Marlborough Express - Reflections on history-making Budget
We are now well into June and the Budget, released on May 21, is almost history. However, before that happens I would like to dwell on some aspects of the budget that are, in my opinion, historymaking.
For the first time in over 43 years, benefits to the needy are above the rate of inflation.
This came as a surprise to many and is indicative of the Government's desire to target spending where it is most needed.
We do not believe that simply throwing money at a problem will solve underlying issues, particularly when it comes to dealing with the lives of vulnerable New Zealanders.
The Budget included around $65 million to help vulnerable people access suitable housing and the Social Housing Reform Bill allows for a more flexible approach to contracting housing providers.
This was my first Budget as MP for Kaikoura.
It was an interesting experience being in the House following the Budget itself, supporting the process that ensured that important legislation was passed.
I spoke on two bills, the Social Housing Bill and the legislation designed to improve biosecurity and border security, as well as improve data management regarding passenger movement in and out of New Zealand. Good data will hopefully prevent a recurrence of incidents like that of Philip Smith absconding to Brazil.
The budget also saw over $200 million allocated to front line policing and crime prevention. We want to see the crime rate decrease even further than it has already.
The fact that we have the lowest crime rate since 1978, shows that our targeted approach is working.
The government is working hard for all New Zealanders and the Budget reflects that.
Feedback from around the electorate confirms my view that constituents are positive at the direction we are headed.
Finally, congratulations to those recipients of the Queen's Birthday Honours in the Kaikoura electorate. It is great to see all the hours of dedication and work acknowledged and appreciated.