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Tax-cuts or… Health

Written By: - Date published: 8:16 am, October 18th, 2016 - 135 comments
Categories: economy, health - Tags:

The government is proud of their surplus, which at 0.7% of GDP isn’t quite as dramatic as the 9% of GDP deficit they had in 2011.

But as soon as we have a surplus, National starts salivating over tax cuts.  Not sensible things like investing in the Cullen Fund again, with NZ Super costing $12.9 billion/year and growing rapidly with our ageing population (somewhat puts $1.8 billion in the shade).  But Key’s pension philosophy is all about sticking his head in the sand.

This morning though we’re waking up to doctor strikes, so in the first of a series of where any surplus money should be going I want to look at the biggest item in the budget: Health.

National’s main task in government seems to be trying to starve services in such a way that the problems are chronic rather than acute.  To mix my metaphors1: they’re slowly tightening the belt, and, like the frog in the pot, we don’t notice the slowly increasing temperature.  Tony Ryall in Health mastered this better than anyone, and Jonathan Coleman doesn’t seem to have quite the same knack as the problems get ever harder.

So Junior Doctors are on strike over safety issues like doing 16 hour shifts back to back, up to 12 shifts in a row; Senior Doctors are grumpy with what they’re being paid to cover; and Ambulance staff might join the doctors on strike, as they too are concerned about the effect of cuts on patient safety.

The obesity epidemic is having little progress made.

And that’s before you get to the mental health crisis.  Mental Health has been managed as a ‘chronic’ problem for the government, slowly deteriorating, but eventually when things get threadbare you start having issues sprout everywhere.  From Youthline being overwhelmed, to the bed closures at He Puna Waiora due to lack of staff, to just crazy waiting times of acute services, mental health is being seen ‘as bad as the 90s’.  In the absence of action from the government, The People’s Mental Health Review has been set up, and is hearing lots of stories of over-worked staff unable to attend urgent cases, and unnecessary deaths.  And like the 90s we are starting to have cases like Ross Bremner’s, resulting in the deaths of people unconnected from those not receiving the services they need.

This is a system in serious stress that needs serious investment.

Steven Joyce (hardly heard from since his Dildo Baggins days…), was always desperate to trot out his ‘more money spent on health than ever before’ line, but that failed to take into account inflation or our massive immigration meaning we were going backwards in real per capita terms.  Immigration may be the cheap sugar rush National loves, but it does bring costs in many areas too (I’ll come to housing in another post…).

So we’re going backwards in those terms, but in addition Health inflation tends to be about double normal inflation.  Mainly due to constant innovation in new (more expensive!) treatments and keeping us alive for longer, but also somewhat due to skills shortages, this is a problem that needs addressing – and not just by under-investing.

While the Government’s surplus could easily be swallowed by Health alone – and I’ve already mentioned the Cullen Fund and Andrew Little’s already mentioned Police to combat the increased burglaries etc as well – I’ll post some more in the coming days about other areas that are far more pressing than tax-cuts.  This will no doubt be what the election is fought over – your back-pocket now or fixing social problems – so it’s important to cover what we’ll miss out on if National goes ahead with their tax cuts.

1. A mixed metaphor should always be derailed, no matter how it sings.

135 comments on “Tax-cuts or… Health ”

  1. Draco T Bastard 1

    Pretty much par for the course then.

    Cut the services until they break and then tell the lie that private is better and start directly funding private health insurers and watch as the number of people getting health care suddenly decreases while the cost of health care goes up.

    Exactly what we see in the US.

    The private health insurers will be making a killing.

  2. BM 2

    How about this for an idea.

    National can campaign on a policy of tax cuts, Labour can campaign on a policy of spending more on government services and hand outs.

    If people vote National back in then the people have spoken, tax cuts are what people want and democracy has been served.

    • tc 2.1

      Fine by me as long as the people are shown the 3 terms of under investment and spending cuts in health, education, infrastructute (pilfering over 1bill from rural road maintenance etc), r&d and more…

      Then all the corporate handouts and privatisation by stealth so folks have the full picture to make a decision over.

      Hell yes bring that on ! Bit much to expect I know as nationals msm DP smear machine would go all out to muddy those waters.

      • Draco T Bastard 2.1.1

        +1

      • BM 2.1.2

        Plenty of ammo there for the left to use in the next election.

        Do they have the skills and ability to use it to wrestle power from National though?

        • Macro 2.1.2.1

          You mean are there any media left to convey the message?
          Did you know there are half the number of journalists in this country that there were in 2008?
          Did you know that the number of journalists now working in the Prime Ministers Department has grown exponentially and that the Prime Minister’s Department now receives more funding than Radio NZ? No worries about cutting back there.
          Opposition parties may issue as many press releases as they like – but that does not mean they will reach the eyes or ears of the public.
          The media, and in particular the news, is controlled by the right and that is how they want it to stay.

          • Tamati Tautuhi 2.1.2.1.1

            Same as the USA JK is following the USA model and no doubt Crosby Textor will be guiding him re press releases and strategy.

          • David C 2.1.2.1.2

            Did you know that Labour cant keep a press secretary employed because they keep quitting for unknown reasons?
            3 have quit in the last two months?

            • Macro 2.1.2.1.2.1

              Did you know that the role of chief press secretary to the Opposition is considered to be one of the toughest jobs in politics, and the attrition rate in recent years reflects that.
              After all one or two people having to do the job that 10 do in the PM’s dept is fairly stressful and not as well paid.

              • David C

                So someone like Sarah Stuart who quite after a few months did so because of the pressure and shit pay?
                Really ?
                or are you just taking the piss?

                • Macro

                  Stuart will finish in late May and cited “family reasons” as her motivation for leaving.

                  “I will be sorry to leave but have made this difficult decision for family reasons. I will miss the cut and thrust of Parliament, the talented team in the Leader’s Office and the strength and integrity that Andrew embodies,” she said.

                  If anyone is talking piss……

          • Ch_ch chiquita 2.1.2.1.3

            Then I guess opposition parties will have to do it in an old fashioned way – candidates will have to put more time and effort and door knock.
            In the short time I have been working with candidates in the local elections here in Christchurch we have learnt something valuable for the general election – door knocking works like a charm.
            Forget the MSM. Walk the streets and take the mesage out.

            • Macro 2.1.2.1.3.1

              That is so correct Ch_ch c. Door knocking works well. One can quickly gain a sense of where the wind lies and if it is against you – politely excuse oneself and let them be. However, there needs to be people on the ground for that to happen, and that is where the task lies. Once there is a ground swell however things will take off. There is also some benefit in the use of social media – e.g. Chloe S in Auckland, Bernie S, and Jeremy C – but it isn’t the be all and end all. Person to person is always effective.

        • Sabine 2.1.2.2

          actually i have come to believe that the country needs a few more years of National love.
          We still have some health care and should sell that to the highest bidder – after all all of you guys are rich enough to pay full price plus profit for your health care and if you can’t you would just quietly die without to much moaning.

          The same applies to any other assets this country have. Let them sell it off, lets do away with all taxes. Yes, all taxes. No more taxes for no one.
          Pay your tolls on any and all roads you sue.
          Pay the education you want for your kids at the beginning of the year in full or else no lunch …err education.
          Pay your electricity and line charges every month in full.
          Pay your water and your water delivery charges in full.
          Pay
          Pay
          Pay

          and when you run out of money go find a ditch – payable – and die. Quietly.
          I am sure there would be a few deluded National Bots that consider themselves rich enough to be able to survive.

          But a question to you, If you have allergies and need an Epi Pen (just an example you could use also blood thinner, insulin, heart medicine) and you are a millionaire like you PM is, how many times can you be stung by a bee before you run out of Cash. And each Epi Pen costs you a million dollar…cause you know private market and the institution that used to negotiate prices for medicine and so on has been dismantled and closed down as there are no more funds to run it.

      • Nessalt 2.1.3

        Missed the last three campaigns?

    • @ BM

      ‘ Hand outs’…

      Yes I’m sure cancer treatment is a ‘ hand out ‘ ,… as is junior doctors working 16 hour shifts and 12 days back to back .

      Lets hope you are not a victim of tired decision making by doctors, eh mate?

      And if you or one of your family fall victim to sudden heart attack or stroke , perhaps you can delight in driving yourself to hospital and saving the country a packet because the ambulance drivers seem to think there is an issue with the way health staff are treated as well…

      ‘ Hand outs’.

      I love it. I really love it.

      • Gangnam Style 2.2.1

        Ambulance drivers are striking too! Citing their hours cause fatigue & stress. I understand they will still respond to call outs but won’t do anything else.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.3

      Just so long as National tells the truth as to what will happen with their cutting of government services.

      Of course, if they did that, no one would vote for them.

    • Siobhan 2.4

      Funny thing, people vote for National and tax cuts, then sit around dazed and confused when their kids can’t access proper mental health care, and Aunty Dot is house bound because she’s on some imaginary waiting list for a knee operation.

      It is the Government’s job to be responsible and spend the tax dollar in the best interests of the country.
      Unwell people can not work, they are what you might call ‘unproductive units’.
      They cost the taxpayer a lot of money during the course of their undertreated illnesses.
      The Government is behaving like some idiot with a massive toothache who then decides to spend their money on a night out. Sure, it means work for the waiter and chef…but in the end its going to be a massive operation to fix the festering tooth.

      Interestingly even Matthew Hooton and other fiscally responsible Tory types don’t want tax cuts, they would rather payment of the Nations debt.

      • BM 2.4.1

        Do you think Labour is going to pay down debt?

        Free tertiary education, kiwbuild, kiwiunicorns, ubi etc.

        I’d expect the current debt levels to double if the left ever make it back into power.

        • WILD KATIPO 2.4.1.1

          Well I dunno about all that , but we might not see quite as many small children dying in moldy cold homes and family’s sleeping in cars…

          And perhaps crime might not be quite so pronounced as we might get a few more Bobby’s to swell the ranks , perhaps a few less new arrivals pushing housing up past affordable limits and maybe even acknowledgement that yes, … a working poor serf class is not such a good idea after all and perhaps a realistic living wage might be mildly beneficial for people on low incomes.

          And maybe instead of tax cuts for the rich we can enjoy seeing them pay their fair share of the tax burden to help pay for our social services which this neo liberal National govt has been busy downgrading for the last 8 – 9 years.

          And perhaps a little less of this sort of blatant lying to the public with electoral stunts such as this :

          http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/10468960/Aroha-of-McGehan-Close-flees-NZ

          • BM 2.4.1.1.1

            And maybe instead of tax cuts for the rich we can enjoy seeing them pay their fair share of the tax burden to help pay for our social services which this neo liberal National govt has been busy downgrading for the last 8 – 9 years.

            Who is rich and how much should they pay?

            • Kevin 2.4.1.1.1.1

              Lets start with the corporate ‘avoiders’ shall we?

              Nice and easy to get your head around BM.

              Estimated up to $7 Billion in tax avoidance.

              There’s a good start…

            • Sabine 2.4.1.1.1.2

              Honey, who is not rich and how much should they pay?

        • Siobhan 2.4.1.2

          Yes yes, the Left are all about kiwiunicorns, ubi etc.

          While National are terribly grown up and responsible and are offering tax cuts so I can buy a new stereo and Mum and Dad can get in an extra holiday to Fiji.

          Meantime “ACC’s assets took a $5.1 billion hit, the Super Fund lost $2 billion, the Crown’s liability under the ETS increased by $1.5 billion and net Crown debt increased by $1.3 billion.” https://thestandard.org.nz/

          The conversation here is Tax Cuts…I don’t know about you, but I’m not voting for holidays in Fiji while we go to Hell in a handcart.

          Like I said before…sick; uneducated; financially screwed working families, old folk and children, drag down the economy. Maybe not the economy as seen by the 1% and the Corporations…but the ACTUAL economy, the one most people live in.

          • BM 2.4.1.2.1

            Super fund is worth 31 billion dollars, 2 billion is 6%, that’s just market noise.

            https://www.nzsuperfund.co.nz/

            This link explains the situation with ACC

            http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/industries/84949992/acc-investments-strong-but-interest-rate-fall-drives-34b-deficit

            • Siobhan 2.4.1.2.1.1

              “In 2013/14 we spent $10.9 billion on superannuation payments.
              Currently, New Zealand Superannuation accounts for 16 per cent of core crown revenue.
              Projections are that retired people will number 1.1 million by 2031, with accompanying pension costs increasing to $20 billion a year.”
              Dr Lisa Marriott, associate professor in Taxation, Victoria Business School, Victoria University of Wellington.

              We might want to keep an eye on that BM, especially as it’s not just that there is a big wave of baby boomers retiring, but that they are projected to live longer than ever.

              31 Billion sitting in the Stock Market – what could possibly go wrong.

        • Sacha 2.4.1.3

          Labour paid down govt debt to net zero last time. Try again.

        • Michelle 2.4.1.4

          BM the left had record low employment , positive economic growth, national debt paid down and they posted 8 surpluses in comparison your gnats have achieved nothing but more misery for our country and our people.
          Now we have homelessness we haven’t seen before
          A Meth epidemic the PM said he will fix and now is spending millions more to fix it when he said he will fix it 8 years ago
          An obesity epidemic and a housing epidemic
          A mental health epidemic we see this daily in our local newspaper some poor person killed by someone who is sick and needs help
          Youth line & counseling epidemic with the highest rates of suicide in the world
          Crime going through the roof with lots of robbing for cigarettes etc and they want to build another prison to fill it with cigarette thieves ( sad)
          Highest incarceration rates we have seen all this under a PM that promised us all a brighter future. Now if they ain’t enough reason to get rid of our PM what is BM

        • Draco T Bastard 2.4.1.5

          Well, debt has almost always decreased under Labour and increased under National.

          So, history tends to indicate that your beliefs are wrong.

          And then there’s the simple fact that it’s actually government spending that powers the economy. Without that deficit profits decrease and the economy grinds to a halt. Even their preferred austerity measures seriously cut the economies ability to function.

          Thing is, IMO, National knows that it’s the massive government borrowing that they’ve engaged in over the last 8 years is part of what’s keeping the economy going but they won’t tell people that as it goes against their desire for business people to be worshipped.

        • Leftie 2.4.1.6

          “Do you think Labour is going to pay down debt?”

          Why not BM? Labour did it last time and posted 9 true budget surpluses as well.

          • BM 2.4.1.6.1

            Completely different situation, best economics times ever seen,huge influx of money after 9/11 and an unbelievably tight finance minister.

            You tell me how is Labour going to grow the public service, do Kiwi build, free tertiary education as well as a UBI, combine that with all the stuff the greens want and still return a surplus?

            • Leftie 2.4.1.6.1.1

              There is no doubt that this National government is leaving a far greater shambolic mess than the previous National government, but there is no reason to assume that a new Labour led coalition government cannot address these issues, after all, Labour have by far, a better track record of being good economic managers than National.

              • BM

                So you have no idea.
                Do you think they’ll wave a magic wand?.

                Also why is the country always broke after Labour has left office?

                • Leftie

                  The country wasn’t broke after Labour left office though.
                  You seem to think National has a magic wand, don’t you BM? How is National going to pay off it’s enormous govt debt it continues to clock up? How is National going to fund it’s recent collection of bribes?

                  • David C

                    The country had been in recession for nearly 2 years and had a structural deficit.
                    Labour left the country broke and fucked.

                    • Leftie

                      Not so. New Zealand went into structural deficit under National in 2009.

                    • David C

                      Of course. Because National can actually add up numbers and didnt lie.

                      National agreed with Cullen when he said he had spent it all and fucked the country.

                      of and and Cullen brought the most expensive trainset in the history of the world. Want to pay for mental health ?, go back in time shoot Cullen in the head before he did the deal with Toll (who must still be drunk celebrating)

                    • Leftie

                      More bullshit David C and are you advocating for physical violence?

                    • David C

                      Of course I am Leftie, right after you build your time machine.

                    • Leftie

                      But I am not the one stupidly talking about a time machine, you are. What I am angry about, apart from your trolling bullshit, is you suggesting an act of violence of shooting someone in the head.

                    • that was,Muldoon he actually said on election night “Well Labour can’t do anything I’ve spent the lot .He also destroyed the wonderful pension scheme that was the envy of the world. National the party of greed and despair.their motto ‘I’m alright jack’

              • Chris

                “Labour have by far, a better track record of being good economic managers than National.”

                Yes, that’s true Leftie, and it’s an important point that Labour really needs to make clear to voters. In fact, Labour must make that task a priority.

                • David C

                  It would be a lot easier to sell that message if it were true.

                  and the punters aren’t actually that dumb.

            • Wensleydale 2.4.1.6.1.2

              Was Cullen tight, or just “fiscally prudent”? Was he a merciless scrooge with the nation’s coffers, or was it just “sound economic management”?

              Seriously, if you believe National’s propaganda regarding their impeccable cash-handling skills, you’d think Cullen should have been blue, rather than red.

              But like a lot of things that can be traced back to National’s PR department, it’s all smoke and mirrors. There’s a press release whenever Steven Joyce farts.

        • Brian Smith 2.4.1.7

          It’s always been left leaning Governments that have paid off debt and National Governments that borrow overseas money to the max -those are the facts. To be able to cut taxes you must cut social services or sell state assets or borrow heavily from overseas. The current National Government has done ALL OF THEM.

          And still, they have to cook the books to make a surplus!! Shows their level of incompetence and mismanagement. Oh…….. I forgot the fourth aspect of their brilliant strategy….Immigration. We all know the short term psychological effects that this is having on Aucklanders, however, these effects are wearing off and the massive hangover will soon prove to be ugly in it’s effects.

      • Macro 2.4.2

        ” Aunty Dot is house bound because she’s on some imaginary waiting list for a knee operation.”
        On a waiting list! She should think herself lucky. She will only get on the waiting list if the problem is now so severe she can no longer be ignored. She may have had that knee problem for years – suffered pain and incapacity all that time – but until she is actually unable to walk and fend for herself she can whistle in the wind because it’s not going to happen. Now if she had health insurance ……

    • mosa 2.5

      Kiwis are addicted to greed and will vote for tax cuts over funding public services.
      Bill English may have just won the 2017 general election.

      • David C 2.5.1

        WFF and interest fee student loans were Labour’s bribes, the Nats are miserly in comparison.

    • Groundhog 2.6

      That pretty much summarises the last 3 elections, doesn’t it?

  3. Colonial Viper 3

    The Left need to learn about how this works. I’ve mentioned this before but as a refresher:

    In the orthodox economic system (which both Labour and National endorse and comply with), Governments accomplish surpluses very simply.

    To get a surplus the Crown simply takes more money from the households and businesses throughout the country than they spend in social goods and services for the households and businesses throughout the country.

    If you take more money in from your people than you spend out on your people, then the end result is a net surplus (for the Crown) and a net deficit (for everyone else in the country).

    Now, while Labour and National very have slightly different philosophies on how much to take from the private sector of the country and how to give back, and when, the result is always roughly the same – within 1% or so of each other in terms of the GDP of the whole country.

    Just as a note, living down here in Dunedin, the last Labour Govt chronically underfunded the Otago District Health Board (now dis-established), and it cost chronic DHB deficits every year, and it cost lives.

    More evidence that by following the same orthodox economic ideas, Labour and National both get results which while not identical, are often comparable, to each other.

    • @CV

      The term ‘ orthodox ‘when applied to neo liberal definitions of simple supply and demand , is a modern phenomenon, and is in fact not ‘ orthodox’ economics at all.

      It is but a small facet of the more complete economics of John Maynard Keynes , ie: Keynesian economics.

      The fact that one small part of a complete economic theory has been blown out of proportion to suit the needs of the economists who lobby on behalf of the corporate’s and rich listers , would mean that the term ‘orthodox’ is in fact bogus.

      I would say the term ‘ orthodox’ when applied to neo liberal economics is nothing more than a construct to hijack universities and govt depts to further perpetuate the myth about so called ‘ orthodoxy’ in regards to neo liberalism.

      • Colonial Viper 3.1.1

        that’s all true too; if you look around at the only kind of economics which is present and acceptable in the mainstream discourse and within our commerce courses, this new “orthodoxy” is both dominant and enforced.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.2

      If you take more money in from your people than you spend out on your people, then the end result is a net surplus (for the Crown) and a net deficit (for everyone else in the country).

      This is true but

      Now, while Labour and National very have slightly different philosophies on how much to take from the private sector of the country and how to give back, and when, the result is always roughly the same

      This is catering to the delusion that the private sector is the sole producer of value in the economy.

      Of course, part of the problem is the delusion that we can actually have profits. This is where the idea of government surpluses is from. The private sector has profits and so should the government.

      Both are wrong. The economy costs in real physical resources and we never get those full resources back even if we instituted full recycling.

      • Tamati Tautuhi 3.2.1

        What about National’s $120 billion borrowings and the proceeds from State Asset Sales where does that fit in the country’s accounts?

        • Leftie 3.2.1.1

          Good question

        • Draco T Bastard 3.2.1.2

          Tax-cuts or… Health

          State asset sales are always about transferring community wealth to the rich so that they can have an even higher income from bludging. Considering that this government have been saying that all those houses sold will remain as social housing that means that it’s also a government guaranteed income for those bludgers.

          • Leftie 3.2.1.2.1

            “State asset sales are always about transferring community wealth to the rich so that they can have an even higher income from bludging” Yes and also proceeds from State Asset Sales go into National’s slush fund.

            Have asset sale funds gone where promised?

            “The government has been accused of spending the proceeds of asset sales on pet projects rather than schools and hospitals as promised.”

            “Mr Robertson said ministers have treated the money as a slush fund for pet projects.”

            “I don’t think, that in selling the assets, that most New Zealanders had expected the money to be spent on fixing the Beehive roof, or a visitors’ centre for DPMC (Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet), or even the loyalty bonus shares for Mighty River. These aren’t things that the government led New Zealanders to believe this money would be spent on.”

            <a href="http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/political/285835/have-asset-sale-funds-gone-where-promised

  4. How about this for an idea. Don’t vote for people who lie to you.

  5. Wensleydale 5

    Electoral Bribe. Electoral Bribe. Electoral Bribe.

    Also, they believe you’re greedy and stupid and motivated purely by self-interest. Don’t be that guy, New Zealand. Just don’t.

    • tc 5.1

      NZ is that guy sadly. He also likes to take the rantings of Henry/Hoskins as fact to vote on also so the left need to keep it abc 123 style simple.

  6. Gangnam Style 6

    https://www.odt.co.nz/opinion/brollies-dribbles-persist

    Colin James sees through the bullshit.

    • Ad 6.1

      “Cuts of the size Mr Key has mused on would just undo fiscal drag since the 2010 cuts – that is, they would not be cuts at all. But his dribble is a thirst-quencher to the many voters who prefer personal tax cuts to more spending on others.”

      Social welfare increases are politically resented.
      Tax cuts win.

      • BM 6.1.1

        Social welfare increases are politically resented.
        Tax cuts win.

        Yep, that’s the start and end of the discussion.

        Why?, because people see money taken from their pocket that could be spent on their family given to other people to spend on their family instead., this does rather cause resentment.

        • weka 6.1.1.1

          Only because selfish fucks like you have spent decades pushing a divisive neoliberal agenda that screws many people over in other ways so that’s what they hang on to. It was a deliberate social engineering.

          Fortunately there are still many people who think that a tax-funded social democracy is a good thing. The tide is turning.

          • BM 6.1.1.1.1

            Selfish fucks is a bit harsh.

            Unfortunately that’s just the way it is, most peoples budgets are pretty tight, cost of living and peoples expectations have gone up a lot so there’s not a lot of lee way in peoples budgets.

            The average punter needs as much of his/her paypacket as possible to provide for their family or the lifestyle they expect/want.

          • Ch_ch chiquita 6.1.1.1.2

            I’m sorry, but if a person with an average income doesn’t know that a tax cut will leave him with fuck all moeny in his pocket but will cost him so much more in school donations (for example) he will have to come up with, than those voting National (and I’m not talking about the 1%ters) deserve what is coming. Go and educate yourself about how the tax system works, how much money you will be left with and see what you will be able to buy with it when public services take another cut and another level of user pay is introduced.

        • WILD KATIPO 6.1.1.2

          @BM

          You know,…. there’s a reason that the modern welfare state particularly under the original Keynesian economic model came about and moved away from a Victorian style autocracy reliant on a burgeoning poor underclass to stay in power and enriched…

          Here’s one of those reasons.

          Think of that the next time you gripe about paying taxes for science and development research , healthcare and the like. That is, unless you wish to go back in time where you could peer out at the freak show meandering in the streets from within your horse drawn carriage …

          Because this is the END RESULT of your cherished neo liberal trash ideology.

          Degradation , poverty and societal dissipation.

          And why paying taxes IS IMPORTANT. And not just letting the commons shoulder the burden of it either who often as not cannot afford medical treatment as it is under this govt.

        • Sacha 6.1.1.3

          “people see money taken from their pocket that could be spent on their family given to other people to spend on their family instead”

          Funny that’s the assumption you leap to rather than taxes paying for things that benefit us all. Such an enfeebled view of the world.

        • Michelle 6.1.1.4

          Like the working for families BM ( middle class welfare ) and how about the foreigners coming here and getting welfare and pensions BM is that alright with you for us to look after the Chinese and Indias peoples parents at a time when our government isn’t even looking after its own people something is wrong here its about priorities and we should be the number one priority

      • Tamati Tautuhi 6.1.2

        Tax cuts will be an Election winner for the Natzi’s the lower socio economic groups don’t vote and it will swing the brainless swinging voter who listens to MSM, the family and the locals at the cafes and bars around the country.

        • Leftie 6.1.2.1

          But surely people are not going to get fooled again? It was only John key’s rich mates that benefited from Key’s tax cuts last time. Will John Key increase GST again like he did last time, that effectively wiped out any so called tax cut for the average person?

  7. Tory 7

    NZ compares well internationally regarding our health spending.
    https://www.oecd.org/els/health-systems/Country-Note-NEW%20ZEALAND-OECD-Health-Statistics-2015.pdf
    Aging population, baby boomers etc and desire to live longer all add up to a bottomless pit when it comes to health expenditure.

    • adam 7.1

      Spin, spin, failed spin of the day…

    • left_forward 7.2

      Nonsense tory – describing health expenditure in this way debases the individual and public good of our health services. It is neither bottomless (theres always been a cap on expenditure) nor is it a pit – it could just as easily be a mountain.

  8. Psych nurse 8

    To speak frankly, 25% of acute Mental Health beds are taken by patients who choose to be mad, they smoke P and pot to excess, for whatever plethora of social reasons but it is their free choice. They choose not to take prescribed medication because “its not natural, cannabis has been around for ages and is natural” but that’s just B/S. They choose madness. Drug induced psychoses overwhelm our services. Take them out of the equation and we could cope, we could offer better and effective services to others but no they continue to be irresponsible causing a bed occupancy rate of about 125%, they abuse and assault Nurses and other patients causing an intolerable environment.
    When their psychosis is finally controlled upon discharge they repeat the drug use and enter the revolving door.
    And in the meantime another House Surgeon works an 80 hr week and countless Nurses work double shifts.
    If the 1 billion for extra prison beds was used to house every drug dealer, manufacturer and financier I’d be happy and the Mental Health dollar less stretched but this will never happen as there’s money to be made.

    • weka 8.1

      People who eat sugar choose diabetes, people who smoke choose lung disease, people who work in high stress jobs choose heart disease, people who play rugby choose spinal injuries.

      Take them all out by putting sugar pushers, tobacco lobbyists, corporations and rugby clubs in prison.

      I think your argument would work better if you put P users in their social context of why they are using. Th personal choice argument fails on many levels, not least because isn’t P physiologically addictive?

      • BM 8.1.1

        Saw an interesting video on P and how it works on the brain, according to the vid the first time you use P is the best high you’ll ever get off P, from the point onward P is wrecking your dopamine receptors and your high gets less and less requiring you to use more P to try and achieve that first initial high.

        All I can say is thank fuck it wasn’t around when I was young.

        • WILD KATIPO 8.1.1.1

          @ BM

          If you want to know precisely what happens at the cellular level it is the endoplasmic reticulum that increases around the nucleus when substances such as alcohol or other toxic substances are used on a regular and excessive basis.

          From then on this ‘ endoplasmic reticulum ‘ increases in mass for the cell to cope with the toxin and the body seems to develop a ‘ tolerance’ to a point. This is why these substances classically take more and more to produce the original ‘ high ‘ and why alcoholics can seemingly sink far greater amounts of alcohol than light drinkers without exhibiting the same symptoms of drunkenness.

          All of these things have the same basic predictable pattern.

        • Garibaldi 8.1.1.2

          Saw an interesting video on what being an addicted right winger does to your brain.
          Must have been around when BM was young.

  9. Ralf Crown 9

    Health is not underfunded, it is overspent. Why not just remove all these bureaucrats and accountants that grind up the money that should be spent on patients, doctors, medicine and nurses.

  10. Muttonbird 10

    Collins just spent the tax-cuts on expanding National’s crime factories.

    http://www.newshub.co.nz/politics/prison-blowout-could-mean-no-tax-cuts-2016101811

    Health will have to wait.

    • Tamati Tautuhi 10.1

      Prisons are the universities for criminals always have been always will be.

      Contacts and skills upgrades are obtained inside the prison system.

    • The Chairman 10.2

      Taxpayers will provide the funding for the prisons.

      Prisoners will provide the cheap labour force.

      And the private sector will reap the gain.

  11. Ad 11

    If Bill English stays on track with tax revenue, by Budget 2017 he may well be able to give both massive health spending, AND tax cuts.

    In fact I predict that’s going to be their electoral platform.

    I think the left needs to give up on this either/or dynamic pretty fast.

    • Muttonbird 11.1

      I wonder whether any amount of surplus in 2017 will cover the underspend of the last five years.

      I think the right needs to stay in the here and now on this.

      • Ad 11.1.1

        They’re not gearing up for next weeks’ news cycle.
        They’re gearing up for the next three years.

        • Muttonbird 11.1.1.1

          They might run on tax cuts and health spending. They’ve got major problems around housing, law and order, infrastructure, and mental health though.

          Their mishandling of these policy areas is creating ever increasing numbers of uncomfortable headlines.

          Not sure you can ask for ‘the left’ to drop criticism of the government’s health spend, especially in the middle of a RDA strike.

  12. johnm 12

    Let’s face it! 🙁 The Nats are just a bunch of incompetent criminals. They are destroying New Zealand. Does anyone left actually believe anymore in New Zealand !?

  13. millsy 13

    This happened last time. National happily closed down dozens of hospitals and then all of a sudden Bill Birch cut taxes. The then a you Bill Enlglish closed some more and we got more tax cuts.

    • Wensleydale 13.1

      That’s because National have been pedaling the same rickety, broken-down tricycle around in circles for decades. Whenever they form a government, they start hacking and slashing and selling, and when they’re eventually chucked out, the country spends years picking through the ruins attempting to cobble together some vague semblance of what we had before. Moreover, because people are either selfish, willfully ignorant, or simply not sufficiently observant to perceive a pattern of behaviour, they keep voting the bastards back in again.

      “For it is the doom of men that they forget…” – Merlin, Excalibur

  14. left_forward 14

    From my long expeience within the health sector, the public don’t generally see the real impact of this squeeze. The DHB CEOs and government health board appointees, while spouting on about the need to invest more into preventative community based care – a strategy that would indeed have long term societal and economic benefits, slah exependiture in these areas to protect their own downstream speciliast provider services that continue in their own inefficient ways.

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