Budget 2017 – here we go again

By   /   May 25, 2017  /   38 Comments

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All indications are National is about to outflank Labour on the left with its 2017 budget and leave the party that claims to represent working New Zealanders struggling to appear relevant.

All indications are National is about to outflank Labour on the left with its 2017 budget and leave the party that claims to represent working New Zealanders struggling to appear relevant.

National’s pitch to voters looks like putting real money in the pockets of low-income families through adjusting the thresholds at which various income tax rates kick in and increasing the accommodation supplement which currently goes to 250,000 families who are renting.

National has done over Labour like this many times before. The most audacious and cynical was John Key’s visit to McGehan Close in Mt Albert before the 2008 election where families struggling on low incomes were told Labour had left them behind and National was the party of hope for their futures.

Like hell it was. Key left them used and abused while he gave billions in tax cuts to the wealthiest New Zealanders using money that had to be borrowed and paid back by the rest of us.

Less cynical and more politically clever was the $25 a week increase for beneficiaries with children in the 2015 budget – the first benefit increase above the rate of inflation since the 1972 Norman Kirk Labour government. Since then Labour has left benefits to stagnate and refused any increase despite National having slashed them in 1991.

Labour never had the balls to stand up for our most vulnerable on benefits. In government, they screwed beneficiaries as hard as National and when they released the centrepiece of their most recent term in government – the Working for Families package – they left beneficiaries and their children out in the cold.

To Labour’s eternal shame, after nine years in government, during times of strong economic growth and massive government surpluses, they still had 175,000 of our children living below the poverty line when they were voted out in 2008.

This budget National will pitch to low and middle income earners and even beneficiaries will gain if tax thresholds are raised.

The real problem is that Labour remains a neo-liberal party, dedicated to the free market with no policies to tackle inequality or tax the rich. It’s a party afraid of its own shadow.

If the Labour leadership were honest they would put up billboards saying “Vote Labour- it’s our turn to run the free market for the rich”.

National was often accused of being Labour-lite by their right wing. It’s more accurate to call out Labour as National-lite.

Prepare to be embarrassed again this week as Andrew Little splutters ineffectually.

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38 Comments

  1. Michal says:

    Labour are dead they just haven’t lain down.

  2. CLEANGREEN says:

    Yes Nactional will rob from the poor in other ways you can bet that and take it to the bank.

    Next Nasty NATZ will increase the tax on something else as the word is out that come October they are looking at SOME NEW “TAX REGENERATION” SCHEME AGAIN.

    “Beware of politicians bearing gifts”

  3. XRAY says:

    John, I don’t want to wreck your day whilst you sing Nationals praises but any tax cut and any increase in the accommodation supplement is going to go straight from the tax payer to the housing investor, via rent rises. The market will feel its way but it will take it all, be rest assured.

    This is now you see it, now you don’t, largesse to the well off, yet again.

    The stiff that happens to rent their investment home becomes the conduit to that money but that tenant won’t be any better off.

    And we cannot afford anymore tax cuts, not unless social and base government services are to cease being dysfunctional.

    And despite how fucked up all of that is, you think its great.

    • Mike in Auckland says:

      “John, I don’t want to wreck your day whilst you sing Nationals praises but any tax cut and any increase in the accommodation supplement is going to go straight from the tax payer to the housing investor, via rent rises. The market will feel its way but it will take it all, be rest assured.”

      Rest assured, that will happen, much glee in the faces of rental property owners.

    • Michal says:

      I’m confused, I have read John’s article twice and I don’t see him singing National’s praises. Please give him a little more credit of course he knows that the accommodation supplement will go straight to the landlord. What he is saying here is that Labour has no big bold policies to put forth they are weak and the only really good thing they put forward was then withdrawn- CAPITAL GAINS TAX. It is appalling that they withdrew that because ‘the public don’t like it’

      They are pretty close to the Nats really. At least with the Nats we know we are going to get shit. With Labour they stab you in the back once they are in. Any recollection of the mid-eighties, foolish of me I know but I helped vote them in. Haven’t voted for Labour since.

      I want a serious working class party that truly will make a difference in south auckland, after all Labour has sat on these seats since time began and what have the south aucklanders got out of them. ZILCH!

  4. Mike in Auckland says:

    “National’s pitch to voters looks like putting real money in the pockets of low-income families through adjusting the thresholds at which various income tax rates kick in and increasing the accommodation supplement which currently goes to 250,000 families who are renting.

    National has done over Labour like this many times before.”

    To be bloody honest, Andrew Little looked and sounded almost “snookered” after Joyce read his Budget speech.

    Reading from a Tablet and also handwritten notes, and while justifiably criticising some aspects of the Election Year Budget (make no mistake!), he looked rather weak and not convinving.

    This Budget is nothing but an Election Year Bribe Budget, nothing else, it offers some tax advantages for earners, AFTER 1 APRIL 2018, so you basically have to vote for it, and possible have to vote for the Nats on 23 September, to get any benefits that they promised.

    If the Nats lose the election, and if the Budget does not get passed before 23 September, that is the parts covering the lifting of tax thresholds and also supposed Accommodation Supplement increases, none of this will happen.

    Joyce though was the usual trick playing BS artist that most Nats are these days, and the only convincing opposition speaker and leader in today’s debate was, ahem, I have to admit, James Shaw, who exposed the crap we were served up.

    Let us look at it from a beneficiary’s point of view, the Nats promise a significant increase in the Accommodation Supplement from 1 April 2018, but Joyce said during his dishonest, spin containing speech, that this increase will allow renters to become “less dependent on Temporary Additional Support”!

    What does he indicate with such a comment, well, simply letting a threshold come into force, that will stop beneficiaries from claiming more than a discretionary maximum amount of benefits.

    So they do again give with one hand, and take with the other hand, by reducing or denying TAS (Temporary Additional Support), once the Accommodation Supplement has been increased. That leaves most NO BETTER OFF, full stop.

    The same will apply for those that may still get the otherwise phased out Special Benefit, which is supposed to top up your benefit to meet totally essential costs, that the base rate and other supplements cannot cover.

    In a high market rent place like Auckland, that means, Joyce has just been screwing every beneficiary by telling outright lies, saying they may be better off, when most will NOT be better off, not at all.

    The same applies to an “independent earner tax credit”, which appears to be planned to be abolished, which low earners used to be able to claim:
    http://www.ird.govt.nz/income-tax-individual/tax-credits/ietc/independent-earner-tax-credit.html

    That goes, in return for a lift in tax threshold for low earners, which will benefit some, but not all, and while some get more, others will also miss out on this independent earner tax credit.

    The bribe comes for workers not needing any top ups and credits, and also for those getting Working For Families, and they may be a bit better off, so Nats are targeting exactly the kind of potential voter group that is easily bribed and could be won over, never mind the rest of the population.

    We will with this Budget get even further marginalisation of the poor and those on benefits, but the supposed ‘investment approach’ is supposed to help them, to “lift” the sick and disabled, certainly sole parents, out of “benefit dependence” into work, while we get NO living wage, no significant increases in the minimum wage and a continuation of more of the same.

    More on the investment approach BS we get drummed into our ears and brains, endlessly, assisting the government even the ignorant MSM does it, while most never inform themselves about the details:
    http://www.treasury.govt.nz/publications/media-speeches/guestlectures/rosenberg-nov16

    http://igps.victoria.ac.nz/publications/files/6ba0e7356bd.pdf

    The research or so called “evidence” the government likes to use, is flawed, they rely on “research ” by so called UK “experts” like Aylward et al, controversial there and elsewhere. Here is a report debunking their “findings”:
    ‘Blaming the victim, all over again: Waddell and Aylward’s biopsychosocial (BPS) model of disability’
    http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/0261018316649120

    More on the flawed BS that MSD present us about their “evidence”:
    https://nzsocialjusticeblog2013.wordpress.com/2016/08/16/senior-scientist-and-legal-experts-discredit-evidence-used-by-msd-and-dr-bratt-when-claiming-the-health-benefits-of-work/

    ‚In the expectation of recovery’, Faulkner, Centre for Welfare Reform, Scrib
    https://www.scribd.com/doc/308613502/In-the-Expectation-of-Recovery
    (criticism of biopsychosocial model, Aylward et al)

    As Labour and Greens are short of funds, and even rely on the mostly conventional, partly rather one sided, vested interest funded “research” that is on “the market”, they never read stuff and never get the info they need to fight this government on this front:

    “Is the statement that if a person is off work for 70 days the chance of ever getting back to work is 35% justified?”
    https://www.nzma.org.nz/journal/read-the-journal/all-issues/2010-2019/2015/vol-128-no-1425-20-november-2015/6729

    But many readers here cannot bother assisting by ignoring much info that could reveal the endless BS:
    https://nzsocialjusticeblog2013.files.wordpress.com/2016/09/msds-selective-poor-responses-to-new-o-i-a-requests-post-nzsjb-upd-27-11-15.pdf

    https://nzsocialjusticeblog2013.wordpress.com/2015/11/27/msds-selective-and-poor-responses-to-new-oia-requests-on-benefits-advisors-reports-mental-health-and-sole-parent-employment-services/

    https://nzsocialjusticeblog2013.wordpress.com/2015/08/09/msd-and-dr-david-bratt-present-misleading-evidence-claiming-worklessness-causes-poor-health/

    https://nzsocialjusticeblog2013.files.wordpress.com/2016/09/msd-dr-bratt-present-misleading-evidence-on-worklessness-and-health-publ-post-19-09-16.pdf

    https://nzsocialjusticeblog2013.wordpress.com/2015/04/10/mental-health-and-sole-parent-employment-services-msd-withholds-o-i-a-information-that-may-prove-their-trials-a-failure/

    There is much more available, but when people shut their eyes and ears, are too lazy or comfy to bother, or simply do not consult the ones who know what goes on, then we get the hopeless opposition we have in NZ.

    We are screwed with this state of affairs, centrist voters get bribed, they get fed false “success” stories, and propaganda works just perfectly. The future is not relevant, i.e. climate change and environmental issues, as most have been brainwashed into thinking just of themselves in the here and now, fuck tomorrow.

    NZ is screwed, and Andrew Little is NO Leader.

    • Louis says:

      Is Bill English a leader? Hard to fathom why you blame Andrew Little for the National government. I have read a number of your efforts, despite lambasting National, the opposition,Labour in particular, is lambasted more. I gather from your contributions, which I find contradictory that you would prefer National to hold the seat of power.

      • bert says:

        I too have noticed this Louis but remember that it is just an opinion. I have spoken with Andrew Little in a previous engineers union role and the one thing I can tell Mike from first hand experience, Andrew Little is CERTAINLY a leader. I understand that some people just don’t get Little but they tend to be people whom have already preconceived ideas of him.
        What I can see from Mike’s post’s is that he does not rate National but equally does not rate Labour because they offer no alternative. It will be an interesting vote that Mike casts this election. Possibly Mike may be better being “Mike Outa Auckland”.

        • Mike in Auckland says:

          Andrew Little gave a poor example for being Labour’s leader during the Budget reading debate, where he moved to have no confidence in the government. Reading from a tablet held in front of him, and from notes, for longer periods, that does not look like him having been sufficiently informed about what he was addressing.

          Hence in that instance Andrew presented himself poorly, as Leader, which is not a good look in the eyes of the public viewer.

          Andrew Little may have been a good union leader, but leading a union is one thing, representing clearly workers’ interests, and advancing them. But as leader of a party a bit more is expected of a person in such capacity.

          That is of course my observation and my view, Andrew Little is as Labour’s leader rather mediocre, and sadly Labour is lacking not only in clear policy for a convincing alternative, it also has a bit of a lack of well skilled, competent members in Parliament, which is a disadvantage.

          I think positively though of such members as Michael Wood (from Mt Roskill), for instance, who does rather well present the concerns and interests of ordinary Aucklanders facing ever higher housing and other living costs, and huge challenges, which this present government is failing to address sufficiently. So there is still some hope for Labour, to get more good MPs in after the election, and to improve overall.

          • bert says:

            Thank’s Mike. Thus the reason for Little’s image change, his media coaching etc, all things of a person on the improve and prepared to make change. That is an admiral trait.

        • Mike in Auckland says:

          Bert, I am simply not a blind pro Labour fan, I look at all parties, and particularly their candidates, MPs and leaders, with a critical eye. Hence I cannot join your blind faith in Labour fan commenting.

          I note that I am not alone, as John Minto does not have all that much enthusiasm for Labour himself.

          • bert says:

            Mike, I too, despite your opinion am not blind pro Labour. What I recognise however, which you seem to have missed, is that, Labour is the only alternative until one of either the Greens or N.Z. First have a larger percentage base than Labour. Thus Labour need to be the alternative, alongside strong coalition parties.

            Just remind me who John Minto signed up with last election? Does this mean you were alongside John then?

            • Michal says:

              Minto signed up with Mana. Nothing more. Their policies were better than any other party overall. I am a Green member and voter. If you are referring to the Internet party, we all know why that happened and was agreed to. Mana are there for the poor and the poor have little money to prop up any political party. Mana people knew there was a risk, but of course they never foresaw the combined forces of the Nats, NZFirst and Labour combining to get rid of Harawira.

              • bert says:

                “Their policies were better than any other party overall.”

                Wow, that’s a radical statement. If as you suggest as the statement above, why were they not elected?

                • Mike in Auckland says:

                  MSM attacks re Dotcom, perhaps, and Nats and even Labour joining forces in discrediting Mana for its Dotcom connections?

                  That says nothing about how good or bad Mana’s policies were and are.

              • bert says:

                Which policies were those again Michal?

      • Michal says:

        I don’t think he suggested that English is a great leader, but Little is certainly un-inspirational. Out of the runners the only one that had it was Cunliffe.

        I suspect this is because Labour is meant to be the alternative and frankly they don’t have the balls to do anything big and bold. Do tell me what is their policy on prisons, more of the same.

        • bert says:

          More of the same of what National is doing in prison reform you mean, whatever their policy, it would be better. Michal, it’s okay to feel Little is un-inspirational but I along with others, simply disagree, as is our right.

          As for Cunliffe I don’t disagree, but Labour were in turmoil at that point and his comment that he was “sorry for being a man”, was hardly inspirational.

        • Louis says:

          Is Bill English inspirational? If you don’t know what Labour’s position is on prisons, how can you assume that it’s more of the same?

    • Mike in Auckland says:

      “This Budget is nothing but an Election Year Bribe Budget, nothing else, it offers some tax advantages for earners, AFTER 1 APRIL 2018, so you basically have to vote for it, and possible have to vote for the Nats on 23 September, to get any benefits that they promised.”

      That should mean of course, that the Budget will be passed before the election, as Parliament is doing just that under urgency now, but many of the promised additional spending and tax benefits for some after thresholds have been lifted will only be implemented after 23 September, by the government in charge then.

      As we see, the Greens and even Labour support some of the improvements offered, but Labour has decided to vote against the tax package in the Budget, as it is flawed and does not benefit all.

      It is still a kind of election bribe, as National will now go into the election by boasting much about all those “good” things it has done and has offered with the Budget, and Labour and Greens will have to prove they can do better, to get support from voters.

      The Nats will tell voters, to be sure they get the promised additional spending and taxation advantages (for some), they will have to vote them.

    • Mike in Auckland says:

      Steven Joyce on the ‘Accommodation Supplement’, from the Hansard for the Budget reading on 25 May 2017:
      https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/hansard-debates/rhr/combined/HansD_20170525_20170525

      “The Accommodation Supplement has not been updated since 2005, and is based on 2003 rents.

      Today I am announcing that from 1 April next year the maximum Accommodation Supplement rates for a two person household will increase between $25 and $75 a week, while the maximum rates for larger households will increase between $40 and $80 a week.

      In addition, changes to the Accommodation Supplement areas will provide further gains for some families.

      These are in addition to the tax and Working for Families changes already announced in the Package.

      This increase in the Accommodation Supplement is expected to directly benefit around 136,000 low income households around New Zealand. It will also reduce the reliance on Temporary Additional Support that some families currently receive to top up their Accommodation Supplement.”

      So the many persons and families in Auckland, who need TAS to pay the rent and so, they will lose that temporary additional support (TAS) when the Accommodation Supplement will increase.

      Give with one hand, take with the other, nothing much new for beneficiaries and working poor.

  5. Andrea says:

    Tell me again: which party is pledging to return GST to the original rate of 10% – the same as Australia?

    And which one will stop the flow of tax money to ‘investor-landlords’? You know – remove the welfare payments and ‘let the market rebalance’.

    Plus – which one will ensure that all those little money suckers – the utilities, the councils, the ‘wonderful medical profession’ and everyone else whose weekly shopping bill is more than the weekly total income of too many – keep their grungy paws off the crumbs so the far-below struggling can put a little bit of a cushion under the bones of their bums?

    Who actually walks the talk of letting people decide what to do with their incomes before stealth taxes are slipped in to fund the usual monuments to last century thinking?

    And, with the fading of the Green party – who now stands for and actively promotes the long-overdue reforms of parliament – and the health and welfare ‘systems’?

    • Michal says:

      And which party introduced GST, lets not forget that.

      • Louis says:

        So what? Are you implying no other government would have introduced GST? Have you forgotten that National broke it’s promise by increasing GST to 15%?

  6. Louis says:

    It’s astounding that authors and commentators alike would still prefer National.

    • Mike in Auckland says:

      Nope, we want a better, clear policy presenting, strong and outspoken, honest opposition, that offers a REAL alternative.

      • Louis says:

        We have a real alternative. What you want is unattainable perfection. Unrealistic in the current climate and counter productive, it ends by you sounding like a proponent for the status quo.

    • Michal says:

      Louis that is not what they are saying at all, they are saying we need Labour to rock up and do something, be bold, be there for the working class!

      • bert says:

        The working class don’t vote Michal, so what next?

      • Louis says:

        It’s a matter of opinion then as I think that is exactly what they are saying. Labour’s been saying plenty for the working class. Only when in government can something be done.

        • bert says:

          Absolutely Louis but no matter what policy Labour come up with, for some people it will not be inspirational, it will not be bold and Andrew Little will not be an effective leader. Yet the same people forget that whilst they complain Labour are poor, the same people like to play the blame game. It’s Labours fault that National is crippling the country. Go figure?

          National hold the power and it is THEIR policies that have divided a country. Remember that nice Mr Key and the “Brighter Future”

          Let’s not forget the many broken promises.

          • Louis says:

            Couldn’t agree with you more. It’s astonishing that after 9 years people still have to be reminded, but we are dealing with selective memories from those that use a default position of blaming past Labour administrations because in essence, they do not want to see a change in government.

  7. Tiger Mountain says:

    well put John, the working class needs to act independently in its own interests apart from the burgeois Parliament

    the opposition parties (and the CTU) should be assertively campaigning for restoration of union rights, unions were basically derecognised in 1991’s Employment Contracts Act

    Why union rights? so workers can organise and obtain their own pay rises off employers rather than other taxpayers, sure, paid work has changed, but exercising working class power is the only way to ensure improvements and dignity

    for example, Carers are now voting on the govt. offer re Pay Equity, which will be transformative for thousands, the Nats did not make the offer out of altruism!

  8. Mike in Auckland says:

    We truly got served a dishonest, crap budget, that is again giving more to the top earners and wealthy, but we are far from the madness to what the US faces under the disgusting President Trump gets:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uo_u2sCTPI0

    The US, and some here have hailed Trump’s victory, they are in for even more injustice. Where is your common sense, those that still defend the self serving and corrupt Mr Trump?

  9. Mike in Auckland says:

    We get screwed, the US get screwed even more:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ySTQk6updjQ