Budget 2018: No plan beyond tax, borrow & spend

Published: Thu 17 May 2018 02:47 PM
Simon Bridges - Leader of the Opposition
17 May 2018
Budget 2018: No plan beyond tax, borrow & spend
This is a Government that’s taxing more, spending more, borrowing even more than they had said and hoping that their broken promises are not noticed, Opposition Leader Simon Bridges says.
“Labour spent the last nine years calling everything a crisis, yet today’s budget provides no new solutions to back up their claims,” Mr Bridges says.
“They’ve dressed it up with rhetoric like ‘starved for funding’ and ‘deficit support’ but the truth is even their health budget is underwhelming, and commits less each year than National did in the last budget.
“Today’s budget is strewn with broken promises. “No universal cheaper doctors visits, 1800 extra cops that aren’t happening when they said, no money for Dunedin hospital, not to mention a raft of new taxes from a Government that promised ‘no new taxes’ in its first term.
“Winston Peters is happy because he got his billion dollars for diplomats and a new embassy in Sweden. Unfortunately, Labour has prioritised that ahead of funding the Roxburgh children’s camp and mental health.
“Labour has realised they don’t have enough money to meet their excessive election commitments and so have increased future allowances by $5 billion.
“Spending is the easy part. Governing is about delivering New Zealanders the public services they need and getting better results – more cops on the beat, more operations in our hospitals, and our kids doing better at school. There is no sign this Government has any understanding of that approach.
“And New Zealanders are paying the price with a big lift in net Government debt, going up $10.8 billion higher than National over the next four years. And that doesn’t include an additional $6 billion of debt hidden off the Government’s balance sheet.
“Borrowing more and taxing more in strong economic conditions makes no sense and risks undoing all the hard work New Zealanders have done over the last few years.
“The big thing missing in this Budget is any meaningful help for Kiwi workers. In fact middle-income families are getting steadily worse off, with the cancellation of National’s tax changes and the coming big increases in fuel taxes that will take petrol and diesel prices to record levels.
“Kiwi families can only look enviously across the Tasman where both the Australian Government and the opposition are offering tax relief to boost family incomes.
“But the most frustrating oversight in Grant Robertson’s budget is any plan to keep our economy growing and developing. In fact it’s quite the opposite.
“This Government’s anti-business policies mean the Treasury growth projections are more a hope than a prediction, despite strong growth internationally.
“This is a hugely disappointing budget of little imagination from a Government that is borrowing more, taxing more and spending more – but has no plans for how we as a country can earn more.
“A National Government I lead will focus on providing prosperity to the next generation by investing in health and education services, paying off debt, and sustainability growing our economy.”

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