Recently, Labour delivered its fifth Budget. It was another lost opportunity to deliver any tangible outcomes for young Kiwis.
We are being squeezed from all angles amid this cost of living crisis, our mental health system is failing, and thousands of us are packing our bags for foreign shores. Yet, Labour has failed to provide adequate relief for the big issues facing young New Zealanders.
Budget 2022 provides a huge amount of information to digest, so let us break down the key points for young New Zealanders:
First Home Grants Increase a Win for Young Kiwis
Firstly, we have to give credit where credit is due. The increase to the First Home Grant caps are an overdue adjustment that will be integral to young New Zealanders stepping onto the first rung of the housing ladder.
In Auckland, the First Home Grant cap has been increased to $875,000.00 for existing homes and new build homes. In Wellington the cap was increased to $925,000.00 for a new build home or $750,000.00 for existing homes. This increase will deliver First Home Grants to an extra 7,000 young New Zealanders who are on their journey to the “Kiwi Dream” of home ownership.
Outside of this, Budget 2022 misses the mark. Forget a bullseye, this Budget doesn’t even hit the dart board.
The Spiraling Cost of Living Crisis Continues…
The Labour Government has announced a $350 relief payment over three months for any New Zealander earning under $70,000.00 per year. However, there is a catch. You have to wait until August. As if higher rents, increased utility bills and soaring grocery prices are not biting now. According to Labour, the cost of living crisis doesn’t start for another three months.
Don’t get us wrong, the $350 payment will provide brief cash relief to those of us who are doing it tough under the worsening cost of living crisis. But come November, the same underlying issues will be hitting our back pockets and there will be no more relief from the Government.
No wonder young Kiwis are packing their bags and flocking overseas for the greener pastures of competitive salaries and lower costs of living. If Labour were serious about keeping young New Zealanders at home, they would have offered more than a half-hearted temporary reprieve.
No Solutions for Mental Health
Budget 2022 offers “small bikkies” for mental health according to the Mental Health Foundation. The Labour Government announced $202 million for mental health and well-being services in Budget 2022, which will do very little to achieve improved outcomes for young Kiwis.
In addition to this, Health Minister Andrew Little cheekily re-announced the expansion of Mana Ake services policy (with a skimming of extra detail) that he had already announced in April last year. Doesn’t that sum up this Government - fresh out of ideas for New Zealand.
Now is the time when new steps must be taken to help tackle ongoing mental health issues. This cannot be achieved without fresh and innovative ideas, which this Government is failing to provide.
Labour have a track record of being heavy on announcements, but light on delivery. Throwing money at a problem is easy, solving the problem is the hard part. National knows we do not have any time to waste, and the serious issues in the mental health sector must be addressed.
Students left behind (yet again…)
Budget 2022 provides no real relief for students, apart from a $350 three month band-aid starting in August and some cheaper public transport for a couple of months. The $350 payment would not even cover two weeks rent for most students in New Zealand.
Labour claims to care about students, but student loan and allowance amounts still pale in comparison to rising living costs and the lack of supply and quality of student accommodation continues to create significant hardship.
Students cannot afford to wait for the lolly scramble that will come in election year when Labour will pretend to care about the everyday struggles of students - just to win their party vote. Students need real and immediate support now.
This Labour Government is providing no incentive to stay in New Zealand and Young Kiwis are going to vote with their feet.
National knows we can and must do better. Because our generation and future generations need a National Government that is ambitious for young people. Not a Labour Government driving up debt and providing little vision for the future of our great country.
Labour have lost all optimism and aspiration for New Zealand. Do you feel left behind by this Labour Government? So do we, join us today.
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