Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 


Clare Curran: Clare Thinking - Budget Edition

May 27, 2014

BUDGET EDITION

A No Direction Budget

In mid-May the Government delivered its sixth budget, and for the sixth time it failed to deliver any real sense of direction for the future.

It failed to instill hope for the 147,000 New Zealanders who do not have jobs;

For the 285,000 children in this country living in poverty;

For the increasing number of New Zealanders who cannot afford to buy a home or who are having trouble paying the rent;

For those who, as winter sets in, can no longer meet their electricity bills;

It failed to show that it has any ideas to upgrade the New Zealand economy so that, together, we can address these issues.

Labour will put people first and do just that.

Labour’s housing and tax policies will restore the Kiwi dream of home ownership. We will stop offshore speculation in our housing market and build thousands of affordable homes.We’ll make it easier for Kiwis to make ends meet. Last year 46% of us didn’t get a pay rise. Average pay rates went up 1.6% when inflation was 1.5%.

We are determined to get Kiwis back to work. We aim to reduce unemployment to four per cent in our first term. We will modernise the economy, focusing on investment, innovation and industry to help create secure long-term jobs.

We have already announced industry upgrades for manufacturing and forestry. Businesses support our R&D tax credits for innovation, and tax incentives to increase productivity.

We will help exporters by lowering interest rates, which takes pressure off our overvalued exchange rate. Universal KiwiSaver, and the Variable Savings Rate, mean Kiwis will pay more money into their own savings, and less in interest.

Our Capital Gains Tax, excluding the family home, will direct capital, boosted by universal KiwiSaver, into productive Kiwi businesses and away from property speculation.

The choice is stark for us all this year. On one side Labour’s principled policies put people first; on the other, for National, it is business as usual.

A Labour Government to revive the collapsing wood industry

Budget 2014 not only fails the 147,000 New Zealanders currently without a job, it has nothing of substance to address the struggling forestry industry which is teetering on crisis point.

It has just been announced that 180 jobs are to be lost across South Otago with the closure of Southern Cross Forest Products. This is a body blow to the towns of Milton, Milburn, Balclutha and Mosgiel where the jobs losses were announced yesterday, hard on the heels of 79 jobs axed last month from the Rosebank Mill in Balclutha. Meanwhile the Dunedin City Council has also turned a blind eye and has allowed higher prices for unprocessed logs from its forestry companies to cloud its judgement about regional economic development.

Our region contains 11.8% of New Zealand’s forest plantations, by far the largest area in the South Island and the second largest in the country. But the wood processing industry is being mishandled; worth $4.5 billion per annum half the exports are raw logs which are being processed offshore, providing no incentive for overseas owners to add value in New Zealand.

A climate of fear has pervaded the forestry industry, with more than 3000 jobs lost in the wood processing sector since 2008.

Labour will change this. We will add value to our exports, and prioritise job creation in the process. Under the ‘economic upgrade’ package recently announced by David Cunliffe, Labour will offer a tax deferral for investment in plant and equipment within the forestry industry, which will encourage processing away from logs to higher value products. Alongside this, taskforces will be introduced to address the long-term unemployed in the sector, and a new focus on research and development will be introduced through an R&D tax credit.

These are not empty promises. For too long the forestry industry has been neglected. We now have a sturdy set of policies to address the decline.
No ifs, no buts. Regional New Zealand needs a plan to deliver jobs and economic growth. And politicians with vision. Labour will deliver.

If you have been affected by the recent job losses in South Otago please contact my office on 4555 299

Budget 2014 fails to remedy health woes

There was little in Budget 2014 to address the strains on our health system, particularly given the demands of our ageing population. As I understand it, funding for elective surgeries such as cataracts, hip and knee replacements has risen by only 0.1%, which will do little to curb the already hugely long waiting lists. Stories of lengthy waits for medical care are coming into my office with increased regularity, in several instances a routine ultrasound was taking between 48- 52 weeks to be performed.

Chronic under-staffing in our region’s hospitals has in fact worsened under this budget, with health and disability support services for the Southern District Health Board having been reduced by 0.2%. SDHB has struggled with under-staffing for many years, but it has come to a head in recent months with nurses organising a stop-work meeting to draw attention to the patient care being jeopardized due to staffing issues.

Once again we have been presented with a budget that champions economic recovery, but only advantages those who are already well off. Labour will always be an advocate for the most vulnerable, whether they be children or elderly.

Regional New Zealand can shine

If we are to believe the Government’s pronouncments, New Zealand currently has a ‘rockstar economy’, but the state of regional New Zealand tells a different story, as I imagine readers well know.

Any current economic growth is limited to New Zealand’s two ‘Supercities’ of Auckland and Christchurch, whereas 2013 figures from Statistics New Zealand show that eight of the fifteen regions have actually witnessed a decrease in GDP in the past two years. If we are to continue on this trend, New Zealand will fall victim to the full effects of a two-speed economy. And the 2014 Budget has done virtually nothing to remedy this.

Auckland received an injection of $375 million to help fund its transport projects, but the only sign of regional stimulus in Budget 2014 was a $40 million allocation for irrigation projects.

Auckland and Christchurch are important cities. But there’s a lot more to New Zealand. We’re a great country, but we’re not the best country to make a living in. In order to shift the economy into a higher gear we have to seriously look at how we can add value to what we’re already doing well. Labour will lead the way in ensuring regional New Zealand is put firmly back on the growth trajectory.

CONSTITUENT CLINICS

Weekly constituent clinics held on Fridays 9-10am

10 minute slots available

Mosgiel clinics held at the Downes Room from 2.30pm every fourthFriday of the month

For an appointment contact my office on (03) 4555 299


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Last Night’s Debate, And The Collins Accusation

Debating is a peculiar discipline in that what you say is less important than how you’re saying it. Looking poised, being articulate and staying on topic generally wins the day – and on that score, Labour leader David Cunliffe won what turned out to be a bruising encounter with Prime Minister John Key last night on TVNZ.

Cunliffe marshalled his points better, kept Key off balance and – more often than not – was in control of the general tenor of the contest. Labour supporters would have been heartened, and given some belated reassurance that maybe the change of leadership last year had been the right decision. More>>

 

Parliament Today:

Gordon Campbell: On Winston Peters' Latest Bout Of Immigrant Bashing

It is only one poll, but rather than cannibalising each other's vote, Colin Craig and Winston Peters do seem to be managing to find the room to co-exist... Few are questioning how Peters got to this happy place, and what it says about the mood of the electorate. More>>

ALSO:

More Immigration News: First People Trafficking Charges

The first people trafficking charges in New Zealand have been brought by Immigration New Zealand (INZ)... The defendants have been charged under the Crimes Act 1961 for arranging by deception the entry of 18 Indian nationals into New Zealand. More>>

Collins 'Misinterprets Media Reports': "Too Compromised To Remain Justice Minister"

Bizarre claims by Judith Collins this morning that she had been cleared of inappropriate behaviour by the Privacy Commissioner demonstrates she is too compromised to remain Justice Minister, Labour MP Grant Robertson says. More>>

ALSO:

Labour On Climate Change: Focus On The Now For The Future

A Labour Government will put in place a comprehensive climate change strategy focusing on both mitigation and adaptation, establish an independent Climate Commission and implement carbon budgeting, says Labour Climate Change spokesperson Moana Mackey. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On National’s Housing Assistance Plan

So, as many as 90,000 people could derive some benefit from National’s housing assistance plans for low and middle-income earners... Yet in reality, the benefits seem likely to be insignificant, and they will be skewed towards those at the top end of the income group that’s supposedly the target. More>>

ALSO:

Election Data Consortium: National’s Worst Case Scenario At Stage One?

A month out from the general election and ipredict traders are still forecasting National’s vote to slip below current polling levels and there is potential for it to fall further. More>>

ALSO:

From The Scoop Video Archive: PM Says SIS "Told Me" About OIA Release

In a press conference immediately following an controversial OIA release of notes on an SIS briefing to then Labour leader Phil Goff, Key said "at that point [Tucker] told me he'd release it ...". Since the release of Nicky Hager's 'Dirty Politics' Key has denied being personally informed and said references by officials to 'the PM' being told briefed referred to his office. He now says the same about his own statement. More>>

ALSO:

  • Scoop Video in the news - New questions over Key claims | NZ Herald News - Stuff.co.nz
  • Earlier - Felix Marwick: Laying out facts over SIS documents - Newstalk ZB
  • Labour - Director’s letter contradicts Key’s claims
  • ACT - The Letter - 26 days to go
  • TV3 Video - Housing issue nudges Dirty Politics aside - David Cunliffe: Key's SIS explanation 'defies belief' - SIS leak came from Key's Office - Goff - Key 'categorically denies' Slater OIA discussion - Video: Key faces more Dirty Politics questions

  • TVNZ - Winston Peters: ‘Dirty Politics' is a new low
  • The Nation - Debate Between Grant Robertson And Russel Norman
  • NZ First - “The Words Mean What I Say They Mean”
  • Get More From Scoop

     

    LATEST HEADLINES

     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
    Parliament
    Search Scoop  
     
     
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news