The fact is a budget is not prudent if it leaves nearly 30 per cent of our kids in poverty
The Government has shown its true colours today in a budget which abandons the poorest children and ensures new wealth is reserved for the privileged few, the Green Party says.
Today’s budget turns its back on three out of five of the children who are living below the breadline. It contains nothing at all to improve the incomes of the poorest children.
“The fact is a budget is not prudent if it leaves nearly 30 per cent of our kids in poverty,” Green Party Co leader Metiria Turei said today.
“Meanwhile, forecast real wage growth of 0.8 per cent is not projected to keep up with forecasted real GDP growth of $2.8 %.
“This means the Government has no plans to share the wealth at all. The benefits of National’s so-called growing economy are simply not going to the workers on whose backs that growth will be built,” Mrs Turei said.
“Rather than the safe pair of hands Bill English insists he is, he and John Key have driven a wedge even further between the haves and the have nots and left the poorest children and ordinary workers out.
“Though free doctors’ visits are welcome they don’t raise the incomes of children in poverty who can’t afford the bus fare to get to their appointment. That’s why the Green Party’s policy is to bring healthcare to kids in schools.
“Tiny increases to Paid Parental Leave, though a first step to a more progressive scheme, will make no difference at all to the three out of five children in poverty whose parents don’t have a job.
“With a bit more cash this year, 2014 was the perfect opportunity to make a difference to the poorest kids, but the National Government has chosen to squirrel money away to fund election bribes later this year.
“Today’s surplus was paid for by real term cuts to health and education, and it was fuelled by a complete lack of aspiration for the country’s poorest children.
“According to the Budget appropriations, total Health spending will, in nominal terms, fall from $15.6 billion in 2014/15 to $14.68 billion in 2017/18 – given an average inflation rate of 2% in the middle of the range for the three years that will deliver a cut in real terms of 11.1 percent.
For education, there is a nominal increase over those years from $10.12 billion in 2014/15 to $10.15 billion, but in real terms that is a 5.5 percent cut.
“In health spending, the cuts over the three years amounts to $1.8 billion in real dollar terms. In Education, it is $588 million over the three years.
“DHBs, already struggling to keep pace with demand, will be immediately worse off next year because the funding they needed to keep pace with growing demand is short by about $90 million, according to pre-budget analysis by economist Bill Rosenberg.
“National is trying to hide this erosion of education and health behind its move to provide children free GP visits but something’s got to give. Who will be the unlucky ones to miss out on surgery?”