As far as revolutionary budgets are concerned, there have been plenty of them over the years, but it seems New Zealand has outdone itself by announcing a budget that is going to have a larger focus on mental health issues and poverty alleviation. In this regard, it is necessary to point out that the New Zealand economy has slowed down and hence, the $2.5 billion allocations towards wellbeing is being lauded in large parts of the world. In fact, the authorities were frank enough to inform that economic growth will be slower over the next year and surpluses will contract as well. This is the first budget in history that is aimed at raising the overall wellbeing of the population of the country rather than merely chasing economic growth.
The new spending over the next four years is going to be pegged at NZ$ 3.8 billion, and it is interesting to note that the forecast from the last budget had estimated total spending of NZ$ 2.4 billion. Mental health has been a recurring issue in New Zealand for some time, and the country has one of the highest rates of suicide at a global level, which is why NZ$ 1.9 billion is going to be allocated towards mental health every year. Grant Robertson, who is the Finance Minister of New Zealand, explained the budget’s main thrust. In addition to that, significant amounts have also been allocated to fund schools, hospitals, and upgrading of railways. Funds have also been allocated towards fighting the scourge of domestic violence in the country.
We are measuring our country’s success differently. We are not just relying on gross domestic product (GDP), but also how we are improving the wellbeing of our people, protecting the environment and strengthening of our communities.
Needless to say, there has also been criticism towards the budget and Simon Bridges, the leader of the National Party stated,
Families want more money in their weekly budgets for food, petrol, and rent. Instead, their taxes are going towards the rail, the defense force, and trees.