Whilst the Government struggles to contain the effects of National’s claimed leakage of figures from today’s Fiscal Budget, I give my take on what should be in Budget 2019. This is not a complete list, but a priority one based on what I believe has been a significant and sustained under funding of programmes and support for the very young and the very old, the mentally unwell and those in the education system who are not in a position to fund their own expenses.
I am not expecting much, if anything new, for education today. I believe Minister of Education Chris Hipkins when he says that he cannot offer teachers all that they are asking for. A lot of the demands are things that are built up with time and need refining as they go – it is not a simple case of saying “here’s the money, it is all ready to go”.
The same goes for Defence. Earlier announcements might get a top up such as the P8 Poseidon patrol aircraft acquisition. However I am not expecting Minister of Defence Ron Mark to announce much if anything new.
Where I am expecting to see some additional support are:
- Non monetary: Moves by Treasury to implement some of the recommendations made by the Tax Working Group in their review, which came out earlier this year. For the Government to improve its revenue, changes need to be implemented fairly rapidly
- Non monetary: Investigation into Pigouvian tax being used to dissuade persistent polluters by taxing them if more than x is discharged per business year
- Non monetary: Lower the range of housing prices for Kiwi Build houses – the current range is unrealistic
- Mental health: the Government has announced it will accept nearly all of the recommendations that were made in the mental health inquiry, except – notably – the one for a suicide reduction target and one other; given the problems being had with mental health patients in hospitals, the explosion of problems among youth ranging from effects of bullying, societal pressure and domestic situations; support for mens mental health
- Health: a top up for D.H.B.’s to help maintain services
- Disability sector: frankly an abomination in terms of how it is being treated, where lip service is everything and solid accountable actions are nothing, a top up across the board for all such
- Social Development: particularly those with school age children who might be struggling to afford the basics and may need assistance purchasing school materials, uniform parts or funding school trips; assistance for superrannuitants including perhaps further discounts on essentials
- Tertiary Education: Introduction of a postgraduate allowance for all Honours, Masters and PhD students recognizing that it is impossible to expect such students to hold down full time work and complete qualifications that are time and energy intensive
Secondary priorities that I think need be provided for include:
- investment in railways particularly in the South Island, Hawkes Bay and Gisborne.
- reinvestment in science with some emphasis on explaining theory to students. waste reduction, reducing crime, and simplification of the research grant application process for researchers
- encouraging reduction in harmful carbon emissions by recycling aluminium; introducing hempcrete; investigating the feasibility of waste to energy
There could be more, but when the Government walked away from the C.G.T. it walked away from a significant opportunity to check the unsustainable growth of the wealth and income of the 1% who have 50% of all of the known wealth. In doing so it deprived New Zealand of a substantial source of tax revenue that will now probably not happen for another generation – if ever.