Friday, May 29, 2009

Budget - what budget?

Ahhh the budget. All i can say is, "Who knows!"

Will the package work as english wants? Well considering the nats have now backtracked on their election promise for tax cuts because as english has said, "Things are worse than we thought." Hey english do we look stupid? You were told the economic situation was bad. Labour told you and you ridiculed them for not delivering tax cuts. You promised and didn't deliver. Anyone with a brain knew you were telling porkies to get elected... we can see the game, don't worry about that. And if you didn't know the extent of this downturn - then you are incompetent. So which is it? Lies or incompetance?

The maori party is spinning some good news from the budget.

"The Maori Development Ministry did not get extra money, but Dr Sharples rejigged the funding it already had to put $10 million into his Maori economic taskforce and $32 million towards a new network of about 40 Maori "advocates" to work with families to ensure they were getting the support they were eligible for."

So no extra money, just a rearrangement of the deckchairs.

"He has also given an extra $3 million towards a $5.7 million fund for te reo development."

Yay - that is good news albeit very small good news.

"Some of the other gains were already National Party policy, but the Maori Party said it had pushed to ensure they went through - including an extra $22.2 million for the Office of Treaty Settlements and $19.9 million to roll out the Maori teaching programme Te Kotahitanga to a further 30 secondary schools.

It also put on its list a $12 million fund for housing on Maori land and a $15.9 million fund for aquaculture claims."

All good - well done.

"Co-leader Tariana Turia said the party had no concerns about the decision to drop payments for the superannuation fund.

"Most of our people hardly live to be 65. I don't think it's going to have a huge impact on our people."

The party supported the fund being maintained at its current level, but had no difficulty with money being withheld in the interim."

Sorry Tariana, I agree with your conclusion but not the way you got there. Yes maori do die earlier than non-maori, but they still die after age 65. Maori also earn less in their working life, they work longer after retirement than non-maori and they are affected by increased commitments to their marae, whanau and iwi when they get to kaumatua status. Maori will be hugely affected by this change in super. Pretty soon, because it cannot be funded, the age of eligibility will rise. By the time some of us get to retirement the age is likely to be 70. And I cannot see how the amount of payment, set at a percentage of the average wage, is going to be maintained when there isn't enopugh money to pay for it.

Notwithstanding all that - there is no way that the money should be borrowed to pay contributions. The big problem is that although markets will rebound (as historically they always have). It is impossible to know when they will rebound or by how much. Most of the guesses at the moment are widely optimistic. this is going to last for years not months.

So what do we do? Well we can keep trying to move the ambulance so that it is available for the people who jump or get pushed off the cliff. Or we can change the paradigm.

First we have to get off the merry-go-round of the trying to please the international bankers - we can't, they don't care - it is a waste of time with no possibility of success.

We have to look after ourselves. First as a country, then communities, then whanau. Or the other way round of course.

I've got some other thoughts on this which i'll post about soon.

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