30 May 2024

Budget 2024: Political parties react to coalition government's budget announcement

5:55 pm on 30 May 2024

Budget 2024 will "take New Zealanders backwards" and people were lied to during the election campaign, Labour leader Chris Hipkins says.

Political parties have responded to the coalition government's first Budget, unveiled earlier this afternoon, and they are not happy.

National kept its tax cut promise, laying out a relief package largely in line with the 'Back Pocket Boost' it campaigned on during the election.

Much attention had focused on the teased tax relief in the lead up to today's reveal, with many economists calling for it to be scaled back or more gradually phased in.

Unveiling her first Budget this afternoon, Finance Minister Nicola Willis declared: "I have kept my pledge".

Hipkins said it was a Budget that has taken New Zealand backwards.

Read more on Budget 2024:

"It's a Budget that is abandoning our commitments around climate change, it's putting more children into poverty, it's cutting a lot of the things that Kiwis rely on like public transport subsidies, school lunch programmes and so on. The increase in funding for services like health and education isn't keeping up with the rising cost of living."

"We will see job losses in those sectors as a result of this year's Budget."

Chris Hipkins and Barbara Edmonds on Budget 2024

Labour leader Chris Hipkins. Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver

He said the biggest losers are the next generation of New Zealanders.

"More children living in poverty, cutting support for young New Zealanders, in a number of different ways, and for those young New Zealanders looking towards the dream of home ownership, they're just being left behind."

Hipkins said he believed New Zealanders were lied to during the election campaign in 2023 - and Labour's finance spokesperson Barbara Edmonds said it was disappointing new cancer drugs would not be funded.

"The fact that the cancer drugs are not going to be funded this year, I think that is incredibly disappointing for those who were promised that they were going to get them. It's life and death for a lot of people so I think it's just disappointing and just shows that they didn't get what they wanted, either."

Green Party co-leaders Marama Davidson and Chloe Swarbrick

Green's co-leaders Marama Davidson and Chlöe Swarbrick. Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver

'Mean and nasty Budget' - Greens

The Green Party said the government's "attack" on the climate would ripple through generations.

"More children living in poverty, cutting support for young New Zealanders, in a number of different ways, and for those young New Zealanders looking towards the dream of home ownership, they're just being left behind."

Meanwhile co-leader and climate spokesperson Chlöe Swarbrick said, "The other day, government parties said, 'Drill, baby, drill,' and today, they may as well have said, 'burn, baby, burn'."

"This government has slashed and burned almost all climate and environmentally minded policy whilst pouring coal, oil and gas over the roaring climate crisis fire. Today's Budget has seen funding from almost every major programme in the Emissions Reduction Plan absolutely gutted."

Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson called it a "mean and nasty Budget".

"This is a cynical Budget that serves mostly the short-term interests of a few and ignores the long-term challenges that we all face in Aotearoa.

The government has chosen to preserve poverty and remain a not-so-innocent bystander to the unfolding climate crisis."

The clean car discount helped make a dent in emissions, she said. "When it comes to climate change, governments are defined by their choices, and this one is choosing to bury its head in coal."

She said the government could have given free dental care to everyone, but instead chose to have tax relief for landlords.

"We see who they're governing for, it is for their uber-wealthy mates."

Davidson said 63,000 tamariki woke up in poverty this morning.

"This Budget could've changed that."

Te Pati Māori co-leaders Rawiri Waititi and Debbie Ngawera-Packer speak to media following the Budget announcement on 30 May 2024.

Te Pati Māori co-leaders Rawiri Waititi and Debbie Ngawera-Packer. Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

A 'privileged' Budget - Te Pati Māori

Te Pati Māori co-leader Debbie Ngawera-Packer said: "We knew it was going to be a privileged Budget and that's what we got."

It was like Māori did not exist in it, she said.

Ngawera-Packer highlighted a budget cut of Matatini, saying it had economic, cultural and educational value.

"There is not any eye on Māori - there's no Māori in the whole health - you can't even see the word. It's like we don't exist and we're seeing the dismantling of kaupapa that actually fought for Māori solutions. Whanau Ora has got the best social return on investment, but it has absolutely no increase of funding. Why?

"How can Māori benefit from any solution that does not include us? As Rawiri (Waititi) said, if we are the worst in the population of the prison, for goodness sake, have us apart of the solution to get out of that, but if we're ignored, all we are gonna do is see the continued build of mega prisons and the continued rise of zombie projects, and that's what this government is guilty of."

The co-leaders talked to media about their announcement of a Declaration of Political Independence and plans to establish its own parliament.

"Our proclamation asserts the pillar of our Mana Motuhake policy and the enablement of our tino rangatiratanga, through the establishment of a Māori Parliament," they said in a statement.

"This is the type of transformation our people have been waiting for. What we have witnessed today is te iwi Māori across Aotearoa tell this government that enough is enough. No longer can we allow this very house to dictate our rangatiratanga."

Prime Minister Christopher Luxon

Prime Minister Christopher Luxon. Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver

'Brilliant Budget from Nicola Willis' - Luxon

Prime Minister Christopher Luxon said it was a "brilliant Budget from Nicola Willis".

She was a caring, intelligent and thoughtful finance minister, he said.

He said the government's economic plan was "rebuilding the economy so we can get rid of inflation and reduce the cost of living".

"After 14 long years, this government is delivering personal income tax relief to working Kiwis."

Deputy Prime Minister and New Zealand First leader Winston Peters said New Zealand changed gears from "reverse and backwards" to forwards and progress" with the Budget.

He acknowledged the work of the finance minister and her associates.

Putting together a Budget in an economic crisis was a "difficult undertaking", he said.

Putting two thirds of new spending into health, education and law and order was the government's response to the left, Peters said.

The ministers putting the Budget together faced a "tsunami of debt", and so did the government, he said.

David Seymour talks to media following the Government's release of their budget

ACT Party leader David Seymour. Photo: RNZ/Samuel Rillstone

Coalition partner and ACT Party leader David Seymour said: "This Budget is not flashy, it happens against a backdrop where things are grim."

He said the tax cuts did not amount to spending, "we are taking less of people's money in the first place".

Seymour said the tax deductibility for landlords would bring down rents, which would in turn help tenants purchase their own home.

"We are cutting taxes in a responsible way by less than we are cutting spending, so we also get back to balance, we also take inflation out of the economy, we also allow the Reserve Bank to take pressure off mortgage rates, interest rates, and allows more Kiwis to have a bit more money left at the end of the fortnight."

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