Steven Joyce needs to front up to New Zealanders and tell them whether he will fund health and education to meet increasing cost pressures, or risk seeing services cut and costs increase for parents, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson.
"New Zealanders need to know if National will fund essential public services to at least keep up with inflation and an increasing and ageing population.
“Their track record on this is not good, with independent economists showing that National has failed to fund health to meet cost pressures to the tune of $2.3 billion in the last six years.
"In education we have seen the value of funding for early childhood centres and schools fall, while parents have to bear an increasing burden of the costs of their children's education.
"Labour has allocated the funding in our Fiscal Plan to meet these cost pressures, and more. We have been up front about our spending. That is $8 billion more for health and nearly $6 billion more for education over the forecast period.
"National now needs to do the same for their spending on these essential services. If they won’t commit to funding health and education properly, New Zealanders will face further cuts in services. This will mean longer waiting times and District Health Boards will be millions of dollars in the red. Parents will increasingly find themselves funding public education from higher ‘donations’. The Government’s Budget does not make this funding commitment.
"It is time for Steven Joyce to front up on what he is planning to do, and come clean on whether there will be further cuts in the services that New Zealanders depend upon” says Grant Robertson.