This morning on Breakfast, John Key repeated his line that capping the size of the core public service (that includes planning staff for health, prison guards, and the human rights commission) at current levels would ‘save $500 million over three years that could be used for more â€˜frontline’ staff and tax-cuts’. Leaving aside that it’s not really a ‘saving’, just a theoretical diversion of future revenue increases, how much of a tax cut is that?
$500 million over three years is $166 million a year. If half goes to â€˜frontline’ staff, that’s $84 million a year for tax cuts. With 3.2 million taxpayers, that’s $26.25 average each a year (in reality it would be less for most people, National’s tax cuts always go mostly to the well-off); 50 cents a week.
For 50 cents a week, I would prefer to have a well-staffed public service.