Greens happy with smaller share of cash than NZ First

Leader says $714m to $3b gap non-is­sue with party back­ing many of its part­ner’s gains

The New Zealand Herald - - News - Isaac Davison

The Green Party says it is not dis­ap­pointed to get a much smaller share of the Bud­get cash than New Zealand First. It says it has al­ready se­cured bil­lions for ini­tia­tives out­side the Bud­get, as well as gains which can­not be measured in mon­e­tary terms.

New Zealand First se­cured nearly $3 bil­lion in spend­ing for ei­ther party poli­cies or ini­tia­tives in port­fo­lios held by its MPs.

That com­pared to around $610m for the Greens, whose big­gest vic­to­ries were more fund­ing for con­ser­va­tion and the es­tab­lish­ment of a green in­vest­ment fund.

“That’s not what it’s about,” Green co-leader James Shaw told the Her­ald, when asked about the Greens’ smaller pile of money.

He said the Greens sup­ported many of NZ First’s gains, in par­tic­u­lar a $714m boost for for­eign aid fo­cused on the Pa­cific Is­lands.

His party had al­ready in­flu­enced a multi­bil­lion-dol­lar spend on pub­lic trans­port, which oc­curred out­side the Bud­get process.

And some of its big­gest gains could not measured by money alone, Shaw

said. That in­cludes end­ing new oil and gas ex­plo­ration and tak­ing steps to­wards mak­ing New Zealand a ze­ro­car­bon econ­omy.

The Greens said the $181m lift in fund­ing for con­ser­va­tion over four years was the big­gest in­crease in a gen­er­a­tion.

Con­ser­va­tion Min­is­ter and Green MP Eugenie Sage said it would al­low the Depart­ment of Con­ser­va­tion to carry out large-scale preda­tor con­trol with­out hav­ing to cut from other ar­eas, and would re­verse an alarm­ing trend of bio­di­ver­sity de­cline.

Shaw con­ceded, how­ever, that fur­ther in­creases would be needed.

This first al­lo­ca­tion would sim­ply re­verse con­ser­va­tion un­der­fund­ing un­der the pre­vi­ous Gov­ern­ment, he said.

The other ma­jor Bud­get win for the Greens was a $100m green in­vest­ment fund which aimed to stim­u­late pri­vate sec­tor in­vest­ment in clean, sus­tain­able projects.

NZ First’s largest gains were al­ready known ahead of the Bud­get — $900m for for­eign af­fairs to in­crease aid and ex­pand its diplo­matic pres­ence and $1b for a re­gional de­vel­op­ment fund.

The party’s min­is­ters won more money for de­fence, vet­er­ans and ed­u­ca­tion.

There was, how­ever, lit­tle in the Bud­get for farm­ers who form part of the party’s base.

NZ First MP Shane Jones said there was plenty for its sup­port­ers in the Bud­get. “I think the peo­ple who sup­ported us in the re­gions and the peo­ple who backed us in the coali­tion agree­ment will not be dis­ap­pointed.”

An­other no­table win was $4.8m in tax re­lief for breed­ers of “high qual­ity horses” — a perk for the rac­ing in­dus­try which has made large do­na­tions

to NZ First in past elec­tions. It would al­low new in­vestors in the breed­ing in­dus­try to claim tax de­duc­tions on the cost of a horse but only if the horse is a “stand­out year­ling”.

“There’s trot­ters, there’s gal­lop­ers and there’s stay­ers,” Jones said. “My leader is a stayer.”

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