Grinch To Steal Xmas.
Starring Nikki 'the ninch' Willis.
I saw this headline yesterday. Initially I thought it was referring to tax cuts, but it’s not. The cuts that Nicola Willis promises by Christmas, are to people’s jobs.
Let’s for the moment ignore the enormous holes economists across the board have spotted in National’s plan to tax people overseas on “luxury” property sales.
Estimates of that shortfall range from the hundreds of millions to the billions, leaving National’s plan for tax cuts looking highly dubious. In addition to that property sale tax revenue, the plan requires rapid cost cuts of almost $600 million to public services.
Nicola Willis said she’s “sure she can pull that off, telling Stuff she expects to have the majority of the public service ‘savings’ needed to fund their plan done by Christmas.”
She added, “I was fortunate to work for John Key when he first formed a Government in 2008. And I can tell you that in the first 100 days, a huge amount was done.”
“Those cost cuts across the public service would be done by Christmas” - Nicola Willis.
What a thing to boast about getting done. Laying off literally thousands of public servants, cutting hundreds of millions of dollars in people costs, can all be done in time for Christmas. Hurrah!
The Public Service Association were quick to respond saying a “Christmas chainsaw massacre” is in store for the public service if National wins October's election. Association national secretary Kerry Davies said, “It’s heartless, it’s reckless and lays bare how ignorant National is about how the public service actually works.”
“There are many thousands of public service workers whose jobs are at risk and National needs to treat them fairly and with respect should it be elected, and not rush a restructure for the sake of affording income tax cuts and tax breaks for landlords.”
Merry Christmas from the National Party to all those who get canned just before the holiday season, so others can enjoy those sweet tax cuts. Thank you for your service.
Tis the season.
Nikki ‘the ninch’ Willis.
Christopher Luxon and Nicola Willis have painted the public service as backroom bureaucrats being paid to sit around thinking great thoughts. That isn’t the reality. In my experience there’s far more waste and extravagance in the private sector, those in the public sector are generally busy working hard to do useful things for society.
All sorts of functions, such as passport processing, emergency management, and search and rescue, would have to be cut to meet these targets. People using these services will absolutely notice the changes. There just aren’t $600 million worth of people sitting around waiting for morning tea.
A new government should look at priorities, but a wholesale, unplanned assault on our public services before Christmas is unnecessary and cruel. It’ll certainly make for some interesting campaign conversations with locals in the Ōhāriu electorate where Nicola Willis is standing.
There must be lot of public servants living in that electorate. I’m sure they don’t want to be Turkeys voting for Christmas.
How could anyone do it you wonder? Lay all those people off, just as they were going to be celebrating with their family. A little time off, before doing it all again next year.
But the truth is bosses love it. Wrapping it up means they can relax over the break without any loose ends to come back to in the new year. I got made redundant just before Christmas during the GFC. It was f'ing grim. I managed to find another job reasonably quickly, but it was an awful time for many to be out of work.
It is an awful, cold, callous thing to do to another human being. But redundancies on this scale, in that timeframe? Is it even possible? We are talking thousands of jobs.
Let’s look at the timeline. The election is mid October, by the time the special votes all come in and the official count is announced it’ll be a week into November. There is then the matter of swearing in etc, before a new government can start taking action.
That would leave, at best, one month to design the new structure, determine the roles to be cut, go through consultation, and have thousands of people out the door and made redundant all before St Nick heads Nicola’s way with a sack load of coal. It simply isn’t possible.
Do you want a tax cut so badly that you’re happy to see a whole lot of people lose their jobs in order to get it? Some of whom will live in your neighbourhood, their kids will go to your kid’s school, maybe they’re a customer of your business.
There is a moral dilemma. Do you tick blue and have a bunch of people laid off for Christmas, but get a tax cut? Or do you decide that maybe that person, and their family, deserve to have a nice Christmas too? That sending their world crashing down isn’t really worth a few extra bucks in your pocket after all.
Some have pointed out the lengths that the current government went to in order to try and keep people in their jobs during Covid, through the wage subsidy and other measures. This plan for unnecessary, large-scale, pre-Xmas layoffs is quite a contrast.
When I started writing this I was going to do it as a parody, a fireside fairytale to frighten children. But I didn’t have the heart to make light of it, even satirically. Because this is fucking horrible.
Think about the anguish and misery in all those people’s lives caused by this.
Sure many will get jobs again. No doubt some will get hired back as contractors into the same roles, when it all hits the fan and the service starts to fail. But it is going to be one hell of a miserable Christmas for a lot of people. Full of self doubt, worry, and enormous stress on people, relationships, and families, at a time that should be happy.
If that’s what having a tax cut means, you can keep it.
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