Election year budget “like giving a starving dog a rubber bone” – PSA

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Steven Joyce’s first budget is a predictable election year bribe that which will do as little for low-income families as it will for public services, says the PSA.

In place of the long-promised targeted tax cuts for low- and middle-income earners, National has delivered for wealthy New Zealanders – while some vulnerable families will be worse off.

PSA National Secretary Glenn Barclay says it’s a budget that lacks compassion or any real sense of purpose beyond being re-elected.

“For eight years, National’s been promising a budget that would allow all New Zealanders to share in the fruits of a relatively strong economy,” Mr Barclay says.

“Along with hard-working Kiwi families, public servants were hoping for a budget with heart. 

“But this isn’t it.

“We’re deeply disappointed at the lack of substance in this budget, and it reinforces our view that New Zealand needs a change of heart.”

PSA members said they wanted proper funding for equal pay, a significant injection of cash and resources for health (particularly mental health), and urgent action on housing in Auckland.

Mr Barclay says none of this has been delivered.

“This budget is about style over substance.

“There is no leeway for further equal pay claims, and a cosmetic top up to DHB budgets which won’t help them keep pace with demand and cost pressures.

“In mental health, it’s like giving a starving dog a rubber bone.

“There is some extra funding, but it’s very light on detail and nowhere near what’s needed.

“People will continue to wait for treatment, and Minister Coleman will continue to pretend there’s no crisis.

“And apart from the increase to the accommodation supplement, it’s hard to identify any movement on housing.”

Mr Barclay says this budget shows a government that’s content to do the bare minimum – and has run out of ideas other than its highly questionable social investment strategy.

“For example, we’re disappointed Oranga Tamariki doesn’t have enough money to move from crisis mode to making a real difference for children who urgently need it.

“New Zealand needs a change of heart, but this budget doesn’t deliver it.

“It’s a missed opportunity from National and shows them to be a government lacking in inspiration and out of ideas.

“Kiwi families and workers deserve better than this.”