Key issues must be addressed in Budget


Auckland diocese’s Justice and Peace Commission has called for key issues of climate change response, housing affordability and child poverty to be addressed in the Government’s 2021 Budget.

In a submission in response to the Government’s 2021 Budget Policy statement, the JPC welcomed the Government’s intention to overlay their Covid-19 response by addressing such key issues.

The JPC submission stated that it looked forward to these areas receiving priority funding in the Budget, scheduled to be delivered by Finance Minister Grant Robertson on May 20.

But a signalled “Wellbeing Outlook” for the Budget should be matched with a “Sustainability Outlook”, to be “applied at all levels of Government as another yardstick to measure all policies and actions against”, the submission stated.

The JPC noted the Government’s intention of a “Just Transition” to “a climate-resilient, sustainability and low-emissions economy, while building back from Covid-19”.

The submission suggested the establishment of an Environmental Sustainability Commission to help make the “Just Transition” happen. The commission would work on developing sustainability guidelines to help all ministries to apply a “Sustainability Approach” and provide public guidelines and education.

The remit of such a commission could be broad, addressing issues of waste, sustainable land-use, recycling and re-use of materials.

The JPC also called for a strengthening of public transport, as well as a quick transition of private transport to “no emission”. Incentives to achieve this, and investment in the electricity supply grid to aid use of electric vehicles, were recommended.

The submission also called for the provision of truly affordable private housing by greater use of rent-to-buy and shared-equity schemes, and by “making Government land available for new homes to be built by the Government, and sold to new homeowners on a leasehold basis at a reasonable and controlled rental”.

Alongside this, measures to provide for greater security of rental tenure and controls of private rents were advocated.

The submission acknowledged the goal in the pre-Budget statement of providing better access to warm, dry and safe housing, but the JPC requested that “child poverty be addressed by including in the 2021 Budget sufficient funds to lift the wellbeing of families in need, by enabling them to have a decent income to support themselves, by increasing the base benefit for families in line with accumulated inflation, continuing to increase the minimum wage, and establishing a Social Welfare Commission to ensure all families access the assistance they are entitled to in times of need”.

Such a commission would be “similar to the Health and Disability Commission so as to ensure that all New Zealanders receive their full
entitlements that will improve their chances of looking after their own families and to contribute to society as a whole”.

Among the other areas the submission touched on included recommending greater support for prisoner rehabilitation, re-training and support, as well as the establishment of further marine reserves, reduction of the uses of pesticides, improving air and water quality, and restorative and protective action by the Department of Conservation.

Posted in

NZ Catholic Staff

Reader Interactions

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *