A great Budget would embrace the challenge of our polluted rivers and move the money away from justifying the status quo water rules into cleaning up waterways. A great Budget would take the Ministry for the Environment freshwater budget and prioritise a plan for swimmable rivers. More money needs to be used for assisting farmers with retiring land near lakes and some rivers and with fencing and riparian planting. Grants could be given to the many fantastic restoration projects and to support the transition from overstocked dairy conversions to sustainable agriculture including the lucrative organic food production sector. The money being wasted by Government on things like the flag referendum could be prioritised to help clean up lakes like Lake Wairewa and Lake Forsyth and a number of iconic rivers in a degraded state. It will take more than money to achieve swimmable waterways, it needs changes to the rules, but more money into clean up and stopping dairy conversions and would be a fantastic start. A price on commercial use of water could build funds for clean up as well.
A great Budget would increase the overall education spend as more children are reaching school age and participating in Early childhood education. A great Budget would drop the failed Charter schools model and spend that money on the Greens school hubs programme of social support for low decile schools. This programme funds a coordinator to organise a school nurse, a lunch programme, adult education , free after school care and whatever else a school community needs to support families.
A great Budget would restore early childhood funding so that centres could afford to hire qualified staff and keep child to adult ratios low. This would also mean that centres would reduce the extra costs that are being passed on to parents on top of the 20 hours per week subsidy.
A great Budget would increase the number of families able to access school support for special needs and would fund a national plan for dyslexia education. It would save money in the health and justice budgets if children with learning differences were supported by teachers who had centrally funded and school support. A strong Green voice in a progressive Government could make a huge difference, protecting the environment and standing up for all kids education.