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Dithering Nats

Written By: - Date published: 10:42 am, April 1st, 2013 - 49 comments
Categories: economy, kiwisaver, national, tax - Tags: , , , , ,

Various changes to tax and related rules come in to effect today, along with a derisory rise in the minimum wage the main effect is that of “Earners squeezed by tax changes“. What also strikes me about the changes is the amount of dithering involved. Here’s the government on KiwiSaver contributions in 2008:

Currently, the minimum employee contribution is 4% of gross salary. For many people, especially in tight economic times, saving 4% of gross salary is simply not possible and would put unwarranted strain on other parts of the family budget. These people are, therefore, effectively shut out of KiwiSaver. …

National will introduce a contribution rate that both employees and employers can realistically afford when economic times are bad as well as when they are good, and during periods of their lives when they earn more than other times.

From 1 April 2009, the minimum contribution rate for employees in KiwiSaver will be 2% of gross salary.

And here they are today:

From next Monday, the minimum employee contribution rate will rise from 2 per cent to 3 per cent. ….

“KiwiSaver continues to be a popular savings options for a growing number of New Zealanders,” he [Dunne] says. “It is part of the Government’s wider programme to encourage genuine savings and reduce the need for extra government borrowing and debt.

“We believe that most people will find 3 per cent contributions affordable, and the employer contributions will continue to offer an attractive rate of return for the money employees put in themselves.

I look forward to next budget when these geniuses will no doubt propose the brilliant plan of raising the minimum contribution to 4%. Similarly on student loans. The Nats had the bright idea of an early repayment bonus which they introduced in 2009…:

The Government is introducing a ten per cent bonus for people who make voluntary repayments on their Student Loan. The aim is to encourage borrowers to repay their loans sooner. Shorter repayment times mean young New Zealanders will be debt free earlier.

… and just axed again

Student loan tax loophole to close

Students eligible for a 10 per cent return on voluntary repayments on their student loans have only a couple of days to claim before the Government closes the loophole.

National can dither dither dither all they like with the small stuff. As long as their whole economic philosophy and major policies are wrong, they’ll continue to make a mess of the economy.

(For the record, I think the Nats were wrong to reduce Kiwisaver in the first place, so the increase is good, and they were right to introduce the student loan bonus, which they should have kept.)

49 comments on “Dithering Nats”

  1. Bright Red 1

    Why is the voluntary repayment bonus (which I happen to think unfairly benefits ex-students with cash in the bank) described as a “loophole” by the Dom? It’s not a loophole when a government intentionally creates an incentive.

    • r0b 1.1

      Good question. Pieces on other sites did it too. (Welcome back by the way – long time no see – found some of your old guest posts while I was looking in to this one.)

    • Draco T Bastard 1.2

      I suspect there was some of those unintended consequences that righties are so enthusiastic about telling us lefties about.

      They’re calling it a tax loophole which would indicate that somehow someone has found a way to use the payback to lesson the tax that they’re paying.

      • burt 1.2.1

        It’s worse than that Draco. Think about this…

        On the 31st March you make a payment of $1,000 but you already had a repayment obligation of $700 – no bonus….

        Your repayment obligation is based on your earnings for the tax year … What would your repayment obligation be today ??? How would waiting 1 day effect your eligibility for a bonus …

    • burt 1.3

      The loophole relates to how the bonus could be manipulated. See the wording of the legislation was such that the eligibility for the bonus was dependent on the repayment obligation. Now the repayment obligation is based on assessed income. The timing of the assessment v the payment … There is the loophole. Trust me… The loophole was well pointed out while the policy was being implemented in code but the gummit wanted a popularity device/lever with students… Like the stuff article alludes to… Nobody thought it would be so convincingly gamed as it was… Like dim-bulb Cullen thinking students wouldn’t game interest free money…

      The price we (the tax payers) pay for government’s who want to be popular rather than prudent.

      • Draco T Bastard 1.3.1

        The price we (the tax payers) pay for government’s who want to be popular rather than prudent.

        And the ever increasing poverty that we’re seeing is the price we pay for governments that have NFI what is good economics.

    • Lanthanide 1.4

      I’m surprised that no one in the replies has pointed out what the loophole is, since the dom post article itself explains what the loophole is.

      But it backfired when it became evident that students were “gaming the system” by claiming the bonus while they were still studying.

      Rather than changing the rules so current students could not receive the bonus, the Government has opted to axe it and tighten the scheme’s criteria.

      They didn’t fully elaborate it, but basically it works like this:
      1. If you have enough money in the bank, so that you don’t need a student loan to pay university fees, take out a student loan anyway.
      2. In the same tax year in which you took out the student loan, repay the entire loan back minus the 10% bonus.

      Eg, take out a loan for $5,000, but you only have to pay back $4545.45 to clear it, because the 10% repayment takes it up to $5,000 for you.

      Basically it acted as a way to get the government/taxpayer to pay 10% of your university fees, every year. Since it applied to the entire student loan, which covers “course related costs” as well as living costs, it could work out to quite a tidy sum of money from the government.

  2. Draco T Bastard 2

    As long as their whole economic philosophy and major policies are wrong, they’ll continue to make a mess of the economy.

    It’s the same economic philosophy followed by Labour.

    and they were right to introduce the student loan bonus, which they should have kept.

    No they weren’t and no they shouldn’t have. What should be done is that the student loans should be written off and education become free – just like it was.

    • Colonial Viper 2.1

      But the thing about the Nats that you have to be proud of: they never make any excuses for, or are shy about, pushing through major policies benefitting their core wealthy constituencies.

      • TightyRighty 2.1.1

        Just righting the wrongs for when the wealthy were unfairly penalised for working hard and achieving wealth

        • millsy 2.1.1.1

          How many hospitals were closed by National between 1990-99, and how many between 1999-08?

          Gotta pay for health services some how, dont really want an American style system here.

          • burt 2.1.1.1.1

            Speaking of hospital closures … Do your homework on when Helen Cark was minister of Health… Hang your head in shame for being so partisan in observing the shitty deeds of self serving politicians ….

            • millsy 2.1.1.1.1.1

              Not keen on Helen Clark either, but Bill English cut his teeth on closing them down too.

        • One Tāne Huna 2.1.1.2

          “…unfairly penalised …”

          Fucking cry-baby.

          Remind me how you refused free education, cry-baby, and remind me how you built the roads that allowed your baby-food to be delivered.

          Then stop being such a whinging selfish little twat.

          • McFlock 2.1.1.2.1

            Lol
            Like what Elizabeth Warren said, but with more suitable invective 🙂

          • Ugly Truth 2.1.1.2.2

            Remind me how they said that school was compulsory.
            Remind me how ordinary use of a public road is a common law right.

            And stop being such a fucking leech.

        • Tim 2.1.1.3

          What’s your definition of “working hard” TR?. It’s a bit of spin that’s being introduced into the political discourse in both OZ and Nu Zull.
          Somehow the wealthier you are – the harder working you are? Is that the basis of the phrase?

        • Draco T Bastard 2.1.1.4

          That never happened. What happens in all capitalist systems is that the poor pay for the rich to be rich.

          It is always the poor that are unfairly penalised.

        • Colonial Viper 2.1.1.5

          Just righting the wrongs for when the wealthy were unfairly penalised for working hard and achieving wealth

          So you’re ok with heavy taxation on unearned wealth and capital?

    • aerobubble 2.2

      Fonterra is a collective. Meat and wool farmers have realized that their undercutting of their neighbor farmers is counter to their interest, and so realize that collectivization has a social and economic good. So much for the rancid way Key beat up on the Hobbit workers union rights. Key thought it would play to his base if he undermined the value of the Hobbit movie (as many unionists have children globally) by attacking union rights, he was going to gift the subsidy anyway, Clark didn’t need to beatup on unions to give taxpayers incentives to movie companies!

      So what a shock, students are waking up to the fact that just because US student have to take on debt (the neighbors are under cutting them argument from govt) that in fact it undermines the whole economy and democratic foundation of western economies. It was of course Thatcher who brought in the policy, its neo-liberalism spiking their nose to save their face. Having hordes of indebted middle class young workers makes them less innovative, less inclined to take risks, less able to take risks.

      And you wonder why the west is failing to keep up with China, the west has hollowed out its democracy for profits on the books of sharemarket companies. It was a rubbish policy to weaken the core strength of a democracy, its young highly educated people.

  3. Descendant Of Sssmith 3

    Remember the rich gloated how they could invest the money they would have spent on their education and got a student loan at a lower interest rate than investing the money – thereby making a profit off government funds.

    The early repayment means that they have now got another little bonus to compensate for the interest that they would have lost from investing this money.

    They’ve repaid their loans now so presumably don’t need the little bonus they were given anymore.

    • burt 3.1

      It wasn’t the rich who gloated… It was anyone who understands the price of money… Cast it as the rich if that suits your ideology … I prefer to categorise it as fiscally aware v not. I don’t think that’s a rich v poor thing – but it’s easy to see how calling it that way suits a simplistic partisan world view.

      • Draco T Bastard 3.1.1

        It was anyone who understands the price of money…

        Money doesn’t have a price. Even the delusional free-market theory proves that – under infinite competition interest rates are zero.

        • burt 3.1.1.1

          Great, next time we actually have infinite competition and don’t have zero interest rates ill remember that theoretical free money possibility… But back in the real world, I’m struggling to find many options for financing considerable sums of money without a lending cost.

          Perhaps if I had said ‘cost of money’ we might have had a different reaction from you..

          • Colonial Viper 3.1.1.1.1

            But back in the real world, I’m struggling to find many options for financing considerable sums of money without a lending cost.

            That’s because you’re not in the inner circle of capitalist organisations (e.g. the primary dealers), hence don’t qualify for ZIRP LTRO (ECB), the Fed’s asset purchase program, etc.

            Basically you’re just another chump in the capitalist work house.

          • Draco T Bastard 3.1.1.1.2

            That’s just it – the economic theory this government uses isn’t real. And the one you think works isn’t real either. Money really doesn’t cost anything.

            Even in the real world money doesn’t cost a damn thing. The government should be printing the money and then spending it and loaning it out at 0%. The private banks should not be printing it and loaning it out with interest as that just results in over accumulation of wealth in the hands of the few and the eventual collapse of society.

        • aerobubble 3.1.1.2

          The banking system will always collapse when the amount of money (bank created) exceeds all the future value capable of being created. Neo-liberals ignore the environmental cost, hell, they ignore even the cost of leaving child in poverty. Education is just another means of extorting money from society, at the expense of children, and the future economic resilience of a higher educated workforce.

          So here we have it, a aging population, a skilled exodus, a increasing cost of education, a unsustainable housing bubble, climate change making diary farming growth disappear.

      • Descendant Of Sssmith 3.1.2

        I prefer to class it as theft.

        Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.

        No different from those who sign their young kids to Kiwisaver in order to garner money from the state.

        The scheme was set up for workers – not for those with money to steal from the state.

        Fiscally aware in both those cases equal thieves.

        And yeah it was the rich that gloated about the student loan rorts.

        That doesn’t mean that they were the only ones who did it or pointed it out. It was an observation on who made the biggest noise about both being able to do it and about actually doing it.

        In some cases the same people who own several businesses and gloat about having a community services card and those who can build a million dollar house but pay $12-50 per week child support.

        There’s those of us that could if we wished take advantage of those sorts of loopholes but choose not to.

        If it’s an ideology it’s one called integrity.

        • Lanthanide 3.1.2.1

          “No different from those who sign their young kids to Kiwisaver in order to garner money from the state.”

          ???

          The government clearly enabled children to be signed up, so it’s hardly stealing if you do so. The only thing they get from signing up however is the $1,000 bonus. The “tax credit” only applies to those 18 or older.

        • burt 3.1.2.2

          d of s
          That’s a good position you have there, I do actually share it. Integrity is clearly a challenging thing in a convoluted progressive tax system aimed at extracting as much revenue as possible rather than simply raising enough revenue as equitably as possible. Dr Cullen had a great saying… It’s about plucking the goose with the least amount of hissing… Dig deep for some integrity in that!!!!

          However on the subject of theft. Where I may differ with you is that i consider exploiting an unintended consequence of the implementation differently (as theft) where exploiting an unintended consequence of the legislation… That’s a bit different. We are bound by legislation be it good or bad…. Arguably it’s our duty to highlight the bad legislation quickly and promptly any way that is available to us.

          Implementation loopholes… It’s our duty to stay quiet about them for its encouraging theft to advertise their presence.

    • burt 3.2

      Oh, and don’t forget that rich guy Cullen who couldn’t believe people would game interest free money… Perhaps he wasn’t as fiscally aware and prudent as his self serving popularist marketing (using money extracted from low paid works via unions) would have had us believe.

  4. IrishBill 4

    I think the Nats thought that their bonus scheme would significantly change the behaviour of student loan holders toward paying their loans back (slightly) faster. Having seen their meager financial carrot fail they’ve moved to compulsion.

    I can imagine that they would have thought people would repay at quicker rate and probably thought that rate would be a couple of percent (around ten dollars extra a week on the average wage). However the opportunity cost of that $20 appears to have outweighed the small gain of paying a loan off marginally early because of the small bonus. Or perhaps the effort involved to achieve that bonus was just too much for most loan holders.

    • Lanthanide 4.1

      The fact is, 10% bonus for voluntary payments over $500 worked out to be only be preferable if you could pay off the entirety of your student loan with money you had on-hand and if otherwise your current salary would pay it off within 3 years. You can do all the maths for bank deposits etc and work this out. Basically if your current minimum contribution rate means that it’ll take 3+ years to pay back the loan, then even if you have the money in the bank to pay it off right now, you shouldn’t. The 10% ‘instant’ interest on the money lost out compared to ~3% interest compounding annually for 3+ years.

      When they introduced the extra $50 annual account fee to try and get more money out of the student loan scheme, I emailed Steven Joyce and suggested they raise the fee to $100 a year, and then tie the fee to the voluntary repayment bonus: if you paid $500, you’d get the 10% bonus as well as the $100 fee waived. That would definitely encourage people to repay at least $500 a year extra, as it would now be 30% effective ‘instant interest’ when voluntarily repaying $500. He emailed back a wishy-washy response that basically said “no, we aren’t doing that”. I guess the real point of the $50 annual fee is that it increases your borrowings and these borrowings act as an asset for the government (just as loan books at banks act as assets), so my suggestion would have stopped the asset base from growing as fast, although it also would have encouraged conversion from ‘future cash’ into ‘cash in the hand now’.

      I realise this comment is rather poorly explained, blah.

      • burt 4.1.1

        It’s hard to imagine that there is a desire to increase the loan book when it’s interest free, but otherwise you seem to have the $500/10% bonus well understood.

        The problem with the $500 bonus was always that it rewarded people for paying above their legislative requirement. IE it provided an incentive for people to clear away an interest free debt, which was valid in its principle but easily misconstrued as giving to the rich. See the reality is you were not disadvantaged by not having access to it because you couldn’t afford the above obligation payment… Because the money is interest free.

        The fiscal reality you note in the 3 year scenario is probably something we were not supposed to understand as we paid extra every year releasing the government from needing to put the repayment rate up which would be ‘unpopular’

        • Lanthanide 4.1.1.1

          “It’s hard to imagine that there is a desire to increase the loan book when it’s interest free”

          But the $50 isn’t “increasing the loan book”, it’s just a way for the government to charge more. They didn’t actually give $50 to the borrower and ask for it back, they just asked for an extra $50. Really you can consider it to be charging interest in a way that doesn’t break their “student loans will stay interest-free” promise.

          Apparently the “recovery rate” is something like 50-60% of all borrowing, that is, by the time the loans are paid back, inflation has eaten away a lot of the value. The $50 was an acknowledged step towards clawing more money back, just as the 12% repayment rate that has just been implemented is another, much more significant, step.

          That’s why I think my $100 fee the was waived with a $500 repayment was a good move: it would encourage everyone to repay $500 extra each year, which would improve the recovery rate, and for those that didn’t/couldn’t it would net the government more money in the long-run than the proposed $50 fee. It seems like a nice balance between carrot and stick.

  5. Tim 5

    What can ya say? ……… the headless chook pretty much says it all.

    IF there is a change at next election time takes place, anyone or anything that replaces it couldn’t lose if they simply reversed all and everything this band of fuckwits has implemented – whether is encompasses social or economic issues.

    IF Labour ever gets re-invented, perhaps they could re-emerge as the UN-Neshnool Pardy of NuZull. It’d stand a better chance of winning an election than a Labour government that includes a Sheep Shearer and a Mallard.

  6. Matthew 6

    So now ‘loophole’ means ‘poorly written policy’.

    • Draco T Bastard 6.1

      😆

      Thing is, that’s what it’s always meant.

    • burt 6.2

      Exactly the point Matthew. Lets see, anyone out there willing to make good policy out of paying people a bonus for unnecessarily repaying interest free money … Anyone ?

      The elephant in the room here is interest free student loans… As long as popularity holds that on the table then expect more nonsense policy screens from all parties.

      • Draco T Bastard 6.2.1

        No, the elephant in that room is that we require our young to take out student loans. The whole of society benefits massively from having them educated and staying here. The student loan system gets them educated and then gives them an incentive to leave.

        Stop charging fees to go and get educated and we’ll both have more people getting educated and more of those educated people staying in NZ where we get the benefits.

  7. Enough is Enough 7

    A third term National Government will reintroduce interest on Student Loans.

    Expect to be paying interest from the day you pay your fees in first year.

    They swallowed their rats in term1

    They sold our assets in term2

    they will unleash hell in term 3 if we let them.

    • Lanthanide 7.1

      “Expect to be paying interest from the day you pay your fees in first year.”

      Doubt it.

      I wouldn’t be surprised if they introduced some sort of inflation-indexing though.

  8. Lloyd 8

    Why was the US the economic powerhouse of the world in the 1950’s and 1960’s?

    Two reasons seem apparent.

    The GI Bill educated a large number of US citizens at the degree level for free.

    The federal government taxed the rich.

    Anyone capable of expanding this (or disputing it).

    It would seem that the formula for economic success would include:
    1. free education to the maximum anyone in society desired, and
    2. a tax system based on ensuring the richest in society pay enough taxes to ensure their income is reasonably relative to the income of the poorest in society. The principle should not be in doubt, only the relativity ratio should be up for negotiation.

  9. Colonial Viper 9

    – in those decades American corporates believed in making profits by making new technologies and manufactured products, not financial engineering.
    – fear of the Soviet Union spurred massive investments in science, engineering and technology
    – the momentum of economic investments from the New Deal continued forwards (Hoover dam, state highway system, etc)
    – cheap light crude was still being found by the billions of barrels.
    – the US filled an economic and political vacuum that the old powers of war torn Europe could not hold on to.

    Your suggestions are good (and required) but in this century insufficient: environmental degradation, population overshoot, climate change, citizen non-participation and energy depletion were non-issues back then. Today, they are potential civilisation killers.

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    April is starting to come down off the shockingly high anomalies of the first couple of months of this year. GISS is clocking in a still strong warm anomaly of 1.11°C. This is by far the hottest April in the… ...
    1 day ago
  • Fanshawe St Bus Stop improvements
    Occasionally it is small projects that can have a lot of impact on people’s PT experience. With the ever growing number of people working near Victoria Park, an upgrade to the bus stops on Fanshawe St along with improvements to the… ...
    2 days ago
  • Fanshawe St Bus Stop improvements
    Occasionally it is small projects that can have a lot of impact on people’s PT experience. With the ever growing number of people working near Victoria Park, an upgrade to the bus stops on Fanshawe St along with improvements to the… ...
    2 days ago
  • An abuse of the Speaker’s chair
    Last week NewsHub revealed leaked MPI reports which showed that MPI had been turning a blind eye to widespread criminal behaviour in the fishing industry. Today was the first day of Parliament since those revelations, and given their seriousness, it… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • An abuse of the Speaker’s chair
    Last week NewsHub revealed leaked MPI reports which showed that MPI had been turning a blind eye to widespread criminal behaviour in the fishing industry. Today was the first day of Parliament since those revelations, and given their seriousness, it… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Punakaiki Fund invests in Populate
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    Lance WiggsBy Lance Wiggs
    2 days ago
  • A piece of gratis media advice for Hilary Clinton
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    2 days ago
  • A piece of gratis media advice for Hilary Clinton
      Here’s some free media advice for Hilary Clinton now just trailing Donald Trump in the polls: Stop smiling and waving to “people you recognise” in the crowd. It’s insulting to everyone else, looks (and may well be) dishonest… ...
    2 days ago
  • The Nuit Debout revolt in France: let the gems sparkle. . .
    by Denis Godard The movement of occupation of squares in France is [over] two weeks old. [1] Its evolution is difficult to predict, because it is open to many unforeseen events, even though its roots are deep. At this point… ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 days ago
  • Open Government: Unilateral
    Back in April, State Services Minister Paula Bennett announced in an answer to a Parlaimentary written question that we were consulting the Open Government Secretariat about an extension to the deadline for submitting our action plan:While New Zealand's second Open… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Open Government: Unilateral
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • What I’m looking for in Budget 2016 – A better start for our tamariki
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    frogblogBy Marama Davidson
    2 days ago
  • Free the Wicklow 2
    Protests around the imprisonment of these two activists are taking place around Ireland and also in Britain.  Anyone fancy organising something at the Irish embassy in Wellington  There is also an Irish consulate in Auckland. ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 days ago
  • DIY Touring The World: New Zealand
    New Zealand has a small population, few places to play and not much money for touring bands - but you can’t beat the beautiful landscapes, hidden gem venues and fantastic audiences. Music impresario Ian Jorgensen has been touring bands… ...
    2 days ago
  • We are all socialists now
    A mass government house-building programme is a favourite policy of the left for solving the Auckland housing crisis. Use cheap government capital, build affordable, energy-efficient homes, mass produce them to get efficiencies of scale, and get people back into owning… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • We are all socialists now
    A mass government house-building programme is a favourite policy of the left for solving the Auckland housing crisis. Use cheap government capital, build affordable, energy-efficient homes, mass produce them to get efficiencies of scale, and get people back into owning… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Protected: Tributes to Dame Margaret Sparrow
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    ALRANZBy ALRANZ
    2 days ago
  • New Zealand and New Zealand
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    DimPostBy danylmc
    2 days ago
  • New Zealand and New Zealand
    There’s a 2009 sci-fi novel by China Miéville called The City and the City. The action takes place in two separate cities which overlap each other geographically, but the denizens of each city is compelled to ‘Unsee’ things they see happening in… ...
    DimPostBy danylmc
    2 days ago
  • Breaking free from fossil fuels – the risk we take is not taking action
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    2 days ago
  • More odious debt
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • More odious debt
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Additional Harbour Crossing ill-considered and over-rushed.
    We are increasingly concerned that Auckland is in the middle of very poor process where by far the nation’s biggest ever infrastructure project is being forced along and at ill-considered speed without anything like the level of public participation nor detailed… ...
    Transport BlogBy Patrick Reynolds
    2 days ago
  • Additional Harbour Crossing ill-considered and over-rushed.
    We are increasingly concerned that Auckland is in the middle of very poor process where by far the nation’s biggest ever infrastructure project is being forced along and at ill-considered speed without anything like the level of public participation nor detailed… ...
    Transport BlogBy Patrick Reynolds
    2 days ago
  • Tinder and 3nder are officially at war
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    2 days ago
  • Weekly Listening: Die Antwoord, Joey Purp, King Kapisi and more
    A showcase of some of the best new music releases from the past week.   Joey Purp - GIRLS @ Feat. Chance The Rapper This track might be the catchiest three minutes and 32 seconds to hit your ears… ...
    2 days ago
  • Some big news, for me
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    GrumpollieBy Andrew
    2 days ago
  • Start as you mean to go on
    The GCSB has a new director: His family tease him by calling him Johnny English. He has a 3000-strong record collection – not classical, but some “out there” 1980s indie rock. Andrew Hampton is also a government fix-it man –… ...
    DimPostBy danylmc
    2 days ago
  • Start as you mean to go on
    The GCSB has a new director: His family tease him by calling him Johnny English. He has a 3000-strong record collection – not classical, but some “out there” 1980s indie rock. Andrew Hampton is also a government fix-it man –… ...
    DimPostBy danylmc
    2 days ago
  • Polity: Mike’s minute: Mike’s maths!
    Today, media ubiquity Mike Hosking took to nzherald.co.nz to vent his frustration at Labour for suggesting that it would re-convene the same Tax Working Group first used by National. He was clearly very upset.For Mike, Auckland’s housing crisis is a… ...
    2 days ago
  • Polity: Mike’s minute: Mike’s maths!
    Today, media ubiquity Mike Hosking took to nzherald.co.nz to vent his frustration at Labour for suggesting that it would re-convene the same Tax Working Group first used by National. He was clearly very upset.For Mike, Auckland’s housing crisis is a… ...
    2 days ago
  • Denise Roche: What I’m looking for in Budget 2016 Pt II
    Aotearoa’s new New Zealanders,  come to our country in vulnerable position: – often away from the culture, communities and families they know, sometimes in neighbourhoods without familiar faces and often encountering barriers to employment. With net migration at 50,000+ a… ...
    frogblogBy Denise Roche
    2 days ago
  • Helter smelter deja vu: Tiwai Point uncertainty stalls NZ renewables
    Simon Johnson looks at how New Zealand Aluminium Smelter Limited is behind the Meridian/Genesis deal keeping the Huntly Thermal Power Station burning coal as the threat of closing the Tiwai Point smelter is stalling the construction of consented renewable energy… ...
    Hot TopicBy Mr February
    2 days ago
  • Helter smelter deja vu: Tiwai Point uncertainty stalls NZ renewables
    Simon Johnson looks at how New Zealand Aluminium Smelter Limited is behind the Meridian/Genesis deal keeping the Huntly Thermal Power Station burning coal as the threat of closing the Tiwai Point smelter is stalling the construction of consented renewable energy… ...
    Hot TopicBy Mr February
    2 days ago
  • Equal Pay and Budget 2016
    The last few years we’ve seen equal pay for women flagged as an undefined risk in the budget. This year we should expect to see this, as well as budgeted money to deliver equal pay to caregivers and funding for,… ...
    frogblogBy Jan Logie
    2 days ago
  • Equal Pay and Budget 2016
    The last few years we’ve seen equal pay for women flagged as an undefined risk in the budget. This year we should expect to see this, as well as budgeted money to deliver equal pay to caregivers and funding for,… ...
    frogblogBy Jan Logie
    2 days ago
  • Hard News: This. Is. Crazy.
    It's eight days since the Prime Minister airily assured Guyon Espiner on Morning Report that "in my experience with Work and Income", homeless people could go along to their local office and get sorted with some emergency housing.We now know… ...
    2 days ago
  • Hard News: This. Is. Crazy.
    It's eight days since the Prime Minister airily assured Guyon Espiner on Morning Report that "in my experience with Work and Income", homeless people could go along to their local office and get sorted with some emergency housing.We now know… ...
    2 days ago
  • A great Budget would
    A great Budget would embrace the challenge of our polluted rivers and move the money away from justifying the status quo water rules into cleaning up waterways. A great Budget would take the Ministry for the Environment freshwater budget and… ...
    frogblogBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 days ago
  • Smarter, Better, Cleaner, Stronger
    This Thursday Bill English will deliver his eighth Budget. Will it continue the trend of previous National budgets, making tertiary education less affordable, putting only token funds into innovation, and subsidising polluters? Budgets aren’t what they used to be. Once… ...
    frogblogBy Gareth Hughes
    2 days ago
  • What we are expected to believe
    In recent months I have become increasingly concerned at the state of bullshit in this country. Bullshit, as Harry Frankfurt famously wrote, is distinguished not by its intentionally negative truth value (those are lies) but its absence of intentional truth… ...
    2 days ago
  • The end of Auckland’s old growth model
    The New Zealand Council for Infrastructure Development’s public shark-jumping exercise the other week got me thinking. While their flagship policy of a new megabillion eastern tunnel project is a bit mad, their report does a reasonable job of diagnosing one… ...
    Transport BlogBy Peter Nunns
    2 days ago
  • The end of Auckland’s old growth model
    The New Zealand Council for Infrastructure Development’s public shark-jumping exercise the other week got me thinking. While their flagship policy of a new megabillion eastern tunnel project is a bit mad, their report does a reasonable job of diagnosing one… ...
    Transport BlogBy Peter Nunns
    2 days ago
  • Why are whistleblowers being prosecuted as spies?
    Whistleblowers are a ‘check’ on government, corporate or organisational secrecy and malfeasance. I recently read Tim Shipman’s preview of the Chilcot report into the origins of the Tony Blair-led UK engagement in the US’s invasion of Iraq, which looked at… ...
    The PaepaeBy Peter Aranyi
    2 days ago
  • Spend and Tax
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    Briefing PapersBy Brian Easton
    2 days ago
  • The birth place of the artist
    It may not be the best reason to fund the arts. It’s certainly not the only one. But travelling to the small city of Rovereto, at the feet of the Italian dolomites, reminded me of the lasting influence that a… ...
    Bat bean beamBy Giovanni Tiso
    2 days ago

  • Minister won’t fess up on wrong figures
    The Minister of Health was caught out telling porkies in Parliament today when he was asked about the number of people getting access to mental health and addiction services, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King. ...
    12 hours ago
  • Budget 2016 and our LGBTQI communities
    LGBTI people make up about a tenth of our population, and our communities face a unique set of needs and challenges. These challenges are caused or exacerbated by discrimination, invisibility and barriers to appropriate support. We have a long way… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    12 hours ago
  • Budget 2016 and our LGBTQI communities
    LGBTI people make up about a tenth of our population, and our communities face a unique set of needs and challenges. These challenges are caused or exacerbated by discrimination, invisibility and barriers to appropriate support. We have a long way… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    12 hours ago
  • Scrambled announcement policy on the hoof
    Paula Bennett’s scrambled desperate announcement that she will pay homeless people to move to the regions is just the latest evidence of the disarray this Government’s housing policy is in, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. “This is policy… ...
    13 hours ago
  • Police Minister admits resolution rates fall short of expectation
    Police Minister Judith Collins has admitted in Parliament current burglary resolution rates are not meeting the expectations of our communities, says Labour’s Police spokesman Stuart Nash “Out of 284 police stations in New Zealand in 2015, 24 stations recorded zero… ...
    14 hours ago
  • Mojo Mathers: A better deal for animals in Budget 2016
    Currently we are failing animals in NZ. On the face of it farmed and domestic animals in this country have strong legal protection from abuse, cruelty and neglect. In reality it seems that only the very worst, most extreme cases… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers
    14 hours ago
  • Metiria Turei: What we need from Budget 2016
    Every family deserves a warm decent home.  Everyone believes that. This housing crisis is just the latest consequence of a Government who puts the interests of the few wealthy people above the needs of NZ families.  Families are doing it… ...
    GreensBy Metiria Turei
    16 hours ago
  • Dairy exports fall of 11%: Budget action on diversification needed
    Dairy exports have fallen 11 per cent compared to this time last year, a fall of almost $1.5b, showing the Government must take clear action on diversifying the economy in tomorrow’s Budget, says Labour’s Trade and Export Growth spokesperson David… ...
    16 hours ago
  • Investors driving families out of homes in South and West Auckland
    Investors cashing in on skyrocketing Auckland house prices are driving families out of homes in South and West Auckland and causing homeownership rates in some of our poorest suburbs to plummet, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “New analysis shows… ...
    19 hours ago
  • Budget must deliver on paid parental leave
    Budget 2016 must deliver 26 weeks paid parental leave by April 2018 – anything less will be short-changing families, says Labour MP Sue Moroney. “My Bill which is before Parliament this afternoon has majority support and does just that. I… ...
    19 hours ago
  • Key’s “brain fart” on tax cuts news to English
    John Key didn’t tell his own Finance Minister he was about to go on radio and announce he wanted $3b of tax cuts, just days after Bill English ruled them out, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “In Parliament today… ...
    2 days ago
  • What I’m looking for in Budget 2016 – A better start for our tamariki
    Ensuring the best start for our tamariki is a priority for me in everything I do. And so in Budget 2016, my first budget as an MP, I looking for the Government to make a real investment in the wellbeing… ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    2 days ago
  • What I’m looking for in Budget 2016 – A better start for our tamariki
    Ensuring the best start for our tamariki is a priority for me in everything I do. And so in Budget 2016, my first budget as an MP, I looking for the Government to make a real investment in the wellbeing… ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    2 days ago
  • Denise Roche: What I’m looking for in Budget 2016 Pt II
    Aotearoa’s new New Zealanders,  come to our country in vulnerable position: – often away from the culture, communities and families they know, sometimes in neighbourhoods without familiar faces and often encountering barriers to employment. With net migration at 50,000+ a… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    2 days ago
  • Equal Pay and Budget 2016
    The last few years we’ve seen equal pay for women flagged as an undefined risk in the budget. This year we should expect to see this, as well as budgeted money to deliver equal pay to caregivers and funding for,… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    2 days ago
  • Equal Pay and Budget 2016
    The last few years we’ve seen equal pay for women flagged as an undefined risk in the budget. This year we should expect to see this, as well as budgeted money to deliver equal pay to caregivers and funding for,… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    2 days ago
  • A great Budget would
    A great Budget would embrace the challenge of our polluted rivers and move the money away from justifying the status quo water rules into cleaning up waterways. A great Budget would take the Ministry for the Environment freshwater budget and… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 days ago
  • Budget building materials policy backfires
    On the eve of this year’s Budget official figures show Nick Smith’s Budget 2014 centrepiece to reduce the cost of building materials has backfired, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment officials have spent the… ...
    2 days ago
  • Smarter, Better, Cleaner, Stronger
    This Thursday Bill English will deliver his eighth Budget. Will it continue the trend of previous National budgets, making tertiary education less affordable, putting only token funds into innovation, and subsidising polluters? Budgets aren’t what they used to be. Once… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    2 days ago
  • Govt must come clean on tax cuts in Budget
    National is making a mockery of the Budget process by dangling the promise of tax cuts but failing to include them in the Budget, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “National’s tax cut promises have turned into a farce. One… ...
    3 days ago
  • Grant Robertson Pre-Budget Speech
    Today I want to talk about success. As we know success can come in many different forms, from the fact you all made it here at such an early hour on a Monday, for which I am very grateful, to… ...
    3 days ago
  • Budget must deliver for middle New Zealand
    The Government must ensure next week’s Budget stops the squeeze on middle New Zealand and delivers shared prosperity for all New Zealanders, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. The call follows new research commissioned by Labour that shows working… ...
    4 days ago
  • Our housing emergency – why we have to act
    Marama and Metiria at Homes Not Cars launch On Thursday, Metiria Turei announced the Green Party’s plan to start addressing the emergency housing crisis facing our country. Too many people are without homes right now – homeless. It is the… ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    5 days ago
  • Will funding boost for sexual violence services go to the right places?
    This week the Government announced $46million for sexual violence services. This announcement was a result of decades of work by advocates and everyone who submitted to the Select Committee inquiry into funding for sexual violence services that I initiated with… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    6 days ago
  • Will funding boost for sexual violence services go to the right places?
    This week the Government announced $46million for sexual violence services. This announcement was a result of decades of work by advocates and everyone who submitted to the Select Committee inquiry into funding for sexual violence services that I initiated with… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    6 days ago
  • Denise Roche – What I’m looking for in this year’s Budget
    Two of the things I’ll be looking for in the Budget next week are more funding for refugees and for our arts and culture sector. More funding for refugees I’m a strong supporter of the #DoubleTheQuota campaign and its goals… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    6 days ago
  • Denise Roche – What I’m looking for in this year’s Budget
    Two of the things I’ll be looking for in the Budget next week are more funding for refugees and for our arts and culture sector. More funding for refugees I’m a strong supporter of the #DoubleTheQuota campaign and its goals… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    6 days ago
  • Car rego victims must get a refund
    Motorists who have been overcharged for their car registration should get a refund, says Labour’s Transport spokesperson Sue Moroney.  “Minister Nikki Kaye’s ‘faulty risk’ rating scheme has blown up in her face with over 170 different models of car having… ...
    6 days ago
  • Council statement shows they just don’t get it
    The Auckland Council’s statement today shows they don’t understand the problems created by the urban growth boundary, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “I have been the first to defend the Auckland City Council when Bill English has been blaming… ...
    6 days ago
  • Inspecting electronic devices a potential privacy threat
    Labour is expressing concern for New Zealanders’ privacy rights as the Government signals Customs will have the power to inspect electronic devices coming across the border, says Labour’s Customs Spokesperson Rino Tirikatene. “We agree that customs officers should have the… ...
    6 days ago
  • The Price of Water
    This week I hosted a public meeting at EIT in Hawkes Bay to discuss how we might put a price on the commercial use of water, so that water may be valued and treated more sustainably. I invited a… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    6 days ago
  • Caption It NZ!
    Today I received a petition from the NZ Captioning Working Group urging the government to legislate for accessibility via closed captioning for deaf and hard of hearing New Zealanders. It was timely because today is the fifth Global Accessibility Awareness… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers
    7 days ago
  • Older Kiwis to miss out on electives
    The Government is not doing enough elective surgery to keep up with New Zealand’s ageing population, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King.  “It’s damning that the targeted national intervention rate for cataract and knee and hip surgery is the same… ...
    7 days ago
  • Most principals say their college is underfunded
    The Government must substantially increase funding for secondary schools in next week’s Budget after a new survey found 86 per cent of principals consider their college under-resourced, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Just 14 per cent of secondary principals… ...
    7 days ago
  • Bill English and Nick Smith on different pages
    The Government’s support for Labour’s policy to remove the Auckland urban growth boundary is good news, but National needs to clarify its position, Labour’s Housing and Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The Acting Prime Minister has acknowledged our position… ...
    7 days ago
  • Bill English and Nick Smith on different pages
    The Government’s support for Labour’s policy to remove the Auckland urban growth boundary is good news, but National needs to clarify its position, Labour’s Housing and Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The Acting Prime Minister has acknowledged our position… ...
    7 days ago
  • Labour calls for independent inquiry into illegal fish dumping
    The Labour Party is reiterating its call for an independent inquiry into New Zealand’s fishing industry after two reports revealed the Ministry for Primary Industries turned a blind eye to widespread fish dumping in New Zealand waters, says Labour’s Fisheries… ...
    7 days ago
  • Mt Karangahake and Newcrest Mining
    On Wednesday and Sunday of last week the local residents of the Karangahake mountain in the Karangahake gorge of Hauraki/Coromandel peacefully protested against a gold mining drill rig on private land adjacent to the DOC land. The drilling rig was… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    1 week ago
  • Robbing Aucklanders to pay Rio Tinto
    New Zealand’s national electricity grid stretches the length of the country and contains some 11,803 kilometres of high-voltage lines and 178 substations. It wouldn’t make sense for competing power companies to duplicate and build their own expensive electricity transmission system… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    1 week ago
  • Government should abolish Auckland urban growth boundary
    The Government should rule out any possibility of an urban growth boundary in Auckland Council’s Unitary Plan if it is serious about fixing the housing crisis, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Over 25 years the urban growth boundary hasn’t… ...
    1 week ago
  • Kiwis don’t want iPads for Land deals
     It is outrageous that schools are relying on money and iPads from foreign land investors to meet the learning needs of their students, says Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins.  “Several OIO land applications by offshore investors have claimed that without… ...
    1 week ago
  • Homelessness – National has failed all of us
    A young South Auckland Māori woman recently tried to get hold of me around midnight. I missed her call. The woman wanted me to know the sharp reality facing too many families looking for a stable place to live. Things… ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    1 week ago
  • Moko case should never have been manslaughter deal
    Confirmation again yesterday that the manslaughter charge in the Moko Rangitoheriri case was a deal done by the Crown Prosecution Service is justifiably the cause of outrage, says Labour’s Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Ardern.“This should never have been a case where… ...
    1 week ago
  • Overseas investor funds school’s digital devices
    The Government must address the inequality laptops and tablets in classrooms are causing after a Queenstown school was forced to use a donation from an overseas investor to get their students digital devices, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins. “Documents obtained… ...
    1 week ago
  • Child Youth and Family Review and Domestic Violence
    This Government has consistently failed to recognise the links between Child Youth and Family Services (CYFS) and intimate partner violence. For me, the recent review of CYFS has highlighted this misunderstanding of the dynamics of domestic violence and its impacts… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    1 week ago
  • Child Youth and Family Review and Domestic Violence
    This Government has consistently failed to recognise the links between Child Youth and Family Services (CYFS) and intimate partner violence. For me, the recent review of CYFS has highlighted this misunderstanding of the dynamics of domestic violence and its impacts… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    1 week ago
  • Canterbury rebuild: How wood is a better choice for the new city
    It was interesting to attend the ForestWood Conference in Auckland recently and learn about the extent of innovation in the wood processing and manufacturing sector. The forestry sector may be New Zealand’s third largest export earner, but raw logs make… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    1 week ago
  • Canterbury rebuild: How wood is a better choice for the new city
    It was interesting to attend the ForestWood Conference in Auckland recently and learn about the extent of innovation in the wood processing and manufacturing sector. The forestry sector may be New Zealand’s third largest export earner, but raw logs make… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    1 week ago
  • Key plucks $3b out of thin air – reckless and irresponsible
    John Key refuses to give up on his dream of tax cuts to the wealthy, despite being shot down by Bill English, and is resorting to plucking numbers out of thin air, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “On radio… ...
    1 week ago
  • John Key woefully out of touch on homelessness
    John Key is completely out of touch if he thinks desperate South Auckland families forced to live in cars can simply go to Work and Income for help, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “Many of these families are working and… ...
    1 week ago

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