The Government’s Backwards Budget 2022 has confirmed that New Zealand is going backwards under Labour faster than ever.
Inflation is at a 30-year high of 6.9%, but wages are only growing at 3%.
We expected that squeezed middle-income Kiwis would have some relief from the cost of living crisis in this year’s Budget.
That relief came in the form of a temporary $350 band-aid payment for anyone earning under $71,000 per year.
If you earn over $71,000, you get nothing. Nothing more if you are a pensioner. No increased benefits either.
Treasury recommended against this payment and the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) too has said that while it can administer the payment, doing so will significantly impact its services to customers, as the addition of administering this payment to their duties will compromise IRD’s already stretched workforce.
This was a rushed decision, without consultation and an all too familiar trend for Labour by now.
Not content with a $6billion spending spree, the Government will also be raiding future budgets.
It is spending $2billion from Budget 2023 and $0.4billion from Budget 2024, taking the total spend up to more than $9billion per year.
Yet there’s little to show for it.
Our region needs workers. Yet we get 500 more immigration staff takes longer to process visas.
Healthcare and education are major deciding factors in people moving to the region.
The Government said it was focused on health outcomes targets and wait times for surgery and specialist assessment have blown out.
Many nurses and midwives are working longer and under more stressful conditions, but with not much more money in their pocket.
Education spending is up $5billion a year literacy and numeracy achievement rates have plummeted.
Then there is the new jobs tax that the Government intends to ram through at all costs. The Income Insurance (enabling Development Bill) will allow for an income insurance, proposing a 1.39% extra tax on earners and employers. This new tax will punish businesses and workers.
If you’re on an average wage of $72,000, you’ll be worse off by $1000 a year under the scheme and you won’t get anything from the Government’s cost of living band-aid payment of $350.
If you’re on $50,000, you’ll be worse off by $695 a year losing almost twice what you’ll get from the temporary band-aid payment.
This Government is taking with one hand while throwing scraps with the other. The last thing we now need is another tax.
National will continue to oppose this Government’s spray-and-walk-away attitude.
Under National’s tax plan to inflation-adjust tax brackets, someone on the average wage would get $860 every year.
This would allow Kiwis to keep more of what they earn. New Zealanders across the country are having to tighten their belts and look after every dollar they’re spending and the Government should be doing the same.