Sunday, April 14, 2024

Jami-Lee Ross: Budgets are about priorities

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Every year the Government announces how it plans on spending the money given to it by taxpayers.

Collectively, we spend billions on our healthcare, education, transport and social service systems and it’s important that we are always ensuring that the money we are investing in these systems is providing a positive social outcome.

Following the financial crisis, earthquakes in Christchurch and Kaikoura, and the Rena, one of the biggest problems facing New Zealand over the past nine years was ensuring we got our economy growing again. The National Government sought to target spending to key problem areas and ensure that the Government was implementing policies that helped New Zealander’s to get ahead, find jobs and grow their incomes.

Last week, the Ardern-Peters Government released their own Budget and it showed that the policies of the last nine years were working for New Zealand.

What we saw in the Budget is that this Government inherited a strong economy that is continuing to grow, add jobs and build on the success of New Zealanders over the past nine years. We have the lowest unemployment rate in a decade at 4.4 per cent and household incomes are rising as are the surpluses in the Government books.

This means that the Government has plenty of money available to them to invest in New Zealand and build on the work of the previous Government. Instead, we saw a budget with higher debt, increased costs and broken promises.

We saw big increases in funding for diplomats and bribes for university students prioritised over increased pay for teachers. We also saw increased funding for foreign aid but cuts to funding for Maori and new tax breaks for racehorses but increased taxes on hardworking New Zealanders.

Those priorities stand in stark contrast to the ambitious vision National had for New Zealand. We were committed to increasing investment in our social services as well as ensuring taxes and living costs stayed low. We could achieve this through the sound management of the economy over the last nine years and the priorities we set ourselves as a Government.

Jami-Lee Ross is MP for Botany

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