Government Announces ‘Bread and Butter’ Budget:

Government Announces ‘Bread and Butter’ Budget:

“Better than nothing” according to OUSA President Quintin Jane

(The Really Short Version)

Last Thursday, the Government released Budget 2023: ‘Supporting for today, building for tomorrow’. Coming ahead of the general election in October, and amidst the ever-growing cost of living, Budget 2023 has avoided Big And Scary topics like Capital Gains Tax and road cones, instead channeling money into cyclone recovery, education and a few small, immediate cost reliefs to New Zealanders. 


Tertiary Education:

$521 million has been allocated to the tertiary sector - the single largest increase in tertiary funding in NZ in 20 years. OUSA President Quintin Jane, noted for his annual live-tweet coverage of the Budget for Radio One, told Critic Te Ārohi the tertiary funding is “better than nothing.” He says it is a step in the right direction which will hopefully reduce the scope of proposed redundancies at Otago, and might mean the Government “sees the need to look after our universities.”



In more good news for students and the planet, public transport will be half-price for under 25s and free for under 12s from the 1st of July. $120 million has been allocated to expanding EV charging infrastructure, and close to $500 million will go to retrofitting houses to make them more climate-efficient. Climate spending comes from the $3.6 billion Climate Emergency Response Fund and totals $1.9 billion in Budget 2023 - one billion dollars less than climate spending in Budget 2022.



Perhaps the most novel change to come out of Budget 2023 is the axing of prescription copays - no more $5 charge when you collect your Ritalin or birth control. This is projected to assist three million New Zealanders access medication every year. The Minimum Wage Exemption, which allows disabled workers to be paid less than minimum wage, has been scrapped. Funding has also been allocated for 500 new nurses across the health workforce. Total health expenditure in Budget 2023 comes to $1 billion, and Health Minister Dr Ayesha Verrall says this is targeted at “winter, workforce and waitlists.”



Treasury is no longer predicting a recession (it’s cancelled), and tax on trusts will rise from 33% to 39%. There are no other major tax changes in this budget, something which the Government made clear prior to its release. This is despite a recent tax report from IRD revealing that the wealthiest New Zealanders are paying an effective tax rate of 9.2%.


Favourite Quotes

It wouldn’t be Budget Day without some hot and spicy quotes from our beloved politicians.

The announcement started off strong with Chris Bishop, Lower Hutt’s favourite shitposter, being told to “settle down” by Grant Robertson. National and ACT then fired shots at Labour once Grant finished his big delivery. National Party leader Christopher Luxon called it the “blowout budget,” not that he’s someone who needs money for a blowout anyway. He also said that he goes “everywhere every week”, which is giving big former-CEO-of-Air-New-Zealand energy. Wonder if he offset his carbon emissions? ACT Party leader David Seymour called it the “build back broke budget,” which sounds like a Brokeback Mountain joke and honestly it would’ve been better if it was. Show me the Backbone Budget uncut version.

Chris Luxon then accused the government of “gaslighting” Kiwis, as if that isn’t what all politicians kinda do anyway. In classic National Party fashion, he then went on a rant about “deficits” and “debt” and threw out some big scary finance bro language and numbers that didn’t make sense to anyone under the age of 26 because we all studied humanities. Oops! Sorry I don’t care about debt, I’m just waiting for the whole thing to collapse.

Chris Hipkins then spat back, saying “the biggest blowout we’ve seen today was the release of hot air from the leader of the opposition.” Oosh! It became difficult to tell the difference between Budget Day and a bunch of twelvies “fighting” behind the school canteen. Chris Hipkins and Grant Robertson called this budget “supporting for today, building for tomorrow,” which is an interesting way to phrase “bare minimum today, climate catastrophe tomorrow” but we’ll take it.


Annabelle’s Hot Takes

Annabelle, insufferable politics student and Critic’s bona fide astrologer, thought that Grant Robertson gave us the best leftist striptease since Channing Tatum in Magic Mike. While Grant didn’t come right out with emancipation for the working class or the much-needed wealth tax, he still gave us a few good tidbits.

The $521 million towards Tertiary Funding is a tremendous slay that ought to make any academic or student feel something, but added that it would have been nice for the Government to come out with some direct and immediate funding for Otago University. You can bail out banks, why not bail out a uni?

Although Grant delivered, on the same day researchers announced that it is more than likely the world will hit 1.5 degrees of warming by 2027. So we’re all kinda fucked anyway; have fun while it lasts, kids. Government Kiwisaver contributions are also to continue being paid to women who go on maternity leave. Huge step for feminists and girlbosses everywhere. 

This article first appeared in Issue 12, 2023.
Posted 3:56pm Sunday 21st May 2023 by Annabelle Vaughan and Eileen Corcoran.