So, how would you spend $1.2B per year?

Written By: - Date published: 3:23 pm, February 1st, 2016 - 84 comments
Categories: benefits, class war, cost of living, debt / deficit, economy, Economy, poverty, socialism, welfare - Tags: , , , ,

Those reading The Standard will know that I am less than impressed with Little’s announcement yesterday of 3 years free tertiary education. A valid comeback is – so what would you do differently?

Anthony Robins quite correctly stated that:

…one thing that (Labour) have done consistently is roll out big bold policies. KiwiBuild. NZ Power. Capital gains tax. Each of these seized the agenda and helped shaped the national debate on important topics.

These 3 “big bold policies” attempt to tackle some of the biggest issues making life hard for Kiwis today: severe housing unaffordability, energy poverty and the spiralling day to day cost of living for those on fixed and low incomes.

One criticism (out of many) that I have of Labour’s new ‘3 years free’ policy is that it misses such critical priorities in favour of pandering to middle class swing voters whose children are the ones most likely to go to university.

(And let’s face it, universities are by far and away the biggest budget item in the tertiary education sector, sitting at roughly five times the size of polytech budgets. Everything else is small fry).

A second criticism I have is that when you look at the list of “big bold policies” it is clear that Labour cannot hold the course. What happened to NZ Power? Gone. What happened to CGT? Gone.

Labour might make “big bold” policy announcements, but the electorate is getting pretty used to the idea that it’ll back off if the going gets tough. Other examples are GST off fruits and vegetables and raising the Super age (a dumb and regressive policy, so thank goodness for that one).

But what would I do differently?

A massively important, “big bold” policy which I believe cut to the very heart of the problems facing NZ today, was the $60 per week allowance proposed for every NZ child up to one year old.

David Cunliffe was Leader, and it was he who announced the policy. (My feeling is that the policy risks being abandoned by the current Labour caucus as being far too expensive and far too left wing).

That policy directly addressed one of the most serious crisis priorities facing NZ today: widespread child poverty.

Approximately 50,000 Kiwi kids are under one year old. At $60 per week, and made totally universal (no means test) this “big bold” Labour policy would have cost ~$156M per annum.

But with a $1.2B budget that figure could be increased to $65 per week, and extended to apply to all under five year olds: i.e. approx 250,000 Kiwi kids.

But wait! That only comes up to ~$845M per year of spend out of a $1200M available budget. There’s $355M left in the kitty. What to do with those monies?

I would add one more aspect to the policy announcement: make all public primary and public secondary schools completely fee free for Kiwi families.

This policy would show the public that NZ Labour can not only stick to its guns on an issue of utmost priority to the future of the nation (child poverty) but that it is more than willing to double down on it.

The policy is deliberately universal and designed to assist all Kiwi families regardless of income, but its progressive structure will direct relatively more help to those struggling in the bottom socioeconomic tiers of the country, where Maori and Pasifika remain painfully over-represented.

We also know that those same Maori and Pasifika families tend to be larger: therefore this approach would help them even more.

The real icing on the cake is that investment in younger children, and especially the under fives, has massively more societal returns than waiting until that young person is 18 or 20 years old and looking to go to polytech or university.

A Kiwi Kids allowance for every under five year old, and free public primary and secondary schooling. Traditional Labour values, done with traditional Labour smarts, targetting one of the most pressing crises facing our nation.

In my view, that’s 2017 sorted, right there.

 

84 comments on “So, how would you spend $1.2B per year?”

  1. FIFY 1

    The total package is expected to cost $147 million in its first year, 2015-2016, rising to $528 million by 2018/19. The child payments have been costed at $151 million in the first full year they apply of 2016/17, rising to $272 million by 2018/19.

    Cost of Best Start package was $528m by 2018/19, of payment alone to one year olds $272m.

    Cost of free tertiary in 2019 is $265m. The $1.2b is in 2025.

    This kind of sloppiness does not help your credibility.

    You’ve also assumed Labour won’t do any of the other things you’ve mentioned. This is just one policy, it is not the entire manifesto.

    I think you’re just looking for another reason to complain about Labour.

    http://m.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11192646

    • McFlock 1.1

      Yess, it’s another good idea.
      Let’s encourage Labour to commit to all of them, not just one idea. That’s the difference between a manifesto and a single policy.

      • Colonial Viper 1.1.1

        As I mentioned in the post, I feel that Labour will abandon the allowance for every under one year old, let alone expand it.

        • McFlock 1.1.1.1

          That wasn’t my point.
          My point was that you’ve adopted the artificial constraint that this specific chunk of money can be spent on either one thing or another. Whether one argues that taxing the rich can be done more effectively or one full-on argues that money can just be invented by the government with no ill effects, adopting the “either/or” budget mentality is inconsistent with how budgets are determined.

          Saying what you would do instead of the latest policy announcement strongly implies that you wouldn’t do anything to help tertiary students at all. Which is pretty much what I feel you’d be criticising Labour for if National had announced this tertiary policy and Little had delivered a speech that pretty much mirrored your post.

          • weka 1.1.1.1.1

            That’s what I was thinking too. But on reflection how much of that criticism is a reaction to CV’s commentary of recent times 😉

          • righty right 1.1.1.1.2

            you also forget there is 7 billion per year of tax evasion out there i ve been to labour meetings where it was stated “i have message for those avoiding tax watch out ”
            “the money is there or it is owed there no need for new tax we just need to get really aggressive with those who are evading what the rest of us pay

  2. Stuart Munro 2

    If I had a spare $1.2 billion lying about, I might want to spend it on comprehensive investigations of:

    *CERA
    *SCF
    *ORAVIDA
    *Cabinet Club
    *Skycity
    * Flying sheep

    In any just society it is important to prevent scoundrels from profiting from wrongdoing – it’s a well established legal principle.

    Nevertheless I approve of Labour’s move, and the assertion that education should be free. It’s a subset of the ‘knowledge wants to be free’ the Swedish “allemansrätten” which is a decent starting premise for a free society.

  3. Draco T Bastard 3

    This post starts off with the wrong assumption – that the government needs to raise money before it can spend it. This is, of course, wrong as the government can create the money ex nihilo.

    Sure, we need to ensure that excess money isn’t created but that comes down more to stopping the private banks from creating money and also stopping the importation of money from other countries (This would mostly be done by stopping the selling of NZ to offshore buyers).

    • Colonial Viper 3.1

      Well you know my stance on the creation of money and credit, but I had to cater to the orthodoxy to some degree 😈

      • One Anonymous Bloke 3.1.1

        Softening a stance to make it electorally palatable. That’s what Hooton would call it, eh 🙄

        • Colonial Viper 3.1.1.1

          Of course I had to soften it down, I was asked to produce pseudo-Labour Party policy as an alternative to the ‘3 year free training’ initiative.

  4. sabine 4

    free school uniforms would be a good spend.

    free school lunches would be a good spend

    free books and stationary to be handed out at the school would be good

    irrespective of the income of the parents. And I guarantee you that would help people financially across all income groups.

    • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 4.1

      And I guarantee you that would help people financially across all income groups.

      Finally, someone concerned about how the rich are coping!

  5. Lanthanide 5

    Although I don’t have kids and never plan to, I think this is a better use of the money than the tertiary education policy they’ve announced, bearing in mind that as FIFY at #1 says, your costings don’t line up.

    • Colonial Viper 5.1

      I didn’t try and match Labour’s cashflow year by year; really that’s beyond what I can do by myself.

      This is really a case of asking – what could you do with $1.2B in new spending.

      I picked a priority which Labour said was big in its 2014 campaign – child poverty – and went with it using a universal, non-income tested approach.

  6. Andre 6

    My fireproof undies are in the wash today so I’m real nervous about bringing this up, but…I’m really not happy about a policy that even vaguely looks like an inducement to procreate. In a world of 7.3 billion people and climbing by another billion every 15 years or so, the last thing we want is incentives to produce more people, especially relatively resource-intensive Western people.

    And yes, to some people, $65 a week will look like an inducement to have a kid. Especially those people that aren’t too good at looking long term.

    So I like the look of Sabine’s suggestions a lot better: reduce the burden of looking after a kid in non-cash ways, don’t hand out what might look like a cash bonus to have a kid.

    • Colonial Viper 6.1

      My fireproof undies are in the wash today so I’m real nervous about bringing this up, but…I’m really not happy about a policy that even vaguely looks like an inducement to procreate.

      Yep. I see merit in that perspective. Seeking to increase economic activity and consume more are particularly damaging and dangerous in this century IMO.

      • mpledger 6.1.1

        Except NZ men and women are barely having enough children to replace themselves.

        • pat 6.1.1.1

          good….growth is the problem

        • Andre 6.1.1.2

          Reducing population is a good thing. By the time it happens in New Zealand, there will be plenty of examples from the likes of Japan, Germany, Spain, Russia, China…on what to do and what not to do in dealing with the few problems it causes.

    • Korero Pono 6.2

      You seriously think that a $65 bonus per week is a ‘cash bonus to have a kid’? How fucking stupid!

      I am sure the numbers who’d see that as an incentive to ‘breed’ would be extremely low, meanwhile those who would benefit from the cash injection (poor children) are denied because of such backward thinking.

      http://www.economist.com/node/14743589

      • Andre 6.2.1

        For me personally, no. $65 per week would have been way too little to influence my thinking about procreating. Kids cost way more than that to support.

        However, I know of two individuals that would see $65 a week as a cash bonus to have a kid. Plus several more that might see it that way. Sadly, those are people that are not in a position to provide the opportunities most of us take for granted for their current progeny. Nor are they very good at any kind of long term planning or even honestly figuring out where their income goes or what is worth spending money on, hence the lure of immediate cash in the hand. In terms of numbers of families in this situation, I suspect the truth is probably one of those rare cases where it actually is somewhere near the middle between what RWNJs and loony lefties think.

        I’m very much in favour of supporting families with kids, and if we aren’t going to accept universality, targeting the assistance to poorer kids. But I would much rather do it by reducing the expenses incurred in raising kids and providing opportunities directly to those kids. Targeted assistance that is guaranteed to reach the kids.

        That’s a really interesting article you linked to, thanks for that. It does a much better job of arguing than I ever could that the best way to slow population growth is in increasing education and wealth, particularly for women. I wish I knew of it last week for the robust discussion that went on then. But I don’t see how it’s relevant to whether it is better for kids to provide non-cash assistance to kids or unconditional cash transfers to the caregivers.

        • Colonial Viper 6.2.1.1

          Andre, I understand your concerns and they are real concerns shared by many New Zealanders. There will be a few out there who take the $65 meant for their child and blow it in an hour on beer and pokies.

          I myself tend to weigh in on the side that reckons the vast majority of Kiwi parents are largely responsible, know what’s best for their children and how to best raise their own families for their own given circumstances.

          Given that, there is definitely a role for active guidance, support and culture change to be provided for some communities or households where parenting skills and attitudes need improving.

        • Korero Pono 6.2.1.2

          Just because you know two people personally that would not hesitate to procreate for $65 per week doesn’t give you the right to make sweeping generalisations about all people.

          The article was linked to because you introduced the topic of a population explosion – I simply linked to provide an alternative solution, which does not assume that giving assistance to families with children is an incentive to breed – Another article I recently read indicates that a wealthier a community becomes the lower the birth rate…I may link to that when I have time. Incidentally it appears that moving people out of poverty is the answer to the population problem…hence giving families more money may prove beneficial. A measly $65 is not an incentive to ‘breed’ like you would have us believe and ‘Targeted assistance that is guaranteed to reach the kids’ assumes that people cannot be trusted to do what is right, UCT have been shown to be particularly effective and evidence shows that those receiving the UCTs do not squander the money.

  7. cogito 7

    “more societal returns than waiting until that young person is 18 or 20 years old and looking to go to polytech or university.”

    My understanding is that the policy would be available to all those of post-secondary age who have not undertaken previous tertiary study, including mature/older people requiring retraining, upskilling etc….. and plenty of these people would have families. So by helping them to keep working the policy also helps their families.

    That’s not to say that other initiatives are not also required.

    • Sacha 7.1

      “the policy would be available to all those of post-secondary age who have not undertaken previous tertiary study, including mature/older people requiring retraining, upskilling etc”

      and that is how Labour has emphasised it at launch.

      • Colonial Viper 7.1.1

        Ruling out anyone who has previously done an apprenticeship, gone to polytech or completed a few university papers, is ridiculous, particularly if you are trying to pitch your initiative as a way for people to “retrain” while not allowing them to have any initial training in the first place.

        • greywarshark 7.1.1.1

          I heard just the other day some commenter saying that we will have to retrain perhaps four times in life. Exactly what they were saying in the 1980s.

          The idea about retraining fits the move to privatise education, so we spend most of our time and money on this education hamster wheel. Every now and then we get off with a head full of info which someone might hire us to tap and we recover the cost of our retraining, then back onto the ed. wheel again and go through the same process.

          • Colonial Viper 7.1.1.1.1

            Indeed. And the “retraining” hamster wheel (nice phrase) also takes the pressure of governments to deliver on the creation of decent, worthwhile jobs.

        • weka 7.1.1.2

          Ruling out anyone who has previously done an apprenticeship, gone to polytech or completed a few university papers, is ridiculous, particularly if you are trying to pitch your initiative as a way for people to “retrain” while not allowing them to have any initial training in the first place.

          Can you please link to something that supports the idea that someone who’s done a few papers at uni won’t qualify for the free 3 years? Ditto an apprenticeship.

          • Colonial Viper 7.1.1.2.1

            From the NZ Herald:

            The first year will be available to all new school leavers from 2019 for all NZQA approved courses, including all apprenticeships, and to every New Zealander who has had no previous tertiary education.

            (My emphasis)

          • righty right 7.1.1.2.2

            i did apprenticeship in mid 80s half my wages payed by the government ,went to tech payed for by the employer subsidized night school payed for by someone else not a cent of debt can we honestly deny kids trying find there feet when so many of us benefited from the tax payer of the day

        • Sacha 7.1.1.3

          I agree. An incoherent note, at this stage.

  8. Michael 8

    Well I support the $1.2bn fee-free policy, but I’d also do a families package like this:

    Increase paid parental leave to 52 weeks: additional ~$413m
    $40 per week for all kids aged 0-3: ~$354m
    Pay the $60/wk in-work tax credit to families missing out: $400m

  9. weka 9

    Good to see you chanelling your energy proactively CV.

    I like your ideas, and you seem to have a talent for doing this development work. My main issue is that I don’t understand why we can’t have both. How was DC’s policy going to be funded?

    And if you can argue that Labour isn’t doing enough with x policy, why can we not do that with yours? Your policy for instance doesn’t address the desperate need of people with non-ACC covered disabilities who are on their own. Ditto people with long term mental health issues. Why focus on families with children instead of all people in need? Why give money to families that don’t need it instead of individuals who do?

    (And let’s face it, universities are by far and away the biggest budget item in the tertiary education sector, sitting at roughly five times the size of polytech budgets. Everything else is small fry).

    Is that overall budget, or the cost of student fees, that is 5x higher in Unis?

    • Colonial Viper 9.1

      Is that overall budget, or the cost of student fees, that is 5x higher in Unis?

      Overall government supplied budget.

      My main issue is that I don’t understand why we can’t have both.

      There is no real reason why we can’t have both, except that Labour is IMO likely to abandon the $60/week under ones credit, let alone expand it.

      Why give money to families that don’t need it instead of individuals who do?

      I am a believer that a universal benefit has many advantages rather than something which was means tested and had many other strings and conditions attached.

      The superior way ahead would be a UBI for all Kiwis, as a minimum baseline.

      • weka 9.1.1

        “Overall government supplied budget.”

        Ok, so the 5x thing is irrelevant. Using that figure reinforces your prejudices about university. When I read the speech I heard ‘tertiary’ loud and clear and didn’t interpret that as uni, especially given the work context of what Little was talking about.

        I am a believer that a universal benefit has many advantages rather than something which was means tested and had many other strings and conditions attached.

        And yet here you are making the case for a conditional benefit. Why is that?

        The superior way ahead would be a UBI for all Kiwis, as a minimum baseline.

        This is one the main problems with putting economics ahead of identity politics. You seem to believe that if people have sufficient income they will be ok. This is patently not true for people with disabilities and long term mental health issues. Obviously the UBI won’t suffice and those people won’t be able to work to top up so will still be dependent on a state that is prejudicial, institutionally ableist, and badly organised. Now you will say how those problems will have to be solved too and that it’s just a matter of x, y, z, but that’s you just being Andrew Little. See how this works now?

        Your ideas are good, but they’re not actually any better per se than what Labour have come up with. Why should yours be take precedence?

        • greywarshark 9.1.1.1

          weka
          Why would CVs ideas be quickly dismissed because they don’t answer every present problem? They start in the new direction of UBI instead of incrementally patching old policies.

          Why would his suggestion mean no conditional benefits on top of the main basic system which is a safety net, not to be withdrawn at the whim of some sociopathic Minister or whingeing WINZ manager/? I guess that Disabled Benefit would go onto the UBI, also help for people with children, and extend beyond ages 0-3.

          Support for parents of teenagers who are the most expensive, and the time when they are most in need of a helpful, supportive and available parent would lessen the number at odds with parents and in trouble. Parents who are in touch, able to discuss problems, keeping them away from binge nights etc.are what is needed at this often turbulent growing period of their lives. There are other sorts of special needs than what is presently defined for government support.

          Mixing secondary education and work was a practice being run around 1990 and had some good results.

          Bob at 15.2 throws up a tax system of the sort that might appeal to the moneyed who don’t understand the simple equation that those with higher discretionary income should be the ones paying higher tax. Bob’s idea has everyone getting over a reasonable amount starts paying a decent sized tax. Those who love to harp on simplicity would like this, and if it was emphasised that the lower income were paying their fair share, much of the heat on tax for the rich would be unconscionable.

          • weka 9.1.1.1.1

            “Why would CVs ideas be quickly dismissed because they don’t answer every present problem?”

            They wouldn’t. Neither would Labour’s. Which is the point I was making to CV (he condemns Labour for not getting it right, I was just pointing out that he fails that particular test too).

            Why would his suggestion mean no conditional benefits on top of the main basic system which is a safety net, not to be withdrawn at the whim of some sociopathic Minister or whingeing WINZ manager/? I guess that Disabled Benefit would go onto the UBI, also help for people with children, and extend beyond ages 0-3.

            This is completely off topic, but I used the example of disability because there’s been some good discussion on ts recently about it, which is rare.

            In past discussions about UBI my concerns about what would happen to people who are ill and have disabilities (along with solo parents etc) were largely dismissed. Some people think that the supplementary benefits should be moved to the MoH, but as I said back then and people like Rosemary will confirm, the MoH can also be harsh bastards and/or incompetent. My view on that was also rejected, people asserted that the health system was the best place under a UBI. Much of that argument appears to come form antipathy towards WINZ without realising that the health sector has its own set up of fucked up practices and cultures.

            Just to put that into perspective, I made my comments back then as a person with a disability who is politicised around disability, and my comments were pretty much just rejected by people with very little understanding of either the realities of people with disabilities or the politics.

            Yes, a UBI is a great idea, and yes, there are solutions to the issues I raised. But there is a large lack of understanding about disability and disability politics on ts, and so the useful solutions aren’t even in the public domain yet (not here at least). That not only sucks but is something that lefties need to address. It’s also ironic, because it’s a disability of the left.

            So to reiterate my point to CV, it’s not that useful to slam people for not getting it right when they are promoting something good that needs additional work. I thought Labour’s retraining policy was a good start, and it can be improved on and good change will come from working from that place rather than writing off the policy and Labour in one fell swoop.

  10. TepidSupport 10

    I like the idea of “free” tertiary education but like many comments I’ve seen on this issue, I’m uncomfortable with it being universal and with no bonding.
    Here is what I propose would suit better:
    Increased funding of all education, thereby taking pressure off all parents with kids at all levels (school ‘donations’ etc) and mean that Tertiary providers wouldn’t have to charge students as much (meaning smaller loans)
    Uniforms, lunches & stationary paid for through targeted help (perhaps anyone on benefits or receiving Working for Families etc?)
    Incentive (through govt scholarships or similar) to study courses that are most needed to fill skills in the economy and thereby reducing over supply of popular courses and leading to employment struggles once qualified.
    This more targeted approach, I believe, would also reduce welfare of the rich where they an support their own kids through tertiary study and with lunches, uniforms, etc…
    It also frees up more funding for where it’s needed most…
    There’s my Five Cents…

    • Nick Nack 10.1

      I think you’ve nailed it. You’re approach is far more targeted, and would receive, I believe, much wider support. Taking money from working NZ’ers to give to rich peoples kids is hardly a sensible approach imho.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 10.1.1

        Reasons for ignoring international best practice no. 417: foster resentment of rich pricks.

        • Nick Nack 10.1.1.1

          Since when was universal free tertiary education international best practice?

          • McFlock 10.1.1.1.1

            about forty to seventy years ago.

            • Nick Nack 10.1.1.1.1.1

              Evidence?

              BTW I was in tertiary education at various times from the late 1970’s, and I paid both course fees and for books, so the idea that tertiary education was free is a myth.

              • McFlock

                How much for fees?

                And you said international. Look up tertiary education in scandinavia, germany, uk, other european nations, even brazil.

                • Nick Nack

                  “How much for fees?”

                  Can’t remember exactly, but it was in the hundreds of $$ per course.

                  “And you said international. ”

                  ‘best practice’. Where is the evidence it is international best practice? I’m aware some countries offer free tertiary education, many don’t, and many of the ones that do have significant strings attached.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Nah, more like hundreds of dollars for an entire full time undergraduate 7 to 8 paper workload. In the early 1990s when I started at uni a heavy full time course of 8 papers was approx $2,000 total in course fees, from what I remember and that was when per paper fees had started rocketing upwards thanks to Labour.

                    But seriously, you clearly are not a believer in free tertiary education – at least one which does not load students down with tens of thousands in debt – so what more is there to say?

                    • miravox

                      Yep – I think mine were $600 in 1987-9 for a full-time workload.

                    • Nick Nack

                      I did a business diploma in accounting. The books alone were a high cost, and the fees per paper were in the hundy’s. I did take a while…started 1979, worked full time, studied at night, to pay for it.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      That explains a lot: a representative from the unproductive sector counts beans, then points out that it would be a lot cheaper if there were no beans to count at all.

                    • McFlock

                      lolz at all 🙂

      • miravox 10.1.2

        “Taking money from working NZ’ers to give to rich peoples kids is hardly a sensible approach imho.”

        If you’re that concerned about working NZers paying for rich kids education maybe you’ve got something to say about ‘targeted’ student allowances right now, (and how many zero-income wealthy households are eligible for them). Then maybe reflect on why sometimes a universal allowance is more efficient than a targeted one at reaching working NZers.

        Plus, of course, it’s not just university kids that get the allowance, it’s working NZers kids who want to train for working NZers jobs too.

        • Nick Nack 10.1.2.1

          It isn’t just working NZ’er, it’s also people who don;t have a formal education, yet who are working. How is it equitable taking more tax off them to pay for someone to become a doctor, a lawyer, an engineer etc when they can pay their own way from future earning?

          As to ‘targeted’ student allowances, yes that could work, particularly in areas where there are skills shortages. However I’m still of the view that tertiary education is primarily vocational, and therefore should be paid for out of the recipients future earnings.

          • miravox 10.1.2.1.1

            Even if tertiary education is primarily vocational do you think employers and society do not benefit from that? I believe they do so that is a good enough reason for the cost being a shared one. Because that is employer (profit) and government (tax) future earnings as well.

            How about a house painter for example? Most people who are going to have vocational training are paying fees these days even if the job is not going to earn truckloads of money. I think you’ve forgotten about the painters, bus drivers, food service staff (yes, those waitresses often do courses to get their first job), hairdressers, call centre workers etc, etc. The employer gets an already trained person to make a profit from without having to put up the money.

            You missed my point about student allowances – they are already targeted at low income families – which means families with their funds in a business or trust pop into work and income to sign up the kid for an allowance that working NZers with a low to average income can’t get.

            • Nick Nack 10.1.2.1.1.1

              “Because that is employer (profit) and government (tax) future earnings as well.”

              That happens irrespective of who pays for the education. Why should someone who is going to be earning a substantial amount of money over their lifetime have their education paid for by the cleaner at your place of work?

              “The employer gets an already trained person to make a profit from without having to put up the money.”

              So? The ‘trained person’ is earning money. And I suspect you underestimate the money earned by tradespeople these days. And it doesn’t take 3 years getting a degree to drive a bus.

              “…they are already targeted at low income families – which means families with their funds in a business or trust pop into work and income to sign up the kid for an allowance that working NZers with a low to average income can’t get.”

              And you have evidence of this? Like real data? My view of ‘targeting’ is not necessarily to an income bracket but to a trade or profession where there are skills shortages. Income is irrelevant with student loans and allowances, if the person is going to receive a decent income at the end of their education then they can afford to repay a loan. That is irrespective of their financial background.

              • miravox

                “And you have evidence of this? Like real data?”

                I don’t know where to get the data from. Given hidden income and all, but with a bit of time I might find something…

                I can’t believe someone who counts beans doesn’t know anyone (e.g. business owner, accountant or farmer) whose organised their affairs so their kids can get an allowance! You need to get out more… This has caused a huge amount of resentment in my wider family. Anyways, in the words of the PM

                “You mentioned some unfairness in the current system; what, in particular, is that?
                Well, in the case of Student Allowances, it’s income-tested and not asset-tested. I think everyone would acknowledge there are certain students who receive a Student Allowance where their parents are very asset-rich but technically, for the purposes of the law, are income-poor. It’s actually quite unfair on students whose parents can’t reorganise their affairs in that way. “

                No plans to change it but. Note also that these parents aren’t paying income tax either. You’d think it would be a parental responsibility to teach your children not to cheat huh?

                As the child of a manual worker I disagree entirely with your cost of everything value of nothing approach. In your scenario the child of an unskilled worker has little chance of becoming something other than a manual worker. One of the most important social mobility factors disappears.

                As well, we already know that targeted assistance is abused and people on very modest incomes struggle to put their kids through university while looking on with a level of bitterness at those who get support. I prefer the universal approach – there is a greater societal buy-in I suspect.

                I got my first degree because of universal access (one of those horrible sole parents slumming up the lecture theatres after leaving school at 15). I could not do that these days. Not at all, and I’d rather not be the person who pulled up the ladder behind me.

  11. BM 11

    Recreate the Ministry of works.

    • vto 11.1

      Has more sense than people might think. Have you witnessed how government currently goes about getting things done?…… way more protracted and expensive than having a MoW.

      • BM 11.1.1

        Yeah, I don’t get it, layers upon layers with added expense with every layer.

        Subbing everything out is bull shit, look at all the big successful companies, everything is done in house or moved in house as soon as it becomes financially viable to have the men and equipment to get that part of the job done.

        You control the process all the way through which is so important in keeping costs down.

        NZ inc.

        • Sacha 11.1.1.1

          Hence many foreign investors seek to control the whole supply chain, yes.

          And we let them.

        • Draco T Bastard 11.1.1.2

          Yeah, I don’t get it, layers upon layers with added expense with every layer.

          Makes more profit for the private ticket clippers with less risk and accountability.

        • millsy 11.1.1.3

          Careful BM, you might get denounced as a counterrevolutionary with that talk…

    • Stuart Munro 11.2

      Wouldn’t work the old way – we don’t need the roads, and construction is done differently. They could run fibreoptic cable everywhere – or rail. Or high speed rail.

    • Colonial Viper 11.3

      BM, you’re scaring me now mate

  12. vto 12

    It is quite clear that starving people of base human needs, at or near birth, has a massive and irreversible cost to society later.

    Bill English knows about this.

    As such $1.2billion for early life requirements of all types.

    That is the very best one, for people for society and even for the economy.

    Eh Bill English.

  13. Wayne 13

    Actually, this is a pretty good idea.

    Just recently I was talking to someone about the importance of the Family Benefit, as it was, not just to poor families but to young families generally. Peak income years of many middle income professionals often occur after the early years of bringing up children, so it was very important to them as well..

    I do like the idea of universality where it is practical. It reinforces social solidarity. This is very evident with National Super.

  14. millsy 14

    Not too sure if we need to bolt on yet another transfer payment onto the already cumbersome welfare system.

    Perhaps if we (among other things) put that money into a massive state house contruction scheme, with income related rents, which will lead to downward pressure on private sector rentals, we would have the same effect. I actaully said, numerous times, that chopping WFF and redirecting the money into state housing is a much smarter way to do thing (and has the same effect).

    And crack down on the power companies too. We have an abundance of renewable generation, and the right amount of non-renewable to back it up. Power should be cheap — just like gas is in Turkmenistan and Armenia. No poverty in Turkmenistan from what I understand.

    CV’s Kiwi Kids allowance will go straight into the pockets of landlords and power companies.

    Though free P1-F7 education sounds good to me. We have the means.

    • Colonial Viper 14.1

      CV’s Kiwi Kids allowance will go straight into the pockets of landlords and power companies.

      This kind of thing is a kind of danger and does require countermeasures.

      • righty right 14.1.1

        thats exactly why iam against working for families and the rental supplement any benefit the families get is stripped away by the rentier class we must do something about the cost of living before any kind of assistance program is undertaken or there will be no affect

  15. vto 15

    UBI is the one.

    Gonna happen one day.

    Bring it forward now. Pull it from over the horizon onto today’s plate, don’t wate

    • Colonial Viper 15.1

      Yep

    • Bob 15.2

      Agree, UBI and a simplified Tax system like a 30/30/30/30/15* ($30k tax free earnings over UBI, 30% income tax over that threshold + 15% GST, 30% corporate tax rate, 30% trust tax rate).
      This would shrink the public sector (Social Development and IRD and appeal to the right leaning voters), make it easier to catch tax cheats, remove loopholes and be a more progressive tax structure than what we currently have (appeal to the left leaning voters).

      *These numbers are plucked from thin air and are purely for illustrative purposes to show how a simplified tax structure may look.

  16. Enough is Enough 16

    I agree

    This is going to restrict any other potential big ticket policy initiative going into election year. And for what?

    So that future lawyers, doctors and accountants can get a more affordable education, while the poor and illiterate get no increase in social spending.

    Don’t get me wrong, in my ideal society attending tertiary institutes would be the same and primary and secondary. You wouldn’t have to pay. However I don’t think Labour is advocating for the structural changes to provide for this. Rather they are prioritising this over other more pressing needs which is removing our kids from poverty.

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