Budget: 'Tax more and borrow more' - Bridges

Tauranga MP and Leader of the Opposition Simon Bridges described Grant Robertson's Budget as "tax more and borrow more".

Speaking in Parliament after the Budget was delivered by the Finance Minister, Bridges said the Labour-led Government had squandered the great opportunities provided by National's economic leadership.

The Budget broke many promises made by the coalition Government, Bridges said.

It had promised no new taxes, but had introduced regional fuel taxes, an extension to the bright line test, and excise taxes.

"More than $2b more in tax over the next four years, whereas we were giving New Zealanders … tax relief," Bridges said.

Of the $40b in spending over four years, the Government was spending close to $1b on foreign affairs.

National leader Simon Bridges speaks during the 2018 Budget presentation at Parliament in...
National leader Simon Bridges speaks during the 2018 Budget presentation at Parliament in Wellington. Photo: Getty Images
He repeated his line that the Government was spending on "diplomats not doctors" - though most of that $1b will go towards foreign aid in the Pacific.

"For Grant Robertson, enough is never enough," Bridges said. "It's a tax and spend ... borrow and hope Budget."

Bridges said families were the losers from the Government's Budget.

They would pay more for gas and would not get tax relief.

"Don't talk to me about a squeezed middle Prime Minister, this middle is squeezed hard."

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern replied that claims Labour was spending less on health was false.

"National had factored in the $1.5b pay equity settlement in its funding, which was "not comparing apples and apples", she said.

"I am happy to debate this Budget, but let's debate the facts, not Facebook memes," she said.

Ardern says this Budget changes the Govt's focus from electoral cycles to generational ones.

"In 15 or 20 years' time I want my child to look back on this and judge me and this government favourably."

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