Yesterday Labour showed a perfect understanding of the levers of Government by introducing two changes that will not fail but be well received by everyone except those who refer to the Prime Minister as Cindy or Taxcinda.
The first was a temporary reduction to Fuel Excise Duty by 25c per liter, excluding GST.
This neatly skewers right wing complaints about Auckland’s petrol tax amongst other things. It also shows that the Government is receptive and sympathetic for people finding it tough.
The second was a halving of public transport fares to again alleviate pressure on worker’s living conditions. If they are really brave they will make this permanent.
The opposition response is predictable. Anneke Smith at Radio New Zealand reported this unusual comment from Chris Luxon:
“It’s not just fuel that’s gone up and petrol prices that are going up; food’s up 13 percent and weekly rents are up $150 a week. People deserve a break.
“The best way we think to do that is adjusting the tax thresholds; returning the extra tax Labour’s grabbing from inflation back to people so they’ve got cash in their pockets.”
Luxon estimated this could save the average earner $870 a week, while the ACT Party has said it could deliver $187 per person through its ‘carbon tax refund’ policy.
If sourced I think this should be added to the ever increasing list of National’s fiscal mistakes. This is also deeply dishonest response and ignores other previously taken decisions that will provide assistance.
There are already significant benefit increases scheduled for April 1, 2022. Stuff reported on these changes in this way:
The changes will bring core benefit levels to the well-above the rates recommended by the Government’s Welfare Expert Advisory Group in 2019 by 2022, although many of other recommendations from that report remain untouched.
The changes are focused particularly on families with children, with the Government projecting that between 19,000 and 33,000 children will be removed out of poverty in mid-2022.
From April 1 2022, single-parents on sole-parent support will receive $36 more or $434 a week. Sole parents who receive the supported living payment – what used to be the sickness benefit – will receive $485 a week, up $36.
There are also changes to the minimum wage scheduled for the same day. The change will result in an extra $48 a week for those on the minimum wage.
For the average motorist the change will save a lot more than the $2 a week or less promised for most kiwis from National’s proposed tax cuts.
The rhetoric is going to get pretty intense over this change. It will certainly sort out the media outlets that engage in actual analysis from those who engage in parroting of slogans from each side.