Wednesday, July 14, 2010

"Not viable"

Interest seems to be growing in Rahui Katene's bill to remove GST from healthy food. There's a strong empirical case for the move, and it looks like it would work far better than the current government programme of education. But the government hates the idea. The latest excuse, from Peter Dunne, is that scrapping GST on food is "not viable" as it would cost too much money - about $330 million a year.

But cost doesn't make something unviable - it just means its a question of priorities. The government could afford to do it if it wanted, and (in these tight times) if they chose to forgo other policy decisions. But for National, other things - such as tax cuts for their rich mates and ETS subsidies for farmers and polluters - come first. And that's what politics is about. But trying to hide that fact, and pretend that something is not an option because of cost rather than choice, that's just chickenshit.