Once upon a time John Key was promising great things to the “underclass”, and to New Zealanders in general. But now that he’s in government he reckons that he can’t help after all:
Key: We can’t help your price pain
Prime Minister John Key yesterday acknowledged New Zealanders were “feeling the pinch” as prices rose at their fastest rate in two years led by fuel costs, something he said the Government could do little about.
Stop right there John. Around half of the current inflation rate is driven by your GST increase (you remember, the GST that you promised not raise). Lower GST and raise taxes at the top end of personal income (or better still, bring in a Tobin Tax). That will reduce the price pain.
Then you can really get stuck in. Raise the minimum wage and the benefits, withdraw the anti-worker legislation that helps keep wages down. That will reduce the price pain. Get to work now on a proper public transport system so that people can start to wean themselves off their unaffordable cars. That will reduce the price pain. Bring in price controls on staple foodstuffs like milk (because on NZ wages we can’t afford to pay international prices for the foods that we produce here at home). That will reduce the price pain. Stop bailing out your very good buddies in failing finance companies and put some of the money in to reversing the early childhood education cuts. That will reduce the price pain.
In fact, why not just stop screwing up the economy in general. Stop under investing in productive assets like the super fund. Stop strangling the recovery by cutting expenditure and driving up unemployment. Stop threatening to sell long term productive assets for short term gain. Stop the financial bungling that is driving us to an all time record budget deficit. I reckon that will reduce the price pain.
Engineers sometimes use the phrase “broken by design”. John Key’s National government is helpless by design. There’s plenty that they could be doing to assist the ever increasing number of Kiwis who are struggling with rising costs. It’s not that they can’t help. It’s that they won’t.
Update: Don’t miss RobC’s comment @ 4.