Jordan mentioned yesterday that a recent survey showed that people were willing to pay higher taxes for education and health. Stuff has a short report on it here, and Massey News has a summary, but to get the real data, you have to go to the source:
Respondents were presented with a range of possible items of government expenditure and asked to choose between "Increasing government spending in each particular area even though this would mean paying higher taxes for this extra spending" or "Cutting government spending in each area and thereby reducing taxes"...
The majority of respondents considered that the government should increase to some degree or greatly increase spending on the health services (87%); the education system (87%); pensions (66%); protecting the environment (61%); job training and assistance for the unemployed (65%); and spending on assistance for people on lower incomes (53%).
They were also asked some more specific questions:
Three-quarters of respondents strongly agreed or agreed with the statement "I would agree to an increase in my taxes if the extra money were used to provide a higher standard of living for the old".
The majority of respondents (82%) strongly agreed or agreed with the statement "I would agree to an increase in my taxes if the extra money were used to provide better health services".
Lest anyone suggest that people agree to spending increases regardless, there was far lower support for increased spending on defence, culture, sport, and Maori language, or for specific tax increases for state housing or the repayment of student loan debt. People are quite discriminating on what they feel their money should be going towards.
What does this tell us? Mostly, it backs up the last release from this research group in saying that health and education matter to Kiwis, but it also says more: it says that we are willing to put our money where our mouth is, and are willing to suffer a tax hike in order to advance those values. That's something our political parties should take note of.