The NZ Herald editorial looks at Labour’s trio of policies which came into effect on Sunday. They are:
* the extension of cheaper visits to the doctor for those aged 25 to 44
* 20 hours of “free” childcare for 3- and 4-year-olds
All three policies have something in common – they are bribing people with their own money. When the Government subsidises something, it is not free. Taxpayers are paying for it. So taxpayers today are paying taxpayers to save, taxpayers are paying part of taxpayers’ visits to the doctors, and taxpayers are paying for childcare for taxpayers.
Now some may say, but isn’t this about helping poor people? We’re a compassionate society and we want poor people to be able to save, go to the doctor and have childcare?
My answer is yes we do, but this is not what Labour is doing.
One of the big differences between right and left is the right tends to support targeted social services, while the left supports universal social services. Under the left the role of the state never declines, it just gets bigger and bigger.
If one was serious about helping low income families, then one would target them for assistance. Why should 40 year olds earning $100,000 a year be getting subsidised doctor’s visits? I’d rather have a greater subsidy for visits for children of low income families.
Rather than make the state the universal funder of everything in society, I’d rather have a lean efficient state which can do more to help those genuinely in need. And every year more and more of the tax take is churned back – not to those at the bottom, but to the very same people who pay the tax. But this makes the system vastly more inefficient, and removes choice.
The Herald notes:
Predictably, all three of the policies relaunched yesterday find themselves mentioned in a wave of taxpayer-funded information campaigns being driven from the parliamentary office of the party leader, Helen Clark. The material will be hard to miss: it is bright red, unashamedly Labour-branded, but supposedly legitimised by a small logo of the House of Representatives in the bottom right corner. With the echo of last year’s controversy over parties’ misuse of parliamentary funding still clear, it may well be that Labour’s celebrations will be gatecrashed by that party pooper Kevin Brady, the Auditor-General.
I’ve also noticed the advertising. It is impossible not to with a mail drop to every household in NZ. Also Labour’s parliamentary budget seems to have done an incredibly large spend on online advertising, with the ads appearing on almost every NZ website. I suspect they have been spending their surplus budget before year end on 30 June.
Having said that, the ads appear within the rules. They are promoting policies, and appear valid to me.