In case anyone had missed it, today is Budget Day. In the Herald, the Child Poverty Action Group's Susan St John presents an alternative budget, in which she advocates a capital gains tax on housing (with a large exemption for people's homes), shifting tax brackets to compensate for inflation since 2000, greater funding for low decile schools and improved access to medical care for children, eliminating the discriminatory "in-work" payment from Working For Families in favour of a universal boost to the Family Tax Credit, and a significant boost to benefit-clawback income thresholds. It's the sort of Budget a progressive, left-wing, social democratic party like Labour should be delivering - but we're not getting it. Instead, we're getting business tax cuts, which will benefit only the rich, foreign owners of our economy.
Labour's departure from its roots and its capture by the rich couldn't be any clearer.
(Actually, I expect to be moderately pleased by much of the Budget. Boosting KiwiSaver and foreign aid and electrifying the Auckland rail network are all good policies. But there's a widening gap between what we elect Labour governments to do - you know, helping the poor - and what they deliver. While Labour would no doubt blame this on its coalition partners, its worth noting that some of the above policies (for example better access to health care and the inflation indexing of tax brackets) are explicitly advocated by those parties. With the exception of the capital gains tax, I can't actually see either of them objecting to such a package).