Finance Minister Grant Robertson today outlined the 2002 Budget, which places a cost of living and public Investment Package at its centre said CTU Economist Craig Renney. The CTU welcomes the Budget package that will provide both relief for cost-of-living pressures and continued essential investment in public services.
The package includes $350 cash relief for 2.1 million kiwis to support them through some of the current cost of living pressures. This will provide more immediate support than the proposed tax bracket indexation – more than three times as much for a minimum wage worker. Together with welfare reforms this demonstrates that the government has listened to the needs of middle- and low-income New Zealanders.
Together with new investments in health ($11.1bn) and education ($2.9bn) and climate change ($4.5bn). The Government confirmed the anticipated extension of the Fuel excise duties and road user charges and half price public transport fares for a further two months. Including a permanent extension of half price public transport for community service card holders. This extension will reduce some of the cost pressures incurred by low and middle workers.
The CTU is pleased that the Budget signals further progress is being made to deliver on Child Poverty, up to 14,000 more children lifted out of poverty because of this Budget. This is on top of the 66,500 children already moved above the poverty line. Government has committed to doing more in this area.
Wages are forecast to continue to grow in this Budget. Wages increase 6% a year over the next two years increasing faster than inflation until the end of the forecast. Unemployment remains relatively low. Overall the government economic and fiscal indicators return to their pre-COVID levels. Budget 2022 marks the close of the COVID Fund – with money being repurposed into a cost-of-living package.
Craig Renney said “This package should be welcomed by Kiwis. It shows what a government that cares about workers and their needs can deliver despite a global economic slowdown and remaining COVID issues. Many challenges remain, but this Budget provides more financial and economic security for New Zealanders”.