“Jacinda Ardern and the Labour Government have today presented New Zealand with the Brain Drain Budget. Ambitious New Zealanders, tired of being milked, will weigh up leaving for greener pastures,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“Last December Treasury forecast a population of 5.188 million in the next financial year, six months later it forecasts only 5.175 million people. Even Treasury is forecasting a brain drain expecting New Zealand’s population to be smaller today than it expected six months ago.

“Those who rely on working to pay rising bills needed hope, but it’s not in this budget. Why should people stay here to be milked harder? Why be milked for Labour’s ideological projects and wasteful mismanagement?

“John Key said working for Families was Communism by Stealth, now they’ve broken cover. Labour’s big answer is to put more people into state dependency, giving those earning under $70,000 just under $30 a week which will only add to inflation.

“Meanwhile if you earn over $70,000 you’re left to swim against the tide of inflation.

“Under Labour, the gap between the median wage in New Zealand and Australia has grown $6,600. People will put up with a lot if there’s a strategy to make it better, but there’s no strategy in this budget.

“The Budget needed to do three things. 1) Reel in spending to kill inflation dead. 2) Reduce taxes so hardworking families can deal with the price rises they face already, and 3) make strategic investments for housing supply, defence, and education.

“Sadly, the spending binge carries on. Taxes will now be $21,945 per person per year, up $6,120 from $15,825 per year when Labour came to office. Taxpayers are being milked harder, and we have no strategy for the future. It is not a good advertisement for skills and investment to come to or stay in New Zealand.

“ACT’s Alternative Budget for Real Change showed how spending could be reduced by $6.8 billion a year without touching health, education, or any frontline service. Instead, we will see an increase in wasteful and inflationary spending.

“ACT’s Alternative Budget for Real Change showed how a nurse on $70,000 would be $2,309 better off. Instead, someone like that will see no difference except ongoing inflation.

“High Government spending will hurt New Zealanders in another way. If the Government doesn’t sort inflation, the Reserve Bank will sort it for them. If the Government keeps spending, the Reserve Bank will dampen inflation by raising mortgage rates.

“In case anyone thinks renters are safe from mortgage rate increases, they just have to ask themselves, who will pay a landlords’ mortgage, if not the tenants? Government blow outs will mean higher interest rates, which mean rent increases. The money supply has to be dampened one way or another, and the Reserve Bank’s way will hurt everyone.

“The budget needed to put in place a clear plan to raise productivity. They have not done any such thing. Labour throws money around in ways that are not effective or efficient. That’s why we’re seeing countries such as the Czech Republic, Lithuania, and Slovenia becoming richer than us.

“ACT’s Alternative Budget for real change would simplify the tax system from six different tax rates down to two. Simpler taxes don’t just mean less bureaucracy, they send a message that we are committed to a future where we won’t fleece you for every extra effort. It’s about exorcising tall poppy syndrome from the New Zealand psyche.

“Instead, Labour has delivered a Brain Drain Budget. Tax the productive to fund Labour’s ideological fantasies, then just hope they don’t leave. Unfortunately, more and more will.”