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Flat Earth budget ignores the real world

18 May 2006

Flat Earth budget ignores the real world

Labour's 2006 budget is designed for a flat Earth where resources are endless and we can continue to live well beyond our means with not thoughts for future generations, the Green Party says.

"The allocation of an additional $1.3 billion for new road building shows the Government has yet to fully grasp the fact that our future will be dominated by peak oil and the effects of worldwide climate change and these expensive motorway projects will be nothing but white elephants.

"This is a mad, petrol-headed, road-building, vote-seeking budget; but I can't work out whose vote they think they are courting. Aucklanders have moved out of their cars since fuel prices rose and use of public transport has doubled in just a year; despite a fare increase, buses and trains are absolutely full at peak hour. So who do they think is going to vote for this? Are they really only interested in the votes of petrol heads and boy racers?

The Budget pays lip service to sustainability and climate change with a contingency fund of just $100 million to reduce carbon emissions; but is spending 13 times that amount increasing our carbon emissions by encouraging a huge increase in traffic on new roads.

"The Budget has all but ignored public transport. New Zealand must make substantial investment in this area. We can no longer continue to stick our head in the sand," Ms Fitzsimons says.

"Like last year's Budget this one too fails to do enough to help low-income Kiwis and young people and promote a more sustainable future for all of us. In particular children with beneficiary parents remain unable to receive the benefits of the Government's Working For Families programme.

"Yet again the Government pays lip-service to environmental concerns. The Budget offers nothing to address the appalling state of our waterways and our failure to reduce the mountains of waste that we accumulate on a daily basis.

"We are again lagging behind most OECD countries with our Official Development Assistance remaining at just 0.27 percent of Gross National Income. The failure to increase this makes it all the harder to achieve our target of 0.7 percent by 2015," Ms Fitzsimons says.

However, there is some good news, particularly those initiatives the Greens have negotiated with the Government. In particular an $11.5 million funding package for a Buy Kiwi-Made campaign, a $2.2 million allocation for an organics advisory service and $13 million for environmental education in schools.

"These initiatives are aimed at economic transformation - transformation into a sustainable economy that responds to the new imperatives of a round and finite planet.

The Greens will be abstaining on Budget 2006 as they had done on last year's Budget, Ms Fitzsimons says.


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