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A more equitable society

Written By: - Date published: 1:13 pm, December 11th, 2013 - 53 comments
Categories: benefits, Economy, Politics, poverty, Social issues, tax, welfare - Tags: ,

Welfare benefits and how you provide for the disadvantaged is one of the primary distinguishing features of the difference between the left and right of the political spectrum. This post is a more detailed explanation of a proposal I put in a comment on child poverty, one of the outcomes where wealth is poorly distributed, something we are seeing more commonly in NZ. It would require consensus from most people to implement as it would fundamentally change the fabric of society.

It asks people (sponsors) with income to redistribute it to others (sponsored). The sponsored may have insufficient or no income or simply less than what the sponsor does. They may have no or little income as they work in areas which do not generate income such as many voluntary activities in society today or they are unable to work in an income generating job because they are disabled or sick in some way. These people can and do contribute to society but are often uncompensated for it. Alternatively they may just wish to not work (paid or otherwise) or contribute at all which is their choice. Such individuals will likely receive the minimum income. If they want more they will need to seek out sponsorship which I expect would be given if they can show some justification for it.

This is how it would work. I think the actual numbers would be different depending on the taxation requirements of society and I am planning to try and do the numbers to verify the feasibility. Perhaps someone else with the right tools and information might like to do some economic modelling as well.

Taxation would be used to encourage the distribution of income so that those who earned large incomes and wished to reduce their tax obligations would be able to redistribute income to nominated people. If they did not then they would be taxed at a higher rate. People being sponsored would have to declare that they were receiving income and be taxed on that income level. It is in effect income splitting to reduce tax obligations and support other members of society. It would not say between who the income would be split as it is not intending to dictate any particular social relationship such as marriage and recognises the complexity of social relationships in today’s society. It is simply a financial relationship.

There would be a tax free level of income and a maximum income after which any income earned would go to the government. The maximum level would be some multiple of the minimum. If for example it was decided that $20K was tax free and the maximum was 20 times that amount then any money earned over $400K would go to the government. Taxation would progressively increase the more you earned. Both the band and the tax rate can be varied giving a great deal of flexibility. Then if they wanted to raise maximum incomes then they would have to increase the minimum tax free amount. Lowering of the minimum tax free level lowers the level of the maximum income. This would truly change everybody’s level of wealth depending on the success of society as a whole.

People who did not receive sponsorship would be sponsored by the government or matched with someone who wanted to sponsor another. All benefits would be abolished as a result and it would in effect provide a universal income.

An old argument against increased taxation on the more you earn is it discourages people from achievement. I think that is a myth in the same vain as trickle down. Once people have a certain level of wealth it has been shown that they look for other means of demonstrating success. One way of doing that is by indicating how many people and at what level you support others. Make the competition not about how much you earn but how much you are able to distribute as the measure of success.

The government’s role would be as an administrator keeping track of who was sponsoring who and tracking the income each person was receiving and taxing appropriately. It would provide enforcement and dispute resolution as well.

It probably is not the only tax change that would be required as it is likely to leave a hole that can be filled by some sort of capital tax which can be discussed later. Business taxation may also be changed to favour the use of labour rather than capital so increasing the reward for labour over capital. That would have to be balanced and thought about carefully as obviously a poor application would be decrease efficiency of production. The productivity rewards of business have swung too far towards capital and that imbalance should be addressed. All of this will require mathematical and financial modelling to prove the feasibility.

It would have the benefit of creating a more socially cohesive society. People would know that they were contributing to the welfare of individuals they had chosen and not those that they think of as ‘bludgers’. People would have the dignity of an income rather than a benefit. They would have an obligation to sponsors just as employees have to employers. This is missing in the welfare benefit situation. They would be free to contribute work to society that did not require an income being generated from the work. There would be many other benefits and probably a few problems but I think the benefits would outweigh those significantly. It would create a more equitable, dignified and just society.

Flip

53 comments on “A more equitable society”

  1. Rogue Trooper 1

    Flippin’ ‘eck.

  2. The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 2

    Are you trying to get out of military service, or something?

  3. captain hook 3

    shit that sounds amazing dood.
    sort of a bit like selctive paternalism.
    the whole point of a welfare system is to make sure everybody gets treated equally.
    this bludger nonsense is rantings from the right and the other rugged individualists who are so greedy and anal retentive that they cant give.
    It is up to the left to make sure that these people are put in their place and described adequately and made to give with no questions asked.

  4. McFlock 4

    Personally, I prefer the black box approach of taxation. Individuals shouldn’t be allowed to choose what the government does with its tax revenue, which is essentially what this proposal suggests. It’s government money, and government should take only enough to do what’s right with it.

    The tax rebate for businesses employing labour is interesting, because it also is a disincentive against contracting out (which generally fucks workers out of their rights). I’d go so far as to do a per-equivalent full-time employee in permanent non-casual employment rebate. Not massive, because if it gets too big it might be cheaper to build roads using pharonic engineering methods (blocks on wooden rollers pulled by teams of labourers) rather than a bulldozer, but a modest implementation might be really useful. Possibly a sort of buddy-system to a financial transaction tax.

    • Flip 4.1

      Most people would disagree that the income they earn is government money and taxation has been resented forever. I’m suggesting reduced taxation in favour of being personally more generous.

      • Bill 4.1.1

        I’m suggesting reduced taxation in favour of being personally more generous.

        Which is almost exactly the argument of very right wing leaning folks in the US of A…y’know, where ‘the masters’ come together at great gala dinners and compete with one another to give (tax deductible) money to recognised and accepted charitable orgs and then all leave – (not stepping over any beggars, cause they’d have been ‘cleared out’ by the cops beforehand) – conscience salved.

        If you have powerful forces (the market) encouraging undesirable behaviours, then what powerful incentives exist in your scenario that would trump those market forces and lead to better and genuinely philanthropic, behaviours?

        • Flip 4.1.1.1

          @Bill
          ‘If you have powerful forces (the market) encouraging undesirable behaviours, then what powerful incentives exist in your scenario that would trump those market forces and lead to better and genuinely philanthropic, behaviours?’

          Social pressure (Don’t be so tight) but I know that is not enough.

          No excuses for sweeping the ‘beggars’ away. They can sponsor them. They cannot sweep the poor from their conscious as they have the means of personally helping them.

          Ultimately the amount they get to keep is tied to the amount that poorest person receives. Not sure that qualifies as genuine philanthropic behaviour.

          • Bill 4.1.1.1.1

            A slogan? That it? I mean there have been and still are religions that implore people to be ‘better’ or whatever with threats that were once fairly powerful … eternal damnation etc. And then up pops ‘forgiveness’ an’ shit – that could be bought by those powerful and wealthy enough.

            Peer pressure is powerful if it itself is not subjected to even greater external forces that pervert (for want of a better term) peer will. “Don’t be so tight” gets absolutely stomped by the rich and powerful declaring “greed is good” in the setting of a market economy.

            As an aside. Poor people are not generally tight anyway. The most generous people I’ve come across are poor people and children. But once people have ‘bought into’ material acquisition as a way to be ‘better’ or attain status or worth etc, then, whether they be rich or poor, they simply become more selfish and less sympathetic/caring etc. Which brings us back to the impact of the market economy on our behaviours etc

      • McFlock 4.1.2

        You think people won’t resent being forced (on penalty of more taxes, otherwise they’d do it anyway) to help the needy?

        If someone has a problem with how “their” tax dollars are spent, fuck ’em. They’d have a problem with the sponsor scheme too, as well as increasing the “I give you money, you owe me ‘favours'” vulnerability of beneficiaries.

        Why spend money processing “generosity rebates” and a sponsor scheme (what, will they expect a letter every month from the grateful poor person, too?), only to do stuff that the government should be doing anyway?

        • Flip 4.1.2.1

          @McFlock

          The fact is that everyone who gets an income is obligated in some way. Employees are obligated to employer to provide labour. Suppliers to customers for product. There is no reason why a person would have to except the sponsorship if they felt the expectations were unrealistic. (Writing a thank you note would be a very simple obligation for a decent income.) They would have the option of state support still.

          A couple of exceptions to getting income without obligation I can think of…
          Theft…
          Exploitation. (resources and people). Another form of theft.
          Capital gains. I mentioned that capital taxation is something that would need to be looked at but left that for another time.

          There maybe others….

          • McFlock 4.1.2.1.1

            Indeed.
            But why add another one?

            If the beneficiary doesn’t need to be beholden to one particular “sponsor”, why should the beneficiary bother taking part in the scheme, rather than just collecting government money as usual? We all have a right to live, so we all have a right to that minimum income support, so why tie sycophantic obligations to what is one’s right?

            • Flip 4.1.2.1.1.1

              They would be allowed to have multiple sponsors.

              The sponsored person may be able to obtain more than the minimum income support offered by the government to support the minimum. Thus ‘get ahead’.

              It would require a relationship to be developed increasing social cohesion.

              It is likely that some would seek to abuse the system hence the need for governance.

              • McFlock

                So the patron gets a rebate for putting money where it is less needed, and tax revenue is spent on administration and governance of the system?

                Let alone the likelihood that the system will turn into little more than the state becoming a pimp.

  5. Colonial Viper 5

    I’m of two minds whether this system is more complex or less complex. Also there is a lot of focus on income, but as we know, capital wealth vs debt peonage is another major of inequity in our society.

    My preference is probably for major simplifications of the tax code and getting rid of a lot of exemptions/loop holes.

    Also for the recognition of a simple principle – the tax system’s primary use should be to help focus desirable economic behaviour in society, not to provide the government with NZD. (The govt can issue itself with all the NZD it thinks is required).

  6. just saying 6

    Is this a joke?

    The sick, the disabled, those with dependents, the unemployed… should seek charity?

    I think the writer, if he or she is serious might be a bit mixed up about the difference between left and right, and about basic human rights.

    • weka 6.1

      I’m a bit confused about what is being proposed too. Is the suggestion that most benefit-replacement income is derived by private contracts between poor person and rich person? And that those poor people who can’t negotiate a contract would be supported by the govt? At what rate? How would that be any different than the stratification of poverty that we already have? It looks to me like semi-privatising the deserving poor and letting the govt take care of the rest. I can’t imagine that working out well.

      Why not just have the rich people give the excess money to the govt and then teh govt distribute it equitably?

      • Flip 6.1.1

        @Weka

        Cannot say what the rate would be without a model being developed. But it should be some minimum living value and be tax free. (I cannot see the point of the government giving a minimum benefit and then taxing it.) It does not matter whether the income comes from the government or is privately derived.

        ‘Why not just have the rich people give the excess money to the govt and then teh govt distribute it equitably?’

        Simply because it gives the rich an excuse to say they are robbed and finding a means of dodging. This gives them the chance to not be selfish and connect with those less advantaged. If they choose to continue being selfish then they get pinged anyway.

        • karol 6.1.1.1

          Simply because it gives the rich an excuse to say they are robbed and finding a means of dodging. This gives them the chance to not be selfish and connect with those less advantaged. If they choose to continue being selfish then they get pinged anyway.

          Then I could see some of the wealthy, cynically choosing to sponsor some people, as a way to avoid being taxed. And doing it in bad faith, and in a way that costs them as little as possible.

          This then puts the onus on the impoverished to dance to the tune of any (potential) sponsor, in order to win and maintain their favour. Some of the poorest are people with limited communications and or social skills. Those with the biggest smiles and best line in talk will be more likely to win sponsorship. Seems to me like a return to feudalism within capitalism.

          This does not look like democracy to me.

          I can’t see it is in any way better than having regulations to provide a living wage, with state agencies to administer social security when needed.

          • Flip 6.1.1.1.1

            More like patronage. I commented somewhere else (4.1.2.1) about obligations everyone has for an income(or ‘dancing to a tune of a potential sponsor’). They would not have to accept sponsorship if unfair/illegal expectations. Hence the need for government oversight.

            The state would still have to provide the living wage etc but an opportunity would exist for income splitting (sponsorship) with another person thus reducing the tax a sponsor pays.

            • karol 6.1.1.1.1.1

              “Dancing to the tune” is one of the problems of our current system, that creates inequalities to the benefit of those at the top of the tree.

              A meritocracy, never really is.

    • Bill 6.2

      Is this a joke?

      Scarey, eh? I mean, I did laugh – but it wasn’t quite a laugh of honest hilarity. A sponsor or a patron? The innate goodness of humanity coming to the fore; the innate goodness we all know the market encourages so well? Small government in a market context?

      (sigh) Now that I’ve picked out some arbitrary bullet points I’m just shaking my head in disbelief. Not laughing.

      • Flip 6.2.1

        I suppose your comment suggests that you do not believe in the innate goodness of humanity?

        The market encourages greed and selfishness. This would encourage generosity and personal social relationships. It is not market based. It also means that the more the wealthy increase the wealth of the poor the more they get to keep for themselves as there is a link between the top income and the bottom.

        • Bill 6.2.1.1

          No flip – my comment suggests no such thing as any innate malevolence or whatever. What my comment does recognise is the market – the environment we live within and that absolutely rewards ‘less than desirable’ traits and behaviours.

          Your post, however, does not. I have no idea how you can describe your idea as being “not market based” (6.2.1. above) when you have nothing whatsoever to say about market relations (eg – employers/employees) beyond saying that the sponsored would have obligations to their sponsors in the same way the employees have obligations to their employers at present.

          Maybe you’d like to explain how sponsors in your scenario get their wealth if it’s not via power dependent market mechanisms and being adept with regards the exploitation those market dynamics condone, reward and encourage?

          • Flip 6.2.1.1.1

            @Bill

            Markets are for trading goods and services between unrelated parties. It is an important part of society but it is limited. It seems it is the only way that anything can be valued. I think there may be valuable ‘work’ that cannot be valued by a market. A sponsor can determine the value of that.

            People would still work in paid employment. If they wanted to they could sponsor people if their income was sufficient otherwise be taxed on the excess. (a forced contribution if you like)

            Wealth is still gained via the employment of capital and labour for the production of goods and services. It is still gained from charging what a market understand as the value. Not sure I’ve addressed your issue though.

            • Bill 6.2.1.1.1.1

              Economies, not markets, are for producing goods and services and distributing them. The market economy is only one type of economy that is possible. And the thing with the market economy is that it generates perverse incentives and rewards, mis-prices just about everything and is wholly based on power – the more powerful fuck over the less powerful as a matter of course (the big boss fucks the smaller boss fucks the worker/big company fucks little company and everyone runs around trying to be the fucker who doesn’t get fucked) and the outcome (fucker or fucked) determines success/failure in market economies.

              Meantime, if you can’t see the immense difference between a market (usually – at least traditionally – a physical location where things are merely traded) and an economy where things are produced and distributed according to set rules and guidelines – then you’re apt to suggest that ‘the market’ (ie, the particular economy we have) is natural and has been around for ever etc and leave the egregious nature of the market economy beyond question or inquiry. And so fall back on wishful thinking – ‘if only everyone was nicer’ etc.

              My granny had a saying for that which ran ‘If only if’s and and’s were pots and pans, there’d be no need for tinkers’…and sorry Flip, but that’s about the stage you’re at…wishful, naive thinking.

              • Flip

                I was using ‘market’ for a ‘market economy’ by your definition. I do not want to get into the failings of the market economy as that was not the primary purpose of the post.

                • Bill

                  Nah, I know you don’t want to go anywhere near the failings of the market economy. And that’s the principle problem with your ‘vision’. The market isn’t just left in tact, but given a far greater role than it has even today. And somehow you expect ‘good things’ to come of that….y’know, if if’s and and’s…

    • Flip 6.3

      Not a joke. A different approach to social welfare recognizing that people are social and depend upon each other for income. (that might be state/employer/customers or others). If we consider those who are not able to gain paid employment for whatever reason. Then those who they are connected with would be able to directly contribute to their well being. They would be able to have the dignity of contributing to society in a meaningful and recognized way rather than depending on the government to be the benefactor. Charity is one way of describing it and it is generally recognized as a virtue. Is not welfare provided by the state charity? This make’s it more human charity.

      Below are a couple of Articles of the Declaration of Human Rights. (DHR)

      I believe my suggestion is consistent with DHR and is better than what the government is doing presently. It would recognize work that is currently unrecognized by the government and enable those who are more fortunate financially to share that. People would be less dependent on state ‘charity/sponsorship/benefits’ and the whims of politicians. It would improve social cohesion. Admittedly it might take a bit of time before some people ‘got it’ but the transition could be managed.

      UN Declaration of Human Rights

      Article 1.

      All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

      Article 23.

      (1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.
      (2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.
      (3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.
      (4) Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.

      Article 25.

      (1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
      (2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.

  7. One Anonymous Knucklehead 7

    I’m suspicious of any proposal that asserts that people “would” do this or that. Neo-liberalism (economic and political “theory” in general) is full of such statements.

    Plus what Bill said.

    Keep thinking though. Please don’t mistake criticism for discouragement.

    • Flip 7.1

      Thanks. I put it up as a means testing its robustness. So blast away. It is likely it’ll need developing and clarifying further and may not survive but there seem to be a shortage of new ideas around. This site seems to provide mostly intelligent (and some very amusing) comments.

      • Colonial Viper 7.1.1

        It’s not a lack of new ideas which is a particular problem; it is the lack of popular pressure and a mass movement to ensure that politicians do the right things with the best ideas which are already well known.

  8. just saying 8

    You don’t mention pensions, Flip.
    Would the aged be required to seek sponsorship to surivive in their old age?
    If not why not?

    • Flip 8.1

      ‘Would the aged be required to seek sponsorship to surivive in their old age?’

      Yes. It would likely come from their kids if they had any. After all they had supported them while they were growing up. If they hadn’t had kids they are likely to be wealthier than others or may have chosen to sponsor some one who may do so in return.

      And yes some kids are ‘brats’ and wouldn’t or couldn’t sponsor them in old age hence the backup of the government support.

      • just saying 8.1.1

        So why not the open market for the elderly?
        Your argument about family obligations (if individuals have them) is just as valid for the unemployed, disabled etc.

        You prepared to get your own begging bowl out Flip?

  9. Ad 9

    1. Presumably I would get to choose my poor people to donate to – like any charity.
    I feel a certain noblesse oblige coming on.

    The original point of taxation is that there is policy that determines who has need, what kind, and apply those taxes to exactly the same kind of person anywhere in New Zealand.

    Sponsoring means I get to choose my deserving poor. This proposal is the opposite of an egalitarian principle, and in fact is against the idea of taxation and fair distribution itself.

    2. The donor dollar is scarce in New Zealand – there are not enough millionaires either numerically nor as a percentage of the population for enough people to divert to the poor. God it’s enough to write out cheques for the SPCA, the Greens, Labour and the rest of the deserving.

    3. Using the poor – without the intermediary of an aid agency or social agency – as a tax dodge is just unethical of itself.
    You would of course have to agree with the IRD on the figure each poor person is worth. Brokers will have to go around pricing the need of each poor person, labelling them, putting them on trademe to determine their tax write-off price, and auctioning their asses off.

    4. Fairly quickly a market will develop in which the “poor certificates” are traded, down and down, like a “Hunger Games” version of the insurance market.

    Remember the hue and cry over school vouchers? It would enable vouchers for actual human beings. So the poor will have to form a union – except they have nothing to bargain with – and are too hungry and weak to even strike. Can you hear the people sing?

    And the media would have a field day. We would have a new version of the X Factor that actually looked like an extended Four Yorkshiremen sketch. Pick me pick me I am homeless, redeemable, cute, only a little disabled, but so far with no chronic diseases really cheap to run.

    I would suggest this proposal rattles its jewellery stage left in a hurry.

  10. Flip 10

    Taxation would still exist. It’s level would depend on how successfully the sponsorship reduced the demand on government to supply a minimum income. Remember top income is linked to bottom. Raise the bottom and you raise the top.

    The government/social agency would function as an administrator. (intermediary)

    We currently agree on what each poor person is worth. Its call a benefit.

    A sponsored person could obtain more than the minimum if they could convince people they were worth it. Just like CEO’s convince boards.

    As for the trade me, its what happens in the employment market.

    • Ad 10.1

      Taxation is weakened to the extent your model succeeds. With the weakening of taxation goes the proportional weakening of the state.

      Whoever or whatever is the agency, under your system they are now public brokers for human life and human worth. This is wrong when it is the human being that is now the currency, not their skill. The final thing any human has to sell is their servitude. That is a slave market.

      If the “benefit” is effectively the unit currency of this trading system, you have effectively commodified people who are in complete state of helplessness. An adoption agency in Britain has recently started advertising babies. Poor people in Ethiopia are commodified by Tear Fund on fridge magnets. This is a market of people, debased further to be ruled by mere emotional caprice.

      A sponsored beneficiary cannot be compared to a CEO: a CEO is at the pinnacle of negotiating power, and a poor person is at the weakest bargaining point possible. Individual human need should not be responded to with simply a person’s persuasive prowess. Particularly when they are powerless.

      As for the Trademe, an employment market settles on skill and labour versus price. The key difference with beneficiaries being commodified is that they have nothing to sell. That is precisely why the disadvantaged need protecting from the market, not to be thrown to its charitable mercy.

      • just saying 10.1.1

        Thanks for this Ad.
        With a proposal as abhorrent as this it’s hard to know where to start in responding. You’ve done well.

      • Rogue Trooper 10.1.2

        Thanks for filling in the gaps Ad. You too, are a Modern (or soon after) Miracle.
        Hope that this finds you well; if not, sleep and garden it off. 😉
        (the *snap* was delayed due to perusal of the proposal).

        • Ad 10.1.2.1

          Grinding towards Christmas like many of us, one political barbeque at a time

          Pity JulieAnn Genter’s picnic was rained off last weekend. She’s a sweetheart ;-).

          After Christmas it’s the Otago Rail Trail, picking cherries, lining up Rippon and Chard Farm, and finishing off The Luminaries from the Wanaka house.

          And then, and then, election year. Once more unto the breach my friends, once more…..

          • Rogue Trooper 10.1.2.1.1

            Once more indeed (yes, and she is very bright; not unlike you.) We shall exchange greetings closer to the signification.
            I’d link Masters of Reality , yet we all get fatigued at times. God Bless Ad.

      • Flip 10.1.3

        @Ad

        I think this is the most convincing argument I’ve seen against the proposal and basically kills it for me. I think that going the whole market direction is the greatest weakness. Cheers.

      • Flip 10.1.4

        @Ad 10.1 PS

        I think you pointed out the weakness in the scheme which boils down to trading on disadvantages (eg sickness, age, disability) rather than advantages (eg skills and labour). A market creates the wrong incentives in a situation like that. So the solution cannot be market driven. I did not think I proposed a market solution, but that is the assumption made. I thought it was a relational solution.

        However we still have to come up with a way to give people their human right (an income that provides an acceptable quality of life in society) that will be acceptable to people. It needs to recognise financially the value of work and contributions made by people who cannot do paid employment in the work market yet be just so that people who do achieve more are rewarded. Otherwise what incentive exists to achieve? The reality is there is no such thing as equality between people or even equality of opportunity. There is just the greater or lesser endeavour to provide it in society.

        A universal income is one way but that has to be funded from a productive economy. But that is not what this post was about. The resentment people feel (where it is considered theft) needs to be overcome. Just taking it and saying screw them is hardly going to make it acceptable. When people pay money they need to see some value for it. (that may well be ensuring that no-one needs to go without essentials for a acceptable quality of life (particularly children)) When that disappears into a bureaucracy then that value is lost.

        • KJT 10.1.4.1

          Yes. It is hard to get some people understand that paying taxes is simply paying their share of the cost of living in a functioning society.

          If we are richer, we should pay more, because we have obviously benefited more from our society.

          If they don’t like it there is always the option, which they seem strangely reluctant to take, of moving to a society where taxes do not exist and the State has no income. Somalia, for example, the ultimate expression of Libertarian “free enterprise”.

  11. tricledrown 11

    Flipping hell inspired by rush linbarf

  12. tricledrown 12

    Eboneezer drones .
    Flip. You are outling the Tory parties policy
    Putin a new spin on it.

  13. KJT 13

    We already have this, or something like it, in place.

    There are 100% tax rebates for donations to charities which help the poor, the ill and other disadvantaged.

    Don’t see it motivating many of the well off to rush and donate.

    Don’t let us discourage you from brainstorming solutions however. We need original ideas.

    • aerobubble 13.1

      Turns out that energy companies have been skimming the cream off energy consumers and that effective ‘tax’ (since most energy companies are govt owned) was used to pay for tax cuts for the richest. You hear all the time about roading used funding roading, yet nothing about energy consumers funding the old, the poor, energy costs. Now Key asset sales effectively lessen government incentives to demand dividends, Labour goes further and just ask why cheap hydro is so expensive. There’s a reason why energy stocks are falling, both National and Labour need to get electricity prices down to support the economy.

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  • Labour reforms encourage bad employers to be bullies
    The Government’s changes to labour laws have created a climate that allows bad employers to bully their workers, Labour’s spokesperson for Labour Issues Iain Lees-Galloway says. “Tauranga worker Bertie Ratu was threatened by her employer Talley’s for asking her local… ...
    7 hours ago
  • Parliament workers on zero-hour contracts
    The Government must take urgent action and insist the contractor who employs workers at Parliament on zero-hour contracts end these unfair work arrangements, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “Speaker David Carter has confirmed in his reply to questions from Labour… ...
    7 hours ago
  • RMA: We need to know
    Environment Minister Nick Smith needs to spell out to New Zealanders what they can expect from his substantial reform of the RMA, says Labour’s Environment spokesperson Megan Woods.  In an open letter to the Minister, Megan Woods has urged him… ...
    9 hours ago
  • He Aituā! He Aituā!
    “Papā te whatitiri! Hikohiko te uira! Ka wāwāhia ki runga o Hikurangi maunga, o Waiwhetū kainga. “Kua katohia e te ringa kaha o Aituā i tetahi pou whakarae o te reo Māori. Nō reira kei hea taku manu tui… ...
    1 day ago
  • Stratoil – Iwis do what National will not
    Tomorrow, Far North tribal representatives for the Te Hiku o Te Ika tribes will be travelling to the head office of Statoil to discuss the opposition to its oil exploration program in Te Reinga Basin. Statoil have decided to begin… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes MP
    1 day ago
  • Mana whenua head North to oppose oil drilling
    It was good to hear the news that a mana whenua delegation is heading north, a long way north, to make their views known about the proposed  oil drilling off the Northland coast. The roopu will be representing iwi and hapu… ...
    GreensBy David Clendon MP
    1 day ago
  • Ministers must act on 111 failure
    Lives are being put at risk if the company contracted to manage emergency 111 calls can’t cope with increased numbers, Labour’s ICT spokesperson Clare Curran says. “Saturday’s situation where people calling the emergency services were unable to get through and were… ...
    1 day ago
  • People trying to save lives don’t deserve abuse
    WorkSafe New Zealand staff trying to save lives on farms shouldn’t be subjected to a tirade of verbal abuse from a Member of Parliament, Labour’s spokesperson for Labour Issues Iain Lees-Galloway says. “Chester Borrows has labelled WorkSafe New Zealand officials… ...
    1 day ago
  • Action on laws needed in Privacy Week
    The Government must speed up promised law changes to reassure the public their private information is in safe hands as the country marks Privacy Week, Labour’s associate Justice spokesperson Clare Curran said today. “The previous Justice Minister Judith Collins announced… ...
    1 day ago
  • Māori Caucus call on iwi leaders support
    Labour’s Māori caucus has sent an open letter to iwi leaders around the country seeking their support for meat workers currently in employment negotiations with Talleys.  “We are aware that when Talleys locked out workers for a period of 89… ...
    1 day ago
  • National still splashing cash on charter school experiment
    New figures confirming that charter schools are still being funded at up to four times the rate of their state school counterparts shows just how desperate the National Government is to make its experiment a success, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris… ...
    3 days ago
  • Regions pay price for inaction on housing
    New figures put the cost of an average Auckland home at $800,000 and show large parts of the country facing stagnant or falling property values, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The QV data released today shows residential property values… ...
    4 days ago
  • Regions pay price for inaction on housing
    New figures put the cost of an average Auckland home at $800,000 and show large parts of the country facing stagnant or falling property values, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The QV data released today shows residential property values… ...
    4 days ago
  • PPP schools not at expense of community groups
    The Government must guarantee community groups will not be the losers out of its signing of a $298 million deal for four more public private partnership (PPP) schools, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Community groups will find it more… ...
    4 days ago
  • Surplus: The biggest broken promise ever
    Bill English has failed to deliver on his double-election campaign promise of a surplus by this year, instead delivering seven deficits out of seven budgets, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson. “The Government spent seven years and two election campaigns… ...
    4 days ago
  • McDonald’s serves up some McHappiness
    Unite Union and McDonald’s have given New Zealand a perfect way to celebrate May Day by reaching a settlement that strikes another blow against zero-hour contracts, Labour spokesperson for Labour Issues Iain Lees-Galloway says. “Earlier this week it looked like… ...
    4 days ago
  • Justice delayed and delayed and delayed
    Today we found out that the case of the prominent New Zealander  charged with indecent assault will retain name suppression until the case goes to court in about a year. Putting aside the appropriateness or not of granting name suppression,… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    4 days ago
  • No golden age for books
    The ‘indefinite’ postponement of an initiative designed to encourage people to read Kiwi books will be a major blow to local authors, publishers and booksellers, Labour’s Arts, Culture and Heritage spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.News that the annual NZ Book Month… ...
    5 days ago
  • Cracks showing in economy of milk and houses
    Fonterra’s latest cut to its forecast farmgate payout confirms that an economic black hole of $7 billion is opening up that will seriously affect the regions, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “The cut confirms the long term trend of… ...
    5 days ago
  • Human Rights – An Issue for Everyone
    This week, the issue of human rights has been everywhere in the news. We have seen John Key prioritise a free trade agreement with Saudi Arabia over all else with no guarantee of human rights clauses being included. We have… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    5 days ago
  • Govt inaction on housing keeping rates high
    The Government’s failure to rein in the housing crisis means the Reserve Bank Governor cannot lower interest rates despite inflation being at 15-year lows, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Inflation is below the target band and the economy has… ...
    5 days ago
  • What do our refugee policies say about us?
    It is my pleasure to share with you a blog from Hester Moore who is currently interning with the United Nations High Commission on Refugees in Cairo, after graduating from the Univeristy of Canterbury. Sometimes, as a nation it is… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    5 days ago
  • Tamaki state housing transfer risky and desperate
    The Government’s transfer of 2800 state houses to the Tamaki Redevelopment Company -- to be announced at 9am today -- shows it's desperation to off-load state houses and show some kind of action against Auckland's out of control housing crisis,… ...
    5 days ago
  • Tamaki state housing transfer risky and desperate
    The Government’s transfer of 2800 state houses to the Tamaki Redevelopment Company -- to be announced at 9am today -- shows it's desperation to off-load state houses and show some kind of action against Auckland's out of control housing crisis,… ...
    5 days ago
  • Woodhouse should close work visa loophole
    The Immigration Minister must revoke the work visas of temporary Chinese engineers working on KiwiRail trains and close the loophole that allows their employers to avoid New Zealand employment laws, says Labour’s spokesperson for Labour Issues, Iain Lees-Galloway. “New Zealanders… ...
    6 days ago
  • Job losses show folly of Chorus’ copper cuts
    Chorus and the Government are neglecting the copper broadband network, leading to 145 potential job losses at Transfield Services as well as poor services in the regions, says Labour’s Broadcasting Spokesperson Clare Curran. “Steven Joyce and Amy Adams have made… ...
    6 days ago
  • National quietly ditches its surplus promise
    National has quietly dropped its long-promised return to surplus by this year by removing the date it will get the books back in the black from its online campaign material, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson. “National’s pledge to reach… ...
    6 days ago
  • Even cheap houses now unaffordable
    New housing affordability data show that now even the cheapest houses in Auckland are unaffordable for first home buyers, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “The AMP360 Home Loan Affordability Report reveals Auckland's lower quartile house price has leapt to… ...
    6 days ago
  • Key’s careless chatter tips off Arabic media
    John Key has shown a frightening lack of judgement in disclosing to an Arabic media outlet that Kiwi troops are in the UAE awaiting deployment to Iraq, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says. “At the same time the Prime… ...
    6 days ago
  • Child poverty will not be solved by vouchers
    New Zealand has debilitating levels of child poverty, entrenched violence against women and children, and the ongoing effects of colonisation on Maori are brutalising communities. When we dwell on the statistics – which mostly we don’t because it all seems… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    6 days ago
  • Simon Bridges spent over $6500 on Northland
    Transport Minister Simon Bridges spent over $6519 on travel and flights to Northland for the by-election – spending around $1000 a week, Labour’s Acting Leader Annette King says. “Simon Bridges’ desperate dashes to Northland got him in political hot water.… ...
    6 days ago
  • Firing squad deaths deplorable
    The execution of eight men by an Indonesian firing squad is deplorable, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says. “New Zealanders do not support the use of the death penalty under any circumstances. ...
    6 days ago
  • Aged care workers need more than talk
    Yesterday AUT released the New Zealand Aged Care Workforce Survey 2014. The conditions of aged care workers are important for many reasons. We have an ageing population and people are going into care/requiring care later than before, so it’s critically… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    6 days ago
  • Aged care needs urgent attention
    The Government must stop neglecting older New Zealanders and the people who care for them and give urgent attention to a sector that is in dire straits, says Labour’s Associate Health Spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. “The lead author of the New… ...
    6 days ago
  • Passing the buck a disaster in the making
    Moves to overhaul the social services sector are nothing more than privatisation in drag and are a potential disaster in the making, Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni says. “A report from the Productivity Commission supports the Government’s push for… ...
    6 days ago
  • Tauranga’s oil spill shows potential for devastation
    When the Rena ran aground off the Bay of Plenty coast, the impact was overwhelming. Some 2000 dead birds were found, and up to 20,000 birds are thought to have been killed. Taxpayers paid nearly  $48 million in the aftermath… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    6 days ago
  • More hype and half-truths from Coleman
    The rising incidence of rheumatic fever has nothing to do with ‘families having a better understanding of the disease’ as the Health Minister wants us to believe but everything to do with his failure to address the root causes of… ...
    1 week ago
  • Regional air routes must be maintained
    The Government must use its majority shareholding to make sure Air New Zealand cooperates with second tier airlines stepping into the regional routes it has abandoned, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says. Air New Zealand’s cancellation of its Kaitaia, Whakatane,… ...
    1 week ago
  • Action needed on decades old arms promise
    Nuclear weapons states must honour the unequivocal promise they made 45 years ago to disarm, says Labour’s Disarmament Spokesperson Phil Goff. Mr Goff is attending the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference at the United Nations in New York. ...
    1 week ago
  • Worker safety top of mind tomorrow and beyond
    Workers’ Memorial Day, commemorated tomorrow, is both a time to reflect and to encourage a better safety culture in all workplaces, says Labour’s spokesperson for Labour Issues Iain Lees-Galloway.“On Worker’s Memorial Day, working people across New Zealand will remember those… ...
    1 week ago
  • Communities forced to stomach water woes
    Confirmation by Health Minister Jonathan Coleman that he is to wind up a water quality improvement scheme will leave thousands of Kiwis with no alternative but to continue boiling their drinking water, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. The Drinking… ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour calls for immediate humanitarian aid for Nepal
    The Government should act immediately to help with earthquake relief efforts in Nepal, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says. “The Nepalese Government is appealing for international assistance following yesterday’s massive quake. The full impact is only now being realised… ...
    1 week ago
  • New holiday reflects significance of Anzac Day
    Anzac Day now has the full recognition that other public holidays have long enjoyed, reflecting the growing significance it has to our sense of identity and pride as a nation, Labour MP David Clark says.“The importance of the 100th Gallipoli… ...
    1 week ago
  • Housing crisis hurting export growth
    If Steven Joyce wants to revive his failing export growth target he needs to make sure the Government gets to grips with the housing crisis, says David Parker, Labour’s Export Growth and Trade spokesperson. “Our exporters are struggling to compete… ...
    2 weeks ago

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