Shane Reti says budget for beneficiaries, not for workers

By Te Ao - Māori News

National says yesterday's budget announcement from the government is almost all for beneficiaries, with virtually nothing left for workers.

The government estimates that between 19,000 and 33,000 children will be lifted out of poverty as a result of welfare announcements, which lift benefits by $20 a week, starting from July 1 this year.

Benefits or work?

National Party deputy leader Dr Shane Reti says their issue is about whether to raise benefits or give pathways into work.

"It's not per se the issue of raising benefits, it's what would the opportunity cost we would do differently," Reti says.

"What we know is that we would be much more inclined to be spending that money on getting people into creative jobs, so they can work their way through the difficulties they are finding with the rising cost of living and rent, for example."

'No focus on health outcomes'

Dr Reti was also critical of the health package.

He says the almost half-billion dollar injection for the proposed "three-headed Wellington bureaucracy" of two ministries of health and a Māori health authority is "unhealthy competition."

“We believe there will be unhealthy competition between these three agencies with added layers of bureaucracy and less accountability where each will blame the other for any failure to deliver," he says.

“The investment going into restructuring costs is more than double what the government committed to Pharmac. Kiwis suffering from rare diseases and cancer who desperately need their medicines funded will find this incredibly disappointing.

“This transition is just the start. When it’s all said and done, Labour will likely have wasted billions of dollars on a plan that will improve outcomes for office workers in Wellington but won’t do a thing to improve health outcomes for New Zealanders.

“There is no focus on health outcomes."