Grant Robertson’s first Budget uses ‘transformation’ as a buzzword but offers only to spend more of taxpayers’ money, says ACT Leader David Seymour.
“The former university politician has today shown himself to be a poor student of economic history. Higher taxes and greater government spending has never fixed our problems.
“Income tax was introduced at 5 per cent on the highest incomes. Now it’s 33 percent.
“In the early 1900s, government spending was a one tenth of the economy. Today, it stands at a third.
“Yet, thousands of New Zealanders still struggle to make ends meet.
“There is no transformation in simply pumping more money into the same failed policies.
“More money for health and education won’t deliver better results. Those sectors require structural changes.
“Health budgets have increased year after year, yet patient satisfaction is at its lowest level since 2006.
“Governments have poured more and more money into education, but PISA test scores are declining.
“Robertson’s extravagant new welfare schemes – $6 billion in poorly-targeted spending on ‘Fees Free’ and the Provincial Growth Fund – will deliver meagre returns to hard-earned taxpayer money.
“Far from being a transformational Budget, this Government is simply spending taxpayers’ money where it feels it will get the best electoral results.
“Real transformation would involve structural reform of our regulations that stop home building, the funding of infrastructure, and the delivery of health and education.
“Robertson’s commitment to keeping the pension age at 65 means our $12 billion superannuation bill will continue to eat up more and more of the Budget.
“His failure to significantly cut $1.6 billion in corporate welfare, means we cannot reduce the corporate tax rate to 25 per cent, which would boost investment, wages and jobs.
“We now spend over $1.1 billion on accommodation assistance because successive governments haven’t reformed the Resource Management Act to boost land supply and get housing costs under control.
“New Zealand’s economic underperformance relative to Australia is a problem of our poor productivity. We should be cutting taxes across the board, creating incentives for New Zealanders to save, work and invest.
“Robertson will soon find that the problem with socialism is that at some point you run out of other people’s money.
“New Zealanders deserve so much better than the short-termism that this Government is serving up”, says Mr Seymour.