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Dunne: Bandaid Budget

Today's budget provides some much needed "Band-Aids" but little else, the leader of United New Zealand, Hon Peter Dunne said today.

"Some of the initiatives such as the "Closing the Gaps" proposals, the extra spending for mental health initiatives and the "add-on education spending are all welcome but do little to address the major infrastructure problems facing us.

"There is some lip-service funding for new business development initiatives but they will, despite the Treasurer's pronouncements, require the Government to be picking winners. Inevitably there will be mistakes which will see significant funds lost.

"The money for developing the regions is an extraordinarily high risk. Better incentive-based solutions would be more cost-efficient and reliable.

"The money allocated for the apprenticeship scheme is, at best, a "Back-to-the-future" move. Then question must be asked: How many fitters and turners, plumbers and panel beaters does the new "knowledge economy" actually need? We should be using the initiatives announced in the education sector to build up the skills more appropriate to this millennium - not the last one.

"There is certainly an element of 'tax and spend' to Dr Cullen's first budget. Conventional wisdom should perhaps see the country paying off a bit more of the credit card rather than blow almost $6 billion on more new spending.

"Overall this is a modestly credible attempt from the Treasurer and deserves 6.5 out of ten for intent, 6 out of ten for content but only merits 3 out of ten for vision.


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