For the last two election campaigns we had to put up with National, aided and abetted by many commentators, dominating the agenda with its incessant calls for tax cuts. Last year they promised “meaningful cuts”, “North of $50”, a promise repeated even in the face of the emerging economic crisis.
As previously discussed here those cuts are unlikely to materialise. Most of the NZ public will forgive National this broken promise, because people are wise enough to value some things more than tax cuts:
Taxpayers do not want further tax cuts if they mean more government borrowing, a new survey shows. The survey comes as social welfare campaigners say tax cuts failed to help those most in need.
The New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development survey found that while most people wanted tax cuts planned for 2010 and 2011, they did not want them if it meant further borrowing.
The first round of tax cuts were introduced last week and were worth between $10 and $18 extra a week to most people. Christchurch City Missioner Michael Gorman said the tax cuts missed many poor people.
“I think there is a whole sector of society that the tax cuts have missed and they are mostly the people that come to the mission,” he said. People earning less than $14,000 a year were worse off because of the higher Accident Compensation Corporation levy, he said.
Households with incomes between $100,000 and $150,000 a year were the least keen on new tax cuts, with 70 per cent opposed.
So we aren’t desperate for tax cuts after all? Is that pretty surprising news do you think? Well no, not really. We the people said something similar in 2007:
Asked if surpluses should fund tax cuts or be invested in public services like health and education, only 25 per cent said they wanted tax cuts, against 58 per cent who wanted the money invested..
And in 2008:
Ms Fitzsimmons said the Budget “ignored 61 percent of New Zealanders who last month said they would rather not have tax cuts if it meant cuts to social spending like health, benefits and education.”
I am sure that survey after survey will confirm our common sense on this matter. So how did tax cuts get to be the defining issue of the last 2 election campaigns again?