Budget strangles low-income earners

Budget strangles-Dr Rajen Prasad 1.jpgMy contribution in the Appropriations (2009-2010 Supplementary Estimates) Bill in Parliament last fortnight highlighted the fact that the Government’s 2010 budget failed to address the problems of its 2009 budget.

It is clear now that while the National Party campaigned on its programme for a step change, its intentions were only to advantage those better off in the society at the expense of the lower and middle-income groups.

It is also becoming clearer that both budgets gave disproportionately larger tax cuts to those on higher incomes. Even though (Prime Minister) John Key gave a firm undertaking that his Government would not raise GST, it has done so. He and (Finance Minister) Bill English ask us not to be jealous of the well-off receiving greater tax cuts and accept their word that everyone will be better off with the cuts.

This is just simply not so and my contribution to the Appropriations debate highlighted this point.

The Government is intellectually dishonest when it tells the public otherwise, conveniently not adding up all cost increases being experienced by those on lower and middle income.

It is apparent that the tax cuts do not adequately compensate for the increase in GST, motor vehicle registration, petrol, electricity, childcare and the overall effect of 5.9% inflation.

Early Election?

This is the winter of discontent with this Government’s policies that not only benefit just one segment of the society but also ask those less well off to shoulder a greater burden of the effects of its own policies and recession.

One suspects that with the increasing pace of pushing through legislation, the Government is planning for an early election.

National is hoping that its lead in the opinion polls will be to its advantage at this time. However, I am hearing significant concerns from many low and middle-income New Zealanders that they are not happy with this Government’s policies especially as they experience the adverse effects of increase in costs, unmatched by minimal increase in their income.

While the Government, especially Health Minister Tony Ryall, brags about the increases in the number of elective surgery being undertaken, they omit to tell us that there are corresponding cuts in primary health services and services to vulnerable people like the elderly.

This National Government is reverting to type.

In the past, they have driven a wedge between different sectors of the society and advantaged those who were well off. They have capitalised on the genuine concern of citizens around law and order and have been quick to increase penalties for a range of offences.

They will fill our jails and do nothing to address the drivers of crime and the needs of those who are less well off.

They have cut services to our most vulnerable citizens and have stopped speaking about their goals of catching up with Australia.

They say they are aspirational but not so for all citizens.

They do not have a plan to lift outcomes for all citizens.

Their economic plan is non-existent.

New Zealanders are beginning to realise that this Government has no plans for a step change for all. The economy is again stagnant and they have little else by way of any new policy.

It will be more of the same that we have seen from National Governments.

Former National Prime Minister Robert Muldoon promised 420,000 jobs and delivered barely 10% of that while leaving a huge debt that the last Labour Government paid off.

This Government is promising 170,000 jobs. I just do not believe it. Ask those currently out of work.

Labour’s Beliefs

What Labour is already demonstrating is a willingness to look at monetary policy, creating jobs and better incomes for all.

It does believe in looking after the economy as well as taking care of our families, improving our communities and giving everyone great education.

The economy cannot grow without the workers that are “produced” by our families,

We need balanced development and National has no idea how to do this.

Labour is working to advantage the many and not to privilege the few.

Dr Rajen Prasad is Member of Parliament on Labour List and Associate Spokesman for Ethnic Affairs and Social Development (Child, Family & Youth). The above article is exclusive to Indian Newslink © Picture for Indian Newslink by Narendra Bedekar.

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