Bugger the surplus – Fred and Mabel want to know what’s in the Budget for them

Dunno what they are making of the surplus in the Eketahuna Club tonight. Alas, Alf is stuck in Wellington so won’t be able to check on how it went down with his mates.

He happened to be among the Nats who applauded enthusiastically when our splendidly capable Minister of Finance got to that bit – the surplus – fairly early on in the speech.

To be frank, it’s a tiddler as surpluses go.

But Alf suspects they don’t actually give a toss what’s on the bottom line, back home in the club. It’s all fiscal flim-flam, Alf’s mate Fred is apt to scoff. What Fred wants to know is how much will he be taxed and what will he and his family get back for the hard-earned dosh the tax gatherer takes off them.

Fred happens to regard forecasts as flim-flam, too, which means he won’t believe all that GDP growth and job growth stuff until he can see it expressed in tangible terms in his wallet.

Chances are he will be a bit huffy about a $500 million package of extra support for children and families, too, now that he and Mabel no longer have kids of an age that entitles them to qualify.

But he is likely to be chuffed about the prospect of having his ACC levies lopped. Any talk about the ACC is usually calculated to result in his getting a tad agitated.

Just in case he overlooked it Alf will be drawing his attention to this bit of the Budget speech:

Annual levies for households and businesses have fallen by close to $1 billion since
2011/12.

Budget 2014 indicates ACC is on track to provide further levy reductions of around
$480 million in 2015/16. Final decisions on the levies will be made after public
consultation by ACC.

Depending on the outcome of this consultation, the average levy for a private motor
vehicle could fall by around $130 a year from 1 July 2015.

Fred won’t be so happy to learn the Budget provides Inland Revenue with an additional $132 million over five years to bolster tax compliance. This funding is expected to generate a gross increase in Crown revenue of almost $300 million over five years, English said.

Any mention of Inland Revenue gets Fred hot under the collar too.

As for the provision of $12 million to help local councils and communities improve the way they plan and make decisions about managing fresh water …

Well, Fred doesn’t put water in whisky and doesn’t wash too often, either, so that one won’t benefit him so far as he can see.

Howz about increased support for those on low and moderate incomes to get into their first home through increased eligibility for KiwiSaver first home deposit subsidies, and by trebling funding for Welcome Home Loans?

Nah. Fred already has a house and paid off his mortgage years ago.

This paid parental leave lark is a load of bollocks, too, Fred reckons. He and Mabel had six kids. She was a stay-at-home mother – just as all mothers should be, Fred maintains (and many of us in the club see things that way, too). So there should be no need for parental leave.

But Fred and Mabel will both perk up when it comes to government spending on elective surgery procedures. – an additional $110 million to fund more elective surgery and reduce waiting times, $33 million for cancer screening and treatment, and $20 million to prevent rheumatic fever.

The Government is also providing $96 million for home-based support services, $112 million for disability support services, and $40 million for additional support for elderly people, including those with dementia.

Neither Fred nor Mabel has dementia, but they both acknowledge they may well get it one day – and they reckon the election of a Cunliffe government is guaranteed to hasten its onset.

Or drive them to more drink.

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