New Zealand Labour Party

Sticking Plaster Budget fails the test

Bill English’s penultimate Budget fails to tackle the structural challenges facing the economy – a housing crisis, rising unemployment, underfunded health and creaking infrastructure, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson.

“This Budget applies a sticking plaster to a compound fracture. There is nothing tangible in the Budget to create more jobs, deliver a real increase in wages and diversify the economy through encouraging new and emerging businesses to grow and export.

“The Reserve Bank Governor will be kept awake at night. With the economy being driven by population growth, the inadequate announcements in infrastructure spending ignores Graeme Wheeler’s plea for more economic legwork from the Government.

“The failure to tackle demand for housing and a re-heat of last year’s failed Crown land buy-up won’t fix the housing crisis and its threat to financial stability. The forecasts for the dairy sector are dire and will see farmers facing misery through to 2018.

“The Government refuses to take the long-term approach to diversifying the economy. Innovative New Zealand - Steven Joyce’s latest Koru Lounge Fund – will only benefit the last person to get into a minister’s ear. Mr Joyce has built up a byzantine grants scheme that buries business under bureaucratic paperwork.

“Research and development tax credits would make it far simpler to support business innovation.

“National’s short term approach is made stark by its refusal to resume contributions to the Cullen Fund until 2020, despite surpluses being projected from this year.

“Bill English has delivered a Budget that lacks vision and without the courage to tackle the economic challenges this country faces,” says Grant Robertson.