COVID-19: Taxpayers’ Union release recommendations for New Zealand’s immediate economic response
Responding to the developing threat of COVID-19 to the New Zealand economy, the New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union has released a paper outlining its recommendations in advance of the Government’s package being announced tomorrow.
As fiscal conservatives, it does not come naturally to call for a dramatic expansion of the size of state spending. However, a core role of government, and why we pay taxes, is to protect the citizenry at times of national systematic shock such as war and pandemic.
COVID-19 is the biggest economic event of my lifetime. It is essential that the Government takes all steps to protect lives and livelihoods now, but also our ability to recover quickly once the health crisis is over. It is with that in mind that our economic team has drafted these recommendations for emergency measures.
We accordingly urge the Government to adopt the measures outlined below, which are explained in our paper:
- Provide all New Zealand employees with one month of sick leave in addition to existing rights for the rest of 2020, paid for by the taxpayer;
- Use buyouts rather than bailouts. Taxpayer funds paid must be in return for the Crown taking a significant/majority or total shareholding;
- Scrap the 2020 increase to the minimum wage — but if the Government insists on going ahead, have it meet the costs to employers for the next 18 months;
- Fund unlimited childcare for health workers, aged care workers, and Police staff for the next 18 months;
- Partner with Progressives, Foodstuffs and Uber to make grocery delivery free;
- Give lump-sum payments to taxpayers by retrospectively cutting the bottom tax rate from 10.5% to 5% for the 2019/2020 tax year;
- Expand 'Winter Energy Payments' to begin immediately and continue through winter 2020; and
- Suspend interest and penalties for late tax payments from employers.