Sunday, May 24, 2015

Robin Hood Budget?

The National-led Government proposes to increase entry and exit charges at the country’s borders and is removing the $1000 gift to every worker enrolling in KiwiSaver. They could have used these two moves to achieve the long-promises surplus in this year.

But in this week's Budget the Government has not done that. Rather than offer the first suplus for nine years, they plan to increase spending on the poorest of our families. It looks like a neat Robin Hood principle: take a little from those who can afford it, and give it to those who are most at risk in our society.

But their motives are not unmixed. Our economy-led conservative Government is realising that investing in the 600 children a year who come to the attention of youth services will have a payoff. Normally half of these youngsters will end up as adults in prison, costing anything from $300,000 to $1 million each in their lifetimes. If an “investment” at this time can reduce this long-term cost, it makes economic sense. It's a fascinating move in a very conservative budget.

Question: Does the Government get credit for compassion for the poor, or merely for sensible budgeting. Either way, I guess, it has to be a good plan and we need to see more of that kind of thinking from those we trust to steer our country through these challenging times.

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