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ACT spokesmen respond to the Budget

ACT spokesmen respond to the Budget

Thursday, 19 May 2005
Press Releases

This is the response by individual ACT spokesmen to the Labour-Progressive Government’s 2005 Budget delivered today. ACT Leader Rodney Hide is issuing a separate statement.

Education. Deborah Coddington said: “Parents and schools will take no comfort from this budget. There is no devolvement of resources away from bureaucratic control to give schools flexibility. There is no ability to pay good teachers more. There’s no relief for schools seeking freedom from the burgeoning compliance costs eating into their budgets and causing them to take money away from teaching students to read, write and add up”.

Justice. Stephen Franks said: “Law and order spending is always fashionable at election time, but with this government no amount will cure the problems. Even vast sums going to leaderless and demoralised men and women will do little. For example, the 111 review found they already have “world class” IT equipment. Millions in extra spending will not overcome the humiliation of paying thousands to criminals for hurting their feelings in prison, or being sent off to re-education camp for having grubby jokes in their computers, or having to fabricate statistics at the demand of political masters. Police, judges and prison officers are forced to work for Labour who believe that if we are nice enough to criminals, they'll decide to be nice back”.

Tertiary Education. Deborah Coddington said: The Budget does nothing for students. The average student loan debt has skyrocketed 22 percent under Labour. The quickest and easiest way to pay off student loans is through across the board tax cuts.

Health. Heather Roy said: “The record $1billion election year injection is producing no extra services and is unsustainable. Health spending under Labour has raced out of control, surging by 40%, an annual increase of over $3 billion in just 6 years. Yet there has been no reduction in the 63,000 people on waiting list or any increase in operations. The money has gone into swelling the health bureaucracy and vote buying, such as reducing asset testing. Labour’s out of control spending has set the health sector up for a crisis in the medium future”.

Maori Affairs. Stephen Franks said: “The key bribes have already been promised. Desperate attempt to fend off the loss of the Maori seats to Tariana Turia, Hone Harawira and Pita Sharples have been largely hidden from view under general allocations for ‘closing the gaps’ now renamed ‘capacity building’. Pork barrelling for Maori votes doesn't pretend any more that any outcomes will be measured. And the Budget does not even count the true cost of official racism, the costs to local government of squads of consultants on cultural and spiritual matters, and payoffs for RMA consents all over the country”.

Police. Dr Muriel Newman said: “Violent crime is on the rise. New Zealand needs more police, yet this soft-on-crime Government has failed to give police the resources they need. Police will still be under-staffed, under-resourced and under pressure. We need 2,500 more police to have the same number per head of population as Australia”.

Rural Affairs. Gerry Eckhoff said: “This is an anti-farmer Budget, if ever there were one. Labour treats farmers like a cash cow that it can squeeze for more money whenever it likes. The Government should be encouraging investment and production by way of tax cuts – not ignoring the rural sector’s huge contribution to the economy”.

Transport. Deborah Coddington said: “Aucklanders stuck in gridlock will be infuriated that nothing in the Budget will ease their frustration. If Dr Cullen was serious about returning New Zealand to the top of the OECD, he would have addressed the terrible problem of road transport. In Auckland there needs to be a fast-track method of funding and building roads. All over the country motorists deserve better. A good start would be to stop robbing motorists by syphoning off nearly 50 percent of what they pay in petrol tax and road user charges to the Crown Account”.

Welfare. Dr Muriel Newman said: “The Budget confirms Labour’s soft-on-welfare approach has failed. Beneficiary numbers are set to climb 15,000 or 5% over the next four years, while welfare spending is increasing by $1 billion a year under Labour. Despite good economic conditions, Labour has abysmally failed to reduce working age welfare dependency”.

Small Business. Kenneth Wang said: “The 373,000 small business owners in New Zealand will be sorely disappointed by this Budget. There is no relief from restrictive taxes or red tape that make running a business tough, almost impossible. We continue to witness companies moving overseas because of the hostile business environment created by Labour. This Budget does nothing to improve that situation or attract business or overseas investment to New Zealand”.

Housing. Dr Muriel Newman said: Dr Cullen today pushed the ‘stop’ button on the housing market. Buildings purchased from today can only be depreciated at 2% straight line or 3% diminishing value. Investors across the country will be closing their chequebooks.

ENDS

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