Not in John Key and Bill English’s third budget. The ‘good times’ they are promising would have looked pitiful under Labour.
4% wage growth will be below inflation once the Kiwisaver clawbacks get you. An extra 1% of your gross income will go into Kiwisaver to replace what the government is no longer contributing. And your employer’s contribution may go up to 3% from 2% but now you will be paying tax on it, which you don’t now, so you’ll actually only get 2-2.7% net from your employer. Oh, and your employer is allowed to make that Kiwisaver increase part of your pay rise.
Working for Families will be killed off slowly by eliminating the inflation-adjustments so the real value of the payments shrinks and rising nominal incomes mean you’re no longer eligible.
National says that jobs will come but they have pinned their hopes on Christchurch rebuilding itself, and claiming the credit for themselves. Personally, I don’t see it happening. Every Budget, National has promised the recovery is coming, and it simply hasn’t happened. Anyway, even National’s projections don’t get unemployment back under 4% like it was under Labour.
Oh, and their projections assume asset sales. The way they’ve planned things, there will be no money for new capital expenditure – schools, hospitals etc – unless they privatise assets.
National claims the cuts and asset sales are necessary to close their record deficit but what caused that deficit? Apart from the earthquakes, it’s economic underperformance and tax cuts for the rich. National refuses to even consider unwinding those unaffordable tax cuts and has no plan for the economy.
The field is wide open for Labour and the Greens, not to mention Mana, New Zealand First, and ACT to show that they have real ideas for the future. Ideas that National so clearly lacks.