You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Labour scorns 'dollar bill' budget

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 25/05/2017

Labour has scorned the budget, calling it "an irresponsible election bribe" that falls far short of what's needed to fix health, housing or education.

Party leader Andrew Little kicked off the budget debate in parliament holding up a dollar coin.

"For all National's talk about tax cuts, the reality is that a single cleaner on a minimum wage will get just one dollar a week extra - it's the One Dollar Bill Budget," he said.

"The big winners of this budget are the top earners who take home most of the tax benefits."

Mr Little said the government was short-changing health and education, and the budget had hardly anything in it for housing.

"At a time when 50,000 people can't get treatment because their hospital can't afford it, this is a squandered opportunity," he said.

Prime Minister Bill English was next up.

"On a sunny day in New Zealand, here comes Labour like cold, wet rain," he said.

Mr English ran through the economic good news in the budget.

"We're going forward, three per cent growth for the next five years... this is better than the good old days," he said.

"There are fewer people on benefits, the highest ever number of people in employment."

Green Party co-leader James Shaw said the government was big on announcements and short on results.

"This is a tax cut for the rich in disguise," he said.

"A family on $127,000 gets an extra $33 a week, a family on $24,000 an extra $5.34 a week."

Mr Shaw said there was nothing in the budget to dampen housing speculation or "rampant investment".

NZ First leader Winston Peters said that for the government, Finance Minister Steven Joyce's budget speech had been "the longest suicide note in history".

"This won't cut it," he said.

"There's nothing in it for the regions except utter neglect... and all the spending is over four years, it's just an attempt to confuse people with big figures."

Mr Peters said economic growth was actually running at 2.8 per cent and two per cent of that was generated by population growth.

"Take that out and it's 0.8 per cent - the lowest in the OECD," he said.

Maori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell said his party had gained millions of dollars for Maori causes and challenged Labour's Maori MPs to say what they had achieved.

"They've achieved nothing, zilch, zip, zero," he said.

"This budget is all about whanau, and the Maori Party's huge footprint is all over it.''

ACT leader David Seymour said it was a good thing that the government had, at last, given taxpayers some relief.

But it hadn't done nearly enough and should have given all its forecast surpluses back.

Mr Seymour said increases in the accommodation supplement would be snapped up by landlords unless more houses were built.

United Future leader Peter Dunne supported the budget and contrasted the optimism of the government and its support parties with "the barrage of negativity from the other side".

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon