Investing today, for tomorrow

Dunedin alumnus Grant Robertson has just released Budget 2023, which will have major benefits for Dunedin families, seniors, those with chronic health conditions, and those interested in a thriving tertiary sector.

There was also significant infrastructure investment to respond to the recent climate change-related weather events in the North Island.

We have made child care cheaper with 20 hours free ECE for 2-year olds — this will relieve financial pressures for families with young children, and support working families.

We have scrapped the prescription part charge. A study from University of Otago academics has shown that this not only helps more people get the treatments they need, but prevents admissions and saves more money than it costs. It is astonishing anyone would want to reverse that.

Anyone who drives in Dunedin knows that school-hour commuting is getting worse — free buses for under 13s will encourage more children into buses. University and Polytech students (under 25) will get half-price fares. More people in buses means fewer cars on the roads.

We’re doubling down on healthy homes with the Warmer Kiwi Homes Programme which will improve affordability of insulation and heating — warmer homes are healthier homes, and will mean we spend less on heating. Dunedin needs warmer houses, and I hope everyone eligible will take up this initiative.

The budget also includes an across the board 5% increase in tertiary funding which will benefit both the University and Polytechnic. This is huge for Dunedin at a time of significant concern.

We know our own built environment is vulnerable to extreme weather events, and we know what has happened in the North Island could easily happen to us. We all support the investment in infrastructure needed after the recent North Island floods.

This budget is a practical budget that does the basics well and makes investments where they are needed most.

We’ve invested in families, cheaper public transport, those with chronic health conditions, warmer homes, and more resilient infrastructure.

There is a lot for Dunedin in this budget, and a lot I am proud we have achieved.