CTU: Budget doesn’t do enough for growing social problems

16 May

“Today’s Budget fails to address the huge social problemsof a crisis in jobs, low wages, increasing poverty and inequality that New Zealandcurrently faces. These problems have grown over the last five years, and this Budget doesn’t do enough to help solve them.” says Bill Rosenberg, Council of Trade Unions Economist.

“The Budget should have been about more assistance for people who lose their jobs, productive community work programmes, and a strategy to help manufacturing and other higher value, higher wage industries grow.”

“There is nothing new in this Budget to address New Zealand’s high unemployment rate – higher than many other OECD countries doing worse economically – with unemployment forecast to still be at 6 percent next year, and significantly worse than the forecast in last year’s Budget which proved to be much too low.”

“A small package for tourism, science and technology and marketing for international students goes nowhere near what is required, especially at a time when more beneficiaries are being forced into jobs and the government’s taxation and expenditure policies are going to reduce growth in the economy by about 1 percent per year in the next four years. We continue to be very dependent on the Christchurch rebuild and commodity prices for the next few years.”

“The response to the problem of child poverty is hugely disappointing. Child poverty, as highlighted by the Children’s Commissioner and many others, is a reflection of the high inequalities in New Zealand and requires a strong positive response that includes addressing our low wage structure. A weak repackaging of other initiatives – home insulation targeted at low income families, programmes to reduce rheumatic fever, more for budget advisory services, investigation of low interest loans, and a trial of housing warrants of fitness for housing corporation houses – may be useful but barely scratch the surface of what needs to be done.”

“If the government is serious that things are now coming right, it should have used the opportunity to address these serious social issues. It has failed to do so.

 

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