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The Southland Times - - COMMENT&OPINION -

Clear choice

Vot­ers have a clear choice this elec­tion: more aus­ter­ity and small tax cuts for mid­dle and up­per in­come earn­ers, or Labour’s pro­gramme to re­build our hos­pi­tals, schools and state houses.

For pen­sion­ers, Na­tional’s tax cuts equate to $8.50 a week for a sin­gle per­son or $442 a year.

The $14 a week Sarah Dowie quoted in her re­cent let­ter to the edi­tor pre­sum­ably in­cludes the rou­tine in­creases that hap­pen each year re­gard­less. What Ms Dowie failed to men­tion was that Labour’s Win­ter En­ergy Pay­ment of $450 a year for a sin­gle pen­sioner and $700 for a cou­ple will more than off­set any lost tax cut.

Fur­ther, Labour’s pri­mary health­care pol­icy will take at least $10 off each visit to the doc­tor.

Per­haps the big­gest ben­e­fit how­ever, is that un­der Labour there’ll still be an ex­tra $8 bil­lion left over to in­vest in our health ser­vices over the next four years.

As what’s the point of a cap­puc­cino sized tax cut if you’re in so much pain wait­ing for your hip or knee re­place­ment that you aren’t able to en­joy it? Dr Liz Craig Labour can­di­date for In­ver­cargill In­ver­cargill MP and Na­tional can­di­date Sarah Dowie replied:

A grow­ing econ­omy that gen­er­ates a sur­plus gives us the op­por­tu­nity to in­vest in all New Zealan­ders and keep our coun­try mov­ing in the right di­rec­tion.

This means more jobs for grad­u­ates and school leavers, higher real wages for work­ers and real op­por­tu­ni­ties for busi­nesses to grow.

Over the next four years we are in­vest­ing $32.5 bil­lion in public in­fra­struc­ture and an ex­tra $7 bil­lion in public ser­vices (in­clud­ing more for health and ed­u­ca­tion) to pre­pare us and make us more re­silient for the fu­ture.

And $1 bil­lion to fur­ther di­ver­sify and grow the econ­omy.

A strong econ­omy al­lows ev­ery­one to get ahead. No New Zealan­der will be left be­hind. Na­tional’s Fam­ily In­comes Pack­age will put more in the back pock­ets of 1.3 mil­lion hard work­ing sin­gles, fam­i­lies and of course, our re­tires.

The pack­age will also lift 50,000 out of poverty and we are com­mit­ted to lift­ing an­other 50,000 chil­dren out of poverty in the near fu­ture.

We have to keep the econ­omy grow­ing or the hard-won gains that pay for our public ser­vices and sup­port the most vul­ner­a­ble could so eas­ily slip away.

This also al­lows us to tai­lor ser­vices to each in­di­vid­ual’s needs to get on top of of­ten in­ter­gen­er­a­tional chal­lenges and is­sues that hold peo­ple back from achiev­ing their dreams.

We risk chok­ing our grow­ing econ­omy through Labour’s ill­con­ceived ideas like pick­ing on re­spon­si­ble farm­ers through a water tax, hit­ting you with a re­gional fuel tax and in­creases in your per­sonal in­come tax.

Vot­ers cer­tainly have a clear choice at this elec­tion – a grow­ing econ­omy that sup­ports New Zealan­ders or a raft of taxes that risk stalling the econ­omy and cost­ing you your job.

One-eyed boards

ACT leader David Sey­mour is propos­ing a $25,000 pay rise for teach­ers and to do away with their unions.

Would that mean chairs of the board as well?

I say this be­cause boards can be as one-eyed, over the top and as dic­ta­to­rial as unions, par­tic­u­larly where there’s a prin­ci­pal whose same.

Why would more money make any dif­fer­ence to un­der per­form­ing staff, for ex­am­ple, teach­ers who have an at­ti­tude of ‘‘I’ll teach you if I can’’ and that’s to­wards par­ents.

Or a par­ent may ask about read­ing, writ­ing and maths and the teacher looks be­wil­dered, as if the par­ent is speak­ing Sri Lankan, not English.

It’s par­ents who should be get­ting a pay rise for hav­ing to put up with the crap of boards, prin­ci­pals and their col­leagues.

Gen­er­ally the board eats out of the hand of the prin­ci­pal and teach­ers hide be­hind the union.

What about teach­ers who have chil­dren?

What about them, do they still have chil­dren?

There’s so much said about ed­u­ca­tion and stu­dent fail­ure.

Per­haps they are be­ing set up to fail by those en­trusted with its stew­ard­ship and the fun­da­men­tals of teach­ing it. James Smith Alexan­dra

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