Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Cartoon provokes outrage

The cartoon below was published in the DomPost, Monday, and has provoked letters of outrage.

So I'm adding my two cents worth.

Dear Editor

So Al Nisbet's cartoon touched a nerve amongst some readers. Why? While somewhat blunt it nevertheless describes a very real problem with welfare - that benefit incomes for families with children are too close to incomes from work. The last Labour government attempted to fix this by introducing the In Work Tax Credit making employment financially advantageous. This Labour government has effectively undone that with substantially increased payments for babies born into workless homes.

As for the depiction of neglected children one reader found so offensive, it is a fact that, "Of all children having a finding of maltreatment by age 5, 83% are seen on a benefit before age 2." (Auckland University, 2012)

Lindsay Mitchell

Sunday, July 01, 2018

Part of why National lost the 2017 election

It struck me today why National couldn't pull enough vote to stay in government because they can't articulate a clear position.

What highlighted this problem was Amy Adams response to today's commencement of Labour's Family Package. RNZ reports:

To pay for the package, the government scrapped the National government's promised tax cuts, but National's finance spokesperson Amy Adams said that would have helped more people than the families package.
"National's philosophy is people who work hard should get to keep more of their money.
"It shouldn't be taken off of them by government, filtered out to a few and pay a whole lot of extra tax that the economy doesn't need imposed on it," she said.
No problem with the first part.

But then she says the money Labour takes will be "filtered out to a few".

My understanding was that is exactly National's position. They were targeting their spending - call it social investment if you like - whereas Labour sprays money universally so as to avoid any stigmatisation of the 'beneficiary' and to buy votes.

The controversial heating payment to all pensioners regardless of income could hardly be described as "filtered out to the few". Neither can the $3,120 a year for babies born as of today in families with incomes below $79,000.

If National had been clearer about what they were doing to help needy and dysfunctional families, more on the centre-left could have been persuaded. It makes no sense to churn vast amounts of tax. It makes no sense to take money off someone only to give it back. All that does is keep an army of IRD workers employed (who are currently agitating for higher wages which will add even more to the dead-weight of taxation).

What a mess.

UPDATE: The $3.120 payment is universal for the first year.