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Source: Taxpayers Union

The New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union is welcoming temporary measures to ease pressure on employers contained in today’s economic relief package.Taxpayers’ Union spokesman Jordan Williams says, “Today’s economic relief package is a solid first step and a vindication of long-term fiscal prudence. Measures like temporary wage subsidies are costly, but can be afforded thanks to successive governments’ commitment to low public debt.””Specifically, we’re pleased to see the waiving of interest for late tax payments, and the increase to Winter Energy Payments which will help keep vulnerable older New Zealanders at home. We recommended these changes in our briefing paper released yesterday. The lift in the threshold for provisional tax will also be a welcome relief to small businesses.”“However, it’s disingenuous for the Government to use this crisis as an excuse to make a permanent increases in benefit rates, which are automatically ratcheted up for wages and inflation. This looks like ideological opportunism at a time when no one knows whether higher benefits will be affordable in years to come.”“We’re open to increasing benefits for duration of the pandemic, but it’s not an excuse for locking it in. For context, the cost of the benefit hike is around $2.3 billion – almost five times as much as the boost to the health system.  Every extra dollar means less for the productive sector and frontline health services.”“There are also policy measures, such as the changes to depreciation treatments, which although we support, seem totally unrelated to the immediate threats to business cashflow and New Zealand jobs. It suggests this was very much policy to be seen to be doing something, rather than policy targeted at the specific challenges we face now.”“So while today’s announcements are not perfect, they are the product of an understandably urgent process. We will be campaigning for more comprehensive forms of relief for taxpayers and employers in May’s budget.”