The Government is going all out to hype its well-being budget but New Zealanders will rightly wonder if it will differ in substance from previous budgets or just be a fluffy PR exercise masking the lack of an economic plan, National’s Finance spokesperson Amy Adams says.

“Despite a lot of talk by the Prime Minister to global economic leaders about the Government’s wellbeing budget, there’s been no evidence it will amount to anything more than an attempt at slick branding.

“Governments have always made budget decisions and allocated taxpayer money in a way it believes will best improve the lives of New Zealanders.

“The Prime Minister claims that Ministers will have to prove how they will better New Zealanders’ ‘intergenerational wellbeing’ before it asks for taxpayer money.

“This Government’s track record suggests that is a hollow claim. Already billions of dollars of taxpayer money has been wasted on poorly thought through policies such as the provincial slush fund, fees free education and KiwiBuild.

“New Zealanders won’t benefit from a Government that is ignoring the slowing economy and focussing instead on branding. We’re facing significant economic risks over coming years but this Government is focussing on a marketing campaign.

“In fact, all the wellbeing budget has done is mask the Government’s bad economic policies which have softened the growth outlook. The latest quarterly GDP growth was the slowest in five years and thousands more people are in need of jobseeker benefits and hardship grants.

“National understands that improving the lives of New Zealanders is ultimately about letting Kiwis keep more of what they earn and keeping the cost of living low. Kiwis are better off when they have more in their back-pockets and have access to world-class infrastructure and public services.

“Putting a wellbeing tag on the 2019 Budget won’t change these basic economic facts.”

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