Written By: - Date published: 8:00 am, May 19th, 2018 - 64 comments
Categories: Amy Adams, Deep stuff, democracy under attack, health, labour, making shit up, Media, national, nz first, same old national, Simon Bridges, social media lolz, spin, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, twitter, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags:
Graphic courtesy of @ArrestJK
The sixth Labour Government has released its first budget and it is reassuring. Fiscally cautious but there is lots of money being pumped into health and education. And a big chunk into the environment. Which is a good thing.
I enjoyed Grant Robertson’s speech. He deserves plaudits for a well constructed and carefully balanced budget. Well done to him.
Some on the left think he needed to be braver. Maybe but politics is all about achieving the possible without scaring largish sections of the population. And the negotiations with NZ First were never going to make this a simple process.
I then put up with Shouty Simon’s speech in response. I could hear the knives being sharpened as he shouted. He is struggling and is confusing depth with loudness.
But one particular part of his speech really stuck. He said this:
And here is the worst part: the indictment on this Budget. They’re borrowing more, they’re taxing more, they are spending more, and there’s less on health. There is less on health in this Budget. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Page 9—$770 million, $812 million, $804 million, $797 million in the next four years. Sorry, what did we spend? It was $880 million. And that was Grant Robertson’s top priority—a billion dollars for diplomats, and Kelvin Davis can’t even fund more in health spending. What a disgrace.
So I thought, how can this be? How can Labour be spending less on health than National in its last budget?
And $770 million on health sounded rather light. I thought it was about $17 billion or so.
And so I did some checking. I had a look at the Health Appropriations and sure enough the total budget appropriation was $18.25 billion compared to last year’s appropriation of $16.70 billion, an increase of $1.55 billion. This includes a big chunk of capital spending for DHBs ($847m).
I then concluded that Simon was talking about the increase in the spend on health and not the spend itself.
Vote health increased by $879 million in 2017. But $1.54 billion of the 2017 health budget was to pay for the court ordered increase for care and disability support workers as part of the TerraNova pay equity settlement. And the figure mentioned by Bridges was almost right although it was not the figure for the spend.
National was dragged screaming and kicking into paying this compensation and fought it all the way. It seems they are still claiming the spend to be evidence of its virtue, even thought it was forced most reluctantly to fund payment of the compensation.
But now, if I understand Bridges’ claims correctly National is saying that its last increase in the health budget was bigger than Labour’s therefore National’s budget for health was better than Labour’s. Yes this makes no sense.
It is not as if Bridges misspoke. National’s social media repeated this lunacy.
— Simon Bridges (@simonjbridges) May 17, 2018
Labour had the perfect response.
Check your sums, Simon. pic.twitter.com/xHAZP9ECnD
— New Zealand Labour (@nzlabour) May 17, 2018
But this is not the only area where National’s analysis was plain wrong. It maintained that the funding for Pharmac was going to reduce when the opposite was the truth.
— Christopher Bishop (@cjsbishop) May 17, 2018
PHARMAC funding has increased, not decreased under this budget @amyadamsMP. This was pointed out to National yesterday. That you choose to repeat the lie speaks volumes about your party’s “constructive opposition”. pic.twitter.com/1athmq2hvA
— John Hart (@farmgeek) May 17, 2018
"PHARMAC is pleased that the Government has announced an uplift in PHARMAC’s funding.
The Combined Pharmaceutical Budget (CPB) will be increased to a record level of $985m in 2018/19 – an increase of just under $114.2m on the 2017/18 CPB level."https://t.co/8aGcfPswvX https://t.co/uGHJQGZ7MF
— Clint Smith (@ClintVSmith) May 17, 2018
And National’s social media sucked.
From mass tweeting of attack lines …
— caffeine addict (@caffeine_addict) May 18, 2018
To lame as boat references …
A National Government I lead will make the boat go faster, not drop anchor on New Zealand. #Budget2018
— Simon Bridges (@simonjbridges) May 17, 2018
And National’s Finance Spokesperson getting schooled on finances by a blogger with fifth form accounting …
You've double-counted it. The operating allowance is part of the budgeted expenditure, which means it's already included in the debt.
— Keith Ng (@keith_ng) May 17, 2018
National look really messy. If they hope to win back power they should start by critising the Government for things that it has done. And not inventing things that can be easily disproved.