and there will be even fewer specialist appointments and operations.
“Education fares no better. This Budget fails to reverse the $150 per pupil school funding which was cut last year. Parents will again have to pick up the additional costs.
“While the Government talks about growth, they ignore the thousands of Kiwis out of work. By the next election, there will be 45,000 more unemployed New Zealanders than when they took office.
“A Labour Budget would have taken decisive action on housing, boosted funding for health and education, and invested in growth for middle New Zealand.
“What we have instead is a Budget that will fix nothing, help only the few at the top and leave middle New Zealand worse off than before,” Andrew Little says.