We asked Marlborough people in the region what they thought of yesterday's Budget
Tim Thomas, head of Marlborough Retailers Association:
While it is difficult to say what impact the Budget will have on Marlborough retailers in the short term, a zero Budget is a wise move for long-term growth. The goal to surplus by 2014 is important; if we reach surplus, there is less pressure on the Reserve Bank to curb inflation by raising interest rates. If interest rates are low, housing and construction will follow. The monetary policies should then take the pressure off the exchange rate, which is particularly important for Marlborough. It will improve the incomes for exporters and flow down to industries such as retail."
Andy Rowe, Marlborough businessman and Cuddon general manager:
"From a business perspective, it's nothing revolutionary. It's not going to have a major effect on what and how we do in business, either positively or negatively. There is going to be some personal hurt for some individuals – those who smoke or high-income earners with tax write-offs. From a business or district perspective, it's business as usual and shuffle the money around to where the perceived needs are without increasing the costs.
We're just going to bob along and hopefully the economy is going to pick up."
Alistair Sowman, Mayor of Marlborough:
"I think everyone was well prepared for the message of more frugality from this Budget. I welcome the new funding for science and research to generate innovation – we know that's the way to greater productivity and prosperity. I'm pleased to see there is funding targeted at teens who have dropped out of the system; we must do everything possible to stop young people wasting their lives. It's a relief that funding has been continued for the Warm-Up New Zealand home insulation fund that's supported by the district council. And it's great to see the Government committing funds into the Enviroschool Foundation."
Andrew Read, Bohally Intermediate School principal:
"The Government is removing the technology staffing provision for years 7 and 8 students. This is to be incorporated within the new staff:pupil ratio of 1:27.5 at the Year 7 and 8 level. Up until now it has been an additional provision to schools with year 7 and 8 pupils, but this looks as though it may change. We understand that, if this policy was applied tomorrow, we would lose staffing and the future of technology education would be in serious jeopardy. We are not sure what this would mean for the Marlborough Technology Centre and the provision of Technology education for the 17 schools that utilise this facility."
Tony Preston, Marlborough Grey Power president:
"Given the times, the Budget is very responsible. Not too many members have tax problems with boats and baches and judging by recent agms, there are not many smokers amongst us. The increase in prescription charges to $5 is a blow for some but not a biggie. The charge is on only the first 20 prescriptions then it reverts back to being free. In cases of hardship, there should be no embarrassment about going to Work and Income NZ for assistance. If they don't qualify, perhaps they can afford the $2."
Liz Evans, Marlborough farmer and Rural Women NZ national president:
"My concerns are about equity for rural communities. If you're going to tax the productive sector, it has an impact on rural service towns like Blenheim. Rural people are taxpayers too and sometimes it seems we're first in line for extra taxes and last in line for any benefits. The extra broadband funding to connect schools is good, and I welcome the commitment to look after the last 10 per cent by satellite services. Quite a large amount is being put into disability support services, and we advocate for home support services healthcare. I just hope the travelling costs of those carers working in rural areas is accounted for."
Brian Dawson, Marlborough Chamber of Commerce general manager:
"The Budget was predictable and sensible. The Government has to cut its cloth to suit the economic times. What we all need is a better idea of the Government's grand plan. They talk about the now. They don't talk about what New Zealand will look like in 2030, and how we convince young people to stay here and to come home from Australia. Until the Government shares its vision for the future, we're only being told half the story."
Liz Collyns, Labour electorate chairwoman and candidate in the 2011 general election:
"Yesterday's Zero Budget will deliver nothing for Marlborough.
The Budget is an acknowledgement of failing Government policies that lack ambition or direction. It's going to hurt Marlborough teenagers who've just got part-time jobs. This Budget has cut their earnings. We've been told for four years that jobs will be created but unemployment has risen by 50 here. The Government is squeezing more children into school classrooms and cutting teacher numbers. Marlborough needed a Budget providing hope that things will improve. Instead we got a Zero Budget for which we will all pay the price."
Jennie Crum, organic farmer:
"The Government's overly optimistic spin at the last Budget which they stated was about growth and jobs sadly has proved to be just that: spin. I feel mainly for the youngest generation in Marlborough with children now having to pay tax for their after-school jobs, being lumped with larger class sizes in school and having higher loan repayments when they're in university ... not to mention the long-term harm the Government aims to do them by selling their assets. I am in favour, however, of closing some of the tax loopholes – some of the bach owners won't like it but it seems fair."
- The Marlborough Express