“Prime Minister Chris Hipkins was dancing on the head of a pin this morning trying to explain to media how the Government can afford pay increases for teachers without increasing taxes or borrowing more. If he wants a lesson on cutting waste, he should grab a copy of ACT’s Alternative Budget,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“He said “we don’t have a money tree in the backyard that means we can continue to indefinitely increase government spending”. It’s a shame he didn’t discover this before Labour increased Government spending by 70 per cent over five years. It’s this reckless spending that has fuelled inflation, and is ultimately why teachers, nurses, police officers across New Zealand are finding it tough at the moment.

“Hipkins doesn’t know how to cut waste and raise incomes, but ACT does. Our combination of slashing waste so we can tax cuts and a new Teaching Excellence Reward Fund would leave the average teacher over $7,000 better off and give principals the flexibility and resource to reward the best.

“There’s no shortage of wasteful spending for HIpkins to cut. ACT’s alternative budget shows how to cut $38 billion in four years by cutting wasteful spending such as:

  • Getting rid of corporate welfare like international film subsidies and the PGF.
  • Scrapping failed policies like Fees-Free.
  • Reducing bureaucracy in overstaffed and under-producing ministries, like MOE which has increased in size by 55.3 per cent since 2017.
  • Abolishing demographic ministries that just replicate work already done in policy ministries.
  • Scrapping expensive policies and organisations that don’t practically lower emissions like the Clean Car Discount and the Climate Change Commission.

“These are just some examples, they go alongside the many instances where Government incompetence costs the taxpayer greatly, for example, the news that they wasted half a billion dollars on RAT tests that are going to expire.

“This reduction in spending means we can afford serious tax cuts so teachers, nurses, police officers and anyone else working hard will have more money.

“Teachers will benefit from the reward fund on top of this. Principals would have discretion to provide awards to teachers who have demonstrated excellence. This is an Excellence Reward Fund that a principal can use over and above normal salaries, just like any boss of a small to medium enterprise is in charge of remuneration.

“With ACT’s fully costed tax plan and Teachers Excellence Reward Fund, the average teacher on $70k gets an extra $7,200 each year. Our tax cuts mean they keep an extra $2,200, while our Reward Fund averages out to $5,000 extra per teacher.

“With total discretion, a principal could reward a top performing teacher with an extra, say, $10,000. The effect of the policy would be to seriously change the range of people considering teaching.

“Labour has proven they can’t manage the economy. ACT will rein in New Zealand’s burgeoning and expensive bureaucracy and cut the waste, then reward hard-working teachers.”

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