Investing in families and a better NZ

Andrew Little

COLUMN

There has been much to be proud of in recent weeks. We are on top of the sailing world after Kiwi smarts beat one of the biggest software companies in the world, Lorde hit the top of the US album charts, and the All Blacks fought an exceptional series.

There’s certainly plenty to be proud of in our beautiful country.

You will hear much talk this election about how successful we are as a country. But this country is not delivering for all New Zealanders. That’s the sad truth.

This election is about priorities, about choices, about the kind of New Zealand we want to live and prosper in.

My priority, and in Labour’s view the country’s priority, is boosting low and middle income-earners and those in need, while investing in basics such as houses, hospitals, schools and infrastructure. This is the right choice to make. After nine years, National’s top priority is an unaffordable tax cut that gives a thousand dollars to Bill English and me, while public services face cuts and our people face a housing crisis.

I was speaking to a young couple the other week — both of them are teachers in Auckland. They want a fair shot at the Kiwi dream of owning a place of their own, they want a decent income so they can afford to have a family, and they want properly funded health and education.

That’s not too much to ask. It’s what any Kiwi family wants. But a small tax cut is not going to get them into a home of their own, and it’s going to leave the government with less money to invest in what matters.

That’s why the Labour Party took a fresh approach and created a families package that delivers more money into the pockets of low and middle income Kiwi families.

Unlike National, we won’t be spending $1.5 billion a year on tax cuts that deliver more to the top 10 percent of income earners than the bottom 60 percent. Instead, Labour’s Families Package is carefully designed to target support where the need is greatest.

Even without the tax cuts, 70 percent of families with kids will receive a bigger income boost with Labour than under National. Families on middle incomes will receive up to $48 a week more in Working For Families with Labour’s package than under National.

Because we know that the start of a child’s life is vital, every family will be eligible for an extra $60 a week Best Start payment in their baby’s first year. Families on low and middle incomes will continue to receive the Best Start payment until their child turns three.

Winters in New Zealand can be brutal, especially for our poorest families who do not have a warm home during these cold days and nights. The youngest and the oldest Kiwis alike suffer — we have 40,000 children a year admitted to hospital with illnesses related to unhealthy homes. Around 1600 mostly older New Zealanders a year die as a result of cold housing.

That is why Labour will introduce a new Winter Energy Payment of $700 for a couple and $450 for a single person, to help older New Zealanders and low-income households keep their homes warm in winter. Together with Labour’s Healthy Homes Guarantee for rentals and new grants for insulation and heating upgrades, the Winter Energy Payment will help Kiwis avoid getting sick in the colder months. These measures will keep Kiwis out of hospital and save lives.

These are carefully targeted policies that will deliver for families and people in need and will save over $2 billion over four years, compared to National’s tax cuts. Simply put, we have come up with a better plan that delivers for middle New Zealand and which means that money is available for tackling the big issues facing New Zealand.

This will allow us to make the investments Kiwis want in houses, hospitals, schools and other priorities. We can build houses people can afford to buy, find homes for the homeless, relieve overcrowded schools, reverse National’s health cuts and boost mental health, begin to make tertiary education free, and hire 1000 extra police — all while paying down debt.

It comes down to choices, to what we think is a priority. For me, for Labour, the priority is giving Kiwi families, like those young teachers I mentioned, a fair shot and the support they need to achieve their own Kiwi dream.

On September 23rd, New Zealanders will have a clear choice: only a Labour Government will boost Kiwi families’ incomes and make the investments we need to build a better New Zealand. It’s time for a fresh approach.

There has been much to be proud of in recent weeks. We are on top of the sailing world after Kiwi smarts beat one of the biggest software companies in the world, Lorde hit the top of the US album charts, and the All Blacks fought an exceptional series.

There’s certainly plenty to be proud of in our beautiful country.

You will hear much talk this election about how successful we are as a country. But this country is not delivering for all New Zealanders. That’s the sad truth.

This election is about priorities, about choices, about the kind of New Zealand we want to live and prosper in.

My priority, and in Labour’s view the country’s priority, is boosting low and middle income-earners and those in need, while investing in basics such as houses, hospitals, schools and infrastructure. This is the right choice to make. After nine years, National’s top priority is an unaffordable tax cut that gives a thousand dollars to Bill English and me, while public services face cuts and our people face a housing crisis.

I was speaking to a young couple the other week — both of them are teachers in Auckland. They want a fair shot at the Kiwi dream of owning a place of their own, they want a decent income so they can afford to have a family, and they want properly funded health and education.

That’s not too much to ask. It’s what any Kiwi family wants. But a small tax cut is not going to get them into a home of their own, and it’s going to leave the government with less money to invest in what matters.

That’s why the Labour Party took a fresh approach and created a families package that delivers more money into the pockets of low and middle income Kiwi families.

Unlike National, we won’t be spending $1.5 billion a year on tax cuts that deliver more to the top 10 percent of income earners than the bottom 60 percent. Instead, Labour’s Families Package is carefully designed to target support where the need is greatest.

Even without the tax cuts, 70 percent of families with kids will receive a bigger income boost with Labour than under National. Families on middle incomes will receive up to $48 a week more in Working For Families with Labour’s package than under National.

Because we know that the start of a child’s life is vital, every family will be eligible for an extra $60 a week Best Start payment in their baby’s first year. Families on low and middle incomes will continue to receive the Best Start payment until their child turns three.

Winters in New Zealand can be brutal, especially for our poorest families who do not have a warm home during these cold days and nights. The youngest and the oldest Kiwis alike suffer — we have 40,000 children a year admitted to hospital with illnesses related to unhealthy homes. Around 1600 mostly older New Zealanders a year die as a result of cold housing.

That is why Labour will introduce a new Winter Energy Payment of $700 for a couple and $450 for a single person, to help older New Zealanders and low-income households keep their homes warm in winter. Together with Labour’s Healthy Homes Guarantee for rentals and new grants for insulation and heating upgrades, the Winter Energy Payment will help Kiwis avoid getting sick in the colder months. These measures will keep Kiwis out of hospital and save lives.

These are carefully targeted policies that will deliver for families and people in need and will save over $2 billion over four years, compared to National’s tax cuts. Simply put, we have come up with a better plan that delivers for middle New Zealand and which means that money is available for tackling the big issues facing New Zealand.

This will allow us to make the investments Kiwis want in houses, hospitals, schools and other priorities. We can build houses people can afford to buy, find homes for the homeless, relieve overcrowded schools, reverse National’s health cuts and boost mental health, begin to make tertiary education free, and hire 1000 extra police — all while paying down debt.

It comes down to choices, to what we think is a priority. For me, for Labour, the priority is giving Kiwi families, like those young teachers I mentioned, a fair shot and the support they need to achieve their own Kiwi dream.

On September 23rd, New Zealanders will have a clear choice: only a Labour Government will boost Kiwi families’ incomes and make the investments we need to build a better New Zealand. It’s time for a fresh approach.

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