“Why the Finance Minister decided to put out a press release with the embarrassing admission that he’s managed to save less than 1 per cent of the Government’s entire budget escapes us, but it shows why New Zealand needs real change”, says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“Robertson is relying on people believing that $4 billion is a big number, but in the context of the entire government budget, it is miniscule.

Labour increased core Crown spending by $48.75 billion between 2018 and 2023.

“Grant Robertson said this morning, ‘The outcome of this exercise is that Budget 2023 will include $4 billion of savings and reprioritisations over the forecast period.’

“That is, the Government is reprioritising and saving $1 billion a year. To put that in perspective, that $1 billion a year represents 2 per cent of the amount Labour has increased spending by since 2018. It represents about 0.7 per cent of its total spending.

“That is simply embarrassing.

“In other words, Grant Robertson is standing by 99 per cent of his spending. When you consider the utter waste that has taken place over the last six years, that is an extraordinary statement.

“ACT’s alternative budget to be released on Monday – A Time For Truth – will face facts:

  • Government spending is up 61 per cent over five years, but no area of public service has improved
  • Education spending is up 38 per cent, but kids are attending school less often and they’re learning less when they go
  • Healthcare spending is up 68 per cent in five years, but the system is widely reported to be in a state of collapse

“Our country is in decline. There is no law saying New Zealand must remain first world. Our status as a first world nation is at risk if we do not change course.

“The risk comes from weak politics. The good news is, whether New Zealand keeps declining is a decision for us.

“The next Government can deal with the hard issues, or it can carry on pretending they don’t exist.

“We’ve been poorly served by two major political parties who each say the other is ruining the country but will run it the same way if it gets them into office. They sound so similar that voters struggle to tell them apart.

A Time For Truth will set out what a real alternative looks like.

“It is designed to raise productivity and wages, make the government’s books sustainable, and create a culture where work, savings, investment, and innovation are rewarded. It takes on politically difficult issues that others avoid, to secure our country’s status as a first world country. It deals with the size of government and its debt, and the structure of our tax system.

“Kiwis need lower, flatter taxes, paid for by reducing wasteful spending. We need to scrap government departments that don’t add value. We need less red tape on hardworking New Zealanders.

“Evicting the current government only to keep its policies isn’t change. We need to evict bad ideas to deliver real change.”

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