Greens vote for National’s Budget

The Herald reports:

The ’s $6.5 billion a year tax and families package has passed into law with support from all parties but .

Labour should be ashamed of themselves. They voted against a package that will give up to $165 a week more to some of the poorest families.

The fact that and NZ First voted for the package is significant. This is the first time the Greens have voted for the key component of a National Budget.

The bill was passed under Urgency and provides for tax cuts of up to $20 a week for workers earning more than $14,000 a year and increases in Family Tax Credits and the Accommodation Supplement.

Those are scheduled to kick in from April next year. The tax cuts package is worth about $2 billion a year while the Working for Families and Accommodation Supplement increases will cost $300 million to $400m a year.

The Green Party and Labour took different positions on the bill – the Green Party co-leader James Shaw said it was a line call. While the party did not support the tax cuts, the changes to Working for Families and Accommodation Supplement would benefit about 50,000 children in severe hardship and the party could not ignore that.

However, Labour leader Andrew Little said Labour would not support it because the tax changes were poorly directed and gave too much to higher income earners rather than those on very low incomes.

Oh nonsense. Low income earners have their tax burden proportionally reduce by far more – 17% for someone on $20,000 vs 4% for someone on $100,000. Of course a higher income earner gets a bigger gross reduction – that is because they pay far far more tax.

Look at Labour’s 2008 tax cuts package. It gave someone on $20,000 an $1,130 tax cut and someone on $100,000 would have got $2,870. Yes Labour’s 2008 tax cuts package would have given a three times larger tax cut to someone on $100,000 than National’s 2017 package does. It is ridiculous to argue the tax cuts are not targeted at lower income workers enough.

Give the Greens credit for putting principles ahead of politics and voting for a package that will boost the incomes of 50,000 families to above the OECD poverty line. Labour just wallow in mindless opposition.

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