Govt’s dowry Bud­get fails to de­liver

Hamilton News - - Front Page - Tim Macin­doe MP for Hamil­ton West

It’s a car­di­nal sin in pol­i­tics to over-prom­ise and un­der-de­liver.

The new Min­is­ter of Fi­nance de­liv­ered his first Bud­get re­cently and, while sig­nif­i­cantly in­creas­ing spend­ing in some un­ex­pected ar­eas, failed to hon­our a num­ber of Labour’s key elec­tion com­mit­ments in im­por­tant ar­eas in­clud­ing Health, Education, Police and Hous­ing.

A decade ago, when John Key’s Na­tional-led govern­ment came into of­fice, we in­her­ited an econ­omy in re­ces­sion fol­low­ing Labour’s un­prece­dented spend­ing spree. Soon af­ter­wards the Global Fi­nan­cial Cri­sis hit coun­tries for six. When the Can­ter­bury earth­quakes and in those ar­eas, I am as­ton­ished at the Govern­ment’s pri­or­i­ties as re­vealed in their pre-christ­mas mini bud­get and again in the May Bud­get.

Min­is­ters now claim they lack the money to keep their prom­ises, de­spite as­sur­ing us dur­ing last year’s elec­tion cam­paign that all their poli­cies were care­fully costed. In­stead, they’re hik­ing ex­ist­ing taxes and im­ple­ment­ing new ones.

Some of their bro­ken prom­ises in­clude: re­duc­ing the cost of doc­tors’ vis­its for ev­ery­one this year; boost­ing Wha¯nau Ora funding by $20 mil­lion; end­ing school dona­tions in their first Bud­get; funding 1800 new police of­fi­cers; and lift­ing the cap on loans for stu­dents tak­ing longer cour­ses (such as medicine and den­tistry).

There was no men­tion in the Bud­get of their long-promised com­muter rail ser­vice between Hamil­ton and Auck­land, and they are now promis­ing 1200 fewer new so­cial houses over the next three years than Na­tional had com­mit­ted to in our last Bud­get.

Clearly New Zealand First ex­tracted a high price for last year’s po­lit­i­cal mar­riage, which is why Amy Adams de­scribed the doc­u­ment as “the Dowry Bud­get”. They have found $3 bil­lion for Shane Jones’s pet projects; $1 bil­lion for more diplo­mats and a new em­bassy in Stock­holm; mil­lions for win­ter en­ergy pay­ments to peo­ple earn­ing six-fig­ure in­comes; feesfree ter­tiary education for stu­dents study­ing for hig­h­earn­ing cour­ses such as law and ac­coun­tancy, and so on.

Govern­ments can­not please ev­ery­one, but Bud­get 2018 is a breach of trust.

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