Political reaction: What party leaders say about the budget

Don Brash,
National Party Leader

Budget 2005 is an opportunity lost for all New Zealanders.

We are bleeding Kiwis to Australia. Six hundred of our best and brightest get on the plane each week. There is nothing in this Budget to encourage them to stay.

The promise to tinker with tax thresholds three years down the track is nothing short of an insult to hard-working Kiwis who have been over-taxed for the past six years.

I can promise you here and now National will do better than this.

Winston Peters,
New Zealand First leader

There is nothing in this Budget which seriously addresses our border security issues and no increased funding for essential work at the Immigration Service, despite the clear failure of this department.

This Government has abandoned any prospect of growing exports and has conceded that they will decline over the next few years.

I support the increased funding to residential and home-based care for older people. I am pleased the Government has finally recognised the importance of improving our savings record, although the measures outlined won't work.

Rodney Hide,
Act Party leader

Hard-working Kiwis have been ripped off again.

Cullen's forecasting $21.2 billion in surpluses over four years but says he can only afford to give the average worker $6 a week - and only in three years' time.

It's a budget of missed opportunities. We need tax cuts for hard-working families now, to unlock higher growth and raise our future living standards.

Peter Dunne,
United Future leader

While we're delighted that we've managed to break the logjam in terms of the principles of adjusting tax rates, we're very disappointed that the Government has lacked the courage to implement these changes as soon as possible.

We think these changes should take effect from April 1, 2006, not 2008, and we would have shifted the tax brackets even higher.

Rod Donald,
Green Party co-leader

We have bouquets and brickbats for the budget.

The Kiwi Saver and home ownership scheme is good. Allowing more foreign investment to undermine it is bad. More money for childcare is good, more for motorways is bad. Students, beneficiaries and too many children miss out yet again. And the environment hardly rates a mention.

Tariana Turia,
Maori Party co-leader

Budget 2005 represents a desperate Government trying to please everyone with a simplistic band-aid approach.

"Getting tough" by punishing paua poachers ($11 million), yet only $3 million to address the significant impact of drug abuse; committing $40 million to build courtrooms, but only $1.8 million on suicide prevention; forcing mothers out to work, and addressing family violence by ignoring the family and focusing on agencies.

Tangata whenua will be pleased with funding to improve drinking water systems, special education, rural health and cataract operations but devastated at lack of recognition of Te Tiriti o Waitangi - and no mention of Maori in the budget speech.

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