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Free Press: The ‘Boondoggle Budget’

Free Press: The ‘Boondoggle Budget’

This Thursday, the Government will deliver its first Budget.

The level of waste and extravagance that will be packed into Grant Robertson’s offering – from free degrees for tomorrow’s elite, to billions in corporate welfare, a regional slush fund, and pensions for millionaires – means it deserves to be called the ‘Boondoggle Budget’.

Free degrees for tomorrow’s elite

Chris Hipkins’ $3 billion bribe will pay for the education of well-off kids who would have gone to university anyway and who will earn $1.4 million more over their working lives than non-graduates.

The policy hasn’t even led to an increase in university participation rates.

Share the burden

ACT says it’s only fair that students contribute to the cost of their education given they benefit the most from a degree.

Provincial Growth Fund

The purpose of the $3 billion NZ First re-election fund is to buy the party support in the regions.

There’s no good economic reason for a government to fund a tourist attraction in the Hokianga or a nursery in the Bay of Plenty.

This fund will simply transfer some economic activity from the cities to the provinces, but the economic pie will shrink because of the higher taxes needed to pay for it.

Scrap the slush fund

These businesses should stand on their own two feet. If consumers don’t support them, they are saying they don’t want what is being offered.

It’s wrong to take taxpayer money anyway and dole it out in the form of corporate welfare.

Education

The education portfolio will get more money. Teachers may even get a pay rise.

But Chris Hipkins – for ideological reasons – won’t pay good teachers more.

Incentives matter

It’s wrong that the best and worst teachers are paid the same.

ACT would increase funding for teacher salaries by $1 billion, paying good teachers more and attracting the best graduates to the profession.

Health

The Government has softened us up for the health sector to get more funding.

More money, poorer results

The state has delivered health services for decades. Budgets have increased year after year, while patient satisfaction is at its lowest level since 2006.

Leaky building issues at Middlemore Hospital show the problem with government running the health system.

Bureaucrats and politicians have little incentive deliver good results.

ACT says we need greater private sector involvement to ensure we get the best possible health services for our tax dollars.

KiwiBuild

The Government will also splash out $2 billion on KiwiBuild.

This is sign of the complete failure of successive administrations to change the rules to allow the private sector to more easily build houses.

David Parker has all but confirmed he won’t fundamentally reform the Resource Management Act.

The worst law on our books

The Resource Management Act restricts the supply of new land for development, pushing up the price of houses.

It could be adding up to $500,000 to the cost of the average Auckland home.

ACT has long pushed for changes to the RMA. Reform should be at the top of the Government’s agenda.

Money down the back of the couch

The Finance Minister asked his ministerial colleagues to identify low-value spending in their portfolios and they have found $700 million worth.

Give it back

You would think that if the Government found $700 million of your money it didn’t need it would give it back to you. Sadly, Robertson has no intention of doing so.

ACT would return this money to its rightful owners.

Bracket creep

Middle income earners will continue to be dragged into the highest tax bracket because successive Finance Ministers have refused to adjust tax thresholds for inflation.

It’s your money

Bracket creep costs the average earner $500 a year. It will cost taxpayers $2.8 billion between 2011 and 2018.

ACT would link tax brackets to the rate of inflation.

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