When we were finally informed of the makeup of the new government it became clear that we are in for an interesting (scary?) time with this lot.
Another feature of the coalition agreement was the prioritisation of portfolios within and outside of Cabinet. Both Climate Change and Environment were outside of Cabinet, while Regulation and Racing were in under David Seymour and Winston Peters respectively.
It is disappointing, no it’s staggering, the lack of commitment to Climate Change. It really is a situation with this government of “do not adjust your mind, reality may be at fault”…………
Like in the Election when Labour failed to mention Climate Change or the environment, Climate is the elephant in the room – barely mentioned and relegated to a position outside cabinet.
Journalists and analysts are now pouring through the bits which were not highlighted at the press conference on Friday.
Tax Cuts and the Poor
The obsession with tax cuts seems to have dominated the negotiators minds. This obsession will eat at the core of the decency and values of our country. Those of us who are committed to a just and open society will have to prepare to stand up and speak out for the poor and the disadvantaged in our society. Their misfortune will fund our tax cuts.
Poorest families’ incomes face $555 million cut
Here’s what Bernard Hickey wrote on Monday morning:
The coalition agreement release on Friday conspicuously left out one of the most important elements of the ‘deal’ to retain National’s tax cuts. Christopher Luxon briefly mentioned it in the news conference, but a key element in National’s plan to keep funding the earlier tax cuts for landlords was to drop the plan to lift the abatement threshold for Working For Families recipients from $42,700 to $50,000 in 2026. That means they’ll pay $555 million extra in tax in the years to come through income tax clawbacks creating marginal tax rates of almost 50%.
Last week Rob Campbell wrote about his concerns about the inequality which will come from this government. Here’s a link to the article If we’ve lost faith in politicians, we can be the change (newsroom.co.nz)
Poverty will be untouched in substance in this next period of government. No one is even pretending they will be fixed or substantively ameliorated with any urgency. The offered answer to the costs of being alive is in a gold pot at the end of a long rainbow of false promises and misconceptions. Just as it was before the election.
Maybe we have lost the appetite for everyone to have a “fair go” in life. I don’t personally think that we have, even as we may have lost faith in the ability of our politicians to deliver. At a whānau and community level we still intuitively look to support each other. We should focus on that strength and not be overwhelmed by our weaknesses.
In the short term there is a real need for personal action. The demand for help with all aspects of the costs of life for families will keep growing. One philanthropist described to me the other day a rough but shocking calculation that while the demands for help were doubling, the flow of funding to meet the demands was halving. As individuals and as families who can meet our costs of living we have a moral obligation to do more to bridge the gaps for those who cannot. There are no excuses. There are many sound agencies with ways to assist family poverty. They need money. They are not hard to find.
We have chosen to have many poor families. That was quite easy, even abstract, from the comfort of the ballot cubicle. It was portrayed by the major political parties as something we have to accept as it was “not the right time” or because we must “fix the economy first”. Though it is “right” when it is needed and the economy is already “fixed” against those in most need.
But it is another thing to walk on by in real life, to choose not to contribute and share when you know the need is there and you know most of us can help. These are not statistics, these are people in need with whom we share space and air. They are us.
It may not really matter to those who need the hand whether you contribute from love or from guilt, but we will be a better place for everyone if it is from love.
So let’s do some real sharing – it is the only short term way we can be part of a better place. Rebuilding a society based on a fair go starts with us. Our political outcomes will reflect that if we act accordingly between elections.