It’s always so wonderful to load up Granny Herald and see some wealthy late middle-aged grump (I’m picking this one is John Roughan) taking a swipe at the poor in the editorial. Today, Granny says we can’t afford to give mums any more paid leave or more Working for Families for young kids. Hmm. But we can still afford those tax cuts for the rich?
Labour has proposed increasing paid parental leave from 14 weeks to 18 weeks, like in Australia (the editorial writer thinks it’s weird to want to match Australia, despite that being National’s main purported goal). By my calculations, if every mother was eligible the cost would be $100 million a year. And about half aren’t eligible because they haven’t worked as employees enough during their pregnancy. So, $50 million a year. Hardly bank-breaking. You could pay for it by lifting the top tax rate 0.5%, clawing back a tiny fraction of the massive tax cuts the richest New Zealanders have received in the past three years for no observable benefit to the economy.
Annette King has also proposed a boost to Working for Families for family’s with a child under 2. No details yet but that doesn’t stop Granny from attacking it as too generous (I’m willing to bet the same writer believes nothing is too much for any grandkids he might have). But say it’s $1,000 a kid a year – that’s about $100 million. Again, just a fraction of what has been given to the rich in the form of tax cuts in the last three years.
The end of the editorial is instructive:
“Annette King says Labour’s social welfare package will be designed to make New Zealand the best place in the world to raise a child.
The country, she says, must take a long-term view, sustained across at least two political terms, if it is to greatly improve the chances of all children getting the start in life they deserve.
Pivotal to this would be the very early identification of children or families who need help.
Thinking beyond the immediate horizon is always welcome. But a core focus of this year’s election campaign will, inevitably, be the parties’ short-term plans and priorities to address the sluggish economy.
Even the first pointers to Labour’s social package open it to accusations that it is guilty of wishful thinking. If they are a harbinger of policies to come, voters will have two very different approaches from which to choose.”
Two very different choices indeed.
Personally, I would rather live in the best country in the world in which to bring up kids with a government that looks to the future and is willing to make multi-decade-long investments in our children than one which has a government which does very little except funnel more and more of the nation’s wealth to the rich elite and whose plan only extends as far as the next poll.