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Five Broken Things.

Written By: - Date published: 7:56 am, February 16th, 2013 - 81 comments
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Universal Basic Income UBIYesterday I rather shamelessly threadjacked one of Irish’s posts on a Colin Espiner column in the direction of the Universal Basic Income idea. In this post I want to also shamelessly filch from Gareth Morgan’s book The Big Kahuna, specifically Ch.5 “The Five Big Issues” and wrap it into a quick read. (At some points I’ll be pretty much lifting words direct from the book.)

Morgan identifies five principles that a good tax system would achieve, namely: vertical equity, horizontal equity, individual responsibility, efficiency and adequacy. Here’s my take on what he’s saying:

1. Vertical Equity. In the broadest sense this means the big players in the system, businesses and speculators, should not have unfair advantages over the smaller players like ordinary workers and beneficiaries. Instead our existing system deliberately allows numerous ways for those who have capital, wealth and access to good tax lawyers to avoid paying their share of tax, or allows them to re-arrange their affair to access benefits like Student Loans, Rest Home Care and the like … which they are not entitled to.

As Warren Buffet stated, he’s paying less than 15% tax overall, while his secretary pays over 30%. While locally there is the story of a farmer who owned properties worth tens of millions presenting a Community Services Card. The left has long denounced this kind of gross unfairness.

2. Horizontal Equity. This is the idea that like cases should be treated in like fashion. Because our current system is a inchoate mess of targeted benefits and tax credits, it is riven with inconsistencies. If you cannot work because you’ve had an accident you’re better off than if you have fallen ill. If you are in a job you’re family support via WFF is more generous than if you have the same children … but just got made redundant. If you are unemployed and your partner is over 65 you both receive Super at the couples rate, while if your partner is 64 you don’t.

Or an employee pays for his or her transport to work from after-tax income; while the owner of the business makes the same trip in a vehicle paid for from before-tax expenses. A landlord can claim the mortgage interest as a pre-tax expense; the owner-occupier of the same house cannot. And so on; there are any number of examples.

All these inconsistencies undermine people’s sense of faith in the system and fuel resentment.

3. Individual Responsibility. A well-designed tax system would encourage self-reliance and avoid stigmatising those who cannot achieve it. The current system puts barriers in the way of both these goals.

The big one is the very high marginal tax rates that are inherent in any targeted tax/benefit system. I cannot emphasis this more. A person say with one child and an accommodation supplement will find that if they move into a typical median wage job they really are not all that much better off … especially when you take into account the extra expenses they incur by working. (It’s a remarkable fact nonetheless that so many people will still choose to work despite the lack of ‘economically rational’ motivation to do so.) Nonetheless when the right talk about ‘welfare dependency’ they have a point; the current tax system certainly creates poverty traps that those with minimal motivation are unlikely to try very hard to leap over.

Much the same sort of problem exists with WFF; to avoid abrupt transition effects the abatement rate has to be set so low that incomes over $100k are still obtaining a portion of it. This doesn’t make sense in terms of the claimed purpose for WFF, while creating perverse, unintended incentives in the labour market place.

The current system pits self-interest against community interest; while an intelligent system would align them.

4. Efficiency. The total cost of administering our current system is much higher than most people imagine. Morgan notes that in 2010 the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) had a budget of $20.3b. Total payment transfers amounted to only $16b. Of the $4.3b gap he estimates $0.7b was incurred for reasons other than it’s redistributive function; leaving some $3.6b in costs. That’s an astounding 6% of all tax revenues for that year! It’s almost a quarter the size of the Health budget … just on the cost of running this absurd house of cards.

And this does not count the costs that IRD incur around WFF and Kiwisaver. The creakily ad hoc nature of the current system means that virtually every taxpayer needs to be dealt with on a case by case basis.

But those are the direct costs. A rational tax system would encourage people to invest their wealth in economically productive activities that would enable the nation to prosper. Instead it has more or less pushed us all the wrong directions, housing being the most obvious example. The economic costs of these distortions are impossible to calculate, but one only has to look at the absolute paucity of good companies being listed on our stock exchange, or the chronic inability of New Zealand-owned companies to capture their real potential in the global market to have some idea of the lost opportunity.

5. Adequacy. There are far too many people, and their children, living in poverty. Their access to the common good and prosperity of the nation if filtered through a layers of meanness, snobbery and indifference. No-one reading this blog is in any doubt of this. Despite all the immense cost of our redistributive system, it still leaves too many people in deprivation.

Worse still “too much government expenditure is currently directed towards ameliorative programs which primarily serve to contain a problem at a point where the possibility for change is lost”. The right has a legitimate point when they complain that too much of ‘their tax money’ is wasted.  We have $16b of transfer payments in this country … and we still have poverty? Something isn’t working here.

On all five of these underlying principles our current tax and redistributive system is completely broken. Another round of reforms, another Ministry reorganisation or re-branding exercise will only kick these broken bits around. Worse still it opens the door to Steven Joyce exploiting the opportunity to impose his own version of ‘crisis capitalism’ onto the system .. reforms that will use soothing and deceptive language … but in reality subvert these principles even further.

The UBI idea is not new. It has a long intellectual history; Keith Rankin and Gareth Morgan have done much groundwork locally. The Greens have a substantial history with the idea themselves. But if we want a new Labour/Green government to be anything other than yet another crew of passionless deck-chair re-arrangers the left must be able to articulate exactly what we want in a new deal. Tax and welfare are the two most invasive and potent of all things our governments undertake; it’s time to start creating a coherent political narrative the people of this country can understand and believe in.

81 comments on “Five Broken Things.”

  1. Colonial Viper 1

    While locally there is the story of a farmer who owned properties worth tens of millions presenting a Community Services Card. The left has long denounced this kind of gross unfairness.

    You’ll find that a lot of National voters absolutely hate situations like this with a vengeance too, and would support it being stamped out asap. A typical example would be a corporate manager on a good salary, say $150K pa, putting two kids through university, and having to put in a substantial sum of money for both childrens week to week expenses flatting in another town.

    Yet his farmer mate, whom he knows is considerably better off than him in both wealth and income, well the farmers kids get $1600 in student allowances per month in total, while his own kids get zip.

    • RedLogix 1.1

      You’ll find that a lot of National voters absolutely hate situations like this with a vengeance too, and would support it being stamped out asap.

      Yes … that’s exactly what happened. Which indeed is how I got to hear the story in the first place. I didn’t intend for it to be read as an ‘anti-farmer’ line… merely an example of how those with capital have opportunities to squirm through loop-holes that should not be there.

  2. Sosoo 2

    All this is just talk. It’s all very well to invent schemes such as this, and this one is one of many, but its a political problem at root. There are a sufficient number of New Zealanders who are fundamentally mean spirited and/or desirous of an unequal/hierarchical society to make such schemes electoral poison. Unless you find some way of removing these people from the political equation, a GMI is a pipe dream. For example, WFF only has the high support it does because wealthy people can rort it, and they do in large numbers.

    If you have some cure for the 30% of New Zealanders who are authoritarian assholes I’d like to hear it.

  3. saarbo 3

    RL, There is a lot in this post, but one Labour policy that goes a long way to sorting some of the problems you have noted i.e: “As Warren Buffet stated, he’s paying less than 15% tax overall, while his secretary pays over 30%.” is the implementation of a Capital Gains Tax. But it needs to be implemented at full tax rates, rather than getting a 50% discount, which is why it doesn’t work as well as it should in Australia.

    Farmers often get Community Services cards because when dairy production payouts are around the current $5.90 kg ms, farmers are actually making losses. This may be despite the fact that they have 4 farms, which when they eventually sell will make them several million dollars in capital gains. There is no reason why these capital gains shouldn’t be taxed.

    • RedLogix 3.1

      The UBI is only part of Gareth Morgan’s proposals; a comprehensive CGT is another crucial element.

      But Gareth’s CGT is somewhat different to Labour’s; in particular it points up the necessity of capturing ALL asset classes, including shares and the family home. Leaving exemptions only creates more distortions and unintended consequences.

      Another question around CGT’s is whether they should be assessed on an accrued or time of sale basis. The relationship between capital gain and cashflow in a business is a complex one with many aspects to consider.

      I’ll try and put up another post on this later.

      • Colonial Viper 3.1.1

        Does Morgan say anything about a straight asset tax? On property it could be something similar to local council rates.

        It would make the accumulation of piles of unproductive assets that much less attractive.

          • Colonial Viper 3.1.1.1.1

            Gosh darn it, that man has thought of everything. Thanks geoff.

          • saarbo 3.1.1.1.2

            The CCT is interesting, something such as this asset/capital tax would certainly go some way to improving what is happening in our farming community. Having recently shifted back to the countryside, I discovered that the farmer on one side of our family home owns 8 dairy farms in our district and the farmer on the other side owns 6 farms. Fifteen years ago all of these farms were individually owned. Their farms are still being operated as standalone units using CONTRACT managers. The managers are paid approx. $50k, they must pay for all of their own cover for days off and holidays. The affect on our community from these farmers accumulating farms in my opinion is:
            1) There is a clear class system being developed with the farm owners sending their children to private boarding schools while the workers children go to the local public school. The workers and farm owners dont mix socially.
            2)The Contract managers are under immense pressure, they dont give themselves time off, recently we had a child from one of the farms come over to our home in a distressed state because of physical threats from her parents, we are currently dealing with this in conjunction with our local school.
            3)The farms are being operated at around 70% of their potential, I reckon if these farms were owner operated they would be producing significantly better. So this is clearly an economic development issue also.
            4)The 50/50 share milking system was a good way for farm workers to step up to farm ownership but greedy farm owners now use Contract managers and take a bigger slice of the income so that they can accumulate more farms. There is a trade off in farm production but farm owners are prepared to forgo this additional production as they receive more income using Contract managers.

            I reckon if New Zealand wants to optimise its farming land then there needs to be a return to owner operated farms. What is currently happening is not only sad from a community point of view but is sub optimal from an economic point of view. Something needs to be done, a capitals gain tax may help. A CCT may also need a deeper look.

            Labour has an opportunity to get farm workers on board because they certainly are not getting any protection from National. Given the structure of farm ownership, I would imagine that there are a lot more farm workers than farm owners. Labour needs to develop policy in this area to protect farm worker rights, if they can encourage farm worker solidarity in this area they could shift a number of voters from National to Labour.

            • Draco T Bastard 3.1.1.1.2.1

              3)The farms are being operated at around 70% of their potential, I reckon if these farms were owner operated they would be producing significantly better. So this is clearly an economic development issue also.

              Doubt it. I suspect that if the farmers who owned those farms were running them as well it wouldn’t change at all.

            • David C 3.1.1.1.2.2

              Interesting. I have had the good fortune of recently meeting a contract farm manager in Hawkes Bay.. I sold him a section at the beach. he is maybe 30 yrs old recently married and with a 1 yr old daughter. great family. he is a hard working lad with a hard working wife. both graduates. they own a house and a beach property now and are loving life. I have been on the property he works. It is imaculate and earning near top end of potential. His bonus payments refect this hard work.

              • Colonial Viper

                Break up big farm properties and give people like him a chance of owning their own farm.

              • saarbo

                There are cases where responsible farm owners set up good structures for their contract farmers, but unfortunately there are not enough of them. I can assure you that the Contract Managers in our area are struggling, a beach section would be a dream to them.

                But you hit something on the head when you mentioned (or should have mentioned) that the farm managers were a couple, because that is another thing farm owners often demand, that a couple apply for one job, so that they essentially get 2 people for the price of one.

                The other thing that is rare about your case is contract farm workers buying a beach section, A) most farm workers have a desire to one day own a farm and save money for this and B) Not many contract farm workers give themselves time off to enjoy holidays.

                Workers need their rights protected from unscrupulous farm owners.

    • jim 3.2

      Don!t disagree with capital gains tax,even better M.T.T.As for the fairness of a community services card for a landed or many property landed farmer should be exempt, as their greed and servicing of their debt, mortgage is of their own making.

  4. Afewknowthetruth 4

    Tax will soon become irrelevant; just look at what is happening in Greece: the tax take is imploding as the economy collapses., and the few people who do have income are avoiding paying taxes wherever possible. Britain has a similar problem, as GDP fall and retail sector declines. under ‘austerity’. Japan is ‘kaput. The US is running a faux economy based on money-printing and war.

    Okay, it will probably take another couple of years for NZ to reach a situation similar to that of Greece but there certainly is no time to fix anything within the present system.

    • RedLogix 4.1

      I don’t disagree AFKTT … but I’m still willing to back this idea because at heart I see it as not just a reform to the existing capitalist system, but opening a door to allowing the kind of innovation and change of values that just might …might make a difference.

      Hopeless romantic that I am….

      • Colonial Viper 4.1.1

        You’re not wrong RL. In the absence of effective change directly preparing for Climate Change and Energy Depletion, we can focus on the wellbeing, health and fitness (mental and physical) of the population.

        So when hard times hit and tough work needs to be done, the people of the country (and its administrative systems) are ready for it.

      • Rogue Trooper 4.1.2

        that’s from a Steve Earle song too :)

  5. just saying 5

    Really glad you’ve turned this discussion into a post of its own, Red Logic.

    Though I need to do stuff now, I look forward to reading the conversation later.

    There’s just one thing I want to mention now, and that is the gross inequality that would be the starting point for a UBI. A gaping chasm between the rich and poor in resources in the widest sense – certainly material wealth, but also, health, support systems, ability to generate more resources, and/or collaborate with other resource-rich people, middle-class nous (for want of a better term), education and skill-sets. It may be that in the long-term, some degree of inequality and poverty may be ameliorated, but why should the most deprived have to continue to wait for some theoretical future in which they get a place at the table, (if they are really good).

    Flat tax, may mean the richest would end up paying more tax than they do now, but the rich owe a lot more than that, particularly to those who have been unjustly deprived by a rigged competition in which a few have already made off with most of the loot.

    Btw, children*are* people.

  6. Bill 6

    A substantial hurdle UBI faces is the simple fact that it runs counter to one of the basic dynamics of the class war. A livable income as envisaged by UBI would mean that no-one would feel compelled to undertake soul destroying and useless jobs, meaning that no-one would profit from creating soul destroying and useless jobs. And the ‘right’ to mercilessly exploit isn’t one that’s just going to be given up.

    One powerful and incontravertable argument that I believe should be made against the preservation of the privilege to exploit, is the simple fact that our climate and civilisation can not and will not survive the flow on effects of our current market system. Given that, UBI should be argued as being one component of a raft of measures needed to help us carry out the necessary winding down of our market economy.

    Resistence to such a move (ie, a defense of the status quo) then becomes condemned as a position arguing for the inevitable short term demise of civilisation alongside the trashing of the climate. And that’s not a position anyone would have any success defending.

    • Colonial Viper 6.1

      Resistence to such a move (ie, a defense of the status quo) then becomes condemned as a position arguing for the inevitable short term demise of civilisation alongside the trashing of the climate.

      Although the above is correct, the political messaging needs to be more along the lines of:

      - The current system is wasteful, complex and full of unequal treatment and unfairness.
      - The current system leaves too many people struggling and suffering while giving too much to those who do not need it.
      - Its time for a transparent, simpler system where money and effort is spent looking after New Zealanders and not on massive bureaucracy.
      - The new approach fits in perfectly with calls for a living wage.

      • Bill 6.1.1

        Don’t know about that political messaging CV.

        ‘Everybody’ already knows the current system (ie, capitalism) is unfair, wastful and so on. And those arguments have ebbing and flowing in one form or another for the past 150 years or so. They don’t arrive at a conclusion but merely push or pull the tide of opinion this way or that.

        We don’t have time to continue with intellectual games that adopt theoretical positions in line with known pro’s and con’s of the market. We need to cut to the quick. We need to push the central and pressing problem front and center and force those unwilling to accept movement to justify their position and deny them the opportunity to obsfuscate or avoid matters by playing games based on economic theory.

        Even if Capitalism was made more equitable – even acceptably equitable – the fact remains that market driven production and consumption or distribution will simply see us, our civilisation, driven out beyond the edge of viability.

        (And before anyone is tempted to jump in here and wank on about the failings of industrial command economies as a round-a-bout way of justifying market economies on the grounds that they are a lesser of two evils, my argument is that both those types of economies are unfeasible – absolutely stupid and dangerous options – given the real world situation of climate change)

        • Rogue Trooper 6.1.1.1

          Yep

        • Colonial Viper 6.1.1.2

          All good, but unfortunately we don’t have any political grouping in NZ (including or excluding the political parties) or media outlet who will make these points.

          ‘Everybody’ already knows the current system (ie, capitalism) is unfair, wastful and so on.

          I suspect that very large numbers of ordinary people are not overtly conscious of capitalism or its mechanics, even though they carry it on their back every day.

        • Draco T Bastard 6.1.1.3

          ‘Everybody’ already knows the current system (ie, capitalism) is unfair, wastful and so on.

          Actually, everybody for the last few decades has been told that the capitalist free-market is the most efficient and fair system ever invented. It’s only in the last few years that the facts have started to show that that isn’t the case. It’s going to take awhile before a majority of people hold to the view that capitalism is wasteful and unfair.

    • Lefty 6.2

      A substantial hurdle UBI faces is the simple fact that it runs counter to one of the basic dynamics of the class war.

      You are so right Bill.

      A good UBI would be radically transformational – the sort of big idea the Salvation Army is calling for at the moment.

      A properly designed UBI would redistribute power as well as income.

      It would also lead to a redefinition of what work is and an incredible increase in level of economic and social freedom we all have.

      I am fearful of what would happen if any of our present political parties and the state bureacracy adopted the idea at the moment though.

      We would probably end up with a Gareth Morgan version of it that made it more of a streamlining of the benefit system than the introduction an unconditional right for each woman, man and child to have a basic income sufficient to meet their needs to survive and participate in society as their share of our common wealth.

      A UBI is really about the state granting this right to each person, and distributing this income to them simply because they exist.

      I think the citizens are probably going to have to make the ruling class and their minions in the parliamentary parties a little more afraid of us before they allow us a true UBI.

      • Lanthanide 6.2.1

        Gareth Morgan’s UBI was built with the goal of keeping the current welfare expenditure and tax revenue about the same, so the increase in welfare that is inherent in the UBI is offset by his changes to GST, CGT and efficiency from dramatically shrinking the welfare department.

        You could easily come up with a more generous UBI than his ($12k/year IIRC) but you have to have some way to fund it.

        • Draco T Bastard 6.2.1.1

          You could easily come up with a more generous UBI than his ($12k/year IIRC) but you have to have some way to fund it.

          That’s easy. The government creates the money and the private banks don’t. Funding is now secured and the economy can be brought into line with reality.

          • Bill 6.2.1.1.1

            You do know that no matter how often you state that obvious point DTB, that most people will continue to experience a dismissive ‘whoosh! inside their heads’?

            • Draco T Bastard 6.2.1.1.1.1

              Yep, I know. I figure if I state it often enough then maybe people will at least begin to question the present financial system.

              • Rogue Trooper

                Repitition beds bulbs in

              • TheContrarian

                Maybe you shouldn’t say such stupid things. People would pay more attention if you didn’t come up with such delusional crap while callings other stupid because they don’t share in your insane imaginings.

                Just sayin’

                • bad12

                  So printing money is only stupid if this country does it, is that what your saying,

                  I have yet to see you lambasting the US,Japan, and the British who all have in the last 5 years indulged their economies via the use of money printing, just to name a few…

                  • TheContrarian

                    No. What I am saying is Draco is a fucking idiot.

                    In fact, no, he isn’t stupid. He’s just fucking stupid…if ya know what I mean.

                    • McFlock

                      funny.
                      You always strike me as being more dense than dtb. Beneath the oozing secretions of conceit and arrogance that plaster your comments, of course.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      There’s no essential difference between the private banks providing the money supply and the government providing the money supply.

                    • TheContrarian

                      It isn’t hard to be conceited and arrogant when faced with naked idiocy.

                    • bad12

                      Oh so you have no intention of debating the ‘subtance’ of what Draco says vis a vis printing money,

                      You just feel it is relevant on this Sunday afternoon to indulge in a spot of abuse of the commenter,

                      Lucky you i don’t get to punish people for such ignorant use of this site, others have that small pleasure,

                      If i did tho, your above comments would have resulted in you receiving a severe spanking…

                    • TheContrarian

                      Hugs and kisses.

                    • bad12

                      Tick, tock, your clock just reached 2 minutes to midnight…

                    • TheContrarian

                      I’ve seen Iron Maiden play ‘Two midnights to Midnight” live twice now.

                      They kick ass in concert

                    • fenderviper

                      They should have removed you from the crowd and kicked your ass.

                    • TheContrarian

                      I had a foot of San Pedro cactus in my bag and whacked the guy in front of me in the head with it. He turned around and went “MAIDEN!!!” while giving me the goat salute.

                    • fenderviper

                      Too bad when you drank the juice from that cactus it permanently rendered you a fucking idiot.

                    • TheContrarian

                      Not permanently – it wore off after a few hours. But I missed my flight and created a scene at the airport.

                    • fenderviper

                      “No. What I am saying is Draco is a fucking idiot.

                      In fact, no, he isn’t stupid. He’s just fucking stupid…if ya know what I mean”

                      It DIDN’T wear off, nor the desire to create a scene.

                    • TheContrarian

                      Just trying to go about my day.

                      Here, lets give you hug. Poor wee lamb.

                    • fenderviper

                      I’d not accept neither cactus juice or a hug from ewe.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Oh so you have no intention of debating the ‘subtance’ of what Draco says vis a vis printing money,

                      Of course he doesn’t – because he can’t.

                    • TheContrarian

                      Hey Draco – tell me again about how Sudan can produce everything it needs and Labour is a right wing party.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      We’re waiting for you to dispute, with logic and facts, what I’ve said.

      • georgecom 6.2.2

        One important aspects of a liveable UBI is that it can break the link between income and the market. At present access to an income is dependant on being available to work, being in the labour market and exploitable by capital.

        The exception is if you are genuinely unable to work temporarily or permanently. If unavailable temporarily, considerable effort will be made to get you to the point where you are market ready. Coercion can form part of this effort. If permanently unavailable for the work your income is set at breadline levels and additional income severley taxed. You are either presenting yourself at the job market or you are encouraged, cajoled, coerced (punished) to be so.

        A UBI sets up a greater range of options and flexibilities for people. They do not need to present themselves on the job market in order to exist, or if they do go to the market, can do so more on their terms. The states role as the ‘workforce ready’ employment agency for capital is weakened. Paula Bennetts ‘workforce ready’ bureaucracies could be severly downsized.

        Some may try and argue that a UBI removes incentives to work. It won’t actually however. Incentives will still be present. How strong the icnentive is will depend on what level a UBI is set. A UBI of $2000 per person per week may leave little incentive to work given the lifestyle that can be had on that income. A level of $300 per person per week would leave much scope for people to desire extra income and the work necessary to access it.

        The UBI would also be fair to all. I cannot complain about my neighbour being a bludger and living off an income whilst I go out to work. We both receive the same income from the state. If I want or need more I can work to gain it. If my neighbour wants the minimum income they will devote their time to things they want to.

        The level of a UBI would need to include the countries ability to afford, the level to maintain a minimum standard of living and the level necessary to leave open incentive. Perhaps an amount of $300 per person per week tax free might be the starting point. A couple gets $600 per week. The age where people receive it another matter. It may be accorded to children at birth, it may have an entitlement threshold at an age where school finishes for example. A compromise between the two might be to have stepped entitlements at various ages to acknowledge the costs of raising children such as $100 p/w before 5, $150 up to the age of 12, $200 from 12 until full entitlement age.

  7. Draco T Bastard 7

    A well-designed tax system would encourage self-reliance…

    A well designed tax system would start from the reality that we’re all dependent upon each other.

    Nonetheless when the right talk about ‘welfare dependency’ they have a point; the current tax system certainly creates poverty traps that those with minimal motivation are unlikely to try very hard to leap over.

    Is it minimal motivation or the fact that there’s no way out for those people? They have no resources to hand, no chance of getting any and they’re also lacking the basic knowledge needed as well and, with needed training costing so much, no chance of getting that either. And, yes, I’m well aware that there are other factors as well.

    On all five of these underlying principles our current tax and redistributive system is completely broken.

    The only real solution we have is to design a new tax system from the ground up and that means dropping all previous precedent as well. The tinkering that we’ve had over the last century or so is what’s caused the mess that we have.

    • Colonial Viper 7.1

      Is it minimal motivation or the fact that there’s no way out for those people? They have no resources to hand, no chance of getting any and they’re also lacking the basic knowledge needed as well and, with needed training costing so much, no chance of getting that either.

      RL and I had a brief exchange yesterday on letting people band together and capitalise their UBI in order to organise communal housing, collective enterprises, group transport and amenities etc.

      Italy lets their unemployed do something similar in small collectives, with their Marcora law.

      • Draco T Bastard 7.1.1

        One of the reasons why I set the UBI to a higher rate is that people then wouldn’t need to capitalise it – they’d already have the resources available. Throw in the Learning Centres that I suggested and people of like mind could easily come together to pool those resources to start a cooperative. If the cooperative becomes successful and they need extra money to expand then an interest free loan would be available from the government, a loan that would be paid back by the taxes that the successful business pays rather than through a defined repayment schedule. This achieves a number of critical points:

        1.) People will be free to innovate
        2.) The financial capital will be available to support the cooperative
        3.) Makes the accumulation of money worthless

    • RedLogix 7.2

      A well designed tax system would start from the reality that we’re all dependent upon each other.

      Well it’s both. Yes we are all dependent on each other and that is what the redistributive function of a tax system recognises.

      But equally it only works if we are all as self-reliant (or responsible) to the extent we can be. Obviously the UBI concept would be broken if everybody chose to just live on it alone and no-one undertook any essential or productive work.

      • Draco T Bastard 7.2.1

        The question is: Responsible to whom? If it’s only responsibility to yourself, as the right seem to think, then society collapses. It must be responsibility to the community first and foremost.

        Obviously the UBI concept would be broken if everybody chose to just live on it alone and no-one undertook any essential or productive work.

        Yep, which is why I want everyone to know just what resources we have available and what needs to be done. Get that out there and I’m sure we’ll actually get what we need rather than the driving force of profit that’s destroying our world.

  8. Colonial Weka 8

    Thanks for opening up this discussion RL. The post is a good outline of what is wrong and what needs to change. I think we also need to have outlines of potential solutions and how they would work in NZ.

    eg Bill mentions above about the UBI being a livable income, but yesterday the ideas on what the UBI would be ranged from the current rate of the dole to up to $35,000 pa. If the UBI is set at the rate of the dole, then it’s not a livable income. These things need to be fleshed out and made overt in order to have useful discussion about them.

    I’d like to see what would happen to menial labour under a UBI system, but until we know what the UBI system might be, we can’t meaningfully discuss that.

    • Draco T Bastard 8.1

      …but yesterday the ideas on what the UBI would be ranged from the current rate of the dole to up to $35,000 pa.

      Nobody suggested $35k/annum. The most suggested was by me at $20k. The US$35k was the approximate amount available for every man/woman and child in NZ.

      I’d like to see what would happen to menial labour under a UBI system, but until we know what the UBI system might be, we can’t meaningfully discuss that.

      Yes we can it’s just that, without having a defined system, it would be a rather broad discussion.

      With my own system I think you’d find that a lot of menial labour would disappear and that what’s left would be higher paid. But I think that the biggest improvement would be that arsehole bosses would quickly find themselves without a job as people would no longer be forced to work for them the way that the present system does.

      • Bill 8.1.1

        Necessary but tedious or menial work could be incorporated into ‘job complexes’ rather than beng assigned to one person. And there’s no reason why wages could not then be in the form of a social wage that varied – increased – in line with how much undesirable work you took on.

        • Colonial Viper 8.1.1.1

          Necessary but tedious or menial work could be incorporated into ‘job complexes’ rather than beng assigned to one person.

          And the teams assigned to work these “job complexes” can be taught to be self managing and self organising. Eliminating the need for a supervisory or managerial class.

          • Bill 8.1.1.1.1

            … can be taught to be self managing and self organising. Eliminating the need for a supervisory or managerial class.

            Indeed. Well, almost. I’m just thinking people can’t be taught to be self managing. Rather, we have to learn, otherwise we’ve just created a new vertical division of labour.

  9. tracey 9

    redlogix 914 am

    in my experience they hate it on others and use their mythological belief in bludgers to justify or rationalise their own rorts

  10. Rogue Trooper 10

    What an Excellent post (foundational” The Big Kahuna”,and The Big Lebowski, along with “Growth Fetish”)

  11. Ad 11

    Red, really appreciate the post.
    Very thoughtful and challenging.
    I hand’t properly engaged with Morgan’s ideas before and this was a helpful bite-size.
    Tax is not my field of expertise so I won’t presume to engage other than to read properly and think.
    Seriously hope Parker and Norman are neck deep into it.

    • RedLogix 11.1

      The main thing to take away from here is not to fall for the “There is No Alternative” orthodoxy. From now on when you read or listen to any discussion around tax or redistribution, come back to the UBI concept and see how it fits.

      In most cases I’d suggest that it would be a better solution than the one the media, business or political class is offering you. There is an alternative and it works because fundamentally it treats all people exactly the same.

    • The Greens have proposed a UBI before, so I imagine they’re still well-disposed to the idea.

  12. bad12 12

    Ok the big Kahuna treats us all the same at the point of starting with a universal allowance, lets put this at $15,000 a year just for arguments sake, there’s a level playing field there but how does this alter the realities of both employment and accommodation,

    The level playing field of providing everyone with that initial $15,000 is soon destroyed when we look at how employees are paid, and how the accommodation market charges rent,

    If both accommodation costs and pay rates were not also equal across the whole of society then the only real benefit of having the universal nature of the universal benefit is that such would highly decrease the chances for politicians to denigrate beneficiaries,

    I cannot though see how a universal $15,000 would lead us to a more equal society then we have now if both accommodation costs and wage rates were not to also be equalized,

    The next problem of course is the division of labour, how do we ensure that an equal opportunity of work is made available to all…

  13. Colonial Viper 13

    Yep. The UBI is only one piece of the puzzle, but an important one.

  14. “Tax and welfare are the two most invasive and potent of all things our governments undertake; it’s time to start creating a coherent political narrative the people of this country can understand and believe in.”

    Very true. Transparency around the welfare system is a prerequiste for a well functioning democracy – irrespective of ideology.

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     The humanitarian crisis in Gaza is getting much worse and the world is marching in unprecedented numbers. New Zealanders spoke out strongly last Saturday with a march of 5,000 people in Auckland (see picture below) – the biggest march ever...
    Mana | 21-07
  • NZ needs to assist UN with aid for Gaza
    The New Zealand Government should support the United Nation's efforts to raise money to assist humanitarian aid for the people of Gaza, the Green Party said today.The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) has made a...
    Greens | 21-07
  • INTERNET MANA ROAD TRIP- LEG 2
      WAIKATO / TARANAKI / MANAWATU-WANGANUI  Tuesday July 29th, 6pm | RotoruaDistinction Hotel, Fenton Ballroom, 390 Fenton Street, Rotorua  Wednesday July 30th 6pm | HamiltonWaikato University, Price Waterhouse Coopers Lecture Theatre, Gate 7, Hillcrest Rd Hamilton  Thursday July 31st, 6pm |...
    Mana | 21-07
  • Road fix needed now, not later
    Northland’s roading system is in chaos and needs fixing fast, Labour List MP Kelvin Davis says.  “According to NZTA’s 10 year funding data every area of Northland has had a decrease in NZTA funding since 2008...
    Labour | 20-07
  • KiwiSaver innovations needed to build wealth
    The innovative changes to KiwiSaver suggested by the Financial Services Council today will be seriously considered by Labour as part of plans to make KiwiSaver universal, Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker says. “Universal KiwiSaver is an essential part of Labour’s...
    Labour | 20-07
  • Greens announce 20 hours free ECE for two year olds
    The Green Party today announced that its key social platform for this election will be to tackle child poverty and inequality by ensuring every child in New Zealand has enough to thrive.The Green Party will make a series of policy...
    Greens | 20-07
  • MANA Pasifika Says NO To Discrimination
    Vice Chairperson of MANA Pasifika James Papali’i  feels for Ms Tupou and her children after they were served with trespass orders from their  local swimming pool in new market. With no warning or explanation from the pool staff Police ordered...
    Mana | 20-07
  • MANA Movement policy release – Economic Justice – John Minto
    Address notes from Mana Economic Justice Spokesperson and co-vice President John Minto to Economic policy launch in Kelston – 2pm, Sunday 20 July 2014. Reducing inequality and giving everyone a fair go MANA Movement’s policy prescription for a rich man’s...
    Mana | 20-07
  • One-sided reporting on the Middle East Conflict
    The following was sent to New Zealand Herald, Fairfax Media, Radio New Zealand, Television New Zealand, TV3, Radio Live and ZB Network. We are writing to all of you because there are well established patterns of reporting which seem to have been adopted by New Zealand...
    Mana | 20-07
  • On so called Labour Party ‘distractions’
    The right wing of the Labour Party are constructing a narrative that Labour need to stop chasing distractions and focus on the real issues that matter and not these silly GCSB, inequality, domestic violence, media bias, TPPA issues. It is...
    The Daily Blog | 25-07
  • Selfies: Labour’s Electorate MPs are at it again
    IT’S A LITTLE TRIANGLE of grass at the corner of Rewa Street and Mt Eden Road, ideal for election hoardings. Wandering along Mt Eden Road last Saturday morning to our weekly appointment with the brunch menu at Orvieto, my family and...
    The Daily Blog | 25-07
  • Well, well, well – Jonathan Coleman did know about FBI interest into Kim ...
    Last years GCSB Town Hall meeting in Auckland Oh dear, the cover up and lies are starting to fall over now aren’t they… Coleman knew of FBI interest in Dotcom pre-residency decisionGovernment minister Jonathan Coleman knew the FBI was interested...
    The Daily Blog | 24-07
  • Why You Must March Against Factory Farming This Saturday, 12pm
    The rally this Saturday is critical because this is the FIRST TIME IN NEW ZEALAND HISTORY that a major party has agreed to ban all intensive factory farming practices. The Labour party, the Greens, Internet-Mana, the SPCA, SAFE and other...
    The Daily Blog | 24-07
  • Astronaut tweets photo of explosions over Israel and Gaza from space
      This is what a war zone looks like from space: From aboard the International Space Station, German astronaut Alexander Gerst tweeted this image as the station passed over Israel and Gaza in what he called ‘his saddest photo yet’....
    The Daily Blog | 24-07
  • When Firstline are focusing on flag burning rather than dead Palestinian ch...
    The IDF are butchering children in UN schools this morning and what’s the big issue on TV3s Firstline? Flag burning. How pathetic, and what a slap in the face to Mike McRoberts who is currently risking his life in Gaza...
    The Daily Blog | 24-07
  • ‘Victim’ vs ‘Terrorist’
    ‘Victim’ vs ‘Terrorist’...
    The Daily Blog | 24-07
  • Petition asking TVNZ to stand Hosking down as election moderator jumps to o...
    In just a day the petition calling on TVNZ to replace Hosking as the election moderator has jumped to over 2500, you can sign it here. The defence that the Right are trying to run here is that John Campbell...
    The Daily Blog | 24-07
  • When the mainstream media go feral: the descent into sheer farce, according...
    . . It had to happen, I guess… The media pack-campaign against Labour Leader David Cunliffe has managed to  plumb new depths of absurdity. On TV3, on 24 July,  TV3/Tova O’Brien ran this report on their 6PM News bulletin, about...
    The Daily Blog | 24-07
  • Coalition for Better Broadcasting: MIKE HOSKING FOR PM?
    Yes indeed. Mike Hosking is for the PM. And now he’s able to do even more as moderator (or should that be immoderator) of TVNZ’s election debates. Here at the Coalition for Better Broadcasting we feel it’s pretty safe to say that...
    The Daily Blog | 24-07
  • The lie that “There is no alternative” to neo-liberal economic policies
    Supporters of President Maduro in Venezuela rally   Since the 1980s we have had drubbed into our heads that there was no alternative to the economic and social policies unleashed at that time. It even had it’s own acronym – TINA. The...
    The Daily Blog | 24-07
  • A Kanaky tale of mining skulduggery and environmental courage
    Florent Eurisouké … still campaigning against mining. Photo: Del Abcede/PMC David Robie also blogs at Café Pacific AN EXTRAORDINARY story of mining skulduggery and a courageous struggle by indigenous Kanak environmental campaigners has been captured in a poignant new documentary,...
    The Daily Blog | 24-07
  • UNBREAKING: The list of questions Mike Hosking will use in first TVNZ leade...
    “Good evening ladies and gentlemen and welcome to the first TVNZ leaders debate being held live in the gloriously beautiful Sky City ball room. It’s such a beautiful building boys and girls, we are so blessed to have Sky City...
    The Daily Blog | 24-07
  • Internet Party Party review
      I have been to A LOT of political party functions in my time, and they tend to be dull affairs at the best of times but what is happening with Internet MANA is something quite exciting. I went to...
    The Daily Blog | 24-07
  • Dear Seven Sharp – after learning Hosking will be the leaders debate ...
    I have to be honest, I had made the decision last night  to accept Seven Sharp’s hastily offered opportunity to appear on their show after I savagely criticised the bullshit whitewash story they did on John Key’s favourite far right hate speech...
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • National refuses meeting with Maui’s advocates
    MIL OSI – Source: Green Party – Headline: National refuses meeting with Maui’s advocates Wednesday, 23 Jul 2014 | Press Release This is another reminder that the National Government does not care about the survival of the Maui’s dolphin National...
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • Message from CTU President Helen Kelly
    MIL OSI – Source: Unite Union – Headline: Message from CTU President Helen Kelly Dear MikeThere’s only 43 days until September 3, when voting in the General Election starts. The last day to vote is September 20.Thanks heaps for signing...
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • MANA Tamaki send a challenge to Labour
    MIL OSI – Source: Mana Movement – Headline: MANA Tamaki send a challenge to Labour Posted on July 23, 2014 by admin in Joe Carolan, Press Releases“Labour should set the agenda and purposely do something positively controversial once a week”,...
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • We must act to save our dolphins
    MIL OSI – Source: Labour Party – Headline: We must act to save our dolphins A new report makes it clear for the urgent need to protect Maui’s and Hector’s dolphins while arguing  it is clear that there is no...
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • School told to manipulate national standards data
    MIL OSI – Source: Labour Party – Headline: School told to manipulate national standards data Parents can have little confidence in the Government’s National Standards after an Auckland school was told to manipulate its data so it added up, Labour’s...
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • Regional economies must have tailored plans
    MIL OSI – Source: Labour Party – Headline: Regional economies must have tailored plans News that up to 114 jobs could be lost from Fonterra’s Canpac plant in Hamilton reinforces the need for a government plan to build resilient regional...
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • Auditor General slams Shared Services project
    MIL OSI – Source: Labour Party – Headline: Auditor General slams Shared Services project The Auditor-General’s Office could not have been more damning about the 18 months spent on the Central Agency Shared Services (CASS) project at the Finance and...
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • Fonterra job losses a massive blow to Waikato
    MIL OSI – Source: Labour Party – Headline: Fonterra job losses a massive blow to Waikato The potential loss of up to 114 jobs from Fonterra’s Canpac plant in Hamilton is a massive blow to the Waikato region which has...
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • Basin flyover decision an opportunity for capital
    MIL OSI – Source: Labour Party – Headline: Basin flyover decision an opportunity for capital The decision to reject the proposed flyover at the Basin Reserve must be taken as an opportunity to properly fund Wellington’s transport future and must...
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • Indonesia: New President Widodo must make good on human rights pledges
    MIL OSI – Source: Amnesty International NZ – Headline: Indonesia: New President Widodo must make good on human rights pledges Indonesia’s new President Joko Widodo must deliver on campaign promises to improve Indonesia’s dire human rights situation, Amnesty International said....
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • Communities in Sierra Leone turn their backs on female genital mutilation
    MIL OSI – Source: Amnesty International NZ – Headline: Communities in Sierra Leone turn their backs on female genital mutilation While activists gather in London to discuss strategies to tackle female genital mutilation, communities across Sierra Leone have been taking...
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • The Gambia: Activists mark 20 years of iron-fisted repression
    MIL OSI – Source: Amnesty International NZ – Headline: The Gambia: Activists mark 20 years of iron-fisted repression The Gambian government must abolish the laws and iron fisted practices that have resulted in two decades of widespread human rights violations,...
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • A blog from the front lines of Palestine: It’s time for a new narrative
    I don’t know if I follow trouble or if trouble follows me, but somehow I seem to have found myself near one of the world’s hotspots again. The difference this time is that instead of sitting in some obscure location,...
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • GUEST BLOG: Michael Wood – The Path Ahead
    It’s well established that Labour has had a difficult couple of weeks. Getting back on to a successful path requires our focus to shift from looking inwards to outwards, heightened discipline, and inner conviction. While my assessment of New Zealand...
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • Employers liquidating companies to avoid paying minimum entitlements
    Across the union movement we have seen a number of documented cases now where companies are liquidating their business in order to avoid their legal obligations, in terms of paying the minimum entitlements to their workers. The most recent example...
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • GUEST BLOG: Joe Carolan : Positively Controversial
    The protest in Auckland last weekend that the NZ Herald claimed was attend by only a hundred people. Labour should set the agenda and purposely do something positively controversial once a week. A good start would be for all their...
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • Come on TV3 News – you are better than regurgitating Israeli propaganda
    Say it isn’t true TV3 News, you are seriously bitching about this???? The leader of the Mana Party, Hone Harawira, has supported flag burning at a pro-Palestinian march in Auckland at the weekend. Mana Party flags can be seen in...
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • The brutal siege of Palestine
    70 years ago the Jews of Europe suffered as much as any people can suffer. The Nazis set about ethnic cleansing and sent 6 million to their death. Today we watch in horror as Israel, the Jewish homeland created after...
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • When the mainstream media go feral: A tale of two holidays
    . . The recent non-story on David Cunliffe’s three day holiday should be proof-positive that the mainstream media (msm) is fixated on pumping out as many “bad news” reporting as can be generated by a headline-seeking; advertising-driven; lazy corporate-media system....
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • Canterbury housing crisis a moral, economic, health, education, and social ...
    Can they build it? No they can’t.  Occasionally I come across people who don’t believe me when I say there is a housing crisis in Christchurch.  Despite all the evidence to the contrary.  Even when I tell them that every...
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • Respected world visionaries of the past speak out on Israel
    Respected world visionaries of the past speak out on Israel...
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • From Here To There: How did Labour become so hopelessly lost?
    WRITING ABOUT the Labour Party these days puts me in mind of the joke about the American tourist and the Irish farmer. Seems there was this American tourist driving down a narrow lane in the heart of Ireland. He needed...
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • Oh NOW everyone thinks the ABCs are up to no good?
    Goodness last months June seems like years away doesn’t it? In June I pointed out a move by the ABCs to destabilise Cunliffe was under way. For pointing this out, Labour Party bloggers Rob Salmond and Lynn Prentice rushed to put...
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • Dear Seven Sharp – I have little interest in appearing on your show so th...
    After savagely critiquing Seven Sharp for trying to whitewash the repulsive history of a far right hate speech merchant like Cameron Slater yesterday, Seven Sharp have contacted me and offered to do a profile on me. Here is their email…...
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • Basin Flyover decision victory for common sense
    MIL OSI – Source: Green Party – Headline: Basin Flyover decision victory for common sense Tuesday, 22 Jul 2014 | Press Release “Both popular and expert opinion opposed the flyover. The proposal was expensive, unnecessary and would have undermined the...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • CPAG Newsletter July 2014
    MIL OSI – Source: Child Poverty Action Group – Headline: CPAG Newsletter July 2014 22 July 2014 New child poverty data nothing to celebrate New data released by the Ministry of Social Development  indicates people living below the poverty line are worse...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • Hotel ordered to pay $80,000 in outstanding wages
    MIL OSI – Source: Unite Union – Headline: Hotel ordered to pay $80,000 in outstanding wages An Auckland hotel has been ordered by the Employment Relations Authority to pay nearly $80,000 in outstanding wages to two employees. Filipino couple Abraham...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • Rising interest rate and dollar driving manufacturing exports back to Globa...
    MIL OSI – Source: CTU – Headline: Rising interest rate and dollar driving manufacturing exports back to Global Financial Crisis levels The Council of Trade Unions is calling on the Reserve Bank not to raise interest rates on Thursday. “Another...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • Israel/Gaza: Attacks on medical facilities and civilians add to war crime a...
    MIL OSI – Source: Amnesty International NZ – Headline: Israel/Gaza: Attacks on medical facilities and civilians add to war crime allegations The continuing bombardment of civilian homes in several areas of the Gaza Strip, as well as the Israeli shelling...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • Central African Republic: Brazzaville talks should not lead to amnesties fo...
    MIL OSI – Source: Amnesty International NZ – Headline: Central African Republic: Brazzaville talks should not lead to amnesties for war crimes Amnesty International called on delegates to the Central African Republic (CAR) National Reconciliation talks due to take place...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • Russia increases stranglehold on dissent as five more NGOs named ‘foreign...
    MIL OSI – Source: Amnesty International NZ – Headline: Russia increases stranglehold on dissent as five more NGOs named ‘foreign agents’ The Russian Ministry of Justice today registered four more Russian human rights organizations and one environmental group as “foreign...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • Nigeria: World Bank panel turns its back on forcibly evicted community
    MIL OSI – Source: Amnesty International NZ – Headline: Nigeria: World Bank panel turns its back on forcibly evicted community The decision by a World Bank Inspection Panel to refuse to investigate a complaint about forced evictions linked to a...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • National out of touch with the regions
    MIL OSI – Source: Labour Party – Headline: National out of touch with the regions John Key is out of touch with regional New Zealand if he believes tinkering with council regulations will restore opportunities to small towns, Labour Leader...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • Flyover rejection a victory for sustainable transport
    MIL OSI – Source: Labour Party – Headline: Flyover rejection a victory for sustainable transport The rejection of the proposed Basin Reserve flyover by a Board of Inquiry is a victory for sustainable transport in Wellington and paves the way...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • Loss Leading could destroy Kiwi lamb’s reputation
    MIL OSI – Source: Labour Party – Headline: Loss Leading could destroy Kiwi lamb’s reputation Meat companies that supply supermarkets and sell New Zealand lamb as a loss leader in the United Kingdom should lose their access to this valuable...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • The Nation 26,27 July: Flavell & Harawira, Joe Hockey
    On The Nation this weekend…. With the Maori seats primed to play a pivotal role this election, Torben Akel reports from the key battlegrounds and meets the top contenders. Then the Maori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell and Mana Party...
    Scoop politics | 25-07
  • Announcement of New Zealand First Candidate for Rangitīkei
    New Zealand First has endorsed Dr Romuald (‘Rom’) Rudzki as the candidate for the Rangitīkei Electorate in the 2014 General Election....
    Scoop politics | 25-07
  • Labour Offer Len Brown a Hotel Tax
    The Taxpayers’ Union is slamming the Labour Party's plan to allow councils to levy new 'pillow taxes' and regional petrol taxes. Reacting to this afternoon’s NZ Herald report Jordan Williams, Executive Director of the Taxpayers’ Union ,...
    Scoop politics | 25-07
  • Cell phone evidence a first
    Cell phone evidence a first Evidence gathered solely from a cell phone has been used for the first time to convict a Hastings man for possessing child sexual abuse pictures. Michael Lawrence Worsnop, a 29-year-old orchard worker pleaded guilty to...
    Scoop politics | 25-07
  • New Zealand Aid Worker Helping in Gaza
    A New Zealand Red Cross nurse working in Gaza says she has never experienced anything like the current conflict in her long aid work career....
    Scoop politics | 25-07
  • Parking officers deserve safety at work
    The union representing the Auckland Transport parking officer severely beaten on July 17 says everyone has a right to go about their job without fear for their safety....
    Scoop politics | 25-07
  • Caritas Aotearoa NZ to provide Gaza humanitarian aid
    Caritas Jerusalem is providing medical assistance, food and other necessities to the thousands of vulnerable people affected by the escalating conflict in Gaza, and Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand is contributing an initial $20,000 to support the humanitarian...
    Scoop politics | 25-07
  • ALCP challenges parties to support Charlotte’s Web
    The leader of the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party Julian Crawford is calling on all other political parties to state their position on using cannabis oil to treat pediatric epilepsy....
    Scoop politics | 25-07
  • Oxfam accepts cheque from Pacific Corporation Foundation
    Oxfam New Zealand has accepted a cheque for almost $1000 today from the Pacific Corporation Foundation toward recovery efforts in the Solomon Islands, following April’s flash flooding that left thousands homeless....
    Scoop politics | 25-07
  • Draft report and decision – Pūhoi to Warkworth proposal
    The Ara Tūhono – Pūhoi to Wellsford Road of National Significance: Pūhoi to Warkworth section Board of Inquiry has released its draft report and decision....
    Scoop politics | 25-07
  • New Zealanders willing to pay tax to protect dolphins
    A report released this week shows a large majority of New Zealanders want Maui’s and Hector’s dolphins protected and they are prepared to pay for it....
    Scoop politics | 25-07
  • Stop Smart Meters
    “The Democrats for Social Credit Party (DSC) wholeheartedly endorses the Stop Smart Meters campaign for a moratorium on installations of smart meters until the technology is proven not be a risk to health, and until home owners are given a...
    Scoop politics | 25-07
  • Maori Roll Electors Urged to Vote Strategically
    Voters enrolled in the seven Maori electorates must learn to maximize their influence by voting strategically, according to the Maori Party candidate for Te Tai Tokerau, Rev Te Hira Paenga....
    Scoop politics | 25-07
  • Politicians Ignore Families’ Concerns on Street Prostitution
    Family First NZ says that politicians are ignoring the concerns of families, lack the will to take appropriate action, and are happy to drag the ongoing problem of street prostitution into the next parliamentary term....
    Scoop politics | 25-07
  • Plunket celebrates Te Wiki o te Reo Māori
    Plunket is proud to celebrate Te Wiki o te Reo Māori (21-27 July), with Plunket people across the country among several thousand New Zealanders taking part and increasing their kete of knowledge in te reo....
    Scoop politics | 25-07
  • Coleman must quit or be sacked over Dotcom case
    Immigration New Zealand has done the right thing in distancing itself from Jonathan Coleman’s claims that ministers were not aware of FBI involvement in Kim Dotcom’s residency application, says the Internet Party. Internet Party leader Laila Harré...
    Scoop politics | 24-07
  • Auckland Councillors, Not Emperors
    25 JULY 2014 Responding to the NZ Herald report that Auckland Councillors have voted to keep their ratepayer-funded business class travel perks, and considered new rules that would have exempted councillors from Auckland City's parking charges, Taxpayers’...
    Scoop politics | 24-07
  • Cunliffe Looks Dodgy Lunching with Sex Offender
    Conservative Party Leader Colin Craig says that David Cunliffe's social meeting with a known sex offender while on holiday "looks pretty dodgy."...
    Scoop politics | 24-07
  • Taxpayers’ Union Back LGNZ Calls For Greater Transparency
    The Taxpayers’ Union is backing Local Government New Zealand’s calls for the Official Information Act to be extended to cover the Local Government Commission. Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says:...
    Scoop politics | 24-07
  • Lecture series to provide insight into 2014 election
    Could National’s refusal to reform MMP lead to the defeat of the government? Is the media providing voters with the information they require to make an informed electoral decision? What directions might John Key’s leadership take if he secures...
    Scoop politics | 24-07
  • National Rally Against Factory Farming
    Animal advocates and members of the public all over New Zealand will unite for a ‘National Day of Action Against Factory Farming’ Saturday, tomorrow 26 July in response to two recent exposés that showed horrific conditions on pig factory farms....
    Scoop politics | 24-07
  • Women in Politics Finds Support at Conference
    Women in Politics, a brand-new organisation for New Zealand women in political office, was met with overwhelming support at the 2014 Local Government New Zealand Conference held this weekend in Nelson....
    Scoop politics | 24-07
  • The Government’s Fresh Water Policy – REVISITED
    Fresh water quality is the latest area to be in the sights of Gareth Morgan and his research organisation The Morgan Foundation. They enlisted a group of 16 scientists to help them review the government’s new fresh water policy....
    Scoop politics | 24-07
  • Restoration of Post-graduate Allowances to be Key Issue
    As students prepare for the early voting that will take place on all university and many polytechnic campuses next month, the restoration of post-graduate allowances, removed by the current government in 2013, is emerging as a key election issue....
    Scoop politics | 24-07
  • Honesty for Taxpayers
    ACT has a new proposal to make our democracy more accountable. The proposal may seem small but it could be the most significant idea in this election....
    Scoop politics | 24-07
  • Mike Hosking for PM?
    The Coalition for Better Broadcasting is adding its voice to the many appalled at TVNZ’s choice of Mike Hosking as moderator for the upcoming political debates....
    Scoop politics | 24-07
  • ‘Party Party’ Hitting the Right Notes
    The “sold out” sign has gone up at the Internet Party’s concert in Christchurch tonight. A capacity crowd of 1000 will be at The Foundry for the Party Party concert, part of a major national musical tour aimed at getting...
    Scoop politics | 24-07
  • New Electoral Commission Campaign Launches This Weekend
    New Electoral Commission Campaign Launches This Weekend More non-voters than ever before say they don't feel like their vote is worth anything, or that their opinion matters. It's a trend that concerns the Electoral Commission, and the reason for...
    Scoop politics | 24-07
  • Umere says ‘taihoa’ on Māori Language Strategy
    A Maori Language advocacy group, Umere, is calling for a rain check on the Māori Language Strategy Bill, which is being introduced to parliament this week. "The submissions on the MLS have been released by Te Puni Kōkiri and they...
    Scoop politics | 24-07
  • High cost of GP visits still a barrier for older children
    Free doctor's visits should be extended to all children under 18 as GP charges are a significant barrier for low income families, says Child Poverty Action Group....
    Scoop politics | 24-07
  • David Cunliffe happy to hide sex offender’s identity
    ..:: For immediate release ::.. 24/07/14 David Cunliffe happy to hide sex offender’s identity - (and in fact enjoy lunch with them)...
    Scoop politics | 24-07
  • More kids in Southland and Otago are achieving
    Clutha-Southland National candidate Todd Barclay says the Public Achievement Information for 2013 shows New Zealand children are doing better across the whole education system....
    Scoop politics | 24-07
  • Flavell mistaken
    In response to Mr Flavell’s tirade this afternoon Conservative Party Leader Colin Craig advises "Mr Flavell is simply mistaken in his comments."...
    Scoop politics | 24-07
  • High cost of GP visits still a barrier for older children
    Free doctor's visits should be extended to all children under 18 as GP charges are a significant barrier for low income families, says Child Poverty Action Group....
    Scoop politics | 24-07
  • Taxpayers’ Union Lay Complaint with Speaker
    The Taxpayers’ Unio n has written to Parliament's Speaker, the Rt. Hon. David Carter, asking him to step in and investigate the claims on the WhaleOil blog that taxpayers’ money is being improperly used for Mana Party election campaign hoardings....
    Scoop politics | 24-07
  • MANA launches te reo Māori policy
    “MANA is launching its te reo Māori policy this morning ahead of the first reading of the government’s Māori Language Strategy Bill this afternoon”, said MANA deputy leader and candidate for Waiariki, Annette Sykes....
    Scoop politics | 24-07
  • Candidate welcomes award of platinum exploration permits
    Clutha-Southland National candidate Todd Barclay has welcomed the Government’s decision to award Lynx Platinum Limited two exploration permits in Southland. Mr Barclay said the minerals industry is an important part of New Zealand’s economy...
    Scoop politics | 24-07
  • Pokie spending and numbers continue to drop
    Pub and club gaming machine expenditure in the year ended June 2014 fell 2.4 per cent from $826.3 million to $806.2 million. There were also fewer licence holders, gambling venues and gaming machines compared with 12 months earlier. Licence holders...
    Scoop politics | 24-07
  • New Zealand Police to assist in MH17 victim identification
    New Zealand Police is sending three Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) specialists to the Netherlands to assist in the international effort to identify victims from the MH17 tragedy....
    Scoop politics | 24-07
  • Oil Spill Response Strategy available for consultation
    Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) is inviting comment on its draft updated New Zealand Marine Oil Spill Response Strategy....
    Scoop politics | 24-07
  • Police response to IPCA report on Rewa investigation
    Police accept the findings of today's IPCA's report regarding its investigations into offending by Malcolm Rewa in Auckland in the 1980s and 1990s....
    Scoop politics | 23-07
  • Well-known kiwis sign on to stop ivory trade
    Today the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee will consider a complete ban on the ivory trade in response to a petition by Auckland teacher Virginia Woolf and policy analyst Fiona Gordon....
    Scoop politics | 23-07
  • Commonwealth Games are not being captioned in New Zealand
    As members of the Captioning Working Group, The National Foundation for the Deaf and Deaf Aotearoa New Zealand call for broadcast captioning of the 2014 Commonwealth Games...
    Scoop politics | 23-07
  • Majority of Commonwealth countries are already republics
    The Glasgow Commonwealth Games are here and it's a common misbelief that a Kiwi republic would mean that New Zealand would have to leave the Commonwealth. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth....
    Scoop politics | 23-07
  • Police handling of Rewa Investigation
    Although an Independent Police Conduct Authority inquiry has identified some faults with a series of investigations conducted by Police into offending by Malcolm Rewa, there is insufficient evidence that any of these impacted on the ability of Police...
    Scoop politics | 23-07
  • IPCA findings on Police handling of Rewa Investigation
    Good morning everyone. I’d like to begin today by explaining that this is an informational press conference and that I will not be taking questions at its conclusion. The reason for that is the report’s findings are the result of...
    Scoop politics | 23-07
  • Pay It Back Ms Hauiti
    Responding to the Newstalk ZB report that disgraced MP Claudette Hauiti is refusing to confirm whether or not she has reimbursed taxpayers for misuse of her Parliamentary 'P-card', Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says: “Ms Hauiti...
    Scoop politics | 23-07
  • RSA thanks NZ for $1.7m collected during Poppy Appeal
    The RSA today announced that over $1.7 million was donated to the 2014 Poppy Appeal for the support of veterans, ex-service men and women and their families in need....
    Scoop politics | 23-07
  • Students encouraged to be brave and never give up
    Students encouraged to be brave and never give up if they want to 'make it happen'...
    Scoop politics | 23-07
  • New Zealanders want to pay more to protect dolphins
    A report released this week shows a large majority of New Zealanders want Maui’s and Hector’s dolphins protected and they are prepared to pay for it....
    Scoop politics | 23-07
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