Budget 2014: What's the voters' verdict?

Nelson and Marama Harris with their children (from left) Te Hapuru, 12, Jayson, 10, Dakota, 4, Reiss, 9, Mari, 5, Tytan, 7, and Donna-Maree, 8. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Nelson and Marama Harris with their children (from left) Te Hapuru, 12, Jayson, 10, Dakota, 4, Reiss, 9, Mari, 5, Tytan, 7, and Donna-Maree, 8. Photo / Brett Phibbs

The parents: Nelson and Marama Harris

It's more than a year away, but free medicines and after-hours doctor visits for children under 13 are something to look forward to for the Harris family.

Nelson and Marama Harris, of Randwick Park, a high-deprivation suburb in South Auckland, have seven children aged 4 to 12.

Medical visits to their GP on weekdays are already free, but the after-hours clinic they sometimes use in Takanini lists its after-hours charges for children aged 6-17 at $17 for those from low-income areas or with a community services card and $41 for others.

Mr Harris, a power company cable installer, said the reduction in medical costs would give him and his wife - a student of travel and tourism who also looks after the children - a lot of peace of mind in an emergency.

Normally they would accept the costs of after-hours medical care as a necessity if their children needed to be seen, he said.

"Only if we were really stretched would I wait [until a weekday during office hours]. That would be rare, to wait till payday. We're trying to budget so we have got a reserve."

Mrs Harris said the abolition of the $5 prescription charge per subsidised medicine would make a difference for the family.

"Our oldest boy, one time I took him and it came to $30 for eczema."

The retiree: Bill Rayner

Despite no superannuation increases, a boost in spending on home-based care and elective surgery was a welcome relief, said retired financial director Bill Rayner.

Mr Rayner said it was disappointing spending on police was not increased, but liked the notion of investing more in science, agriculture and health studies at tertiary level.

"I think all the real positives for older people is probably the increase in the health budget for home-based support, that's a particular need and also the increase in elective surgery.

"My disappointment is that the police budget has been frozen once again for the fifth year. It is such a critical part of our social structure, older people tend to see it as an important area and I think they are getting a rough deal."

He did not believe more funding should go to education, but liked that it targeted key areas.

"Education has gone up but I think there's still a real need for major reform there. It is moving in the right direction towards targeting specific areas like science, agriculture and health services."

He would have liked to see changes to increase base wages and was not sure that removing tariffs on building materials was enough to address housing shortages.

The businessman: Geof Nightingale

Auckland business owner Geof Nightingale would have welcomed an increase in the police budget, which has been frozen for the fifth consecutive year.

Mr Nightingale, a director of Navigator Business Software, said he felt the freeze was a mistake. On the occasions the business had been robbed the police response time had not been as quick as he would have liked.

However, the 54-year-old said he was pleased to see the $372 million surplus had topped previous forecasts.

"It is nice to see ACC giving back - they were quick to increase [levies] a while ago when they ran short and very slow to return it when they made some big gains."

He said R&D changes - which will see innovative businesses benefit from new tax measures - were also positive.

- NZ Herald

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