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Budget shaping up as a “lolly scramble”

ACT Finance spokesman Rodney Hide said today Michael Cullen’s first Budget was shaping up to be a “lolly scramble” with no clear policy framework within which government decisions are to be made and implemented.

“The new Government must set a clear policy path to dispel the fear and uncertainty that senior Ministers have engendered.

“But early indications suggest that the government is just going to spray money around a variety of worthy causes while providing no clear direction or basis for decision. A lolly scramble is no direction at all. It can only last while the money holds out.

“In the past month the government has announced funding for:

* $37 million over the next five years for protecting and maintaining biodiversity on private land;
*; $57 million over five years to control weeds and pest on conservation land;
*; $2.7 million to develop a biosecurity strategy;
*; $2.35 million over five years for Maori to develop appropriate frameworks to preserve customary knowledge about nature;
*; $40 million in the next five years on researching and managing marine biodiversity and marine biosecurity;
*; $11.8 million for retraining overseas doctors;
*; $1.51 million for the Pacific Island Provider Development fund;
*; $152 million over four years for road safety;
*; $3.1 million Family Start in Hastings;
*; $400,000 extra for Women’s Affairs;
*; $14 million over the next three years to crack down on burglary;
*; $1.9 million for family violence services;
*; $140 million for four years into the Arts;
*; $2.5 million for Project K;
*; $300,000 for the Ministry of Education to promote education exports;
*; $3.868 million for Trade NZ to promote education exports;
*; $4 million over three years to pilot a new Gateway programme to improve the transition from secondary school to the workforce;
*; $200,000 to develop the framework for an agreement between the Government and the community and voluntary sector;
*; $11.33 million over four years to boost Special Benefit by $5 a week;
*; $68,000 increase in Childcare – out of school care;
*; $16 million over four years for high performance sport;
*; $455,000 to assist the voluntary sector celebrate the United Nations’ International Year of Volunteers 2001;
*; $150,000 to support the establishment of the Green Globe 21 environmental standard programme for tourism;
*; $500,000 to train East Timorese officials;
*; $1.5 million for books in homes;
*; $256,000 to ensure that ready-made literacy material are used well in classrooms;

“The long-list of worthy causes being funded in the month before the Budget suggest a lolly scramble. We have yet to see the clear policy framework and policy path that that this government is to follow. The lack of a clear policy path will do nothing to settle fears that investors and business have of this government,” concluded Rodney Hide.

ENDS

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