No meaningful change between these two.
Labour is trying hard to present the budget as the beginning of a transformation. Here is how TVNZ reported it:
Finance Minister Grant Robertson says the Labour-led Government’s first Budget sets out the first steps in a plan for transformation of our economy, public services and the way we work together to improve the lives of all New Zealanders.
“Transformation” is a politically expedient and specifically misleading term. Labour knows the expectations are high and by describing it as the first of three budgets which will “transform” New Zealand, Labour is offering future hope from a government which has no intention of any transformation outside the rigid confines of neo-liberalism.
For this reason corporate New Zealand is relaxed. It is precisely the budget former Labour Finance Minister Michael Cullen would have delivered.
It seems the media have largely bought the story with TV3 describing it as a “good start” budget.
A start to what?
Two points illustrate the lack of planning for any transformation.
The funding to double the number of Labour inspectors sounds good but it’s off such a pathetic base this funding won’t make more than cosmetic changes in the enforcement of Labour laws.
The daily reporting of massive abuses of workers’ rights by employers, not just in family owned restaurants but in national corporate chains, means labour laws are bent and broken with impunity. Migrant labour is especially vulnerable to theft of wages and abuse of employment rights. Until we get serious about Labour inspectors and start jailing employers who rip-off workers we won’t see any “transformation” worth the name.
State housing is the second example. With 41,000 homeless in New Zealand the best Labour can promise is an extra 1600 state houses. But they can find $100 million for a billionaire’s yacht race.
Transformation? Give us a break.