Opinion: tax cuts increase our debt

In its first Budget, the National government has done what we’ve all feared — it’s broken its promises.

They’re choosing to take a path backwards that will make everyday life harder, and leave New Zealanders worse off.

The National government’s Budget has no plan to tackle the cost-of-living crisis Kiwis are facing, particularly for those who are struggling the most.

They’ve backed out on the promise that health and education spending wouldn’t be touched and that they wouldn’t need to borrow money to pay for reckless tax cuts.

Debt is forecast to rocket up by 43.5% of GDP: this government is borrowing for tax cuts.

Even then, these tax cuts are less than promised for the average family, who were promised $250 a fortnight. Most families won’t be getting anything close to that.

The average family will get $60 a fortnight and minimum wage workers will get just 30c per hour. Families will lose out overall as support and social services they rely on are slashed, with cuts that go too far, too fast.

Saving for the future has become harder with the loss of half-price public transport, free prescriptions, First Home grants and cuts to budgeting services.

Rates of child poverty, rents, unemployment and inflation are all predicted to rise.

I’ve heard from teachers and principals that have seen the benefits of hot, healthy school lunches on learning and attendance, but the National Government has cut funding in the programme.

They’ve chosen not to help families with the high cost of food and groceries, while our local food banks are struggling to keep up.

I’ve also heard from people who have been impacted by the sudden changes to disability support payments and feel their concerns haven’t been addressed.

Forty million dollars has been stripped away from Māori Housing providers while $20 million for rangatahi transitional housing has been cut.

The National Government has rushed to remove the Māori Health Authority, which was set up to improve health for Māori, and planned changes to Oranga Tamariki that experts say will harm Māori children.

The Budget also revealed that funding for Matariki — an occasion that brings us together as a country — has been halved.

These reckless choices and broken promises are going to leave New Zealand worse off for generations.

Labour will remain focused on advocating for people from all walks of life who will be affected by these cuts.

I will be out meeting people in our communities to make sure your concerns are heard.

If you have a story you’d like to share about what the Budget means to you, please get in touch.

With your support, we’ll keep holding the National government to account.