Budget 2020 hasn’t provided anything of note for the primary sector at a time when it is leading our nation’s rebuild, National’s Agriculture spokesperson Todd Muller says.
Like other commentators, we can’t help but notice many of the spending allocations are not accompanied by policy outcome targets. No doubt burned by the Kiwibuild fiasco (‘10,000 houses a year’), the government now seems wary of setting specific targets. This will not help it spend billions wisely. Much moola could end up in the wind.
We also note some contradictions: nearly $2 billion for mental health is laudable, but is diametrically opposed to the likely effects of legalising dope. And $8.5 million is earmarked for research into reducing agricultural emissions. This is, at best, a token amount, given the scale of the challenge of meeting the punishing emissions targets suggested by the government. If James Shaw was serious about helping farmers reduce emissions in any way other than wholesale destocking, a bit more coin would have been in order.