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Treasury pre-election update – more needed to meet health, education and housing

Treasury’s pre-election update of its forecasts for the economy and government finances, released today, show that the government surplus won’t meet what New Zealanders need in priority areas of health, education and housing.

“The Government will make much of the fact that it has achieved a surplus – but it is a false surplus when so many Kiwis are barely managing to make ends meet and there is unmet need for struggling public services like health, housing and education,” CTU President Richard Wagstaff said.

“New Zealanders should have confidence that their kids will get an education which will set them up for the best start, they should know that the health system will be there when they get sick, and they should be certain, no matter what, that they will have a safe and healthy home, even when times are tough. Right now Kiwis cannot have confidence in these fundamentals. Government must have the revenue to pay for these essential services.”

“It would be irresponsible and foolish to contemplate tax cuts at a time when there is little room to restore our public services, let alone improve them.”

“Governments need to show real leadership. As well as a fiscal update working people need to know about social statistics – about where the need is. If such information had been included this time round we would be seeing spiraling problems of unmet need in health, housing and education,” Wagstaff said.