Free Press – 23/05/17

Come on Out Ruth!
Finance Minister Steven Joyce looks set to unveil the Boring Budget. This year, it seems the Government can’t even rustle the energy to plump a flurry of pre-Budget spending announcements. Free Press still hopes that Mr Joyce will turn out to have been an elaborate ruse played by Ruth Richardson wearing stilts and a ‘bald middle-aged man’ onesie all along, but our hope is fading. Most likely the Budget will contain an expansion of Labour’s ‘communism by stealth’ Working for Families policy, and no tax cuts.

How Much Would You Save under ACT?
Plug your income into ACT’s handy tax calculator to find out how much you would save if the Government let you keep the forecast $20 billion dollars of coming surpluses. You might be surprised at how much tax cutting potential has built up these last eight years: ACT would have three tax rates, 10, 15, and 25 per cent. The company rate would be brought down from 28 to 25 per cent, harmonized with the top personal rate. Bliss.

Andrew Little Should Sue
National are colonizing Labour’s manifesto like Belgians in the Congo. It appears that, if rumours from the very credible veteran journalist Richard Harman are true, this Budget will shift the lower two tax brackets. It will leave the top tax bracket and all rates the same. Then there’s the boost in Working for Families. Andrew Little should talk to his lawyers about National’s relentless plagiarism of his policies.

One Very Good Budget Announcement
The Budget contains $5 million to be spent on Teach First. Modelled on the very successful Teach for America, which is disrupting that country’s education monopoly, Teach First takes top university graduates who might not otherwise consider teaching, bypasses mediocre socialist teacher training colleges, puts them through an intensive eight-week residential teaching boot camp, then puts them in the classroom with a mentor. Nineteen Principals signed an affidavit in support of the program after the unions tried to have it shut down. Excellent to see this initiative continuing.

The Biggest Announcement That’s Not in The Budget
We pay the Treasury to tell us that, over a generation, we will become more indebted than Greece on current policy settings. We pay the Retirement Commissioner to tell us that the age of entitlement needs to rise if Superannuation is to remain sustainable. We, seemingly, pay politicians from every other party to ignore the above. ACT’s policy is to begin changing the Super age in 2020, meaning it would be included in the 2017 Budget’s four year forecast.

Leadership Failure
Every other party is kicking for touch on the Superannuation issue. The Maori Party claim Maori only live to 64 anyway (actual life expectancy for Maori is 73 for men and 77 for women). Labour and the Greens used to be in favour of change but now claim it is not necessary. New Zealand First are, of course, blaming immigrants, even though immigrants are bringing down the average age of taxpayers. National are arguably worse, with their policy of raising the age in 20 years designed to deflate the issue politically without having to actually deal with it.

Destruction of Teacher Union Propaganda
Partnership Schools are changing kids’ lives for the better. If you’d like a brisk defense of them, Graeme Osborne of E tipu e Rea destroys weak teacher union arguments against Partnership Schools here.

Four Months Today
The election is four months away today. ACT is ramping up, raising money, recruiting candidates, and meeting every morning to plan our activities. That is, we are already in campaign mode. We need your help to reach our fundraising target, please consider donating here.