What’s in it for me?

By Beth Houlbrooke
ACT Deputy Leader / Vice President

One thing I often hear about The Budget is people being asked what’s in it for them? I don’t remember a Budget in a long time that delivered anything for me. In fact as a middle New Zealander in just about every sense of the word – demographically and financially – budgets aren’t aimed at me. I do my work, I pay my taxes and my mortgage, and that’s about it. Nothing left over to save for retirement, nor live any kind of lavish lifestyle.

What I do want a budget to deliver is not anything so much for me personally, but something that will improve my kids’ ability to invest in their future such as through buying a property. This could start with cutting their taxes so they can save more, incentivising them to work harder and be more productive. This budget has not helped with any of that. It’s as if this government is only interested in giving more to net tax takers, not net tax-payers. Where’s the aspiration?

I’VE BEEN HACKED!

Like those messages you get from your Facebook friends which say “don’t accept any additional or strange friend requests from me, I’ve been hacked!” when that’s not what’s happened at all, they just haven’t secured their profile properly and left their friends list open for anyone to read – last week’s claim of “hacking” by some mystery person, who then “leaked” the budget details, turned out to be nothing other than complete incompetence.

WHAT’S THE ALTERNATIVE?

If this had happened under National they may have put it down to the actions of an “emotional junior staffer”. But they jumped on the bandwagon like a bunch of 12-year-old schoolboys, extracting every last guffaw out of the mistake. This was all smoke and mirrors, because they had no real opposition to the Budget, and nothing to offer. Where was their alternative budget?

ACT would have reduced taxes immediately for those affected by tax bracket creep, paid good teachers more, cut wasteful spending such as the pointless buy-back scheme for legally held firearms, and a whole lot more – to be revealed at our party re-launch next weekend.

AN ASTONISHING ADMISSION

There’s not much that leaves me gobsmacked but this astonishing public admission by PM Jacinda Ardern on the role of the teachers’ unions and their influence on the closure of Partnership Schools, was extraordinary.

This leaves us with absolutely no doubt that the teachers’ unions buy self-serving policy with their donations to the Labour Party.

It makes it difficult to have sympathy with the teachers’ demands for more pay when you realise that their own union is taking fees off them to undermine education. Unfortunately, the really good teachers among them are tainted by association. They should leave and seek individual employment contracts, and watch their careers fly.

The rest of them should accept the offer and move on, because we have much bigger problems, such as attracting more of the brightest graduates into the profession and keeping them there. A profession like many others that has opportunities to progress and be rewarded through reaching performance targets. Don’t say it can’t be done, I reject that teachers can’t be measured on any range of desirable attributes or results set by the school’s Board of Trustees.

These may include reducing truancy rates, having fewer students leave school without higher level certificates of learning, having more students take up tech subjects, languages, or sports – whatever that school wants to be known as successful for so they can attract more similarly aspirational teachers and students – and lifting reading and math levels.

It is not just about teaching to the test to meet performance targets. That is a very narrow view of performance but one the union-entrenched teachers keep trotting out. To that, I say: “Lacks imagination. Can do better.”

39%
×