Monday, 17 July 2017

Backwards to the Future

Nutty, Venal Politicians

National elections in New Zealand give us dyspepsia.  So often political parties approach the electorate as if voters were totally corrupt and up for accepting bribes.  Consequently, elections bring out the worst in politicians, policy proposals, and the community.  

The radically left wing Labour Party wants to return to its ideological core: tax and spend, then tax and spend some more, and when it can tax the living no more, it would tax future generations by racking up fiscal debt.  It comes as no surprise, then, to have its present leader announce that Labour, if elected, would cancel the forthcoming tax cuts, so it can spend more tax payers' money on its constituency.  It then announced one of the more complex benefit schemes yet seen.

The present (National Party) Treasurer, Steven Joyce hit the nail right on its head:

. . .  National's campaign manager Finance Minister Steven Joyce said Labour wanted to take $2.5 billion from Kiwi families from next April, when National's package takes effect, with a "pale imitation of the Budget's Family Incomes package".

He said Labour planned to tax more with one hand and give a bit back with the other hand.  "And in their desperation to avoid shifting tax thresholds, they've dreamt up an even more confusing array of new and old subsidies while taxing low and middle income people at ever higher rates as their wages grow."

He said someone on the average wage would face an annual tax hike of $1100, while Labour would fork out a $3000 annual baby bonus for a family earning $150,000.  It had come up with "a convoluted spaghetti of entitlements that will confuse everyone, and provide a future of ever higher tax rates for hardworking Kiwis as their wages rise".  [Stuff]
The high-tax technocrats in the Labour Party have thought up a tax and spend policy which has more bells and whistles than a toy train set.  It will take special consultants to make sense of it to the average joe.  It will require an additional army of bureaucrats to administer.

But if Labour is  returning to its Fabian Socialist roots, the leader of the NZ First party, Winston Peters is also returning to his ideological roots.  He is attempting to revive 1970's Muldoonism which reduced New Zealand to the economic status of Romania.  Peters always saw himself as an acolyte of Robert Muldoon and this year it has become more evident.

Peters remains devoted to the old command-control system of government.  He has had a grand idea.  He has told us that sheep farmers in New Zealand are doing it tough due to low international wool prices.  Peters will fix the problem.  He would require all government departments in all government owned and leased buildings to rip up the synthetic carpets in their respective buildings and replace them with wool carpets.

We are not making this up.
Jordan Williams of right-wing think tank the Taxpayers' Union described the policy as a step back to the 1970s - when Peters first entered Parliament as a National MP under protectionist Prime Minister Rob Muldoon.  "Carpets, as well as all other government supplies, should be selected on value for money alone. This sort of crony favouritism by politicians is exactly the sort of thing which sent New Zealand bust in the early days of Peters' career," Williams said.  "Here's hoping Peters' release is merely an ill-timed joke and that he hasn't come full circle".

ACT leader David Seymour said the plan was "some kind of nutty attempt at 1970s-style protectionism.  Politicians should not be making decisions about carpet." [Stuff]
Nutty.  Too true.

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