New Zealanders want the government to prioritise spending on health, education and housing in next month’s budget, according the latest 1 News Colmar Brunton Poll.
We asked “The Government will announce the new budget next month. What do you think should be the main priority for any additional government spending in the budget?”
The results are:
30% - Health
13% - Education
10% - Housing
9% - Roads and Public Transport
6% - Poverty and Welfare
4% - Mental Health
2% - Policing
1% - Environment
1% - Tax cuts
1% - Regional investment
Finance Minister Grant Robertson is aware of the areas New Zealanders want action on, though he's already dampening expectations, saying when Labour opened the books it discovered there was more to do than it thought.
“We know that health, housing, education are the things New Zealanders want action on and we've got a plan to deal with that,” Mr Robertson said.
“We need to invest in those, there hasn't been the investment in them over the last nine years, in fact they have been drastically underfunded in some cases and they will be a priority in this year’s budget.”
The finance minister says that reinforces his decision to cancel this year’s tax cuts.
“In the election we heard from New Zealanders consistently that they didn't believe now was the right time for tax cuts, people see the states of the hospitals, they want to make sure that the schools there children go to are quality ones,” Mr Robertson said.
National disagrees, saying the Government now needs to cough up on budget day after raising expectations across the country.
“That's just plain wrong, if you look at what we did every year we increased investments in health in education,” Opposition Leader Simon Bridges said.
“I think they have incredibly raised expectations of New Zealanders, let's see if they can make good.”