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Simon Bridges says a National government would've prioritised health, education, infrastructure and tax relief in Budget 2019

National Party leader Simon Bridges has expressed a dismal view of Budget 2019 and says he would have prioritised spending in different areas.

Mr Bridges told 1 NEWS the Budget was "botched" and there was "nothing in this budget for middle New Zealand."

Reflecting on the Government's opening of the books, Mr Bridges said it was not a wellbeing budget and that future New Zealanders will "pay the price" for it.

"Middle New Zealand is worse off under this budget," he said and explained he would have prioritised health, education, infrastructure and tax relief.

"It would have cut a lot of waste and what that would mean is ... you wouldn’t have to have the $20 billion more in debt on the forecast today, from December last year over the next four or five years,” he said.

Read more: Mental health, child wellbeing and rail – the big winners of Budget 2019

He also said middle New Zealand deserved some tax relief because of rising costs.

While he says the Budget has "not lived up to its hype," he did commend the $1.9 billion investment into mental health.

"The reality is what they’ve done is good, there is smoke and mirrors there though. For example, in that $1.9 billion you talk about you’ve got Housing First which was a National Party policy.

"Now would you really say that was mental health?"

Mr Bridges said it was a case of "double counting" but he wasn't critical of "that part of the Budget."

He said in the health sector, Labour was "barely keeping the lights on" because of a "huge raft of broken promises."


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Mr Bridges has expressed a dismal view of today’s wellbeing budget announcement. Source: 1 NEWS