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Zero Budget delivers more pain for no gain

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24th May 2012 - For Immediate Use

Zero Budget delivers more pain for no gain

The National-led government’s fourth Budget is simply a money go-round which will deliver more pain for no gain, according to the Public Service Association.

The government has delivered its second zero Budget in which almost all new spending will come from cuts elsewhere as it rushes to post a Budget surplus by 2014-15.

“The government is obsessed with this arbitrary surplus target it has set and it is essential public services that are being sacrificed to get it,” says PSA National Secretary Brenda Pilott.

Already 2500 public sector jobs have been lost, resulting in reduced services to the public and the situation is set to worsen as $1 billion dollars will be slashed from departmental budgets this year.

Brenda Pilott says that will result in public services being rundown further while demand will only increase.

“We’re already seeing the scaling down of our diplomatic presence overseas, border security compromised, prescription charges rising, police and defence personnel numbers cut, staffing slashed in a number of regional government offices such as IRD, ACC, Housing and DOC, cuts to community and health services, and vital frontline staff who offer personalised help being replaced by dysfunctional 0800 numbers.”

“None of this equates to better public services. Cuts to public services might make the government’s balance sheet look better in the short term, but they actually strip New Zealand of capacity and end up costing more in the long run economically and socially,” she says.

This budget also highlights the folly of the government’s tax cuts which have resulted in a significantly lower tax take with $2.2 billion less money taken from the country’s top earners.

“The average taxpayer - particularly low income earners – is paying for the tax cuts with reduced public services and they are often the ones who need them the most. It’s a double whammy for them,” Brenda Pilott says.

The PSA believes the government continues to show a lack of vision for economic growth and development.

“This is a Budget which is very light on detail. The government can’t claim it is delivering better public services when all the evidence points the other way and there is no clear plan for the future except further cutbacks. I give this Budget a 3 out of 10,” she says.


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