Now that both Labour and National have all their major spending promises out, we can compare the options. Remember, whatever happens one of these two parties will lead the next government, so these are the basic choices we face:
-Keep existing policies including important polices growing next term:
-universial student allowance
-bringing forward infrastructure spending, especially rail, to stimulate the economy
-more public housing
-HOPE housing scheme, low income families buy houses on Crown land, government retains ownership of the land
-commitment to raising minimum wage by at least inflation or average wage increase to approx $14.80 by 2011.
-$500 million for broadband
-privatise ACC, initally the work fund but others too eventually
-reduce government input into Kiwisaver from $4billion over the next four years to $1billion. Kiwisaver nesteggs would be half the size they would be under current legislation – total Kiwisaver savings approx $6billion lower by 2012. Employers allowed to pay Kiwisavers less.
-cancel R&D credits
-cancel Fast Forward Fund
– cancel $1 billion for insulating homes
-higher tax on most families getting Working for Families
-higher tax on those earning $14,000-$24,000
-40% of additional tax cuts to those earning over $80,000.
-90 days no work rights law
-no commitment to maintaining real value of minimum wage
-new prison, longer terms for some offenders, 200 more police
– cap civil service numbers while somehow also employing hundreds of new prison guards and policy staff for new programmes
– $1.5 billion for broadband. Industry says plan will restore monoploy for Telecom
– national standards teaching from first year of primary school. Opposed by teachers, principals, learning experts
– no benefits for 16-18 year olds not in school or training, free school or training, boot camps for troubled youths
– no cap on GP fees
-weaken Resource Management Act
-remove ban on new fossil fuel power plants
So, Labour is really standing on a platform of continuing a suite of policies aimed at improving savings and investment, raising living standards for those on low incomes, and new programmes to boost education and infrastructure.
National is proposing to undo the savings and investment promises, put tax up on the poor, go more hardcore on crime and old school on education, weaken environmental protections, and use the savings to cut tax for the wealthy.
The steady hand investing in the long-term for all or a short-term bonanza for the rich. It’s your choice.