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Axe the tax

Written By: - Date published: 12:00 pm, March 2nd, 2010 - 60 comments
Categories: gst, labour, parliamentary spending, phil goff, tax - Tags:

Labour’s ‘Axe the Tax’ campaign has hit the road. Phil Goff is travelling around New Zealand explaining why Labour opposes National’s plan to hike GST on everyone to pay for tax cuts that will primarily go to the well-off.

It looks like it’s going well. A tour like this is a good chance to get your voice in the local media and speak at places that don’t usually see high profile politicians. Goff’s got a good message too: National has no mandate for GST increases, and this is a theft from middle New Zealand to pay off National’s rich mates.

The Right is trying to make some kind of deal out of the fact that the bus is funded out of Labour’s Leader’s Budget. Um. That’s what it’s there for – to pay for parties to communicate their positions to the public.

When Rodney Hide goes around the country telling people that Maori are bludgers and promising that Heather Roy and Roger Douglas aren’t about to roll him, that will be paid for out of his Leader’s Budget. And remember National’s desperate attempt to convince parents that national standards isn’t a total dog? Well, who do you think paid for that?

You can tell National are worried about this. They’re not trying to sell the tax package as a good idea anymore. No, they’re attacking the funding and falling back on the ‘well Goff’s gotta promise he will undo it’ line. As if the GST increase is a fait accompli and tax cuts for the rich are set in stone.

The first time we heard them pull out this desperate line was a frankly painful patsy question from some guy with a squeaky voice (NBR’s Rob Hosking?) at last week’s post-Cabinet press conference, and it’s National’s only line on tax now. They’re not even trying to defend their tax package anymore, and it’s still months until the Budget.

Meanwhile, Labour just needs to hit those strong and simple truths: National’s tax package isn’t fair and it doesn’t have to be this way but National insists on rewarding the well-off at the cost of everyone else.

60 comments on “Axe the tax”

  1. blinded by the right 1

    They would be well advised to stay on message, and not sing on camera.

  2. Never thought I would see the labour party, be against a tax.

  3. Bill 3

    What is this ‘middle’ New Zealand when it’s at home?

    That a space inhabited by middle class or ‘normal’ New Zealanders? If so, what about the rest of us…either the working class ( assuming a class definition to the MNZ terminology) or (assuming a non-class definition) those of us tending more to the fringes or falling outside any mainstream perception of normality? Do we count in this cosy but dead little world view? Or is ‘middle’ NZ just another fluff term devoid of meaning beyond its implicit exclusivity…that being that only the boring, uninspired and uninspiring can live here in this little rut that runs around down here? Why use such an off putting piece of terminology?

    Is this where and what Labour is pitching itself to and as?

    Just asking.

  4. Bearhunter 4

    “I would take middle NZ to exclude the rich few.”

    And by definition the poorest as well, surely.

    • Lanthanide 4.1

      Marty’s post says “middle New Zealand”.

      Labour’s site says middle and low income kiwis:
      “GST will hurt most middle to low income Kiwis.”

      “But the real sting will be in National’s proposed income tax changes. The winners will be the highest earners, the losers will be those on middle and low incomes.”

      That’s from the map page of their tour.

      Don’t confuse Marty’s post for Labour’s rhetoric.

  5. tsmithfield 5

    I understand that the taxpayer is paying for Labour’s spin offensive via the leaders budget. At least theres going to be a GST increase to help fund it.

    • Armchair Critic 5.1

      Did you read the fourth paragraph of the post? This is legitimate spending, just like other leaders spending from their budgets.

      • tsmithfield 5.1.1

        Where did I say it wasn’t legitimate?

        • Armchair Critic 5.1.1.1

          At about the same place as you implied a link the rise in GST and the funding of the leaders budget. Got any proof to show a link between the two?
          Back to the bigger issue – got any thoughts on why the party that campaigned on tax cuts is now planning to raise taxes, again, having already cancelled tax cuts, should not be called out as a bunch of hypocrites? Or is that too much to ask?
          Really, saying “I never said that” is pretty weak. I would have been more impressed if you had pinged me for using the “National did it too, so it must be okay” argument.

        • Draco T Bastard 5.1.1.2

          Ah, so you were just being stupid – again.

    • lprent 5.2

      I understand that the taxpayer is paying for National’s spin offensive via the leaders budget. At least theres going to be a GST increase to help fund it.

      A one word change and it still makes sense…. Why do you dribble so…..

  6. Santi 6

    This must be a world first: the socialist NZ Labour Party campaigning against a tax!

    Comrade Helen Clark must be fuming in New York, while Michael Cullen, enjoying a very comfortable retirement, thank you, laughs all the way to the bank.

    • Clarke 6.1

      Is that the best you can do? Is the National Party’s tax-the-poor-to-pay-the-rich money grab so indefensible that all you can come up with is a few tired jabs at “Comrade Helen”?

    • Macro 6.2

      nah!!! nah!!! nah!!!
      Such a clever piece of logic Santi!
      My God! Your Brilliant!

  7. PeteG 7

    It may be “legitimate” spending, but is it cost effective? Or sensible? On a proposed policy only, where many of the details are still unknown?

    “Axe The Tax” isn’t even relevant to the campaign. I guess it sounds catchier than ‘Axe the bit of the tax that is a possible increase unless the counterbalancing tax and benefit adjustments are worthwhile changes” but it misses the mark.

    I’m despairing over Labour strategy, I would like to see them rebuild into a viable opposition party but I can’t see current antics appealing to many outside the already devoted.

    This campaign is another cringe.

  8. tsmithfield 8

    Armchair Critic “Back to the bigger issue got any thoughts on why the party that campaigned on tax cuts is now planning to raise taxes, again, having already cancelled tax cuts, should not be called out as a bunch of hypocrites?”

    As I understand it, it is a rearrangement of existing taxes, rather than a tax rise. I am sure National would love to cut taxes further. However, that would mean cutting services/benefits etc. I am sure you would not want that. Although, from my perspective, I would welcome it.

    However, readjusting the tax system so that more of the tax is consumption-based does give people a degree of choice as to whether they pay tax or not. According to my bank manager NZers spend at a rate of approx 1.06 x their income (using debt to fund the difference). Therefore, anything that encourages saving is a good thing.

    • lprent 8.1

      I suspect the real question is on whom the costs of the tax changes falls most strongly. Note that the costs include things like rising rents because of property tax changes. Fiscally neutral does not mean that it won’t affect groups adversely.

      At present even through all of the really fuzzy signals that the government is throwing it looks like the government is pulling money from those who are struggling to stay afloat and giving it to those who are affluent.

      Yes it will probably increase savings. But at the cost of pushing more people down into the poverty traps without opportunities to get out.

      But this is a government that likes removing opportunities for people that don’t vote for them to compete with their affluent offspring. They’re killed second chance education with the ACE cuts. They removed second chance education with the training allowances for those on the DPB and probably elsewhere. They’re now talking about removing second chance access to tertiary education with the over-20’s exemption. Meanwhile they’re shoving copious amounts of tax money into private schools.

      The ‘rearrangement’ will just push people underwater and attempt to hold them there until they drown. Hardly useful for NZ in the long term.

  9. Herodotus 9

    Where is any indepth discussion on our ability to pay our way. In a few years time GSt will rise again income tax will increase and there will be some new taxes incurred by us by who ever is in power. How can we as acountry increase our govt debt, contigent liabilities such as Pensions, health care for the aging and a decreasing work force to become productive ebnough to cover yhese costs above. BUT no all we get from Lab is knee jeck reaction to Nat, and what was Nat knee jerk to Lab. There are some serious issues that no one wants to address, who will pay for our current position a debt based country and future reqirementas mentioned above. Lab magic bus tour (Part ii) is only arguing the symptoms to really fix is to understand the underlying cause and treat these. Lab may win votes for me currently thery donot posses the cure. Remember we consume 73% of our GDP. So we roughly export the same value as govt spending !!
    p.s. Marty Labours WFF and other benefits were not fair to all as well.

    • TightyRighty 9.1

      herodotus, no way will WFF ever be acknowledged as discriminatory. It defies belief that anyone with children should not be getting more money at the expense of those who are single.

      • PeteG 9.1.1

        I have paid my own way to bring my own kids up, and now I should pay for others to bring their kids up?

        I’m not against some family support but WFF takes it far too far and distorts the tax take and benefits far too much. If it can’t be scaled back then I might end up having to pay more for myself in retirement after paying taxes right though my working life.

        The more groups that get preferential treatment the more anomalies we will have.

        • TightyRighty 9.1.1.1

          I know pete. while young, i feel you’re pain. don’t worry though. It’s fair that kids can have ipods while you will potentially freeze in you’re council one room flat. it’s already been defended here hundreds of times.

        • IrishBill 9.1.1.2

          I’m picking that you’ve also had the benefit of free education, family support, award wages, subsidised housing (or the cheap housing market it created) and a whole lot of other things that today’s young parents couldn’t even dream of. And now you’ll be expecting to be looked after by them with superannuation set at 66% and free healthcare.

          While, for obvious reasons, I don’t buy into the blame-the-boomers narrative I’d still suggest that anyone who was born between 1946 and 1965 isn’t in a position to complain about how hard they had it compared with the kids/ young parents of today.

          • Herodotus 9.1.1.2.1

            So how will all this posturing solve the real issues out there, and for my 2cents worth it will only get worse as our inability to face up to this growing debt and minimal real GDP growth. This is just the initial stages as we become aware that we cannot live as to that which we were acostomed to as we are spending more than we earn, and playing deck chairs with a tax system may fix a symptom for a short period byut the patient is becomming terminally ill.
            I could if I was shallow or a uni grad point out a Monty Python take on how hard it was in my time, but those who are in the know are already away of it !!

        • pollywog 9.1.1.3

          “I have paid my own way to bring my own kids up, and now I should pay for others to bring their kids up?”

          yeah sure, it takes a village to raise a child…

          …i mean, wheres the love bro ?

  10. Tiger Mountain 10

    How illuminating, the usual suspects niggle away at “Axe the Tax’ and so far, totally ignore Marty G’s other post today on bourgeoning unemployment numbers.

    • blinded by the right 10.1

      Lie, damn lies, and statistics. I avoid anything written by Marty G using statistical analysis, as I do anything by DPF using statistical analysis.

      Besides, who can be arsed thinking about numbers when there is a big red bus?

  11. vto 11

    how much of an average person’s (middle new zealand?) average income gets spent on GST each week you think?

    • Macro 11.1

      After paying for rent/mortgage the remaining amount I would imagine. What’s your take?

    • Lanthanide 11.2

      John Key’s live on-air guesstimate on Campbell Live was that a person earning $48k will spend $20k of it on GST-accruing expenses, or $384/week.

      • Herodotus 11.2.1

        You would back out the cost of housing (Mortgage or rent) given in 07 the cost of housing was about $275/week or $14k p.a. add this $20k + PAYE tax $10k +4k????. Given thatthe housing cost is for a household. There is $4k unaccountable and the housing costs look a bit heavy. But he may be using a calc that rounds up to the $0,000. So with that it does work!!!

      • vto 11.2.2

        So, say $400 per week on things that attract GST (leave aside housing even though it does in fact attract GST – or rather, the cost of housing would drop by the amount of GST if the developing and building of new houses no longer had GST applied).

        Of that $400 then $45 is GST. This is to rise by 20%. Hence that $45 will become $54, an increasse of $9.

        Or rather, people will have $9 less each week. That is how much the tax savings have to be then. Correcto?

        • Macro 11.2.2.1

          $48,000 that OLD LIE! Anyone who believes that the majority of incomes fall in the $48k range is seriously mistaken!
          You asked for the “average” – there are 3 common measures of central tendency – mean, median, and mode as any Year 9 child will tell you. The one measure that least describes the highly skewed distribution of income – such as now exists in western countries – is mean; the one Key and Campbell choose to use – because it suits the lie that we are all doing quite nicely thank you very much.
          The mode – ie the most common wage – is around $20k.
          The median – the figure above and below which 50% of incomes lie – is around $30k.
          Both of these figures far more accurately describe the “average” NZ yearly income.
          A person on $48k is in the top 25% of incomes. NOT a representative figure at all.
          That families continue to make ends meet is due to the fact that now both partners work – if they possibly can.
          There is a fundamental idea in western economies that todays youth will earn more than their parents in real terms. That is a very false assumption to make. In fact, that principle died in the 1970’s – but the idea still persists to our detriment today.
          eg. off-shoring of jobs, “equal employment” opportunities for women, democratization of communist USSR, and the recent emergence of China, and India mean that wages and salaries for even highly qualified positions are under constant downward pressure from millions of equally qualified people globally.

          • Herodotus 11.2.2.1.1

            Macro, income does not take into account gov assistance either, so you can be in a situation whereby you have greater disposable income than gross income, and there are many cases whereby this holds true for those in the lower income brackets. I can see a case where there is a strong possibilitiy that the majority can have the increase in GST compensated by a reduction in tax.
            Do not forget that some spend that attracts GST is from tourists that will be kept bythe govt without any requirement for an offset. If the Nats cannot compensate the majority in May then there will be hell to pay, until then is this not just scare mongering, with the potential of making LAb look like calling wolf when ther eis no wolf and loss credibility?

            • Macro 11.2.2.1.1.1

              What I am particularly concerned about here is the CONTINUED MISREPRESENTATION by Key and the Media on what is the actual status of income distribution in this country which – since the 1980’s has been steadily becoming more and more inequitable. It is little more than a damned lie and needs to be challenged at every instance.

              Raising GST, by its very nature, is of major benefit to the small number of people who are very rich and who can hide their spending in companies and tax write offs. Furthermore they don’t spend anywhere near the same proportion of their income as those who are forced to spend all of theirs in order to survive.

              • Herodotus

                If you spent all you money with GST @ 12.5% and were compensated by the increase to 15% then you are no worse off.
                We do not have many very rich.. did you not read that 50 of the wealthest people earned below the 38% threashold?
                So if they can hide the spending @15% would they not be doing this now to hide $100k spending pre GSt they would only be rorting the system by $2.5k on top of the $12.5k already. So attack the cause notthe symptom

  12. sdm 12

    I posted this on Tumeke – the maths was a little hard but I wonder if you people might consider

    I know we dont have the details, but consider the follwing family weekly budget.

    Income – 900.00
    PAYE 178.41.
    NETT 721.59

    SAY 720.00

    Lets say they spend it as follows

    Rent – 350
    Expenses – 270
    Debt servicing – 50
    Savings 50.

    So they only pay GST on the 270 – $30.

    So their total tax bill is $178.41 + 30 = 208.41.

    Lets say the GST was to go up to 15%.

    Thus the $270 (240 nett) would become $276.00 ($240 + 15%). So the increase in GST makes these people $6 a week worse off.

    But if you offset that by a tax cut of say 2.5% across the brackets, then my calucations which could be wrong would be that the PAYE would reduce from $178.41 to $155.92 (or lets just say a $22.50 a week saving).

    So total tax paid has dropped from $208.41 to $191.92. Thus the family is $16.50 a week better off under my scenario.

    (no allowance for WFF has been made.)

    Gotta remember people – if you cut tax over a persons entire income but increase GST, GST is only payable on certain things (not debt servicing, rent, mortgage or savings).

  13. tsmithfield 13

    Macro “That families continue to make ends meet is due to the fact that now both partners work if they possibly can.”

    So you would accept that many families would have a combined income of 48k?

    From VTO’s figures it looks like an individual/combined income of 48k would need a tax cut of approx 1% to compensate for the extra GST. That sounds doable to me. If someone on 20k is spending 15k a year on GST incurring expenses they will need a tax cut of approx 1.9%. Again perfectly doable.

    So why all this bitching and moaning about a 2.5% rise in GST? Its all just politics without substance. Once this truth has been made known Labour are going to look like a bunch of tards.

  14. Macro 14

    Of course SOME families WILL have a combined income greater than $48,000. MANY MORE won’t. Do some basic maths. The reality is that couples who both earn high incomes will be more likely be both working full time – they can afford the childcare etc.
    Low income families however will be able to take advantage of 20 hours free child care possibly – so one partner will be working around 20 hours per week – $15,500 (20 hours per week at $15 per week – way above what many on part time employment are being paid actually) plus $31,000 (40 hours per week at $15) is still less than $48,000. Of course you will tell me that you don’t know any people who are being paid at $15/hour which may be true, but then let me tell you that there are in fact hundreds of thousands.
    So tc – your argument while it may offer you a glimmer of hope is in fact little more than a straw man. An essentially false proposition that is easily refuted.

    • tsmithfield 14.1

      What both Sdm and myself have shown is that it takes bugger all of a tax cut to compensate for the increase in GST. So, to waltz around the show claiming that the end of the world is nigh as Labour are doing is grossly misleading and patently untrue.

  15. A wee reminder (cheers, Jenny) of the rest of the itinerary for those readers who want to move their politics from the keyboard to the streets:

    Wednesday 3 March
    Rotorua, Tokoroa, Te Kuiti

    Thursday 4 March
    New Plymouth, Stratford, Hawera

    Friday 5 March
    Wanganui, Bulls, Feilding

    Saturday 6 March
    Palmerston North, Foxton, Shannon, Levin, Otaki, Waikanae, Paraparaumu

    Sunday 7 March
    Wellington Central, Rongotai, Ohariu, Hutt South, Mana, Rimutaka

    Monday 8 March
    Picton, Nelson, Westport

    Tuesday 9 March
    Westport, Reefton, Hanmer Springs,
    Rangiora

    Wednesday 10 March
    Christchurch Central, Christchurch East, Waimakariri, Port Hills, Ilam and Wigram

    Thursday 11 March
    Christchurch, Ashburton, Temuka, Timaru, Waimate, Oamaru

    Friday 12 March
    Dunedin North and Dunedin South

    I wonder if spelling Wangaz without an H is to stop Michael Laws throwing himself under the wheels of the bus?

  16. Jenny 16

    Hi Marty,

    “Ax the Tax”, a great sentiment we can all agree on.

    Sorry I didn’t make the bus tour when it was in Auckland.

    Unfortunately I didn’t see the tour itinerary till you posted it today. Therefore I was unaware it was in Auckland on the weekend. I would have really have liked to have been able to attend. (I was actually at home in Papakura on Sunday when the bus was here in the main street at 3pm and could have easily made it.)

    Sadly because of work and family commitments I won’t be able to attend any of the bus stops in other centres either.

    Are there any transcripts or video or audio of any of the Auckland events?

  17. tsmithfield 17

    Macro: “AND AT THE SAME TIME HAND GREAT BUNDLES OF EXTRA CASH TO YOUR RICH MATES!”

    Umm…in absolute terms the wealthy will be paying a helluva lot more in additional GST than the poor because they spend a lot more in dollar terms even if they spend less of their income in percentage terms than the poor. Since the wealthy will pay a lot more in additional GST it is only fair that they are compensated in tax cuts.

    Macro: “And no! you haven’t shown anything of the sort.”

    I did show that a person on 20k only needs approx 2% in tax cuts to compensate them. So, I don’t agree with you at all on this point.

    • Ari 17.1

      Actually, the wealthy tend to spend far less of their income as a proportion than the working class. They are far less impacted by GST than people on lower incomes- and far more impacted by taxes on investments, savings, property, etc…

  18. sdm 18

    Again my Maths shows that a family earning a moderate income wont be worse off by GST. Cut the slogan BS, show me where my maths is wrong

    • Marty G 18.1

      You make one important assumption and one mistake:

      1) you assume that there will be tax cuts across all the brackets. Remember, that’s what the left is demanding and that’s what Key has indicated won’t happen. He has indicated, however that he will spend a quarter of the GST money on tax cuts for the 12% who earn over $70K

      2) you’ve not factored in working for families, which gives your family a higher disposable (and GST carrying) income than you calculate.

      At the end of the day you can’t have everyone put into a pot of money, give a quarter of that pot to 12% of the people and have everyone else come out even or better.

      Don’t forget too that your family is going to have their rent go up because of the property law changes, you’ll need compensation for that too.

      • Lanthanide 18.1.1

        “1) you assume that there will be tax cuts across all the brackets. Remember, that’s what the left is demanding and that’s what Key has indicated won’t happen. He has indicated, however that he will spend a quarter of the GST money on tax cuts for the 12% who earn over $70K”

        Seriously Marty, please provide evidence for this. The ONLY thing I have heard Key say in this regard is that there will be “tax cuts across the board”.

    • I suspect your maths maybe wrong in the bit about the 2% tax cut. Because that bit isn’t happening.

    • Armchair Critic 18.3

      Well, it’s wrong because you didn’t apply GST to debt servicing or savings.
      You need to include debt servicing because unless the debt servicing was to buy a GST exempt item, the debt included GST. For example, a household appliance on HP had GST included in the sale price and thus GST is part of the repayment.
      Savings are spent at some stage, and again, unless the spending is on a GST-exempt item the spending attracts GST. Your assumption relies on a false premise around the timing of the spending.
      Oh, and then there is the rent. There are some circumstances under which GST is payable on rent. Yes, they are unusual, but they do occur.
      There are other errors in your assumptions about the distribution of the spending, too, but they are minor in comparison to your other obfuscations. And apart from that – yeah, your maths is great.

      • Herodotus 18.3.1

        GSt will not effect the debt levels on housing as there will not be a correction in the market by all housing to increase by 2.2%., the market sets the price it is not a cost + basis. Debt for GST incl items will increase by about $nil, as the interest cost on an addition 2.2% of purchase price = the positive side of nil.
        More importantly the greatest destruction of wealth for NZ of $23b will increase by about $500m.,

  19. sdm 19

    But arent you jumping to conclusions – fact is, we dont know what they will do.

    My point was this – if you cut tax across a persons entire income, whilst increasing tax on a proportion of that income, the person is better off. Only if the person spends 100% on GST rated items (unlikely) will that person not be better off.

    Rent prices may increase, but ultimately supply and demand dictates rent price not taxation.

    • OK, so you are putting up a hypothetical case. The fact is, the Nats have no history of helping lower income families. The last time they were in power during a time of recession, their answer was to shift the burden of the crisis to the less well off and there are plenty of indications that is the path they are following now.

      My hypothetical case: GST 15%, most of us worse off.

  20. I’m one of those low to middle income earners that Key reckons SHOULDN’T be worse off, but the thing is, I know i’m not going to be better off either.

    So why bother messing with the program when it might be that i could be worse off ? And if it turns out i do become worse off, then what ? He’ll admit to being pretty relaxed about it and may have made a mistake ?…Well a fat load of bloody good that’ll do me.

    What he does know for sure, is that those on higher incomes will be better off and the more you make the better off you WILL be !…and a fat load of bloody good that’ll also do me .

  21. SPC 21

    Let us not forget, that

    1. National campaigned on the line that it could afford its tax cuts without cutting government spending
    2. Then National said the budget forecasts were worse than expected and so they would defer their tax cut programme AND began to cut government spending (the dealy in tax cuts supposed to legitimise breaking their promise on spending).
    3. Now they have a way to “step change taxation” where they continue with the government spending cuts because of the budget position but now go ahead with the tax cuts (by using GST to pay for most of it).

    Oh and they promised they would have no need to increase GST to fund their economic programme (see 1).

  22. tsmithfield 22

    Pollywog: “So why bother messing with the program when it might be that i could be worse off ? And if it turns out i do become worse off, then what ? He’ll admit to being pretty relaxed about it and may have made a mistake ? Well a fat load of bloody good that’ll do me.”

    Lets assume that you are no worse off due to compensating tax cuts.

    You now have more choice about how much tax you pay. For instance, even if you are poor, you might be able to grow your own vegetables rather than by them from the supermarket, thus reducing the amount of GST and thus the amount of overall tax you pay. You might also feel more motivated to shop around for the best deal, or buy second-hand rather than new etc. Any such steps you can take will reduce the overall amount of tax you have to pay due to reducing the amount of GST you pay.

    • pollywog 22.1

      Is that it tsmithfield ?..lets assume i’m no worse off ?

      Nah fuck that, lets assume i am worse off, while others who are already well off, are even better off. No, even better, lets not assume and take it as fact.

      Your answer is grow my own veges and shop around for a better deal at all the second hand stores ?…you’re fucking kidding right ? Thats my best choice option for avoiding paying more tax ? Scratch around in the dirt and compare prices at various dumps ?

      There is another option. How about i roll round your place with a few cuzzies and dispossess you of some of your luxury shit you’ll inevitably buy with your tax cut and flog it off to even out the non payment of GST on second hand items…i hope your insurance is up to date.

      of course i dont role like that but theres heaps of working and non working poor poly’s out ther who do and will.

  23. greed is not good 23

    to tsmithfield and so many others who agree with his, and too many others, comments

    please explain to us, the ignorant under 20k pa workers who do many jobs you and your ilk would never lower yourselves to, how do we buy second hand power, second hand food, second hand phones services, second hand petrol.

    Hundreds of thousands of NZrs spend EVERY CENT they earn on g.s.t items. it is a simple fact and one that you must begin to understand. The G.S.T. increase is going to cause more hardship, more hunger, more illness, and obviously more crime.

    What does your 48K maths test say on these issues?

  24. Our small Labour Party Branch in Tory Cambridge meet the bus and we had an hour canvassing the High St .The response was excellent .However what struck me was the number of people who said ‘well I didnt vote for them “(Nats) . The only conclusion I have come to is that there are a lot of people who are now ashamed they voted for a change. Phil Goff was also well recieved and I have no doubt the GST bus will prove to be most sucessfull.

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    New figures out today showing Auckland house prices have spiked by a massive $74,000 in the past quarter is further evidence the city’s housing crisis has spiralled out of control, Labour’s “In spite of constant announcements and photo opportunities from… ...
    4 days ago
  • Democracy for Nauru now
    Murray McCully must send the strongest possible message to the Nauruan Government that New Zealand does not condone its actions given the disturbing developments there, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says. “Right now we are seeing Nauru stripped of… ...
    4 days ago
  • Recovery needs more than a rebrand
    Today’s announcement of new governance arrangements for Canterbury seems to be nothing more than a fresh coat of paint on the same old approach, says Labour’s Canterbury Earthquake Recovery spokesperson Ruth Dyson. “The Canterbury Recovery has been too slow, with… ...
    4 days ago
  • Copper decision a victory for status quo, not Kiwi households
    New Zealanders hoping for cheaper copper broadband will be disappointed by the Commerce Commission’s latest decision in the long running saga to determine the price of copper, Labour’s ICT spokesperson Clare Curran says. “In an apparent attempt to appease everyone,… ...
    4 days ago
  • It’s time for hard decisions in the Bay
     The Ruataniwha dam project is turning into a huge white elephant as the economics fail to stack up, says Labour’s Water spokesperson Meka Whaitiri.  “Ruataniwha simply doesn’t make economic sense when you look at other major irrigation schemes around the… ...
    4 days ago
  • More testing won’t lift student achievement
    Hekia Parata’s latest plan to subject school students to even more testing and assessment won’t do anything to lift the educational achievement of the kids who are struggling, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “New Zealand school students are already… ...
    4 days ago
  • Bad week for NZ economy gets worse
    The bad news for the New Zealand economy got worse this morning with the 8th successive drop in dairy prices at this morning’s global dairy auction, again exposing the absence of any Plan B from the National Government, Labour’s Finance… ...
    4 days ago
  • System failing to protect women and children from family violence
    Last week we called for mandatory child safety investigations in domestic violence cases. This came after the coronial inquiry into the deaths of Bradley and Ellen Livingstone and the verdict in the trial of the west Auckland boys charged with… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    5 days ago
  • Backers banking on social bonds cash?
    The Government is refusing to say what the $29 million it has set aside for its controversial social bonds programme is for, raising suspicions it is an upfront payment to the project backers, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. A… ...
    5 days ago
  • Plastic Free July
    Today is the start of Plastic Free July. Since its inception in Perth, Western Australia four years ago, more and more people and organisations from around the world have joined the call to refuse single use plastic products. Nearly all… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    5 days ago
  • State house sell off Bill gives extraordinary powers
    The Government is about to give Ministers extraordinary powers to take direct personal control of selling state houses, exempting Ministers from normal legal requirements and leaving the sale process wide open for corruption, Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. The… ...
    5 days ago
  • Cash for charter schools, mould for state schools
    At a time when state schools are struggling in old, cold, mouldy buildings and can barely make ends meet, the National Government is shovelling cash at charter schools which aren’t even spending the funding on kids’ education, Labour’s Education spokesperson… ...
    5 days ago
  • New Zealand needs a wise response to climate change
    Today in Parliament I got to hear from a group of New Zealanders who are concerned for the future of our country. Called Wise Response, the group is a broad coalition of academics, engineers, lawyers, artists, sportspeople and others who… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    5 days ago
  • No alternative as waste scheme trashed
    Nick Smith must explain how he is going to prevent contamination of New Zealand’s ground and water with liquid and hazardous waste after scrapping the only monitoring scheme and offering no replacement, says Labour’s Environment Spokesperson Megan Woods. “From today,… ...
    5 days ago
  • Flawed system rates death traps as safe
    ACC Minister Nikki Kaye needs to come clean about what really lies behind the reclassification of 18 vehicles in her new motor vehicle registration system introduced today, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Sue Moroney says. "New Zealanders deserve the truth about the… ...
    5 days ago
  • Tiwai Smelter and 800 workers left in limbo
     Workers at Tiwai smelter and the people of Southland have once again been left in limbo over their future in the ongoing debacle over whether the plant stays open, says Labour’s Leader Andrew Little.  “It’s not good enough that after two years of… ...
    5 days ago
  • New twist in state house sell-off saga
    The Government has opened the door to buyers of state houses simply being landlords and not required to provide social services, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. The Prime Minister said at his post-Cabinet press conference buyers would not “have… ...
    5 days ago
  • Government fees will hit charities hard
    National’s decision to ignore the concerns of charities will see the voluntary sector face hundreds of thousands of dollars in new costs if the Policing (Cost Recovery) Amendment Bill passes, says Labour's Community and Voluntary Sector spokesperson Poto Williams. “National’s… ...
    6 days ago
  • Four out of ten for Simon’s Bridges
    The Transport Authority’s decision to fund only four of the 10 bridges promised in National’s shameless Northland by-election bribe is a huge embarrassment for Transport Minister Simon Bridges, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “After one by-election poll showed they… ...
    6 days ago
  • Falling consents adding to Auckland housing woes
    Falling numbers of building consents being issued in Auckland will add to the city’s housing shortfall and fuel skyrocketing house prices, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford “The Productivity Commission found there was a shortfall of around 32,000 houses by the… ...
    6 days ago
  • So Mr English, do you have a plan?
    DIpping confidence about jobs, wages and shrinking exports are highlighting the lack of a plan from the government to diversify the economy and build sustainable growth, Grant Robertson  Labour’s Finance Spokesperson said. " Data released over the last week… ...
    6 days ago
  • Serious risks to tenants and assets in sell-off
    Overseas evidence shows there are serious risks around the Government's plan to sell off state houses to social housing providers, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “In the Netherlands – where community housing providers supply the majority of social housing –… ...
    6 days ago
  • Land of milk and money
    Kiwi families are paying over the top prices for their milk and someone is creaming off big profits, says Labour’s Consumer Affairs spokesperson David Shearer. “In 2011 the Government told us high New Zealand milk prices were a natural result… ...
    1 week ago
  • MoBIE largesse doesn’t stop with TVs and hair-straighteners
    The number of MoBIE staff earning more than $150,000 has risen 23 per cent in just a year, Labour’s Economic Development Spokesperson David Clark says. Documents obtained from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment show there are now nearly… ...
    1 week ago
  • English wants to flog state houses to Aussies
    Bill English’s admission that he would sell hundreds of New Zealand’s state houses to the Australians is the latest lurch in the Government’s stumbling, half-baked housing policy, Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “Bill English should face reality and admit his… ...
    1 week ago
  • Exports continue to fall as Government fails to diversify
    The Government quickly needs a plan to diversify our economy after new figures show that exports are continuing to fall due to the collapse in dairy exports, Labour's Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “Dairy exports fell 28 per cent compared… ...
    1 week ago
  • Government inaction leads to blurring of roles
    The Treasury wouldn’t have had to warn the Reserve Bank to stick to its core functions if the Government had taken prompt and substantial measures to rein in skyrocketing Auckland house prices, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “The problems… ...
    1 week ago
  • Courthouse closures hitting regions
    The Government’s decision to shut down up to eight regional courthouses, some supposedly only temporarily for seismic reasons, looks unlikely to be reversed, Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.“The move has hit these regions hard, but appears to be a… ...
    1 week ago
  • A Victory for Te Tiriti o Waitangi
    This week my partner, who has a number of professions, was doing an archaeological assessment for a District Council. He showed me the new rules around archaeologists which require them to demonstrate “sufficient skill and competency in relation to Māori… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    1 week ago
  • Tough bar set for Ruataniwha dam
     Today’s final decision by the Tukituki Catchment Board of Inquiry is good news for the river and the environment, says Labour’s Water spokesperson Meka Whaitiri. “Setting a strict level of dissolved nitrogen in the catchment’s waters will ensure that the… ...
    1 week ago
  • Minister for Women and National missing the mark – part two
    The Minister for Women was in front of the select committee yesterday answering questions about her plans for women. Some useful context is that we used to have a Pay and Employment Equity Unit within the then Department of Labour… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Lavish penthouse spend confirms culture of extravagance
    At the same time thousands of New Zealanders are being locked out of the property market, the Government is spending up on a lavish New York penthouse for its diplomats, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says. News that taxpayers… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Māori Television exodus cause for concern
    The shock departure of yet another leading journalist from the Native Affairs team raises further concern the Board and Chief Executive are dissatisfied with the team’s editorial content, says Labour’s Māori Development spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta. “Annabelle Lee is an experienced… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Million-plus car owners to pay too much ACC
    More than a million car owners will pay higher ACC motor vehicle registration than necessary from July, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “During a select committee hearing this morning it was revealed that car owners would have been charged… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Bill will restore democracy to local councils
    A new Labour Member’s Bill will restore democracy to local authorities and stop amalgamations being forced on councils. Napier MP Stuart Nash’s Local Government Act 2002 (Greater Local Democracy) Bill will be debated by Parliament after being pulled from the… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister for Women again misses the mark – part one
    Yesterday I asked the Minister for Women about the government’s poor performance on it’s own target of appointing women to 45% of state board positions. I challenged why she’d put out a media release celebrating progress this year when the… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Banks enter Dragon’s Den in pitch for Government’s mental health experi...
    Overseas banks and their preferred providers were asked to pitch their ideas for bankrolling the Government’s social bonds scheme to a Dragon’s Den-style panel, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. Dragon’s Den was a reality television series where prospective ‘entrepreneurs’… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Global Mode bullying won’t stop people accessing content
    It’s disappointing that strong-arm tactics from powerful media companies have meant Global Mode will not get its day in court. Today a settlement was reached terminating the Global Mode service, developed in New Zealand by ByPass Network Services and used… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes MP
    2 weeks ago
  • More questions – why was the Former National Party President involved wit...
    Today in Parliament Murray  McCully said the reason Michelle Boag was involved in 2011 in the Saudi farm scandal was in her capacity as a member of the New Zealand Middle East Business Council. The problem with that answer is… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister must explain Maori TV interference
    Te Ururoa Flavell must explain why he told Maori TV staff all complaints about the CEO must come to him – months before he became the Minister responsible for the broadcaster, Labour’s Broadcasting Spokesperson Clare Curran says. “Sources have told… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • KiwiSaver takes a hammering after the end of kick-start
    National seems hell bent on destroying New Zealand’s saving culture given today’s news that there has been a drop in new enrolments for KiwiSaver, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson.  “New enrolments for the ANZ Investments KiwiSaver scheme have plunged… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Straight answers needed on CYF role
    The Government needs to explain the role that Child, Youth and Family plays in cases where there is evidence that family violence was flagged as a concern, Labour’s Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Arden says. “The fact that CYF is refusing to… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Prime Minister confuses his political interests with NZ’s interest
    The Prime Minister’s statement in Parliament yesterday that a Minister who paid a facilitation payment to unlock a free trade agreement would retain his confidence is an abhorrent development in the Saudi sheep scandal, Opposition leader Andrew Little says.  ...
    2 weeks ago
  • #raisethequota
    Last Saturday was World Refugee Day. I was privileged to spend most of my day with the amazing refugee communities in Auckland. Their stories have been inspiring and reflect the ‘can-do’ Kiwi spirit, even though they come from all different… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Dairy conversions causing more pollution than ever, report shows
    The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (PCE) released two reports on freshwater quality and management last Friday. The water quality report shows that dairy conversions are hurting water quality and says that despite great efforts with fencing and planting, large… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Employers want urgent action on health and safety
    Moves by National to water down health and safety reforms have been slammed by employers – the very group the Government claims is pushing for change, says Labour’s spokesperson for Labour Relations Iain Lees-Galloway. “The Employers and Manufacturers’ Association has… ...
    2 weeks ago

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