CTU releases a vision for a constructive Budget
Today, the CTU releases its pre-Budget paper "The Budget: a thousand cuts - or an opportunity for real rebalancing?"
CTU Economist Bill Rosenberg said "We are calling for a constructive Budget that would maintain levels of spending, focussing on enhancing support for who have lost their jobs, putting resources into raising skill and education levels, and funding projects that build needed public facilities. Instead, the government has been preparing us for their 'zero budget' saying it has no choice but to cut."
"The paper shows that the government hasn't been a good custodian of the economy - New Zealand was one of the least hard-hit by the global financial crisis among high income countries. Yet unemployment is at 6.6 percent and is expected to stay high. Instead of a focus on job creation it has repeatedly cut taxes," said Rosenberg.
This Government has made its main priority tax cuts for those on high incomes, while raising GST, driving up the cost of food and other necessities. Lower government income has been used to justify public service cuts. But public services also play a crucial role in reducing inequality.
"They will present their tax cuts and changes as being good for the economy. They will say that people are fully compensated for the GST increases. They will say that with so much borrowing and such a large deficit, that some things have to be cut so that worthwhile things can be done elsewhere," said Rosenberg.
"The government is sending very confused messages. It has said this will be a 'savings' Budget but threatens cuts to its support for the highly successful KiwiSaver scheme. We present our alternative for a strengthened scheme."
"A constructive Budget would begin to rebalance not only our economy but the social and income inequalities and hardship which grew rapidly in the 1980s and 1990s. It would address the real issues which confront New Zealanders" said Rosenberg.
The CTU is
also releasing a paper on the Health Budget today outlining
the amount needed simply to 'stand still' in Health.