National can reveal key details from the Government’s so called ‘Wellbeing Budget’ ahead of its release on Thursday, Leader of the Opposition Simon Bridges says.
“The Government will announce a total of $1.3 billion for the purchase of assets in Vote Defence Force in 2019/2020, up from $641 million last year. This has nothing to do with the Government’s wellbeing priorities. It shows the Prime Minister has yet again had to throw her principles out the window to buy off Winston.
“Vote Forestry has doubled. There will be an extra $139 million, for a total of $277 million in the first year. Again, this doesn’t fit in with the Government’s five budget priorities of wellbeing.
“It makes a mockery of the Government’s inability to settle the teachers strike and refusal to fund more for dentistry – there’s money for tanks but not for teachers, there’s money for trees but not for teeth.
“In Vote Official Development Assistance, there will be $740 million for International Aid in 2019/2020. We can confirm that this is $47 million more than last year. Yet, the Government couldn’t find the $62 million to fully fund ambulance services.
“There will also be $744 million for DHBs. That will be barely enough to cover business as usual cost pressures including deficits, let alone new initiatives. This clearly won’t be enough to cover all of the promises made by the Government.
“Grant Robertson said we’d have to wait until Christmas Day to unwrap all of the presents but National has had a peek under the tree and it’s disappointing. It’s not the Wellbeing Budget – it’s the Winston Budget.
“The Wellbeing Budget was meant to be transformational but it’s all spin and no substance.”