by Geoffrey Churchman

It was a curious appeal to history when today Finance Minister Grant Robertson stated that the big increases for those on Welfare was to redress cuts that National Finance Minister Ruth Richardson made in 1991. That was 30 years ago, and it’s a safe bet that many beneficiaries now have no idea who is being spoken of. But from 1999 to 2008 we had the Labour government headed by Helen Clark — why was nothing done then?

The MSD considers that ‘NZ Super and Veteran’s Pension are not main benefits’, and will not be recipients of a $20 a week increase for everyone else on 1 July. Details for them are here

Says David Seymour: “The Budget assumes that unemployment will be 4.4 percent and economic growth will be 4.4 percent by 2023. It assumes there will low inflation and low unemployment. They are in La La Land! How can that possibly be the case with the Government’s anti-growth, anti-business agenda? We’re heading straight for an iceberg with Grant Robertson at the helm of the ship. The Government has increased the minimum wage, added a new public holiday, watered down 90-day trials, added more sick leave and will introduce so-called “fair pay” agreements. We need to stimulate economic growth. Instead, Labour is making it harder to employ people and easier for people not to work. There is nothing to encourage investment in infrastructure.”

Despite that, on Kerre McIvor’s Newstalk ZB show today, a Queenstown restauranteur spoke about how hard it is to find staff — an advertisement they placed yielded 100 responses but none from NZers, they were all from overseas who need work visas. The workers would get $600 a week in the hand and will only need to spend $150 a week on rent in Queenstown now. On top of that they get free meals at that establishment. But no Kiwis were interested… It’s a story that has been reported by hospitality employers in other places. So why do we have any unemployment, you may wonder.

For employers, Roberston has also foreshadowed a new Unemployment Insurance Tax – to operate like ACC, where unemployed will get 80% of their income if they lose their job. 

The Taxpayers Union says, “There is no reference to productivity in the material we’ve seen and the only help for business is an expansion of an initiative for MBIE bureaucrats to teach businesspeople how to sell things on the internet.”

More analysis to come.