Monday, November 26, 2018

What "no new taxes" really means

So, National leader Simon Bridges has promised no new taxes if he becomes Prime Minister, and to cancel both fuel tax increases and any capital gains tax. At the same time, though, he's promising to spend more money on core public services, and demanding the government end teacher's strikes by "prioritising funding for teachers". So which is it? Because pretty obviously, the government needs money to do things, and that money comes from taxes. And while the right loves to beat the drum about "waste", the fact is that there isn't any - and certainly when National had nine years to look for it, they found none (or at least, none of any significance that could be re prioritised to fund meaningful policies).

Like local body candidates who promise low rates, MPs who promise lower taxes are really promising to starve government and underfund public services we all depend on. To let the schools, hospitals, roads and everything else decay for the sake of a slogan. To leave people sick or homless for the financial comfort of the rich.

Every politician who promises this should immediately be asked whether they think our schools and hospitals are good enough, whether our teachers and midwives are paid enough to keep them doing their jobs, whether we have enough state houses, whether we need more mass-transit in our major cities, whether EQC has enough money to cope with a natural disaster. And if the answer to any of those questions is "no", then they're simply a hypocrite, and lying about their commitment to public services. Alternatively, if they say "yes" - if they think that this is as good as it gets, that we somehow can't or shouldn't have the same public services our parents enjoyed, then they should be made to own that view publicly, so we can vote accordingly.