What’s the future of Working for Families?

Written By: - Date published: 10:18 am, February 28th, 2008 - 13 comments
Categories: inoculation, john key, national, tax - Tags: , , ,

zero_tax_small.jpgOne consquence of the expectations around tax cuts is an examination of some of the policies already have in place – Working for Families for example.

This was the topic of a recent article from Ruth Laugesen in the Sunday Star Times.

“Coopers chairman John Shewan said that under Working for Families, many households effectively paid no tax at all.” (See table to left – click to enlarge).

So how does this “no tax” situation sit alongside what National plans to deliver? Is the roll-over of Working for Families the next dead rat for Mr Key? The ground appears to be being prepared for this “no change” outcome according to comments from Lockwood Smith in the SSTimes article. At first it reads like standard National avoidance of a policy position:

“National’s revenue spokesman, Dr Lockwood Smith, said National still had criticisms of the [Working for Families] policy, but it may be too difficult to redesign it before the election. He said National had so far failed to develop any policy “at all” on Working for Families.”

But further into the article Dr Smith goes onto say:

Dr Smith: “Clearly we won’t be dispensing with Working for Families or anything like that. I wouldn’t for one moment say the tax treatment of people with dependent children is unfairly generous.”

So is it reasonable to expect National to just adopt the Working for Families policy “as is”? Unfortunately previous criticisms of the scheme raised by Mr Key do imply that there will have to be change as some point:

Key: “National doesn’t support the current Government’s “Working for Families’ package… Policies that turn every second family with children into state dependents might be a result the Labour Party is comfortable with, but simply put, National is not.’

And this:

Key: “I personally think, of Working For Families, it seems far too high up in the income bracket… I think you should use the tax system where you can….”

And when debating legislation that extended Working for Families in 2005 (Hansard, November 16, 2005):

Key: “I want to finish by talking about the Working for Families adjustments… National members will be opposing this legislation with every bone in our bodies.”

But fortunately he has told us they will be clear about their intentions:

Key: “We’re not going to go into an election without complete and clear transparency of how we’ll handle everything from Working For Families, KiwiSaver and tax but we’ll do that within plenty of time” (RNZ, 23 May 2007)

So as we move toward announcements regarding tax policy it is clear that we should also be seeking guidance on future directions for Working for Families.

Perhaps someone should let Lockwood know.

13 comments on “What’s the future of Working for Families?”

  1. Wayne 1

    Surely all that WFF cash would help pay for bigger tax cuts though? If they’re going to deliver on Key’s promise of big cuts the money has to come from somewhere.

  2. Santi 2

    Is the aptly named Dancerat trying to scare the voters with articles like this?

    WFF should be shot down out and the money returned to its rightful owners, but you very well know the Nats will never do that, so don’t write in vain.

    Our politicians are too scared and the population too accustomed to these sort of welfare-dependency handouts.

    That aside, a drastic change is required in the NZ welfare system with a view to make it work for those who really need it, not the myriad of bludgers and freeloaders we maintain today.

  3. Matthew Pilott 3

    How many bludgers and freeloaders do we maintain today Santi? I thought welfare numbers were going down under Labour, as opposed to National – can you back that assertion?

    Your last stanement contradicts the one proceeding it. You hate WFF (which will help with our declining birthrate, and is well targeted to those who need it – people raising families), yet claim we have a welfare system that doesn’t work for those who need it.

    Now I’m with you, if you’re saying WFF isn’t part of the welfare system (it targets workers, not the unemployed) but I very much doubt that’s your view.

    You’ve basically said you hate WFF but want something to do what WFF does – target those who need it.

  4. Dancer 4

    Fact check: Working for Families is actually paid out through the tax system. When people call it “Welfare dependency” it seems like wishful thinking (or effective re-positioning) to me. The attached image re-inforces the idea that it is the IRD that administer the scheme with the reminder that on 31 March many families will have their family tax bill cancelled out by the family tax credit.
    The question of whether you provide recognition of the financial costs of children and how you deliver that policy is of course the question we’re waiting for the National party to answer!

  5. Steve Pierson 5

    Santi. Kiwiblogblog has graphs on the number of long-term beneficiares, there’s bugger all of them (and, of course, being on a benefit for a long time does not automatically make you a bludger either)

  6. gobsmacked 6

    So National will:

    1) Keep all the expensive things (WFF, interest-free student loans, Kiwisaver, etc)

    2) Spend more (transport infrastructure, corrections, education, defence, farming subsidies, etc)

    3) Cut taxes

    4) Get mortgages down and wages up

    5) Win Rugby World Cup.

    Number five I can believe, the rest is fantasy.

  7. infused 7

    Recycling, it’s good isn’t it?

  8. Santi 8

    You know full well National will not take any radical measures.

    They may be less socialist that your beloved Labour Party, but are as afraid as the reds of breaking the socialist mindset that that has infected NZ society, i.e. political correctness, welfare dependency, lack of individual responsibility, nanny-statism, etc.)

    Nevertheless, it will be a relief to see Clark packing her bags to a plum job overseas. Her cronies will be left stranded.

  9. Tane 9

    political correctness, welfare dependency, lack of individual responsibility, nanny-statism, etc.

    Yet more fact-free cliches from Santi. Please try harder.

  10. Santi, you really are a dull buffoon.

  11. Santi 11

    Michael Porton, you really are an entertaining imbecile.

  12. Matthew Pilott 12

    Yet more fact-free cliches from Santi. Please try harder.

    Let’s just settle for “Please try”

  13. AncientGeek 13

    So National will: …..

    5) Win Rugby World Cup.

    Number five I can believe, the rest is fantasy.

    Nah – that one is fantasy as well – they don’t look fit enough. (Mind you I don’t think that any of the other MP’s are capable of doing it either…)

    cap: get involved
    It is targeting me…..

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Compliance strengthened for property speculation
    Inland Revenue is to gain greater oversight of land transfer information to ensure those buying and selling properties are complying with tax rules on property speculation. Cabinet has agreed to implement recommendation 99 of the Tax Working Group’s (TWG) final ...
    1 day ago
  • Plan to expand protection for Maui and Hector’s dolphins
    The Government is taking action to expand and strengthen the protection for Māui and Hector’s dolphins with an updated plan to deal with threats to these native marine mammals. Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage and Minister of Fisheries Stuart Nash ...
    1 day ago
  • Cameras on vessels to ensure sustainable fisheries
    Commercial fishing vessels at greatest risk of encountering the rare Māui dolphin will be required to operate with on-board cameras from 1 November, as the next step to strengthen our fisheries management system. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Fisheries Minister ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Greatest number of new Police in a single year
    A new record for the number of Police officers deployed to the regions in a single year has been created with the graduation today of Recruit Wing 326. Police Minister Stuart Nash says the graduation of 78 new constables means ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Ensuring multinationals pay their fair share of tax
    New Zealand is pushing on with efforts to ensure multinational companies pay their fair share of tax, with the release of proposed options for a digital services tax (DST). In February Cabinet agreed to consult the public on the problem ...
    2 weeks ago