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Oliver Twist – do not ask for more - budget

Media release

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Oliver Twist – do not ask for more - budget

The 2011 Budget was described as an “Oliver Twist budget” by Professor Natalie Jackson at a post budget forum organised by Poverty Action Waikato in Hamilton yesterday. There are contradictions, however, in who is entitled to ask for more. The Government has promised an uncapped under write of the Rugby World Cup, at the same time as removing at least one billion dollars from State Services budgets.

Alan Johnson from Child Poverty Action explained the Treasury forecasts of future growth as “rosy rather than real” and expressed considerable concern about what that could mean for those least well of children and families in New Zealand. He went on to point out that the family tax credits available through the Working for Families package were no longer indexed so that they could be held at a fixed rate and be worth less as time went on.

While this budget does have a “compassionate conservative pitch” said Conor Twyford from the Public Service Association. “It does nothing to close the inequality gaps experienced through the lack of access to government services and employment that many people are now experiencing. People in regional communities are noticing the withdrawal of locally based services.” The largest part of the current debt burden is the debt in the private sector and no amount of cuts to state services will reduce that.

Poverty Action Waikato spokesperson Anna Cox said "This budget does little for the significant issues in our region. Housing is barely mentioned in the budget, yet unaffordable substandard housing plagues our region. We must not be manipulated into feeling grateful. In tough times vulnerable people need more government services, not less. We are witnessing a series of quiet cuts combined with a privatisation agenda and we need to be concerned". Poverty Action Waikato is a research advocacy project committed to reducing poverty and inequality in the Waikato region.


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