30 May 2019

Budget 2019: Bridges attacks 'botched budget'

6:32 pm on 30 May 2019

National Party politicians have roundly dismissed the Wellbeing Budget as another example of a coalition government not delivering on promises.

In his Budget Speech, Mr Bridges said the most important thing was that this Budget did not have a plan for growing New Zealand's economy.

Watch Simon Bridges' response to the Budget:

He said the country had been promised something transformational but asked why was there money for defence and trains but not teachers' pay.

Read more on the Budget:

"That's the emptiness of wellbeing principles and the spin we've seen in relation to this Budget.

"Because New Zealand First stole the shrinking cookie jar."

"Do you see any mention of KiwiBuild," he asks. "Not a whisper!"

He also referenced the so-called hack of Budget documents.

"It was on the website for anyone including my seven year old son if he wanted ... to find it."

In a tweet, he called it the "botched budget" and said most New Zealanders would be left asking what was in it for them.

National leader Simon Bridges talks to media about the Treasury Budget information leak.

Mr Bridges said the Budget had not addressed core issues. Photo: RNZ / Dom Thomas

He used this afternoon's announcement to attack the government's economic management, tweeting that its policies had led to the economy's sharp decline. He said business confidence was at record lows and the government was now "asleep at the wheel".

"#Budget2019 has no plan to grow the economy. Only a strong and growing economy delivers the funding for the services NZers rely on like health and education," he posted on Twitter.

He said the Budget's spending priorities reflected an incompetent failure to address the current teachers' pay and conditions dispute and that the government's 'year of delivery' in addressing other demands of the housing and health sectors had not materialised.

"Yesterday, teachers marched on Parliament demanding a pay rise but there's nothing for them today. #Budget2019 has funding for classrooms, but what good are classrooms if there are no teachers to work in them?

"Under this Govt 13,000 more people are on welfare, the time it takes to get into social housing has doubled, rents are up an average of $50 a week, hardship assistance has increased by $48m & there is more strike action than we've seen in decades," he said.

Mr Bridges also attacked Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters, claiming the New Zealand First leader had also let down his party's constituencies.

"Winston hasn't got everything he wants, there's no money for free healthcare for seniors, which was part of his coalition promise. In health there's also no money for midwives, free GPs visits and there's less of an increase for elective surgeries than last year."

National MP Paula Bennett said the Budget was one of "throw money and hope". "Not result focused and not delivering," she tweeted.

Fellow national MP Michael Woodhouse said the Budget would see less access to life-saving medicines for the public.

"A key factor of wellbeing would be funding access to life-saving & life-changing new medicines for NZers. In #Budget2019 this Govt has only increased funding for medicines by 1%, which means after inflation and population growth, it's going backwards," he said.