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Budget 2024 Lays Bare Senseless Cuts To Public Services To Fund Tax Cuts

Published: Thu 30 May 2024 03:00 PM
New Zealanders will see services they rely on suffer
The high price in lost services that support New Zealanders, protect our environment and help grow the economy has been laid bare by Budget 2024.
"This is a dark day for public services and the dedicated public service workers who do so much to support communities and businesses up and down the motu," said Duane Leo National Secretary for Public Service Association Te Pūkenga Here Tikanga Mahi.
"The Government has made a choice that tax cuts for landlords and higher income earners are more of a priority than the quality public services which underpin a thriving economy and support the health and wellbeing of New Zealanders.
"This is the wrong choice. How can giving away $3 billion in tax cuts to landlords make sense when we need to be investing more in services to support our growing and ageing population, tackle climate change and meet our infrastructure challenges?
"The Government is simply taking the oil out of the engine of the public service and still expects it to do the same job."
The Budget lays out annual cuts in spending of $1.5 billion as the Government planned and now it forecasts further annual cuts of $1 billion on top of that.
"This will add to the worries of thousands of public servants who are still expected to deliver what this Government wants while also coping with higher workloads."
Billions of dollars a year and thousands of jobs are being cut from key government agencies supporting New Zealanders, securing our borders, tackling our environmental challenges, building our climate change resilience, and supporting New Zealand businesses.
For example, total cuts in spending over the next four financial years (2024/2025 to 2027/228):
Ministry for Primary Industries: $468m. This includes cutting staff working in biosecurity, food safety, fisheries, and forestry. Funding falls for various workstreams; reducing carbon emissions on farms, on-farm support services, sustainable land management.
Ministry for the Environment: $374m. This includes reducing staff, slashing funding for the Climate Change Commission, climate change programmes, work monitoring the environment, and waste minimisation programmes.
Ministry of Housing and Urban Development: $1.81 billion. This includes funding for social housing through Kainga Ora.
Ministry for Social Development: $767m: This includes a significant reduction in staff who help ensure thousands of New Zealanders get the support they need and help them access information on their entitlements. That need is rising as the job market tightens. Emergency housing eligibility is also being tightened.
Science, innovation and technology: $903 million. This includes laying off scientists and researchers, and reducing funds scientists rely on such as the National Science Challenge, and Marsden Fund.
"The Government masks the cuts laid out in today’s Budget with a promise of so-called frontline investment in health and education. We should be doing so much more to really meet our population and cost challenges in these areas if it wasn’t for the tax cuts.
"The Government today said it was proud to be doing more with less. That is a fiction, make no mistake, it will be overall less with less. And New Zealanders will pay a high price for that," said Duane Leo.

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