Taxpayers’ Union chair Barrie Saunders calls it a classic Labour Budget:
Robertson’s first budget was written in extraordinarily benign circumstances. The economy is growing at a sustainable rate of around 3%, tax revenues for the June 2018 year will exceed Budget 2017 estimates, unemployment is down to 4.5%, employment levels are very high at 73.1%, and public debt at 21.7% of GDP is low and trending downwards.
The economy is in vastly better shape than any new Government has inherited since 1972. That year Labour leader Norman Kirk won with a thumping majority and an inexperienced team. Labour lost to National’s Rob Muldoon, with a similar majority in 1975, and no more clues as to how to manage structural problems with the economy, which led to the economic crisis of 1984 and the Lange/Douglas reforms.
Prime Ministers Bolger, Clark and Key would have been over the moon if they could have assumed office with today’s economic fundamentals.
The TU notes two wins for taxpayers.
- Fiscal responsibility
It is very encouraging that the Government is remaining within the pre-election ‘Budgetary Responsibility Rules’. We think Steven Joyce’s allegations that Labour had an $11.7 billion hole (which Labour vehemently denied) had also been helpful in keeping the Government restrained in the face of criticism from some on the left who say they should borrow more.
- Independent election policy costing office
Budget 2018 announced that “public consultation will be launched in August on establishing an independent body to better inform public debate in our democracy.” This is something the Taxpayers’ Union has been pushing for since 2014 – for transparency and accountability of what political party policies will cost taxpayers.
For decades political parties during election campaigns have made allegations about expenditure policies of others. That’s why we worked so hard last year with our election “Bribe-O-Meter”. . .
National left the economy in very good shape and the government has at least budgeted to retain surpluses.
But let’s not forget it’s our money not theirs and that a surplus means it’s taking more in tax than it needs.
Had National still been in power all of us would have been able to keep a little more of what we earn.
This red-green-black government couldn’t even increase tax thresholds to address bracket creep which Treasury predicts will put average taxpayers into the top tax category by 2022.
. . .Taxpayers’ Union Economist Joe Ascroft says “This is the eighth successive Budget that has not delivered income tax relief. While most New Zealanders expect only the most well off should pay the top rate of tax, if the current trend continues, even the average taxpayer will be paying the top rate.”
“In fact, much of the wage growth over the last eight years has actually just been keeping up with inflation, so while many families don’t feel much better off, they are paying more in tax than ever before. Inflation will similarly push families into the top tax bracket over the next four years.” . .
The only tax cuts in this business were for hot horses.
In terms of tax relief, unless you breed horses you are out of luck. Winston Peters has announced $4.8 million in tax reductions for ‘high quality’ horses (defined in the media release as being based on bloodlines, looks, and racing potential!).