Public sector pay rises or tax cuts? What would you pick?

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National have been trying to dampen down expectations that nurses, teachers and fire fighters better not expect luxurious salary increases… like MPs for example. ? Of course, we’ve been through a tough period since 2008, and everyone pulled the belt a notch tighter. ?Even the unions have been uncharacteristically pliant in the face of a period of relative austerity. ?The argument that there wasn’t any money to go around was by and large accepted.

But now, Scrooge English is selling the prospect ?that as the economy is doing well, this isn’t the time to reward anyone for their hard work over the last 6 years or so. ?According to Bill, this would be the worst time for us to increase the pay of teachers and nurses.

If we are to accept that argument, the question is: ?if not then, and if not now, then when?

The whole thing gets drawn into perspective when you realise National campaigned on the possibility of tax cuts during this term.

I think at this point the public, and not just the Labour supporters, are going to withdraw their support for the general idea that there is no money for teachers and nurses, and yet there is money for tax cuts.

Most New Zealanders have a sense of fair play, and they know that many of our public sector employees have copped?their share of the cautionary fiscal approach. ?But like the rest of us, you do this with the expectation that when the rain goes away and the sun comes up, some bastard doesn’t tell you that you waited for nothing.

I can accept the argument that it may be “too soon”. ?But that’s not what English is putting forward. ?He’s suggesting that more than inflation adjustment is simply not on the cards at all.

Few of us want to deny police a fair wage. ?Or nurses. ?And most teachers (hey, I’m in a good mood today). ? You can only count on the public to back you for so long. ?Once they sense you are trying to keep the money in your pocket to pay for things like tax cuts or bridges in Northland to bring home an election win…

…not to mention Team New Zealand or SkyCity corporate handouts…

People are starting to sense that the Government’s priorities are askew. ?Sure, there isn’t enough money for everything, but surely police, nurses and teachers have done their bit and it is their turn?