Thursday, June 20, 2024

Budget 2024: Willis reveals number of public service jobs chopped

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Finance Minister Nicola Willis has revealed the estimated number of jobs lost from the public sector now totals around 2250 roles, ahead of the release of Budget 2024.

An additional 1150 vacancies in Government departments have also been removed from the books, and a further 500 roles were expected to go, she said.

Willis revealed the figures in the post-Cabinet press conference today, which she attended alongside Prime Minister Christopher Luxon.

Today’s meeting was the last for Cabinet ahead of the release of the Budget, which will be available to the public from 2pm on Thursday.

“Our hearts go out to anyone losing their job,” Willis said.

She said the Budget had required the coalition government to “carefully prioritise” taxpayers’ dollars and it would be “unashamedly a Budget for the frontline”.

Last night, Willis hit social media with a new video foreshadowing Thursday’s Budget.

Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and Finance Minister Nicola Willis.

“As I’ve put together my first Budget, hardworking New Zealanders have been at the forefront of my mind,” Willis said in the video, which is set at night at the Beehive.

“Our Budget is all about you.”

Meanwhile, another post has also been circulating on social media, promoting a nationwide “activation” on Budget Day.

It suggests “for all Māori and tangata Tiriti to go on strike for the day to prove the might of our economy by disconnecting entirely from it”.

The posts have been distributed by several different groups — including Te Pāti Māori, who were also centrally involved in similar “activations” earlier this year.

In response, Luxon said everyone had the right to protest lawfully and respectfully.

Today, Willis said the Budget would be “consistent with the campaigns” of all three coalition parties, and it would reflect “responsible economic management”.

A tax calculator launched as part of the National Party election campaign was taken down in previous days, which Willis said wasn’t to be read into. She said it simply meant there would be an official tax calculator relaunched alongside the Budget.

Labour leader Chris Hipkins.

In the election, National promised tax relief of up to $100 a fortnight for some.

In response today, Labour leader Chris Hipkins said he believed the Government was making “fundamentally” the wrong choices with the Budget.

“Every time Christopher Luxon or Nicola Willis say ‘we couldn’t afford that’, just keep in mind they gave $2.9 billion worth of tax cuts to landlords. It isn’t that they couldn’t afford the thing that they’re saying they can’t afford, it’s just that they chose not to do that.”

Regarding the removal of National’s election campaign tax calculator, Hipkins said: “Well clearly, the numbers that are going to be out there on Thursday are going to be different from the numbers that they were promising up until now.”

Live coverage of the Budget on 1News.co.nz from 2pm on Thursday, with a Q+A Special on TVNZ1 from 2-4pm, and full detail and analysis on 1News at 6pm.

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