Greed, not taxes, will ruin this country
National's campaign strategy, which is to create doubt about potential taxes from Labour, demonstrates their values perfectly.
I should begin by first saying that the National campaign poster that claims "You will pay $1,060 more tax from 1 April 2018" is a blatant lie. The $1,060 is tax cut from National, not a tax increase proposed by Labour.
It is disappointing to see the comments from middle-class New Zealanders online.
Over what equates to $20 per week, people are ripping into Labour's social policies (which in my view do not go far enough to adequately address our problems). And during their critiques, they prioritise the economy while downplaying the seriousness of our many social problems because they are unwilling to part with such small amounts of money, spouting nonsense like they are 'being crushed by taxes'.
It is sad to see how selfish and heartless people are.
Some like to harp on about how they worked hard to get where they are and thus deserve to keep their money, often disregarding the fact that many of them had an easy ride through life and that many less fortunate people do not have access to the same opportunities.
The challenges people face are varying, unique and often hard to see, so when the privileged belittle those who are struggling and tell them to work harder, it just shows how ignorant they are.
We all pay taxes for a reason, because it's the price we pay to live in a civilised and developed society.
The ones who complain the loudest about beneficiaries getting handouts and the dangers of socialism are the first to praise the police and the justice system, support firefighters and paramedics, drive on maintained public roads, benefit from corporate and business subsidies and collect their superannuation cheques. It seems they will happily enjoy the benefits that tax dollars provide, but are reluctant to pay themselves.
As someone who would normally be in that affected tax bracket (earning over 52k per year), I have no issue at all foregoing a $1,000 tax cut. To be honest, I would rather be taxed more!
See, the National Party might be happy slashing funding for social services to post a surplus in order to maintain the appearance of being 'sound economic managers', but it forgets that it is running a country, not a business.
We should only have spare money if things are going well socially and environmentally, and things are pretty bloody far from OK at the moment.
Taxes, if spent properly, could be used to better fund hospitals so doctors and nurses don’t have to work over 12-hour shifts, because that is literally the last profession in which people should be overworked.
They could fund schools, so teachers do not have to teach classes with over 30 students in which children are not given the attention they need.
They could fund tertiary education, as was the case in the past. That way, young people are not penalised for wanting to better themselves, and as they gain new skills and qualifications, can contribute more to society by filling skills gaps and paying more in tax.
They could help lift people out of poverty, by addressing or alleviating economic inequality and ensuring that people do not have to live in moldy homes that make and keep them sick, or go to school without proper food.
They could be used to eliminate homelessness, because a country with a 'rockstar economy' like ours should not have so many people living in cars, crammed into lodges and motel rooms or living rough on the streets.
Declining waterway health from agriculture, housing, climate change and our shocking problems with suicide and mental health are just some of the many other pressing issues that need to be addressed urgently.
Taxes, when spent properly, can help to fix these problems.
By that logic, one can only surmise that those so rabidly opposed to minor tax increases are happy with the way things are, and that’s just tragic.
Governing a country is not about just doing OK, or merely doing better than others. We should always strive to improve outcomes for our people, our communities and our country as a whole, no matter how difficult it may seem.
With all that said, I am not a Labour supporter, nor do I think they will adequately address the issues discussed above. But at least they will take steps in the right direction, which is better than going backwards.
Ultimately, radical social and political reforms are badly needed, but faced with the alternative, slightly higher taxes for social progress will do.
If $20-something a week is the most pressing issue in your life, then you have it pretty sweet and you sure as hell don't need my sympathy.
For me, things are put into perspective when I consider the situations of the students I work for. They are upfront about the struggles they go through with family violence, drugs and alcohol, coming to school hungry, living with little hope and being dismissed and stereotyped by people more fortunate.
So you can imagine, after working with these young people, how infuriating it is to go online and see well-off people complaining about pretty minor taxes.
Go ahead, complain about how difficult your life is and how hard done by you are. I'd rather be on the side of the people who give a damn. So yeah, if that's what it takes, let's tax this.
- Stuff Nation