Robbing the poor to pay the rich

There are three recent Government policies and proposals that have been released in the last couple of days that illustrates what this new Government is all about.

1. Kiwisport programme. 

“Kiwisport delivers on the Government’s promise to put money directly into the frontline to help more New Zealand children participate in organised sport,” Palemia / Prime Minister John Key said.

But Niu Sila / New Zealand’s poorest high schools will lose thousands of dollars each year because of this Government Apolicy billed as helping more children to play sport.  Principal Peter Gall said Papatoetoe High School’s funding for sports staff would fall from $41,000 to $33,000 because the new money was not linked to a school’s decile rating.  “It seems that we’re robbing the poor to pay the rich,” said Mr Gall, who is also president of the Secondary Principals Association.

It’s amazing that not only are the poorest in our society (including many Pacific peoples) are losing out, but this drive to get kids active seems a bit contradictory of the Government scrapping earlier this year the new law which stopped schools selling junk food!  On top of this the Government announced earlier this year they were pumping $60 million odd into private schools while gutting out funding for poorer schools, special needs facilities, adult education and night schools.  This doesn’t look like getting kids active, but more about moving more money towards the rich schools.

Robbing poor

2. ACC changes

ACC (Government accident compensation scheme) changes by the Government mean from November 16 visiting the physio will cost patients at least $10-$20 each time, now that the ACC has decided to cut costs.  Dr Smith said since the service became free, the number of clients in higher socio-economic areas using the service had “occurred disproportionately”.

But Jonathan Warren, president of the New Zealand Society of Physiotherapists, says the move is “short sighted” and will end up costing the Government more money.  “These changes mean that some people who need treatment will not be able to afford it. If a patient doesn’t get early treatment for an injury, recovery can take much longer and their health may suffer in the long run,” Mr Warren said. “In some cases a simple problem, untreated, can lead to permanent disability … Untreated injuries will end up costing the Government much more in health and social dollars.”  A provision for those with lower incomes was argued by the society, Mr Warren said, but was unsuccessful.

Once again the changes in ACC will affect the poorest people in society.  Usually those that need the free service the most are those that can’t afford it, and are proned to injury due to their occupation (manual labour, construction).  While $10-$20 a visit may sound cheap, if you need to visit every week over 6 months, that’s a lot of money especially when you’re already trying to make ends meet.  As said above, more pacific people who can’t afford the visits will not go at all, leaving injuries untreated and causing more cost in the long run to our health system.

3. GST increases

Currently here in Niu Sila we pay 12.5% of goods and services in GST (goods and Services Tax).  A working group panel reviewing the tax system said lifting GST to 15 per cent would raise an extra $2.1 billion a year. That would rise to $6.2 billion if the tax was set at 20 per cent.  Raising the rate of GST could increase the economy’s efficiency if it was used to shift the mix of taxes away from income tax the group says.  “Increasing the rate could impact on lower-income or vulnerable households, especially in the short run,” the panel said.

Progressive tax systems mean those that earn more, pay more taxes.  This is based on one of the notions that a regressive system such as a flat tax rate would harm those on lower income than those on higher incomes.  Increasing GST is the same in that although everyone will be paying 15% on goods and services, those on a lower income have less discretionary funds to absorb that increase.

Once again, this proposed change will affect the poor and benefit the rich.  Robbing the poor to pay the rich.

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