It's a good time to be middle class in New Zealand.
Under this Labour-led Government, the middle class is doing very well, thank you very much.
That has been an unexpected surprise. You could be forgiven for expecting the Government to be distracted trying to help the poorest New Zealanders. What with all that talk of child poverty and the working poor before the 2017 election.
Child poverty, child shmoverty amiright?
Those numbers haven't budged. They've actually got worse under this Government. But the middle class? Storming ahead.
Ever wanted a house in Wanaka for those winter ski holidays? The Wanaka ski house is on us! The Government has very kindly arranged some KiwiBuild houses smack bang in the vicinity of the ski fields. The trick is to put the house in your child's name so they qualify as a first-home buyer, then pay the whole thing off in one lump sum. Someone's done it already. At least, that seems the most likely explanation for how three first-home buyers qualified for KiwiBuild homes with full deposits of $650,000 despite only earning $11,000 annually.
Ever wished you could spend your university-aged child's medical school fees on a new piece of art instead? You can. Next year's on us! The first year of tertiary study is free, so take that money you were going to spend on uni and spend it on you.
Meanwhile, hate to spoil the party, but poorer New Zealanders are still having a tough time. Especially seeing as we're coming into winter.
Never mind a ski house in Wanaka, some of them don't even have shelter. In fact, more of them than when this Government took office.
The emergency housing list has exploded. That is directly because of this Government's decisions.
The waiting list is growing because people can't get into state houses. They can't get in because the state houses aren't freeing up. The houses aren't freeing up because no one's going around checking whether 81 per cent of state house tenants are good to look after themselves now.
That rule changed. Once you're in a state house - under this Government - you're in. And, for 81 per cent of state houses tenants, you won't get moved on even if you land Lotto.
So the queue grows.
How did the Government get its priorities so wrong?
How did it promise to build 10,000 KiwiBuild houses a year but only 1600 social houses a year? Is middle-class housing six times more important than the housing needs of the poorest? Is the need among the middle class six times greater?
What this Government needs is a complete recalibration of its priorities. It's due to announce a recalibration of KiwiBuild any week, but why stop there? Recalibrate the fees-free policy too. Recalibrate that one into the shredder in Education Minister Chris Hipkins' office. Recalibrate every single policy that helps middle-class New Zealanders before the poorest New Zealanders.
Now's the time. It's the middle of the electoral cycle. It's just long enough since the last election to suggest the greenhorn Government gave it a good go, but, with the benefit of public service advice and a few months in the job, now realises the shredder's a good idea.
And it's just long enough before the next election. Voters have short memories. In any case, it's better to say you got it wrong and move on than keep taking a public flogging over policy fails.
Plus, recalibrating is an easy sell politically. Few would begrudge ditching free university to instead pay teachers more. Few would begrudge ditching Kiwibuild to instead build more state houses.
The good news is the Government might have realised this already. It's making the right noises. KiwiBuild's already being recalibrated. Fees free uni looks like it's on a lifeline given Chris Hipkins won't guarantee he'll make the second and third year of uni free too.
These are the right noises. Noises that sound a bit like a shredder being fired up.