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  • rmacculloch

Why's Auckland Locked Down? A "behind-the-scenes" reason neither Key nor Ardern dare talk about

Sir John Key has hit the airwaves with Newstalk ZB's Mike Hosking this morning, again lambasting the government over Auckland's lockdown. Yet when Hosking asked him "what's holding [the government] back [from opening up the country]?" Key ducked the question. As would our current PM. Since the government's hands are tied on this matter. An opening of our borders and relaxation of restrictions at this time would likely lead to an uncontrollable outbreak that would overwhelm our health system. So the authorities are buying time whilst they go all out to vaccinate more people.

How did we get into this mess? It goes back to 2016 when Key was PM. At that time, a former Minister of Finance, Sir Roger Douglas, convinced me that our country's biggest challenge was our creaking health system, which is becoming overwhelmed by demands from our ageing population, let alone the coronavirus today. We worked on a detailed proposal to fix the problem. The heart of it involved ending the $10 billion per annum of subsidies currently paid to businesses, sometimes known as "corporate welfare", as well as the subsidies paid directly to wealthy families. Instead that money would have been diverted into individual health savings accounts for all.

The subsidies we proposed to end, in favor of funding health-care, included those paid to Hollywood studios to make their movies here, grants to children of high earning parents to attend university, subsidies to KiwiSaver accounts of high earners & more. Ironically, Mike Hosking featured a story on Amazon's Lord of the Rings movie being shot in NZ straight after interviewing Key! As of today, had Key's government picked up the plan, $50 billion of public transfers to wealthy families & businesses would have instead gone into health-care. That would've enabled our health system to be brimming with resources right now. Meaning no one would have had to fear that health-care may be denied them should they catch the virus. Vaccines could also have been ordered faster. A link to our proposal is below.

Now here's the "behind-the-scenes story". National had no interest in the proposal, though I discussed it with some of their Ministers at the time. I also discussed it with one of Labour's most senior current Ministers who also threw it back in my face. We submitted it to the Tax Working Group, chaired by Sir Michael Cullen. Never got back to us. Why? First, these parties rely on the support of lobby groups, as well as businesses & their owners who give them donations. Second, any proposal involving anything to do with Sir Roger is a bad look for our current politicians, I was told, regardless of its' merits. Yes, it is that pathetic.

So the health, the lives and the livelihoods of Kiwis that would have been sorted by this $50 billion of funding for individual health-care was instead paid into the bank accounts of the wealthy and their businesses. Which reveals the true priorities of both National and Labour. It certainly isn't health-care and that's why we're all locked down today.



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