Monday, 7 November 2016

Labour dreams Little & make-work


Given that modern Labour seems resolved to fix every social and economic problem they see with a new tax, I was astonished to hear that news from their weekend conference that the Labour leadership are proposing a policy to remove a tax – or at least a tax burden.

No joke this: leader Andrew Little has recognised that many NZers work several jobs to either make ends meet, or make life liveable, and he says Labour policy will be to remove the iniquitous secondary tax that penalises these hard workers. These are my words, not his.

Business NZ agrees with him. And so do I.

Unfortunately the sensible comes packaged with the nonsensical in the form of a make-work scheme and at least one more new tax (see, they really are true to form).  Called a “levy” that will apply “to companies in sectors with skills shortages which were therefore reliant on migrant labour,” it is in effect a tax on businesses who struggle to find skilled labour. Bizarre, but true. Instead of

This new tax – a favourite of Little’s runtish deputy Grant Robertson, is already being called the Robertson Tax. It should never fly.

It does however at least seek to solve a real problem: that we live in a small country in which youth unemployment is much higher than it should be, while the number of skilled employees who want to work is much lower. There is an obvious gap there which makes one wonder if the two problems shouldn’t be fixing each othet.

Instead of the obvious approach of seeking answers in the minimum-wage laws that both Red and Blue parties uphold (which all around the world leads to higher levels of youth unemployment) and the frequent and misguided changes by both parties in how apprentices are trained that have decimated the number of skilled workers, these Labour Party rocket surgeons instead propose to pay these young folk who are being priced out of the market by minimum wage laws to be welfare serfs in somebody else’s charity army.

The jobs policy would be for those on the Jobseeker benefit for more than six months, and would not be compulsory. “We will give these young Kiwis the kick-start they need to get back on the right track,” said leader Andrew Little. “This job experience will help them develop strong work ethics and make them more attractive to employers. We will get them ready for work.

So just to be clear: this make-work scheme will “get these young Kiwis back on track” by teaching them that the state will always be there to hold their hand once it has priced them out of the market  And it “will not be compulsory” but “there will be an expectation they take part – and possible sanctions if they don’t.”  Which if it isn’t exactly compulsion just yet then it is surely ust one arse-kicking away from it.

Which is at least a few dozen short of what these dickheads deserve for dreaming this shit up.



  1. I am sceptical that Labour's make-work scheme would provide the kids with anything much in the way of marketable work experience. There is, after all, a reason why people without skills and experience find it hard to get work. Thanks to the minimum wage there just aren’t many low-skill, low-value jobs out there these days. Six months cutting scrub on a DoC reserve is not going to give someone much of a leg up in today’s job market.

  2. Re the Secondary tax 'removal', how will this work ? Does Labour even understand why we have Secondary tax ? Secondary tax just ensures you pay the correct tax on your overall earnings. So if your primary job pays $100K you pay according to tax scales, including 33% on earnings over $70K. Then if you have a second job, earning say $14K, you pay 33% on all of that as you would expect, the same as if you had one job paying $114K. Are Labour saying under Labour the second job would only attract 10.5% tax, as normal for someone only earning $14K, as that income would be treated separately ? Are they mad ? Watch as anyone able to creates multiple jobs to lessen their tax burden! This really is a crazy policy. Great for tax consultants though.


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