robson-on-politics - Tues 5 April
robson-on-politics, a newsletter from Matt Robson
Deputy Leader of the Progressive Party
Tues 5 April
$2.25 billion a year more invested in education
In this year's election, Progressive is going further than Labour in terms of our commitment to higher education and housing low income families.
A majority of citizens, polled by Herald-DigiPoll today, agree that central governments should spend any cash surpluses on further investment in public education and health services, rather than to cut income taxes.
Our progressive coalition government's health spending is, of course, $2.6 billion a year more these days than it was when we came into office in late 1999. Education spending now is $2.25 billion a year higher - each and every year - than when we were elected.
And because the Labour-Progressive government shares the values and aspirations of a majority of New Zealanders, our Budgets also almost fully commit accrual surpluses to investment in New Zealand: From transport infrastructure to protecting future retirees from the indignity of poverty in old age, because that's what the NZ Superannuation Fund is.
An absolute priority for Progressive this election is to cut graduates' debt in return for them committing to use their skills working for New Zealand:
National would borrow to fund tax cuts
The implications of National's irresponsible promises to both increase spending, as well as to substantially cut income taxes for those already on higher incomes, should be absolutely clear to anyone willing to see.
National is, very simply and very dangerously, proposing to increase government borrowing in order to fund unwanted tax cuts for the wealthy few.
Theirs is an extraordinarily dangerous policy prescription.
It is very bad social and economic policy given that the private sector in New Zealand has been running in the red for thirty years (a current account deficit in each and every year since 1976).
ACT in Auckland coming around
National's descent into Muldoonist Borrow and Hope territory is shocking, but at least some Auckland ACT people are coming to their senses. The public of Auckland, via Auckland Regional Holdings, will return the Ports of Auckland company to 100 per cent public ownership, up from 80 percent now.
The landmark reversal in the 20-year fad for privatisation of publicly-owned assets is being promoted by ACT-supporter Judith Bassett, chair of ARH.
Jim Anderton and I left Labour in 1989, driven largely by our rejection of the Fourth Labour Government's strategic asset sales drive. At a national level, they sold BNZ and Air NZ, Telecom, the forests and PostBank and in regional government they forced reforms that were designed to see all local government assets eventually hocked off to foreign control.
A large part of New Zealand's current account deficit today is actually the dividend stream leaving our shores to the foreign owners of our previously publicly-owned monopoly or nearly-monopoly service providers.
But you know that the intellectual and moral tide in politics has turned when ACT supporters see the error of the failed policies of the 1980s and 1990s.
No comment on Tamihere affair
Labour is obviously a broad church given latest statements by a former minister. Progressive doesn't make hay out of our coalition's partner's discomfort.
We are too focused on real work. If we want to offer young people a better future here, we need urgent improvement in our national incomes and overall wealth.
I'm in Katikati today to talk with growers, farmers and workers about steps to address labour shortages in horticulture. Jim Anderton will no doubt have more Budget 2005 announcements this week about how to increase the value of our productive capacity as a nation - and how to substantially lift our export performance.
More on these and the rest of the week’s stories can be found at: www.progressive.org.nz