Budget to offer some relief to cost-of-living

Rachel Brooking. PHOTO: ODT FILES
Rachel Brooking. PHOTO: ODT FILES
South Dunedin boy turned Minister of Finance, Grant Robertson, last week released this year’s Budget which sets out our next steps to build a secure future for New Zealand, writes Dunedin-based Labour list MP Rachel Brooking.

This includes a cost-of-living package which will help ease the pressure for people here in Ōtepoti Dunedin.

Right now, the fundamentals of our economy are strong.

Our strong health response protected our economy through Covid-19, and we’ve pulled through better than almost anywhere else in the world.

But we know that, despite these positive indicators, things are tough right now for many families, as global inflation affects prices here at home.

That’s why in this year’s Budget, there is a comprehensive cost-of-living package.

This package includes a new temporary payment to help those earning up to $70,000 a year with higher food and power bills.

It also includes an extension to the fuel tax cut, reduced road user charges and half-price public transport for a further two months.

I’m especially pleased with the permanent halving of public transport fares for people on low incomes (which will include most students).

Alongside these measures, my colleague Hon Dr David Clark is taking action on the supermarket duopoly with legislation to stop covenants preventing competition within shopping centres.

The Commerce Commission report found that the supermarkets were earning an ‘‘excess’’ $1million profit per day. We want to change this situation so that you are paying a fair price at the checkout.

Investment in healthcare services in the South continues, providing funding for the new Dunedin Hospital to deliver digital services.

The Jobs for Nature programme, which both helps our conservation efforts and provides jobs, has received $56.7million in funding across Otago.

This and the Infrastructure Reference Group (supporting 14 projects in the Otago region) will create up to 1270 jobs.

Finally, I want to mention the essential infrastructure upgrades that have been funded at 42 Dunedin schools from the School Investment Package.

A major component of this Budget relates to climate.

The Emissions Reduction Plan was released at the start of Budget week along with ‘‘emissions budgets’’ for New Zealand to meet its international obligations to help restrict temperature rise.

The plan includes over 300 actions to reduce climate emissions including grants to remove coal, incentives for electric vehicles, and funding for more active and public transport.

The Environment Select Committee (of which I’m the deputy chair) will soon be calling for submissions and reporting to Parliament about the actions in the plan.

  • There’s a lot more in the Budget that will benefit people here in Dunedin, and if you’d like to find out more, I’d encourage you to check out www.labour.org.nz/budget2022



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