Labour’s commitments “can be funded out of existing tax revenue”

Labour leader Andrew Little says that any Labour policies can be funded out of existing and forecast revenues and tax rates won’t be changed.

In an interview on The Nation Little made commitments of sorts on not raising taxes:

We are not planning on any tax changes for the 2017 election. We will finely calibrate what we do once we see what the Government does in its foreshadowed tax changes, which we assume will be in this year’s budget, but who knows?

They are not planning any tax changes now but who knows what they might plan after the budget?

So we are focused and we are talking to New Zealanders about and I will make commitments to New Zealanders about the problems that are here and now. And the commitments that we’re making – all of them – can be funded out of existing tax revenue. That’s what we’re focused on. That’s we’re campaigning on.

So we will have to wait and see how Labour proposes to finance it’s policies. They have already talked about:

  • Resuming contributions to the Super fund and leaving the increase in costs of Super as they are.
  • Funding more police.
  • More health funding.
  • More education funding.
  • Increase social housing and state housing
  • Kiwibuild will build 100,000 new houses over 10 years (eventually self funding)
  • Labour said it would bring in three years of free post-school education over a person’s lifetime costing $1.2 billion a year by 2025 (the first year funded from money earmarked by the government for tax cuts).

So if National announce tax cuts or threshold adjustments Labour would overturn them or use them to fund policies?

Also:

Lisa Owens: Another thing is the Children’s Commissioner. He wants the Government to commit to a target of lowering the number of children in severe hardship by 10% over a period of 12 months. Will you commit right now to meeting that target?

Andrew Little: Ye—Two things we’re going to do. We will have a child poverty measure that we’re going to commit to, and I’ve already said every budget we will report on how we’re going against that measure, and we are absolutely determined to reduce child poverty in the way that the Children’s Commissioner is talking about.

…Yeah, because I think his figure is roughly 150,000-odd, and lowering that by 10% – I mean, yeah, if we can’t do that and we’re not prepared to commit to that – and I say we are – then, you know, we’ve got something seriously wrong going on.

That hasn’t been costed yet.

And it has to be remembered that Labour will need at least NZ First or Greens (or both) to form the next Government. They will want some of their own policies in the mix. Policies that are likely to cost extra money.

Any policy costings by Labour are pointless on their own. The cost of a change of Government needs to include likely NZ First and Green policy costs on top of Labour’s own.

It’s even possible that Labour will put forward a “no tax increase” policy but then ditch that in post-election negotiations with NZ First and Greens.

Financial credibility is likely to be a major election issue. Little will have to have some good answers to the inevitable questions of affordability of policies of a Labour led coalition that Labour may only have half the voting power in.

 

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52 Comments

  1. Brown

     /  12th March 2017

    When you hear promises like these you know that they are promises that cannot be kept. It follows that Little is playing us for fools and is a liar. He is clearly a union hack who has no ideas beyond whining about employers and capitalism being evil. I’m amazed that anyone could be tempted to vote for a party led by such mediocrity and blatant incompetence.

    Reply
    • … and we wouldn’t want to promise to reduce the number of ‘our’ children living in severe poverty, even by as little as 10%, without “costing it” now would we … ?

      Reply
      • artcroft

         /  12th March 2017

        Because we already give the parents of these children a s**t load of money just to see it invested in pokies, drink and meth. So maybe costing it ain’t a bad idea.

        Reply
        • Our gutless economy needs the pokies, drink and meth artcroft … Yes, even the meth, to keep the crime & punishment industry going … Where would our economy be without alcohol related harm in all its myriad forms?

          Our gutless politicians are prepared to talk “health issue” when it comes to tobacco and fast-food – even glimmerings of this with cannabis – and assist people accordingly … but our fellow human beings with pokie, drink and meth problems are *these people* … and their children are *these children* …

          See below … Cost out the price of having it …

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  13th March 2017

            The crime & punishment industry being considered a desirable thing here by any political party here is a figment of your fevered imagination, PZ. A failure to deal with the issues that cause it is an indictment on many sectors of society.

            Reply
            • @ Gezza – “The crime & punishment industry being considered a desirable thing here … is a figment of your fevered imagination, PZ.”

              I don’t think that’s true any longer Gezza, if it ever was. The privatisation of prisons and coincident skyrocketing of prisoner numbers in the US tends to speak otherwise …

              (For Righty reactionaries, I’m not saying there’s ever likely to be no need for prisons whatsoever … although I hope so and actually think its an outside possibility sometime far in the future …)

              Its already happening in NZ since the ‘Contractocracy’ got its hands on prisons … now we ‘coincidently’ need XXXX more prison beds and need to spend $X billion on new prison construction …

              Follow the money …

              I agree entirely with your last statement …

            • Gezza

               /  13th March 2017

              Newsflash. This isn’t the US, PZ. Here, spending money on prisons is a useless waste of taxpayer money & a constant target of criticism from everybody but a few ranting punishers. But in general there’s still a legal/judicial industry doing its utmost to keep dangerous & dodgy people out of it for as long as possible as we often discover after each particularly horrendous sex crime & murder.

              It’s complex & underfunding elsewhere like mental health services no doubt plays its part but so do other factors like the chrnically high rates of violence & recidivist criminal activity by people who are a persistent public nuisance or burglars or a danger to the general public or particular people in society need to be put somewhere out of the action in the absence of any better system for changing their behaviour.

              If I hear neoliberalism & colonialism blamed for the high rates of illiteracy & inumeracy in the prison population I’m going to sleep.

      • I find it odd that we don’t “cost out” the price of having the poverty … The cost in terms of education, health, crime – including domestic abuse – and other social problems ‘outcomes’ …

        Its like … we’re happy to live with the poverty … and reluctant to alleviate it without “costing it” …

        Reply
      • Promising to reduce children in “poverty” (however it is defined) without any analysis is virtue signalling.
        Adults who are serious about solving problems analyse the problem first – and that includes the economic costs.

        Reply
        • Analyse the problem, yes, including analysing the ultimate cost of having the problem in the first place …

          The cost of heart disease to New Zealand is estimated at $X million per annum …

          Having the poverty problem might cost $19 billion, solving the problem might cost $10 billion

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  12th March 2017

            Well, it might, but where’s that costing? Nobody has produced it as far as I know. National say they are going for targeted spending in the areas that should produce the best results rather than just keep funding people to stay illiterate, unemployed, unemployable, and repeatedly incarcerated. So far I haven’t seen much from Labour that suggests they’ve got realistic fixes for these drivers of poverty & the historical poor returns on government spending, therefore taxpayer funding.

            Little is flubbing as usual. His only hope is that English flubs all year as well – but the prospect of a Green / Labour coalition government doesn’t look inviting to many people from what I can see so far, nor does the prospect of Andrew Little as PM fill anyone but the most ardent Labour stalwarts with confidence – and even those few who profess confidence I suspect are trying to convince themselves as well.

            Reply
            • Negatics doesn’t even remotely look like thinking that way, does it Gezza?

              Its like “What’s the cost of each individual plastic Water bottle”?

              Not, “What’s the cost of having an vast floating island of plastic Water bottles in the North Pacific the size of a small continent …?”

              Regarding Super, positics would not say “Let’s fix it up even though it ain’t broken” but simply, “This is the definition of Super, i.e. universal entitlement … Let’s make it work”

            • Gezza

               /  12th March 2017

              The problem with positics and negatics is that realics gets in the way. And realics says that assuming everyone can be persuaded to think the same way & cooperate to solve all problems and make progress in all areas of human endeavour and existence flies in the face of all experience showing that in larger communities this never seems to be possible to solve all thorny issues for ever after and is probably not possible. most people like to follow leaders, whether they know it and realise it or not. And leaders have finite existences. And most of them have flaws.

              With superannuation, I get lost. It sounds like the Cullen Fund left alone would have served us forever, but I really don’t have a clue if that’s true or not and the point is it was mucked with so that’s that. Realics says just deal with it, someone. Still waiting, me.

              In NZ, all one government ever seems to do does is stuff about with whatever policies & structures the last one left them, sack all the comms & PR people the last lot let spin their bullshit everywhere, start hiring their own, & blame all their own policy failures on the previous administration’s ineptitude or perfidy for as long as they can (2 term credibility max) & then they normally get replaced after a third term because we’re sick of their arrogance & the other lot have a leader who convinces us they’ve got simple answers to complex problems.

              Little is buggering this system up because people are sick of him before he’s even got the PM’s job. And hardly anyone it seems thinks he ever knows what he’s talking about, or who he’s talking to, or when he’ll change his mind, or how long he’s got as leader before he Womens Mag darling gets promoted to do his job after a period time doing something a bit more meaty than just thinking of the children. It’s a conundrum.

            • Well … Cooperation seems possible, or at least more possible, in homogenous societies like most of the Scandanavian countries …

              In heterogenuous and especially ‘segmented’ societies, such as bi-and-multi-ethnic ones, I am just now discovering consociational politics may be more appropriate, useful and applicable …

              Click to access Powersharing%20solutions.pdf

              Great reading so far … although I’m only on page 4 of 41

            • Gezza

               /  13th March 2017

              Fine. You have a read about that. I’ll do some more thinking about what tweaks we need to a system of government that on the whole still works pretty well & thank heaven I’m not living in Nigeria or the Ukraine.

            • Gezza, my considering the POSSIBILITY that a somewhat different system of government may be more appropriate to Aotearoa New Zealand, given that it is a unique post-colonial nation … essentially Indigenous + Colonial Immigrant peoples … DOES NOT IN ANY WAY WHATSOEVER mean I’m saying we should be like Nigeria, the Ukraine, Swaziland or Zimbabwe …

              What I’m actually saying is we should become like Aotearoa New Zealand … Its time to be ourselves rather than continuing to emulate Britain with our Westminster system plus Mid-19th Century token modifications to appease and assimilate Maori …

              I will read about Consociationalism … Cheers …

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M%C4%81ori_electorates

            • Gezza

               /  13th March 2017

              Well if it’s got an ism in it I’m sure you’ll enjoy reading it, PZ, that’s all I mean. Isms don’t always appeal to me.

            • Yep, I will … that way I can use the ism-word correctly, as a way of encapsulating a [sometimes complex] concept …

              ISM = a distinctive practice, system, or philosophy, typically a political ideology or an artistic movement.

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  12th March 2017

      Most of his caucus didn’t.

      Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  12th March 2017

      It’s a very serious accusation to call someone a liar.

      Reply
      • Brown

         /  12th March 2017

        Not when its true.

        Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  12th March 2017

          How very Christian.

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  12th March 2017

            I imagine Brown has no probs with bearing false witness as he figures Andy won’t be able to do what he says so he can probably argue his case that he was right in the end at the Pearly Gates if St Peter wants to get picky.

            Reply
            • Brown

               /  13th March 2017

              So I should be a moron and accept nonsense from a snake oil salesman without challenge because it would hurty his feelings to do otherwise?

            • Gezza

               /  13th March 2017

              No, I don’t think that’s what I said. I thought if you were a Christian you should probably say something like “I don’t believe he will be able do what he says” or something similar instead of “he is a liar” which you can’t possibly know for certain, so which therefore amounts to bearing false witness, which is a breach of whichever commandment forbids that (I forget, different Christian sects have slightly versions of them, I gather).

              But then, I may be doing you a disservice classifying you as a Christian because you tend to go all coy and haughty-hurty about what it actually is that you actually do believe in the Bible, and your interpretation of what must mean, & about Christ, & Christianity, whenever the topic comes, up and just rapidly do a Polish Exit.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  13th March 2017

              I am no fan of AL, but I don’t like to hear someone dismissed as a liar sans evidence.

            • Gezza

               /  13th March 2017

              He’s pulled another Polish Exit because of embarrassment I imagine.

  2. PDB

     /  12th March 2017

    The problem for Labour is that they can fund all their promises out of surpluses created by the National govt but what are they going to do when they start looking at deficits once in power?

    If people think Labour/Greens ain’t going to raise taxes post-election they are dreaming.

    Reply
    • And that’s what matters eh PDB …. MY MY MY tax … not my and ‘our’ society?

      The last Labour government left National a surplus I believe, no reason to think they can’t do it again …

      Reply
      • PDB

         /  12th March 2017

        In 2008 Treasury was forecasting a decade of deficits under Labour…………..left National a surplus in name only. The National govt prior to Helen Clark’s handed the country over on an upward projectile.

        Reply
        • Blazer

           /  13th March 2017

          citation needed…..common Tory ..refrain….we inherited a …mess’.According to National’s John Key, Treasury forecasts can not be relied on.As you have acknowledged Labour had NZ at the same credit rating AA as it has now.

          Reply
      • PartizanZ: “The last Labour government left National a surplus”
        Wrong. The last Labour Government left National a very large and growing structural deficit.

        The 2008 PREFU is still online I think if you don’t believe me.

        Reply
      • The cash deficit 08/09 was forecast to be $6 billion and over 08-13 a cash deficit of $32 billion was projected (note: this was before the GCF struck).
        Pete: you could pin this to your website – as a kind of public service against the false claims that get aired every now and then:
        http://www.treasury.govt.nz/budget/forecasts/prefu2008

        Reply
  3. Ray

     /  12th March 2017

    Nope Part., they left the cupboard bare and seemed proud about leading the world into the GFC. Cullen said as much.
    http://m.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10511832

    Reply
    • PDB

       /  12th March 2017

      Good to see the left has New Zealand’s interests at heart……

      “Phil Goff’s revealing comments this week showed that Labour is into legacy politics and this is a legacy Budget – a legacy to National. It will make it harder for National to win and if it does win, it will make it harder to govern.”

      Reply
    • PDB, Goldie, Ray … Cullen was playing the same games in 2008 as National are playing this year and both Parties play each and every election year … Big Deal!?

      “proud about leading the world into the GFC” is an absolutely absurd claim Ray … utterly preposterous … and of course in the Herald article, written in May 2008, Cullen doesn’t say that at all …

      There seems to either be some dispute about your claims and certainly counter-data – in context – that mitigates it considerably … Here’s a bunch collected together in one place … with interesting secondary graphs going back to 1992 and one to 1962 …

      https://fmacskasy.wordpress.com/2011/11/16/labour-the-economic-record-2000-2008/

      Reply
      • PDB

         /  12th March 2017

        PZ: “Cullen was playing the same games in 2008 as National are playing this year and both Parties play each and every election year … Big Deal!?”

        That’s an obvious lie – where have National in the past two elections as the incumbent govt deliberately crippled the economy? It hasn’t happened, nor is it happening this year hence why Andrew Little can apparently pay for all his promises using money in the bank that the National party has created in surplus. So that statement is easily disproven.

        Cullen deliberately sabotaged the NZL economy in 2008 so that the National govt (who were odds on to win the election) would have difficulty governing – this is not normal as you suggest. He also left National with the overpaid for & bleeding Kiwirail (https://www.nbr.co.nz/article/kiwirail-loses-land-wiping-67-billion-asset-base-wb-122170), and did not disclose a huge 1 billion $ ACC funding hole (https://www.nbr.co.nz/article/govt-says-1-billion-acc-hole-could-get-bigger-38594). Chuck in the GFC, earthquakes etc and National had quite a job on their hands to ‘right the ship’.

        Reply
        • Blazer

           /  13th March 2017

          # use proper names – PG # have borrowed and then borrowed some more,allowed ludicrous immigration and fueled property speculation and money laundering……who could be proud of such a …record?

          Reply
          • Blazer

             /  13th March 2017

            ‘.Proper nouns, usually capitalized in English, are arbitrary, in that a name can be given to someone or something without regard to any descriptive meaning the word or phrase may otherwise have.’-dictionary.com.

            Reply
            • Gezza

               /  13th March 2017

              Learning all the time here. It’s a freaking education, this place, I tell ya.

    • Blazer

       /  13th March 2017

      ‘There is so little cash left to play with, $1.75 billion,’…from your link…what’s the surplus the Govt is ‘playing with’ atm….and talking about…tax cuts?

      Reply
  4. Kitty Catkin

     /  12th March 2017

    Rodney Hide used to say that the Government has no money-it’s YOUR money.

    People tend to forget that obvious point.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  12th March 2017

      Rodney Hide is a dick if he thinks taxpayers don’t know that. Actually, scrap that last bit.

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  12th March 2017

        I suspect its not the taxpayers he’s addressing.

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  12th March 2017

          I expect he’s talking to himself most the time. And Kitty. That’d be about it wouldn’t it?

          Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  13th March 2017

        Many people don’t seem to-Rodney Hide is a very intelligent man. People seem to think (well, some people) that the government has unlimited funds, like Monopoly when the bank can print money on any scrap of paper. Some people genuinely don’t seem to realise that government money is taxpayers’ money.

        Reply
        • Blazer

           /  13th March 2017

          where do you think …’money’ comes from?

          Reply
        • Gezza

           /  13th March 2017

          Some names would help establish whether your theory is based on something other than yours & the perk busted perk-buster’s gut feeling …

          Reply
          • Kitty Catkin

             /  13th March 2017

            Look at the way people demand money from Pharmac. Or for houses. Or….it goes on and on.

            His ‘bust’ was blown out of all proportion. Many jobs allow partners to travel with them. He did it once and you’d think that he’d robbed the Treasury.

            Reply
            • Gezza

               /  13th March 2017

              Names please. These are just people who want more taxpayer or overseas loan money directed towards specific areas of health spending. It’s the names of some people who think the government doesn’t get money from taxpayers I’m requesting.

            • Gezza

               /  13th March 2017

              Btw, what’s he up to these days since he got the elbow in the ribs from ACT? Apart from whingeing in the papers from time to time, I mean.

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