Jonathan Coleman: Help for the average household
We need a Budget that focuses on measurable results that matter to the average household: relief from spiralling inflation; better access to primary care health services and hospital operations; investment to really raise our declining levels of education achievement; taking a much harder line on gangs. Every dollar allocated needs to be linked to a plan for improving outcomes.
I want to see a clear narrative and plan for economic growth. Tell us how living standards will rise and how you're going to make that happen. Let's see costed infrastructure initiatives and a timetable for delivering them.
There needs to be something in this for household finances. How about inflation-adjusting income tax brackets so people can keep more of their own money, and cutting fuel excise taxes. Restore faith that there is an economic future for people here in NZ.
We need to see the Finance Minister getting the Government books in order and limiting the current out-of-control growth in spending. Start with capping the growth in public servant numbers. How are we going to pay off the extra billions spent on getting through the past two years?
We must look outwards. There needs to be money spent on promoting NZ as an attractive investment, education and travel destination, and appropriate inducements to regain the ground lost in these areas. Open back up to the world. International security can't be ignored: it's time to increase defence spending to 2 per cent of GDP and show our traditional friends that we are not freeloaders.
It's not the time to be spending on nice-to-haves. I want to see a Budget that takes the same care with the nation's finances that Kiwi households are having to take with their own, and gives a bit back to people at the same time.
• Dr Jonathan Coleman is a former National MP and minister in the John Key-led government from 2008 to 2017, including Health and Defence.
Sue Bradford: Housing, health and climate
By the end of March, the number of households on the Ministry of Social Development waiting list had jumped to 27,000 and this only accounts for a fraction of those in desperate housing need.
It would be great to see Government establish a new department covering every stage of the building process from acquiring land and procuring materials through to construction, accelerating supply to a minimum of 30,000 new state houses a year.
Simultaneously there is an urgent need for rent controls and the beginning of a concerted programme to disincentivise housing investment as the engine room of profit. It's homes we need, not landlords.
Monday's climate change measures barely touched the surface of what's required. Reducing emissions should be the priority, not playing games with carbon credits.
Agriculture must be included in emission control with a deliberate programme to de-intensify dairy, get rid of synthetic nitrogen fertiliser and foster regenerative farming at scale. Free public transport within towns and cities is key to this mix. My personal dream is to see the restoration of regular daily passenger rail services on the Auckland-Northland line.
I hope Mr Robertson will take the wide-ranging challenges across the health system seriously, lifting wages and conditions and filling staffing gaps urgently. The new health structure is an opportunity to finally put mental health on an equal footing with physical health – and to lift both. Dental care should be moved to a partial subsidy system like the one we use for GPs. We need maternity and postnatal care which treats mothers – and those who care for them – as worthy and valuable, rather than a societal afterthought.
I'm not holding my breath on this wish list, but I'd surely like to see a Government brave enough to take these measures.
• Sue Bradford is a social activist and anti-poverty advocate and was a Green Party MP from 1999 to 2009.
Shane Jones: Focus, not vanity projects
The Finance Minister showed fiscal boldness during Covid. Some of it was wasted on firms who never required it but c'est la vie, that is politics. He wanted to recast the economy coming out of Covid's clutches. Well try this on in your Budget, show and tell.
Tax relief for businesses, including enhanced tax depreciation and adjusted tax brackets to reward work and commitment. The cost of living crisis requires a hip pocket injection. If households cannot fill the grocery trolley, a free e-bike is redundant.
Fund new energy transmission capacity in the regions. The private sector will invest in clean energy. Immediate investment in rural housing infrastructure within 100 days. Build the "roads" and the investment traffic will follow. Oops, this Budget doesn't like cars but when the passengers vote next year, you'll get it.
Disbandment of light rail in Auckland, the Mt Roskill seat is not that important.
Drop the Three Waters ideology in the Māngere poo plant. Focus on fixing drinking water for all Kiwis rather than sneaking iwis into the corporate box seat.
Kiwis are not great savers; they will need access to bank finance without justifying restaurant bills and other ordinary purchases. Therefore, legislate adjustments to the Orwellian Credits Contracts and Consumer Finance Act (CCCFA) to enable borrowers to access mortgage finance and bank loans in an efficient and expeditious manner.
Transformation requires focus, not a raft of political itches or vanity projects such as cash for clunkers.
• Shane Jones was minister of regional economic development in the Labour-NZ First government of 2017-2020. He has been an MP for NZ First and Labour in the past.