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Ten ways to beat our snowballing debt

Written By: - Date published: 7:22 am, December 9th, 2010 - 69 comments
Categories: economy, john key, leadership, Left, national - Tags: ,

Even Fran O’ Sullivan has been moved to admit (ht: ianmac) that our current Emperor has no clothes:

Speaking frankly, aren’t we all starting to get a bit concerned that the National-led Government seems asleep at the wheel when it comes to dealing with our snow-balling debt?

Speaking frankly, some of us are more than “a bit” concerned, and have been for some time. Anyway, Fran goes on to outline her very own right wing action wish list:

1 – MASTERMIND A REAL TAX SWITCH

Ramp up GST to 20 per cent. Sure it’s regressive…

2 – REVAMP SUPER

Means-test New Zealand Superannuation and move the qualifying age for the able-bodied to 67 by 2017 …

3 – SLASH MOST PUBLIC SECTOR PAY RATES BY AT LEAST 10PC

… Most top state bosses could usefully take a 30 per cent – or more – haircut …

4 – AXE THE MINISTRY OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

Let’s face it, the ministry was mainly a sop to Jim Anderton …

5 – INTRODUCE A CAPITAL GAINS TAX AND/OR LAND TAX

… It is quite simply a nonsense to continue to run a system which protects the asset-rich …

6 – MEANS TEST GOVERNMENT GRANTS FOR CREATIVE INDUSTRIES

… Axe all top-up student funding for topics such as “gender studies” and the like …

7 – INCREASES IN TAXES

Savagely increase excise taxes for alcohol and tobacco …

8 – TELL LEN BROWN TO GET THE AUCKLAND COUNCIL TO FUND ITS OWN RAIL INVESTMENTS

… If the council was smart it would simply sell down its Auckland International Airport Holding and/or Ports of Auckland …

9 – BRING IN A BANKING PROFITS LEVY

… Step-up prudential supervision so banks can’t fund another era of excess …

10 – ROLL BACK LABOUR’S ELECTION BRIBES

… Nor can we afford interest-free student loans …

There’s a couple of points I agree with, but not many. I think we need to do better. Much better. So what would a leftie action list look like? What would be items on your top ten list for reducing debt?

69 comments on “Ten ways to beat our snowballing debt”

  1. I’m not against raising GST if, as Fran suggests, its offset by removing it on food,

    revamping Super is OK,

    cutting public sector wages is dumb – drive more talented people out of public service, cut household incomes,

    dismantling MED and putting its parts elsewhere is just fiddling around, pointless tinkering

    capital gains/land tax – yup

    means test government grants – small potatoes and probably more complicated than it first appears. Of course, the first thing you would do is stop subsidising the production of Hollywood movies that are going to make billions in profits.

    increasing excise on alcohol and tobacco is ok but if this is actually about harm reduction then there’s whole lot of other things that need to be done. Old Zet’s written about that.

    we don’t expect councils to fund their own roads (even local roads are funded out of the National Land Transport Fund), why should rail get different treatment?

    Banking profit levies seem good to me, but again, there’s other things – not letting them loan with too low deposits, making them raise more of their money in NZ.

    I don’t see how we can afford not to have interest-free student loans. What is with the rightwing instinct to slash education? It’s madness.

    • r0b 1.1

      I’m surprised by your first point on GST Marty. Tell us a bit more about your reasoning?

      • Marty G 1.1.1

        well, GST is regressive, yes, but if you take it off food and it’s already not on housing then it doesn’t apply to a lot of what low income families are spending their money on. You’re effectively taxing consumption of ‘wants’ rather than ‘needs’, and the regressiveness is probably alleviated.

        I think in general for a country that is heavily indebted to the rest of the world working and earning an income is desirable, whereas consumption is less desirable. So, if you could tax income less by taxing consumption more (and that reduction in income tax didn’t all go to the top end but went on making the income tax system more progressive to counteract the regressiveness of GST) and you weren’t taxing consumption of basic needs, that would encourage a better outcome – more take-home income, more saving, less consumption.

        I was actually going to make GST off food funded by raising it on everything else part of the big tax post the other day – but I thought there was enough to chew on already :)

        • r0b 1.1.1.1

          Cheers Marty.

        • felix 1.1.1.2

          That’s an interesting point Marty, and I get the “needs vs wants” aspect.

          But wouldn’t it also further entrench the growing gap between those who can’t afford “wants” and those who can?

        • prism 1.1.1.3

          There is obviously still a lot of spending money around for nick-nacks for the houses of the stylish people. They are too sophisticated for three ducks on the wall but still what is bought must be huge and affordable to the aspirational middle-class if you see the number of lifestyle/gracious living shops. Charge them higher GST by all means and also higher on toys which are a commodity – society seems to be stacked to the roof with white bears. (Good if the purchase of every one gave a $ to a fund to preserve the real polar ones.)

          Trouble is higher GST means difficulty in keeping a basic household going, the repairs to the machinery, the appearance spending – haircuts, good clothing and shoes, the furnishings that are needed, and the cost of social mixing, travelling to be with family, going anywhere. There are many people who haven’t enough to manage on and credit if available tends to be overused until there is a debt burden. Reports from the Budgeting Service reiterate this.

          • NickS 1.1.1.3.1

            This.

            Higher GST translates to it becoming more expensive to get stuff I need, such as clothing that will stand up to the abuse I dish out, and parts to keep my bike functional and fairly basic recreational stuff such as tramping (gear, food, fuel). A rise up to 20% would be a bigger kick than the rise to 15%, a change which we’ve seen plenty of evidence that is caused significant issues for those on a low to middle income, an increase which Labour really should get up and promise to reverse completely.

        • aj 1.1.1.4

          You’d have to take it of all food, then that brings up the question of restaurants etc. You’d also have to take it off electricity. An essentail for all households.

      • Uroskin 1.1.2

        Why not bring in the areas of economic activity and trading that are currently exempt into the GST regime so the overall rate can be lowered: housing sales, rents, currency trading (Tobin tax) etc.

  2. Don’t worry about debt, as GW said it is just numbers on paper, or pixels.
    As we all know the global economy has gone tits up, the USA is being run like Zimbabwe or 1930s Germany.
    So lets borrow as much as we can, and party party, because we will never have to pay it back.

  3. Herodotus 3

    At least there is a commencement to this discussion, along with the likes ofrom here “The New economy tax” and when I’m 67. Unfortunately no party can stand up to be elected on such platforms as no one will vote for them (I can see nat/Lab etc standing up next year toincrease the age). So we follow a path that is not the best for us. NZ has to take some medicine, by delaying such decisions only leaves us with a increasing difficult time in trasition from the now situation to future. Just like the housing bubble the longer it goes on without correction the bigger the BANG !!
    Also agree with Fran re reversing Labs implimneted policies-bring back interest into student loans, yet from the savings this will provide pump this back into govt assistance in course fees, fund the instutions with this money, resulting in less people being directly dependant upon the govt for handouts, this will also reduce in the amount students will have to borrow
    From Frans’s list tadded to those of Lab and Nat followers there will be some from all camps that would result in a better NZ (And not all will be in common) . there just is no one willing to cherry pick the ideas and have the skills to implement them. And just taking the common widely accepted ideas e.g. exercise tax, property tax is not enough.
    There almost also for me a requirement back to 1st Principles. What is the govts role & why does govts tax?
    But at least this year there is discussion, as a parting comment unfortunately that vast majority will vote depending on self interest.

    • Colonial Viper 3.1

      What is the govts role & why does govts tax?

      Which also opens up these questions
      1) What is the appropriate role of the private sector in society?
      2) What is the appropriate role of markets in society?
      3) What is the role of social capital in society vs financial capital vs environmental capital?

  4. ianmac 4

    INTRODUCE A CAPITAL GAINS TAX AND/OR LAND TAX
    That would go down well with dairy farmers if it is true that many are in farming for the capital gains!

    • prism 4.1

      ianmac – Capital gains tax, stamp duty, estate duty, financial turnover tax – let the government get their hands in to monied transactions and out of interest under $100 on savings.

      Jeremy Harris – Good with the smarts. What about something positive that encourages everyone in society to be creative with their skills in making things not just in tax evasion.

    • KJT 4.2

      It would go down well with young people who want to farm land rather than capital gains.

  5. Jeremy Harris 5

    A left wing ten point list for reducing debt, hmm:

    1). Raise taxes
    2). Raise taxes
    3). Raise taxes
    4). Raise taxes
    5). Raise taxes
    6). Raise taxes
    7). Raise taxes
    8). Raise taxes
    9). Raise taxes
    10). Raise taxes

    • ianmac 5.1

      Since dropping taxes has increased our debt and diminished revenue, it makes sense to reverse that trend by increasing taxes. Well done Jeremy. Have a word with Bill.

    • Bunji 5.2

      Good to see you’re not letting stereotypes get in the way.
      Looking at the right wing options of:

      Ramp up GST to 20 per cent. Sure it’s regressive…
      5 – INTRODUCE A CAPITAL GAINS TAX AND/OR LAND TAX
      7 – INCREASES IN TAXES
      9 – BRING IN A BANKING PROFITS LEVY

      I’m not sure how that would distinguish left from right.

      In fact the left would have had a big stimulus and not let us get into such a recessionary hole. The problem is low company tax from unprofitable business in the recession, and low GST take from people not having money to spend… If we weren’t in a recession (and the figures will come out showing we’ve double-dipped), or hadn’t introduced such big tax cuts for the rich, we wouldn’t have a problem…

      • Colonial Viper 5.2.1

        IMO there’s been no double dip, for the real economy and for workers its been one long slide down. You need to have had some significant up turn first for there to have been a double dip.

        Unless you call the plane levelling off briefly before plummeting again a double dip.

    • Colonial Viper 5.3

      Jeremy

      Govt can fund economic down turn deficits by borrowing or by raising taxes. (Key could close deficits through massive Govt cut backs which NAT would love to do and have draft plans for but they won’t dare to scare the horses now).

      If you borrow, you get loaned money from wealthy capital holders which you have to pay all of it back with interest.

      If you take the money from wealthy capital holders (CGT, land tax, estate tax, highest income earners), full stop.

      That’s the difference.

      Then use that tax take and put it into activity which will give ordinary people jobs doing things that we need to get done as a country anyways.

  6. just saying 6

    [ lprent: deleted as per request. ]

    • just saying 6.1

      Why is there no ‘edit’ time since I pushed post in error and was (obviously) not finished?
      Admin, please delete the above. I’m in a hurry and really didn’t have time for this.
      It’s all a bit pointless anyway.

  7. r0b 7

    What struck me about Fran’s list was how grindingly negative it all was. Cut cut cut punish punish punish. Nothing positive, nothing about how sustainable, innovative, green-led growth could make the debt problem disappear in a different way.

    This is why conservatives are useless in government. No vision.

    • Marty G 7.2

      agree with that. If it’s about redirecting the economy, there has to be good to balance the bad.

    • Colonial Viper 7.3

      Is it redirecting the same ship what we need, or starting work on a brand new ship?

    • insider 7.4

      Because it wasn’t presented as an economic vision just ways to address an urgent issue. All of these things are things that can be done relatively quickly with a pen stroke. You are talking about longer term structural changes. The structural changes you want may be impossible if your coutnry is bankrupt. (although it could be argued that bankruptcy might make it easier as it provides a circuit breaking moment)

      • Draco T Bastard 7.4.1

        But wouldn’t it be better just to do the necessary structural changes and redirecting the economy to a sustainable path rather than just fiddling around the edges NACT have been doing and which Fran suggests more of?

        • insider 7.4.1.1

          No reason you can’t do both but I think this is about timing and effect. The issue FoS is wanting addressed is a short term one and her measures are quick fixes. You’re more interested in longer term issues and they take time to address and to see the results. Eg you could immediately change tax rates so that they support ‘sustainable’ industries but it will take a lot longer to have an effect.

  8. me 8

    Legalize cannabis. Save a billion dollars in jail costs. Make a millions in taxes. Make more millions in tourism. Win win win.

  9. Adrian 9

    There is GST on housing , on a section and new first home, say about 350k there is $52,500 of gst therefore we are borrowing from offshore 50k for each house to pay the GSt on a new one of which almost everything is made in NZ. Thats just bloody nuts. Put the GST up another 5% and we just exacerbate the problem. Just on houses at say 25,000 new ones a year at 50k each that’s $1.25 billion borrowed a year from the bloody banks. Theres your first move.

    • Colonial Viper 9.1

      But! If you lessen the amount of interest bearing debt that they can pile onto NZ’ers, where will the banks keep getting their record profits? What are they going to pay their record bonus earning CEOs with? You’re so unfair :???:

  10. Tiger Mountain 10

    Electricity generation and supply should be returned to full public ownership for a start, with minimal compensation to the bludging sector that has been creaming it from what should always have been a public utility.

    A whole lot of potential nationalisation cases, large and small, including SOEs could be looked at, just to really make the righties fill their pants. Outflow of capital to offshore owners in the form of repatriated profits is a major reason for the foreign account deficit over many years, though there were a couple of interesting quarters recently.

  11. SPC 11

    KIWI SAVER

    The first change is to reform Kiwi Saver. The only subsidy that should remain is the $1000 start-up and only for those over 18 who are working. It should simply become compulsory at the 2% rate – and all the money saved should be available for buying a first home, (insulation/energy efficient upgrade of an existing home) and when unemployed at a draw down rate or for study.

    That reduces the deficit by $1Bpa.

    TAX REFORM

    And while I support a reduced tax on interest income (to not tax the inflation proofing component) that has to come from a new source of tax revenue (such as from a CGT).

    GST

    I support a 20% rate GST and a 10% rate for food, rates, medical and education spending and power. Basically 20% on discretionary spending (imports) and 10% on necessities (domestic) – but within the free trade rules system.

    I would exempt new property from GST (to lower new home cost), but add GST to mortgages (the “surcharge” Bollard wanted). Why? Well the higher mortgage cost because of the added GST, the lower the OCR. The lower the OCR the lower the businesss borrowing rate and the lower the dollar value (however this concept works best with a CGT funding a lower tax on interest income and pressure on banks to finance their loans from on-shore).

    Note that even if the home owner paid 20% GST on their mortgage – the may not pay any more than they do now because the OCR funding cost base to banks will be lower.

    Effectively a 20% rate GST on mortgages creates tax revenue/income/wealth out the existing anti-inflation OCR monetary policy settings.

    I suspect that this tax change will lower GST cost for lower income and most middle income families yet raise more tax revenue overall. But I am not sure how much extra revenue would be involved.

    INCOME TAX CHANGE

    Reduce the cost of WFF at the top end – after the recent tax cuts in this income area, this is appropriate.

    TERTIARY EDUCATION

    Interest free loans are a vital part of establishing an incentive to remain here to work – a point of difference to those who leave. This should be extended by having debt written off over 10 years for doctors and nurses and teachers and CRI scientists.

    I would however increase university funding by increasing fees – that means a greater incentive for graduates to stay and not leave, as only those who leave pay the interest on the higher fee debt.

    SUPER

    Apparently we go from 13% to 20% of people on Super by 2030. How much of that extra 7% cost can be met by the growing Cullen Fund (now $18B) is the question. I don’t see how changing Super settings before 2030 will change much unless any savings are placed into the Cullen Fund. Attempts to make savings and using them to manage current budget issues is a smokes and mirrors con played by those who want the money for personal income tax cuts or for spending programmes. Shame on those involved. The serious contributors would want any savings to the current cost of Super placed into the Cullen Fund.

    Sure it can be argued that those in work over 65 are very costly. They receive over $300 a week while working and we pay someone else under 65 $198 a week to remain unemployed (if often lower down the job chain). The best way to get their buy in to change is to place all of the savings made into the Cullen Fund to guarantee their Super when they do leave work.

    I remember advising Anne Hercus back in 1983 to make Super a retirement benefit, she preferred the surtax on rich peoples savings income (as I remember advising Douglas to establish a CGT, he preferred an Assets Tax – but this was the one thing he said he would do in correspondence in 1983 that he later did not and he said a lot then).

    Increasing the age to $373 a week Super is harsh on the poor on UB ($198) IB and SB while in their 50’s and 60’s – even those on the IB by far the most generous receive nearly $100 a week than on Super. It’s also harsh on those who will not live into their 80’s – most Maori and most Polynesians a growing share of our population.

    So I favour work testing Super from age of 65, meaning those who would be on the UB, SB and IB with any age increase do get Super.

    This is fairer and also means those working after age 67 add to the saving made.

    • r0b 11.1

      Some interesting stuff there. Good on you for putting some real effort into the question!

    • Lanthanide 11.2

      “The first change is to reform Kiwi Saver. [...] all the money saved should be available [...] when unemployed at a draw down rate or for study.”

      Are you suggesting a compulsory, or voluntary draw-down rate from your kiwisaver account if unemployed or wanting to study?

      I definitely think this should not be compulsory, and I’m not even sure if it should be voluntarily allowed if you’re unemployed. The whole point of kiwisaver is to set yourself up for a better future; letting you buy a house with the money is arguably setting you up for a better future, but letting you fund 6 months of unemployment (when you might otherwise have found a job, through desperation, after 4 months) only weakens your long-term outlook because when you get to retirement age there could be significantly less left in your account due to that withdrawal (and losing the compound growth on that money).

      Taking out money to study, or pay back a student loan I could see as acceptable, but there’s the same loophole there for people to simply sign up for a polytech course, take the money but not actually attend. Also becomes problematic with whether you should allow all types of study, or restrict it to useful trades/professions.

      At the moment there are already provisions for taking your money out due to ‘extreme hardship’ and other early-out options, and I think these are probably sufficient.

      • Vicky32 11.2.1

        Lanth, you say “(when you might otherwise have found a job, through desperation, after 4 months) ” which would be all very well, if desperation had anything to do with it! It makes no difference how desperate the unemployed person is – trust me, I know!
        Desperate or not – if jobs don’t exist, the unemployed person can’t find them.
        Deb

      • SPC 11.2.2

        I suggest compulsory Kiwi Saver at the 2% rate for those who work full-time (get the 40 hour minimum wage rate).

        I would support the ability of the unemployed to choose to draw down (over a period of time) their Kiwi Saver account to support them while they are on the UB. Given the end of redundancy packages at least the 2% employer input to the Kiwi Saver is something.

        You are aware that many older workers over 60 on UB SB or IB are unlikely to work before they retire. Some could spend years on $198 a week UB and then on finally reaching age 65 they get $373 a week. They do not need the Kiwi Saver income when 65, but before they get to that age so they are alive and well.

        I doubt that drawing down some of their savings to supplement their UB will mean they are less likely to obtain work if it is available – are you someone who believes that those on benefits need the desperation of poverty to motivate them to work? Is that something you read on Kiwiblog

        • Rob 11.2.2.1

          In the circumstance you mentioned yes it would be beneficial to draw on Kiwisaver. However people leave their jobs multiple times during their life if they drew on Kiwisaver every time there would be little point in the fund as a superannuation vehicle. This could be addressed by allowing people to retire earlier than 65 by claiming Kiwisaver and getting UB level funding with it but that is not really something that should be encouraged.

          • Rob 11.2.2.1.1

            Saying this other countries have mandatory redundancy protection which we could look at. Its not the same thing as Kiwisaver though and you need to look at whether you would really want it in the same scheme together.

  12. Rob 12

    My first two would actually be tax increases:
    1. Introduce Capital Gains at an initially low level and use this funding for point 6
    2. Restore the top tax rate although perhaps to a higher amount say 45% at a much higher level to ensure the government can fund all it needs to and discourage businesses paying high salaries for no reason siphoning money out of our business economy for private spending
    3. Compulsory Kiwisaver to require all people to save for their future
    4. Restart Cullen Fund contributions to make the system less cost intensive later
    5. Reduce the levels of tax on interest of savings to encourage it
    6. Have the government directly invest in the expansion of industry in non-traditional fields (e.g. Kiwibank) to allow them to grow in a more productive manner for NZ. This should in the long term grow the private economy
    7. Encourage local consumption and use of services to grow the domestic economy and reduce spending on imports which sends money out of NZ
    8. Put more effort into increasing tourism to bring more money here
    9. Raise the age of superannuation or move to a requirement of no longer being able to work full time post 65 rather than an automatic entitlement to reduce the cost of the system on government and allow us to maintain a larger active workforce
    10. Make all tertiary education work on a free but bonded system so the only people who gain personal debt for it are those who leave the country after getting their degree

    • insider 12.1

      Some things to think about.

      5. Reduce the levels of tax on interest of savings to encourage it

      Most people’s savings are in their houses but you want to tax them. Why reward the cash rich and penalise those saving in other ways? Isn’t a better way to even out the discrepencies so that no model is favoured so that savings are diverse.

      7. Encourage local consumption and use of services to grow the domestic economy and reduce spending on imports which sends money out of NZ

      Some imports actually reduce our costs. Oil’s a good example. We export high quality $100bbl oil and import lower quality $80 oil. Your system would encourage a national budget loss of $20 (not real numbers just for example)

      8. Put more effort into increasing tourism to bring more money here

      I’d rather put that money into something that earns a lot more and employs people that earn a lot more, eg export of professional services and high value manufactured goods

      10 – Make all tertiary education work on a free but bonded system so the only people who gain personal debt for it are those who leave the country after getting their degree

      How well are we able to pursue those people? Why not just make it free and avoid all the compliance costs? People will go overseas as they have done for generations.

      • Rob 12.1.1

        Good points.

        5. I want to tax houses because prices are going out of control leading to people getting unaffordable mortgages which creates more debt also a capital gains tax would not be a cost to home owners unless they move which they don’t necessarily have to.

        7. That’s because using higher grade goods for a lower grade purpose is a waste of money as with your oil example. At any rate an encouragement to shop locally would for the great majority of sales only affect things like food, clothes and cleaning products which we are perfectly capable of producing for ourself cheaper. Also for such a comparison for what we lose by spending locally is the production cost vs the full retail price of an import minus its taxes rather than simply comparing market value for market value.

        8. That’s fair enough, I would be keen to support those industries too however they are a lot more complex for us to support.

        10. We have extradition treaties with most major economies if people don’t pay while overseas our friendly countries will assist us. If they run off to a random third world country then yes we may have difficulties but the likelihood is they will go to the USA, Australia or the UK. We invest a significant amount of wealth in training people for the New Zealand workforce up till they finish school/university when they go overseas we lose that investment. We spend 18-21 years supporting a dependent to have no capital return from it which is quite simply a bad investment. We should hope to discourage people leaving before they have contributed back an equivalent amount to what we spent on them if we want to build our own economy rather than other peoples.

        • insider 12.1.1.1

          Rob

          5 . are you, me or anyone else able to judge what is and isn’t an appropriate price? As you say people don’t have to move so will be self regulating. Sounds like you want to save people from themselves but maybe they don’t need it. CGT should be on everything relevant not just houses. Otherwise it will distort decision making.

          7. What I meant is that we have some natural advantages and should exploit them. We produce some products that have a high value elsewhere but can be substituted adequately by lower cost products. Why not exploit that opportunity? A focus on local may not be best for the economy.

          10 – I know we have treaties but I wonder how successful they actually are and how much it costs to administer. We also gain from a lot of immigrants with similar or better skills. So it is a trade, and I’d rather their earnings stayed here than were repatriated as loan payments to their home countries.

          • Rob 12.1.1.1.1

            5. Houses are not at an appropriate price in my mind because right now they are over 11 times the average wage when they used to be around 3.5 times it only a few decades ago which indicates the price is around 3 times higher than it should naturally be. Houses should not be used by people as an investment they are something critical to life and rent and houses right now are simply too high in price which creates debt issues. What I mean by people don’t have to move is the fact that there is only cost to people using housing as an investment which is how it should be. I don’t see how it would distort decision making.

            7. I agree we have some natural advantages. These are however a very small part of our economy in general a countries advantages in producing goods comes merely from the fact they invest in infrastructure for them which is what we should be doing rather than important goods. There is for example only one NZ tinned fruit company left which last I heard was planning to close down, you cannot tell me that other countries can tin fruit that much better than us. It is due to market distortions created by wage differences and we should not allow the fact that it is cheaper for the company to allow our economy to shift to a system that is more expensive for the country.

            10. They seem to work fine under the current loan scheme which has a lot of people overseas. We get a lot of that money back. Yes we do get immigrants coming in with high skills too and it could be considered a trade but we want the best deal for ourselves which is maximum number of NZers staying and maximum number of immigrants with skills/cash coming in. As much as you may like immigrants from other countries to not have student debt the fact is they have more expensive university systems than us and that will be happening regardless of what we do to our university system.

      • SPC 12.1.2

        It’s simple enough to enact a CGT that excluded the first $500,000 of occupied primary residence housing – it only takes so much saving to own a 1/4 acre house for a family.

        And it is not right that the component of interest income required to maintain the value of saving (index to inflation) should be taxed.

        • insider 12.1.2.1

          Why is it not right? Shares and dividends go up and down in value but there is no issue of fairness in that, so does property. All are forms of savings. Why is cash somehow different?

          • Rob 12.1.2.1.1

            Bank interest is an encouragement to save rather than invest. Investing carries with it risk people will lose all their money as in the share market.

            • insider 12.1.2.1.1.1

              I’d have thought interest was quite literally a capital gain on an investment. Are you saying there was no risk for all those people that put their savings into interest bearing deposits with the 55 or so finance companies that failed in recent years? ever heard of the BNZ failure of 1990s? Banks have risks attached to them too, in case you hadn’t noticed.

              • SPC

                There is only a capital gain on any investment if it rises in value faster than inflation.

                As for whether saving is an investment, put it this way – banks make their money borrowing money cheap and lending money more expensively. Are they being taxed on their profit doing this, or on their capital gains – capital losses?

                • Colonial Viper

                  Well they are doing it for profit so yeah they are taxed as a company operating for profit.

                  i.e.

                  You can do up and flip houses, sell shares, speculate on the financial markets or serve ice cream cones. If you do it for a business you are taxed as a business.

                • insider

                  SPC

                  My point is interest bearing bank accounts do not merit special tax treatment compared to any other form of income, but that cuts both ways. Currently I suspect it is overtaxed as I’m not aware of the ability to offset costs against the interest gained – instead it is treated as profit. eg companies get taxed on profit not revenue.

                  Rob thinks that interest from savings accounts are special and need different treatment. I can’t understand why compared to money ‘saved’ in a pension fund or other form of appreciating asset. It’s all money and all designed to get some form of return.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    If the country evaluates a fiscal need to increase its domestic savings rate, making bank deposits more attractive – however it is done – is required. That form of savings should be encouraged above and beyond more speculative forms (property developments, finance companies leveraging property developments, etc).

                    A negative or near zero savings rate implies a lot of negative consequences for a country, not least a deteriorating balance of payments, dollar strength hurting our exporters, reliance on interest bearing foreign loans, and encouragement of unsustainable consumerism.

                    I can’t understand why compared to money ‘saved’ in a pension fund or other form of appreciating asset.

                    You mean a pension fund which invests in a hedge fund which invests in AAA rated subprime mortgage based securities?

                    We should not forget so quickly that bond market speculators used peoples pension funds in their games and trashed the retirement of so many people.

                    Literally millions of people in the US now have to keep working or live in near poverty because the twin nest eggs they thought they had (the value of their property and their pension funds) both collapsed around the same time by upwards of 30%.

                    That is why bank deposits have always been regarded as valuable. (And why govt guarantees on more risky forms of investments quite inappropriate).

                • Draco T Bastard

                  As for whether saving is an investment, put it this way – banks make their money borrowing money cheap and lending money more expensively.

                  Actually, banks make their profit by printing money and loaning that out at interest. There’s no way that the amount they have on deposit could return the amount of profit they make.

            • SPC 12.1.2.1.1.2

              Saving funds borrowing from banks for business investment (or investment to own a home).

          • SPC 12.1.2.1.2

            Because insider, when the value of shares and property rises there is no tax applied as there is with the inflation component in the tax on interest income (not until there is a CGT). So equivalence requires a change.

            If there was a CGT, there would not be a problem with a tax on all the interest income. But if asset values were not adjusted for inflation, a CGT could be unfair, thus there is a need for inflation proofing of assets and cash savings before tax is liable under such a reformed system. And only a reformed system provides the revenue to reduce interest income tax revenue.

            A CGT by nature includes all assets excepting those exempted (which usually involves the family home up to a certain value).

            A CGT should allow inflation proofing of the asset over the time it was held before sale – thus say a rental property bought for $100,000 and sold for $500,000 ($1M and $5M for a farm) – if the asset was held for some time, then the value would adjust by inflation and thus reduce the amount of CG assessed for tax purposes. Another variable would be capital improvements (increasing the asset inflation proof cost before the CG was determined).

            Generally businesses either pay CG taxes in their company tax and or the shareholders reap the increased share value resulting from rise in asset values – and the CG would be paid here by the people owning the shares (and receiving the dividends). Imputation etc complicates matters a little – but if shareholders can adjust their CG liability for the inflation component there is no need to do so for dividends.

          • Colonial Viper 12.1.2.1.3

            !

            Putting money into a third or fourth house within a year or two is not savings. You are now investing-speculating (depending on how aggressive your posture is on the activity).

            It is also a form of investing-speculating which is usually leveraged i.e. it requires people to take a mortgage, go into debt, and encourages banks to use hot liquid capital from overseas to fund that mortgage. These increase the fragility of our economic system (when we must make it more resilient) and the latter risks the refueling of an asset bubble.

            So one reason we must stop viewing property as a form of savings is simple: the first move that most people make when buying even their first home is getting into debt up to their eye balls. So what kind of saving scheme is that? Unless property values are rocketing up, all you end up doing is making a loss through interest payments and sending that extra money to Australian banking shareholders.

            LAB has a clear policy stance on this IMO – capital has got to be taken out of the property asset sector. NZ cannot keep pouring its capital into property, and there must be no more property bubbles.

            The upshot of this is that property values will fall/stagnate as capital gets relocated into factories, labs and tech houses.

  13. ianmac 13

    I suppose Fran must get credit for producing a plan given that even she believes “……….the National-led Government seems asleep at the wheel.”
    Grounds for discussion anyway. Forgotten how some of her ideas would match up with the Greens’ plan.

    • insider 13.1

      Was it a plan or just an end of year hotch potch of issues and knee jerks? Is getting rid of MED really a key issue to dealing with debt up there with CGT? Sounds like a few personal gripes were chucked in for the hell of it.

  14. felix 14

    What is it with these fucking tories and raising taxes? They’ve just raised GST to 15% and they’re already talking about 20%.

    Bunch of lying scheming scumbags.

    • Lanthanide 14.1

      I have no problem with raising GST, like Marty iff low-end tax rates are lowered and high-end ones are kept the same.

      • felix 14.1.1

        Forgive me if I seem sceptical about the Key/Hide govt actually doing that to the advantage of poor people Lanth.

        • Rosy 14.1.1.1

          I have a problem with it – because GST appears to be sticky in a downward direction whereas income tax doesn’t seem to have that problem. Lobbying will mean the top-end rates will overtime be lowered to meet the low-end ones. So a regressive taxation regime over a slightly longer period of time.

  15. Well of corse the tax system needs overhauling. High tax for the rich and lower for the less well of and poor.
    However there are other ways of getting money for health and education ;the two main reasons for taxes.
    I would nationalize the casinos .Its disgusting that all or most of our casinos are overseas owned or privately owned.Let the state own and run them with some imput from local bodies. \The Lotto raffle and the other lotto related raffles to be state owned.Pay a decent win but lets channel the profits to education and health.
    What about the slot machines .Let them be run by the local bodies to help pay for well worth projects .
    I know that if we did this the religious and the moral would oppose such a move .My answer to them is how would they raise the money needed to run a democratic fair country. The various tax sytems cerainly need overhauling and tax evasion should be stamped upon .
    Finaly may I say I realise there are downfalls to gambling but man has gambled since the begining of time .

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  • New York Green Bank off to a $1B start
    New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced late last week the New York Green Bank’s first NZD$1 billion tranche of green energy investments. The projects, which are difficult for the private sector to finance, are now possible by New York Green...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Bartlett case means Govt must act on equal pay
    The Court of Appeal victory for Lower Hutt caregiver, Kristine Bartlett demonstrates that both the Government and employers have been ignoring and not fully implementing equal pay law, the Green Party said today.The Court of Appeal today upheld earlier rulings...
    Greens | 27-10
  • Rotorua shift for Maori TV a bizarre move
    The bizarre idea to move Maori TV to Rotorua is either poor planning or possible political interference that adds to the perception of a service in crisis, says Labour MP for Tamaki Makaurau Peeni Henare. “Moving Maori TV to Rotorua...
    Labour | 27-10
  • Second rate deal a no go – Goff
    A second rate deal on dairy in the TPP would totally contradict the agreed purpose of the Pacific trade agreement, Labour’s Trade spokesperson, Phil Goff says. “Both the origin of the trade negotiations and leaders’ statements on its objectives emphasise...
    Labour | 27-10
  • Legal victory a boost for all working women
    Today’s legal victory for equal pay is a much-needed boost for working women at a time when the Government is pushing through reforms which will make it harder for them to get pay rises, Labour’s Women’s Affairs spokesperson Sue Moroney...
    Labour | 27-10
  • National’s failed commodities export strategy exposed
    National's strategy to rely on commodities such as milk powder and logs has been exposed in the September trade figures released today, the Green Party said."National's strategy to hang all economic hope on exporting ever-increasing volumes of milk powder and...
    Greens | 23-10
  • Caution needed on calls to arm police
    There is no justification for routinely arming our police and doing so would change forever the way officers interact with their communities, Labour’s Associate Police spokesperson Kelvin Davis says. “As one of the few organisations distinguished by its unarmed status,...
    Labour | 23-10
  • Govt strains to get tea break law through
    The Government has been left with egg on its face - failing to get its much-vaunted, but hugely unpopular, meal break law passed in the first week of its new term, Labour spokesperson on Labour Issues Andrew Little says.“National desperately...
    Labour | 23-10
  • How low can you go? Mining the depths
    The company says there will be economic benefits, which the EEZ Act says the EPA must consider, but even these benefits are in doubt. The royalties while not set will be tiny, the profits will flow offshore, and whatever phosphate...
    Greens | 23-10
  • Fed Farmers defend GE Agriculture
    Federated Farmers, which represents a minority of farmers, appears to be captured by a pro-GE clique hell bent on increasing unsustainable technologies for the benefit of the herbicide and patent controlling seed companies. That there are better more sustainable farming...
    Greens | 23-10
  • Government loses the affordable housing race
    Nick Smith is dreaming if he thinks he can deliver affordable housing to Cantabrians on his current figures, says Labour’s Associate Housing spokesperson Poto Williams. “The Minister’s announcement that the Government will build 237 new homes, most of which will...
    Labour | 23-10
  • Labour’s thoughts with Canadians
    Labour has offered its sympathies to the family and friends of the Canadian soldier who died in what appears to be a premeditated and unprovoked attack while standing at guard at the Ottawa National War Memorial. “Our thoughts are also...
    Labour | 23-10
  • What next for TVNZ? Outsourcing the news?
    Television New Zealand’s decision to outsource Māori and Pacific programming is a real blow to the notion that our state broadcaster is a public broadcaster, says Labour. “CEO Kevin Kenrick has said today that TVNZ has ‘a very long and...
    Labour | 22-10
  • Green Party expresses sympathy for Canadian shooting victims
    The Green Party expressed its solidarity with Canadians and the Canadian Parliament today, offering its sympathy for family and friends of the soldier killed in the attack. "Our thoughts are with all those caught up in the shooting in Canada...
    Greens | 22-10
  • Poverty & inequality don’t need protest marches – they need a riot:...
    The global level of inequality continues to skyrocket… Number of billionaires doubled since financial crisis The number of billionaires has doubled since the start of the financial crisis, according to a major new report from anti-poverty campaigners. According to Oxfam,...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • If Key knows who Rawshark is…
    I’m sorry, what? John Key ‘given Rawshark’s name’The Prime Minister believes he knows who hacked Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater’s computer and produced the source material for Nicky Hager’s Dirty Politics, according to a new edition of a recently published...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Child Poverty stats in NZ
    Child Poverty stats in NZ...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Crimes Act + Police Investigation = WTF
    Just to frame the farce that is the Roastbuster’s investigation and conclusion – here are the parts of the Crime Act http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1961/0043/latest/whole.html#DLM329057  the Roastbusters are proven to have violated – that the police (and some suspects!) themselves acknowledge occurred: Crimes...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Publishing Journalists’ Home Addresses Is A Tactic Of The Right, Not The ...
    I think I’m starting to get rather annoyed with the conduct of some pro-MANA people over this ongoing Parliamentary Services crew complement issue. Yes, we get that there are legitimate issues to be raised with how some political reporters in...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Aucklanders caught between a tarseal-addicted government and a weak mayor
    Len Brown’s proposal for motorway tolls to reduce congestion and provide funding for better public transport is a weak response to a critical issue. The $12 billion dollar shortfall on transport funding he talks about is mainly for projected new...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • A Very Weird Story: Deconstructing Darren Aronofsky’s Noah.
    NOAH is a curious movie. Conceived as a biblical epic, it’s target audience was originally the millions of Americans who regard the Bible as God’s inerrant word. With the sin-filled works of Hollywood forbidden to these true-believers, Christian movie-makers have developed...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • You Can Get Away With Rape In New Zealand
    Jessie Hume with last years petition against rape     The police have sent a strong message today.  In fact they’ve been sending a strong message for a while; a message that our government supports. “You can literally get away...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Roast Buster case – no charges. In the immortal words of NWA…
    Roast Busters case: No prosecutions Police are to make an announcement this afternoon on Operation Clover, the investigation into the “Roast Busters” allegations. The Herald understands the victim has been told that the alleged offenders will not be prosecuted due...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Key’s flag change distraction to cost $26million!
    No. Way. Bid to change NZ flag to cost millions The cost of holding two referendums and consulting on a change of flag has been estimated to be just under $26 million. Look. We all appreciate that the sleepy hobbits...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Why NZ Herald’s Labour Party crocodile tears are so audacious
    The front page the NZ Herald would use if they thought they could get away with it No one can take the recent columns by NZ Herald seriously… John Armstrong: Shadow lingers on National John Roughan: Labour’s leadership vote matters...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • The beginning of the end of Cameron Slater?
    Slater postings on man bizarre, court told A businessman has changed his appearance and had to install extra security at his home after Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater posted his business and personal documents online, he says. Mr Slater has...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • We are a milk power republic and Fonterra our unelected senate
    Wow. Just wow… Deputy mayor says he’ll be sacked South Taranaki deputy mayor Alex Ballantyne says he expects to be sacked because he has spoken out about the impact gasses coming from dumped Fonterra dairy products have had on his...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • MEDIA WATCH: “…But *actually* this is about ethics in political-game jo...
    Yesterday, a piece of mine on the recent revelations about Hone Harawira employing several gentlemen either accused or convicted of sex offences was published on The Daily Blog. Predictably, given the fierce loyalty which Hone inspires in his party faithful and...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • Privilege cheque
    There was no race problem in my childhood. Living in central Wellington I was well-insulated from what was going on not so far away. This was the 60s and 70s, where the teachers enjoyed free love in the staff room...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • A brief word on Key’s claim that it will be raining carnage
    Isis will ‘rain carnage on the world’ – John Key Left unchecked Isis would “rain carnage on the world”, Prime Minister John Key says, but he has yet to make a decision on whether New Zealand troops will join a...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • Meanwhile…
    ...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • How does Andrew Little win Labour Leadership and unify the caucus?
    Audrey Young’s excellent column on how the Caucus vote  is shaping up shows how Andrew Little becomes the next leader of the Labour Party. She identifies the factions as the following… Andrew Little 6: Andrew Little, David Cunliffe, Iain Lees Galloway,...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Joe Trinder – Right of response to Curwen
    You have asked that Hone Harawira deserves to explain what happened, how would he explain when his next door neighbour is an alleged sex offender. What explanation can Hone offer he wasn’t involved, Hone had no idea this offending was...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • MEDIA WATCH: That Hella-Weird Feeling When You Defend Tova O’Brien
    Oh dear. Yesterday morning I blogged that Hone deserved a chance to explain what exactly had happened as applies his office’s Parliamentary Services crew complement – and, importantly, that we deserve to be able to judge him on the strength of...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • Canadian Green MP warns against harsh anti-terror measures
    Canada’s Green Party has provided a welcome counterpoint to Prime Minister Harper’s call for tougher anti-terrorism laws in the wake of a soldier outside the Canadian Parliament. On October 22, while she was still locked in her parliamentary office, Green...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • When is an asset sale not an asset sale? When it robs from the poor and ste...
    National have turned state housing on its head. At no time during the 2014 election did the Key Government even hint that they were going to privatise 30% of the Housing NZ stock of state homes. Not once. Key even...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • Housing; broken promises, families in cars, and ideological idiocy (Part To...
    . . Continued from: Housing; broken promises, families in cars, and ideological idiocy (Part Rua) . Bill English comes clean on National’s intentions for HNZ privatisation . On 14 October, in a report on The Daily Blog, I wrote, In...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • The Questions Have Been Asked – They Deserve An Answer
    A few days ago, allegations that had been percolating for some time about Hone Harawira employing three either accused or convicted sex offenders on his Parliamentary pay-roll came to light. (one imprisoned before working for MANA; one who found himself convicted and...
    The Daily Blog | 26-10
  • I have seen one future, and it is bleak
    . . Back in  March 2012, I wrote this story regarding a march to support striking workers at Ports of Auckland. It appears there was some prescience about some of my observations at the time… . | | 18 March...
    The Daily Blog | 26-10
  • US air strike war Key wants us in has killed a civilian a day so far
      The US air strike war that John Key wants us to join has killed a civilian a day so far. From the Washington Post... The United States launched its first airstrikes on militants in Syria on Sept. 23, and has continued...
    The Daily Blog | 26-10
  • The instant Jihad syndrome
    My favourite new term is ‘self-radicalised’ – it suggests the reasons for terrorism are totally divorced from the actions of the West. This need to suddenly ramp up terror laws because of lone wolf, self-radicalised Jihadists seems convenient and counter-productive....
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • We have nothing to fear from Ebola but fear itself
    I suspect most Americans perceive Ebola like this   I can’t work out if the fear being spread within the media about Ebola is deliberate or just ignorance. Yes Ebola is a terrible plague that kills a large percentage of...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Anjum Rahman – “Meritocracy? I wish.”
    I’d like to start by linking to a post I had published at another site in support of Nanaia Mahuta for the Labour Party leadership election.  She has a reasonable chance, given that she already has the endorsement of Te...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • Chocolate milk shortage and creepy Santa? Let’s talk about real news
    Child poverty is still a scarily serious problem in this country and house prices are soaring through the roof to the point where it is simply impossible for the average New Zealander to buy a home. There is also little...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • It’s time to celebrate Kiwi schools and teachers
    Some would have you believe that New Zealand’s schools are in a state of collapse, that your children are not being educated well and that things are going to hell in a hand basket.  That there is no innovation, no...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • Ideological Blitzkrieg – Privatization of state housing, more charter sch...
    Pundits in pundit land will tell you that this Government is boring, that Key is the great pragmatist and that it is his ability to create elegant solutions that keeps him the firm favourite in many Kiwi eyes. This ability...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • Hegemony rules but resistance is fertile
    The Prime Minister is a puppet. Not just our current Prime Minister, but given the forces of multinational globalisation, the role of any head of state, is less as independent actor, and more as a puppet of international trends and...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • An open Letter to Sir Bob Jones: demanding a ‘liveable wage’ is not “...
    How out of touch with reality is Sir Bob Jones? You know, that white dude who invested in privatised SOEs after the selling off of our assets in the eighties and made a ludicrous and disgusting amount of money and is...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • My insecurity about the Security Council
    As I write this (on 24 October) it is international UN Day. Of course, you all knew that already, right? Well, the day celebrates the entry into force of the UN Charter in 1945. With the ratification of this founding...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Catherine Delahunty – Back in That House
    Parliament opened this week and I still find it a very odd place. Most of the people are reasonably courteous and friendly, but the rituals are archaic and the rules around issues like the swearing in oath are oppressive and...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • Marae Investigates No More
    TVNZ yesterday announced the closure of their Māori and Pacific programmes department. That means they’ve chosen to stop making Fresh, Tagata Pasifika, Waka Huia and Marae Investigates to let independent producers get their hands on these lucrative contracts. This is...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • BLOGWATCH: An Un-Civil War in Labour, eh?
    Earlier today, my attention was directed to an entry that’s just recently appeared on the Slightly Left of Centre blog. It purports to contain the ‘inside word’ from a highly placed NZF source – which is funny, because I’m pretty sure...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • Santanomics 101
    Santanomics could mean a number of things. It could be the study and practice of giving. Or it could mean the study and practice of rampant end-of-year commercialism. However, for me today it is the economics of erectingAuckland’s giant Santa...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • SkyCity boss misleads public over workers lost shifts
    SkyCity CEO Nigel Morrison has defended the employment practices at his company in an “Opinion” piece entitled “Human Capital key to corporate success” in the NZ Herald on Thursday. A number of his claims are misleading, contain only partial truths...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • Review: Perfect Place
    I went to a Perfect Place on Tuesday night, and what a delight it was. The marshmallows sweetly (and forcefully) handed out pre-show, set the tone for the next hour. Walking up the stairs at The Basement was a complete...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • 5AA Australia – NZ on UN Security Council + Dirty Politics Lingers On
    5AA Australia: Selwyn Manning and Peter Godfrey deliver their weekly bulletin Across The Ditch. General round up of over night talkback issues: Thongs, Jandals and flip-flops… ISSUE 1: New Zealand has been successful in its campaign to become a non...
    The Daily Blog | 22-10
  • When I mean me, I mean my office & when I call whaleoil I mean not as m...
    This. Is. Ludicrous. Green Party co-leader Russel Norman put the first of what are likely to be many questions about Mr Key’s relationship with Slater, asking him how many times he had phoned or texted the blogger since 2008. “None...
    The Daily Blog | 22-10
  • A brief word on describing the Government as ‘boring and bland’
    The narrative being sown is that this Government will be a boring and bland third term. Boring and bland. Since the election, Key has announced he is privatising 30% of state houses without reinvesting any of that money back into housing society’s most...
    The Daily Blog | 22-10
  • More Latté Than Lager: Reflections on Grant Robertson’s Campaign Launch.
    BIKERS? SERIOUSLY! Had Grant Robertson’s campaign launch been organised by Phil Goff? Was this a pitch for the votes of what few Waitakere Men remain in the Labour Party? Was I even at the right place? Well, yes, I was....
    The Daily Blog | 22-10
  • About Curwen Ares Rolinson
    Curwen Ares Rolinson – Curwen Ares Rolinson is a firebrand young nationalist presently engaged in acts of political resistance deep behind enemy lines amidst the leafy boughs of Epsom. He is affiliated with the New Zealand First Party; although his...
    The Daily Blog | 21-10
  • About Kelly Ellis
    Kelly Ellis.Kelly Ellis – As a child, Kelly Ellis didn’t so much fall into the cracks, but willfully wriggled her way into them. Ejected from Onslow College – a big job in the 70s – Kelly worked in car factories,...
    The Daily Blog | 21-10
  • About Kate Davis
    Kate Davis.Kate Davis – Having completed her BA in English and Politics, Kate is now starting her MA. Kate works as a volunteer advocate at Auckland Action Against Poverty and previously worked for the New Zealand Prostitutes Collective. Kate writes...
    The Daily Blog | 21-10
  • Parker does a Shearer – oh for a Labour Leader who can challenge msm fals...
    Sigh. It seems David Parker has done a Shearer… Like a cult and too red – Parker on LabourLabour leadership contender David Parker says Labour borders on feeling like “a cult” and must look at its branding – including its...
    The Daily Blog | 21-10
  • A brief word on the hundreds of millions NZ is spending on the secret intel...
    The enormity of the mass surveillance state NZ Government’s have built carries a huge price tag… Kiwis pay $103m ‘membership fee’ for spyingThe $103 million taxpayer funding of New Zealand’s intelligence agencies is effectively a membership fee for joining the...
    The Daily Blog | 21-10
  • CTU Runanga calls on iwi leaders
    Maori workers are calling on iwi leaders to speak out against the employment law changes expected to go through today. “Iwi leaders have previously spoken out when workers in Aotearoa have been under attack, we believe they should do so...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Educating children not the best solution to alcohol harm
    Alcohol Healthwatch says we need to look beyond educating children and young people to address deeply embedded attitudes and behaviours concerning alcohol....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • New code of welfare for rodeos released
    New standards to strengthen the animal welfare requirements for rodeos have been issued today by the Minister for Primary Industries, Nathan Guy....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • IPCA report riddle with inaccuracies, say students
    A report by the Independent Police Conduct Authority into the policing of student protests in 2012 is riddled with inaccuracies, say students who laid the original complaint with the IPCA....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • CT v The Queen – indecency convictions quashed
    This summary is provided to assist in the understanding of the Court’s judgment. It does not comprise part of the reasons for that judgment. The full judgment with reasons is the only authoritative document. The full text of the judgment...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Rameka v The Queen – murder convictions quashed
    This summary is provided to assist in the understanding of the Court’s judgment. It does not comprise part of the reasons for that judgment. The full judgment with reasons is the only authoritative document. The full text of the judgment...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Auckland Council Out of Control
    Responding to the NZ Herald article that some Auckland households will face a rates rise of up to 9.6 per cent next year, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director Jordan Williams says: “Len Brown’s pledge to cap rates rises at 2.5 per...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Stats NZ staff escalate action with ‘no more meetings’ rule
    Statistics NZ staff have voted to escalate their ongoing industrial action in an effort to get Stats NZ back to the bargaining table with a reasonable offer. The staff, who are members of the Public Service Association (PSA), have been...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Rape Crisis calls for changes to criminal justice system
    Wellington Rape Crisis has added its voice to the public outcry following the announcement that there will be no charges in the teen rape gang case. Butterworth says the decision not to lay charges will not have been a surprise...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Police action justified in Blockade the Budget demonstration
    Police actions in dealing with a demonstration in Central Auckland known as Blockade the Budget on 1 June 2012 were justified and appropriate, an Independent Police Conduct Authority report released today found....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • NZDF Joins with Australia to Commemorate WWI Centenary
    A contingent of New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel will join their Australian counterparts at Australia’s first major commemoration of the First World War centenary in Albany, Western Australia this weekend....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Reserve Bank should reduce interest rate
    “The Reserve Bank should be reducing its policy interest rate, the OCR”, says CTU Economist Bill Rosenberg in response to the Bank’s announcement today that it is not increasing it....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • 2015 Stout Fellow will write about Māori & Criminal Justice
    Kim Workman, founder and advocate for the Robson Hanan Trust, which administers the Rethinking Crime and Punishment and Justspeak initiatives, has been awarded the 2015 John David Stout Fellowship at Victoria University....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • What John Key thought about ‘dirty politics’
    On September 20, John Key swept to victory to become one of New Zealand’s most successful and popular Prime Ministers. Rocked by scandal, the 2014 election campaign was one of the most brutal – and riveting – in recent history....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Trade Deal Threatens Farmers and Food Businesses
    The secret Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations are a direct threat to food businesses and farmers, and a moratorium on the release of GE crops must be enshrined in law before the TPP is signed....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • CTU announces election of new Secretary
    The contested election for the position of CTU Secretary has been won by Sam Huggard. Sam officially takes office on Monday 1 December 2014. Sam has worked in the union movement and brings a wealth of experience and a commitment...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Kim Workman awarded 2015 J.D. Stout Fellowship
    The Victoria University of Wellington 2015 J.D. Stout Fellowship, funded by the Stout Trust, has been awarded to justice reform advocate Kim Workman. Mr Workman (Ngati Kahungungu ki Wairarapa, Rangitaane) is well known for his work on criminal justice,...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • TPPA causing concern
    Concern over the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) negotiations is being expressed in two public meetings over the next week; one at a presentation on 5th November by former councillor Robin Gwynn to the Napier City Council, the...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Kiwis rally to demand justice for ‘Roast Buster’ survivors
    Over 1,500 kiwis have rallied to demand justice after the announcement of the NZ Police decision not to lay charges in the ‘Roast Busters’ saga....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • New employment law will hurt the most vulnerable NZers
    The Public Service Association (PSA) says changes to the Employment Relations Act, expected to be passed in Parliament tonight, will hurt vulnerable workers and their families more than anyone....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Consultation to close on proposed place names
    The New Zealand Geographic Board (NZGB) Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa today advised that only one month remains before public consultation closes for 18 name proposals for geographic features and places around Te Ika ā Māui (the North Island)....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Operation Clover – Statement from Police Commissioner
    I have taken a close interest in this investigation and I am confident police have conducted a thorough and professional enquiry in what has been a challenging and complex case. The Operation Clover team has ensured that victims have been...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Better policy would have protected children from recession
    Child Poverty Action Group says an international report released by UNICEF today shows good policy can protect and improve child well-being, even during a recession....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Outcome of Operation Clover investigation
    Police have completed a multi-agency investigation, Operation Clover, into the activities of a group calling themselves “The Roast Busters”. The 12 month enquiry focused on incidents involving allegations of sexual offending against a number of girls...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • False birth registration brings home detention
    A Whangarei woman who attempted to register the birth of a fictitious child to claim a sole parent benefit was sentenced to six months home detention in the Whangarei District Court today....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Family of Robert Ellis demand a proper investigation
    The family of a New Zealander killed in Indonesia are growing increasingly concerned at the lack of information they’ve received, and the handling of the investigation into his murder....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Minister of Health must account for aged care workers’ pay
    The New Zealand Federation of Business and Professional Women (BPW NZ) congratulates rest-home worker Kristine Bartlett on her landmark claim for equal pay from her employer and successfully pursuing this to the Court of Appeal....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Labour leadership candidates in Invercargill
    The four candidates for Labour Leader – Andrew Little, Nanaia Mahuta, David Parker and Grant Robertson - will be in Invercargill on Friday evening for a Husting meeting with members, as part of fourteen Husting Meetings being held nationwide as...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Public now needs to have its say over new tolls
    “I welcome the likes of new tolls and fuel taxes going out for public consultation after these matters have been talked about for 20 years. However the timing is not ideal as it comes on top of the likes of...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Kiwis to fight back against TPPA ‘corporate trap’
    New Zealanders in at least sixteen different locations around the country are organising for an International Day of Action against the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) on 8 November, co-ordinated by It's Our Future NZ. This is part of an international...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Taxpayers’ Union Welcomes NZ First MP’s Resignation
    The Taxpayers’ Union is welcoming NZ First MP, Clayton Mitchell’s resignation from the Tauranga City Council, despite Party Leader Winston Peters' public comments in July that Mr Mitchell would do both jobs if elected to Parliament. The Union's...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Stopping unnecessary roading projects solution to transport
    Today Auckland Council released the Funding Auckland’s Transport Future report which claims Aucklanders need to choose higher rates, petrol taxes or tolls to pay for future transport projects, when the real issue is the prioritisation of unnecessary...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Fixing Auckland’s transport
    Today marks a critical step in the most important funding debate Auckland has ever had: whether or not Aucklanders are willing to pay for the transport system this city desperately needs to keep it moving, says Mayor Len Brown....
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • The New Zealand Gazette Moves into the Digital Age
    On Monday 20 October, the New Zealand Gazette was published completely online bringing to a close 173 years as a purely printed publication. First published in 1841 as the official government newspaper, the Gazette website gazette.govt.nz , replaces...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • International report shows NZ struggling with child poverty
    A report by UNICEF International shows that child poverty rates in New Zealand have scarcely changed since 2008 – this stands in contrast to a number of other countries that managed to significantly reduce child poverty in this time, including...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Labour leadership candidates in Dunedin
    The four candidates for Labour Leader – Andrew Little, Nanaia Mahuta, David Parker and Grant Robertson - will be in Dunedin on Thursday evening for a Husting meeting with members, as part of fourteen Husting Meetings being held nationwide as...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • UNICEF Report a Waste of Paper
    In response to the hysteria coming from the far left, Josh Forman of slightlyleftofcentre.co.nz writes the following:...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Press Council opens doors to digital media
    The New Zealand Press Council, the body which handles complaints against newspapers and magazines and their websites, is offering associate membership status to news and commentary-oriented digital media including bloggers....
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Tolls Should Be for New Roads, Not Old Ones
    The Taxpayers’ Union is slamming Auckland Council for wanting to introduce a motorist tax under the guise of ‘tolls’. Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says:...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Media freedom in West Papua: Protest at Indonesian embassy
    Today, Wednesday 29 October, there will be a peaceful protest at the Indonesian Embassy in Wellington to call on new Indonesian President Joko Widodo to honour his election promise to ensure greater media freedom in West Papua....
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Lack of leadership blamed for decline in Gender Equity
    BPW NZ challenges NZ’s lack of leadership with the decline in Gender Equity Ranking...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Richard Falk visit to NZ
    Professor Richard Falk, who recently completed a six-year term as United Nations Special Rapporteur on Palestinian human rights, will deliver a public lecture in Dunedin on Monday 10 November....
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Apprehension for meat workers as employment law bill passes
    The passing of the Employment Relations Amendment Bill today will send a wave of apprehension through the workers in the NZ meat industry says the Meat Workers Union....
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • “Yes to Children, No to Poverty” Says Commissioner
    Children’s Commissioner, Dr Russell Wills will describe impacts of poverty on children, with a focus on local solutions at the Tū Kaha biennial conference for Māori health for the central region DHBs at the Hawke’s Bay Racing Centre in Hastings...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • UNICEF report card highlights need for action
    Unicef’s child poverty report released today shows that New Zealand needs to be more proactive in pursuing policies to protect our most vulnerable members of society....
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Children of the Recession: NZ’s shame
    Children of the Recession : NZ’s shame Media release Wednesday 29 October 2014 “It is to New Zealand’s deepest shame that the latest Unicef report on children living in poverty ranks us 16th out of 41 developed countries. “Every day...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • UNICEF cautions NZ child poverty rates are “stagnating”
    An international report by UNICEF has found that child poverty rates in New Zealand have barely changed since 2008, despite similar sized countries significantly reducing child poverty during the recent recession....
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • TPP Too Important for Compromised Finish
    The New Zealand dairy industry is urging Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) partners not to compromise on the quality of the deal to get it done quickly....
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Labour leadership candidates in Nelson
    Labour leadership candidates in Nelson The four candidates for Labour Leader – Andrew Little, Nanaia Mahuta, David Parker and Grant Robertson - will be in Nelson on Tuesday evening for a Husting meeting with members, as part of fourteen Husting...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • History is made. Equal pay not just legal but possible!
    The New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) congratulates Kristine Bartlett and the Service and Food Workers Union: Ngā Ringa Tota on their historic win. Today the Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal from Kristine’s employer; opening the way for...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
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