Brain drain budget

Simon Court
The Government’s 2022 Budget delivered an expensive reminder to Kiwis that Labour has no idea how to make New Zealand an attractive place to live, work and raise a family.
Budget 2022 reveals Labour’s plans to hire battalions of staff and consultants to produce hundreds of climate strategy papers, a new set of national planning rules to replace the RMA, and plan for a light rail project announced by the Prime Minister in 2017.
The first light rail stage to Mount Roskill was supposed to open in 2021. Labour Ministers don’t even have a photo with a shovel, although $100 million has been spent already.
The 2022 Budget made it clear, that for a Kiwi on the average wage around $70,000 per annum, if you work hard and save hard, the best you can hope for is a $350 welfare payment.And if you happen to be earning more than $70,000 you get diddly squat.
With annual consumer price inflation now at 6.9 percent according to Statistics NZ, inflation would gobble up an extra $4,830 of that average wage on increased living costs. That means the average wage earner has effectively had a massive pay cut under Labour.
Households facing a cost of living crisis will economise, cut back on luxuries and try to make ends meet. Businesses will look for any way to make their operations more efficient to stay competitive and profitable.
In contrast, the Labour Government had added another $6 billion to their baseline spending in the 2022 Budget. Having already added 14,000 additional public servants since 2017 to deliver their policies, now they are going for broke, literally.
What does this Budget mean for the average wage and salary earner, someone with skills and experience? New Zealand may not be the best place for you and your family right now. That is why ACT calls this the Brain Drain Budget.
Compared to our closest neighbour Australia where wages have increased $6,600 over the past four years, Kiwi workers are getting poorer. House prices are on average more than $200,000 higher and rents have gone up $50 per week since when Labour was elected to govern alone in 2020.
The RMA is no closer to being fixed. Over 800 land use and subdivision consent applications were sitting unopened in Auckland Councils inbox in February 2022. Now ports, quarries and even sand for concrete are having consents declined. It has gotten much harder and more expensive to build.
Kiwis already pay for their carbon emissions through the Emissions Trading Scheme, around 20 cents per litre on petrol and diesel. Yet Labour want to save Kiwis from the climate by spending $569 million on paying cash to scrap used cars. The scheme will cost taxpayers $12,800 to scrap a car, when a simple google search will show you that it could cost as little as $100 per car right now.
ACT has one question about this Budget - what is the strategy to overcome our declining living standards? Labour has no answer.
ACT would start by cutting the number of civil servants by 14,000 back to 2017 levels, without cutting frontline health, education or police service. ACT would cut the demographic Ministries which deliver nothing for the communities they are meant to serve, only photo ops for Ministers.
The savings set out in the ACT Alternative Budget would deliver a worker on 70,000 per annum a tax cut of $2,300 per year.
ACT would scrap the expensive and totally unnecessary greenwashing climate schemes which won’t reduce emissions any more than the existing cap under Emissions Trading Scheme allows for. ACT would instead give Kiwis a $250 per person per year carbon tax refund from the billions raised by the ETS, around $1000 for a family of four. Giving Kiwis the option to spend that money on transport or energy seems much fairer than handing it out to select businesses in exchange for a photo op with a Labour or Green Minister.
ACT believes we can reverse the brain drain that is coming, but only by delivering a healthy economy and thriving communities. The ACT Alternative Budget shows how we can get there.

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