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Family assistance package: too little, too late

Family assistance package: too little, too late

The GP has welcomed the extra assistance to struggling families promised today for next year's budget but is critical of the level of assistance and its timing.

"Despite projecting surpluses of $6 billion per year, Dr Cullen is only looking at spending around five per cent of this next year on assisting low and middle income families," Green Party Co-leader Rod Donald said today. "Would Don Brash have been any more miserly if this was his budget policy statement?

"If National had come up with this package, Dr Cullen would have been amongst the first to criticise its stinginess, especially given that the Government has now acknowledged that the surpluses are structural rather than cyclic.

"The Government needs to invest more in families and young people now. It should be backing Green initiatives for a Universal Child Benefit and a Universal Student Allowance. Investing in our future will pay rich rewards in terms of healthier, better educated, more productive generations.

"Instead, Dr Cullen is only tinkering with the poverty that afflicts 30 per cent of New Zealand's children. Any surplus is illusionary, if their needs aren't met.

"Future generations will pay a very high price for our failure to help these kids now, at a time when we have the money to do so.

"We hope that the Government will learn before it is too late that that Green answers to the questions it is struggling with are in fact long-term solutions, based on commonsense, practicality and sustainability."

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