Budget response – ‘Imaginary jobs, real problems’

The budget offers nothing of substance to the people of the Ōtaki electorate, says Ōtaki Labour candidate Peter Foster.

“This government has no plan for jobs and no plan to grow the economy. While the estimates of 170,000 extra jobs are nice, they are purely speculative, wishful thinking. Even right leaning political and business leaders are in general agreement with this.

“This budget is particularly hard for the people in my Ōtaki electorate where median personal and family incomes are lower than the national median, where the number of pensioners in our electorate is almost twice that of the New Zealand average and where unemployment is higher than the New Zealand average,”says Mr Foster.

“These are the people who fared worse in the unjust tax cuts of last year with 40% of the tax cut benefiting New Zealand’s top 10% of income earners. Those tax cuts were both unaffordable and inequitable and they too have contributed significantly to the debt crisis we now face.

“This government has us facing a 16.7 billion dollar deficit. When Labour left office government debt was at an all time low, and if the Cullen Super Fund was included in the calculations then New Zealand was actually in surplus. Yes, there have been issues to deal with but they only account for part of the problem and this government’s economic mismanagement has us now borrowing $380 million a week.”

Mr Foster says getting both government and private debt sorted is critical and to do that requires more than just balancing the books by slashing public services and selling state assets; it requires a plan for jobs and a plan for growth.

“This government has no plan,” he says.

“One of my passions is helping young people, be it as a Youth Court lawyer or a college board of trustees member. In this capacity I see the importance for young people in being involved in either earning or learning. This budget does nothing for young people in terms of jobs. The Youth Employment Package recently announced was allocated $55 million. Half of this will go to courses such as the limited volunteer service course. I have had many clients from the Ōtaki electorate attend this course and while it may help them for the six weeks they are on it, it doesn’t give them the skills based training they need to get a job.”

Mr Foster says the other half of the $55 million which is spent on skills based training only returns half of the money that was cut from industry training by National last year.”