Budget 2023 falls short of what’s needed

Today’s Budget makes good progress on climate and inequality, but falls short of what’s needed to fix both.

“There are some really important steps in this Budget that will make a difference to people’s lives but it falls short of what’s needed. Aotearoa needs a bold plan to make sure everyone has what they need to get by, and to face up to the climate crisis with the scale and urgency we need,” says Green Party Co-leader Marama Davidson.

“As a result of this Budget people are going to find it so much easier to get on a bus or train. Thousands of families won’t be forced to pay through the roof to get their kids into early childhood education. And households will get the help they need to make their homes warmer and healthier, and lower their power bills.

“This is a Budget that delivers a number of policies the Green Party has campaigned on for over 10 years. Nine years ago, we promised to extend the 20 hours ECE subsidy to cover 2-year-olds - today it’s a reality. Greens have campaigned for 10 years to deliver more affordable public transport - and now, in government, it’s a reality.

“Warmer Kiwi Homes is also a long-standing Green commitment that dates back to 2009 when previous Green Party Co-leader, Jeanette Fitzsimons won an agreement from the government to insulate up to 180,000 homes. It was only when we got into Government in 2017 that we could scale this up to really make a difference.

“We are also delighted with the changes to Kiwisaver that will ensure parents continue to receive contributions while on paid parental leave.

“But despite these important steps, we have to be honest that things aren’t changing fast enough. By ruling out tax changes, the Government tied its own hands. The Budget could have gone further with a bold plan to make sure everyone has what they need to get by, and to face up to the climate crisis with the scale and urgency we need.

“Aotearoa is facing a perfect storm of crises super-charged by climate change: an outrageous and immoral level of income and wealth inequality; people struggling to put food on the table, pay the bills, and heat their homes as massive corporations cream it; and farms, towns and cities ravaged by floods and storms.

“The Greens will continue fighting to secure genuine action to end poverty by lifting incomes to a level that means everyone has what they need to thrive.

“Everything we need to fix these problems and make life better for people in Aotearoa exists. What’s missing is the political will power to use it. So, my message today is clear: if people want a government that will build an Aotearoa that works for everyone and a fairer tax system to pay for it, then we need more Green MPs.

“Cabinet has the tools it needs - it just doesn’t have Green Ministers at the table pushing them to use them properly,” says Marama Davidson.

Green Co-leader James Shaw added:

“This year’s Budget will deliver some great investments that will make a big difference to people’s lives. Free bus and train travel for under 12s and half price for everyone under 25 and Total Mobility Passengers is huge. It is a perfect example of what we need: action that helps people make ends meet and reduces climate pollution.

“The additional support available to build more public homes is welcome, but doesn’t go far enough. The Government needs Green Ministers at the table pushing for a long-term investment in making sure everyone has an affordable home, no matter if they rent or own.

“I am frustrated too that the Budget stops short of doing what is needed to confront the climate crisis with the urgency it demands. Don’t get me wrong, I am delighted we have secured another $1.4 billion for action to cut climate pollution. And it comes on top of a $2.9 billion package we announced last year. Every dollar of this is coming from our biggest polluters.

“Over the last five and a half years, this Government has been a complete game changer for climate action in Aotearoa. That has happened only because the Green Party has been part of it. But the reality is, we can only do so much with the governments we have been given. I do not want another generation to have to bear the burden of slow progress.

“The only way – the only way – to face the great challenges of our time with the urgency those challenges demand is to have more Green MPs in the next Parliament and more Green Ministers in the next Government,” says James Shaw.