Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been making a big deal about cuts to Conservation funding and the impact they are having on the work the Department of Conservation is charged with doing. Yet Maggie Barry, the Minister of Conservation, says I’ve got it all wrong. So I thought a review might be in order.
Budget 2016 once again left our only public broadcaster, Radio NZ (RNZ), worse off. After eight years of funding freezes, you have to wonder if RNZ is being iced-out for ideological reasons.
The Budget is an opportunity for the Government to launch a pesticide reduction strategy that multiplies the Environmental Protection Authority’s (EPA) and the Ministry for Primary Industries capacity to reassess pesticides and other toxins. A government organic strategy and supportive advisory programme, could mean a major switch to highest value organic production for our primary production exports from all parts of New Zealand.
On the face of it farmed and domestic animals in this country have strong legal protection from abuse, cruelty and neglect.
This housing crisis is just the latest consequence of a Government who puts the interests of the few wealthy people above the needs of NZ families.
Ensuring the best start for our tamariki is a priority for me in everything I do. And so in Budget 2016, my first budget as an MP, I looking for the Government to make a real investment in the wellbeing of our tamariki.
To paraphrase Justin Trudeau – “It’s 2016”. Money needs to be in the budget to deliver equal pay this year to caregivers at the very least and that may require widening the tax base, which in turn if done well would help reduce inequality in our society at the other end.
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.