You may have heard of the ‘Wellbeing Budget’ championed by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
It pledges billions of dollars for mental health services and to tackle child poverty. The budget also provides large new investments to address family violence.
That all sounds well and fine, in a socialist sort of way. But while the government is planning a big cash splash for the poorest Kiwis, middle class workers are finding it increasingly difficult to make ends meet.
Even the woman adorning the cover of the New Zealand government’s latest budget says she has given up on the country and moved to Australia.
New Zealand’s annual national budget was handed down on Thursday and eschewed the simple cover designs of the past in favour of a vibrant photo of a smiling woman and a girl below the words ‘The Wellbeing Budget’.
But the person in the stock photo, Vicky Freeman, told the NZ Herald she and her daughter — also pictured — moved across the Tasman since the photoshoot because of the unreasonable price of living in Auckland while working as an actress.
‘I don’t follow [politics] at all, to be honest,’ Freeman told the paper.
‘A friend just messaged me and said: “You’re all over the news”. And I was like: “What, what have I done? I’m not even there”.’
Freeman — who also reportedly lived in Australian during her 20s — and her daughter now reside in Queensland.
Opposition leader Simon Bridges held the photo up as he greeted reporters after the budget announcement, saying it demonstrated it was ‘all spin and glossy pics’.
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The Australian Tribune with AAP