Budget 2014: What we want

MICHAEL DALY AND SIOBHAN DOWNE
Last updated 05:00 15/05/2014

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Alida Parker, 23, is an in-home caregiver from Palmerston North and a single mum. Earns $10,000-$15,000 along with some help from the accommodation supplement and Working for Families. Voting intention, Labour.

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Parker is hoping more money will be put into childcare and health in today's Budget.

She lives in a rented house in Palmerston North with her two-year-old son Felix and works part-time, earning $14.25 an hour.

She would most like to see better childcare allowances for working parents, which would mean she was able to work at least 20 hours a week.

"It's better to work more and I want to, but I can't because I have limited childcare at the moment," she said.

She is also hoping there will be no increase in the $5 per item charge she has to pay for her prescriptions. For Felix, visits to the doctor and prescriptions are free.

More funding was needed for healthcare, Alida said.

"I work in the healthcare sector. I think we should get paid better to do that. We're looking after the people who need the most help - disabled people and old people."

Regardless of what is in the Budget, the Government has little chance of getting Alida's vote.

"I always have gone towards Labour. I don't like the way National does things."

She says she is an unwilling observer of the political scene.

"I've been turning politicians off on TV," she said.

***

Murray Bacon, 57, of Auckland, cares for partner who has Parkinson's disease. They receive income from her Australian disability pension. Voting intention, undecided.

Bacon is probably one of a select few expecting "quite a bit of entertainment value" from the Budget.

"I'm thinking they [the Government] are going to second-guess Labour's policies, trying to have the meanest version of Labour's policies they think they can get away with," he said.

He said he was generally happy with the direction of National's policies, but was concerned about conflict of interest issues, particularly concerning casino operator SkyCity.

Bacon, who owns his own home in Mt Eden, said he also suspected "Christchurch needs a lot more government help than it has had".

During the past decade he had voted for the party that scared him the least. He resented feeling he did not have an option to vote for a party he thought was best.

While National had promised policies that were generally down the centre, he thought what the Government had delivered were more "hardline capitalist" than was being admitted.

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He said he had no idea who he would be voting for in the election. "I'm a spinning voter, changing my mind about five times a week."

He doubted the Budget would help him make a decision.

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Ron Paul, 56, manufacturer of Auckland. Earns $70,000 a year. Voting intention, National.

Paul is hoping the Government will manage to keep spending down in the Budget. He would also like to see more incentives encouraging people to save.

"They should not tax people who have actually got money in the bank ... they should cut the dole for people who haven't worked after six months, similar to what they're doing in Australia."

He thinks too much money is being spent on Government consultants who don't make a difference. "It's like, what do you guys actually do? All you do is farm the bloody work out to everybody else."

Paul, who works and lives onsite at his door system factory in Glen Eden, would like to see the removal of race-based policies and special privileges for Maori, and says this is the issue that is most likely to influence how he votes. He believes taxpayer funding of things like Maori language and television is unnecessary.

"I think we're turning into an apartheid state and it's dividing the country."

Paul thinks National deserves another turn as the other parties "just want to spend the money".

"[National has] been through the hard slog and recession, they picked up the pieces after Labour."

***

David Thomas, 52, unemployed accountant of Tauranga, wife and three children. Relies on wife's income of $85,000 a year. Voting intention, Labour.

Thomas says he can't see any evidence of the booming economy that National is "crowing about".

"I see overpriced houses, no action on Christchurch, people not able to pay their bills, and I'm still unemployed ... Where's the trickle-down?"

The qualified accountant has been looking for employment since being made redundant from Ernst & Young in 2009. "I want to work, but the problem is possibly my age." He now does mostly unpaid accounting work from home.

Thomas hopes to see some positive action on house pricing in the Budget, as he thinks prices are over-valued and banks are fuelling the speculation.

"I'd like to see some sort of regulation on the banks, and some positive movement towards taking speculation out of the property market."

He used to own his own home but now he and his family are renting as they could not afford to continue paying their mortgage. "I would have classed us as middle class at one point, probably not any more."

While he doesn't think any of the parties know what they are doing, he says he will probably vote for Labour in the upcoming election.

"I think National have done very little - they've helped the rich get richer. I don't think voting for National the last two elections has helped me."

- The Dominion Post

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