16 May 2013

Budget evokes mixed reactions from minor parties

11:48 pm on 16 May 2013

Green Party co-leader Russel Norman says the Government has not made the hard, smart and courageous decisions for the long-term good of New Zealand in Thursday's Budget.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says the Budget represents financial deceit on a grand scale, because Government efforts to balance the books are only achieved by selling state assets or deferring spending.

Mana Party leader Hone Harawira says he's bitterly disappointed that the Budget hasn't set aside one cent to help alleviate child poverty.

However, Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples says he is proud to support the boost in the Budget to the number of Maori and Pasifika able to enter trades training.

And ACT Party leader John Banks told Parliament while the Budget was not a great one it was an oasis of fiscal sanity.

United Future leader Peter Dunne described the Budget as pragmatic and sensible.

Greens' view

Dr Norman told Parliament the Budget delivered virtually nothing to address poverty.

"It's more important to National to deliver a 0.05% surplus than delivering for our poor kids.

"Budget 2013 feels more like crumbs for kids than an honest meal and maybe it's not even crumbs. There are solutions to child poverty if you have the courage to find the ways to fund and implement them."

NZ First's view

Mr Peters told Parliament his first reaction to the Budget was to call in the Serious Fraud Office.

"Never in the history of this country has a government so blatantly cooked the books. And it wasn't even clever. This is financial deceit on a grand scale.

"The boast about balancing the books would see a company accountant in the court being prosecuted for fraud."

ACT's view

Mr Banks says it's not a great Budget but is a good Budget in difficult times.

"Finance Minister Bill English's Budget represents an oasis of fiscal sanity in the face of opposition parties whose primeval instinct is to spend, to regulate, to impose new taxes and to print new money."

Mr Banks says Budget 2013 maintains a steady course but does not do nearly enough to close the gap with Australia.

Maori Party's view

Dr Sharples told Parliament he believed there were two main ways the Government could tackle poverty in the long term.

"That is through education and training and, secondly, supporting people into jobs. I am particularly pleased with the announcement already made by Tariana and minister Joyce that 3000 trade training places will be established for Maori and Pasifika peoples."

He was referring to his co-leader Tariana Turia and Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce.

Mana Party's view

Mr Harawira told Parliament he would have been happy to support any budgetary measure to help improve the situation for the country's vulnerable children.

"Because feeding even one child is a good idea and that's why, Mr Speaker, given all the positive comments from the Prime Minister over the past few days and the Maori Party bragging about how hard they're fighting for the poor, I am bitterly disappointed to see that this Budget has set aside not one cent to deal with child poverty."

United Future's view

Mr Dunne says this year's Budget is a pragmatic and sensible budget that is adequate for the times.

He says New Zealand has been through the greatest international economic crisis since the great depression, and it is pleasing that the Finance Minister can now project a return to surplus.