Dawn chorus: 'Disappointing and out of touch'

Govt to spend extra $68m/yr on extra low income tax credits from April 1, but hikes tax abatement rate; Marginal tax rate for those on $48,000/yr at 57%; US jobs data strong; Levels decision due

TLDR & TLDL: The Govt has announced it will spend an extra $68m per year to support low-income families from April 1, but will claw income back from them at a faster rate. A $15 per week increase in the family tax credit was criticised as ‘disappointing and out of touch’ by child poverty activists and compares with the nearly $20b in cash given to business owners in wage subsidies and resurgence payments within weeks of the Covid outbreaks.

The Child Poverty Action Group has described the latest support package as tweaks that are “out of touch and deeply disappointing”. Meanwhile, deposits in business bank accounts rose by $21b between February and September 2020. Photo: Isaac del Toro/Unsplash

Elsewhere in the news this morning:

  • The Ministry of Health is refusing to give John Tamihere’s Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency the data needed to find unvaccinated Maori, despite a High Court ruling in favour of the vaccinators (TVNZ);

  • The Productivity Commission’s preliminary report on migration was released this morning and found the inability or unwillingness to build the infrastructure needed to support and settle people in the community suggested pre-pandemic rates of immigration were unsustainable; and,

  • Overseas over the weekend, US President Joe Biden’s US$1t infrastructure spending plan was approved in Congress (Reuters), US jobs growth was faster than expected in October (BBC); and, Pfizer announced its Paxlovid pill cut hospitalisations in Covid patients by 89% (Reuters).

Coming up today, I’ll be attending the 4pm post-Cabinet news conference where the latest Covid levels restrictions will be announced. I’ll be focused on:

  • What Auckland’s boundary restrictions might look like over summer;

  • Whether Cabinet was advised to give the extra $500m support to low-income families recommended by the Welfare Experts Advisory Group;

  • Why Ashley Bloomfield is defying the High Court’s ruling on access to Maori vaccination data;

  • What the PM thinks of the Productivity Commission’s recommendations on migration transparency and infrastructure investment;

  • What the PM thinks housing affordability means, given she would not say in an interview yesterday what it meant; and,

  • What measures the security services are taking to combat the stated intentions of anti-vaxx protestors to march on Parliament tomorrow, break in with angle grinders and drag the PM out of the Beehive unless she removes vaccine mandates and all Covid restrictions immediately.

I welcome comments and suggestions for questions in the comments below from subscribers.

This episode is for paid subscribers