Budget 2019: National's Judith Collins underwhelmed by support for small businesses

National MP Judith Collins has given her verdict on the Government's first Wellbeing Budget, disappointed more isn't being done to support small businesses.

Thursday saw Finance Minister Grant Robertson reveal the Budget after a week of hacking allegations and the release of Budget information by the National Party.

But it's left Collins underwhelmed. While she supports $1.9 billion being channelled into funding mental health services, she questions if there are enough workers in the sector to take advantage of the new funding.

"No workers available yet and with their anti-immigration policies, of New Zealand First in particular, that is going to be interesting to deliver on," she told The AM Show.

She also called the billion dollar investment in KiwiRail a "bottomless pit".

"This is all great except that is money that can't go into things that people might need, and I am sure the teachers are looking at that and thinking 'how about us guys?'"

But her biggest query is with what she claims was a lack of support for small business owners.

"The big thing that I think is important is that there is nothing in there for small business people and they're the people who keep the economy going and actually the economy is slowing."

But Labour Minister Kris Faafoi told The AM Show that is nonsense.

"There is a $300 million announcement for capital for small and medium size enterprises, because they are the ones struggling to get capital so they can grow.

"I don't think a $300 million investment is not supporting small and medium size enterprise. Maybe I will give Judith and National the page reference."

Judith Collins and Kris Faafoi.
Judith Collins and Kris Faafoi. Photo credit: The AM Show

One of the announcements regarding capital was a $300 million commitment to Kiwi start-ups looking to expand. The New Zealand Superannuation Fund will invest $240 million, while the additional $60 million will come from the New Zealand Venture Investment Fund.

The New Zealand Taxpayers Union, however, called the venture fund "socialism for nerds", saying if Kiwi entrepreneurs have good ideas, they should get money from investors or the bank - not the Government.

Collins said there was also red tape holding small businesses back.

"Taxes, all these sorts of things, all the compliance costs, the health and safety issues, all of these affect small businesses and there are things Government could do to help small business around that."

Faafoi questioned if Collins didn't believe health and safety was important, but she said she did, however, small businesses needed help to comply with the requirements.

The overall growth of the economy it forecast to slow to 2.6 percent on average over the next five years from above 3 percent in 2015-2018.

But Robertson said that is still above forecasts for other countries like the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada.

Newshub.

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