Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: 2015: The Budget of what?

89 Responses

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  • Hilary Stace,

    I think I will wait for a bit more detail to see exactly what a beneficiary will get extra next year when these changes come in. There are so many ifs and buts around it already that I wouldn't be surprised if only a few people, such as those without an accommodation supplement disability allowance or any other assistance, will actually get it. Check back next 1 April.
    It took National 24 years but they have remedied some of their Mother of All Budget cuts. Pity they didn't restore the family benefit though that was a major victim of that Budget.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3203 posts Report Reply

  • UnderTheSpotlightNZ,

    Anyone know how many families on benefits will actually receive the full $25 per week? Haven't been able to find any information on this so far.

    Would also be possible to calculate what the average family will receive if anyone knows how much is budgeted per year for this specific package. The number of families that are reported to be affected is 110,000. If all of them were to receive the full $25 per week (or $1,300 per year) that would require $143 million to be budgeted each year.

    All I have been able to find thus far is that the total "hardship reduction" package will cost $240 million per year once fully implemented. This obviously takes into account the increased childcare subsidy and the changes to Working For Families as well though.

    New Zealand • Since May 2015 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    Adding a (watered down) CGT when Labour looks like having abandoned it as well as a cheap (240m is tiny) boost to benefits is very smart politics. Tacking to the centre leaving Labour no policy room – but also leaves them looking out of ideas, bleating helplessly about economic growth. I smell a 4th term :(

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2091 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to UnderTheSpotlightNZ,

    Still seen no media story that analyses the package in enough detail. What's the split between welfare and WFF? What scenarios did MSD calculate to arrive at the Budget headline figure?

    RNZ addresses one factor that cuts the '$25'.

    But Darryl Evans, the chief executive of the Mangere Budgeting Services Trust, said rent would take an extra chunk out of the additional money.

    Rent in state housing is 25 percent of beneficiaries' income, so those getting the extra $25 will have to pay an additional $6.25 a week in rent, while those in private rentals will receive $4 less in their accommodation allowance.

    Oh, and they start asking the questions.

    If a beneficiary is receiving temporary additional support, which is given to those who cannot meet their essential living costs, it may affect how much they receive in the hand.

    A Ministry of Social Development spokesperson said that out of the eligible families, more than 13,300 will see an average cut of about $7 a week to the additional support, while a few families will see a complete offset.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19688 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Rob Stowell,

    very smart politics. Tacking to the centre leaving Labour no policy room – but also leaves them looking out of ideas, bleating helplessly about economic growth. I smell a 4th term :(

    +1

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19688 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    Usually Ministers of Disability Issues gather all the disability-related issues in the Budget for a press release. But Nicky Wagner's only talks about one policy - more money for Very High Needs ORS students leaving school - up to a hundred students for each of the next three years. This is the cohort who stay till they are 21 in special schools and there is generally nothing for them to transition to. It is an important issue but only one of a great deal of disability policy that needs addressing.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3203 posts Report Reply

  • John Palethorpe,

    Strategically, this is bad news for Labour. Their policies have been National'd, which means that despite the furore, they're going to have to accept that their clear dividing lines on policy are now merely a discussion about the extent of National policy.

    What do Labour do? They need clear policy to differentiate themselves from National, but Nats are occupying that centre right ground and reaching into Labour's policy to incrementally swipe their territory. They're no fools over on the Government benches. They want to retain the soft % of their 2014 support, those who could vote Labour - by blueing up red policy, they're trying to firm up that support.

    Auckland • Since May 2015 • 83 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    Excellent interview of Helen Kelly by Kathryn Ryan on Radio NZ just before. Lots of ideas for progress.
    http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/ninetonoon/audio/201755433/union-boss's-battle-for-workers-and-personal-battle

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3203 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to John Palethorpe,

    They need clear policy to differentiate themselves from National

    Why?

    Look I don't want Labour to be different for the sake of being different. If National have a good policy I want Labour to support it - sure suggest ways it could be better but don't simply oppose everything because that's the only thing you can think of to do. And certainly don't spout transphobic slurs like some 14 yr old child.

    Labour's problem for the last elections is their own voters have not bothered to vote because frankly the MPs have performed like petulant children (with a few notable exceptions).

    Here's an idea, how about Labour MPs start behaving like adults. Determine what good policy is and simply campaign for it. Get together as a group and decide not to stab each other in the back, cause ya know that looks kinda pathetic and the voters really do notice. Admit that other partys have some good policy (not all of them are dicks)

    Accept we live in an MMP world and explain that yes there will be some cooperation with The Greens but not absolute agreement on everything.

    Basically just be adult about it - unlike the way the plonker Little seems to have decided to behave.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4451 posts Report Reply

  • simon g, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    Agree with Bart, but pessimistic about that happening.

    If the problem is identified as "strategy" or "policy" or "communication" then Labour MPs can persuade themselves that they are tackling it.

    But when the problem is "Labour MPs", then Labour MPs are the last people to see it, or do anything about it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1324 posts Report Reply

  • John Palethorpe, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    You're right about Labour being far too hatstand as a potential Government in 2014, it's clear from National adopting their policies that the ideas were good and necessary for the country.

    The need for difference comes down to the choice voters will have. Labour look slightly more together than seven months ago, but need to work on being a Government-in-waiting. This, all by itself, is a huge challenge if you just think presentationally. When you start talking policy, it now gets harder.

    If you go into an election not offering competency as politicians AND something genuinely different from the current government, the then the voters who chose National last time will do so again. Why go for diet coke when you can have full fat?

    Little's talk of means testing the Super shows they recognise they need to be criticising the Govt on something DIFFERENT, not just arguing that it's too little. Means testing means there'll be a line, and you can exploit those who just about don't qualify to attack their policy ideas from the right. However, the retirement age argument has the potential to explode in the faces due to the disparity between life expectancy of the (mostly) Labour supporting Maori & Pasifika and the Pakeha population.

    This is going to be a tightrope walk, and one fraught with danger.

    Auckland • Since May 2015 • 83 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    There are three ways of seeing the political outcome of this budget for Labour. Given that it looks like a compassionate budget at first glance, with devils that might still lurk in the details, the initial impression is that it's taken a number of ideas from Labour policy.

    If you are inclined to feel bummed about it, you can see this as Labour being outflanked, with diminishing fortunes now that National is moving into the center they were hoping to make gains in.

    If you're not especially hung up either way, you will just take compassion where it is given, and be glad that our democracy is often at it's most functional when the government feels that it has to compete with its main rival, feels that it has a chance to make another term and is not indulging in last term bridge burning.

    If you see it optimistically, this is a clear sign that the Left is now setting the agenda for the government. They can happily claim these moves were, in fact, their ideas, if implemented slightly differently. In a way, this solves a major problem for them, they don't have to justify their policy directions any more, they can say that they are so clearly correct that even the government has just decided to do them. Which means that to differentiate and win in the next term, the focus either switches to non-core policy, all the valence issues that Danyl on DimPost always raises as weakness for Labour, or they go even harder for more compassionate economics.

    At this point, I think Danyl is on the right track. With the momentum of government policy moving in their direction, the fight can focus on detail at every turn, something that always looks better for the Opposition anyway, since they're not in a position to fuck anything up. They don't really need to unveil any new huge policy directions - it can all be the little gains here and there for particular groups. And overall, their main policy is still a little bit more sensible and compassionate than National's.

    It's to their advantage that they are NOT differentiated so much now. They should simply be claiming this budget as a win for their ideas, and stick to their guns. That's how it feels to me. A number of things I've banged on about for years just happened. But there's more to do, lots more.

    FWIW, I don't think the idea of means testing super is going to be a winner for Labour. If they must differentiate, I don't think they should do it by trying to outflank National on the right. That is a big trap that has been set for them. Better would be them seeking to make universal benefits fairer by extending them. They could make a small UBI core policy now. It could replace existing benefits and be paid for in neutral taxation changes for the bulk of the population. All those beneficiaries who are fucking terrified of every visit to the WINZ office would actually like a policy like that, and for everyone else it would pretty much make no difference.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10641 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to John Palethorpe,

    When you start talking policy, it now gets harder.

    No, it gets easier, because they don't have to fight over the basics. National just legitimized capital gains tax, and child poverty moves. Now they can say "too little, too late, we're more compassionate".

    Why go for diet coke when you can have full fat?

    I think this pearl of wisdom flipped over recently. Now we're getting Diet Compassion, and offering the tastier full-fat version feels more like the Real Thing.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10641 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    CTU seems to have a comprehensive report up already about the various Budget areas. Can't find it on their own website (fail) but someone linked to a Dropbox version.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19688 posts Report Reply

  • John Palethorpe, in reply to BenWilson,

    They can, and National can say ‘we’ve started doing this, let us finish the job’ in 2017. Keep the team that’s working revisited.

    National recognise that 47% number is soft, and Labour's policies appealed to them. By implementing the National version, they're going after their own vote from 2014 who could swing.

    Auckland • Since May 2015 • 83 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to John Palethorpe,

    By implementing the National version, they’re going after their own vote from 2014 who could swing.

    They are, but in doing so, that means Labour no longer has to keep pressing towards the center, and could go after their own vote who, rather than swinging, just stopped voting in disgust at a party too conflicted and unsure of itself to trumpet what they stood for, instead paying lip service to attacking beneficiaries. Will National nibble off Labour votes? I think they already maximized that. I think they're going for the center now, because they're realized it's a wasteland to the right of them. The people who don't vote are the real battleground, and in a battle to buy votes the Left has a natural advantage of having stood for that all along.

    Welcome to PAS, btw. Always good to get a new voice.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10641 posts Report Reply

  • steve black,

    One of the interesting things to me about the way this budget was delivered is that the Government seems to have stepped away (slightly?) from the no surprises approach we have had for some years. I liked the no surprises approach.

    The only reason I can see for keeping the extra $25 (maximum, some get nothing, some an in between amount) secret is to wrong foot the opposition for a day or two. Maybe I'm oversimplifying. I don't think it is worth giving up the advantage of the no surprises approach just to score a cheap political point.

    The instant implementation and surprise removal of the $1000 kick start for Kiwisaver makes an interesting contrast to it taking them until next April Fool's day to cough up with the $25/wk.

    sunny mt albert • Since Jan 2007 • 116 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to steve black,

    to wrong foot the opposition

    which worked a treat for them. Joyce is good at the game (not so much at the rest of the job).

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19688 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to John Palethorpe,

    The need for difference comes down to the choice voters will have.

    There is still plenty of difference to be had.

    Labour probably wouldn't sell off our state housing stock to whichever developer donated the most to the election campaign.

    Labour probably wouldn't abandon the kiwisaver incentive simply to balance a budget.

    Labour probably would straight up just increase taxes on the rich instead of faking it with a departure/return tax.

    Meanwhile Labour can say shit giving money to the really poor is a good idea grats on that National.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4451 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Sacha,

    Wrongfooting an opponent is a nice tactical play, but I don't think I'd give away 25 meters of territory for it, which is what's happened here.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10641 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to steve black,

    The only reason I can see for keeping the extra $25 (maximum, some get nothing, some an in between amount)

    And see this is an area where Labour could say great job but the implementation is a bit odd because the way it's set up the people most in need (the ones getting other benefits as well) are having the $25 reduced. Which is obviously a bit silly so here's how you fix it ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4451 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    Word on all that. The small differences are enough now, especially in aggregate. I totally agree that going all bipartisan on child poverty can only play into Labour's hands.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10641 posts Report Reply

  • william blake, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    It just came up as hundreds of tiny balloons on my ipad, very pretty budget.

    Since Mar 2010 • 378 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to william blake,

    Yes, it neatly showed that the office of the PM has a nice big cluster of juicy purple grapes, but the Ministry for Women get a small handful of brown and grey ones. The Police got the same grapes, just a bigger handful.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10641 posts Report Reply

  • Katharine Moody,

    Just starting to look at the CTU report. This is of interest;

    Treasury, Reserve Bank and other bank economists have commented that the current high net immigration is holding down wages. Treasury’s forecast is for net immigration to peak this year at 56,000 and fall gradually to 12,000 in 2018 and 2019. While they forecast continuing relatively strong employment growth this coming year at 42,000 (year to March 2016), it is significantly less than the past year (68,000) and half the year before (82,000). Unemployment is forecast to fall to 4.5 percent by 2018 (Treasury thinks anything less would cause inflation), but even their forecast for the year to March 2015 at 5.6 percent was lower than the actual 5.8 percent. The moves (see below) to increase the work requirements and intensify the work tests for beneficiaries will also add to downward pressure on wages and upward pressure on unemployment.

    That's a forecast for a massive reduction in net immigration. Wonder what their basis is for such a forecast. Perhaps they think common sense will prevail?

    Wellington • Since Sep 2014 • 798 posts Report Reply

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