National budget an attack on working class

The Maritime Union of New Zealand says today’s budget is an attack on working class New Zealanders.

Maritime Union General Secretary Joe Fleetwood says the increase in GST to 15% was taking money from the pockets of workers to pay for tax cuts for people like John Key, who had so much money they would have trouble knowing what to do with it.

He says rather than increasing GST it would be easier for workers just to hand over a $5 note every time they saw someone walk past in an expensive suit, because this was the actual effect of the GST increase.

“It is a wealth transfer from low to middle income earners to the wealthy.”

GST was a regressive tax that would hit struggling New Zealand families hard.

Mr Fleetwood says that a major problem for New Zealand is growing inequality of wealth.

Inequality leads to social breakdown and long term economic and social problems, as international research has shown, and National’s budget was making inequality worse.

He says the idea promoted by John Key that only high income earners contributed to New Zealand’s economy and society was both offensive and wrong.

“If we are at the stage where New Zealand is being held hostage by a tiny minority of the super rich, maybe it is time to question whether we still live in a democracy?”

Mr Fleetwood says that the international evidence shows that excessive wealth was being accumulated by a few at the top end of the wealth scale, while the majority of workers were squeezed by rising costs and static incomes.

“John Key is rewarding the big business, finance sector CEO types who are the backers of the National Government, whose greed knows no limits.”

He says the obsession with tax cuts was leading New Zealand down a dead end road as tax was essential to pay for hospitals, schools, infrastructure and other vital public goods.

However the tax burden was increasingly falling on low to middle income earners rather than the wealthy, which was the wrong way around.

7 thoughts on “National budget an attack on working class

  • May 20, 2010 at 3:05 am

    Unfortunately that’s just the way Joe has decided to interpret the recent budget announcements. I do hope he can see other sides to the story.

    I personally think the rise in GST will assist us in making sensible purchasing decisions (if it’s going to cost me more to buy a coffee in the morning, then I’ll probably stop buying one – will it be the end of the world?! I think not).

    There is no doubt that we will still be able to afford everyday essentials, but when it comes to purchasing other ‘luxury or unnecessary’ goods and services, I believe it’s just a matter of us thinking a little harder about what we consume and decide to spend our hard earned money on.

    • May 20, 2010 at 3:20 am

      Yeah, let’s hope the GST increase “helps” the low income family with their sensible spending decisions on milk, bread and weetbix for their kids. What makes you think that if people are struggling with food costs now, they will “still be able to afford everyday essentials”?

      We can leave you to worry about that over your more expensive morning coffee.

      • May 20, 2010 at 3:57 am

        People will still be able to afford the everyday essentials; don’t forget about the tax cuts that were also announced. They have been worked out to such a point that even if you were to spend all of your money on 15%GST included purchases you will still be better off by a few dollars a week. Use the calculator I just believe that ‘if you would be so lucky’ to be able to buy over and above milk, bread and weetbix, you’d think a little bit harder on what you spend the rest of your money on… And so you should, money doesn’t grow on trees.

        • May 20, 2010 at 4:36 am

          Yes, but money does grow on trees. For the people earning over $100 000, who will have major tax cuts compared to the majority of workers, under this budget, money does indeed grow on trees. Lots of it! And unlike the peasants who you patronizingly advise to “think a little bit harder”, the already rich will not have to think at all . . . new golf club membership? Second BMW? Condo in Hawaii? No problems!

          For the majority, spiralling costs in home affordability and food costs mean shrinking wage packets, all driven by National’s capitalist policies to suck money off the producers and give it to the owners.

          In addition to which, the share of income going to workers as compared to profit has been shrinking for a generation. We live in a parasite economy where the rich are literally growing richer, the middle class are struggling to keep up and the poor are being hammered.

          Not to say that there will be less money to spend on schools and hospitals, but hey, the well off have all those tax cuts they can spend on going private.

        • December 5, 2011 at 12:28 am

          There is a big misconception that increasing GST would be good for the economy. All it does it makes things worse because those on high income are likely to save their extra income from tax cuts, which does not go into the economy.
          On the other hand, policies that encourage people to spend money on essentials, like those on low incomes would do, increase demand and thus growth.

          Secondly, Miss Auckland, it is easy to give tax advice to those who are hit hard by tough economic times, while you are in a much better position yourself.

  • June 16, 2010 at 9:35 am

    Is this union PRO-worker or ANTI-moneyed? I think you need to make that clear distinction in your comments.

    • June 16, 2010 at 7:28 pm

      This union is pro-working class, its members have better wages and conditions that they have organized and fought for.

      I don’t know what “anti moneyed” means. We are against the free market, anti-worker policies that have seen the share of wealth produced by workers shrink, and their terms and conditions worsen, while a small group at the top enrich themselves.

      As the well known investor Warren Buffett said about the tax system in modern capitalist economies: “There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”


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