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Dunne: A prudent Budget for the times

Media Statement
28 May 2009

Hon Peter Dunne
MP for Ohariu
Leader of UnitedFuture


Dunne: A prudent Budget for the times

UnitedFuture leader Peter Dunne has endorsed the Budget handed down today as “prudent for the times”.

“The Budget is a careful balance of new spending and the dropping of inefficient past programmes, in sharp contrast to the ‘slash and burn’ approach of National Party Budgets of the early 1990s,” he said.

Mr Dunne describes the deferral of the next round of tax cuts as “disappointing but inevitable in the current fiscal circumstances.”

“They make it all the more the important that the Government’s medium term objective of aligning the top personal, corporate and trust rates at 30 cents be achieved and I am looking to the work of the tax policy working group set up recently by Victoria University providing guidance on that point for future Budgets,” he said.

Mr Dunne said UnitedFuture believes it is necessary for the Government to commit to ongoing future funding support to the community and voluntary sector following the Budget announcements.

“The Community Response Fund, designed to support voluntary sector organisations in the short-term is a good start. However the voluntary sector needs the certainty of long-term funding to effectively deliver vital services to New Zealand communities feeling the pressure from the economic downturn.”

“This sector is in many sense the lifeblood of social service provision in our country, and we are keen that their work and role be enhanced, not diminished.”

In a similar vein, Mr Dunne said UnitedFuture will be looking to greater encouragement for private sector involvement in the provision of hospital services, in particular to reduce elective surgery waiting lists.

“I am pleased the Government has made a significant investment in health, including a commitment to increasing the frontline workforce, which is important, however it does not solve the ongoing problem of our elective surgery waiting lists.”

“To that end, UnitedFuture will be promoting our policy of a tax rebate for private health insurance premium payments for those over the age of 65.

“We see this as the first step towards the development of a comprehensive national health insurance system,” he said.

Mr Dunne said that under such a scheme taxpayers would pay their premiums directly to competing health insurance companies, who then buy particular specialist and elective services from healthcare providers.

The premiums payable by individual contributors would approximate to the current cost of the public hospital system, and could be offset against personal tax rates, so that no-one was paying more overall than at present.

“An insurance based approach to social provision is not unknown in New Zealand – it is after all the model ACC has operated under since 1974, and there is no reason why ACC coverage could not be included within the ambit of a national health scheme,” he said.

ENDS

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