Labour leader delivers pre-budget speech

Andrew Little Labour Party leader

Labour leader Andrew Little has criticised the Government in his pre-budget speech today.

The Government has failed to meet its surplus and Little described the Government as “recklessly complacent” and also claimed it “has squandered opportunities to improve the lives of New Zealanders.”

The Budget 2015 announcement will be made next Thursday by Finance Minister Bill English.

This will be the National Government’s seventh budget and according to the Finance Minister it will display the Government's ongoing commitment to “spending restraint which means the public finances continue to improve significantly each year.”

However, the Labour leader says, “In the last 7 years, National hasn't announced a single initiative that has tackled the long term problems in our economy to improve the lives of New Zealanders. They have been recklessly complacent.”

Some of the announcements in terms of funding allocation already made by the National led Government include:

  • $32 million of new operating expenditure in employment relations services over the next four years
  • $98 million will be invested into elective surgery
  • $6.5 million in 2015/16 in both new and existing initiatives to help reduce prisoner reoffending, 
  • $22.5 million over the next six years to encourage the planting of an expected 15,000 hectares of new forest.   
  • $3 million will be invested in 2015/16 to help fund the completion of Northland’s Twin Coast Cycle Trail Pou Herenga Tai.
  • $80 million will be invested over the next four years into R&D growth grants
  • ACC Minister Nikki Kaye has also signalled ACC is on track to provide further levy cuts of around $375 million in 2016/17 and $120 million in 2017/18.

Andrew Little says, “New Zealand needs to become a country where we reward the risk takers, the innovators and the unafraid. Where we celebrate growing wealth, and where everyone who works for that success shares in the rewards.”