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Tax cut speculation

Written By: - Date published: 2:39 pm, May 9th, 2008 - 55 comments
Categories: tax - Tags: , ,

Now that Michael Cullen has ruled out a tax-free bracket but promised that everyone will benefit from Labour’s tax-cut package, what cuts will he give?

The simplest option would be to cut the bottom tax rate, which would deliver a tax cut for everyone. As a percentage of income the tax cut would be largest for those on the lowest incomes, while the actual monetary value of the cuts would rise until the end of the first tax bracket, and then remain constant. That would satisfy Cullen’s desire to deliver more money to those on middle incomes without giving massive cuts to those on high incomes.

In the graph below the current effective tax rate at different incomes is compared to what would happen if the 19.5% rate was cut to 16.5% or 14.5%.

(data)

The 16.5% option would cost roughly $2.3 billion and give a $23 a week tax cut for people earning $38,000+. The 14.5% option would cost $3.7 billion and deliver $38 a week. On an income of $35,000 your tax would drop by 16% in the first option and 26% in the second. My money is on a cut somewhere between these two, perhaps in several steps: say a cut to 16.5% on October 1 and another two percent off by 2010. Cullen will probably include an increase in the tax bracket thresholds as well: an initial substantial rise and inflation indexing to deliver on the promise of multi-year cuts.

Some hopefully not altogether baseless speculation to ponder.

[Vernon Small raised the idea of an additional top tax rate of 45% at $150,000 like Australia has, to fund more cuts at lower incomes. This is unlikely to happen: any increase at that level would deliver relatively little revenue ($100 to $200 million) and encourage more tax dodging, so it wouldn’t allow much more cuts at a lower level. Hardly worth the effort and the political cost of not making a clean cut.]

55 comments on “Tax cut speculation”

  1. higherstandard 1

    Steve

    I’d be surprised if you weren’t very close to the money on your speculation.

    It’ll be interesting to see the publics reaction – I suspect whatever is announced the public will view it as not enough – who’d be a politician eh

  2. roger nome 2

    Excellent post steve. That looks like a lot of work.

  3. AncientGeek 3

    I’d prefer a more sustainable approach to start the process of moving the levels of tax brackets to reduce fiscal drag effects.

    Whatever way it gets done, starting in the lowest tax bracket is the best place to work in for whole of society. Doesn’t worry me whatever way it goes really – I’m in the extreme right of that graph.

  4. Billy 4

    “I’m in the extreme right of that graph.”

    You big showoff.

    Mind you, with that impressive atom thing you did on the other thread, ssounds like you deserve to be.

  5. AncientGeek 5

    That was just digging tables out of an old textbook. Fortunately I’m at home today.

    “Geochemistry” by Arthur H Brownlow Prentice-Hall 1979. It was state of the art at the time. Reading the modern stuff makes my head hurt.

    I’m more impressed by this graph of Steves. I’m reading through the data link at present – it is more interesting than what I should be working on.

  6. big bruv 6

    Higher

    Of course it will not be enough, after nine years of over taxation the public are not going to believe a word that Cullen says.

    They would also do well to remember that he has lied once over tax cuts and will definitely do it again if he has the chance.

  7. AncientGeek 7

    Steve: What would the reduction in lowest bracket tax do to the effect of low income rebates? And I don’t understand this at the treasury site:-

    Statutory tax scale from 1 April 2000

    * 19.5c per $1 on income up to $38,000
    * 33c per $1 on income between $38,000 and $60,000
    * 39c per $1 on income over $60,000

    With low-income rebate, effective rates are:

    * 15c per $1 on income up to $9,500
    * 21c per $1 on income between $9,500 and $38,000
    * 33c per $1 on income between $38,000 and $60,000
    * 39c per $1 on income over $60,000

    How can the rate of tax increase with a rebate?

    [the rebate goes to everyone for their first $9,500 and is abated over the remainder of the 19.5% bracket. So, your first $9,500 is at 15%, then the next $28,500 is at 21%, bringing a total at $38,000 of 19.5%. Between $9,500 and $38,000, the total tax you pay gradually rises from 15% to 19.5% of your income. It’s kind of confusing, try making a graph based on the above figures and you’ll see. The “interesting” thing is there are effectively four tax brackets but we only talk about three, and it would be historically more accurate to talk of four becuase there was a 21% bracket and that got replaced by the 19.5% bracket, which as you see is really 21 cents for the most part. SP]

  8. Matthew Pilott 8

    There is talk of ‘fiscal drag’ and of course the oft-mentioned fact that only a small percentage would be in the top tax bracket when it was introduced; that number is far greater now.

    Two thoughts, one is that the government’s purchases are succeptable to inflationary pressures as well. Two, fiscal drag is caused by wages increasing – but pay increases are necesary in the public sector as well.

    Therefore continuously adjusting tax thresholds for ‘fiscal drag’ would reduce the tax take of the government, its ability to purchase goods and services, and ability to give salary increases in line with inflation to public servants…

    AG – isn’t the net effect there $0 for someone on $38,000, but with a lower rate up to $9,500 (15%) and a higher rate above it (21%) people earning under $38,000 will benefit?

  9. Patrick 9

    Just at a guess AncientGreek (sorry, it’s Friday afternon, I’m not doing any sums!) – it looks as though having a 15c rate for the first $9,500 would decrease the net amount of tax you paid.

    I vaguely recall something like this when I was doing part-time work as a student, but I never really understood it and certainly don’t now…

    Impressive post Steve, thanks for that!

  10. AncientGeek 10

    MP: I’m actually more concerned with the fiscal drag at the bottom end rather than the top end.

    If you look at the slopes in the graph above you can see the change in the velocity of tax increase with income. It steps. Now consider that just wages at the rate of inflation is is steadily going to move people to move up that slope. It makes little difference to me – but it would at 33k because the base costs are similar, but the residual income after costs is less. Note these are probably the wrong terms…

    I’m just unsure of the effect of the low-income rebate. I feel like I’m either missing something, or the numbers are incorrect.

    Anyway – better stop reading this and get some work done.

  11. Billy 11

    47% of the poulation earns less than $20k. That is astounding.

  12. Santi 12

    “47% of the poulation earns less than $20k. That is astounding.”

    Another great achievement of the socialist Labour government!

    Keep the masses impoverished so they can cast a vote for the reds in the hope of more benefits, handouts, welfare, grants and WFF.

    [pathetic Santi. even more people earnt less than that under National. Higher employment, higher labour force participation, higher minimum wage, stronger unions, have all contributed to an average 15% increase in incoems after inflation since Labour took power – add to that the increase in the social wage – Kiwisaver, 20Free, Working for Families, etc. SP]

  13. Billy 13

    59% earn less than $30k and, on current polling, at least 9% of them would vote for National.

  14. higherstandard 14

    Remember that the 47% earning less than 20k includes retirees and children.

    [It doesn’t include children who don’t work but it does include retirees. It’s 47% of registered taxpayers, not all of whom pay tax in a given year. SP]

  15. Daveo 15

    It’s a pity WFF is so hard to model as it’d be good to factor that into the effective tax rates .

  16. big bruv 16

    SP

    Despite your sickening party political statement the fact remains that Santi is right.

    Labour have done nothing in REAL terms for their core supporters, the fact remains that 47% earn less than 20k, that is disgusting.

  17. Billy 17

    SP, maybe you guys are going to have to re-evaluate your oft-repeated line that National represents a narrow interest group of big business and landed gentry. If 59% of the population earns less than $30k and National is polling over 50%, either being in the landed gentry is not what it was, or National appeals to a wider range of voters than you give it credit for.

  18. Daveo 18

    Santi- here’s one example – the minimum wage is up 70% since 1999. How does that square with your claim that “Labour have done nothing in REAL terms for their core supporters”

  19. Patrick 19

    bruv, can you please remind me, what was the minimum wage 9 years ago? What is it now?

  20. mike 20

    Surely the envy tax threshold will have to move.
    It was put in place to only affect 5% of workers and now hits 12%

  21. Daveo 21

    If 59% of the population earns less than $30k and National is polling over 50%, either being in the landed gentry is not what it was, or National appeals to a wider range of voters than you give it credit for.

    The left doesn’t argue that National doesn’t appeal to wage and salary earners, we point out National’s policies won’t benefit them (which is where dogwhistling and PR come in). There’s a crucial difference there.

  22. Daveo 22

    Surely the envy tax threshold will have to move.

    There’s no envy involved, just a recognition that those on higher incomes can afford to pay a greater share.

  23. BB. This graph includes everyone who pays tax. Now, That includes retired people, kids who work a few hours a week, beneficaires, and the 30-odd% of adults of working age who are registered for tax but aren’t in the labour force. So, those people all have low earnings but are in this graph. If you wnat info on wage growth under National and Labour, go to the archives..

  24. Joker 24

    Without wishing to single out Ancient Greek I think he has unintentionally confirmed my (very) amateur profiling of the “champagne socialist”.

    By volunteering information about how much he earns for no particular reason as some kind of boast it would appear to me that no one (i.e. his parents) taught him that this is a ghastly nouveau riche thing to do.

    From this I deduce that his parents were working class old school labour supporters.

    Having no doubt worked very hard to make himself reasonably succesful for Ancient Greek at some time there must have been some allure in the economics of the right.

    However a sense of guilt from loyalty to his working class roots or the continual exposure to socialist dogma in his formative years will always cloud his judgement.

  25. mike 25

    “Therefore continuously adjusting tax thresholds for ‘fiscal drag’ would reduce the tax take of the government, its ability to purchase goods and services, and ability to give salary increases in line with inflation to public servants ”

    So in other words the private sectors real take home pay should slowly fall to keep welfare payments and public sector’s pay high.
    And you wonder why the tide is turning…

  26. The low income rebate thing is a bit hard to understand. i tried explaining it one way above, now I’ll try the other way.

    All income to $38,000 is taxed at 19.5% but you get 4.5% back on the first $9,500. After that they gradually take back that rebate from you by adding 1.5% to the 19.5%. At $38,000, the rebate is all gone but if you earn less than $38,000 (like most people) you still get some part of the rebate).

    The graph I’ve done is a little unsatisfactory because it’s based on incomes groups, and so the line jerks about a bit when in reality it’s a series of curves – at the start of every bracket the curve is relatively steep and then eases off as it starts to approach the level of that threshold – the effective rate of tax paid can never reach the bracket rate (execpt in the first bracket) because not all your income has been taxed at that bracket, hence the shape of the curve, apporaching the rate at the declerating rate, never able to touch it (think of dividing 1 by 2, then the result by 2, then the result by 2, you get closer and closer to 0 at a slower and slower rate but can’t touch it, same shape curve)

  27. Here’s that the current effective tax rates actually look like

    Tax as a percent of income graph

    like I say, couldn’t do that in combination with the population distribution. Might see if Tane, our images guru, can work something out for when the real tax cuts come.

    [lprent: corrected link so it was readable]

  28. Matthew Pilott 28

    Mike,

    1 – still sticking with the envy tax line are we? So how are your politics of greed going? Seems even National has abandoned them, rough bro. Can’t say I’m sorry…

    2 – “So in other words the private sectors real take home pay should slowly fall to keep welfare payments and public sector’s pay high.
    And you wonder why the tide is turning

    No. Drag only occurs with increase in pay. You get a pay rise and an increased proportion gets taken out in tax but your real take-home pay increases. Learn some basic maths, and try to think beyond making irrelevant inflammatory statements, they don’t add much.

  29. Matthew Pilott 29

    Joker, as an amateur profiler, what are you singling out a champagne socialist from? A 1950’s Soviet Railway worker perhaps?

    That term has no meaning, unless you think all socialists are poor, or anyone who is wealthy will automatically become conservative.

    Or are you saying that all socialists must live on collective farms and read Little Red Books?

  30. AncientGeek 30

    Joker: you name yourself well. Your simplified assumptions say more about your intellect than almost anything else you could have done.

    The reason why I gave an idea of my income is because there has been too much concentration on the upper incomes in the tax debate. The real issues for the whole of society are at the bottom income levels. A standard wingnut tactic is to denigrate on relative advantage in tax cuts.

    FYI: If you scale it in terms of income tax. Most of my extended family are usually in the mid to top brackets and have been since the depression. But we have and have had family members in just about every income bracket. It depends on what you find important. The family doesn’t do much inherited wealth transfer – we live too long. So everyone starts low. This gives an appreciation of choices to make.

    In the family, there is general agreement that what is good for all of society is good for us in the long-term.

    So we don’t get carried away by quick-fix solutions offered by the conservatives. That is something for people without a sense of history

  31. higherstandard 31

    MP

    “Or are you saying that all socialists must live on collective farms and read Little Red Books?”

    There’s no denying it would be a vote winner !

  32. AncientGeek 32

    Steve: thanks – those explanations (especially the graph) made it much clearer.

  33. Billy 33

    “Or are you saying that all socialists must live on collective farms and read Little Red Books?”

    I think that is only reasonable.

  34. rex brown 34

    “As a percentage of income the tax cut would be largest for those on the lowest incomes”

    Is that the goal? If so, why?

  35. Matthew Pilott 35

    Social Democrat Billy, remember there’s a difference!

  36. Billy 36

    So you say…

  37. Phil 37

    “[Vernon Small raised the idea of an additional top tax rate of 45% at $150,000 like Australia has, to fund more cuts at lower incomes. This is unlikely to happen: any increase at that level would deliver relatively little revenue ($100 to $200 million) and encourage more tax dodging, so it wouldn’t allow much more cuts at a lower level. Hardly worth the effort and the political cost of not making a clean cut.]”

    I think you need to be a little clearer about “tax dodging” which, when taken out of context, can be a very serious allegation to be levelled at an individual person or company.

    There is a distinct difference between “Tax Evasion” (illegal) and “Tax Avoidance” (which is transparent and legal). The type of ‘tax dodge’ that you talk about is the latter.

  38. Hillary 38

    Phil,’tax dodge’ as in rich people paying expensive accountants and lawyers to ‘minimise their tax liability’. While wage earners have almost no scope to ‘minimise their tax liability’. Fair, aye?

  39. mike 39

    “No. Drag only occurs with increase in pay. You get a pay rise and an increased proportion gets taken out in tax but your real take-home pay increases.”

    Why should pay increases be sucked up by fiscal drag?
    Will you socialists ever learn that rewarding production is the answer not penalising it.

  40. ak 40

    ah gee, so sad. A whole thread on money. Saw it coming.

    When the tories put up the most blatant election bribe I’ve ever seen in 2005 they dragged everyone down to their level. With the Press now so obviously shallow and blatantly pro-tory it could be a $30/wk versus a $45/wk election.

    Jesus. What an ignominious situation for such a proud, idealistic and world-leading country.

    Labour must continue to lead. Onya Hells and Culls – Slippery’s munificent flip-flops have delivered you an unprecedented and fully mandated platform to project us (and the world) yet further along the path of social evolution.

    Be bold. Race relations is both huge opportunity and electoral – hang on the league tests on – seeya

  41. Why should pay increases be sucked up by fiscal drag?
    Will you socialists ever learn that rewarding production is the answer not penalising it.

    ————–

    You mean profit, and generally its considered its own reward.

  42. ak 42

    (bastard! – no urgency, overhyped, overpaid pack of …. anyway, yes where were we, that’s right

    – GO! Cully and Hels, Slippery’s craven flipflops have given your progress to date an indelible seal of approval and the mandate to press on with further advances in social justice.

    Kiwis won’t be fooled again by the private-owned media. Go for it. Ignore the “New Zealand Sucks” fearmongers and Hollow Men arse-lickers: seize the advantage and pledge to raise maori life expectancy by four years within ten.

    It’s achieveable. It’s world-leading. It’s disgraceful that it hasn’t yet been seriously attempted.
    Go on Hels. Is Slippery going to say it’s an undesirable outcome? Ask him: and the Maori Party.

  43. mike 43

    “pledge to raise maori life expectancy by four years within ten.”

    More racist policy from the left. What a laugh
    Didn’t dear leader retreat on “closing the gaps” faster than “carbon neutrality”

  44. Higherstandard 44

    From a medical perspective it would be a miracle to raise the life expectancy of Maori by this amount in such a short period.

  45. big bruv 45

    ak

    Seems like “Culls and Hells” are going to suffer the same fate as your league team.

  46. Higherstandard 46

    BB

    Unlike the league team they will however fight tooth and nail.

    Don’t know what it is about our rugby and league players at the moment seems to be an acute “lack of ticker”

  47. Phil 47

    Hillary

    ” ‘tax dodge’ as in rich people paying expensive accountants and lawyers to ‘minimise their tax liability’. While wage earners have almost no scope to ‘minimise their tax liability’. Fair, aye ”

    Sure, because it’s so very expensive to set up a company in New Zealand, and it’s so very hard to complete all the documentation required to run it that you simply must spend thousands of dollars on expensive lawyers and accountants to do it.

    If someone is earning enough that it’s cheaper to set themselves up as a company and pay the company tax rate on their personal income, then good on them. That’s the beauty of progessive tax systems. If you want to offer an alternative (flat-tax anyone?) then be my guest.

  48. ak 48

    bruv: “”Culls and Hells’ are going to suffer the same fate as your league team”

    too right bruv – start off behind and convincingly win the second half in November

    HS: “miracle”: that’s what I’d always thought too – “too hard basket” – until I recently saw (by accident) a paper on improvements in cardiac intervention rates for Maori males that had come about purely from the introduction of a “check list” for specialists. You should know better than anyone that late presentation is a huge factor – something as simple as more community-based kaiawhina with a focus on primary checks could work wonders.

  49. higherstandard 49

    ak

    While I applaud your optimism you will not be able to lift Maori life expectancy by 4 years in a decade while surgery is my specialty current public health intiatives will be lucky to maintain current life expectancy in light of the increasing incidence of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

    The major problem is poor diet and inactivity amongst this group coupled with thrifty genetics these behaviours aren’t changed in 10 years.

  50. randal 50

    I hear JOhn KEYS IS PROMISING A 10% GENERAL WAGE ORDER IF NATIONAL WINS?

  51. “There is a distinct difference between “Tax Evasion” (illegal) and “Tax Avoidance” (which is transparent and legal). The type of ‘tax dodge’ that you talk about is the latter.”

    Yeah, Phil, I’m aware of the difference between evasion and avoidance. There’s no arguing that the latter is still not a concerted effort to avoid tax, ie dodge it.

    Like Hillary says, that’s a rich man’s game.

    I disagree with your comments on the cost of opening a company in NZ – we’re rated the second easiest country in the world to do so, and it only costs, what, $400?

    Does a progressive tax system open room for tax avoidance? Sure. Does it also allow us to get the level of public services the public desires without taxing the poor into the ground? Yes. There’s no reason to throw the baby out with the bathwater by going for flat tax because of what are only minor tax avoidance issues and false economies.

    Perhaps more suitable for some future post, but most the tax avoidance uses trusts, which are taxed at 30%, to take income that would normally be taxed at 39%. I question the value of trusts fullstop but, without going that extreme, I believe there must be a way to clamp down on this gaming of the system by the wealthy for their beneift and everyone else’s lost (I wonder how many of those people on zero income in the graph are actually raking it in and using companies and trusts to avoid tax.. it’s not illegal but it should be).

  52. Billy 52

    Steve, I think you will find that trustee income is taxed at 33%.

    [right you are. I thought it was moved with the corporate rate. SP]

  53. Matthew Pilott 53

    Billy – not if it’s a PIE

  54. Santi 54

    Long live the PIEs, one good idea of this socialist government helping me to reduce my tax take and maximise the use of cash resources.

    It’s just a pity that it generates more work for accountants and tax advisers, due to its complexity.

    Lower taxes and make live simpler, I’d say.

  55. uroskin 55

    Leona Helmsley said tax is something only the little people pay.
    If you can’t afford a creative accountant, you shouldn’t be in business.

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    Another month and another good patronage result from Auckland Transport – particularly for rail. Patronage in April is naturally down on the madness that is March due to the combination of a 30 day month, ANZAC day, Easter and School Holidays/Uni holidays.… ...
    1 day ago
  • Children and steady-as-you-go – but how steady?
    There are three political dimensions to the budget’s star “children in hardship” item. One is John Key’s ownership. That fits his protestations of concern about disadvantaged children — though action has been slow coming. He made his pile in… ...
    Colin JamesBy Colin James
    1 day ago
  • Thoughts on budget 2015
    There’s a Herald summary here. I’ve been saying for a while that ‘neoliberalism’ – ie a belief in the efficacy of free markets, the distortionary evil of taxes and benefits and the minimalisation of the state – is dead. There… ...
    DimPostBy danylmc
    1 day ago
  • What if your MP was decided on the flip of a coin?
    The provincial election in the Canadian province of Prince Edward Island finally came to an end a couple of days ago when its last MLA was declared elected following a judicial recount.(What - you didn't know that Prince Edward Island… ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    1 day ago
  • Gordon Campbell on Budget 2015
    From the outset, the slogan for yesterday’s Budget – “The Plan Is Working” – begged to be mocked. There’s actually a plan for the national economy? Who knew? And its been working for whom, exactly? Not for families in poverty,… ...
    2 days ago
  • Building better connections between Asia and the Pacific
    Speech – New Zealand Government I am delighted to have the opportunity to speak at this International Conference on the Future of Asia.22 May 2015 Building better connections between Asia and the Pacific (speech delivered to 2015 Nikkei Forum, Tokyo,… ...
    Its our futureBy ScoopBlogPush
    2 days ago
  • Budget 2015: Media releases and tertiary education coverage
    We will update this page over the next few days with media releases and news stories on Budget 2015 and its effect on tertiary education and on employment. Radio NZ: Govt tightens education purse strings The Government is expecting fewer… ...
    2 days ago
  • Helping Our Heritage Come Alive – Mt Eden Rd
    This is an image from Mark Bishop. Here are the previous posts: Queen and Wellesley, Newton Rd, Kingsland These images were developed by merging together various historic black and white photographs (all from the “Sir George Grey Special Collection” –… ...
    2 days ago
  • Budget 2015 shows no plans for public sector wages
    The Public Service Association (PSA) says this budget does not address the wage rises needed across the public sector. ...
    2 days ago
  • Don’t expect to see chemical safety data sheets in restaurants
    I keep coming across this very naive form of chemophobic scare-mongering – the use of safety data sheets to frighten consumers about trace chemicals in their environment, food and drink. Here is an example anti-fluoridation propagandists continually use – safety data… ...
    2 days ago
  • World News Brief, Thursday May 21
    PunditBy Daily Digest
    2 days ago
  • Hard News: Mediaworks: The only horizon they see
    When it emerged last month that Campbell Live was facing the axe, I ventured that Mediaworks had become far more Julie Christie's company than it was John Campbell's. And I think that's the reality behind the news that Campbell Live… ...
    2 days ago
  • Andrew’s little Poem
    by Don Franks Twas the night before Budget When just for a change Andrew Little’s thought’s did more widely range Labour’s leader cast round in his mind for an angle On which a publicity moment might dangle Some little device… ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 days ago
  • One good thing
    Today's budget is a dismal affair, as the government shuffles money around and announces new spending while conveniently forgetting to mention that its a sub-inflation rise and that health and education are going backwards - as they have every year… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Budget tougher for students – NZUSA and TEU media release
    Lowering the annual fee increases for students from 4 percent to 3 percent means universities, polytechnics and wānanga will have less money, say national student and staff unions NZUSA and TEU. Slightly slower fee rises are no good if the… ...
    2 days ago
  • Blah Budget: Lala-land forecasts on housing investment
    Some of the forecasts in the Budget beggar belief, and when they almost inevitably turn out wrong they spell disaster for New Zealand families. Here’s the clearest example. In the last year, investment in residential property ballooned by 16%. In… ...
    PolityBy Rob Salmond
    2 days ago
  • Blah Budget: Cynical bribery on the horizon
    Bill English has said time and again that new spending initiatives of around $1 billion each year are the responsible thing to do, and are the new normal. And, in the next two years, he is as good as… ...
    PolityBy Rob Salmond
    2 days ago
  • Blah Budget: Share of the economy going to workers continues to fall
    The BEFU documents today have unwelcome news for workers. Over the next four years, the share of the economy that ends up in the hands of workers through their wages will fall by around 1.3%. That 1.3% of GDP,… ...
    PolityBy Rob Salmond
    2 days ago
  • Bill English’s Budget illustrates complexity in welfare system
    Budget 2015 has been touted as a package for the poor. And it certainly delivers them more money. However, it gives with one hand and takes away with the other, revealing the confusing and perverse nature of our welfare system.… ...
    Gareth’s WorldBy Geoff Simmons
    2 days ago
  • Blah Budget: Pathetic half-measure on housing
    Yesterday, Paddy Gower thought he had a big scoop. He had leaked Budget docs alluding to a big government-lead house-building programme in Auckland. Today, the pathetic truth is revealed. The Budget puts only $52.2m – as a one off –… ...
    PolityBy Rob Salmond
    2 days ago
  • Blah Budget: Good idea on child poverty. Pity about the tinkering package.
    I can only speak personally, but I am genuinely pleased that the government is following through on its promise to focus on child poverty. New Zealand’s rates of child poverty are appalling, and anything that helps to bring them down… ...
    PolityBy Rob Salmond
    2 days ago
  • Blah Budget: Why there won’t be a surplus next year, either.
    Having failed to reach surplus in this, his promised year, Bill English looks set to fail next year, too. Having been over-optimistic this year to the tune of almost $1.2b – comparing BEFU 2014 to BEFU 2015 - Treasury has… ...
    PolityBy Rob Salmond
    2 days ago

  • Another new tax, another broken promise
    National has unveiled yet another new tax in this budget – a rural broadband levy that will almost certainly result in an immediate price hike for internet and telephone connections across New Zealand, Labour’s ICT spokesperson Clare Curran said “The… ...
    18 hours ago
  • Anniversary of Sri Lankan Tamil Massacre
    This is not going to be a happy story but if the Green Party of Aotearoa doesn’t want to know who else will? May 18th marks the anniversary of what is known as the ‘Mullivaikal massacre’ of Tamils in 2009 at… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    18 hours ago
  • Labour MPs join youth to take part in 40 hour famine
    A team of Labour MPs took part in the 2015 World Vision 40 hour famine and we were told by World Vision and the young people, that it was the first time MPs had joined them and how appreciative they… ...
    18 hours ago
  • Rodeo: ‘Family entertainment’ or animal abuse?
    Recently  TVNZ ran a story with confronting footage showing rodeo animals being punched, repeatedly shocked with electronic prods and having their tails violently twisted over their backs. It was clear that significant force was being used behind the scenes to make… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers MP
    18 hours ago
  • Budget puts the squeeze on police
    The Government has cut funding to the New Zealand police force in the latest Budget, says Labour’s Police spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “The reduction is a whopping $15.3 million that could put front line officers at risk. ...
    19 hours ago
  • Crucial social services take another hit
    The Government looks set to slash half a million dollars of funding for critical social services, including Women’s Refuge and Barnados, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni “Taking $500,000 from organisations aimed at improving the lives of vulnerable families… ...
    19 hours ago
  • Saying it Loud on Climate in Christchurch
    The Government’s Christchurch consultation meeting on New Zealand’s emission targets was inspiring – not for what was in the Ministry for the Environment’s (MFE’s) defeatist video about the obstacles to changing to a low carbon future, but for what the… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    21 hours ago
  • Budget silent on small business
    The Government has completely ignored one of the most important sectors of the economy – small and medium-sized enterprises – in Budget 2015, Labour’s Small Business spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. "A stunning 41 per cent of jobs were created by… ...
    21 hours ago
  • Thank you John, it’s been bloody marvellous
    The departure of John Campbell is a blow to current affairs investigative journalism, Labour’s Broadcasting Spokesperson Clare Curran says. “Campbell Live stood out in its field. Its axing comes as local broadcasting in New Zealand remains in a state of… ...
    22 hours ago
  • KiwiSaver cut shows no long-term plan
    National’s cutting of the KiwiSaver kickstart is incredibly short-term thinking, typical of a Budget that is woefully short on ideas to generate wealth and opportunity, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “New Zealand’s savings rate is far too low. KiwiSaver… ...
    24 hours ago
  • National hits the panic button for its 7th Budget
    National has hit the panic button for its 7th Budget in a desperate attempt to look like they’re taking action to reduce our shameful child poverty rates, but they are giving with one hand and taking with the other, Opposition… ...
    2 days ago
  • Panic and back-flips can’t hide twin deficits
    National’s token measures to fight fires they have left burning for seven long years can’t hide a Budget that is long on broken promises, short on vision and fails to reach surplus, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “After being… ...
    2 days ago
  • Auckland land measure seven years too late
    National are so desperate to look like they are doing something about the Auckland housing crisis they have dusted off Labour’s 2008 inventory of government land available for housing and re-announced it, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Despite National… ...
    2 days ago
  • Access to gender reassignment surgery essential
    I was frankly disgusted to hear the Minister for Health say that funding gender reassignment surgeries is a “nutty idea”. A recent study found that in New Zealand 1% of young people identified themselves as transgender, and 3% were unsure… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    3 days ago
  • Global milk prices now lowest in 6 years
    The latest fall in the global dairy price has brought it to the lowest level in six years and shows there must be meaningful action in tomorrow’s Budget to diversify the economy, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Dairy prices… ...
    3 days ago
  • Big risks as CYF checks stopped
    Revelations that Child, Youth and Family is no longer assisting home-based early childhood educators by vetting potential employees should set alarm bells ringing, Labour Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. “Doing away with an extra mechanism for checking potential new employees… ...
    4 days ago
  • Housing crisis about real people not numbers
    The Government’s continued failure to tackle the housing crisis is seeing thousands of vulnerable Kiwis being kept off social housing waiting lists, while others, who are on the list, are being forced to live in cars and garages, says Labour’s… ...
    4 days ago
  • Housing crisis about real people not numbers
    The Government’s continued failure to tackle the housing crisis is seeing thousands of vulnerable Kiwis being kept off social housing waiting lists, while others, who are on the list, are being forced to live in cars and garages, says Labour’s… ...
    4 days ago
  • State of origin
    Kiwis are increasingly concerned about the food they give their families. New Zealand consumers have the right to know where their food has come from, particularly when it involves animals, and should be able to expect our Government to label… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    4 days ago
  • Relationships Aotearoa
    It is disturbing that Relationships Aotearoa, a voluntary organisation set up in 1949 to help couples struggling with their relationships following the upheavals of World War II, may be forced to close, says Acting Spokesperson for the Voluntary and Community… ...
    4 days ago
  • An economy that is just working for some is an economy that is not working
    The National Party presents itself as a great manager of the economy, but if the economy is only working for some we really need to question that assertion. Alongside the perpetually elusive surplus, the levels of risk in our economy are… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    4 days ago
  • An economy that is just working for some is an economy that is not working
    The National Party presents itself as a great manager of the economy, but if the economy is only working for some we really need to question that assertion. Alongside the perpetually elusive surplus, the levels of risk in our economy are… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    4 days ago
  • House prices to a crack $1 million in 17 months
    The average Auckland home is on track to cost $1 million in 17 months’ time if nothing substantial is done to rein in soaring price rises, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “Auckland’s house prices have skyrocketed 63 per cent… ...
    4 days ago
  • Vital support services can’t be left in lurch
    The National Government has big questions to answer about how a provider of services to thousands of vulnerable New Zealanders is set to fold, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. Relationships Aotearoa which provides support and counselling to families, individuals… ...
    5 days ago
  • Treasury and IRD on a capital gains tax
    Both the Treasury and IRD have been advising the National Government on the benefits of a capital gains tax. Documents released to the Green Party under an Official Information Act request show that John Key has been selective with the… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    5 days ago
  • Charity legislation needs review
    It is unacceptable that the big corporate based charities claim  millions in annual income tax exemptions, while small community based and operated non-profit organisations  struggle to gain official charity status, Labour’s acting spokesperson for the Voluntary and Community Sector Louisa… ...
    5 days ago
  • John’s panic-Key response to housing crisis
    John Key needs to tell New Zealanders what caused his sudden change of heart that led to the Government’s scrambled and last-minute housing measures, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “The Prime Minister’s sudden rush of blood to his head followed… ...
    5 days ago
  • Keep our Assets Christchurch Campaign: An update
    I recently presented my submission to keep Christchurch Council assets at the Christchurch City Council’s public hearings on its 10 year plan on 13 May. The hearings are live-streamed and recorded so you can watch them on www.ccc.govt.nz. The Council’s… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    5 days ago
  • John Key finally admits there’s a housing crisis
    John Key’s weak measures to rein in the astronomical profits property speculators are making are an admission – finally – that there is a housing crisis, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “But yet again National is tinkering with the housing… ...
    6 days ago
  • Government stifles voices in CYFs review
    The Government’s exclusion of the Māori Women’s Welfare League in a panel on the future of CYFs is a cynical ploy to stifle views, says Labour’s Māori Development Spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta. “It's unbelievable that a significant review on the future… ...
    1 week ago
  • Speech to the Otago Chamber of Commerce
    Thank you very much for the opportunity to be here today. It’s a pleasure as always to be back in the town that raised me. Growing up in St Kilda meant that there was one thing that was a big… ...
    1 week ago
  • Key can’t just be Prime Minister for Parnell
    John Key must show New Zealanders in next week’s Budget that he is more than the Prime Minister for Parnell, and is also the Prime Minister for Pine Hill, Putararu and Palmerston North, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. In… ...
    1 week ago
  • Stop the conversions
    This week, some Waikato locals took me and intrepid photographer Amanda Rogers on a tour of some  lakes and waterways in their region, and up to the massive dairy conversions in the upper catchment of the Waikato River. It… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    1 week ago
  • More regional jobs go in Corrections reshape
    News that 194 Corrections staff are to lose their jobs will have ramifications not only for them and their families but for the wider community, Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis says. Prison units at Waikeria, Tongariro and Rimutaka face closure… ...
    1 week ago
  • Government’s climate meetings off to a bumpy start
    On Wednesday, I attended a hui and an evening meeting that the Government had organised in Nelson as part of its climate change consultation tour, to support the Nelson community telling the Government to take meaningful action on climate change.… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    1 week ago
  • Taxpayers the only ones left feeling blue
    Ministry of Social Development bosses could have saved themselves thousands of dollars in consultants’ fees by providing staff with rose-tinted spectacles, Labour’s State Services spokesperson Kris Faafoi says. A report out today reveals the Ministry is spending over half a… ...
    1 week ago
  • Why are the regions still facing restrictions?
    Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford is questioning why the regions should continue to be saddled with LVR lending restrictions announced by the Reserve Bank today. “Labour has been calling for the regions to be exempted from LVRs for the best… ...
    1 week ago
  • The high costs of weak environmental regulation
    Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere is described on the Department of Conservation website as “Canterbury’s largest and New Zealand’s fifth largest [lake], and an internationally important wildlife area.” But the lake is also polluted by nutrients leaching from farms in the catchment.… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    1 week ago
  • Submissions to Wellington City Council on their Gambling Venues Policy
    Every three years Councils across the country are required to check that their gambling venue policies are still fit for purpose and they can choose to consult on their policy if they are thinking of making changes. Councils don’t have… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    1 week ago
  • Reserve Bank action shows Govt out of touch and out of ideas
    The Reserve Bank’s unprecedented measures today show it understands the serious risks of the overheating housing market – in complete contrast to John Key’s refusal to acknowledge the crisis, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “The Bank is right to… ...
    1 week ago
  • Send us your snaps: 25 Years of the Green Party
    This year we've hit a milestone. We're turning 25.To help celebrate a quarter of a century, please send us your photos from the last 25 years of the Green Party Aotearoa New Zealand! Note: Photos must be jpg, gif or… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • 25 Years of the Green Party
    This year the Green Party sends 25. To help us celebrate a quarter of a century please send us you photos of 25 years of the Green Party!Photos must be jpg,gif or png and smaller than 2MB. If you are… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Bay growth plan too little too late
    Today’s Bay of Plenty growth study from MBIE is another example of Government spin - lots of talk but little action, says Labour’s Regional Development spokesperson David Cunliffe.  “This is a region that desperately needs to develop the downstream processing… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government bows to ACC pressure
     The Government has finally buckled to pressure from Labour and the New Zealand public in making a half billion dollar cut to ACC levies, but the full benefits are two years away,” says Opposition Leader Andrew Little.  “$500 million over… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • False figures cloud Auckland transport facts
    The Prime Minister should apologise and issue a correction after both he and Transport Minister Simon Bridges have been caught out misrepresenting facts on Auckland’s transport spending, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. "Both John Key and Simon Bridges have… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Govt books confirm National can’t post surplus
    The last publication of the Government’s books before the budget shows National will break its promise of seven years and two election campaigns and fail to get the books in order, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson. “The Government is… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • US state joins NZ with GE food labelling
    New Zealand has a similar law making the labelling of many GE foods compulsory, but the Government seems to let it slide.  Because the government has not monitored or enforced our GE food labelling laws since 2003, it seems the… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour Pays Tribute to Erima Henare
    “E ua e te ua tata rahi ana, Ko te hua i te kamo taheke i runga raa. No reira e te rangatira Erima takoto mai I roto I te ringa o Ihowa o nga Mano e moe e.” ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour Pays Tribute to Erima Henare
    “E ua e te ua tata rahi ana, Ko te hua i te kamo taheke i runga raa. No reira e te rangatira Erima takoto mai I roto I te ringa o Ihowa o nga Mano e moe e.” ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour Pays Tribute to Erima Henare
    “E ua e te ua tata rahi ana, Ko te hua i te kamo taheke i runga raa. No reira e te rangatira Erima takoto mai I roto I te ringa o Ihowa o nga Mano e moe e.” ...
    2 weeks ago

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