Espiner on the lolly scramble

February 2nd, 2014 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

writes:

Good morning and welcome to this special edition of Who Wants To Spend Like A Millionaire (SLAM).

Joining us today are three contestants; Team Red, Team Blue, and Team Green. They’ll all be trying to spend as much of your money as possible in the time available. Take it away, guys.

Team Blue: “We’ll set up a new network of specialist teachers and principals throughout the country and pay them much more. We reckon it will cost around $359 million of taxpayers’ money.”

Team Green: “There is such a thing a free lunch and we’ll prove it. We’ll provide all decile 1-4 schools in the country with food and medical care at a cost of around $100m a year.”

Team Red: “Phffft. Pocket change. We’ll give nearly everyone in the country who has a baby $60 a week, even really rich people. There’s quite a bit of fine print but we’ll let you read it for yourself. It’s going to cost a whopping $528m every single year within four years.” …

And the losers? Taxpayers, who’ve found their elected representatives have collectively managed to write cheques totalling nearly a billion dollars in the first week of the political year. With another 46-odd weeks until the election, the mind boggles at how much largesse could be promised this year.

The last paragraph is the key point. Taxpayers have to fund every single one of those promises. The Government does not fund them. We do.

As I said, I’m actually happy to fund better pay for the top teachers. I’m not happy to fund a $60 welfare payment to someone on $145,000 a year and I’m not happy to fund turning schools into meal dispensaries.

The reason, of course, is that National knows Labour’s idea is likely to be popular. Giving away money always is, which is why the prospect of tax cuts is likely to be dangled before voters later in the year – although probably not actually promised just yet.

Tax cuts is not giving away money. It is not taking so much money off people. A very big difference.

Speaking of infants, Labour is going to have a hard time convincing me that giving everyone $60 a week just for having a baby is a good idea – or is likely to raise productivity (except perhaps in the bedroom). 

Indeed.

Labour’s first election-year salvo is therefore good politics but bad policy. National’s education announcement is costly, but might benefit us all in the long run.

Hopefully Labour’s leader David Cunliffe will come up with some other ideas besides mere redistribution of income as the year unfolds.

I hope so also.

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35 Responses to “Espiner on the lolly scramble”

  1. David Garrett (6,447 comments) says:

    I’m beginning to wonder if this is the same Colin Espiner I encountered when I was first an MP…8 or 9 times out of ten, I find myself agreeing with what he writes …The above is another goody..

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  2. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Plus the Greens want us to fund their campaign to spend our money FFS

    DG

    I’ve noticed on twitter that many “left” journalists are appearing to realize that Walter Mitty from Herne Bay and Russell and co are totally empty vessels and are not so “rah rah’ as they have been. Time will tell but as the year unfolds and the left get more desperate not even our media will be able to totally support them.

    In saying that I am a bit pissed off at the PM bringing in this flag crap, as a distraction its Ok but its making the Government look shallow when they really only have to keep on shooting holes in farcical announcements by the opposition and promoting the positives of their achievements.

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  3. kowtow (7,634 comments) says:

    Isn’t it a shocking indictment of what our once proud democracy has become when our elected representatives have to bribe us with our own money in order to rule us (rather than represent us)?

    Is it any wonder so many are giving up being involved in the whole sordid affair?

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  4. flash2846 (172 comments) says:

    I am all for tax cuts, they are fair and prudent when applied at the right time. Sadly and to put it bluntly stupid people vote too. To get their attention they have to think they are ‘getting’ something rather than having less taken away.
    I do not like election bribes at all but Labour use them to great advantage in their quests for power. Sometimes you have to fight fire with fire; unfortunately it’s not good for honest tax payers.

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  5. David Garrett (6,447 comments) says:

    PEB: I quite agree with you on the flag…It is a totally inconsequential issue – but as the comments on here have shown, one guaranteed to distract the populace…Clark used to wheel it out whenever she wanted to “move on” from something uncomfortable, or simply to distract attention…It is regrettable that Key is doing exactly the same…It’s almost worse that I can’t really think of what it is he is distracting the hoi polloi from…

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  6. Michael (896 comments) says:

    Vote Team Yellow. They’re the only ones in Parliament who seem to be against this madness.

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  7. stever (22 comments) says:

    Great comment Kowtow , however we need to remember that DC isn’t buying our votes with our money . He’s buying votes off they very people that don’t pay tax . They are either on some sort of benefit or thanks to “working for family’s ” refunds effectively don’t pay tax .
    So what he’s really doing is buying votes with MY MONEY .
    Just think back to last week when he announced that he was dropping the ” take GST off fresh food and veges ” policy ( something shearer had already said was gone ) . His reasoning was that it benifeted the rich , so it was really only helping the wrong people .

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  8. Ben Dover (526 comments) says:

    There are very few pragmatists in this world – just – ideologists – and liars

    throwing money at a problem does not solve the problem

    Politicians the world over are offering bribes for Votes

    For a country to maintain its sovereignty economic guideline on what the gvt can spend must be written into a
    constitution

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  9. Pete George (22,851 comments) says:

    Not only is the lolly a concern about what level of increased spending it could lead to, packaging and promoting policy to pander for votes and then having an inter-party pissing contest is a piss poor way to develop sound and sensible legislation.

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  10. Joanne (177 comments) says:

    Not lolly scramble – wally scramble.

    The policies so far of the Labour and the Greens are odd.

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  11. Mrs Trellis (34 comments) says:

    John Key did not instigate the flag thing – he was responding to a wanker question from an equally wanker “journalist”

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  12. Joanne (177 comments) says:

    Michael

    The only problem with Team Yellow is that it’s the Team Blue’s bitch (not meant in a sexist or racist way). Today/tomorrow offers hope though and go back to the principled party it so once was. Ahhh memories.

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  13. flipper (3,563 comments) says:

    DG and PEB have summed it all up pretty well.

    I read this AM that bucktooth Gower says the first NZ poll this year is out…and has some shocks, including the prediction it is going to be a very close G/election result. That was never going to be a surprise.

    May be. May be not. Far too soon to be definitive, apart from a Nats victory if the economy does, as predicted by most, leap ahead, debt goes down, and tax cuts are done on a two stage rocket… October and April…both added to ACC premium cuts.

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  14. jakejakejake (135 comments) says:

    If the government has to borrow to pay for tax cuts, as was the case last time, then it is giving away our children’s money.

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  15. Pete George (22,851 comments) says:

    @patrickgowernz says 3 News-Reid Research poll tonight – gamechanger.

    The game is now the media have a poll to make news with?

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  16. Joanne (177 comments) says:

    National will be ahead by Labour by default. If not McCready should go after the polsters for misleading us or something.

    Labour is a policy shambles and the party faithful are making dicks of themselves trying to defend them.

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  17. Paulus (2,502 comments) says:

    Re the Flag Issue raised by John Key.
    This was to pre-empt Labour from raising it at the election.
    They were going to remit it at the Labour Conference, but it was leaked from Labour HO to a journalist who passed it on, so Key stamped on it first, after having been asked to comment by the media..
    I don’t think he would have bothered otherwise – smart move though.
    Rough opinion polls in the MSM are against it anyhow – it will fail, so let it die a natural way.

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  18. kowtow (7,634 comments) says:

    Paulus

    Key could have just been a good “conservative” ,you know representing the people who voted for him and said “No change,our flag has a proud history,it symbolises our past our traditions,where we’ve come from and where we are.”

    The polls show it’s us oldies and taxpayers who vote ,so why appeal to a vain ,young and electorally non existant constituency with that pathetic line about a sports logo ?

    You’d wonder if the man has any original ideas or genuine depth at all.

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  19. Matt (223 comments) says:

    I’m wondering if the flag issue isn’t meant to give the conservatives a lever to make it over 5%?

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  20. Ben Dover (526 comments) says:

    To get the Right Answer on Anything you have to

    ASk the Right Question

    The Question needs to be asked how the standards have dropped across the Board for the people

    What ever band aid they put on this

    NZ now STILL HAS some of the worst child health safety and MURDER statistics in the World

    NZ and the general ideology (no pragmatism) is now a Farce a Joke and a laughing stock
    an embarrassment to what it ONCE WAS

    Fact
    MIchael Joseph Savage was Born in the Same Town as Ned Kelly
    (almost identical circumstances)

    He is quoted as saying he rebelled against the same things (Political and State Corruption)
    except he used legal means

    He was New Zealander of the Century

    If alive -
    I wonder what he would think or do about the NZ child murder rate

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  21. RF (1,272 comments) says:

    What happened to Labours war chest where they had a huge sum of money left over from them not sorting out the GST on food etc.

    I understood this was going to fund their promises to buy babies.

    That went off the radar very quickly.

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  22. gump (1,488 comments) says:

    @Ben Dover

    “throwing money at a problem does not solve the problem”

    ———————-

    Then why is National proposing to give more money to top teachers?

    I’d politely suggest that targeted spending does solve problems.

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  23. Joanne (177 comments) says:

    Granddad knew Michael Joseph Savage. Granddad lived and breathed Labour. I have thought over many years what he would have made of things and I believe had he lived, he would side with Roger Douglas. Many people of my grandparents generation would.

    They believed in taking responsibility not handing it to the state.

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  24. Southern Raider (1,584 comments) says:

    Poverty is simply a lack of aspiration, hope and security. Chucking money at people is not going to provide these three necessities

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  25. big bruv (13,311 comments) says:

    So once again it seems that those of us who have no more kids that we can afford, pay our tax every week, contribute to society in a positive way are going to get nothing from this government or any of the other whores who want the treasury benches.

    The message we are getting from our “leaders” is this, if you are a loser, a bludger, a DPB slapper or a parasite then this year is going to be like winning big Wednesday. The rest of you (the contributors) are going to get nothing at all. In fact it will be us who has to pay for all this.

    Well fuck that!

    I want a tax cut and I want it before the bloody election, I simply don’t care about how “tough” it is for those who cannot plan their life’s. I am sick of being an ATM for parasites.

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  26. HB (288 comments) says:

    I thought this bit was good too!

    “Team Blue: “Objection! Team Red’s policy doesn’t kick in for ages and in the meantime it’s only $147m a year. Plus, we’ll extend paid parental leave too, although we haven’t costed it yet and actually haven’t even agreed to it.”

    Sustained! The winner of this week’s SLAM dunk is Team Blue, for spending more money in a shorter time frame while simultaneously indulging in finger-wagging parsimony AND criticising opposing teams for their own spending at the same time”

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  27. Southern Raider (1,584 comments) says:

    I don’t have any real need for a tax cut. However I completely mistrust politicians to spend my money on anything that will actually support people who genuinely need it and improve productivity of the county. Therefore i will be happy to take it and put it in the bank.

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  28. tvb (4,208 comments) says:

    Labour’s response to improving Government finances is to propose a significant increase in welfare, National’s response is to invest in our future by rewarding and expanding the role of our top teachers. The Greens want schools to become giant food banks.

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  29. DJP6-25 (1,269 comments) says:

    flash2846 10.22 AM. Anyone working 20+ hours a week should get two votes. Those working for the government, or on a benefit should only get one.

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  30. flash2846 (172 comments) says:

    Yes DJP6-25 I am in total agreement with you. Similar goes for surveys on some topics; work places should be phoned if that’s at all practical.

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  31. OneTrack (2,613 comments) says:

    tvb – And there is approx at 50% chance that Labour and the Greens will get in. Wonder what the policies are that they havent told us about. It’ll be a nice surprise. No, scrub that. It will be a surprise.

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  32. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    Espiner should’ve had a chat with Ian Hassall, former Children’s Commissioner, before writing his diatribe. According to Hassall:

    “…children are of value to society and that the time, love and material investment made by parents and others in the early years has a payoff for society…A cash subsidy acknowledges this. The values system that denies these things is encapsulated in the saying, ‘There is no such thing as society’. This values system which has held sway in public policy for thirty years and contributed to the atomisation of a generation is not capable of sustaining our civilisation and needs to be replaced as the dominant driver by an alternative set of values. An alternative set of values which includes compassion, selflessness and a longer term perspective is typically what is evoked by caring for children, and can be encouraged by a public policy in which children’s needs and interests are central. A society that looks after its children is an agreeable society and one that has a future.

    This is not to deny that rampant greed and selfishness is one, possibly essential, driver of our society, which you will have been reminded of if you saw the movie, ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’, or if you read the ‘Alex’ cartoons in the Herald but it should be put back in its box and not contaminate public discourse and public policy.”

    It’s good to see someone gets it.

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  33. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    Isn’t it a shocking indictment of what our once proud democracy has become when our elected representatives have to bribe us with our own money in order to rule us (rather than represent us)?

    Too true….this excuse for a government asks that you buy State assets which you already own!

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  34. Tom Jackson (2,458 comments) says:

    Tax cuts is not giving away money. It is not taking so much money off people. A very big difference.

    BS. It’s giving people a discount on their health insurance and all the other public goods they consume, usually at someone else’s expense.

    This is because it’s usually taking money off other people in the future, as tax cuts are inevitably funded by debt or clever accounting. If tax cuts for boomers were accompanied by cuts to their access to the health service and reduced eligibility for future pensions, they would not be s popular.

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  35. igm (1,413 comments) says:

    ross69: What do you own, sweet FA; like the rest of your ilk, you are overcome with your sense of entitlement. Your socialist diatribe is best suited for a Fairfax publication.

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