It's a cardinal sin in politics to over-promise and under-deliver.

The new Minister of Finance delivered his first Budget recently and, while significantly increasing spending in some unexpected areas, failed to honour a number of Labour's key election commitments in important areas including Health, Education, Police and Housing.

A decade ago, when John Key's National-led government came into office, we inherited an economy in recession following Labour's unprecedented spending spree.

Soon afterwards the Global Financial Crisis hit countries for six. When the Canterbury earthquakes and other significant challenges such as Kiwifruit's PSA outbreak and the Rena disaster struck, pressure on our public finances became even more acute.


In the following years we brought government spending under control and implemented policies, including the Business Growth Agenda, which saw New Zealand's economy become one of the strongest performers in the developed world.

In recent Budgets we had invested significantly more into priority areas for government spending, and that would have remained our commitment had we not been removed from office during last year's coalition negotiations.

The new government has made much of their determination to spend more of taxpayers' hard-earned funds.

While I am supportive of anything affordable that will lead to better outcomes in vital public services, and improving pay and conditions for people who work in those areas, I am astonished at the Government's priorities as revealed in their pre-Christmas mini budget and again in the May Budget.

Ministers now claim they lack the money to keep their promises, despite assuring us during last year's election campaign that all their policies were carefully costed. Instead, they're hiking existing taxes and implementing new ones.

Some of their broken promises include: reducing the cost of doctors' visits for everyone this year; boosting Whānau Ora funding by $20 million; ending school donations in their first Budget; funding 1800 new police officers; and lifting the cap on loans for students taking longer courses (such as medicine and dentistry).

There was no mention in the Budget of their long-promised commuter rail service between Hamilton and Auckland, and they are now promising 1200 fewer new social houses over the next three years than National had committed to in our last Budget.

Clearly New Zealand First extracted a high price for last year's political marriage, which is why Amy Adams described the document as "the Dowry Budget".


They have found $3 billion for Shane Jones's pet projects; $1 billion for more diplomats and a new embassy in Stockholm; millions for winter energy payments to people earning six-figure incomes; fees-free tertiary education for students studying for high-earning courses such as law and accountancy, and so on.

Governments cannot please everyone, but Budget 2018 is a breach of trust.