The latest members’ bill ballot has just taken place. Three bills have been pulled – of course none are from National. That aside, the third bill to be pulled was Catherine Delahunty’s Income Tax (Universalisation of In-work Tax Credit) Amendment Bill. The bill seeks to apply
The upside is that Delahunty’s bill will cause all matter of grief within the Labour caucus as they try to decide whether to go with stated 2011 election policy or discard it under Shearer’s leadership. The purpose of the bill is to to allow beneficiary parents access to the in-work payment that is part of Working for Families. This amounts to $60 a week. Putting aside how bizarre that sounds – giving an in-work payment to someone not working – the Greens have created a stunning dilemma for Shearer and Labour. Well, Shearer mainly.
You see this policy was Labour party policy at the 2012 election. Then Deputy Leader of Labour, Annette King commented extensively on it:
Ms King says the in-work credit “stigmatises” beneficiary families, undervalues the importance of parenting and keeps poor families’ incomes unnecessarily low.
Shearer’s dilemma is whether he discard the policy in a drive for the centre (well, sometimes centre-right) ground and appeal to voters – and in the process alienate his volunteer and activist base. Or does Shearer cave in to the Labour activist base and ensure Labour has another term in Opposition by pissing off the centre voters.