Tuesday, April 05, 2011

National rejects fairness

Since the Christchurch earthquake, the Greens have been pushing to pay for the enormous cost of rebuilding with a temporary earthquake levy. Its a good idea, a fair solution, which spreads the burden across New Zealand according to the ability to pay. Over the last month they've convinced the public, convinced economists, even convinced the Herald.

The one group they haven't convinced is the government. Today in Question Time, they rejected the idea of an earthquake levy, claiming that it would not pay the whole cost (it doesn't have to) or reduce immediate borrowing (no, but it would allow us to repay that borrowing, and lessen the need to borrow in future). Their preferred solution is to use the earthquake as an excuse for further upwards redistribution by dumping the costs on the poor through massive cuts to public services.

This isn't only unjust - its also stupid. The people of New Zealand want to pay this price. We want to help Christchurch - apparently more than the government does. But once again, National is putting the interests of their rich mates ahead of those of ordinary New Zealanders. They've cut taxes for their friends, and they're not going to raise them again, earthquake or no earthquake. We should make them pay for that in November.