Larry Williams: Labour's $200-a-week scheme is lefty lunacy

Listen to Larry Williams on Newstalk ZB, 4pm to 7pm. Today he looks at Labour's universal basic income scheme and Winston's flag obsession.
Labour's plan is inherent on an increase in tax. Photo / File
Labour's plan is inherent on an increase in tax. Photo / File

Labour is looking at a scheme that looks close to lunacy - a "universal basic income".

Every legal resident in New Zealand would be entitled to a basic monthly income - $200 a week or $11,000 a year.

The money has to come from somewhere so it's the "rich pricks" who already pay the vast bulk of tax that will get hit again. It's also likely middle New Zealand will also pay higher taxes.

The plan is inherent on an increase in tax.

No surprise that the socialist Green Party is on the same page as Labour.

This is another example of Labour lurching further to the left and leaving the mainstream behind. It will end in another disaster for Labour. Such a policy will be welcomed by socialists but not where most of the votes sit - middle New Zealand.

It looks like a "tricky dicky" deal that would be incredibly inefficient, hugely expensive while discouraging work.

If we did have a "universal basic income" does anybody imagine other welfare payments will be scrapped? Grant Robertson, Labour's finance spokesman, says that existing welfare benefits will be replaced except for "supplementary transfers for disadvantaged groups". That says to me, Labour intends to continue paying billions in welfare over and above the "universal basic income".

The cost, which is kind of important in this debate, would be horrendous. We have around 3.5 million people over 18 which at $11,000 per person equates to around $40 billion. Currently Vote Social Development (benefits) is costing nearly $20 billion. The maths don't add up.

Winston's whine

NZ First leader Winston Peters continues to whine on about the flag referendum. Pretty pointless now I'd say, the referendum is all but done and dusted and the polls indicate a NO vote.

Winston Peters has once again highlighted the apparent cost of replacing the national flag. Photo / Stephen Parker
Winston Peters has once again highlighted the apparent cost of replacing the national flag. Photo / Stephen Parker

Peters was out at the Manurewa RSA yesterday and maybe he thinks they're a gullible lot, I don't know, but Peters is saying "we asked the Minister of Internal Affairs what would the cost be if every valid New Zealand passport had to be recalled and re-issued".

"The minister replied from '$0 to $458,221,788'.

"So, the cost of changing the passports would be $458 million but by saying $0 suggests no reissue is contemplated by the Government."

"This means if the alternative flag was adopted we would have the bizarre situation of having our passports with one flag, and our country with another flag."

There are a few things Peters conveniently overlooked, one, there is no suggestion that all passports would be invalidated, and two, the cost for a passport is met by the individual, not the Government. So, the $0 figure is accurate. The $458 million silly.

Significantly, Peters didn't tell the old folk at the Manurewa RSA that the current passport doesn't actually incorporate the New Zealand flag! My passport does, though, have the silver fern embedded into it.

Classic Winston.

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