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Universal Income Revisited

Written By: - Date published: 11:44 pm, February 28th, 2011 - 93 comments
Categories: tax - Tags:

The tax system we currently have is a relic of the pre-IT age. In the days of manual clerk-handled accounts, it was impractical to reconcile tax accounts more than once a year. The introduction of PAYE in 1958 was welcomed as it eliminated the need for ordinary people to find the cash for a large tax bill at the end of the tax years. It effectively transferred the annual responsibility for paying the tax from the taxpayer, to the payroll dept of his/her employer on a weekly/fortnighly/monthly basis and greatly smoothed the cash flow for both taxpayer and govt.

The advent of IT technology meant that tax could be paid at any interval you wanted; daily even. But the big opportunity missed by almost everyone… tax could not only be paid… but could be equally received with the exact same facility. Receiving tax is a novel concept to many people.. it’s can be thought of as ‘negative tax’.

Such a negative tax paid on a regular basis is usually termed “Universal Basic Income” (UBI). It’s an idea with a long and respectable history and numerous variants, but for the purposes of this article I’ll go with a simple model.

1. Every adult over the age of 18yrs has one single tax linked bank account, into which IRD pays $200 pw… or $10,000 pa. Over the age of 65 the amount is raised to be equal to superannuation around $300 pw. This is the ‘negative tax’ component.

2. All income is taxed at a single flat rate… say 40%. This is the ‘positive tax’ component.

3. All first-tier individual benefits such as the dole and superannuation are eliminated.

4. There would remain a range of smaller and targeted secondary benefits such as sickness/disability/accommodation etc that would be administered by the department most directly responsible for that social function. (eg the sickness/disability benefit is logically a function of Health)

(For a more sophisticated analysis I’d direct readers to this country’s one it’s most stalwart proponents of UBI …Keith Rankin. )

At $25k income total tax = (25,000 * 0.4) – 10,000 = 0. Total nett tax rate = 0/25 = 0%

At $40k income total tax = (40,000 * 0.4) – 10,000 = 4,000. Total nett tax rate = 4/40 = 10%

At $60k income total tax = (60,000 * 0.4) – 10,000 = 14,000. Total nett tax rate = 14/60 = 23%

At $80k income total tax = (80,000 * 0.4) – 10,000 = 22,000. Total nett tax rate = 22/80 = 27.5%

At $100k income total tax = (100,000 * 0.4) – 10,000 = 30,000. Total nett tax rate = 30/100 = 30%

At $200k income total tax = (200,000 * 0.4) – 10,000 = 70,000. Total nett tax rate = 70/200 = 35%

In other words total nett tax starts at zero for those earning $25k and asymptopically approaches the flat tax rate of 40% for those on very high incomes.

Looking at the immediate and practical merits of this reform, first and most fundamental is that it treats ALL citizens exactly the same, everyone receives exactly the same UBI and every dollar earned, whether it’s the first dollar earned by an apprentice, or a bank executive’s ten millionth, it’s taxed at the same flat rate. While at the same time the overall nett tax paid as income increases remains progressive. But the best thing about UBI is what it gets rid of:

1. Eliminates all benefit abatements and high marginal tax rates are inherent in the current system whenever you have any form of targeted benefit or tax rebate.

2. Eliminates all the ‘poverty traps’ that people encounter especially when transitioning from welfare to work.

3. Eliminates the soul-crushing complexity and costs associated with administering social welfare.

4. Eliminates the distortions created when IRD assesses individual’s for tax liability, while WINZ assesses households for benefit eligibility. (In NZ only 35% of people who loose their job qualify for the dole because their partner income is too high, while all earners pay tax regardless of their partner’s)

5. Eliminates the argument for income splitting and empower’s non-earning partners in a household, providing them an income stream of their own..acknowledging the value of their otherwise invisible contribution to society.

6. Eliminates the incentive to game the tax system by manipulating personal income into a lower tax bracket and the distortions this creates.

7. Eliminates ‘fiscal creep’ caused by inflation pushing people into higher tax brackets.

8. Eliminates the needless stigma and shame many associate with being ‘on a benefit’, by the simple fact of providing a living income for everyone.

Perhaps the most deplorable feature of our current system is that it’s just so inefficient which creates all manner of opportunities for both politician’s and taxpayers to game it. By contrast UBI as I’ve outlined it here is simple and almost impossible to game. In any given tax year the Minister of Finance has only two numbers to announce… the UBI income and the flat tax rate. The political and social implications of changing these numbers would be direct and difficult to spin.

Again I have to emphasis the version I’ve presented is not complete. There is plenty of room to debate the numbers I’ve used for this example. With roughly 3m adults in this country the UBI at $10k pa adds up to $30b pa. With the average income at $45k over roughly 2 m wage and salary earners the 40% flat tax rate adds up to $38b… so the numbers do potentially add up. I would suggest the rest of govt expenditure could be funded from existing GST and Company Tax and a widened tax base…especially a Financial Transfer Tax (FTT) and a moderate CGT.

Is UBI too radical to implement? Not necessarily. The efficient flat rate income tax aspect appeals to right wingers while the nett progressive overall rate satisfies the left’s call for social justice.It would be relatively simple to include a universal ‘child benefit’ in the same mechanism, eliminating the need for WFF. The remaining benefit normally targetted at households the accomodation supplement which could perhaps be better administered by a somewhat expanded Housing NZ. Ultimately the entire WINZ organisation costing close to $1b pa in administration costs alone, could be dismantled. As vital as it’s work has been, few would mourn it’s passing.

The Greens long supported the idea, (but seem to have soft-pedalled it in recent times), while Gareth Morgan prominently pushed the UBI idea when he dissented from the Tax Working Group he served as a member of a year ago. It is not an obscure nor innately ‘left-field’ proposal. As every year passes the failings of the current system become more apparent, the more attractive UBI becomes as a sound alternative. Whether it was National or Labour who adopted this reform (and either are capable of doing so) nothing could more clearly signal to the electorate a determination to make a genuine break with the past.

Nothing shows so clearly the character of a society and its civilisation as does the fiscal policy it adopts.

Åsa Gunnarsson, Senior Lecturer in Tax Law, University of Umeå, Sweden; quoting Joseph Schumpeter.

93 comments on “Universal Income Revisited”

  1. weka 1


    Presumably there would be supplementary benefits to replace DA and TAS/SpB? There are others too. Who would administer those?

    WINZ now consider the main part of their brief is to ‘help’ people find work. I can’t see that changing.

    Also, given the nature of politics, what would you see the potential skewings that could happen under National or Labour?

  2. Colonial Viper 2

    Love your work RL.

    BTW spellcheck “asymptotically”. [Thanks...fixed. RL]

    As for any revenue numbers which do not quite add up, the Government could just, ahem, fund the bank accounts with freshly minted NZ Government credit. This has the added benefit of reducing the hold of interest bank credit on our money supply.

    • RedLogix 2.1

      I understand this, but realistically it’s not likely to happen in any immediately foreseeable future.

      I first saw this idea over a decade ago, and in all that time I’ve never seen any fatal objection to implementing it. Many senior politicians (Dr Cullen for instance) have been aware of it, if not persuaded that the electorate was ready for it.

      In the form I’m outlining… it’s doable.

      • Vicky32 2.1.1

        It sounds brilliant, really, but I can’t see it ever happening! I know absolutely nothing about tax/economics etc. but it makes sense to me.

  3. Draco T Bastard 3

    1. Every adult over the age of 18yrs has one single tax linked bank account, into which IRD pays $200 pw… or $10,000 pa. Over the age of 65 the amount is raised to be equal to superannuation around $300 pw.

    Why the ageism and why the complication of a “universal ‘child benefit’”? Everyone needs close to the same minimum amount to live on and the Universal Income is supposed to be that minimum so, to remove any silly complications, just give the same amount to everyone.

    Also, $10k/year isn’t enough as you don’t have enough to do anything (talking about starting a small business or going to work). It pays the rent and food and that’s about it. IMO, the amount should be ~$20k

    With the average income at $45k over roughly 2 m wage and salary earners the 40% flat tax rate adds up to $38b… so the numbers do potentially add up.

    The numbers can always be made to work it’s more a question of if they’re palatable :P

    IMO, the flat rate should be set at 50% (or, a maximum of 50%) with the rest made up from CGT, FTT and a consumption tax on luxury items (ie, true consumption items rather than necessities like food). The 50% is partly from the fact that I think the UI should be higher than $10k so you need more “income” and partly from the fact that no one is going to settle for having more than half their income going in tax.

    Another aspect of the UI in regards to taxes is that everyone would have to be treated as a business which would mean business expenses would also be available to everyone. This is good in that it brings everyone (individuals and businesses) under the same rules but it would mean that those business expenses would have to be more clearly defined else everything would quickly become a business expense. This would also mean that accounting software would have to be available through the IRD.

    In any given tax year the Minister of Finance has only two numbers to announce… the UBI income and the flat tax rate.

    Actually, the finance minister should still be announcing the budget and the UBI and flat tax rate would be set by the RBNZ in relation to the budget. Probably reset every quarter so as to maintain a balanced budget. Done in association with the printing of money removed from private banks and given over to the RBNZ (printed at 0% interest of course) as well it would help bring our economy back under our control.

    The advent of IT technology meant that tax could be paid at any interval you wanted; daily even.

    Actually, IMO, the big advantage of IT and the UI is that the taxes could be done in real time if we moved to a cashless society (it’s happening anyway) and all financial transactions went through the IRDs computers.

    • Colonial Viper 3.1

      Need real notes and coins to provide a resiliency back up in the system.

      Think post earthquake for instance.

      • Draco T Bastard 3.1.1

        Not really. Smart cards can remember the transaction even if the telecomms is down. If power goes down then it may be a little more complicated but people can always use an UPS.

        After a disaster like an earthquake people in that region shouldn’t be paying for stuff anyway. It should be allocated/rationed so as to stop price gouging and to ensure that resources are going where they need to go.

        • Colonial Viper

          Not that I can’t see the advantages of a real time system, but still really iffy about it. Misuse, hacking, inappropriate accessing of information, use by unfriendly forces, or system failure could become a very big problem. The big banks will do their darndest to have it privatised into their hands over time.

          Whole commercial areas go down when the EFTPOS falls over for an hour, I can’t help thinking that this is yet another interlinking dependency therefore it is more likely to add systemic fragility not reduce it.

          • Draco T Bastard

            It’s coming no matter what we do so we’ll just have to deal with shortcomings.

            The big banks will do their darndest to have it privatised into their hands over time.

            They’ve already done that – the banks already control the economy. My suggestion is to take it back off them because if we make a system mandatory it can’t be left to the private sector as it will allow them to charge excessive rents.

            Whole commercial areas go down when the EFTPOS falls over for an hour,

            That’s probably because there’s more and more people who just don’t carry cash.

      • Vicky32 3.1.2

        Also such things as buses, the lawnmower man etc. Could never do without cash, sorry, I have tried!

    • RedLogix 3.2

      Why the ageism and why the complication of a “universal ‘child benefit’”?

      An interesting question.

      The UBI system implicitly anticipates that a lot more people of working age would find part-time, short-term casual or low-level self-employment to supplement their UBI. At present such enterprise is fiercely punished with absurdly high abatement rates. Most of it’s proponents accept that the UBI couldn’t be practically set at such level that living on it alone would be ‘comfortable.’ for an extended period…. that there would remain a reasonable incentive to supplement it with other income.

      (On the other hand the UBI might enable small collectives/cluster households to thrive more or less indefinitely if a number of people were able pool their individual UBI’s and operate more efficiently than a one or two person household could.)

      Secondary benefits such as Sickness and disability benefits would have also dissappeared. In this case I would suggest that the supplementary support needed for these people could be best administered by the Health system, specifically a function of a somewhat expanded DHB’s, and delivered as part of primary health care.

      But once at retirement age the opportunity to supplement the UBI diminishes rapidly and $10k pa is simply not enough for people to live on into their 80′s or even 90′s. Even with Gold Card the $300 pw Super at present is still pretty minimal. UBI is not a magic wand.. it doesn’t directly solve all the problems of an ageing population, and insufficient personal or national savings.

      The idea of a ‘universal child allowance’ aligns with conventional thinking that children are neither fully wards of the state, nor fully the chattel’s of their parent’s. Most people accept some realistic middle ground between the two… which we currently reflect in the tax system with WFF.

      But otherwise DtB … as usual the rest of your thoughts are right in the game. Thanks.

      • uroskin 3.2.1

        Re the universal child benefit. Why not assign everyone in NZ from birth with UBI linked to age, i.e. in your first year you get $10pw, when you’re 19 you get $190pw. This would eliminate the need for WFF, allow children to amass a fund (if their parents don’t charge them for living in their household) for study or business investment later. At the other end of the age scale, Kiwisaver should be able to cover shortfalls for aged people on $200 UBI. The concept of pensioners can be abolished then too.

      • Draco T Bastard 3.2.2

        The UBI system implicitly anticipates that a lot more people of working age would find part-time, short-term casual or low-level self-employment to supplement their UBI.

        I’m aware of that but I’m of the opinion that the level that you’ve set will actually prevent them from doing so as it won’t cover the added expenses the same way that the UE doesn’t now. It certainly isn’t high enough for them to start their own small home business which I think is something that the UI should support as it would encourage innovation within the community.

        But once at retirement age the opportunity to supplement the UBI diminishes rapidly and $10k pa is simply not enough for people to live on into their 80′s or even 90′s.

        For some but not all, I’ve met plenty of people in their 70 and 80s that are still working, and the level I’ve suggested would more than cover the living expenses for those that choose not to add to their income.

        The idea of a ‘universal child allowance’ aligns with conventional thinking that children are neither fully wards of the state, nor fully the chattel’s of their parent’s.

        Just have them on the UBI as well but have it paid to their parents until they reach majority. This would effectively prevent any children living in poverty. Admittedly, you’d probably want to make it less than the full UBI. I’d also like to see some of it given to the children some years before they leave school so that they can be effectively taught budgeting skills.

        • RedLogix

          It certainly isn’t high enough for them to start their own small home business which I think is something that the UI should support as it would encourage innovation within the community.

          This kind of support, beyond basic living needs, is best addressed by the most relevant govt dept. Everyone still gets the UBI, but:

          Sick or disabled with extra needs over and above the UBI? Then your local primary health care provider is funded to help meet YOUR specific needs.

          Need help with the rent? Then Housing NZ either finds you a state house, or funds you into a private rental.

          Need help starting a business? The Dept of Commerce has various entities specifically funded to help develop and support small business.

          Need more qualifications? The Education system would manage the funding to support you through the required courses.

          And so on. Similar examples could be developed for virtually every govt dept that has an explicitly social function.

          Just have them on the UBI as well but have it paid to their parents until they reach majority.

          Yes that is exactly what I had in mind.. I just failed to make it clear.

  4. weka 4

    Also, $10k/year isn’t enough as you don’t have enough to do anything (talking about starting a small business or going to work). It pays the rent and food and that’s about it. IMO, the amount should be ~$20k

    I thought it was $10,000 each and the rest made up in supplementaries to $25,000.

    • RedLogix 4.1

      If you earn no other income… then the UBI at $10k pa would be your sole income. (Other than a Housing NZ managed accomodation allowance.) Agreed… not all that flash.

      But the point is that the every dollar you earn you get to keep 60cents… at present someone on a benefit is lucky to keep 20cents (after the first $80 pw).

      The crucial point to get is that if you are earning less than $25k pa (which is a little less than a full-time minimum wage) your fixed UBI ‘negative tax income” is still greater than any PAYE that you pay. Essentially you could think of UBI as a universal benefit of $10k pa that is abated at 40cents in the dollar.

      Which is a lot better than the 80cents in the dollar (or more) that current beneficiaries face.

      The Fig 2 on Keith Rankin’s graph that I linked to shows this visually.

  5. Just Me 5

    Red Logix, Do you know if any country implemented this type of solution? and if so what their experience has been?

    • RedLogix 5.1

      Much of South America has programs in place that can be loosely categorised as UBI systems.

      Brazil has an on going legislative program in place that is being progressively implemented. It’s not the same as the more ‘pure’ version I’ve outlined above… but the idea of a ‘guaranteed liveable income’ is embedded at it’s core.

      Curiously Alaska is another surprising example.

      • Lanthanide 5.1.1

        One could then say that it is only “poorer countries” that have implemented UBI then. I don’t have a problem if NZ followed the same path, I mean it is the most logical tax system to implement, but I think there would be some objection about essentially throwing our lot in with the ‘poor countries’, as well as talks of communism (Key called WFF communism in a National Radio interview in January (after he said that “basically National invented it” back in the 90′s)).

        I guess the bigwigs at the top who implement the policies don’t like it, because it severely curtails their scope for cheating.

        • Colonial Viper

          Hmmmm speaking of throwing our lot in with the poorer countries, are we talking about the same Key who has just launched a global relief appeal for Uganda and Haiti? Ummmm I mean, New Zealand?

  6. crashcart 6

    I like the sound of it I only have one concern. I wonder how long it would take employers to start lowering the wages they pay workers to compensate for the extra they are getting in UBI. Business owners would quickly work out that if they pay someone who was on 40K 30K they essentially still have the same buying power but the employer now has an extra 10K per worker that he can either invest in his business (good) or funnel back to himself (bad). The idea of this of course is what may make it palatable to the right, although I can already hear the cry “you are turning all hard work Kiwi’s into beneficiaries”.

    • toad 6.1

      Given that no-one would be work-tested under threat of loss of their subsistence income any more, it would actually strengthen the bargaining power of workers. Currently workers who take industrial action can’t get the dole. But they would continue to get the UBI while on strike, which would mean employers would not be able to starve them into submission.

      • just saying 6.1.1

        Yes industrial relations would be a whole different ball game if there were no people lving permanently on ‘struggle-street’.

        • Colonial Viper

          This is what employers hated in the 1970′s. Workers who were fucked off with high handed BS from a bad employer would literally walk down the street and get another job, that same afternoon.

          Can’t have that now can we.

  7. Peter 7

    This looks interesting, thanks for sharing your ideas. Is this the sort of thinking that Labour should be promoting? They need to make an impact and lead the agenda. National have come up with their Welfare ideas. What will Labour do to demonstrate leadership and innovative thinking that makes sense and wins wide support?

    • Lanthanide 7.1

      I think Labour has already painted themselves into a corner with their 5k free taxband for this upcoming election. They could have another shot at it in 2014 though, regardless of the outcome of this election.

      If they win this election it would give them a much stronger platform to work from as well – they could set up the infamous “working groups” in early 2012 to look at the issue, and publicly announce that they’re getting Gareth Morgan to head it.

      • First off, thanks RL for this… it’s a cogent outline even I can get my head around.

        But I wonder whether:

        Every adult over the age of 18yrs has one single tax linked bank account, into which IRD pays $200 pw

        isn’t less efficient than Labour’s (and Australia’s) policy of simply having a portion of income free of any tax, be it benefit, superannuation, investment, wages or whatever.

        “First $X tax free” is a single transaction; from source to recipient. A UBI (while I applaud its aims) seems to involve several. From source to recipient and from source to IRD; then from IRD to recipient.

        Has anyone done any work round the relative efficiencies?

        Of course it’s entirely possible I’ve missed something glaringly obvious, in which case, be kind :-P

        • RedLogix

          Thanks Rex. Yes you did kick my ass into gear.

          There are many variants on the UBI idea, but I’d consider the ‘tax free bracket’ a sort of partial half-way house towards a true UBI.

          Crucially while a tax-free bracket has merits, it doesn’t bring with it the inherent efficiency of a flat marginal tax rate for all income. Most of the advantages of a UBI are missing.

          Yes the UBI does involve two transactions as against one… which is one reason why in the old days of manual clerk driven accounts such a system could never have been contemplated. But with fully automated banking systems, money can be transferred as often as you like at almost zero cost.

          With IT technology, once a system it is established, the costs of running it are usually relatively modest.

          • Rex Widerstrom

            Good point, though not one I’m sure the IRD would agree with. In my experience their attitude seems to be that we’re all on the fiddle (unless we’re a wage earner who no longer needs to file a return and lets them decide what we pay) and they need buildings full of “compliance” officers to check and double check every transaction (and then go back seven years and disallow them) 8-/

            Then if we instituted a financial transactions tax on all that money moving round, we could afford to do lots of other good stuff too (including perhaps lower other taxes, at least after we’ve rebuilt Christchurch, put some other infrastructure in place, etc)… but that’s another post.

  8. Rob 8

    It seems to me a 40% flat tax rate would be unlikely to cover the cost of current expenditure on services + the universal income, universal income is actually really quite expensive. The largest income tax source for us is sort of the middle/upper middle bracket who would be paying less than they are now to fund a much more expensive scheme. Would FTT be enough to cover it? Or would we have to raise GST again to pay for it? With this also being aware National would still probably promise tax cuts at some point within a decade of this scheme being announced.

    The further danger is the benefits stigma. The benefits stigma was not a naturally occurring event. It was a strategy to make blue collar workers vote right by pitching them against each other and making them think they worked hard to support the lazier of them. Yes it would be eliminated by getting rid of the benefits system but might National/ACT then merely begin attacking people who live only on the universal income? What is to stop them simply coming into power, changing it back to an unemployment benefit system and then keeping the flat tax at a lower rate.

    It is a good scheme but would need some serious consideration I think. We have to plan not only for the left in government but also the right following it.

    • Colonial Viper 8.1

      Regulations and policies are certainly poor tools to change peoples values, as you have implied Rob. To do that one needs societal change and a change in messaging and debate throughout communities, *gasp* social engineering: from the grassroots up and from the top down.

    • just saying 8.2

      I do think much of the stigma and perceived free-loading, not to mention the systems and procedures, would be likely to remain or recur, where a significant proportion of people still have to go begging cup in hand to plead their case for supplementary income to live on, and for necessary services. There would be too much temptation for things to gradually slide back to the way they were. (with plenty of prompting from vested interests, who, by the way would not take this lying down…)

      I can’t see how this could work unless the basic rate was set at the super rate, and supplementaries were formulaic and non-discretionary. A certain level (ie high) of public services would need to be guaranteed. But of course many people would build jobs around their provision too.

  9. TightyRighty 9

    All the things UBI gets rid off, so does a flat tax rate. Where a UBI falls down, it has disincentives to work harder and earn more. You really would rather everyone be poor than everyone be wealthier. Typical socialist bollocks. Hell, your own logic is wrong. 1 and 6 are easily proved wrong by your own maths. Except if the IRD controls your income (shudder). Also tax avoidance is a moral obligation, only poor people complain about gaming the system, ironically while trying to burn the candle at the other end.

    • Colonial Viper 9.1

      it has disincentives to work harder and earn more. You really would rather everyone be poor than everyone be wealthier.

      Except we figured out your game already mate. The majority of people are working harder and for longer hours than 30 years ago – and are poorer now. Families need two incomes to get by and working only 40 hours in a week is a luxury.

      So newsflash – doing even more of the same shit for less money is not the way to get ahead in this world. Which by the way, the moneyed elite already know full well.

      Also tax avoidance is a moral obligation, only poor people complain about gaming the system,

      And do you know why that is? Because it is obvious to all that those wealthy who do not pay their taxes are the same ones who continue to take the most from society and who continue to cut social services to those who need it.

    • Rosy 9.2

      “Also tax avoidance is a moral obligation, only poor people complain about gaming the system”
      People who game the system really bug me. My other half earns enough to consider restructuring his affairs (and is often advised to do so) to avoid tax and but considers it ethical as a citizen and a as person who uses services paid for by taxpayer to pay his share. I admire that. A lot.

    • Draco T Bastard 9.3

      Where a UBI falls down, it has disincentives to work harder and earn more.

      Actually, it’s got more incentive to work than the present benefit system as you don’t lose the UBI when you go to work so you’ll always be better off working.

      Except if the IRD controls your income

      The IRD would no more control your income than it does now – it would just record it as it does now.

      Also tax avoidance is a moral obligation,

      TR showing his psychopathy by stating that stealing from everyone else is a moral obligation.

      • Colonial Viper 9.3.1

        It’s a moral obligation if you are a Toff.

        But then again, Toff’s tend to believe that a different set of rules in life should apply to them, compared to the working class and the underclass.

        • felix

          “It’s a moral obligation if you are a Toff.”

          Or a troll. I don’t think TR believes half of the shit he writes.

  10. nadis 10

    What a UBI looks a lot like is a less efficient form of a high tax free threshold.

    I haven’t fully thought through the implications but the first thing that strikes me is the same type of problem that farm subsidies created – the present value of the subsidy just gets capitalised into land prices. Likewise with our tax system which tends to favour property investment – the subsidy gets capitalised into house prices.

    I think there’d be a similar effect which would be negative on low paid workers – the UB would get get capitalised but subtracted from wages.

    Personally I question the signal it sends – that an adult doesn’t have to work for their income. I’m quite happy to see essential services provided by the state (health, education) but just don’t see why it is efficient to create a whole new class of people who rely permanently on the state for some or all of their income. Easy to argue from a politics angle but I suspect harder from a rational economics basis.

    • aj 10.1

      ” harder from a rational economics basis”

      How about from a humanitarian basis? or do we just let the sick, disabled, unemployable and unemployed and their children starve?

      Anti spam ‘fun’ – and people reckon it knows what we are typing?

      • Colonial Viper 10.1.1

        The word “rational” as used in the field of economics, is bullshit. People, agents and organisations do not believe in ways which are rational at all, except from a very limited point of view.

        These same economists have created a system where you need to work 45-55 hours per week just to stay afloat.

        In the 1970′s full employment and rising wages/productivity were such that people were seriously talking about 20 hour work weeks.

        The only “rational” thing about this is from the point of view of the wealth holders who have expanded their holdings based on more people working harder for less.

      • The Baron 10.1.2

        Of course not. We are talking about UI as an alternative to traditional welfare. The only person who has thrown in “nothing” as an option is you. Stop fighting your emotive shadow battles and engage the argument.

        I struggle to see how anyone can reasonably argue that there isn’t damage to incentives when you provide people with a no-obligation income. A UI is likely to be less strenuous in terms of obligations than the current system – so all other things being equal, you would expect more people not to bother looking for employment based topups.

        Conversely, the incentives to get more are greater because the abatements are far more reasonable than under the current welfare system. Maybe this would balance out the above – maybe not. That’s why I’d love a bit more thinking about this and policy development from someone, anyone…

        Though I assure you though that the answer is neither “all beneficiaries wanna work” OR “all beneficiaries are lazy bludgers”. If your policy prescription relies on either form of crass generalisation then your either a useless blind ideolog or a bit dim.

        • Colonial Viper

          I struggle to see how anyone can reasonably argue that there isn’t damage to incentives when you provide people with a no-obligation income.

          The point is to damage incentives to work 50+ hour weeks. That’s a good thing for society. We need to be pushing for the 4 day/30 hour work week to become a practical reality.

          That’s good for family life, good for work life balance, good for people re-engaging with their communities and with politics ( :) )

          Also employment is going to have to be designed to be more intrinsically rewarding, interesting and enjoyable, quite apart from the money aspects. Staff will have to be treated better (and I am not talking in terms of pay, but in terms of working conditions and working relationships).

          Oh yeah, time for the move to 5 weeks annual leave a year.

        • RedLogix


          Yes there are two possible forces at work here, the disincentive to work provided by a guaranteed income and the incentive to work created by an efficient, clean flat tax rate.

          My belief is that at any practical and affordable level, the UBI is likely to be too low to live on ‘comfortably’ for most people. (Sure there will always be some who happily get by on very little, and more power to them… but by and large I’m not too stressed out over their choices.) For most capable and productive folk there will remain a reasonable incentive to earn a more income.

          Most people do choose to work when worthwhile, suitable jobs are available. The fact numbers on the Unemployment Benefit dropped to such very low levels during the boom times in 2007/8 is strongly supportive of this.

          • The Baron

            Yeah that’s why the level debate becomes so important. I think most people would agree that it needs to be sufficient, but not luxurious. Of course there will always be those that can make some form of luxury from not much – I’m not too worried about them either.

            But this is why the debate about where you would set this UI so vital. I agree that if it is at that sort of level, most people will be inclined to work, particularly with the incentives increased through the effective abatement change. But hell, can you imagine how tricky that debate would be? What are we trying to fix with the UI:

            - Ensuring that everyone has enough to subsist on?
            - Reducing child poverty?
            - Ensuring full participation in society?

            Depending on your answer to that, you end up with completely different UI amounts – or at least as far as I see it. And completely different UI amounts mean completely different incentives to go out and top that up.

            I’d still stick to a set percentage of the average wage myself – about say 40%.

    • RedLogix 10.2

      Personally I question the signal it sends – that an adult doesn’t have to work for their income.

      Well actually we already have a lot of such people who either cannot work, or cannot find work. Besides why the Calvinistic insistence on work? What’s wrong with being able to relax, fish, tramp, have fun with the kids, fuck all afternoon? After all it’s what wealthy people aspire to… on what ‘moral’ grounds are you objecting to having plenty of leisure time?

      In pre-agricultural hunter-gatherer societies, most adults lived long, healthy lives with less than 10-20hrs ‘work’ per week. What’s ‘better’ about a society that forces most people to work 2-3 times longer than that… for far less reward?

      On a more practical level it’s my contention that relatively few people would be content to live on the UBI alone. With a flat-tax rate (and no absurdly high benefit abatement rate) they have exactly the same incentive to earn a little extra cash as does every other tax-payer.

      but just don’t see why it is efficient to create a whole new class of people who rely permanently on the state for some or all of their income.

      It’s not a ‘new class of people’… it’s everyone. The distinction vanishes.

      • Lanthanide 10.2.1

        “It’s not a ‘new class of people’… it’s everyone. The distinction vanishes.”

        It would actually make labour a lot more mobile and flexible, which is something the righties are telling us is important for business. This gives people much more of an option of taking a risk and quitting the job they’ve been at for 7 years and finding a new one, or starting their own business.

        It also significantly lessens the impact of the 90-day fire at will legislation, because those workers that are taken on as a trial will have something automatic to fall back on.

    • Draco T Bastard 10.3

      Ah, I see, you think forcing people to live in poverty is rational.

      • The Baron 10.3.1

        And you think banning the importation of tropical fruits is rational.

        People in glass houses…?

        How about you try not being such an arrogant c*ck for about 2 minutes and see if you get a more positive response.

        • Colonial Viper

          And you think banning the importation of tropical fruits is rational.

          Won’t have to do any banning Baron.

          The Hubbert curve will do all the work.

          In 10 years time the only people eating Californian oranges and Ecuadorian mangoes are going to be the Mubaraks and the Saddam Husseins of the world who can afford it.

          How about you try not being such an arrogant c*ck for about 2 minutes

          DTB didn’t resort to name calling mate, you did.

        • Draco T Bastard

          And you think banning the importation of tropical fruits is rational.

          Can you point me to where I said that? I seem to recall using bananas as an example of something that could still be traded after Peak Oil as we just can’t grow them here but, because of the added costs, they would become a luxury item.

          • The Baron

            You know how to Google pal – you clearly know everything else. So you go find it.

            Worst case scenario is that I’ve misrepresented you about as badly as you misrepresented nadis. Would that make you feel better?

            • Draco T Bastard

              You’ve misrepresented me and I haven’t misrepresented nadis.

              Personally I question the signal it sends – that an adult doesn’t have to work for their income. I’m quite happy to see essential services provided by the state (health, education) but just don’t see why it is efficient to create a whole new class of people who rely permanently on the state for some or all of their income. Easy to argue from a politics angle but I suspect harder from a rational economics basis.

              There is no other way that that paragraph can be interpreted other than that he wants to force people into poverty as some form of inducement to work. Which is what the WWG has pretty much recommended and National have said they will put into policy.

              • The Baron

                I’m not nadis – I can’t comment on what he or she intended.

                But I don’t follow your supposedly irrefutable conclusion. I see a comment purely about how this will change incentives – which it almost certainly will. Instead of explaining how you disagree, you just leap into your standard shrill assessment of someone being stupider than you, or call them on being a partisan hack.

                I don’t really understand why you turn up here. Most people come to discuss – whereas you seem to see it as an opportunity to show off about how brilliant you are, and how much you know already. I’m a bit tired of it, so I’ve decided to turn it around on you.

                • RedLogix

                  I see a comment purely about how this will change incentives – which it almost certainly will.

                  Which it almost certainly will not hurt.

                  The present system effectively has a guaranteed basic income… it’s called social welfare. Now it’s subject to endlessly complex and pointless rules… but since the First Labour Govt there has been a social safety net for more or less everyone who needed it… in one form or another.

                  And the evidence is that when there are worthwhile and suitable jobs available… people happily transition off welfare and into work… even when the abatement rates are punishingly high and it almost makes no rational economic sense for them to do so.

                  But as we all know, the existing system is over-complex and inefficient. No-one likes it. I’m arguing that the UBI alternative retains both an adequate social safety net (like we have already) but with a far simpler and more efficient incentive to find paying work or generate income.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  I’m a bit tired of it, so I’ve decided to turn it around on you.

                  And which you failed to do because you misrepresented what I said.

  11. Bill 11

    Sounds like an emminently sensible idea.

    But, as Toad points out (8:50 am), the bargaining power of workers would increase. And that’s not a good thing. What with NZ’s export orientated growth model, the mechanisms for driving down wages (necessary for the so-called competition between international business elites) would be lost.

    The divide and rule strategy applied to the unemployed and lower paid workers would be lost. Also, not a good thing.

    The gaming of the present system that profits the wealthy more than most would be lost. Not a good thing.

    The potential for an emergent culture of work/life balance where a majority, or sizable minority of people chose to work a lot less and live a lot more would disempower economic elites… and maybe even encourage some strange ideas among people about what they could usefully do with all that spare time (strange ideas such as taking back control over aspects of their community life etc…12 people on 10k p/a using the guaranteed $120 000 to establish intentional communities and experiment with and develop robust democratic alternatives to atomised nuclear family life and market competition?) Not a good thing.

  12. The Baron 12

    I’m in love with this idea, though indeed the devil is in the detail. And forgive me a fanboi moment, but I would point out that Roger Douglas was also a proponent of these ideas too during the 4th Labour Govt (one of the things Lange called time on perhaps). So the idea certainly has merit regardless of where in the political spectrum you fit.

    Some devils in the detail though:

    1. Can you have a “one-size fits all” UI? You’ve already proposed exceptions for the elderly, for kids etc etc… all of this is adding up to complexity that you’ll still need a MSD to calculate. In other words, don’t get too excited about savings.

    2. Where oh where do you set the level for UI? I suggest a similar approach to super – i.e. a certain proportion of the average wage.

    3. And the really tricky bit… what percentage. I’d like to think that everyone here recognises that the UI needs to be sufficient for someone to live on – food, housing and reasonable expenses. But it also needs to be at such a level that people give up on striving to earn more so that they contribute at the top as well. These incentives really matter too.

    I’d love to see a party actually develop some detail around this that works those three issues through.

    • Colonial Viper 12.1

      It’s been though discussion about the UI that I’ve come to understand how harsh the existing benefit abatement regimes are. They really seem to totally pile it on against people who would like to get back into the workforce and supplement their very minimal benefits with the most commonly available type of jobs – low wage/part time.

      • The Baron 12.1.1

        Same as secondary taxes, which I’ve never quite got either. I like how this proposal effectively deals with abatements.

        • Colonial Viper

          We have a semblance of agreement Baron, nice :)

          • The Baron

            Yes, well I guess we’re both behaving ourselves for a change.

            • lprent

              To tell the truth I don’t notice you guys squabbling much. Regardless of the acrimony, it isn’t close to my moderating behavior thresholds because at least you’re squabbling about something.

          • Rex Widerstrom

            Actually it’s little wonder you two agree when, as the Baron points out above and I warned RedLogix yesterday, Roger Douglas would give this post the thumbs up.

            It’s logical, workable, and benefits everyone (albeit that there’s a few wrinkles that some people think need ironing out… I agree with TightyRighty, for instance, that having the IRD involved is… worrying. They’re not about giving money out, they’re about getting it in. But that’s just detail).

            It’s been round for aeons. It has across-the-political-divide support. So why has it not only never been implemented but also (aside from Labour’s aborted intent in 1984) never been policy?

            If it’s about not wanting to increase the bargaining power of workers as Toad and Bill suggest above (and it’s certainly a viable theory) and about allowing the continued gaming of the system by a small elite as Bill suggests (and there’s certainly plenty of evidence this is an effect of the present system, which gives credence to the idea that it’s also a cause) then it raises some worriesome questions about who’s been running our country for the past 25 or so years.

            • RedLogix

              Roger Douglas would give this post the thumbs up.

              Yes I know that. For several years back in the early 80′s, under Roger Douglas I think, NZ did have a flat income tax of 25%.

              Unfortunately Douglas implemented only half the deal… the flat tax. We didn’t get the UI to go with it. I don’t know the history of why not. Typical of the man… not all of his ideas were completely wrong, but his arse about face chaotic implementation of them was. I recall an interview with the man about a decade ago when in more restrained terms he more or less admitted as much.

              then it raises some worriesome questions about who’s been running our country for the past 25 or so years.

              Oh indeed it does.

            • Draco T Bastard

              …then it raises some worriesome questions about who’s been running our country for the past 250 or so years.


              Capitalism has been around a long time and the capitalists wrote the rules – especially at the beginning.

              • See this is why we can never completely agree :-P

                When I hear “capitalist” I think of the guy who maybe learned a trade then, when he’d mastered it, remortgaged his house, maybe borrowed a bit from his obnoxious brother-in-law, and started his own business.

                Now he’s doing well, has maybe three branches, pays his workers a reasonable rate and is deservedly a “rich prick”.

                You, I think, hear “multinational oligarch”. I hear that too, but I think it’s important to draw a distinction. Capitalism in its “pure” form versus the way the game is played by the big names in the field is akin to… religious belief versus the Catholic Church. It’s not the principle that’s the problem, it’s the application.

                Just as we can’t judge every believer (or even every priest – look at, say, Jim Consedine) based on the actions of a few Popes and a few hundred Cardinals, surely we can’t judge every small business owner on the actions of BP, Telecom et al?

                • Colonial Viper

                  The guy who remortagaged his house to play the game is, usually unbeknownst to him, usually the one being played.

                  Witness all the foreclosures and hard asset grabs in the US by the banks.

                  Mr Negative-Gearing-Here-to-Make-a-Buck property man (and small business man) has been in the game all of ten minutes. These banking institutions have centuries of know how playing the game and defining the rules. And choosing the refs.

                  Agree we can’t judge small business owners by the actions of the big corporates – but in the same breath I would say National the “natural party of business” is actually only the natural party of Big Corporate Business. They are not friends to the small business owner, they consider those guys just more grist for the mill.

                  • Mr Negative-Gearing-Here-to-Make-a-Buck property man (and small business man)

                    Whoa, that’s just the lack of distinction I’m talking about. Negative gearing a property is just sitting on your arse contributing nothing and gaming the tax system while benefiting from the big banks’ even bigger gaming on property, as you’ve described. The usual aim is not to have to work and let tax breaks and rents provide an income. Sometimes those types do lose, but I have little if any sympathy for them.

                    Small businessman is a different kettle of cash. He’s borrowed to invest – in his belief in himself, in jobs for other NZers, and often in making something that raises our GDP and sometimes even our balance of payments. The aim there is usually at least partly a desire to prove oneself, gain security, make a contribution (and yes, to make money, but in a productive way). If (when) he gets screwed by the banks, he has my sympathy (and help, such as I can offer).

                    Other than that distinction though, agree with you entirely, including re National. A centrist party that went out of its way to back the real capitalists – the investors, not the speculators – would find a ready market methinks.

                • RedLogix

                  then it raises some worriesome questions about who’s been running our country for the past 25 or so years.

                  In a credit based economy there are in fact three actors; workers, business owners and financiers. Unfortunately the term capitalist is rather ambiguous; some people think of business owners in one context, in another context they are thinking of the bankers…. or both.

                  Historically we were encouraged to think of the business owners as the ‘enemy’ of the working people, their interests directly in conflict. But I suggest that the events of the last decade should have shown most of us have that all along it was the financiers and bankers who were the real enemy of both workers and business owners.

                  I posted on this theme last year here.

                  • Rosy

                    Hence 3 economic models – socialism, capitalism and financial feudalism. Capitalism and socialism have morphed at the boundaries to create some very successful economies that value their people as citizens, not simply as economic units. But financial feudalism still runs amok, screwing up economies, businesses and workers to line the pockets of gamblers in the financial sectors of banking and global corporations. We’re all in debt to the banks and politicians run their countries by bowing and scraping to big business needs, allowing enormous tax concessions and subsidising employment costs so the serfs can have a living wage – even if it means ruining homegrown businesses.

                  • Missed that one at the time. Anyone else who did – well worth a read.

                    Wow… that plunging blue line (in the graph accompanying the story) should make even DtB shed a tear for the capitalists :-D

                    But seriously, with returns like that you can see why the likes of John Key don’t go to the trouble, risk, hard work and regulatory red tape of setting up a business and becoming a “real” capitalist, but instead head straight to a profession that makes money out of money.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    In that graph the capitalists are actually the entrepreneurs and the bankers are the capitalists. As I intimated below, it’s a case of using the wrong words.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  I just go by the dictionary definition.


                  A capitalist is almost never an entrepreneur and vice versa. Entrepreneurs tend to take a lot of risks and so end up barely breaking even. Capitalists, on the other hand, almost never take risks and accumulate wealth.

    • erentz 12.2

      “Where oh where do you set the level for UI? I suggest a similar approach to super – i.e. a certain proportion of the average wage.”

      What about doing what we do with CPI. Identify the basic living necessities, create an index of them, and make it a percentage of this, enough to keep someone above the absolute poverty line, but not so much that they aren’t encouraged to find additional income through work. That way it reflects a real basic cost of living, not some nice round number, or percentage of incomes that may not reflect real living costs.

      • The Baron 12.2.1

        Agree, but not as simple as you outline. The cost of basic living expenses differs greatly between regions, so its very difficult to get a bead on “real living costs”. For this reason I go towards the super model – it seems to work (well, apart from the fact that it will bankrupt us).

        Unless you have different UIs depending where you live? Again, more administrative complexity. Methinks a UI ain’t a silver bullet of simplification (though the other bits still hold up well).

  13. mikesh 13

    This proposal might increase the likelihood that one partner to a marriage could remain at home in the role of housewife or house husband. Could be good for child rearing.

  14. fermionic_interference 14

    I think the biggest necessity of UI is that you can live on at more than just a subsistence level, because from as much of it as I understand everybody wants to work. People inherently like to do and be valued, productive and produce something for their efforts.
    So if we provide a livable UI that allows work where and when we need to then we are also inviting a higher paid workforce and more control to the workers if a job is poorly paid with poor conditions and an unpleasant boss, then this job would have to change it’s MO, either the Boss would need to provide better conditions and a more pleasant demeanor in which case people may work for them for a while until they tire of it and take a break, or the boss would need to pay more otherwise they’d go out of business (this being the mobile work force the right loves, rather than the current model of stick it out in this hell hole or you are held down by a metal object with a beveled inclined plane).

    Just a quick Q to other readers:
    How about clarifying the reasons you work, try the options below:

    I; you have to,
    II; you want to,
    III; that’s just the way it is,
    IV; it’s the only way to support a family,
    V; other, if so please define.

    now if you take a second and really evaluate your motives
    what do you find?
    Is it a mix of I, IV & II?
    How about this theory
    We attempt to chose a field of work in which we enjoy ourselves and are fulfilled by the work we do and the work we do allows us to provide food, clothing, shelter and entertainment for ourselves and our families.

    So what happens when you change the game such as with the UI that you can now choose to WORK when, where and for how long you want to at something you find fulfilling (and in such as my case that makes a difference to society) and know that you will still be able to provide security for yourself and your family.

    from the options above where do you think you would then describe/place yourself?

    One major problem I have found with this idea is that we are such a small country and the size of our market place means that without tariffs or some such equivalent in place as our economy transitioned we would be inundated by cheap product from outside markets, which we would then have a major impact on our trade equation and we would be back incurring a trade deficit as well as harming our homegrown industry because as the transition happens wages will increase due to people only working where and when they need to so bosses will have to pay more or do the work themselves therefore cost of NZ products would increase. With a National Govt in we wont be adding tarrifs back into the equation especially with all the FTA’s being bandied about lately which seems to leave us at a disadvantage in this endeavour.

    • Vicky32 14.1

      “Just a quick Q to other readers:
      How about clarifying the reasons you work, try the options below:

      II; you want to,

      now if you take a second and really evaluate your motives
      what do you find?
      Is it a mix of I, IV & II?
      How about this theory
      We attempt to chose a field of work in which we enjoy ourselves and are fulfilled by the work we do and the work we do allows us to provide food, clothing, shelter and entertainment for ourselves and our families.”
      I work whenever I can, even though with the present system it gets me into a power of trouble with WINZ and currently Housing New Zealand. (I can presently not get permanent work, only casual… I’d be one of the people happily working if I only could.)

      • RedLogix 14.1.1

        If it’s any encouragement to you… I dreamed up my first version of a UBI back in 2001 when I came to be aware of the circumstances of an acquaintance in exactly your position. (On the DPB I’m presuming… correct me if I’m wrong.)

        What struck me was exactly as you say, how very motivated she was to return to the workforce; while at the same time the system threw all these insane, pointless and counterproductive obstacles in her path.

        Thinking about the humiliation and frustration of her position one night the simple outlines of this UBI idea came to me. Subsequently of course I found that it was not an original idea; it had been around for yonks … but of the many merits of the scheme I’ve always felt that the elimination of this poverty trap for single parents to be the most worthwhile.

        • lprent

          What struck me was exactly as you say, how very motivated she was to return to the workforce; while at the same time the system threw all these insane, pointless and counterproductive obstacles in her path.

          That was always my impression watching my sister coping with two kids under the age of 4 when her marriage broke up and she went on the DPB in the early 90′s. All of the impediments came from the government side. She was working a very very limited budget in money and time to bring up her kids, while also upgrade her work prospects when she would have the time to go back to work. The government services that were meant to help her just got in the way all of the time mostly by getting her to do meaningless activities to satisfy the prejudices of the Minister at the time.

          Every person I have seen on the DPB has had the same experience. The only difference is how much of a moron the minister was about wasting peoples time. It was a lot less hassle in the 00′s (mostly from hangover employees of WINZ) and a lot more people were able to get off the DPB earlier as a consequence.

  15. burt 15

    Excellent post RedLogix. Great plan.

    • RedLogix 15.1


      I’ll accept that in good grace…. thanks. And of course it’s by no means my idea… it’s been around for a very long time and others have done a great deal of much deeper work on it.

      • burt 15.1.1


        Do take it in good grace, just the other day I tried to invoke discussion on exactly this subject but of course the messenger is more important than the message when engaging with partisans.


        • RedLogix

          Fair enough.

          Personally I could envisage either National or Labour implementing this reform. Well National could if it was not quite such a creature of narrow employer and wealthy tax-dodging interests… and Labour might if it was not quite so captured by the sheer weight of it’s own history.

          If only Key had the balls to have convened a truly independent Tax Working Group.. and given Gareth Morgan some leadership clout. It wouldn’t take all that much for this to gain some real public traction, if a handful of credible public voices put some weight behind it.

          • Rex Widerstrom

            if a handful of credible public voices put some weight behind it

            Ahem, what am I, chopped liver? :-P Nah just kidding, but the debate here today has been exemplary… and the congruence of views between people normally diametrically opposed, remarkable.

            This post (and again, kudos to RedLogix for it) is itself an advertisement for the robustness and potential acceptability of the idea.

            It’s not mine, so I won’t steal the thunder (and anyway, I have other ideas I want to promote) but if I were aiming to create some interest round it I’d start with the political / financial commentariat (whether or not they agree is moot… the idea is to get it mentioned in the MSM), try and get some of the more cerebral interviewers interested (Beatson is an obvious one… and…. err… well there’s always RNZ) and so on.

            The MSM love doing lazy “reporting” of what’s said on blogs. Use their indolence to your own ends!! (I should be stroking a cat and wearing a monocle right now, I feel).

            • RedLogix

              t’s not mine, so I won’t steal the thunder

              Actually I’d be delighted if you’d take it off my hands…

        • lprent

          Or for the simpler reason of the way you presented it? I for one tend to just ignore people who shift the debate into a retrospective partisan look at the way they viewed Clark and Cullen. If you notice the way that RL framed this debate, he largely avoided retrospectively crawling through history except where it was relevant and just looked at the arguments for and against the proposal.

          Perhaps there is another lesson you could draw from this other than the one you prefer to believe. But I’m not sure you can resist trying to rewrite history with more bullshit..

          But as soon as you bring Clark and Cullen into a discussion about future tax policies, I just completely lose interest because it always winds off into a turgid meaningless discussion about what you thought 5 or ten years ago.

          I suspect most of the regulars here do that automatic dissociation as well.

          • burt


            I didn’t present it – I invited a myopic partisan to discuss it.

            BTW: Are you still in hospital lprent or are you just testing your blood pressure threshold going OTT at me ?

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  • #ProudScum
    On Morning Report this morning, they went to a very unusual commentator for an opinion on National and Labour’s campaign ads. John Ansell. You may remember John Ansell from the Iwi/Kiwi billboards of 2005 – or you may have tried to...
    Rebuilding Christchurch | 21-08
  • CEO Pay Packets: Regulate to Stop Inequality?
    There has been much talk of the obscene amounts of money some CEO’s are earning, both here in New Zealand and abroad. Some have even suggested the idea of regulating CEO’s pay packets in an effort to reduce inequality.  Firstly...
    Gareth’s World | 21-08
  • Tracey Martin – the power behind the throne
    Yesterday, with the news that Andrew Williams has fallen from 3rd to 13th on the draft NZ First party list, I wrote: Williams would like to know what the selection committee’s criteria were for selecting the top ten candidates. That’s...
    Occasionally erudite | 21-08
  • Simply Not Credible: Dr Tucker’s “Clarifications” Are Onl...
    Bullshit: The idea that the Director of the SIS, Dr Warren Tucker, would proceed with the release of highly sensitive political information to a right-wing blogger without his boss's, the Prime Minister John Key's, express approval is simply not credible.THAT DR...
    Bowalley Road | 21-08
  • Advertising on Buses and Trains
    A bugbear of mine is moving billboard type advertising on the sides of buses and trains like the examples below. It primarily annoys me due to the fact it impedes the view of those on services which can make it...
    Transport Blog | 21-08
  • Key, Now a Proven Liar, Must Step Down or Be Kicked Out
    It appears unequivocal evidence now exists proving Key was lying, and he has used the SIS and his influence to give a Nutcase Right Wing Maori and Earthquake victim hating blogger, Cameron Slater, preferential treatment and access to confidential information....
    An average kiwi | 21-08
  • Who is Aaron Bhatnagar?
    Aaron Bhatnagar is a National party official who works closely with right wing blogger Cameron Slater. In effect he's a go-between for the National party and one of their attack bloggers.On Monday, 3 News reported:Judith Collins on Aaron BhatnagarNew emails...
    The Jackal | 20-08
  • TEU presidents in showdown
    Tertiary Update Vol 17 No 28 Arguably TEU’s two most experienced leaders will go head-to-head in a presidential election next month, with former national president Sandra Grey and current national president Lesley Francey both standing to be the union’s national...
    Tertiary Education Union | 20-08
  • University pan-handling
    Universities in New Zealand are moving into bake-sale activities because the public funding is so inadequate says David Cooke, co-editor of a soon to be released book Beyond the Free Market: Rebuilding a Just Society in New Zealand. He submitted...
    Tertiary Education Union | 20-08
  • Modernising parental leave
    TEU women’s officer Suzanne McNabb hopes paid parental leave will be easier to access and more suitable for modern workplaces once the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) modernises the Parental Leave Act. MBIE is reviewing the act in...
    Tertiary Education Union | 20-08
  • Tertiary funding plummets: independent economist
    Tertiary education funding has fallen dramatically in the last five years according to an independent report by BERL economist Ganesh Nana....
    Tertiary Education Union | 20-08
  • U35 group starts up at Otago University
    Younger workers at the University of Otago often don’t know what work rights they’re entitled to. That’s the message TEU’s new U35 group at the university received from those who attended its Midwinter Mixer last Friday night. Organised as part...
    Tertiary Education Union | 20-08
  • Reaction to our new ads
    Wow! What a reception! It’s been great to see people’s positive feedback on our new TV ads which started airing yesterday. Here are just some of the comments:  ...
    Labour campaign | 20-08
  • 2014 SkS Weekly News Roundup #34A
    A ‘major challenge’ to South Asia’s economic development Cities’ air problems only get worse with climate change Climate change reflected in altered Missouri River flow Climate scientist calls on colleagues to speak up on global warming Defending forests is daily...
    Skeptical Science | 20-08
  • Scotland: Get out now while you still can
    Scotland goes to the polls in a month in a referendum on independence. The assumption throughout the campaign has been that if Scotland votes to stay in the UK, it will be rewarded with further devolved powers - an assumption...
    No Right Turn | 20-08
  • The SIS OIA
    Via Stuff: Labour MP Phil Goff says he has evidence the prime minister was briefed about a decision to release Security Intelligence Service documents to WhaleOil blogger Cameron Slater. John Key, who is also the minister responsible for the SIS,...
    DimPost | 20-08
  • The SIS OIA
    Via Stuff: Labour MP Phil Goff says he has evidence the prime minister was briefed about a decision to release Security Intelligence Service documents to WhaleOil blogger Cameron Slater. John Key, who is also the minister responsible for the SIS,...
    DimPost | 20-08
  • Slater works with senior Nats
    Yesterday, the source behind the Dirty Politics scandal, @whaledump, released a large amount of communications between right wing blogger Cameron Slater and National party insider Aaron Bhatnagar.This evidence confirms that there is in fact a close relationship between Cameron Slater...
    The Jackal | 20-08
  • New Fisk
    Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are...
    No Right Turn | 20-08
  • John Key was briefed
    New information showing that the Prime Minister was in fact briefed about the SIS releasing information to right wing blogger Cameron Slater has come to light.It shows that the Director of Security at the time, Warren Tucker, had written directly...
    The Jackal | 20-08
  • Key lied
    Interview with John Key, Morning Report, 18 August 2014:ESPINER: Well let’s have a look at some of those specifics in the book. Cameron Slater gets an OIA request granted from the SIS which embarrasses Phil Goff. It’s approved in a...
    No Right Turn | 20-08
  • Life’s a Beach, Save New Chum!
    On Tuesday I presented a petition to the Mayor of the Thames Coromandel with Linda Smith from the “Save New Chum for Everyone” group. Linda and I have been working together for some years now on the campaign to protect...
    frogblog | 20-08
  • Who is a policy-free zone?
    Over at Cut Your Hair, there is a great analysis of John's Key's desperate spin about "who is running away from the policy debate?": The latest of John Key’s increasingly desperate defences against Dirty Politics and Whaledump is to say:...
    Polity | 20-08
  • ‘John Key, Stop Bullshitting Me’
    Enjoy, Share – and Think Before You Vote – Vote With Common Sense...
    An average kiwi | 20-08
  • Jobs After Coal: Full Report, Summary Report, and Presentation Now Availabl...
    Jobs After Coal is Coal Action Network Aotearoa’s report, released in May 2014, that shows how coal mining communities can move beyond dependence on coal jobs – and how we can provide a just transition for workers in the coal industry into other...
    Coal Action | 20-08
  • When Stupid meets Hypocrisy, the result is David Farrar – *Update*
    . . Further to National Party  blogger, pollster, and political apparatchik making this  public post on Facebook; . . To quote in cut-and-pastable text; “For reasons I’ll make clear tomorrow, but should not be hard to guess, I need to...
    Frankly Speaking | 20-08
  • When Stupid meets Hypocrisy, the result is David Farrar – *Update*
    . . Further to National Party  blogger, pollster, and political apparatchik making this  public post on Facebook; . . To quote in cut-and-pastable text; “For reasons I’ll make clear tomorrow, but should not be hard to guess, I need to...
    Frankly Speaking | 20-08
  • The terrifying genius of the Islamic State
    The horrific beheading of American journalist James Foley, at the hands of a so-called Islamic State (IS) militant with a British accent, has caused an earthquake on the mainstream and social media platforms.It was at once a video of a...
    Pundit | 20-08
  • Proof
    Here's a tweet from Felix Marwick this morning: What the PM said about his knowledge of Slater's SIS OIA http://t.co/u8AmXeX7jy What the SIS told me in 2011 pic.twitter.com/tPNvehTzJ0 — Felix Marwick (@felixmarwick) August 20, 2014 This is very serious. To...
    Polity | 20-08
  • Key’s ducking for cover – utterly unbelievable!!!
    .   . I don’t often re-print media stories verbatim – but this piece by Andrea Vance, for Fairfax Media,  deserves wider circulation. Please note the highlighted statements by Dear Leader as he ducks, weaves, obfuscates, and deflects any and...
    Frankly Speaking | 20-08
  • Key’s ducking for cover – utterly unbelievable!!!
    .   . I don’t often re-print media stories verbatim – but this piece by Andrea Vance, for Fairfax Media,  deserves wider circulation. Please note the highlighted statements by Dear Leader as he ducks, weaves, obfuscates, and deflects any and...
    Frankly Speaking | 20-08
  • Long Term Plan and Transport
    Yesterday I looked at the numbers behind council’s Long Term Plan, the first version of which is being worked on by the mayor for release next Thursday. As well as the all the numbers regarding the potential funding gap, there...
    Transport Blog | 20-08
  • Dirty Politics: One News Colmar-Brunton Snap Poll
     One News Colmar-Brunton         Snap Poll on Dirty Politics                   509 Respondents                            August 14-15                                                      Q 1:  "Have you heard of...
    Sub zero politics | 20-08
  • Climate Change Impacts in Labrador
    In 1534, famed explorer Jacques Cartier described Labrador as "the land God gave to Cain". This comparison is inevitably linked to Labrador’s rugged coastal landscapes dotted with deep inlets, fiords and rugged tundra. Culturally the region is steeped in complexity...
    Skeptical Science | 20-08
  • National’s flagship education policy dead in the water
    National’s plan to create executive principals and expert teachers is effectively dead in the water with news that 93 percent of primary teachers have no confidence in the scheme, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “The fact that teachers are...
    Labour | 21-08
  • Dunedin will be a knowledge and innovation centre under Labour
    Dunedin will become a knowledge and innovation centre under a Labour Government that will back local businesses, support technology initiatives and fund dynamic regional projects, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says. “Nowhere has the National Government’s short-sightedness been more apparently than...
    Labour | 21-08
  • Inquiry into SIS disclosures the right decision
    Labour MP Phil Goff says the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security has done the right thing by launching an inquiry into the disclosure of SIS documents about a meeting between himself and the agency’s former director-general. “This inquiry is necessary...
    Labour | 20-08
  • Labour – supporting and valuing carers and the cared for
    Placing real value on our elderly and the people who care for them will be a priority for a Labour Government, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says. Releasing Labour’s Senior Citizens policy today David Cunliffe promised that a Labour Government would...
    Labour | 20-08
  • By Hoki! It’s Labour’s fisheries policy
    A Labour Government will protect the iconic Kiwi tradition of fishing by improving access to the coast, protecting the rights of recreational fishers and reviewing snapper restrictions, Labour’s Fisheries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “Catching a fish from the rocks, beach...
    Labour | 20-08
  • Mighty River – Mighty Profits – Mighty hard to swallow
    Mighty River Power’s profit increase of 84 per cent is simply outrageous, says Labour’s Energy spokesperson David Shearer. “Demand for electricity is flat or declining yet the company has made enormous profits. It is the latest power company to celebrate...
    Labour | 19-08
  • Collins’ actions were wrong, not unwise
    John Key’s moral compass remains off-kilter as he cannot bring himself to declare Judith Collins’ actions outright wrong, not simply ‘unwise’, said Labour MP Grant Robertson. “Under pressure John Key is finally shifting his stance but his failure to condemn...
    Labour | 19-08
  • Public servants behaving with more integrity than their masters
    The State Services Commission's new report on the integrity of our state services reflects the yawning gap between the behaviour of public servants and that of their political masters, Labour's State Services spokesperson Maryan Street says. “This report, which surveyed...
    Labour | 19-08
  • Phil Twyford Speech to NZCID
    "Labour's plan to build more and build better: how new approaches to housing, transport and urban development will deliver cities that work" Phil Twyford, Labour Party spokesperson on housing, transport, Auckland issues, and cities.  ...
    Labour | 19-08
  • Labour commits to independent Foreign Affairs and Trade
    “Labour is committed to New Zealand’s Foreign Affairs and Trade policy being independent and proactive, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says. “We are a small but respected country. Our voice and actions count in international affairs. Labour will take a...
    Labour | 19-08
  • Key must sack Collins over abhorrent actions
    The latest revelations that Judith Collins sent the contact details of a public servant to WhaleOil in a desperate attempt to divert media attention from a bad story is abhorrent, Labour MP Grant Robertson says. “John Key and Judith Collins...
    Labour | 19-08
  • It’s downhill from here under National
    The forecast drop in exports and predicted halving of growth shows that it’s downhill from here with National, Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker says. “Growth under this Government peaked in June and halves to two per cent in coming years....
    Labour | 19-08
  • John Key loses moral compass over Collins
    John Key has lost his moral compass over Judith Collins’ involvement with Cameron Slater and lost touch with New Zealanders’ sense of right and wrong, Labour MP Grant Robertson says. “Whoever is Prime Minister there are expectations they will not...
    Labour | 18-08
  • Mana Movement General Election 2014 List confirmed
    The MANA List is now confirmed with all the candidates as below (the numbers are the respective Internet MANA rankings). Candidate, Electorate, Internet MANA List Position Hone Harawira, Te Tai Tokerau (1) Annette Sykes, Waiariki (3) John Minto, Mt Roskill (4) Te Hamua Nikora, Ikaroa-Rawhiti...
    Mana | 18-08
  • PREFU likely to confirm dropping exports
    National’s economic management will be put under the spotlight in tomorrow’s PREFU given clear signs the so-called rock star economy has fallen off the stage, with plummeting prices for raw commodity exports, Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker says. “Under National,...
    Labour | 18-08
  • Record profits while Kiwis face a cold winter
    The record profits by two of New Zealand’s largest electricity companies will be a bitter pill for New Zealand households who are paying record amounts for their power, says Labour’s Energy spokesperson David Shearer. “No doubt the Key government will...
    Labour | 18-08
  • Time for John Key to answer yes or no questions
    John Key’s train-wreck interview on Morning Report shows he is no longer capable of a simple yes or no answer and has lost touch with what’s right and wrong, Labour MP Grant Robertson says. “John Key has become so media...
    Labour | 18-08
  • Key must clarify who signed out SIS OIA
    Yet again John Key is proving incapable of answering a simple question on an extremely important issue – this time who signed off Cameron Slater’s fast-tracked SIS OIA request on Phil Goff, said Labour MP Grant Robertson. “John Key’s claim...
    Labour | 18-08
  • Time to invest in our tertiary education system
    A Labour Government will fully review the student support system – including allowances, loans, accommodation support and scholarships – with a view to increasing access and making the system fair, transparent and sustainable, Labour’s Tertiary Education spokesperson Maryan Street says....
    Labour | 17-08
  • Labour will facilitate regional Māori economic development agencies
    The next Labour Government will facilitate the creation of regional Māori economic development groups lead by iwi and hapū to work in partnership with business and public agencies as part of its Māori Development policy. “Labour is committed to working towards...
    Labour | 16-08
    Labour’s New Zealand Council has today released an email from the General Manager of the National Party that directly contradicts recent statements from the Prime Minister in relation to the 2011 breaches of Labour Party website databases. In his stand-up...
    Labour | 16-08
  • Labour committed to a healthier NZ for all
    A Labour Government will shift the focus of the health system from narrow targets and short term thinking to make public health and prevention a priority, Labour’s health spokesperson Annette King says. Releasing Labour’s full Health policy today she said...
    Labour | 15-08
  • Time Key took responsibility for Collins
    It is well past time for John Key to take some responsibility for the misuse of power and information by his Minister Judith Collins, and follow through on his last warning to her, Labour MP Grant Robertson says. “The evidence released...
    Labour | 14-08
  • Dear John, time to answer a few questions… – Harawira
    “When Cameron Slater says about Kim Dotcom ‘I have lots on him…death by a thousand cuts…wait till you see what comes out in coming weeks on that fat c***t’, you have to ask whether this is the same Cameron Slater...
    Mana | 14-08
    “This week suicide has claimed yet more lives in whanau and communities in Ikaroa Rawhiti, and my heart goes out to those who are dealing with such a tragic loss”, says MANA candidate for Te Ikaroa Rawhiti, Te Hamua Nikora....
    Mana | 14-08
  • Offshore betting in Labour’s sights
    A Labour Government will clamp down on offshore gambling websites that deprive the local racing industry of funds, Labour’s Racing spokesperson Ross Robertson says. Releasing Labour’s racing policy today, he said betting on offshore websites is a major threat to...
    Labour | 14-08
  • Key has serious questions to answer on Dirty Politics
    John Key must answer the serious questions raised in Nicky Hager’s new book which reveal examples of dirty politics that New Zealanders will be deeply concerned about, Labour MP Grant Robertson says. “Many people will be disturbed by the evidence...
    Labour | 14-08
  • Creating an inclusive society for disabled people
    A Labour Government will provide free annual health checks for people with an intellectual disability, Labour’s Disability Issues spokesperson Ruth Dyson said today in announcing Labour’s Disability Issues policy. “We will also employ another 100 additional special education teachers and...
    Labour | 14-08
  • Media Advisory – MANA name change
    This is to advise all media that on the 24th of July the ‘Mana’ party name was officially changed to ‘MANA Movement’ under the Electoral Act 1993.  The inclusion of the word ‘Movement’ in our name shouldn’t come as a surprise...
    Mana | 13-08
  • New Zealand must help in the growing Iraq crisis
    The humanitarian crisis in Iraq looks certain to get worse before it gets better,” said David Shearer Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson. “New Zealand should urgently pledge increased humanitarian assistance to United Nations agencies and NGOs present on the ground....
    Labour | 13-08
  • Allegations of migrant worker rort should be investigated
    Labour is calling for an investigation into the alleged exploitation of workers at Hutt Railway workshops, hired to repair asbestos-riddled DL locomotives. Hutt South Labour MP Trevor Mallard has written to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment asking that...
    Labour | 13-08
  • Medical and dentistry students get reprieve under Labour
    A Labour Government will restore the right of medical and dentistry students to get student loans after seven years of study because it is the right thing to do, Labour’s Tertiary Education spokesperson Maryan Street says. “Hard on the heels...
    Labour | 13-08
  • National must stop meddling with ACC before the election
    The redesign currently occurring at the Accident Claims Corporation (ACC) for sensitive claims needs to be put on hold immediately, said the Green Party today.The Green Party is concerned about work currently underway at ACC involving the sensitive claims service...
    Greens | 13-08
  • Markets slow but first home buyers still hurting
    First home buyers are hurting more than ever as the supply of affordable houses in the market dries up, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The Reserve Bank will be happy LVR minimum deposits and rising interest rates have dampened...
    Labour | 13-08
  • Green Party celebrates MOU win on contaminated sites
    The Green Party is celebrating the announcement of a national register of contaminated sites today, and $2.5 million to start cleaning two sites up. The Green Party and the National Party agreed to include toxic site management work in their...
    Greens | 13-08
  • Emergency staff at breaking point
    The Southern DHB is so cash-strapped it is failing to fill nursing rosters, Labour’s Associate Health spokesperson David Clark says.  “Every day emergency department nurses arrive at work knowing they are likely to be carrying more than their recommended workload. ...
    Labour | 12-08
  • ACC minister fails in mission to change culture
    The latest damning report by the Auditor General shows that the ACC Minister has failed to fulfil her mission to fix the sick culture at ACC and real change will not come till a new Government is elected, the Green...
    Greens | 12-08
  • Labour’s regional development fund to support Palmerston North
    Labour will consider a proposal to develop an inland port at Palmerston North, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says. “The Palmerston North community has developed plans for an inland port which will bring jobs and economic growth to a region which...
    Labour | 12-08
  • Green Party announces priorities for Christchurch
    The Green Party has today announced its plan for a fairer, smarter and more democratic Canterbury rebuild, with a focus on smart transport solutions, restoring local democracy, and keeping Christchurch's assets.The plan sits across all of the Green Party's priorities...
    Greens | 11-08
  • Rock-star economy unplugged by China log jam
    The collapse of log prices due to oversupply in China threatens to wash the gloss off what remains of National's so-called rock-star economy, says Labour Leader David Cunliffe. “Already this year the price of milk solids has plunged by more...
    Labour | 11-08
  • Young job seekers dealt a poor hand
    National's "keep 'em poor" card for young people on a benefit is a sorry substitute for job training, Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Sue Moroney says.  The Government today announced it would extend its payment card scheme to all teen parents...
    Labour | 11-08
  • Labour – achieving change for Kiwi women
    Working towards being a world leader in eliminating violence against women and children will be a priority for a Labour Government. Releasing Labour’s Women’s Affairs policy today spokesperson Carol Beaumont said while Labour had a proud track record of achieving...
    Labour | 11-08
  • Accessible healthcare also affordable
      It is obvious from Tony Ryall’s hasty attack of Labour’s plans to extend free GP visits to older people that he hasn’t bothered to actually read the policy, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. "Mr Ryall’s response to Labour’s...
    Labour | 11-08
  • Full details of oil execs’ junket revealed
    Full details of a $237,000 taxpayer-funded oil executives' junket in 2011 have emerged.National paid the nearly quarter of a million dollars to wine and dine 11 oil executives in New Zealand during the World Cup.The trip included yachting, wine tasting,...
    Greens | 10-08
  • Nats sold 500 rugby fields of land a day offshore
    Under National over one million hectares of land has been approved for overseas sale – 16 times the size of Lake Taupō or the equivalent of five hundred rugby fields a day, Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker says. “According to...
    Labour | 10-08
  • Joyce’s dodgy sums fool no-one
    Steven Joyce's attempt to attack Labour's positive plan for affordable healthcare will fool no-one. "We knew that National would try to say that we can't afford free GP visits and prescriptions for the New Zealanders who need it. But, as...
    Labour | 10-08
  • Campaign Launch – Ready to Win
    Today I launched Labour's election campaign at the Viaduct Events Centre, Auckland. Here is the speech I gave....
    Labour | 10-08
  • Labour extends free GP visits, free prescriptions
    Nearly 40 per cent of Kiwis – or 1.7 million people – will be eligible for free doctors’ visits and free prescriptions under a Labour Government, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says. “Last year more than half a million New Zealanders...
    Labour | 10-08
  • Labour promises a fairer ACC for all Kiwis
    Accident compensation for loss of potential earnings will rise under a Labour Government, while people not earning at the time of their accident will also be eligible for compensation, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway says. Releasing Labour’s ACC policy today...
    Labour | 08-08
  • NZ Govt must push for fair play in Fiji elections
    The New Zealand Government needs to do more to push for human rights and media freedom in Fiji as it stages its first election since the 2006 coup, the Green Party said today.Amnesty International has released a report which documents...
    Greens | 07-08
  • Government’s Own Guidelines Show John Key Would Have Been Informed Of SIS...
    Analysis by Selwyn Manning. INFORMATION THAT I HAVE ACQUIRED, sourced from the State Services Commission, states in black and white the tight guideline requirements that must be followed whenever the SIS informs a Prime Minister of any pending release of...
    The Daily Blog | 21-08
  • Simply Not Credible: Dr Tucker’s “clarifications” are only making thi...
    THAT DR WARREN TUCKER, Director of the Security Intelligence Service in 2011, agreed to the release of politically sensitive material – thereby intervening in an on-going contretemps between the leaders of the National and Labour parties – without receiving the...
    The Daily Blog | 21-08
  • The Donghua Liu Affair: Evidence of Collusion between the NZ Herald and Imm...
    . 1. Prologue . The Donghua Liu Affair hit  the headlines on 18 June, with allegations that David Cunliffe wrote a letter in 2003,  on  behalf of  business migrant, Donghua Liu. Four days later, on Sunday 22 June, the Herald...
    The Daily Blog | 21-08
  • Dear Canon NZ – Malevolence should induce revulsion, it shouldn’t be ce...
    Giovanni Tiso’s analysis on Slater is possibly the best in NZ… It’s been a good week for some of us. A week of feeling vindicated, offeeling galvanised. Where it goes from here will depend on several factors, some of which are largely...
    The Daily Blog | 20-08
  • 5AA Australia: After Dirty Politics Can National Provide Stable Government?
    AS WE ALL KNOW New Zealanders and Australians do not like political parties that are unstable, or can no longer assure us that they are able to provide stable government. And the big question for Kiwis as we prepare to...
    The Daily Blog | 20-08
  • SIS letter means it’s over for Key
    It’s over. I may not agree with all of Phil Goff’s positions, but you can’t question his integrity the way Slater did in Dirty Politics and not be deeply concerned that our Secret Intelligence Agency is being used for political...
    The Daily Blog | 20-08
  • who to vote for in Epsom
    who to vote for in Epsom...
    The Daily Blog | 20-08
  • The Rise and Fall of John Key – who will be the next leader of National P...
    . . It was all set to go: Teamkey would be the cult of personality that would do Stalin, Mao, Reagan, Thatcher, or any of the Nth Korean Kim Dynasty, proud.  National and it’s “Teamkey” propaganda strategy   would cash-in Big Time...
    The Daily Blog | 20-08
  • Who said Kiwis couldn’t get a fire in their bellies over an arcane intern...
    An amazing team of activists has taken the campaign on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) to local governments throughout the country. Their latest triumph came last Monday when the Dunedin City Council endorsed a resolution expressing concern about the TPPA...
    The Daily Blog | 20-08
  • National’s Dangerous Education Agenda Exposed
    Putting aside the dirty politics coming out of the Beehive and the right-wing blogisphere, there are some very strong signals that another term of a National Government would do even more serious damage to the public education system. The Education...
    The Daily Blog | 20-08
  • We can have clean politics and get our democracy back.
    Something is rotten in our politics and it stinks. Dirty politics has sadly become one of the defining features of this election campaign. In the light of recent revelations about the extent of nasty and disingenuous political strategies, it would...
    The Daily Blog | 20-08
  • Book burning copies of Hager’s book? The next generation of National Part...
    It seems we are getting the next generation of National Party Dirty Politics now. There are claims the Young Nats in Hamilton are buying up copies of Dirty Politics and burning them. One witness was contacted by the Waikato Times...
    The Daily Blog | 20-08
  • National Party Poetry Day Haiku
    Key’s inbox and Cam’s poison most foul, there he blows hoist by own harpoon...
    The Daily Blog | 20-08
  • Why Cunliffe will be the next PM
    David Cunliffe will be the next Prime Minister of NZ. Labour’s inclusive and positive TV adverts… …are in stark contrast to National’s team of white people powering away from the rabble of the ‘others’… …the messaging is vital and crucial...
    The Daily Blog | 20-08
  • From smiling assassin to grumpy butcher – on giving Judith Collins a last...
    After #dirtypolitics Key isn’t the smiling assassin, he is the grumpy butcher. When he said Judith had  a ‘last chance’ he meant 1 second after voting closes on 20th September. Key would love nothing more than to cut Collins loose and end...
    The Daily Blog | 20-08
  • If the National Party rowing advert was real….
    If the National Party rowing advert was real there would be more blood in the water. If the National Party rowing advert was real it would be Cameron Slater calling the strokes. If the national Party rowing advert was real,...
    The Daily Blog | 20-08
  • Cameron Slater: Zionist and political pundit
    It is hard to know where to start with right-wing blogger Cameron Slater (Whale Oil), especially after the release of Nicky Hager’s book Dirty Politics. This confirmed everything many of us thought Slater to be: a snivelling pundit who serves...
    The Daily Blog | 19-08
  • Bryce Edwards stood down from Herald for election season??? Are the editors...
    I only found this out via twitter last night and I am still in shock. Bryce Edwards, easily the best critical thinker and news analyst the NZ Herald has has been stood down by the NZ Herald ‘for the election...
    The Daily Blog | 19-08
  • So who’s a “conspiracy theorist” now?!
    . . As the media storm over Nicky Hager’s book, “Dirty Politics“,  and allegations over smear campaigns continue to swirl,  National’s spin doctors have given Key, Collins, and other National Party ministers a string of  phrases to use in all...
    The Daily Blog | 19-08
  • Momentum shift
    When you are deeply immersed in a local campaign sometimes it can be difficult to see the helicopter view.   I don’t know how accurate the political polls are and have always known that things can change quickly in politics...
    The Daily Blog | 19-08
  • Dear Toby Manhire. Bad call on backing Farrar
    Oh dear. I say this as someone who regards Toby Manhire as one of the smartest journalists/commentators/columnists this country has, and I think Toby has made a terribly dumb call here. Let’s see if Toby is still singing Farrar’s praises...
    The Daily Blog | 19-08
  • Radio NZ apologise to me for getting it wrong
    Radio NZ have contacted me, reviewed the claim by their host that I had an advance copy of Nicky Hager’s book and they have concluded they got it wrong, they have called me and apologised and will make a statement...
    The Daily Blog | 19-08
  • GUEST BLOG: Reclaim UoA – Students’ Message to Steven Joyce
    Tertiary Education – we’ve been sold a lemon  A group of 30 students attended an event on Tuesday evening about ‘the future of tertiary education’ at which the Minister of Tertiary Education Steven Joyce was slated to speak. As Joyce...
    The Daily Blog | 19-08
  • Can someone in the media please ask the PM of NZ to categorically deny any ...
    Now we see the MO of Slater & Co, the setting up, the digging for dirt, the use of staff to dig that dirt, can the Prime Minister of NZ categorically deny any National Party staff worked with Cam Slater...
    The Daily Blog | 19-08
  • Panic setting in for National as they realise what’s about to happen
    And the terror starts to set in. I’ve never seen blind panic like this before  and it’s spreading as the enormity of what’s about to happen starts to sink in. Hager’s book is a mere entree, Nicky’s personal ethics wouldn’t...
    The Daily Blog | 19-08
  • Hager’s Dirty Politics: what the book ultimately reveals is abuse of powe...
    Guide to the many faces of John Key Nicky’s book is now doing what I suspected it would do, create a shockwave of revulsion. Andrew Geddis over at Pundit Blog sums up this attitude best, and it’s reverberations build with every...
    The Daily Blog | 18-08
  • Fancy taking children seriously
    Let’s see why all political parties should pay close attention to the Green Party’s policy for children. First, it is a comprehensive attempt to put children, not ideology, at the heart of family policy. Wow, children at the heart of...
    The Daily Blog | 18-08
  • Amnesty International: Dear Azerbaijan, Stop Torture, Love Kiwi Kids
    This is a world where many adults often underestimate Generation Y. Being only a few years out of being a teenager myself, I feel I can make this statement with certainty. However, I have been the Youth Intern at Amnesty...
    The Daily Blog | 18-08
  • GCSB meetings today in Christchurch 1pm at Uni 7pm at Cathedral
    The 2014 GCSB meetings to discuss the mass surveillance state legislation passed by this Government will be debated in Christchurch today at two different meetings. 1pm at Canterbury University bottom floor James Height Building: Chair: Bomber Bradbury Ruth Dyson – Labour Party...
    The Daily Blog | 18-08
  • Things that 7 Sharp should probably be talking about
    Things that 7 Sharp should probably be talking about...
    The Daily Blog | 18-08
  • Guide to when Key is lying
    Guide to when Key is lying...
    The Daily Blog | 18-08
  • GUEST BLOG: Kate Davis – The State of the Student Nation …or is just Al...
    Students politics are dead and our student media is in terminal decline. The most disappointing thing about university is the politics, or should I say lack of? I was raised with the idea that students held the power.They were the...
    The Daily Blog | 18-08
  • Love Lifts Us Up: Thoughts from the Green Party’s campaign launch.
    Author Eleanor Catton wants people to give their party vote to the Greens.Photo by Peter Meecham NO ONE WAS QUITE SURE how he did it. Somehow Bob Harvey had persuaded the owners of the rights to Joe Cocker’s Up Where...
    The Daily Blog | 18-08
  • Test Stream
    width="600" height="400"> archive="http://theora.org/cortado.jar [3]" width="600" height="401">...
    The Daily Blog | 18-08
  • LIVE STREAM: You, Me and the GCSB ChCh Public Meetings
    LIVE STREAM EVENT here at 1pm & 7pm: The 2014 GCSB meetings to discuss the mass surveillance state legislation passed by this Government will be debated in Christchurch today at two different meetings. PLEASE NOTE: TDB recommends Chrome and Firefox...
    The Daily Blog | 18-08
  • Jeremy Wells’ Mike Hosking rant on Radio Hauraki: Today,
    Jeremy Wells’ Mike Hosking on Radio Hauraki...
    The Daily Blog | 18-08
  • How @whaledump might destroy the popular vote for National
    Dirty Politics is now creating a meltdown and National are in danger of a total vote collapse. The real threat to for National was if Nicky had all the emails released via the anonymous hacker who took them. That danger is now a...
    The Daily Blog | 18-08
  • Open letter to Radio NZ – you need to make a retraction now
    I have just sent this off to Radio NZ right now Dear Radio NZ Firstly, what a great interview by Guyon Espiner this morning with the Prime Minister. Great to see such hard hitting journalism. Unfortunately I am not contacting...
    The Daily Blog | 17-08
  • Radio NZ are lying about me
    I am getting this all second hand at the moment as I don’t bother listening to Radio NZ (except for that wonderful Wallace Chapman in the weekends) but there is a claim that Suzie Ferguson just insinuated on Radio NZ...
    The Daily Blog | 17-08
  • Farrar’s fake claim of being invaded + Slater’s claims of death threats...
    The counter spin to avoid focus on the series allegations made in Nicky Hager’s Dirty Politics continues. David Farrar’s ridiculous hysterics that he was invaded and his privacy has been blah blah blah has all been reduced from computer hacking to...
    The Daily Blog | 17-08
  • A shout out to the unsung heroes – our Public Service staff
    Government departments, particularly in the social welfare, education and health areas get a lot of shtick. And it’s not unjustified. We have problems in the way that our government departments treat those in need. And I do not intend to...
    The Daily Blog | 17-08
  • Key’s ducking for cover – utterly unbelievable!!!
    .   . I don’t often re-print media stories verbatim – but this piece by Andrea Vance, for Fairfax Media,  deserves wider circulation. Please note the highlighted statements by Dear Leader as he ducks, weaves, obfuscates, and deflects any and...
    The Daily Blog | 17-08
  • Hager’s Dirty Politics – Who is the source of Hager’s emails?
    Who is the source of Hager’s emails? Kim Dotcom has categorically denied he has anything to do with this and Nicky Hager has categorically denied that Kim was the source of the emails. Whatever you think about Kim (and he...
    The Daily Blog | 17-08
  • Dirty Politics – Audio+Text Why It Is Essential Raw Data Be Released Imme...
    MIL OSI – Source: RadioLive – Sunday Panel Analysis Headline: Dirty Politics – Audio Analysis by Selwyn Manning + Rodney Hide + Mark Sainsbury MIL Video: Selwyn Manning, Rodney Hide, and Mark Sainsbury discuss and debate the explosive details revealed...
    The Daily Blog | 17-08
  • TV One and TV3 Political Polls – not such a landslide now
    Before the impact of Dirty Politics has been felt, the National Party high point in the Polls had been reached and their inevitable  drop begins. Despite the mainstream media telling NZers for almost 3 years that John Key would win...
    The Daily Blog | 17-08
  • Hager’s Dirty Politics – You will not believe Key’s defence of hackin...
    He actually used a sporting analogy. Can you believe it? John Key, asked on the fact that his staff had entered into a Labour Party computer and downloaded their database, Key replied, “It’s a bit like the Wallabies positing up their...
    The Daily Blog | 17-08
  • A brief word on 100 Top political Tweeters
    The NZ Herald has put together a very useful list of top 100 political twtter accounts, what is most interesting from the lists is that the right wing all work hand in glove with each other where as the Left...
    The Daily Blog | 16-08
  • Are Whaleoil’s traffic stats a bloated illusion?
    Dim Post has done a critical analysis of just how real Cameron Slater’s traffic stats are. TDB has only been around for a year with a fragment of the digital footprint of the older blogs, yet we have managed to become...
    The Daily Blog | 16-08
  • Hager’s Dirty Politics – Is Jordan Williams deceptive enough to blackma...
    There are so many issues raised by Nicky Hager’s book, that any one of them would be worthy of total focus on. Let’s chat about the claim in the book that Jordan Williams bragged to Slater and Lusk that he had...
    The Daily Blog | 16-08
  • Hager’s Dirty Politics – Why ‘see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evi...
    This sign shows how National’s see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil denial isn’t working. National’s response to the book is that there is NOTHING in there that deserves anything more than the most briefest of eye motions. Key won’t...
    The Daily Blog | 16-08
  • Commissioner of Police v Kim Dotcom And Ors
    An order is made extending the duration of the registration of the restraining orders issued by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia on 10 and 25 January 2012 and registered in New Zealand on 18...
    Scoop politics | 21-08
  • Labour Announcement on Future of Hillside Workshops Welcome
    Labour leader David Cunliffe’s announcement in Dunedin today that a government led by his party would re-open Hillside Railway workshops was welcomed by the Rail and Maritime Transport Union (RMTU). ‘Since the workshops were shut down in late...
    Scoop politics | 21-08
  • Primary teachers and principals vote to put kids first
    Teachers and principals have voted overwhelmingly against the Government’s controversial “Investing in Educational Success” policy, including proposed highly-paid principal and teacher roles....
    Scoop politics | 21-08
  • Prime Time with Sean Plunkett: Educating for Success
    In all the turmoil stirred up by the "Dirty Politics" revelations, the real issues that the campaign should be about have been put to one side....
    Scoop politics | 21-08
  • Dirty Politics – Number One Bestseller and Back in Stores
    An exposé of the hidden side of New Zealand politics, Nicky Hager's book, Dirty Politics , has been in hot demand since its release last Wednesday....
    Scoop politics | 21-08
  • Epsom: profiling NZ’s most controversial electorate
    Welcome to the wealthy inner Auckland electorate of Epsom: home of coat-tailing, the Tea Tapes, a convicted outgoing MP... and heavy newspaper and magazine readership....
    Scoop politics | 21-08
  • Families Free From Violence campaign and website
    We are pleased to announce the launch of our Families Free From Violence campaign and our new Families Free From Violence website. This website has been created to encourage people to take responsibility for ending family violence by seeking help...
    Scoop politics | 21-08
  • PSA And DHBs Reach Settlement on Five Collective Agreements
    The 20 District Health Boards are pleased to reach settlement via mediation on five Multi Employer Collective Agreements (MECAs) with the Public Service Association for 12,000 mental and public health nurses, allied, public health and technical staff,...
    Scoop politics | 20-08
  • Refusal to complete census results in 46 convictions
    Failing to fill out a census form has resulted in the convictions of 46 people, Statistics New Zealand said today....
    Scoop politics | 20-08
  • Council Amalgamations Still Bad Deal
    Northland, Bay of Plenty, and Wellington ratepayers should not be seduced into accepting the amalgamation of their Councils by a recent amendment to legislation allowing for local boards not community boards, Chris Leitch, Democrats for Social Credit...
    Scoop politics | 20-08
  • DHB industrial action withdrawn
    The Public Service Association (PSA) has withdrawn notices of industrial action covering 12,000 health workers at District Health Boards (DHBs) across New Zealand, after progress was made in mediation....
    Scoop politics | 20-08
  • Aged Care Pledge Needs Better Target, Says Care Agency
    Labour’s pledge to set up an aged care working group to address industry concerns is good to see, but appears to skirt the obvious issue of a looming lack of beds and carers for our rapidly growing elderly population, says...
    Scoop politics | 20-08
  • Social inequality still rife in New Zealand
    Social inequality has worsened over the past decade in New Zealand, a new study from Victoria University of Wellington shows....
    Scoop politics | 20-08
  • Working towards a living wage and more Māori in paid work
    The Māori Party will build on the gains it has already achieved in Government and accelerate job opportunities particularly for young Māori....
    Scoop politics | 20-08
  • Deepwater Group Supports Changes to Catch Limits
    The Deepwater Group says the increase in the Total Allowable Commercial Catch for hoki shows the benefits of a long term commitment to build biomass in this major New Zealand fishery....
    Scoop politics | 20-08
  • ACT announces Ohariu candidate Sean Fitzpatrick
    “Our Ohariu candidate will be Sean Fitzpatrick. Sean has strong ties to the region and I’m glad to hear he will be doing his best to grow ACT’s party vote in the area,” says Dr Whyte....
    Scoop politics | 20-08
  • ACT announces Tauranga candidate Stuart Pederson
    “Our Tauranga candidate will be Stuart Pedersen. Stuart has strong ties to Tauranga and I’m glad he has agreed to do his best to grow ACT’s party vote in the electorate,” says Dr Whyte....
    Scoop politics | 20-08
  • Green Party scores massive own goal
    Green Party scores massive own goal as their own policy auditor criticises their fiscal plan...
    Scoop politics | 20-08
  • Green Party’s own Auditor of their Budget finds it dodgy
    “The Alternative Budget released by the Green's does not even stack up in the eyes of their chosen auditor – Infometrics” said ACT Leader Dr Jamie Whyte....
    Scoop politics | 20-08
  • New shark finning laws fall short for threatened species
    Environmental groups are welcoming some aspects of a raft of law changes announced today in relation to shark finning, but say that overall the chance for New Zealand to catch up with international efforts in shark conservation is being missed....
    Scoop politics | 20-08
  • Promoting Labour’s Positive Policies
    General Secretary of the New Zealand Labour Party, Tim Barnett, today launched Labour’s television advertisements for the 2014 election. The advertisements help tell Labour’s positive story for a better New Zealand....
    Scoop politics | 20-08
  • Drug Court: Rare Insight into New Alternative Justice Model
    Māori Television’s latest New Zealand documentary presents a fascinating look inside a new alternative justice model – through the stories of convicted criminals....
    Scoop politics | 20-08
  • Political parties pledge to increase overseas aid
    A survey of political parties looking at how much New Zealand should spend on Official Development Assistance (ODA) shows the overwhelming majority of parties are committed to raising the bar according to the Council for International Development (CID)....
    Scoop politics | 20-08
  • Top Kiwis backing Tip the Scales campaign
    Sir Graham Henry, former All Black Kees Meeuws, singer-song writer Jamie McDell and fishing guru Matt Watson have pledged their support to Tip the Scales, a pre-election campaign generating public support for rebuilding New Zealand’s depleted inshore...
    Scoop politics | 20-08
  • Maritime Union continues to press over dirty politics
    Maritime Union National President Garry Parsloe says Ports of Auckland management is trying to get off the hook from its involvement with extreme right wing bloggers during the Ports of Auckland dispute....
    Scoop politics | 20-08
  • No end in sight to overwhelming human cost of conflict
    Two ceasefires have brought some respite to civilians in Gaza and southern Israel, amid hope that a durable cessation of hostilities might occur. In Gaza, these breaks in the fighting have barely given people enough time to seek medical care,...
    Scoop politics | 20-08
  • Young Kiwi speakers to represent NZ at Gallipoli 2015
    The RSA is delighted at the announcement made by Veterans' Affairs Minister Michael Woodhouse today, that all eight regional finalists of the 2015 ANZ RSA Cyril Bassett VC Speech Competition will be included in a group of 25 Youth Ambassadors...
    Scoop politics | 20-08
  • “Bromance” Marriage Stunt Insulting Says LegaliseLove
    A promotional competition asking two best mates to get married in order to win an all-expenses-paid trip to the 2015 Rugby World Cup is insulting, marriage equality campaign LegaliseLove Aotearoa claims....
    Scoop politics | 20-08
  • Cannabis Party first to register for 2014 General Election
    The Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party became the first party to register for the 2014 General Election today, when it meet with the Electoral Commission in Wellington at Midday....
    Scoop politics | 20-08
  • PGA: Addresses NZ’s ratification of Arms Trade Treaty
    President of Parliamentarians for Global Action and New Zealand MP Ross Robertson today addressed a celebration to mark New Zealand’s imminent ratification of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), which is expected within the next few weeks....
    Scoop politics | 20-08
  • Roy Morgan Poll August 20
    National (48%) holds its lead over Labour/ Greens (39%) as ‘Dirty Politics’ revelations provide a new challenge for PM John Key’s leadership. NZ First surge to 6.5% - highest support since September 2013....
    Scoop politics | 20-08
  • IGIS inquiry into release of NZSIS information
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security (IGIS), Cheryl Gwyn, announced today that she would be instituting an inquiry concerning allegations that the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service (NZSIS) might have released official information...
    Scoop politics | 20-08
  • Glen Scanlon to Head Digital Media at Radio New Zealand
    Radio New Zealand has announced the appointment of Glen Scanlon to the recently created position of head of digital media....
    Scoop politics | 20-08
  • Israel’s Gaza ceasefire violations go unreported
    It seems that it is only ceasefire violations that emanate from the Palestinian side that ever get publicised....
    Scoop politics | 20-08
  • Drug courier sentenced for importing heroin
    South African drug courier, Laura Elizabeth Cilliers, was sentenced today in the Christchurch District Court to 7 years and 10 months in prison for importing approximately 1.2 kilograms of heroin....
    Scoop politics | 20-08
  • Residential Property Speculators Days Numbered
    Rent heat cools as homes are replaced ... Liz McDonald ... The Press http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/business/your-property/10400851/Rent-heat-cools-as-homes-are-replaced Comment on thread (in moderation) … Christchurch is a “severely unaffordable” City as the Annual Demographia Survey ( www.demographia.com ) illustrates … thanks...
    Scoop politics | 20-08
  • Academic’s study shows need for a Ministry of Public Input
    A book by Associate Professor Jennifer Lees-Marshment recommends the creation of a Ministry of Public Input to collect, process and communicate the publics’ ideas to government. The University of Auckland’s political marketing expert says the...
    Scoop politics | 20-08
  • Government inaction killing innocent motorists
    Innocent people are dying due to long delays in installing centre lane barriers on high risk roads, says an outspoken road safety campaigner....
    Scoop politics | 19-08
  • Property revaluations for council rates must be reformed
    Opportunity to bring controls on rating value changes and more equitable level of annual rates increase...
    Scoop politics | 19-08
  • Ron Mark Sets the Example
    The Taxpayers’ Union is welcoming the pledge by Mayor of Carterton and NZ First candidate Ron Mark who has announced he would relinquish his roles as Mayor and member of two District Health Boards if successfully elected to Parliament. Taxpayers’...
    Scoop politics | 19-08
  • Ban 1080 Candidates announced for 2014 General Election
    MEDIA RELEASE: Angry rural communities want issue of 1080 aerial drops taken to the polls, says party co-leader Ban 1080 Candidates announced for 2014 General Election...
    Scoop politics | 19-08
  • Governor General Gives Direction to Conduct Election
    The Governor General, Lt Gen The Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae, has given the green light for this year’s General Election....
    Scoop politics | 19-08
  • New Zealand Animal Groups Unite to Help
    WELLINGTON (19 Aug 2014) – The Be Cruelty-Free campaign to ban animal testing of cosmetics in New Zealand just got bigger and stronger, as two leading animal protection groups come on board. Joining forces with Humane Society International which has...
    Scoop politics | 19-08
  • Students Interrupt Steven Joyce at University Event
    A group of 30 students this evening interrupted an event about ‘the future of tertiary education’ at which Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce was slated to speak. As Joyce began to speak, students interrupted with a speech of their own....
    Scoop politics | 19-08
  • Caritas among first responders offering relief in Iraq
    As the plight of Iraqis fleeing persecution reaches tragic levels, Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand has pledged an initial $10,000 to support the work of Caritas in Iraq to provide humanitarian aid to thousands of families affected by the war and...
    Scoop politics | 19-08
  • iPredict 2014 Election Update #31: Nats take hit
    Election race narrows significantly · National party vote now below Labour/Greens · National’s probability of leading next government dips to 72% · Joyce expected to take over as National leader before end of 2015, as Collins’ prospects fall...
    Scoop politics | 19-08
  • Call for applications – Fulbright scholar awards
    Fulbright New Zealand calls for applications to a range of scholar awards for New Zealand academics, artists and professionals to undertake academic and cultural exchanges to the United States of America. A Fulbright exchange provides life-changing opportunities...
    Scoop politics | 19-08
  • CWS launches appeal for Iraqis on World Humanitarian Day
    Christian World Service is appealing for help for tens of thousands of Iraqis caught up in one of the world’s horrifying conflicts....
    Scoop politics | 19-08
  • Promoting the Voice of the Rangatahi
    Young Māori voters are seen by the Māori Party to have a vital part to play in saving the Māori seats in Parliament says the Māori Party’s youngest candidate, Reverend Te Hira Paenga. “What we’re hearing on the ground is...
    Scoop politics | 19-08
  • Nelson Election Candidates’ Community Forum
    Nelson’s community and volunteer sector has some serious questions to put to the local candidates in the run up to next month’s general election....
    Scoop politics | 19-08
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