GUEST BLOG: Geoff Simmons – Budget 2020 a failure of imagination

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No UBI for struggling Kiwi families

“The Government is still choosing to bail out businesses and not people. We are sorely disappointed to not see any kind of emergency universal basic income, which would offer some support to struggling Kiwis. Unfortunately, the priority of this Budget is to support businesses on the brink, rather than going directly to families who need to pay rent or buy essentials. Setting up a hardship fund is a particular slap in the face for students, many of whom relied on casual work to pay the bills.”

“We don’t see any real bravery in this Budget. Money is being spent to keep the economy on ice, but won’t stop the ice from melting. It’s trying to return New Zealand to how we were pre-COVID, but unfortunately, that’s just not possible.”

“To truly stimulate the economy, the Government could have introduced a permanent annual $13,000 ($250 a week) UBI for all Kiwis. At the same time, the Government could have introduced a flat income tax at 33 per cent. Coupled with the UBI, this would leave every working Kiwi with more take home pay each week. This fully costed proposal was outlined recently in TOP’s UBI policy launch which can be found here. Kiwi’s still have a chance to vote in a historic UBI by voting for TOP at the election!”

 

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Geoff Simmons is the Leader of TOP and former Treasury economist

5 COMMENTS

  1. “The Government is still choosing to bail out businesses and not people.”

    I agree with that, but what is worse is that the type of businesses they are bailing out should not be bailed out, Harvey Norman and Kmart and their whiteware and future landfill business https://www.msn.com/en-nz/money/news/harvey-norman-and-kmart-among-nzs-largest-covid-19-wage-subsidy-payouts/ar-BB12fkr7, Thirsty Liquor types https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/121359471/coronavirus-wealthy-liqour-store-barons-claim-550k-covid19-wage-subsidy with a history of immigration and underpayment scams, the tourism industry that is now full of non kiwis, providing often dysfunctional “Kiwi” hospitality often on the backs of unpaid labour https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/118329341/migrant-worker-speaks-out-against-exploitation-at-rural-reporoa-holiday-park or illegal environmental degradation and native extinction to help billionaire golf courses https://www.newsroom.co.nz/2019/12/19/953508/dam-delays-half-soon-half-later-maybe. (The billionaire owner has applied for both the wage subsidy https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=12330153 and more golf courses and sailed through OIA so clearly helping wipe out one of the world’s rarest birds is ok in NZ and constructing illegal dams on public land is fine if you have the money with the OIA! https://localmatters.co.nz/news/38142-golf-mecca-planned-te-arai.html?fbclid=IwAR3MVYR9bQIvUBJn2xIXLbDv5Kqn2G-N3vTfL6h-t9ca9X7bfIGxV8dRjkU

    Great to see how my kids will end up paying debts back for NZ to support the immoral destroying society and it’s environment, and those who don’t need the money! Sarcasm.

  2. If I may I would add on here as the previous article on UBI has been closed to comments.

    It was pointed out to me in those comments that the $13,000 is tax free. This is not mentioned in the Executive Summary on the (TOP) website, and it perhaps should be. If only to avoid people like me gaining a false impression of where your top line numbers are coming from.

    I drilled down into your website today the 15th, and download the PDF. I notice that this document is dated the 12th of May. So there may have been some further work on the policy since the announcement date of the 5th, which is not a bad thing as stuff is often revised.

    Having now read the PDF document I have a question. What does TOP see as the difference between equity gains in land and equity gains in other forms of assets like shares? It would seem that shares don’t incur equity tax as land does. Why is this?

    • There is little point in taxing a universal handout if all income is being taxed at the same rate. The only reason for taxing, for example, benefits is so that two taxpayers, one whose earnings are derived entirely from work and the other, partly from work and partly from a benefit, pay the same amount of tax whenever their total incomes are the same. This applies only when a progressive tax system is in place.

      “Having now read the PDF document I have a question. What does TOP see as the difference between equity gains in land and equity gains in other forms of assets like shares? It would seem that shares don’t incur equity tax as land does. Why is this?”

      TOP is not proposing to tax equity gains if the source of such gains is “capital gain”. If a gain comes from a revenue source then that revenue would have been taxed in the normal way. It should noted that the proposed tax on property is a tax on (imputed) revenue.

  3. Why would imagination be needed, Geoff? The real sort of reality, rather than a majority for the next 3 years, says everything. This is 100 x 1939. And we boiled alive frogs can’t even rebbit. All because it is slow. As a historian , 10 years is a second, but it’s slow for the other 99% of well-clothed hunter-gatherers.

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