Budget gives with one hand and takes with the other says Caritas

Short-sighted policy changes, taking with one hand while giving with the other, may leave vulnerable groups short-changed in this year’s Budget, says Catholic social justice agency Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand.

Caritas Director Julianne Hickey says the Catholic agency assesses the impact of Budget measures through the lens of the common good: what will contribute to and achieve the full human potential of each of us and of all of us? ‘Catholic social teaching sees a person as more than their cost or value on a balance sheet. A myopic view of people simply as economic units cannot enhance our wellbeing as a society.’

Mrs Hickey says it is hard to see the full impact of Budget changes because, while the detail of new spending has been given, the detail of ‘savings’ or cost-cutting is less transparent. However, she says aspects of the Budget seem hard to understand or even illogical, particularly where funding cut-backs are occurring apparently in areas of priority to government.

‘For example, it is shortsighted to set goals that beneficiaries with young children will return to the workforce and that participation in early childhood education will increase, while simultaneously making formal childcare less affordable by freezing childcare subsidies. It is shortsighted to open an Advanced Technology Institute to increase skills in science and technology, while simultaneously eliminating student allowances for post-graduate study.

‘Similarly, it is shortsighted to set goals to increase educational achievement at NCEA level, while reducing class-to-teacher ratios. And it is shortsighted to partially sell state-owned power companies to fund infrastructure development in rail – which is only required because of past, failed experiments in privatisation.’

Read Caritas Press Release

Image: Zimbio

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