The Health and Climate Budget, being touted as Securing our Future fails to address a key determinant of health, which is low incomes.
“There was talk in lockdown about keeping (the governments) eye on the ball, and I kept thinking, are they aware their ball is flat?” says Coordinator for Auckland Action Against Poverty Brooke Stanley Pao.
While we welcome the pass on of child support payments to parents, which have currently been withheld, these payments still won’t address the shortfall of the cost of living in this country. Also they shouldn’t have been withheld in the first place.
Coming through on their 2020 election promise of increasing non recoverable dental support from $300 to $1000 doesn’t include hygiene and check ups and with no increase to benefits, it still won’t address structural issues of what keeps people away from visiting the dentist. Not having enough money for food choices will still see people requiring emergency dental care.
Extending the 1/2 price public transport and subsidies to petrol prices for 2 months is nice, but what’s going to happen after this? What security are the government providing for people and families and communities doing it the toughest in New Zealand?
If income is one of the key determinants of health, and there aren’t any investments in increasing benefits to liveable levels, to providing Universal Services like free dental and public transport, no state intervention to provide free food for people, then can we really call it a health and well-being budget?
We’ve been clear about what we want to see, and this is again another missed opportunity from this Labour government to show up for the communities we love and serve at AAAP. They have the mandate to do so much more, and so they should. Our communities deserve to thrive.