Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Budget

The government delivered the Budget this afternoon, and it was pretty much as expected: steady-as-she-goes, with a "surplus" delivered by shoving costs into the future (in this case, the cost of ACC levy reductions) and a slight increase in paid-parental leave to 18 weeks with an increase in eligibility. There was also a surprise: an extension of free healthcare to all under-13s. The message: Labour has won the argument on paid parental leave and on free healthcare, and National is having to give ground in order to stay in power.

But while that's the good news, there's also a lot of bad: more roads (in fact, they spent as much on new Auckland roads as the city rail link would cost), more cuts to key areas of health and education. And the spies, whose budget should be being zeroed, get a $2 million increase. I guess that's what you get for knowing who John Key calls.