There was another Members' Bill draw at Parliament yesterday, and it has presented a new dilemma for the Labour Party; the Herald reports:
Labour will vote for the initial stage of a Green Party bill to extend Working for Families' tax credits to beneficiaries, but will not commit to supporting it further or keeping the policy that was one of its main election pledges last year.Green MP Catherine Delahunty's members' bill to provide tax credits to those on the benefit is on to Parliament's order paper after being drawn from the ballot of private members' bills yesterday.
We suspect that Labour's strategists were hoping that Catherine Delahunty's Income Tax (Universalisation of In-work Tax Credit) Amendment Bill would never see the light of day. That's because her Bill mirrors the policy that Labour campaigned on in 2011, and for which it was roundly criticised.
Over at Kiwiblog, DPF explains it better than we can:
Delahunty’s bill will be the really interesting one. It legislates for the $60 a week in-work tax credit to be extended to parents who are on benefits and not working. This has been long-standing Green policy, but after resisting it in Government was Labour policy in 2011. It was hugely unpopular and it will be a fascinating defining issue for David Shearer as to whether Labour keeps their 2011 policy, or ditches it. They would rather not had to decide until 2014, but this bill will force them to confront this issue.
If Labour vote for this bill, it will be a huge weapon against them in 2014. If they ditch their policy, their activist base could go even more feral, coming on the back of the sickness beneficiary comments.
Labour was ecstatic with the way the cards fell at the previous Members' Bill ballot. Whilst those who annointed Mr Shearer and want to see Labour take votes from National in the centre will be wondering where the next piece of good news is coming from, those who support a lurch to the Left will be more chipper.