Once again, the National Party has shown a breathtaking willingness to say one thing during an election campaign and then do the exact opposite when in government.
“It is no good for National Ministers to parrot their talking points about supporting people to make ends meet, only to make decisions that will do the exact opposite,” says co-leader and finance spokesperson for the Green Party, James Shaw.
“People cannot pay the bills with soundbites. Imagine sitting at home reading in the newspaper or watching on the television as government ministers tell you they will help, only to find it is getting harder and harder to make ends meet. It is textbook political gaslighting.
“Ripping away essential support for people right before Christmas is just cruel.
“The decision to axe 20 hours free ECE to two year olds will put families under huge pressure. Thousands of children will now not be able to have the best possible start in life. Parents all over the country will be forced to cut back on food to pay the bills. I am also very worried that the future of free school lunches has been put in doubt, with National identifying a programme that makes sure children do not go hungry as a “fiscal cliff.”
“They are also going to make it more expensive for young people to hop on a bus or train. Everyday activities like going to the doctor, taking the kids to school, or visiting friends and family will now be more expensive for thousands.
“National’s so-called ‘climate dividend’ is climate denial dressed up as a tax cut. That’s it. I find it insulting, frankly, to the thousands of people who dedicate their lives to fighting for faster climate action. For the National Party to co-opt the language of climate action to justify delay is appalling.
“Today could have been the day that New Zealand ended poverty. It could have been the day the government made sure everyone has what they need to have kai on the table, a safe place to call home and to live a good life.
“It could have been the day it promised to confront climate change with the urgency and the scale that it demands. It could have promised to boost the pay of teachers and nurses and bus drivers, and to fund world class buses and trains.
“The spending decisions of every government are a choice. They are the product of deliberate decisions - and those decisions reflect the values and priorities of decision-makers.
“We know from the government’s own advice that some of the wealthiest New Zealanders are not paying their fair share of tax. The top 311 families hold more wealth than the bottom two and a half million New Zealanders. Those with an average wealth of $276 million pay an effective tax rate less than half of the average New Zealander. National is deliberately choosing to keep this unfair status quo in place even thousands of people struggle to get by.
“I am also shocked by the willingness of this government to rewrite economic history to pursue its own ideological goals.
“They are acting as if COVID had nothing to do with spending on direct payments to people who need it, flexible working arrangements and rent freezes. They are making it up as they go along - and are doing enormous harm to people as they do," says James Shaw.