New Zealand government will prioritize ‘welfare’ economic growth in national budget
The New Zealand government will focus part of its annual budget on the “well-being” of its citizens rather than economic growth or other priorities, the country’s prime minister said on Thursday.
During an event on Wednesday reported by points of sale, in particular The New York Times and The Guardian, Government officials and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s administration unveiled a sweeping budget that provides billions of dollars in new funding for mental health resources and domestic violence prevention.
Ardern, whose center-left party has controlled the New Zealand government since 2017, said on Wednesday the budget was “the biggest investment ever” by a government to address issues such as public priorities.
“Almost all of us have lost friends or family members. Ensuring that New Zealanders can now go to their GP or health center and get specialist mental health support is an essential first step, ”she said, according to The Guardian.
Domestic violence, she added, was New Zealand’s “most disturbing and shameful” problem and would be the target of more than $ 200 million in funding for prevention efforts.
The Times reports that prioritizing New Zealand’s budget will require any new government spending to meet at least one of five public priorities: tackling child poverty, improving mental health services, meeting the needs of Maori and Pacific Islanders, to make the nation a low-emission, “prosperous in the digital age” energy network.
A member of the country’s main conservative opposition party fired back in a statement, saying previous governments had also prioritized “welfare” and that Ardern’s policy was little more than spectacle.
“New Zealanders will not benefit from a government that ignores the slowing economy and instead focuses on branding,” Amy Adams of the National Party said in a statement obtained by The Times. “We face significant economic risks over the next few years, but this government is focused on a marketing campaign.”