Leading progressive campaigning organisation ActionStation has slammed the Government’s mini-budget, released today.
ActionStation - a group with tens of thousands of New Zealanders signed up as members, which has campaigned in recent years for better dental, welfare, and climate policy - has decried the Government for gutting services during a cost-of-living crisis.
“We all know that this is the conservative playbook,” says Kassie Hartendorp, ActionStation’s Director, “the Government knows that gutting public services is unpopular, so they manufacture the sense of a crisis around the government books to get around the fact that the public wouldn’t usually support cuts to our public services.”
The mini-budget today has announced has re-affirmed the coalition Government’s commitments to slashing half-price public transport for our youth, taking money from those who are doing it the hardest through indexing benefits to inflation rather than whichever is higher between inflation and wage growth, and taking away much needed funding for climate change initiatives.
“This is the worst Christmas present for the country imaginable,” adds Hartendorp. “During a cost of living crisis, when people need public services and supports more than ever, the Government has deliberately decided to make life worse for workers, Māori, and others.”
ActionStation has previously campaigned for an expansion of public housing, universal dental care, and strengthening of welfare policy - the organisation campaigned to lift benefit levels prior to the 2021 Budget, when benefit levels were lifted.
“It’s also incredibly cynical and cruel for the Government to do this right before Christmas,” states Hartendorp, “when people aren’t watching and are looking forward to taking a break at the end of a long and hard year.”
The Government’s mini-budget is an unusual step, which precedes further Budget decisions next year.