Legal Beagle: The inflation adjustment of benefits; or a bill for Keith
This is a step in the right direction. Thank you Graeme.
Economic jargon has always been a bit over my head but I get the general gist and also agree a step in the right direction. As someone on the receiving end of this particular policy it's been obvious for a long time now the "inflation adjustment" system as been deliberately rigged against us. I see my mother's Super increased yearly (indexed to the average wage or something like that?), yet I can confirm that the Invalids Benefit has literally increased by 0c for the last 3 years, and all of 56c/week the year before that- no doubt because of the current alleged low inflation which of course doesn't translate to reality. None of us are expecting an increase this coming April Fool's Day, ie another cut in real terms.
As for any political party reversing the Ruthenasia cuts? Yeah, right. Labour made their position on that perfectly clear during their last reign and have done nothing in the last 8 years to speak up for beneficiaries. Sadly the Greens have gone very quiet on the subject recently; one can only assume they too are now too scared to show any outward sign of being "soft" because the "B" word is now so toxic in this country that politicians can't fix the damage they've done for fear of losing votes.
Graeme, I note that HLPI Table 1.01 is not set out the way the CPI (3.01, etc.) tables are. Therefore, the HLPI - beneficiaries group is just that. There is no "All groups less cigarettes and tobacco subgroup" (CPI 3.01, line 28), etc.
That being the case, I wonder if you should amend clauses 4 (61HA(3)) and 5(2A) of your draft bill, to remove the references to "excluding cigarettes and other tobacco products". (In any event, what about alcoholic beverages (CPI 3.01, line 27)?)
Thank you for bringing the NZ Progressive Bills Project to my attention. I've already started thinking about the bill I'm going to draft. <g>
The CPI increase during 2016 for all groups was 1.3% – 1214 / 1198, so actually 1.34%.
The Household Price Increase for beneficiary households during 2016 was 1.4% – 1021 / 1007, so actually 1.39%. For the highest income households it was not 0.6%, but 0.7% – 1019 / 1012, so actually 0.69%.
So, officially, the difference between overall inflation and price increases for beneficiary households during the 2016 year was + 0.1% (but actually only + 0.05%). Still, beneficiaries would no doubt consider that 0.1% to be worth having.
For the record, I agree with the premise of your blog, Graeme. If the government has the data to enable it to act more fairly towards beneficiaries, it should use it.
Scrapping GST would be good too. It's a disgusting regressive tax.
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