No plan beyond tax, borrow and spend.

Budget 2018 will go down as the tax and spend, borrow and hope budget.

In spite of inheriting a bustling economy with 10,000 jobs being created every month, Labour is taxing more, spending more, borrowing more, and hoping that their broken promises are not noticed.

They spent the last nine years criticising everything the National government achieved and calling everything a crisis, yet this budget provides no new solutions.


They've dressed it up with rhetoric like "starved for funding" and "deficit support" but the reality is even their health budget is underwhelming and commits less each year than National did in the last budget.

Budget 2018 is strewn with broken promises. No universal cheaper doctor's visits, 1800 extra cops that aren't coming any time soon, no free iPads for every child at school, not to mention a raft of new taxes from a government that promised "no new taxes" in its first term.

There's nothing in the budget for Tauranga, but already we've got the council asking Phil Twyford for Tauranga's version of Auckland's regional fuel tax. So people in Tauranga will be paying more in tax but getting nothing in return.

Of course, Winston Peters is happy because he got his billion dollars for diplomats and a new embassy in Sweden. Unfortunately, Labour has prioritised that ahead of funding mental health and better roads for regions like Tauranga.

Labour has realised they don't have enough money to meet their excessive election commitments and so have increased future spending allowances by $5 billion.

Spending is the easy part. Governing is about delivering New Zealanders the public services they need and getting better results. That's more cops on the beat, more operations in our hospitals, and our kids doing better at school. There is no sign this Government has any understanding of that approach.

And New Zealanders are paying the price with a big lift in Government debt – $10.8 billion higher than National. That doesn't include an additional $6 billion of debt hidden off the Government's balance sheet.

Borrowing more and taxing more in strong economic conditions makes no sense and risks undoing all the hard work of New Zealanders over the last few years.


There is no meaningful help for Kiwi workers in this budget. In fact, middle-income families are getting steadily worse off, with the cancellation of National's tax changes and the big increases in fuel taxes that will take petrol and diesel prices to record levels.

But the most frustrating oversight in Labour's budget is any plan to keep our economy growing and developing. It's quite the opposite.

This Government's anti-business policies mean growth projections are more a hope than a prediction, despite strong growth internationally.

This is a hugely disappointing Budget of little imagination from a Government that is borrowing more, taxing more and spending more – but has no plans for how we as a country can earn more.

- Tauranga MP and Leader of the Opposition Simon Bridges .