Claire Trevett reports:
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Finance Minister Grant Robertson stood up yesterday and announced Labour would not be able to afford to do what it had wanted to do in next month’s Budget because it had to put its money into health and education.
The reason for this, they insisted, was because National had left things in a more parlous state than Labour had expected.
Such claims should be taken with a grain of salt.
Labour were warned often they should not pre-allocate the operational allowances. They are designed for unexpected expenses.
And some of the stuff they are trotting out is not unknown. They say ECE has not had a general funding increase for some years. Well surely they knew this before the election unless they are totally incompetent.
It is all a matter of priorities. Labour is saying it will spend $1.2 billion a year on free tertiary fees for students. Is that really more important than everything else they say they can’t fund?
But Budget 2018 is not the ultimate target of the softening up exercise on voters.
The ultimate target is 2020 when Labour will go back to the polls and seek to convince the public of the need for new or higher taxes.
Yep. Labour will want to hike taxes if they can.