National’s pretence of action hides a bribe for the wealthiest

Steven Joyce’s first – and final – Budget gives with one hand, takes away with the other, and gives the biggest break to the wealthiest New Zealanders, the Green Party said today.

“National has always been long on grand announcements and short on real results. Steven Joyce’s first – and final – Budget is no different,” said Green Party Co-leader James Shaw.

“The only pie Bill English should be eating today is humble pie. We’ve had nine years of National in government and there is a decent surplus and all we’ve seen today is more tinkering.

“This Budget will make little difference to the lives of those who need it the most, and no difference at all for our environment.

“National couldn’t just give – they had to take away as well.

“National is increasing Working for Families credits for some, but have increased the severity of the abatement rates – making it harder for people to improve their circumstances.

“There is also a tax cut for the rich in disguise. Those on the highest incomes will get the bulk of the benefit. Families on the highest incomes receive a tax cut of $33.22 while those in the bottom quintile get just five dollars a week. This is not what low and middle income earners need.

“With this Budget, National has once and for all given up on addressing the causes of the housing crisis. Instead it is committed to spending hundreds of millions of dollars on stop-gap, piecemeal measure that are a band-aid, rather than a cure. There is nothing in here to dampen housing speculation or rampant investment.

“The Government expects rents to keep rising, and more people to require emergency housing. It has admitted defeat in the face of the housing crisis.

“New Zealanders will be paying the social and financial cost of National’s inaction for many, many years to come.

“There is nothing in this Budget that will clean up our polluted rivers, lakes and streams, or protect our drinking water. A million dollars for one fund isn’t going to cut it – especially when National refuses to turn pollution off at the tap.

“The Green Party will not allow one more lake or river to be polluted when in government – under National pollution will only get worse.

“National’s utter lack of leadership on climate change continues with this Budget. There is a paltry $4 million increase in funding to stop climate change, while there is also a $300 million increase in subsidies for polluters.

“What New Zealanders will be judging National on in September isn’t just what they say today, it will be their record on delivering solutions on the environment, incomes and housing over the last nine years. And National’s record is broken.

“There is no evidence from today’s Budget that National deserves another three years in government.

“We can change this. New Zealanders can change this. We just need to change the Government,” said Mr Shaw.

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