Christchurch South Parish
St Marks Somerfield
OUR CORE VALUES:
CHRISTCHURCH SOUTH METHODIST PARISH DETAILS:
St Marks Church and Hall
CnrBarrington & Somerfield Streets, Somerfield, Christchurch 8024
See Map at the bottom of this web page.
PRESBYTER: REV ANDREW DONALDSON
C/- Parish Office, 27 Remuera Ave, Cashmere, Christchurch 8022
Phone:+64 (03) 980 5002
SUNDAY June 3rd 10:00 a.m. Communion
Rev Andrew Donaldson
7:00 p.m. Contemplative Service
SUNDAY June 10th 10:00 a.m. Rev Andrew Donaldson
SUNDAY June 17th 10:00 a.m. Disability Sunday
SUNDAY June 24th 10:00 a.m. World Refugee Day
Rev Andrew Donaldson
PRESBYTER'S RAMBLINGS FOR JUNE - THE BUDGET
The first Budget of the new Labour Led Government was released on the 17/05/2018. With an interest in economics, budget day always did mean something. The question is what was that something? Unsurprisingly the Opposition claimed it was a tax and spend budget. This is usually the claim the National Party makes when Labour is in Government. If Labour were in Opposition and the National in Government the budget would be criticised for being pro big business and increasing the wealth gap. No surprises there. My view is that the budget appears to be a fiscally responsible and is not over promising. Over all a fairly restrained budget. What then will the Budget mean for New Zealanders?.
I remind the reader that modern economic theory was devised back in the 18th Century and was the result of thinking by the Reverend Adam Smith, Presbyterian minister and moral theologian. Today he is recognised as a moral philosopher, this because we need to keep God out of economics.
As if God is somehow dangerous in economic affairs.
Bernard Hickey Economics commentator on the 17/05/2018 noted that the Government had missed an opportunity to be bold in housing the homelessness, education,. social welfare and healthcare he believed we could have borrowed more to fund key infrastructure.
Wellbeing is being touted as something new in budgetary discourse. I'm not convinced that this is new. But it does emphasise the bottom line for any economy, that is it must ensure wellbeing, and not just for the elites. As a nation some time ago we decided that universal access to healthcare, social welfare and education were important.
I agree with a number of commentators that this is what is being named a mild blue budget. Why so? This Government needs to show that it is taking a steady hands approach to economic management. It also has an eye to the long term (in politics the long term is the three year election cycle). This budget would also appear to put a chink in the National party's metal armour. The budget was aimed at us, the older voter.
As Methodists our questions of the budget do need to around well-being issues. Our Social Principles dears us to raise the following questions about the budget. Does the budget:
- Recognise and promote the sacredness of human life?.
- Provide opportunities for employment, reasonable standards of living for all including those who may not be able to work?
- Is there fair recompense for labour, are work places healthy and safe?.
- Does it promote possibilities for all to participate
- economically, socially, culturally, and politically?.
- Will it promote healthy homes for all New Zealanders?.
- Remove root causes of poverty?.
- Promote the wise use and careful conservation of the world's physical resources?.
I have a concern that there remains an assumption that there needs to be a structured level of unemployment. That in some ways this is a good thing. I can understand the theoretical economic perspective for such a policy which seems to sit around
5%. This assumption is built into what has become known as
Neo-Liberal Economic Theory. There are however, alternative economic theories we could follow. However if this is a pathway the Government has chosen then there does need to be an effective level of benefit accruing to those who are the victims of this policy. Crippling poverty for the unemployed and their families does not promote well-being.
In this decade of "Let the Children Live"' we also need to pay attention to what this budget is signalling to families. The Government has been clear that no child should grow up in poverty and what this means for their spiritual, physical, mental and social development. Extending free doctor's visits marginally does this and extending the criteria of the Community Services Card to include more at risk families and individuals is also a step in the right direction.
The Government seems to be saying the right things in the budget but as this is their first budget, of which we will learn more in the coming weeks and months, we are left at this stage with a wait and see scenario.
Phone +64 3 980 5002