The Green Party last week produced an excellent analysis of who has benefited and who has paid the price after four years of National/Act/Maori Party government.
It’s an important document and deserves to be presented in full. Here it is:
Anyone who has followed political decision making under National will not find anything surprising but it’s refreshing to see the impact of National’s polices so starkly presented. The wealthy are creaming it while those on middle and low incomes are much worse off.
A solo mother working hard to become an independent earner is a heavy loser. Her training incentive allowance was cut by Social Development Minister Paula Benefit meaning her struggle to get off a benefit got a lot harder. She is $5,740 worse off on an income of $32,500. The “typical family” is also a heavy loser coming out $11,060 worse off on an income of $71,500. The big winners are the wealthy. Those in the top 10% of income earners are hugely better off and the further up the pinnacle the better it gets. John Key himself has personally gained an extra $19,280 from his Prime Ministerial income alone.
The analysis doesn’t give the full picture however. As the Greens point out 20% of households are earning even less than the solo mother while at the other end the incomes are further inflated from “investments” which are unearned and untaxed. Freebies for the rich. And the impact of the increase in GST to 15% is also not factored into the analysis.
The biggest single factor in increasing the gap between rich and poor under National has been the $2 billion in tax cuts delivered mainly to high income earners. This was accompanied by an increase in GST which disproportionately affects the poor (the top 10% of income earners pay just 4% of their income on GST while the poorest 10% pay 14% of their income on GST)
The budget has made things worse. Increased prescription charges, larger class sizes, less access to student allowances etc will all help grow the gap between rich and poor.
A letter to the Dominion Post put it well last week:
“As a pensioner, I can’t contribute a great deal to the economy so am pleased to be able to help the Government give millionaires tax cuts by paying more for my medication”
Like the farm animals in George Orwell’s Animal Farm looking through the farmhouse windows at the luxury living of the pigs at the expense of everyone else we can see that under National “all New Zealanders are equal, but some are more equal than others”.