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Government makes steps towards repaying long-term debts to society

CTU Economist Bill Rosenberg welcomed the Government’s Half Year Fiscal Update as a positive sign that the Government was willing to repay the social and environmental deficits run up over the last 9 years. “We’re seeing some movement towards acknowledging there is repair work to restore the trust and confidence of working people in Government, but the extent of damage the last regime caused will take time to fix” he said.

“It is particularly heartening to see a significant reduction in child poverty through the Working for Families package, almost halving the numbers at the most extreme levels of poverty. Stronger wage growth and a reduction of unemployment to 4 percent by 2021 will also help many working families.”

“Our schools, our hospitals, and our housing stock are all showing visible signs of long term underfunding and lack of care. What’s just as important but less visible is the impact economic austerity has had on our own health, on our children’s development and on the health of our environment. Valuing what matters requires an urgent shift away from glorifying tax cuts, to long term investment in New Zealanders. The social deficits run deep and the payoff for responsible resourcing of public services is outside three year electoral cycles.”

“Standard economic measures don’t tell us much about whether economic activity is worthwhile for the people whose work produces our goods and services. It’s much more honest to examine the state of our country by measures that show whether our economic arrangements are sustaining New Zealanders now and in the future. Working people will benefit from the Government’s intention to measure its policies against a wider set of wellbeing indicators as part of fiscal updates in future budgets.  We’re heartened that there is political support for reporting that clearly shows who gains and who loses from the Government’s economic decisions in the long term, and the wider effects of these decisions.”