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Budget 2004: Labour’s best friend, Progressive

17 June 2004

Hon Matt Robson MP, Progressive Deputy Leader

Labour’s best friend, Progressive

Budget 2004 Debate
Thursday June 17 2004

Mr Speaker,

When listening to some speakers on the government side of this House, I often wonder who they think the "Led" Party is – as per when they talk of the Labour-led government.

I'm pleased to report that they've recently stopped talking about the Led Party. I know this because I got an odd letter in my mail box the other day outlining the virtues of Labour's Budget. The Parliamentary Services-funded document asked me what financial gains were available to my family in Labour's budget.

I did the calculations and discovered there is no financial gain for my family in this budget. Therefore, Mr Speaker, I won't be voting Labour at the next election whenever that may be.

Mr Speaker, I do however want to outline why I am so proud of the Labour Progressive budget being discussed here today. This is by far the most forward-looking, or progressive, of the five budgets delivered by the minority coalition government since we came into office five years ago.

Budget 2004 includes a significant amount of investment in programmes designed to promote the transformation and strengthening of the economy because this progressive coalition government knows that on-going social and economic progress go hand in hand.

The key to understanding the Labour Progressive Budget is to appreciate that its value lies in the work it permits in propelling the transformation of the base of the New Zealand economy on to a higher level.

Budget 2004 takes a comprehensive approach to economic development. It is focused on strengthening and deepening New Zealand's connections with the world economy. In other words, it helps us do a better job of selling to the rest of the world, high value, high-skill products that customers overseas want to buy.
There is $500 million over four years in this budget, that is half a billion dollars, to help unleash New Zealanders’ creativity and talent.

We are in a position to start to invest more in the financial welfare of our nation's children and in our families because we are investing adequately in our peoples' talents, creating and enterprise.

In other words, we are playing a constructive part as a government in helping New Zealanders build the foundations for a stronger economy to sustain future social investment in our people

Our broad approach is not limited to the economic development portfolio. It’s across the board, commerce, small business, finance, education, science and technology, immigration and a number of related portfolios.

This Labour Progressive government is investing in science, and in the education sector. This budget signals another dramatic improvement in early childhood education, investing another $365 million over four years, because that is an investment in both people and in future economic development.

This budget includes nearly $54 million in the war on the drug peddlers, and in initiatives to try and help the victims of those drug peddlers. The budget includes $5.5 million on suicide prevention initiatives because we must do more to fend off this curse on our communities.

We are investing to make tertiary education more affordable - from next year the government will spend another $110 million on student support, benefiting more than 36,000 students, another investment in both people and future economic development.

This is a Budget to be most proud of. The Labour Progressive government holds 53 seats in this House. I therefore acknowledge with respect the vote of confidence in the government from the Opposition United Future Party's eight members.

From what I know of the manifestos of the Green and New Zealand First parties, I believe they should also seriously considering voting with this Budget in the next confidence vote because this is truly a Budget for all New Zealanders.


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