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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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  • Privatising CYF about ideology not care
    John Key’s suggestions today that Child Youth and Family could be privatized will be a terrifying thought for New Zealanders already dealing with the mess created in private prisons and plans to sell our state houses to Australians, Opposition Leader… ...
    1 day ago
  • Govt must make most of Jetstar competition
    Government agencies should pledge to always buy “the best fare of the day” to maximise competition between Jetstar and Air New Zealand and ensure savings for taxpayers while boosting services to regional New Zealand, Labour’s Transport Spokesperson Phil Twyford says.… ...
    1 day ago
  • Time for inquiry into petrol margins
    It’s time for an inquiry into petrol companies as margins are once again at the high levels that prompted concerns late last year, says Labour's Energy Spokesperson Stuart Nash. "Over the December January holiday period, petrol importer margins jumped to… ...
    4 days ago
  • More talk as Auckland congestion worsens
    The main impact of the Government’s agreement with Auckland Council today will be simply to delay still further decisions needed to relieve the city’s traffic congestion, says Labour’s Auckland Issues Spokesperson, Phil Goff. “Government has been aware for more than… ...
    5 days ago
  • Serco inquiry extended
    A two month delay to the Government investigation into prison fight clubs shows the extent of problems within the Serco circus, says Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “My office received a tsunami of complaints so I’m not surprised the terms… ...
    5 days ago
  • Truck Shops ignore consumer laws
    A damning Commerce Commission report out today highlights the failure of the Government to protect poor and vulnerable families from unscrupulous truck shops, says Labour’s Consumer Affairs Spokesperson David Shearer. “The report found that 31 out of 32 firms it… ...
    5 days ago
  • Taihoa at Ihumatao says Labour
    Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford has called on the Government to rethink its controversial Special Housing Area in Māngere. Auckland Council is today meeting to discuss the development which borders the Otuataua Stonefield Historic Reserve. This project is to get… ...
    5 days ago
  • Figures suggest National deliberately excluded farming
    Figures showing the dairy industry would be categorised as high risk if there were a further five severe injuries within a year, strongly suggests National designed its flawed system to deliberately exclude farming, Labour’s spokesperson for Labour Issues Iain Lees-Galloway… ...
    5 days ago
  • Bleak report on the state of our children
    A damning conclusion by the Children’s Commissioner today that ‘we don’t know if children are better off as a result of state intervention, but the indications are not good’ should make fixing CYFs a top priority for this Government, says… ...
    5 days ago
  • Dodgy data used to justify axing KiwiSaver kickstart
    National’s agenda to run down KiwiSaver has become even clearer from a scathing critique of the Government’s justification for axing the $1000 kickstart, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Since National came to power they have not only continually undermined… ...
    5 days ago
  • Unsecure website risks Ashley MoBIEson hack
    Experts have raised security concerns that vulnerabilities in MoBIE’s half million-dollar website could lead to a possible Ashley Maddison-style hack, says Labour’s Economic Development spokesperson David Clark. “The real issue here is not what data is immediately available, but what… ...
    6 days ago
  • Democracy still the loser in Canterbury
    The Government has demonstrated once again how arrogant and out of touch it is in denying Cantabrians the same democratic rights as the rest of the country, says Labour’s Environment spokesperson Megan Woods.  “The Environment Canterbury Bill which has been… ...
    6 days ago
  • Waiver cost still a mystery
    The Government still has no idea what it’s going to cost community and voluntary groups to get a waiver from the fees police will charge to carry out checks on their staff and volunteers, says Labour’s Community and Voluntary spokesperson… ...
    6 days ago
  • China exports fall 27 per cent in a year
    Exports to China have fallen by 27 per cent over the last 12 months - showing that the looming economic slowdown should have been expected by the Government, says Labour’s Economic Development Spokesperson David Clark. “The Chinese economic slowdown should… ...
    6 days ago
  • National should support all families for 26 weeks
    Families with multiple babies, and those born prematurely or with disabilities, are the winners from moves to extend paid parental leave to 26 weeks but the Government must give all babies the same head start in life, Labour’s spokesperson for… ...
    6 days ago
  • National’s health and safety shambles puts school camps at risk
    Reports that schools are considering scrapping student camps and tearing out playgrounds highlights just how badly National has managed its health and safety reforms, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Schools have been left completely in the dark about the… ...
    6 days ago
  • National’s asset stripping agenda hits schools
    National’s fire-sale of school houses and land is short-sighted, mean-spirited, and will have huge unintended consequences that we will pay for in years to come, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. Documents obtained by Labour show the Ministry of Education… ...
    6 days ago
  • Takahe massacre supposed to get all New Zealanders involved in conservation
    The Minister’s claim that a  botched cull of one of New Zealand’s rarest birds was a way of getting all New Zealanders involved in conservation is offensive and ludicrous, Labour’s conservation spokesperson Ruth Dyson says.  “An email from Minister Maggie… ...
    1 week ago
  • Serco circus rolls on with revelations of fight club practice
    Further revelations that a Serco prison guard was coaching inmates on fight club techniques confirms a fully independent inquiry needs to take place, says Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “The Minister’s statement today that a guard was coaching sparring techniques… ...
    1 week ago
  • Government targets put ahead of students’ education
    The Government must urgently reassess the way it sets NCEA targets after a new report found they are forcing schools to “credit farm” and are undermining the qualification, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “A PPTA report released today says… ...
    1 week ago
  • ER patients in corridors as health cuts bite
    Patients are being forced to wait for hours on beds in corridors as cash strapped hospitals struggle to keep up with budget cuts, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King. “People coming to the emergency room and being forced to wait… ...
    1 week ago
  • Not too late to fix Health and Safety for New Zealand’s workers
    The Government and its minor party supporters are showing an arrogant disregard for workers’ lives by not agreeing to a cross-party solution to the botched Health and Safety bill, Opposition leader Andrew Little says. “Yesterday I wrote to the Prime… ...
    1 week ago
  • Speech to the New Zealand Council of Infrastructure Development
    Tēnā Kotou Katoa. Thank you so much for having me along to speak today. Can I begin by acknowledging John Rae, the President, and Stephen Selwood, the chief executive of the Council for Infrastructure Development. ...
    1 week ago
  • Reserve Bank points finger at Govt inaction
    In scathing criticism of the Government’s inaction, the Reserve Bank says Auckland housing supply is growing nowhere near fast enough to make a dent the housing shortage, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. Reserve Bank deputy governor Grant Spencer today… ...
    1 week ago
  • Chickens come home to roost on climate change
    The Government’s gutting of the Emissions Trading Scheme has caused foresters to leave and emissions to rise, says Labour’s Climate Change spokesperson Megan Woods. “The release of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Facts and Figures Report for 2014 on the ETS… ...
    1 week ago
  • Website adds to long list of big spends at MBIE
    The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s $560,000 outlay on its new website is further evidence of excessive spending by Steven Joyce on his pet project super ministry, Labour’s Economic Development spokesperson David Clark says.  “Hot on the heels of… ...
    1 week ago
  • Brownlee warned over EQC repairs but ignored them
    Gerry Brownlee was warned that EQC’s underfloor repairs weren’t being done properly by industry experts, the cross party working group and in public but he arrogantly ignored them all, says Labour’s Earthquake Commission spokesperson Clayton Cosgrove.  “Today’s apology and commitment… ...
    1 week ago
  • Serco wants in on state house sell off
    The Government must keep scandal plagued outsourcing company Serco away from our state housing after their disastrous record running Mt Eden prison, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. "Today it has emerged that at the same time Serco was under… ...
    1 week ago
  • Come clean on Pasifika education centre
    Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iinga needs to come clean and tell the Pasifika communities if he’s working to save the Pasifika Education Centre or shut it down, Labour’s Pasifika spokesperson Su’a William Sio says.  “I’m gutted the Pasifika Education Centre funding… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Time for NZTA to work on alternatives to flyover
    The High Court decision rejecting the New Zealand Transport Agency’s attempts to build the Basin Reserve flyover must now mean that NZTA finally works with the community on other options for transport solutions in Wellington, Grant Robertson and Annette King… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Shiny new system leads to record truancy
    Record high truancy rates shows the Government’s much-vaunted new attendance system is an abysmal failure, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Data released today shows truancy rates have spiked more than 15 per cent in 2014 and are now at… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Woodhouse wrong about quarries
      The Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety Michael Woodhouse was wrong yesterday when he said limestone quarries were covered by the farcical Health and Safety legislation, says Labour’s Associate Labour spokesperson Sue Moroney.  “He said he ‘understood’ limestone quarries… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Taxpayers money spent on culling one of our rarest birds
    It beggars belief that four endangered takahe were killed by incompetent cullers contracted to the Department of Conservation and the Minister must explain this wanton destruction, says Conservation spokesperson Ruth Dyson. “It must not be forgotten that there are only… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Housing NZ must immediately move family
    Housing New Zealand must immediately move a Glen Innes family whose son contracted serious and potentially fatal health problems from the appalling condition of their state house, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “Te Ao Marama Wensor and community workers… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • No understanding of the value of overseas investment
     The Government has now admitted it has absolutely no idea of the actual value of foreign investment in New Zealand, says Labour’s Land Information spokesperson Stuart Nash.  “It is crucial that the Government starts to understand just what this overseas… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Another bridges bribe from Simon Bridges
    Simon Bridges is embroiled in another bridges-for-votes controversy after admitting funding for a replacement bridge in Queenstown is “very much about… the 2017 election”, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The Transport Minister is today reported as telling Queenstown locals… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Saudi tender process reeks of SkyCity approach
    The tender process for the $6m investment in a Saudi sheep farm reeks like the SkyCity convention centre deal and once again contravenes the government’s own procurement rules, says Labour’s Export Growth and Trade spokesperson David Parker. “The $6m contract… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Maori Party should stand up for workers
    The Government’s proposed Health and Safety Reform Bill does not go far enough to protect those in specific industries with the highest rates of workplace deaths, says Maori Development Spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta. “We are told that Maori workers are more… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister must explain budget blowout
    Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell must explain a budget blow out at Te Puni Kokiri, after the organisation spent more than 2.5 million dollars over their budget for contractors, says Labour’s Associate Māori Development spokesperson Peeni Henare.  “For the… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Successful effort to raise the issue of GE trees in proposed standard
    Many thousands of people submitted on the proposed National Environmental Standard –  Plantation Forestry (NES-PF).  A vast majority of the public submissions were particularly focussed on the NES having included GE trees in its mandate. People want these provisions removed,… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Fair Share Friday – Thoughts and Reflections
    As part of our Fair Share  campaign, Green MPs have been doing a series of visits to community groups across the country to have conversations about inequality in New Zealand and what communities are experiencing on the ground. I visited… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Crucial Auditor General investigation welcomed
    The Auditor General’s decision to investigate the Saudi sheep scandal is important, necessary and welcome, Labour’s Trade and Export Growth spokesperson David Parker says. “The independent functions of the Auditor General are a cornerstone of the New Zealand system of… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • KiwiSaver sign-ups continue to fall
    New KiwiSaver sign-ups in July were 45 per cent below the monthly average, despite John Key saying axing the kickstart “will not make a blind bit of difference to the number of people who join KiwiSaver”, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson… ...
    2 weeks ago

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