Labour’s Targeted Families Package

Written By: - Date published: 1:54 pm, July 11th, 2017 - 100 comments
Categories: families, labour, leadership, socialism - Tags: , , , ,

Labour’s announcement is here. As covered by Vernon Small on Stuff:

Labour to prioritise families and scrap Budget tax cuts

Labour is promising to scrap National’s Budget tax cut plan. Instead it will funnel the cash into higher Working for Families payments and extra help for those with young children. It’s a package it says will deliver up to $48 a week extra to middle income families.

The flagship policy, announced by leader Andrew Little in Auckland on Tuesday, aims to contrast Labour’s targeted help for middle income families with the extra cash the wealthier receive under National’s tax package.

Leader Andrew Little said the “targeted Families Package” would cost $890 million in 2018/19, but scrapping National’s tax cuts would free up $1.5 billion.”This creates more than $2b over four years of net savings. These savings, together with new spending to be set out in Labour’s Fiscal Plan, will be prioritised towards rebuilding New Zealand’s social foundations by investing in essential public services and our future infrastructure needs.”

The package would give more than 70 per cent of families with children a bigger income boost than the Budget 2017 package.

“By not spending $1.5 billion a year on tax cuts, Labour is able to do more for lower and middle income families and people in need, while investing in the priorities Kiwi families care about: housing, health, education and infrastructure,” Little said.

He said the September election was a clear a choice between Labour’s priority  of investing in services for those in need and boosting the incomes of low and middle income families against National’s priority of  “an election tax bribe aimed at those at the top” which gave a disproportionate amount to the wealthiest households..

“At a time when we have crises in mental health and housing, now is not the time for tax cuts.”

Nearly 60,000 families a year would be eligible for the $60 a week payment for each baby. Families on low and middle incomes would continue to receive the payment until their child turned three.

Little said the winter energy payment would help a million people keep warm in winter. Together with grants for insulation and heating upgrades, it would help them avoid getting sick.  …

There’s plenty more in the full piece. Lots to like here!


Coverage:
New Labour policy promises an extra $48 per week for low and middle income families
Labour rules out tax cuts, promises cash for families with children
Labour’s fiscal package to ‘benefit more middle and lower income families’

100 comments on “Labour’s Targeted Families Package”

  1. Draco T Bastard 1

    It’s a package it says will deliver up to $48 a week extra to middle income families.

    Question: If a family needs an extra $48 per week are they really middle income?

    He said the September election was a clear a choice between Labour’s priority of investing in services for those in need and boosting the incomes of low and middle income families against National’s priority of “an election tax bribe aimed at those at the top” which gave a disproportionate amount to the wealthiest households.

    Tax cuts always go to the wealthy as they’ll use their market power to capture the increased money going to the poor.

    • Enough is Enough 1.1

      Where are the tax increases as well.

      There are clearly people in this country drawing more income than they will ever need while the majority suffer. This package should be targeting that issue.

      • Stunned Mullet 1.1.1

        Witches !

        Burn Them !

      • Draco T Bastard 1.1.2

        There are several things that Labour could do with ‘taxes’. The one I’d like to see is them having the government take ownership of all the resources that are extracted and then sell them off via auction. If the sale price isn’t high enough then they simply stockpile them instead. The private contractors presently extracting them would be paid a fixed sum for doing so or the government itself would take over the extraction.

        This should result in an increased income for the government of several billion per year.

        That’s just one thing they could do. There are others.

        • Stunned Mullet 1.1.2.1

          Ha ha magnificent – it’s a great pity you’re not running the country – what laughs we’d all have.

    • Herodotus 1.2

      Agreed, if there are 10,000 full time new jobs being created per month
      http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2017/07/66_more_jobs_an_hour.html
      CPI Inflation 2.2% and GDP growth around 2.7% http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/90495020/nz-economy-records-weakest-growth-since-start-of-2015
      http://www.stats.govt.nz/browse_for_stats/economic_indicators/GDP/GrossDomesticProduct_MRDec16qtr.aspx
      With all this success why is there a need for a potential new govt. to offer to increase WFF ? Should not the ” free market economy” be seen to lifting pay rates by a level that corporate subsidies/welfare are being reduced, NOT for a need that such things as WFF being needed to increase, perhaps this free market system is not working 🤑 And some out there are saying that we need to reduce corporate tax …. really
      Just an observation 😜

      • DoublePlusGood 1.2.1

        10,000 doesn’t even cover the population increase of 80,000 a year, does it?

      • Draco T Bastard 1.2.2

        With all this success why is there a need for a potential new govt. to offer to increase WFF ?

        Because all the success that’s happening is going to the bludging shareholders.

        Should not the ” free market economy” be seen to lifting pay rates…

        That’s what we’ve been told will happen since the time of Adam Smith. Hasn’t worked that way yet. In fact, the exact opposite has always occurred under capitalist systems with the inevitable result that society collapsed.

  2. patricia bremner 2

    So now there is a real choice.

  3. Cinny 3

    Great work by Labour, this sounds like a fantastic package for those who really are struggling.

    Some people will vote for their own interests and some will vote to ease the suffering of others because to them everyone is important.

    Add the home heating in there and I can really start to see an improvement to the lives of others, the kids and the elderly, the flow on effects will help to ease up the overburdened health sector especially in the winter months.

    • mickysavage 3.1

      Agreed. Better that Bill English loses $1k a year so that poorer families can receive more.

      The policy is quite radical and sets a clear division, help the poor or help the rich.

      Take your pick …

  4. Ad 4

    Here’s a quick comparison of Labour and National’s efforts, from the NZHerald:

    What Labour will do compared to National.
    INCOME TAX:

    Labour will scrap National’s changes to the bottom two income tax thresholds, which would deliver tax cuts of up to $20 a week to all earners on more than $14,000. It will keep the Independent Earners’ Tax Credit ($10 a week for those on less than $48,000 a week who did not get Working for Families or a benefit.)
    Savings: $1.9 billion a year.

    WORKING FOR FAMILIES

    Increase Family Tax Credit from $5303 to $5878 for eldest child. Keep National’s Budget increase in the rate for younger children from $4822 to $5303.

    Life abatement threshold from $36,350 to $42,700- estimated to mean 30,000 more families get Working for Families. National will drop it to $35,000 but the higher payment rates mean most people will still get Working for Families for as long as now.

    Total cost: $743 million more a year (combination of National’s Budget changes and $370 million for Labour’s extras).

    BEST START:

    ‘Best Start’ payments of $60 a week to all parents of newborns once paid parental leave runs out. Families on less than $79,000 will get the $60 until their children turn 3, and it will abate at a rate of 20.8c per dollar for those earning more than that.

    Cost: $303 million, partly offset by dropping Working for Families parental tax credit.

    SUPERANNUITANTS:

    Superannuitant couples will get $13.10 a week more ($681 a year) as a result of National’s tax cuts and singles $8.50 a week ($442 a year). Labour will offer subsidies for heating in winter worth $700 to a couple and $450 for a single.
    Beneficiaries will also get the

    ACCOMMODATION SUPPLEMENT:

    Labour will go ahead with National’s proposed increases in the supplement, costed at $380 million a year.

  5. garibaldi 5

    Just more shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic. Is this a genuine game breaker or just a fiddle of the Nat budget? Looks like all the policy wonks can come up with is National lite. Underwhelming to say the least
    We need far more inspiration than this to get more votes.

    • Sigh 5.1

      What would you do?

    • left_forward 5.2

      Turning away from tax cuts and instead spending money on social support for people in need is indeed a game changer after nine years of National. The direction of motion is entirely different – do you not want this to happen?

      • garibaldi 5.2.1

        Do you honestly believe this is a game changer? It won’t even register with most people let alone be understood.
        What would I do? Release Corbyn’s manifesto as ours for a start. Adopt “For the many, not the few”.

        • left_forward 5.2.1.1

          I would like that too garibaldi – but being pragmatic, the next best hope is a change of Government – I don’t know about you, but I will not enjoy three more years of the Ngatz.
          It is so easy to be critical of Labour right now – but joining the chorus only plays into the hands of the current Government – this is the change of game that I am looking for.

  6. Chris 6

    So let’s get this straight

    Little complained that the Nat’s changing of the tax brackets included well off people, so was bad and now he still wants to give 60 dollars to people who have a child, which includes rich people, with the baby bonus, and this is good?

    Am I the only one that sees something a bit hypocritical there?

    • Sigh 6.1

      Yeah, you are. He’s saving $1.5 billion as a result of cancelling National’s tax cuts. Best Start overwhelmingly benefits people on low to middle incomes.

      If you think a universal social programme is equivalent to a tax cut favouring the rich, you’ve got a lot of learning to do.

      • Chris 6.1.1

        Changing the lower tax bracket while not changing the upper favours everyone the same.

        Giving money to everyone, including rich people who have children favours everyone the same.

    • DoublePlusGood 6.2

      Abatement rates are what you have missed.

  7. Bill 7

    Doubling down on the highly discriminatory WFF employer subsidy is “Lots to like here!”. Really?

    I mean, it’s fantastic if you happen to be deemed “deserving poor” (ie – working), or an employer seeking to hold wages down.

    Otherwise, unless I’ve missed something really obvious, nah. “Steady as she goes”, but with a different emphasis to National, is just bullshit.

    WFF needs to be extended out to include those not in employment now. And then scrapped as soon as, and as quickly as possible.

    • garibaldi 7.1

      Thank you Bill. You are right ,it is just bullshit.

    • Enough is Enough 7.2

      Exactly Bill

      There is nothing visionary or inspirational here. They are essentially saying more of what is already in place?

      How is this an improvement from the 2014 offering which was so soundly rejected by the electorate?

    • mickysavage 7.3

      But Bill refusing to do anything until the socialist nirvana happens is not an option for too many people.

      At least this way kids will have a better life.

      • weka 7.3.1

        I agree micky, but it also looks a bit different when your peers are long term beneficiaries. I did take heart from the other Labour policy directed at beneficiaries and pensioners (the winter power bill one). Good to see Labour now beginning to actually name beneficiaries as a class in need of help (not just the deserving poor like those with kids). That’s a good sign. I hope there’s more.

      • Bill 7.3.2

        Big straw thingee jig there micky. (Where have I ever advocated doing nothing?)

        Within the context of voting, casting a vote for a party that pushes or pulls a NZ Labour led government will do much more for many more people than what a vote for NZ Labour will achieve.

  8. esoteric pineapples 8

    I may be part of a very small minority of progressives who don’t believe in Working For Families. I do support targeted assistance of those who are struggling financially, whether single men or women on a low wage , poor professional painters and musicians, or couples with families, but I don’t think having children should automatically entitle one to government assistance to help get by..

  9. Policy Parrot 9

    This announcement is a convoluted mess. Essentially a doubling-down on the baby bonus which got little or no traction last time.

    Labour should have announced at the very least an identical package (to the Nats) with a higher top bracket for the rich pricks (those that self-identify will immediately let me know below), and could have used that money generated by the 38% rate over say $100k to fund an increased student allowance.

    Easy justified by saying that those who will pay the tax will in the future likely have benefited from an increased allowance.

    I don’t understand why they didn’t do that. That’s what Kevin Rudd and the ALP did to come to power in Australia in 2007 (the tax part – the ALP was accused of “me-too”ism”)

    Its got to be credible and understandable to the punters out in punterland. This announcement fails this test. Where the hell is Opposition Research and how the F**k are they keeping their jobs?

  10. Michael 10

    It’s really just tinkering with Working For Families – middle class welfare with the poorest people deliberately excluded. No “Labour” Party worth the name would even consider it.

  11. s y d 11

    I’m sick of the acceptance that wages are so crap, that pretty much all workers need a top up from each others taxes to make ends meet.

    Labour. The name says it. There should be an absolute focus on ensuring wages and work conditions where, at the end of the working week you can have a worthwhile life.

    This is just like the accommodation supplement – a subsidy to employers and landlords.

    And we’re all supposed to get excited by this beige shit……

    • Draco T Bastard 11.1

      Capitalism can only work with such subsidies to the rich. It’s what keeps it going for awhile until the whole lot collapses due to the greed of the rich.

      And Labour has always been a party for capitalism just like National.

    • Ethica 11.2

      There’s a very good industrial relations policy recently announced.

      There is also money in today’s package for beneficiaries where it is most needed.

    • Nope 11.3

      I assume you’ve missed Labour’s recent employment relations policy, the boldest since Kirk.

  12. greg 12

    i don’t be leave there is any point in handing out more working for families or accommodation supplement unless they go after the rentiers first or they will take any extra cash that enters the economy although i know labour is going to go after them as part of there total policy package

  13. Craig H 13

    I’d like to see a different framework over time, but for now, and taking into account other policies, this is a great alternative to National.

    Now I just hope Labour win the next election.

    • Michael 13.1

      Don’t hold your breath. I get the feeling that not even the Labour High Command think they’ll win this time either. Of course, the MPs will all continue to score annual paypackets around 200K, so life in Opposition won’t be too hard for them.

  14. Jenny Kirk 14

    Surprise, surprise – the majority of Standard posters having a grizzle about Labour again.
    I just came on here to see if any of your right-minded posters had anything complimentary to say about Labour doing away with the Nats proposed tax cuts and using those funds instead to help people who are struggling – and other than a couple of you, you have all degenerated down to the grizzling level and miserable-mindedness of the “well offs” !

    • Craig H 14.1

      They’re just raging into the abyss again…

    • rhinocrates 14.2

      That’s going to gain allies, complaining that you’re unappreciated and the voters are just not good enough for you. You really should get a puppy.

      • mickysavage 14.2.1

        I think Jenny has a point. There is this beat up on Labour meme that is happening and it is not helpful. The right has been pushing this for years. When we (progressives) buy into it then we are doing their work for them.

        • Bill 14.2.1.1

          It’s not a meme micky. And it’s not buying into any right-wing anything. NZ Labour fuck off a whole lot of people – and you can pick and choose between a plethora of damned good reasons for that being the case.

          People who want to vote for NZ Labour will. But between now and election day, that overall number simply isn’t going to go increase by some magically large amount – not with this kind of safe, “steady as she goes” type of policy, that is deeply embedded in a liberal framework that people, even if they can’t articulate what the framework is, intuitively reject.

          At best NZ Labour are ‘doing a Miliband’ – running on a strategy that under promises with the aim to over deliver. Remember how well that worked out for Milband and UK Labour?

          At least in NZ there are other options given MMP.

          NZF are going to do very well. The Greens will likely rise slightly. NZ Labour might rise a wee bit too.

          And there’s the NZ Labour led government.

          Any progressive would be quite happy for NZ Labour’s hand to be weakened in that mix. But meantime, die hard NZ Labour supporters run the very real risk of alienating all and sundry with attempts to spin damp dish rags as haute couture. (We want neither.)

        • rhinocrates 14.2.1.2

          One can also point to the chronic entitlement infecting Labour, which Jenny epitomises with her shows of self pity when we don’t love her enough.

          Policies are nice, but talk is free. Frankly, “criticism is sabotage” is nonsense. Labour has let me down again and again. I’m not going to pretend that I trust them to show good faith or competence when they haven’t shown either for years.

          I do not consider a neoliberal party ‘progressive’ and one that stands a man who actively defends rapists and perpetuated rape culture in the police in Ohariu is telling progressives to go to Hell. I despise hypocrisy.

          • Bill 14.2.1.2.1

            Hey! That’s not fair Rhinocrates. Willie Jackson was specifically wheeled out to distract attention away from that. And you noticed! Next you’ll be pointing to the list placings getting rid of one of the last “left” mps NZ Labour had (Moroney) – or did the Jackson act work on that occasion?

            • rhinocrates 14.2.1.2.1.1

              Oh God, Jackson too… head/desk. Worst case of testosterone poisoning next to Mallard. I suppose that makes me a ‘Beta’ of a ‘Cuck’ or whatever.

    • mickysavage 14.3

      I think it is brave. Bring on the next brave policy …

    • Anne 14.4

      Hi Jenny Kirk,
      This ‘beat-up’ of Labour on TS is a relatively recent development. There were plenty of regular commenters who appreciated Labour’s endeavours even if they didn’t always agree with them. Most of them have gone now. I suspect they can’t be bothered arguing with the embittered zealots who seem determined to argue black is white and vice versa and to hell with reality.

      They play their role in ensuring NZ will continue with a Nat. government where the rich take all and the poor are left to perish because that will be the ultimate outcome of Labour’s demise.

    • Draco T Bastard 14.5

      Criticisms != a grizzle

      And Labour really do need to be criticised for their policies that really aren’t doing enough because they don’t want to scare the rich.

  15. McFlock 15

    Personally I quite like the universal baby grant of $60/wk, having seen friends of mine struggle to adjust after breeding.

    Is there anything like it currently in nz?

    • Bill 15.1

      Universal?

      From the article linked to for the post. (My emphasis)

      A $60 a week payment for each child in the first year after paid parental leave ends, which will be extended to age three for low and middle income families.

      Way I read that is, if you’re not in work, there’s no paid parental leave, and so no $60 per week payment. Maybe the article has couched it incorrectly?

      • mickysavage 15.1.1

        So it is bad because it should be better?

        • McFlock 15.1.1.1

          It’s worse than that: it’s bad because Vernon Small was writing to a word limit and had to cover a a pretty thorough and multifaceted policy.

        • Bill 15.1.1.2

          No micky. I was questioning the universality of it. McFlock has cleared that up below (thanks McFlock).

          But if you think that any policy designed to aid the poor is acceptable, when and if it specifically excludes huge numbers of “undeserving” poor (as WFF does), then you and I have different ideas about right and wrong/ good and bad/ acceptable and unacceptable.

          • Karen 15.1.1.2.1

            Why don’t you ever go and look at the full policy before making assumptions based on a MSM article, Bill? You are obviously an intelligent man and you seem to have plenty of time to contribute to the Standard . So why don’t you do some basic research before you start writing?

            And just for the record – I’d like Labour to be much bolder, to increase all benefits and have a timed plan (within 2 years) to increase the minimum wage to a living wage.

            Your comment about Sue Moroney being drummed out because she was left wing and now there is nobody left shows a level of ignorance that is breath taking. How about you look at some of the candidates that will soon be in parliament. Start with Kiri Allan but don’t stop there. Google is your friend.

            • Karen 15.1.1.2.1.1

              I added the middle paragraph in a hurried edit – should have been last para.

            • Bill 15.1.1.2.1.2

              How many question marks and stated ‘benefits of the doubt’ do I need to put in a comment before it becomes obvious that something in a link is being questioned?

              A site where people have knowledge and/or insight, obviates the somewhat time consuming need to drill down to the bottom of everything in terms of commenting – as McFlock’s reply demonstates. (That drilling down when it happens, isn’t always appreciated by the way.)

              I also said Moroney had been one of the last recognisably “left” leaning MPs, not the last. (Nanaia Mahuta instantly springs to mind as recognisably “left” for example)

              If you want NZ Labour to be bolder, then why not vote for a party that will push them to be just that? I mean, it’s not as though casting a vote for a party besides NZ Labour will take away from the total vote count that leads to a NZ Labour led government.

              • Karen

                “How many question marks and stated ‘benefits of the doubt’ do I need to put in a comment before it becomes obvious that something in a link is being questioned?”

                My point was that you could have very easily gone to the policy first rather than posit a question about it on the Standard and you would have found out a lot faster. That way you could make an informed comment on the actual policy.

                Also, you are incorrectly assuming that I am going to party vote Labour. I can confirm I will be voting for my local Labour candidate, but I won’t be deciding whether my party vote goes Green or Labour until closer to the election. I definitely won’t be considering any other party, however.

                My defence of Labour here on the Standard is because I actually do believe Labour is moving leftwards – it is frustratingly slow and will never be the kind of left wing party I would like it to be. However, there is some progress. There will only be at most 4 of the MPs that were in the Clark government after the election – more likely only 3 as I don’t think Mallard will make it back. One of those 3 is Mahuta.

                • Bill

                  Easily gone to this, that or the other…or just questioned McFlock and their comment. Which I did after checking the link.

                  Can’t see how it’s possible for liberalism to move left btw. It’s oxymoronic.

                  • weka

                    Labour isn’t wholly Liberal or neoliberal. There’s also the issue of possible and best ways to get from where we are now to left or socially democratic. I think that’s what’s being argued about here.

                    • Bill

                      “Labour isn’t…..” A statement their policies of these past 30 years belies.

                      NZ Labour, given the current make up of its caucus allied with the structural lock-down that’s in place, has no path to social democracy. Not that they’re looking for one anyway.

                      That, and the ‘argument’ is about me asking a question of McFlock in light of info supplied in the link that accompanied the post instead of ‘rabbit-holing’ on policy documents..

                    • weka

                      I was talking about the party itself. And I think it’s highly unlikely that all policies of the past 30 years are solely neoliberal (would be interested in how one would judge that for a start). And I don’t think that current Labour are responsible for Clark or Lange’s policy choices. etc.

                      “NZ Labour, given the current make up of its caucus allied with the structural lock-down that’s in place, has no path to social democracy. ”

                      But if I’m not mistaken, you thought they could a few years ago. I don’t think that much has changed in that time esp given you are talking about a 30 yr context.

                      I get it, you think Labour are a lost cause. Others don’t. Karen’s summation is pretty close to my own. I’m more interested in working with what we have rather than waiting for the revolution to come. The issue for me is strategy. What’s do we want and how are we going to get it. I thought Karen’s point about doing some rudimentary research before condemning Labour was valid, otherwise it all starts to look like bashing Labour for any excuse.

                    • weka

                      And in the interests of that, I’m not saying your other critiques were wrong. I agree with you on the WFF thing for instance. Just that I think we are all allies here and I’m interested in where our objectives intersect.

                    • Bill

                      In part, you’re reading things that simply aren’t there. There was a question asked about the applicability of a specific policy.

                      Yes. I thought Labour could be reformed or shifted. There was a move towards greater democratisation at around that time. But then the consequences of that 20/40/40 structural split were demonstrated for all to see, and at around the same time (not surprisingly) movement towards greater internal democratisation was terminated.

                    • weka

                      So if that changed would you think it was possible for Labour to go left?

                      I guess I still don’t get it, because I think the argument you are making is that only the members can take Labour left. If the caucus, exec and power holders in Labour were shifting left why would that not be Labour shifting left generally (assuming the membership is left, which I’m not entirely convinced about)?

                      A bigger hurdle I would see is how politics now insists on politicians being professional people with careers. But that’s true across the board.

                    • Bill

                      The caucus, exec and power holders in Labour aren’t shifting left. In fact, they’re happy for the internal structures of the party to be locked down as that prevents any shift and so leaves them secure (big fish in rapidly evaporating pond)

                      In some world that doesn’t exist, that wouldn’t be the case and nothing I’ve been saying would stack up.

                    • weka

                      Little is patently to the left of Shearer as leader.

                    • Bill

                      He’s certainly not in the same league the misanthropic mango skin mumbler. That’s a given.

                    • Karen

                      Weka, if you want to know what is actually happening in the Labour Party then Bill is not the person to ask. He really does not seem to have much idea about the candidates, or about the policies, or about how the party works.

                      The bigger the party the more diverse the views within it and the various viewpoints within Labour cover quite a wide spectrum. Members are able to influence policy direction more than they used to be able to, but countering more conservative views can be hard work and so progress is slow.

                      My sense of Labour is that there has been a small leftwards shift over the last few years and the makeup of the next caucus is likely to increase the shift leftwards.

                    • weka

                      True Karen, and I think there is a wide area between Bill’s position of Labour are unfixable because Liberal, and Labour are shifting left. What I get from Bill is the analysis of left wing being something distinct from Liberal, and I do find that useful. I wish he wasn’t so absolutist about it with Labour, and I agree with you that there have been small but significant shifts left. I also don’t agree with Bill that the internal structures mean that nothing can change further for Labour (and he hasn’t put up anything convincing on that that I’ve seen). But we do need people on the solid left pointing out what the solid left is. And Bill is willing to talk about social democracy within capitalism even though that’s not what he thinks is enough. I find the useful because it opens up pathways for where we could go instead of where we are now. The task then is to start building a map.

                      I’d love to know more about the various Labour MPs esp the newer ones/ones coming in. I see potential there for things to change.

                      Biggest problem I have with Labour currently isn’t policy, it’s the knife edge of waiting to see if Little will take the leap and go Corbyn for us. Not in a big social democracy move (it’s too late for that this election), but at the level of just being real and dropping so much of the managing of the message and instead telling the truth. He does it sometimes and it’s good when he does. Still, we’re not into the campaign proper yet, fingers crossed.

                    • Bill

                      Not unfixable “because liberal”. Unfixable because of the internal dispersion of power that leaves caucus in the driving seat.

                      As I said before in another exchange on this, Corbyn would not – could not – have survived as leader of NZ Labour under the structural realities that put paid to Cunliffe. (I don’t know why you can’t get your head around that)

                      “Left wing” is distinct from liberalism. And it’s not just distinct, but it’s always sat in opposition to it. It simply isn’t possible to be liberal and left. Liberalism can’t express itself terms of left and right because it rejects the fundamental basis that informs “left” and from which “left” rises.

                      If you don’t like hearing that, then have it out with the history of political thought and political philosophy.

                      Karen’s right enough about my knowledge of current machinations within NZ Labour. I freely admit I largely extrapolate from what I knew for sure from a year or so back. On feed-back and snippets from worthwhile sources that I get from time to time these days, nothing has changed.

                      I’ll ignore the slight about my apparent ignorance or inability to understand policy and leave you both to it in a bit. But not before agreeing that it would be nice to see Little ‘call it’ (though I have no expectation on that front and so have no fingers crossed). Essentially he’s a good manager, and so has all the strengths and weaknesses of managers. Sadly, I suspect some people mistook his very competent management within the EPMU for leadership

                    • weka

                      Not unfixable “because liberal”. Unfixable because of the internal dispersion of power that leaves caucus in the driving seat.

                      As I said before in another exchange on this, Corbyn would not – could not – have survived as leader of NZ Labour under the structural realities that put paid to Cunliffe. (I don’t know why you can’t get your head around that)

                      Yes, but assuming that is true for NZ Labour (and I can see ways in which it’s not), your position is predicated on NZ Labour ever being able to change its internal structures. I’ve not see a cogent explanation for why it’s impossible.

                      “Left wing” is distinct from liberalism. And it’s not just distinct, but it’s always sat in opposition to it. It simply isn’t possible to be liberal and left. Liberalism can’t express itself terms of left and right because it rejects the fundamental basis that informs “left” and from which “left” rises.

                      If you don’t like hearing that, then have it out with the history of political thought and political philosophy.

                      I think you missed my point. I was saying your argument re Liberal vs LW are useful.

                    • Bill

                      Sorry Weka. My bad. Was hitting the ‘wound up’ stage and obviously not reading carefully.

                      Is it impossible for NZ Labour to change? No. After all, UK Labour did. But that was more by fuck up than by design. The liberals wanted rid of the union block vote. Milband delivered.

                      It’s an exemplary illustration of being “careful what you wish for”. And I’d suggest the liberals in control of NZ Labour won’t be making that same mistake.

                      edit. Worth pointing out that Scottish Labour is in much the same position as NZ Labour, and that it also doesn’t have the one member = one vote system of UK Labour – the Blairites are hanging on in there within Scottish Labour for grim death.

                    • weka

                      all good 🙂

                      I don’t know enough about the individual MPs in any of those Labour Parties to be able to compare to NZ Labour. Or how the careerist vs Blairite/Rogernome vs leftie numbers fall. We do know that DC couldn’t pull it off in NZL. You think it’s the internal leadership rules, I think it’s that plus the number of neoliberals there. So theoretically as that number decreases, so long as the new people coming through are left wing or wiling to become more left wing, then it’s possible for Labour to change more. I have no idea if that will happen of course, but I do like the idea (Matt’s?) that the Greens on 20% would galvanise Labour like nothing else 😉

                      Or it falls apart and the Greens pick up even more. I don’t mind either way, although I still think the Greens aren’t the right cultural fit for the old trad Labour voters, so it’s hard to see how that would work exactly. Plus the non-vote. Maybe something will arise to the left, but parties don’t gain power suddenly and I’m not seeing much on the horizon. Another way to put that would be given the urgency of the world, we might be better off working with what we’ve got.

      • McFlock 15.1.2

        From the Labour website:

        All families will receive the payment in their baby’s first year. For families receiving Paid Parental Leave, Best Start payments will begin after PPL payments end. Best Start will replace the Parental Tax Credit.

        edit: the real giveaway in the abridged versions is the reference to 60,000 families. We only have just under 60k births a year – but that’s pretty specialised knowledge, I guess.

      • Nope 15.1.3

        You’ve read it wrong Bill

      • Craig H 15.1.4

        Families which don’t qualify for Paid Parental Leave qualify for Parental Tax Credit instead. This policy takes that into account.

  16. Bob (Northland) 16

    Whatever happened to all the “talk ” several years ago by a number of politicians and economists of a “Financial Transaction” Tax?
    Seems to have been dropped like a hot potato.
    Even Winston First was namedropping this excellent idea.
    A simple measure such as this, initially set at a low rate on every financial transaction, would capture the property speculators that have manipulated and caused such distress and “shortage” in the housing market.
    It would generate many many millions of dollars of extra revenue from the leaches such as those that reap tax free income using their “disposable income” playing with our currency value in ways that bear no reflection to our Countries productivity.
    The rate could be progressively increased to the point where GST is eliminated.
    This would address the rort whereby upper income earners and wealthy business owners recover/claim back (or never pay) their tax share through GST, while low and middle income earners pay GST on everything including from food to fuel, Doctors bills, medicine prescriptions, power bills and even land rates. (a tax upon a tax paid from taxed income)

  17. Making me like labour – all the naysayers and others hating on them – not left enough, missing huge groups of people, gnat lite – yawn tell me something I don’t know – it’s all beside the point – election days coming and you are gonna have to make a call – if voting was today who would you vote for? Really?

  18. lloyd 18

    One thing not mentioned is that the people and organisations that will receive the payments will almost certainly spend this money quickly in New Zealand. The money will have a multiplier effect on the NZ economy far greater than tax cuts to the rich where money is most likely to end up in savings accounts, foreign investment, foreign purchases (such as cars) and on overseas travel – all of which have minimal economic benefit or are a financial drag on the NZ economy.

    Education, health and welfare payments are a far better government investment than any tax cut. Labour’s proposal will give all taxpayers a far better long-term economic return than the pathetic National tax-cut bribe, and will result in a better tax return to the Government. This policy shows why a slightly socialist Labour government is always better at managing the economy than any Neo-liberal Nat. The Nat’s ideology blinds them to economic efficiencies.

    Labour must emphasize how multiplier effects like this make investments in education, health and welfare not only a good thing for those directly targeted for the benefits but are also beneficial to all New Zealanders, unlike the tax cuts aimed at the rich which are economically damaging to us all.

    Andrew Little is a kind and intelligent bloke investing in us all.

    Steve Joyce is working for Emirates, BMW and Jaguar and starves babies – what a bastard!

  19. patricia bremner 19

    Thank you Lloyd. 1000%

  20. millsy 20

    This policy isnt too bad. But I dont think it is too good either. I think governments are using cash transfers as a cheap way of getting votes without actually fixing the inherent issues within the economy. I think Howard and Blair were pioneers of this strategy.

    For starters, most of these payments will end up going on rent.

    What I would like to see is:

    1) Restoration of benefit levels to where they were in 1991. Given the insecure nature of work these days, I do not think people should lose everything because they lose their jobs

    2) Free doctors visits and scripts for community services card holders.

    3) A massive state housing building program. The down ward pressure of rents that results from a huge injection of houses into the market would do the job as any payment would.

    4) Incluide sickness in ACC.

    I would also do other sundry things, such as allow HNZ tenants to rent spare rooms on AirBNB,, etc..

  21. Zeroque 21

    I think it is better than what National are offering but agree with those who say it is hardly bold and distinguishable to anyone other than those who look closely. I guess the question is would a more bold and noticeable move, maybe in addition to this one, be popular enough to change Labours fortunes?

    The issue of inequality is now well out there and understood by many who may not have known about it 2 years ago but there don’t seem to be any well understood solutions coming forward that appeal, judging by the polls. Certainly more of the same isn’t going to reduce it.

    Probably the boldest LP policy we have seen yet that stands to lift wages is their employment relations package, but again it only seemed visible to people who look for such things and understand how they might work.

  22. patricia bremner 22

    I trust Labour have done their homework and their policies will support and strengthen people’s lives. For Joyce to call it “Spaghetti” it must be tasty and nourishing.

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