"Foolhardy" PM insists on tax cuts while public services struggle

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New Zealanders will end up paying the price for the Prime Minister’s insistence on delivering a pre-election tax cut bribe, the Public Service Association says.

In his formal statement to parliament yesterday, John Key acknowledged the economy could be $17 billion smaller in five years’ time than was predicted in the 2015 Budget.

All the same, he clearly indicated tax cuts are still on the table next year.

The Public Service Association says this raises big questions about the government’s priorities.

"Everywhere you look, public services are struggling - and continuing to promise tax cuts looks foolhardy," PSA National Secretary Erin Polaczuk says.

The Council of Trade Unions says the health system’s more than $1 billion worse off than it was 5 years ago, while so-called "voluntary donations" to schools are expected to top $1 billion this year.

Meanwhile, the Department of Conservation can’t promise to protect a pristine beach in the Abel Tasman, inspiring ordinary Kiwis to put together a crowd-funding campaign.

"Public services belong to all New Zealanders; as well as making this country a great place to live, they’re the net that catches us when we fall.

"The promised tax cuts will be modest, and might only amount to about $5 a week.

"If John Key’s serious about helping hard-working New Zealand families, there are many other options he could pursue.

"We call on him to put aside this pre-election bribe, and concentrate on delivering quality public services for all New Zealanders."