Bill's Budget and the Buts...
National has finally achieved what they have been promising for some time, a budget with a surplus, but...
There is the small issue of the $50 billion of Government debt that has been accrued since 2008
There is the average of $1.2 billion lost annually from Government revenue due to the tax cuts for the wealthy.
Christchurch repairs have a tightening budget, with repair contractors finishing up as EQC goes for cheaper cash settlements. After over three years 4000 are still waiting for replacement homes and 2600 are still waiting for a decision from the EQC. Which is more important, the Christchurch repairs or the appearance of a surplus?
The paid parental leave increase to 18 weeks is still well behind the OECD average.
Beneficiaries with children can still not access Working for Families and the increase in the Parental Tax Credit still does not apply to them despite 27% of children now living in poverty.
There is extra funding for early childhood education participation but still no effort to increase quality or ensuring greater numbers of qualified staff.
Our public education system has been under attack and yet Charter Schools get $12 million, although serving less than 400 students.
Health spending is still not at a sustainable level and funding cuts to preventative health is ongoing.
The Government's asset sales have provided a short term boost for this budget but will provide long term losses.
Nothing substantial to address the housing crisis.
There is a continual failure to address the growing needs of the Pasifika community where the median wage has fallen $64 dollars a week from $455 when National took office to $381. Pacific people have also got an unemployment rate of 13%.
The budget does nothing to address the growing inequity in New Zealand or to deal with the root causes of poverty.
It may not have been a 'slash and burn' budget like the one delivered to Australia (English's budget had a few trinkets and baubles), BUT the real issues of poverty, our degrading environment, ethnic marginalization and the housing shortage were not really addressed.