The biggest winner in this budget is tourism (40% increase) followed by the Prime Minister’s Office and the Cabinet (18% increase). The Biggest losers are Statistics NZ (a 30% cut) and environmental protection (10.2% less). Health will have cuts in real terms with the smallest increase (2%).
It does appear to me that there will be more money spent on Government spin, while the data revealing the real state of our nation will be limited (five yearly environmental reporting and analysis has already been wiped). $36 million extra will go to promoting our apparent clean green environment for tourists and another $14 million will be cut from the already struggling departments that are charged with protecting it.
270,000 children are suffering in substandard housing, third world diseases and from malnutrition. After four years there is still very little in the budget to address it. The $3.4 million of extra funding being spent on the Cabinet and Prime Minister would buy a lot of lunches for hungry kids.
The Government is determined to maintain the $2 billion a year loss in revenue through the non-neutral tax cuts to upper income earners. It has allowed another bubble to occur in the property market so that the average house price in Auckland has rocketed to $735,000, and is predicted to reach a million in 3-4 years. The $15 billion the Government promised Christchurch is being drip fed and only a fraction has been spent, while many families have spent 2 years in shocking conditions.
I guess if you are Sky City, a property developer, into motorway construction, or in the top quintile of earners then this budget is great. If you are working on a low wage, homeless, caring for a family, living in a broken Christchurch home, are a hungry kid or are waiting for your local river to be cleaned up then it is a case of making the most of the crumbs being dropped.