National seems to be making a bit of a habit of shafting the taxpayer. Before the election we were promised significant tax cuts, “North of $50” per week. We had John Key’s personal guarantee. Key said “New Zealanders will be able to believe our tax cuts, they will be able to trust our tax cuts…”. Did those tax cuts happen? Hell they did. National broke its promises quicker than you could say “words are cheap”*. Far from cutting taxes, National is now considering a range of new taxes including increases to GST (a disaster).
At current carbon prices, that amounts to a subsidy of $428.2 million every year, straight into the pockets of polluters’ (mostly foreign) shareholders.
If prices increase, or if polluters (with little incentive to reduce) pollute more, that bill will only get higher. And we pay it every year. $482 million is a lot of primary health care. It’s a lot of adult education classes. It’s a lot of research and development. Except – no it isn’t! Because we’re shipping that money overseas instead.
Before the last election National (by ignoring the costs of ongoing subsidies to Toll) successfully spun the line that Labour had paid too much to Australia to buy back KiwiRail. Whether the price was right or wrong we got a concrete strategic asset for our one off payment. What do we get for this $482 million per year? More pollution, less international credibility and damage to our 100% pure brand. Hey tax payers – does that sound like value for money?
* In case it needs saying again, National were not wrong to cancel their tax cuts, they were wrong to promise them in the first place.