Opposition Parties slate 'La La' Budget; Collins says it's setting NZ 'up to fail'

Newstalk ZB / NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Thu, 20 May 2021, 5:10PM

Opposition Parties slate 'La La' Budget; Collins says it's setting NZ 'up to fail'

Newstalk ZB / NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Thu, 20 May 2021, 5:10PM

The Opposition is battling for the unofficial name of Budget 2021, with National labelling it the "Broken Compass Budget" and Act calling it the "La La Budget".

That, according to Act leader David Seymour, is because Finance Minister Grant Robertson "has his hands over his ears yelling out 'la la la' to ignore reality".

He said the Budget does nothing for middle New Zealand – "the battlers who work hard but are being squeezed from every direction. There's nothing for people who work for their money".

On this point, National and Act agree.

National leader Judith Collins said the Budget shows the Government "lacks the plan and ambition".

"Labour doesn't have any direction for getting the country back on track to prosperity," she said.

"This Budget is confirmation of Labour's inability to deliver. There is nothing in it for middle New Zealand."

Speaking to MPs in the House, she said "that was a budget for benefits – not for jobs".
The Budget, she said, is "setting New Zealand up to fail".

Seymour said the Budget assumes that unemployment will be 4.4 per cent and economic growth will be 4.4 per cent by 2023, while assuming low inflation and low unemployment.

"They are in La La Land! How can that possibly be the case with the Government's anti-growth, anti-business agenda? We're heading straight for an iceberg with Grant Robertson at the helm of the ship."

It's a usual practice for Opposition parties to give the Government's Budget an unofficial name.

Famous names include the "chewing gum Budget," the "block of cheese budget" and the "fudge-it Budget".

But it's not all bad news from Parliament.

The Green Party appear to be broadly happy with what was announced today.

The headline of the Budget – the first of this Government's second term in office – was a $3.3 billion increase in main benefit levels.

That means, the sole parent support benefit – which is currently at $398 a week – will jump to $434 a week in April 22.

The jobs seeker support benefit will go from $267 a week to $315 a week.

"We all deserve a strong social safety net that helps people live with dignity. That's why we are pleased to see this increase in support, in line with the recommendations of the Welfare Expert Advisory Group," Co-leader Marama Davidson said.

The Māori Party (Te Pāti Māori), meanwhile, said it was "cautiously optimistic" about the Budget.

"Its the first time we have seen a budget that has accepted a need to take a targeted approach rather than a universal one," Co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer said.

But her Co-leader, Rawiri Waititi, said the party remain cautious - "The big question is who will be responsible for the delivery of these initiatives," he asked.

"More money is not always the answer. We seek for our people to be at the decision making table with regard to resource allocation rather than being the recipient of these are our rights under Te Tiriti o Waitangi."

text by Jason Walls, NZ Herald