Whoa there, Minister – a majority of Kiwis will be disappointed if govt spending is not curbed in this year’s Budget

Uh, oh – it’s probably too late to influence the government on the case for its spending to be curbed  ahead of the Budget Speech to be delivered on Thursday.  The speech and the raft of documents that will accompany it will be ready for the printer – if not already printed – by now.

But the New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union has ascertained that most New Zealanders oppose increasing Government spending.

A new scientific poll of 1,000 respondents was conducted by Curia Market Research and asked,

Given the current levels of inflation, do you think the Government should continue to increase overall spending in this year’s budget, or keep it about the same?

We suspect Finance Minister Grant Robertson – and the rest of his government – will be surprised to learn that only 15% of the respondents support increasing spending, whereas a hefty 65% support keeping it at the same level. Twenty per cent are unsure.

According to the Taxpayers’ Union:

Majorities favour spending restraint in every age group, area, gender, and deprivation level.

Even among Labour and Green voters, only 27% favour increased spending. Among undecided voters, only 8% want an increase in spending.

Union spokesman Louis Houlbrooke says $6 billion of new operational spending has been earmarked for Thursday’s Budget, which suggests Grant Robertson has badly misjudged the public appetite for big spending.

“New Zealanders understand that one driver of higher living costs is Government spending bidding up the prices of goods and services.

“Moreover, Kiwi households are responding to higher costs by making prudent sacrifices, and they expect the Government to do the same.”

According to Houlbrooke, New Zealanders are aware the Finance Minister has so much money in his fiscal envelope largely because inflation has pushed workers into higher tax brackets.

The best thing Robertson could announce on Thursday, therefore, would be  to return those “ill-gotten gains” to productive New Zealanders via income tax relief.

Point of Order will be keen to hear what Houlbrooke has to say after the Budget speech has been delivered and the budget programme – especially the spending – analysed.

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