Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

Robson-on-Politics May 22 2007

Robson-on-Politics May 22 2007

Left is about wealth-creation: Right is about keeping the spoils

The history of New Zealand politics has been the history of a conflict between the progressive Left promoting wealth-creation via national economic development, social justice and human liberty versus the forces of reaction.

The Right, represented by the business lobbies and conservative social institutions, has always been obsessed with their own insecurity, fearful of change and primarily interested in protecting their own privileges.

In the 1890s, the Right opposed the massive infrastructure investment in rail, road, ports and electricity, by the first Liberal Government. The Right opposed the progressive extension of individual rights, such as universal suffrage, and the extension of social protections, such as a State-funded pension to eradicate poverty in old age.

The Right, 100 years ago, opposed the progressive policies which underwrote the higher than average living standards of the early 20th Century.

http://www.progressive.org.nz/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=157

The newspaper editorials said 1935 would be the End Of The World

Ahead of the election of the first Labour Government in 1935, the obsessive neurotic newspaper editorial writers wrote that the election of a socialist government would be the end of the world, when what they really meant was that it would be the end of their world of privilege and the start of a brand new world for a majority of working families.

Universal State-funded high school education, a fundamental building-block of wealth-creation and a critical strategic advantage that developed economies have over Third World societies, was initially opposed by the Right on the basis of a fraud. They shouted that the "compulsion" by the State was an "infringement on individual rights," although their own children already went to school, and those that were forced to be educated previously lived in servitude to the privileged.

The rising power of the democratic State, as an enabler of economic development and greater social opportunity for those born with less, became, in the hateful, standard rhetoric of the Right during the 1930s and 1940s, a "threat to liberty" and to "individuals," but only, you understand, to those individuals born into privilege through accident and only able to exercise their traditional authority in the vacuum afforded by having an ineffective, weak central State.

And so it is in 2007....

Listening to the ramblings against the Labour-Progressive Budget last week by the Business Roundtable, the Destiny Christian Church and the other cheerleaders for a non-existent glorious past, is music to the ear - a nice reminder that we are making social progress and moving away from Rogernomics.

I thought I would highlight 10 progressive things about Budget 2007, but it is also important now that National is ahead in the polls to look again at exactly what it is a National-led government would do to New Zealand if elected next year.

Our 8th and most progressive budget yet

Budget 2007 was the 8th of the minority coalition government first elected in November 1999, and it was the most progressive yet. Here are just ten initiatives that struck me: A $359.3 million operating boost over four years for early childhood education, schooling and youth interventions; (A Progressive Party 2005 Manifesto objective

http://www.progressive.org.nz/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=114

A $3 billion operating boost in funding for our public health system, which means more for early interventions including vaccinations, early-detection of childhood ailments and impairments and more help for the elderly;

$256.9 million operating boost to raise the entitlement of NZ Superannuation floor to no less than 66% of the average wage (That was a Progressive 2005 election policy

http://www.progressive.org.nz/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=131

A $283.3 million capital boost in school and classroom building;

Increased funding in improving tertiary skills by $169.6 million in additional operating funding over the next four years and $79.7 million in additional capital spending over the same period;

$585 million in additional capital investment in infrastructure upgrades. This includes half a billion dollars for the electrification of Auckland's rail network and the upgrade of Wellington's, plus much needed improvements to the national network that was run-down after being sold-off into the private sector by the last National government in the 1990s;

An additional $630 million on a tax credit to promote private sector research and development;

$87.8 million to significantly bolster the Market Development Assistance Scheme administered by the New Zealand Trade & Enterprise;

$3.2 billion to significantly expand KiwiSaver, a fundamental part of the overall economic and social development agenda for New Zealand by this government;

The employment initiative of reducing the company tax rate to 30 per cent to match Australia's in order to encourage greater use of firms' profits to be re-invested into R&D and their workers' skills (a Progressive Party 2005 manifesto commitment

http://www.progressive.org.nz/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=95


Here's a good socialist position: Cut company tax rate to 10%

This last issue, lowering the company tax rate, is one that I'm going to have to dedicate more to in Robson-on-politics ahead of Election 2008.

There has always been a lot of debate about the role of the company tax rate, and alternatives. I well remember some of the economic advisors to Progressive's predecessor, the NewLabour Party, advocating either abolishing the company tax rate altogether - or at least setting it at a much lower rate - let's say 10%.

I think it is a pro-worker, pro-job and pro-development position that should be given much greater priority than any changes to personal income tax rates. We need more saving and investing, and the historic record of the 1970s through to the 1990s is that lower and lower personal income tax rates did nothing to arrest declining household savings in New Zealand - and plenty to suggest the tax cuts made things worse and contributed significantly to weaker savings and greater loss of control over our own national productive capacity and resources. Note that setting the company tax rate is not the same as setting a progressive tax rate on personal income.

http://www.eastonbh.ac.nz/?p=805

But what does National stand for? What will it do if elected?

The 3rd Labour Government set up a comprehensive individual pension system to complement our State-funded superannuation floor - but the 1975-1984 National Government tore it up and blew it all away with personal income tax cuts. National won three elections (1975, '78 and '81 with the promise of tax cuts for the rich all funded by offshore government borrowing, borrowing that we still haven't paid off).

We paid a very high price for National's big, foreign-debt financed tax-cutting policies of the past.

Has National really changed?

I fear not.

National wants a government it leads to just borrow more money overseas to fund personal income tax cuts that would mainly benefit those that least need it.

While the Labour-Progressive government is working hard to get gross government debt down to 20% of GDP, National would do the opposite - borrow up, take debt back up to 25 per cent of GDP and more - meaning higher interest payments not just for the government, but for every business and mortgage holder.

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0606/S00216.htm

A National government would just join the credit card band-wagon and push us back to the bankrupt policies that the George Bush Administration has already tried in America.

The right -wing parties of New Zealand and America could not care less about the damage to society that their big borrowing has on the government's finances down the line. Of course, they don't care if the State is severely hurt and that ordinary families and their children pay the highest price. All they want is tax cuts for the rich, funded by borrowing from Asia and Europe.

http://www.ppionline.org/ppi_ci.cfm?knlgAreaID=125&subsecid=162&contentid=254284

ENDS


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Why Todd Muller Needs To Own The Privacy Leak Scandal


Whenever a political scandal breaks, party leaders have two basic options. They can confess to being in boots and all, and try to brazen it out : nothing to see here, move on. This tended to be the John Key approach. Very hard to pull that off in this case, given that it involved violating the privacy of sick New Zealanders for party political gain.
The other option is to claim innocence of this terrible, no good, highly regrettable “error of judgement” and apologise profusely for the sins of others, while absolving your own good self of any responsibility. This has been Todd Muller’s chosen path.... More>>
 

Govt: Statement From Rt Hon Winston Peters

Deputy Prime Minister and New Zealand First Leader Rt Hon Winston Peters has announced he is taking a short stint of medical leave this week. More>>


Isolation: Government And Air NZ Agree To Manage Incoming Bookings

Bookings for seats on Air New Zealand flights into New Zealand will be managed in the short term to ensure the Government is able to safely place New Zealanders arriving home into a managed isolation or quarantine facility, says Housing Minister Megan ... More>>

ALSO:

Government: New Investment Creates Over 2000 Jobs To Clean Up Waterways

A package of 23 projects across the country will clean up waterways and deliver over 2000 jobs Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Environment Minister David Parker announced today. The $162 million dollar package will see 22 water clean-up projects ... More>>

ALSO:

Government: David Clark Resigns As Health Minister

The Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has accepted David Clark’s resignation as Health Minister. More>>

ALSO:

Election 2020: Green Party Unveils Income Policy

The Green Party is today unveiling its Poverty Action Plan, which includes a Guaranteed Minimum Income to ensure people have enough to live with dignity. The scheme resets income support payments to ensure everyone not in full-time paid work gets at least ... More>>

ALSO:


Conservation: New Protection For Dolphins

Extensive new protections are being put in place as part of an updated plan to look after New Zealand’s native Hector’s and Māui dolphins, announced Minister of Fisheries Stuart Nash and Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage today. More>>

ALSO:

Auckland: Water Consent Referred To Board Of Inquiry

Environment Minister David Parker has today “called in” Auckland’s application to the Waikato Regional Council to take an extra 200 million litres of water a day from the lower reaches of the Waikato River for Auckland drinking water and other municipal uses... More>>

ALSO:




Covid-19 Patient Info Leak: Hamish Walker - A Personal Statement And An Apology

I have spoken to National Party Leader Todd Muller and informed him that I passed to members of the media, by email, information containing Covid-19 patient details that was given to me by a source. I did this to expose the Government’s shortcomings ... More>>

ALSO:

PM: Labour Will Extend Loan Scheme 'lifeline' For Small Business

Labour has announced its plans to extend the Small Business Loan Cashflow Scheme and spend $162 million on a waterway clean-up package. More>>

ALSO:


Biosecurity: Winston Peters On EU Travel: 'We're Not Going To Compromise Our Country's Health'

Foreign Minister Winston Peters says New Zealanders who head to Europe on holiday should pay for their two weeks' hotel quarantine when they return. More>>

Economy: Infrastructure Investment To Create Jobs, Kick-Start COVID Rebuild

A new package of infrastructure investments will help kick-start the post-COVID rebuild by creating more than 20,000 jobs and unlocking more than $5 billion of projects up and down New Zealand. Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Infrastructure Minister ... More>>

ALSO:

Covid-19: Isolation System To Be Beefed Up After Stress

A range of improvements are already underway to address issues identified in the rapid review of the Managed Isolation and Quarantine system released today, Housing Minister Megan Woods said. The review was commissioned just over a week ago to identify ... More>>

ALSO:

Election 2020: Parties Get Into Gear

ACT has today announced its list for the 2020 General Election. “The calibre and experience of our candidates will impress voters of every persuasion. We have candidates from all walks of life. People who have built their homes, families and businesses ... More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 


 

InfoPages News Channels