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This gives me heart

Written By: - Date published: 8:12 am, July 30th, 2013 - 60 comments
Categories: welfare - Tags:

The Herald is reporting that more that 51% of Kiwis are in favour of giving beneficiaries with kid the Working for Families tax credit.

That’s right, just over half of New Zealanders polled wanted to give beneficiaries more money despite twenty years of active demonisation of beneficiaries by the right.

There’s a lesson for Labour here – “middle New Zealand” isn’t a synonym for bigot (despite the best endeavors of the right to make it so). If you want to win them over be strong and progressive. It’s the right thing to do.

60 comments on “This gives me heart”

  1. infused 1

    Why work at all.

    • RedLogix 1.1

      Simple … because I enjoy it for the most part. It’s the same for most people, although I’m struck at how it is that it’s usually the RWNJ’s who hate their jobs and imagine that everyone else feels the same.

    • IrishBill 1.2

      Do you mean why work at all when you can troll the Standard all day? I see you’re living the dream.

    • Colonial Viper 1.3

      Why work at all.

      Because you can earn more than twice as much working on the median wage.

      For your dim witted brain: that’s a 100% pay increase compared to the benefit.

    • lprent 1.4

      I like working. Speaking of which, time to decamp there.

      I like going after the kids stop trying to commit suicide on the roads and the traffic dies down a bit. Usually head to work to arrive by 10, and leave between 18 and 20.

      Ummm binned a comment by “Patrick Gower’s penis”. Funny. Off topic in the post and it doesn’t pass my idiot test.

    • AsleepWhileWalking 1.5

      @infused – That’s really insulting to all the MEDICALLY CERTIFIED disabled persons who cannot work the 20 hours a week because of their disability or perhaps at all (ie anyone on Supported Living/IB), but happen to have children who are effectively penalised financially because they are in the care of a severely disabled parent.

      Working is fun most of the time and it provides self worth, a sense of accomplishment and valuable social interaction + routine, and is shown to prevent long term illness such as depression and heart disease.

      Work and Income’s reputation proceeds them.

      Why the hell would ANYONE not work if they could rather than be stuck dealing with those guys?

    • NACTs mates have taken this option. Parasites.

  2. King Kong 2

    Yet the party that is strongest in pushing the rights of beneficiaries rarely polls over 1%. Go figure.

    • IrishBill 2.1

      And yet the party that is strongest in pushing the kind of neo-liberal politics you subscribe to also rarely polls over one percent and has its only MP in court.

      • King Kong 2.1.1

        Well if we are going tit for tat, your MP ended up in court and was also convicted.

        Was this the same kind of poll that told us 85% of people surveyed wanted to retain the right to beat their children?

        What kind of lesson should political parties take from that?

        • Sable 2.1.1.1

          I think there is a difference between the occasional smack and beating up your children as you put it. The old law needed amending but for most parents its gone too far. And that of course is the problem with NZ politics, it oscillates between extremes rather than seeking to find a reasonable and fair middle ground. The current mistreatment of the unemployed and poor is yet another obvious example.

        • Colonial Viper 2.1.1.2

          Well if we are going tit for tat, your MP ended up in court and was also convicted.

          ACT MPs have no problem landing in court, and usually through performing self service, not a public service 😉

        • RedBaronCV 2.1.1.3

          Here we go again. It was 85% of the bugger all who voted which still equals bugger all, over half of whom were confused by the question and possibly didn’t vote on the right side.
          and then there was Colin Craig’s march on Queen street that attracted more take off artists than the genuinely committed.

      • Sable 2.1.2

        Keys and co are blatantly neo-liberal, not just ACT. National has paid more than once to have Richard Epstein from the Chicago school come over and share his economic “wisdom”.

  3. vto 3

    Irishbill “There’s a lesson for Labour here – “middle New Zealand” isn’t a synonym for bigot (despite the best endeavors of the right to make it so). If you want to win them over be strong and progressive.”

    That is something that I rail against constantly – the idea that “middle” and especially “white” New Zealand is somehow inherently bigoted in all sorts of spheres and incapable of understanding other realms.

    It amazes me how often on here this stereotype is dropped into conversation and accepted as if it is some kind of reality. It indicates a blindness that is common to both the far right and the far left.

    And yes the lesson for Labour is to stand up, say what you believe in in a forthright manner, and don’t back down.

    • felix 3.1

      And yes the lesson for Labour is to stand up, say what you believe in in a forthright manner, and don’t back down.”

      I’m sure they will, just as soon as the focus groups tell them what it is they believe in.

  4. Sable 4

    Its nice to see people care about the poor, I was one of them as a small child so I know how hard it is. The cold hard fact remains however, that until Keys is ousted its no more than statistics.

  5. fambo 5

    My heart feels a bit happier upon hearing this, as if warmed by a glimmer of hope

  6. Tamati 6

    I don’t believe it for a second. There is nothing Kiwis love more than bashing benificiaries.

  7. So, if I’ve got this straight:

    In the 80s and 90s, Labour and National govts wrecked the national awards and arbitration systems and did their best to limit union membership.

    Pay and conditions suffered accordingly. Labour’s response in the 2000s was not to actually do anything about this, but instead to introduce a ridiculous system of taxing people and then giving some of the tax back again as tax credits.

    It then had to introduce a further “In-Work” tax credit in an attempt to make working for poor wages and conditions look preferable to drawing a benefit and not answering to a boss.

    Now, fully half the population apparently thinks a suitable further measure would be to make the “In-Work” tax credit a “Nah, Fuck It, We Don’t Care Whether You’re Working Or Not” tax credit, on the basis that… er, what? That nobody can figure out what the real problem is here? That they’re not too thick to see what the actual problem is but don’t see any chance of doing anything about it? That they’ve just given up and say yes to whatever a survey company asks them? Who can say?

    • BM 7.1

      Agree, no one in there right mind would think giving a beneficiary a WORKING for families tax credit would be a good idea.

      As it is, I despise WFF with a passion and probably one of the main reasons I’d never vote Labour again.

      • Sable 7.1.1

        I see you still haven’t had your rabies shot.

      • Te Reo Putake 7.1.2

        Presumably you won’t be voting National, ACT or the Maori Party either, as they all support WFF as part of this dismal Government. The Greens and NZF are also out for you, as well. Not sure about the Conservatives. Hmmm, not many options left for you, BM.

        • BM 7.1.2.1

          National can’t can it even if they wanted to, it would be electoral suicide.

          Far too many people are now reliant on WFF and without it couldn’t pay their bills.
          Which was why Clark introduced it, get as many people sucking on the public tit as possible, PM for life was her aim.
          How could any sane person vote for a party that would do that.

          Looking back 2008 was such an important election another term of Clark and the country would’ve been completely boned.

          • vto 7.1.2.1.1

            WFF is a subsidy to business actually BM. It is a subsidy to business in that the taxpayer, instead of the business, pays the workers enough to actually live on.

            Do you see that?

            Business bludges off the taxpayer and the worker. It is about time they paid their way. So if you are sick and tired of bludgers, as I am, then aim your venom at the right target.

            • srylands 7.1.2.1.1.1

              “WFF is a subsidy to business”

              Isn’t it a transfer payment to low income families with children? I think it was one of Labour’s best policies.

              The alternatave problem – dialling up wages through regulaion will reduce employment. It is not a subsidy to business unless you consider that low skilled workers are producing a higher output than they are being paid for. Not sure you can back that up. In competitive labour and product markets you woudl expect to see wages being bid up if that were the case.

              The reason NZ workers get paid less than Australian workers is because on average thet are about 30% less productive.

              http://www.treasury.govt.nz/publications/research-policy/tprp/08-03

              So until we can solbve the productivity problem WFF plays an important role in making society more equitable. (Yes I know you want more, so don’t shout at me to tell me.)

              • vto

                srylands, your view is stemming from an inherent philosophical position, namely the free market right wing neoliberal privatsisation etc position. You seem to regard labour as a commodity like undies and paint. It is not. Until this point is passed the conversation is mute.

                • srylands

                  No I am simply saying that if wages were regulated upwards to exceed the marginal output of labour in a given business, that business goes bust.

                  • vto

                    Yes I understand how that premise works, being completely and utterly reliant on doing business myself to survive and thrive (the fertiliser kind). Unfortunately, that premise on which everything you have said in your above two posts is based is similarly based entirely on the type of regulation you imply is anathema.

                    The regulation and other structure around business and employment in NZ requires amendment on a very hefty scale to ensure that businesses can afford to pay workers a wage that can be decently lived on. Otherwise we become animals and beasts tearing at each other in our rush to be individually best and competitive…and it is society itself that decays…. as it is……

                    Such adjustments to current regulations and structure include income tax, GST, other forms of money-making currently exempt from tax (capital gain for example), it includes minimum wage, living wage, a maximum wage?, it includes operational regulatory requirements around various sectors, it includes free trade arrangement which are anything but free, it includes business subsidies and write-offs, it includes personal subsidies like WFF, it includes all sorts of things that make up the regulatory balance which currently allows business to pay minimum wage and make a profit today.

                    This will involve some adjustment in society, sort of like rogernomics did only in reverse. It will involve such adjustments as perhaps the cost of goods and services rising to accommodate increased wages, the cost of directors and managers reducing, the profit to owners reducing, the tax burden being borne by people other than wage and salary earners, you know like farmers who shove all their money-making into tax-free capital and don’t pay their share.

                    I’m sure you get the picture…. Society is crippled at the moment. It is weak and inefficient. It pushes people out to the very edge with its inability to pay liveable wages.

                    It is imbued with some major and fundamental flaws and the fact that business cannot afford to pay people a wage they can live on highlights this. IN GREAT BIG SHINY LIGHTS

                    • vto

                      srylands, forgot to add one other major element to that equation just posted….

                      New Zealand is a rich country. We are well rich enough to provide every single person in our islands with a decent home and provision. We are rich man, rich. Surely you can see that reality.

                      Which leads to … the problem around some sectors in society missing out is due entirely to the current regulatory, structural, operational system we have in place. That is all that needs changing.

                      Imagine the place if everyone had such decent housing and provision……..

                      It is just the structure of distribution we exist in that is causing the current problem, that is all mate, that is all.

                      end

                    • Arfamo

                      +1

                      “Since 1980, average labor productivity in the US has increased 2% per year yet average worker pay has remained stagnant and the average number of hours worked has not decreased. The great promise that increased productivity would lead to increased wealth and leisure time seems to not have come true for the majority of workers. Increased productivity has led to increased profits instead of higher wages. Increased labor productivity has also led to increased levels of unemployment. Fewer workers are needed to produce the same amount of goods and services.”

                      http://www.triplepundit.com/2012/01/increasing-labor-productivity-mixed-blessing/

                      Productivity arguments are based on increasing profits for businesses, owners and shareholders. Governments are not businesses. Governments have responsibilities to provide for the welfare and reasonable prosperity of all their citizens and residents. If that means regulating businesses, and businesses reducing their expectations of excessive profits, executive salaries, & excessive returns to shareholders, hey I say do it.

                  • KJT

                    So Srylands. What you are saying is that the rest of us should subsidise your business if it doesn’t make enough to cover the true costs of the resources, including labour, it uses. Why should we?

                    What happened to inefficient businesses being allowed to fail to make room for better users of those resources.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      That was the idea behind true capitalism (“creative destruction”). These days the crony capitalists just want tax payer handouts and subsidies.

                    • srylands

                      Thanks for your replies. I appreciate the time you have taken to set out your views. However I can’t understand what system and operational changes will lift wages significantly.

                      You can’t excape the starting point that NZ’s GDP per capita is $US 29,730. That is the number you have to play with. You can dial up all the regulatory chnages you want, but unless you increase that number you are very limied in what you can achieve. If you regulate to lift wages and reduce returns on capital, at teh margin capital will leave NZ. If you keep going deeper, so will the capital flight accelerate. The NZD will crash. People may have higher nominal wages but they will find that their “living wage” buys less than ever before.

                      I was in Argentina last year and you see the effect of these policies there. The Government is very committed to maintaining employment and wages through heavy handed regulation of just about everything. It looks exactly like what vto is arguing for in his post. I have studies Argentina’s economy for the last 10 years, and the Government just chases its tail. The workers get hugher and higher wages. Capital drifts out of the country. The Peso devalues. The higher wages buy less. Workers demand higher wages. Rinse and repeat.

                      So I would like to know how you would make teh redistributional ans structural changes you are advocating while avoiding the problems that have been experienced by every government that has tried this policy presctiption. Or point me to one example of a country that has made it work.

                      I think your views of the world are totally loopy, but I appreciate you hold them sincerely.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      You can’t excape the starting point that NZ’s GDP per capita is $US 29,730. That is the number you have to play with. You can dial up all the regulatory chnages you want, but unless you increase that number you are very limied in what you can achieve.

                      You can’t keep pushing the paradigm of growth in a world which is patently unable to keep growing.

                      By the way, we can start by sorting out the $1B of tax evasion going on annually, as well as the $2B to $3B in excess corporate profits being taken out of communities annually.

                    • srylands

                      “By the way, we can start by sorting out the $1B of tax evasion going on annually, as well as the $2B to $3B in excess corporate profits being taken out of communities annually.

                      That won’t increase GDP.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      So? GDP is an unimportant and misleading measure.

                    • srylands

                      “So? GDP is an unimportant and misleading measure.”

                      I agree GDP is an insufficient measure of well being.

                      But… take a look at this league table of GDP per capita.

                      Generally… I would suggest that the contries in the top half of the table – and this is a gneralisation – are better places to live than the countries towards the bottom half of the table

                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_(PPP)_per_capita

                    • vto

                      So you don’t think USD29,370 per each and every person is enough to provide for a house and provisions? Rubbishy.

                      Anyway, my main point is that your main point here highlights the folly of your overall point. You say capital will move away and that is correct. Where will it move to, all else being equal? It will move to where the labour is cheaper won’t it…

                      … such a system will therefore constantly drive every component of the process down in this manner. This system treats labour as a commodity input and hence it drives down down down to the lowest possible. Way down below where it is a liveable wage. In fact, that doesn’t even come into it. Does it. You have said so yourself.

                      This is its flaw. It treats people as a tradeable commodity. This is wrong. Completely and utterly.

                      This is why I said at the start just up there that your philosophical outlook is backsidedown and this conversation is mute. This point needs to be passed before any further discussion can be had.

                    • Arfamo

                      +1 vto. That’s the thing that bugs me. Big Capital movements just exploit economies to the point where the owners just drive labour costs down, then leave the mess behind and move to the next exploitable country. Governments and newly impoverished sectors of their societies are then left to try and rebuild from the detritus. International Capital doesn’t care. The neo-liberal economic paradigms are just bad. Basically they’re avaricious and destructive of societies once they’ve become all that governments follow.

                    • srylands

                      “You say capital will move away and that is correct. Where will it move to, all else being equal? It will move to where the labour is cheaper won’t it…”

                      Stop right there.

                      Capital will mobve to where it will make a return. Switzeerland has a capital account surplus of 13% of GDP. You think it has cheap labour?

                    • Arfamo

                      Switzeerland has a capital account surplus of 13% of GDP.

                      It’s probably somehow due to their prohibition on foreign ownership of housing :).

                    • vto

                      That is why I said “all else being equal” i.e. the only variable remaining or applicable is the labour cost. The swiss example involves all sorts of other factors and this distorts this most basic and important of debates – labour and capital. This is the crux.

                      It must be thought about in this manner and once the big picture established then other factors, less important than people, can be brought in, such as the availability of watch winders and yodel oil.

                    • vto

                      oh, and the mountain vault storage of most of europes africas asias and Americas gold

                    • vto

                      Oh no don’t leave now srylands. We are just getting to the very heart of the entire capital-labour split. There used to be another chap here gosman would do this same thing – walk away. I will check back later.

              • Murray Olsen

                Funny that many employers in Australia don’t share your contempt of Kiwi workers. They seem to find them very productive. Could it possibly be that Kiwi bosses just don’t know how to get the best out of their work set ups and depend on largesse from government?

          • Psycho Milt 7.1.2.1.2

            Far too many people are now reliant on WFF and without it couldn’t pay their bills.

            Well, yes. As vto points out, it’s a subsidy to employers to cover the fact that unskilled/semi-skilled work doesn’t pay enough to live on any more. Thrusting these people into penury would indeed be electoral suicide for National – I note they’ve no better solution to offer, though.

            Which was why Clark introduced it, get as many people sucking on the public tit as possible…

            People who aren’t nutbar conspiracy theorists favour a rather less dramatic explanation – that Labour felt this was a way of dealing with the problem of wages not being enough to live on, without having to fight a war with business and see National roll back the gains as soon as they were back in govt.

            • lprent 7.1.2.1.2.1

              …that Labour felt this was a way of dealing with the problem of wages not being enough to live on..

              Not quite correct. Should read “…wages not being enough to raise a family on…”. This was showing up rather strongly in a rapidly reducing birthrate heading towards collapse as potential parents looked at making choices between owning a house, training or retraining, and raising a family. The families were losing..

              Which were in turn making the forward projections about things like superannuation, healthcare for the aged, and the need for immigration with the extra costs involved look bleak.

              The birthrate recovered and stabilised.

              Of course the rapidly rising cost of housing was one of the major drivers. Unfortunately it is starting to drive this again now.. I’d expect to see birthrate reductions again over the next decade if it isn’t dealt with.

              • Draco T Bastard

                Not quite correct. Should read “…wages not being enough to raise a family on…”. This was showing up rather strongly in a rapidly reducing birthrate heading towards collapse as potential parents looked at making choices between owning a house, training or retraining, and raising a family. The families were losing..

                Ah, yes, the need for an ever increasing population to use up more and more of the limited resources that we have so that the government and business idiots people could point to an increasing GDP.

                • lprent

                  Yes that is also correct.

                  However abrupt crashes in population demographics are likely to be as damaging as abrupt rises if we look at the odd times in human history that they have happened. Apart from the usual debris that humans leave around, there is also that nasty consideration that humans tend to go apeshit in the breeding front as competition reduces, opportunity grows, and the whole population starts to get child goo obsessions.

                  Gradual increase and reductions are a whole lot safer.

                  Besides much of the resource problem is with *how* the resources are being used as much as the quantity extracted. Look at the per capita resource usage in the US compared to somewhere like samoa.

            • Rosetinted 7.1.2.1.2.2

              Psycho Milt
              When I was a young parent, employers worked from tax tables with special tax concessions for families. You had a tax code of say F for family and for one child tax would be reduced at the F1 rate, the next child would put you on the F2 rate. These reductions continued I think to four.

              There was also a small payment per week per child which one could spend or save and when new shoes or school books were required the family allowance amount was there to draw on. Also if one was buying a house, the allowance could be drawn as an advance payment and put in as a bulk amount towards the deposit on the house.

              There was no talk about whether employers were getting paying inadequate wages, they remained the same for all. and there was no return of tax to the parent because the tax was reduced at source as the employer made up the wages.

    • Colonial Viper 7.2

      In the 80s and 90s, Labour and National govts wrecked the national awards and arbitration systems and did their best to limit union membership.

      Pay and conditions suffered accordingly. Labour’s response in the 2000s was not to actually do anything about this, but instead to introduce a ridiculous system of taxing people and then giving some of the tax back again as tax credits.

      It then had to introduce a further “In-Work” tax credit in an attempt to make working for poor wages and conditions look preferable to drawing a benefit and not answering to a boss.

      Good summary, PMilt.

  8. Winston Smith 8

    “In a Herald-DigiPoll survey of 750 voters taken last month, 51 per cent said they agreed with the Child Poverty Action Group’s wish for the tax credits for parents to be extended to parents on welfare. Forty-one per cent disagreed with it.”

    A survey of 750 people? Nope but sorry people want National.

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