Thursday, June 30, 2005

Steve Maharey is a Small-Dicked Weasel

See the Government's spin machine has gone into overdrive for tonight's TVNZ tax debate: Michael Cullen has run for the hills of Hokitika to have tea and biscuits with some Labour Party hangers-on on the West Coast, rather than front up against National's John Key.

But this post isn't specifically about Michael Cullen's cowardice.

Rather, it's about the smarmy, slimey way that Steve Maharey will present the government's welfare hand-out package as a "targeted tax cut". No, Mr Maharey. Creative you might be with spinning and twisting the presentation of your pinko commie ideas, but truthful you are not. Hard-working New Zealanders know that the budget did nothing to ease the tax burden on middle New Zealand, and taxing all New Zealanders at exhorbitant levels, only to launder it back through the bureaucracy in the guise of welfare assistance to Labour-voting low-income people is a bribe, for which the electorate will not be thankful.

Maharey's attempt to shift the debate is obvious: he cannot stand up on the issues, because he's onto an absolute barracking. Weaselly words from a master of slime.

TVNZ's Richard Harman suggests in the Herald that he felt that Maharey was making an appearance to "accentuate the spending consequences of tax cuts". But that's not what the debate is about. The debate is not about Government spending: it's about Government Revenue. It isn't The Great Welfare Debate. It isn't even The Great Economy Debate. It's The GREAT TAX DEBATE!

The Government's arrogance in this matter is clear. If they were honest about wanting to participate in a discussion about taxation, and if the Earl Grey and Tim Tams in Hokitika was REALLY that important to Michael Cullen, then the logical replacement for him at the Great Tax Debate would have been his own associate minister of Revenue, David Cunliffe.

To insist, as the Government does, that the country cannot afford lower taxes while it is sitting on a $7.5 billion surplus is ideology gone mad.

Government doesn't raise taxes because it wants to fund silly initiatives like the Wananga, hip-hop tours, and a health system that costs more but delivers the same. Rather, it funds those initiatives because it has spare money lying around, and needs to find places to hide it because it wouldn't matter how affordable tax cuts actually are: they quite simply do not want New Zealand workers to receive the profits of their endeavours.

And that is the essence of the Great Tax Debate. Labour thinks that our wealth-creating workers should be the last resort. Taxpayers should get in the hand whatever is left after the Government has decided what to do with their incomes. Parties of the right, on the other hand, believe that the Government should only tax people what is absolutely necessary in order to fund basic services.

So face facts and tell New Zealanders the truth, Mr Maharey. No matter how much was in the government coffers, no matter how much waste in the public sector, no matter how strong the economic and fiscal outlook over the next five years, Labour would never, under any circumstance, reduce taxes on hard-working New Zealanders.

Even Michael Cullen would have been given a degree of respect if he'd fronted up and said that. At least it's honest.

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