web analytics

A question of trusts

Written By: - Date published: 1:17 pm, August 18th, 2009 - 52 comments
Categories: national/act government, tax - Tags: ,

Here is Bill English in the cocktail tapes talking about Working for Families:

“the reality is if we had been the government, with the surpluses they had, we would have done something similar, like Working for Families… there’s a set of inevitable problems, it’s like physics… If you give people cash [that abates as income rises], they’re going to have high marginal tax rates [or people on high incomes are going to get payments]. That’s it. You can’t get around it. Don thought he could. So did John actually… so the raw choice is, fix the money by taking the money off them… the punters are keen to keep it… The last thing we want is to spend to the whole election with families of four on TV saying ‘Mr Key took our money off us’. So later on we’ll have to have a bit of a sort out”

English was right: you can’t avoid high marginal tax rates if you’re going to give a decent tax break to low and middle income families without well-off families also getting something. It’s simple maths.

The problem is, those high marginal tax rates have encouraged some wealthy families to hide their income in investment properties, companies, and trusts so they can keep on getting WFF and avoid going into the top tax bracket at the same time. It’s a classic rich man’s rort.

Working for Families isn’t the problem. The problem is that mechanisms like trusts can be used to abuse the system. If National really wants to stop some well-off people rorting the rest of us, they should target those mechanisms. As far as I can see, the only reason people use family trusts is to avoid tax (and shove the burden on the rest of us). Clamp down on that. Change the rules so investment properties and trusts can’t be used simply to minimise taxable income.

Unfortunately, National’s tax review group thinks the solution is to get rid of Working For Families altogether and make the top tax rate 23%. That’s throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Hundreds of thousands of low income families depend on the WFF payments they receive. They would get nothing from cuts to the tax rates over $48,000. A family of four with an income of $50,000 would lose $150 a week. Meanwhile, wealthy people (including the people who are rorting the current system) would get enormous tax cuts – $115 a week for an income of $100,000.

When English has his “sort out”, I hope he will think of all those “families of four” and not take their money away to give to the rich. Instead, he needs to have the guts to stop tools like trusts being used by some wealthy people to rip-off everyone else.

52 comments on “A question of trusts”

  1. burt 1

    So hang on a minute here, are we saying complicated tax structures can be used to manipulate complex tax rules… wow – who would have guess that.

    I have linked this graph here on the standard before;
    http://nbr.infometrics.co.nz/graphing–ideological-burps-_1038.html

    • Ianmac 1.1

      But can the “workers” take advantage of “complicated tax structures can be used to manipulate complex tax rules”? The beauty of PAYE is its simplicity but for wage/salary earners there is not the same wriggle room as some I know. Farmers are able for example to write off their income so apparently they pay no income tax, and enable their kids to access Student Allowance at universty.

      • burt 1.1.1

        Ianmac

        Yes exactly. But you forget the wisdom of Dr. Cullen – students won’t borrow interest free money to invest….

        • Bright Red 1.1.1.1

          Any evidence that students have maxed out their loan to invest, on any significant scale? (I want more than one of two isolated cases)

        • burt 1.1.1.2

          Bright Red

          Do your own digging. I’m too busy planning my Kid’s OE with interest earned from free money. But hey, I’m probably the only one doing it….. Wharrrrrp – thanks for playing.

          • Killinginthenameof 1.1.1.2.1

            OE to nelson is it?

            $166 a week in living costs and a 1 off of $1000 at the start of the year (if you are willing to lie to study link (you’d never do that would you now Burt?) is all you can get out in cash on a student loan, so I call bullshit.

            • Draco T Bastard 1.1.1.2.1.1

              Yep, investing from the student allowance isn’t possible.

              It is possible for rich parents to minimize their income so that their kids get the student allowance and the savings that the parents get then go back into their investments.

              Oh, that’s right, that’s what this post is about – rich people rorting everyone else.

            • aj 1.1.1.2.1.2

              Exactly, bullshit.
              And if the kid is banking the student loan, they still have to live off cash at some point, guess where that would come from, the parents, grandparents less likely, so use of money foregone there. It all robbing peter to pay paul, but makes a great anecdote. Pity its all bullshit.

            • burt 1.1.1.2.1.3

              Draco

              ASG…. Unlike Labour govt’s not everone pays for everything from todays cash flow.

            • luva 1.1.1.2.1.4

              What about the situation where Daddy would have paid for the fees in the first place.

              Rich Kid A now borrow’s 20 grand for his Bcom over three years. The interest free loan pays for the fees directly but the 20 K daddy was going to spend is invested.

              The interest free student loan has freed up that money. At the end of the three year degree the loan can be paid off in full and any interest earned on Daddy’s 20k is essentially money for nothing.

              Rich Kids say thank you Dr Cullen

  2. Geo 2

    you mean like setting up a trust so you can steal/rort accommodation allowances for renting your own house?Not that he lives in wellington.yeah right.

    • burt 2.1

      Geo

      Yes the culture of entitlement is not restricted to welfare out-patients. The situation here with WFF is an unintended consequence of having tax policy that picks winners and loosers (social engineering).

      • Pascal's bookie 2.1.1

        The situation here with WFF is an unintended consequence of having tax policy that picks winners and loosers (social engineering).

        I’m not sure I follow burt. Mike’s 2.35 is a clear case of social engineering. What do you mean by the term?

      • Draco T Bastard 2.1.2

        And social engineering that was put in place by the rich for the rich.

  3. And those rich families became rich by working hard and making the right choice.

    Sorry to bring up the word, CHOICE, I know those here hate that word.

    • Derek 3.1

      Brett, wrong argument. It doesn’t matter if these families are rich because they worked hard or because they sold poisoned milk to school children. The point is they’re rorting the system. Don’t you have a problem with that?

  4. Lanthanide 4

    To be honest, I am pretty sure the suggestion of a 23% tax rate has been taken out of context from a vague news report. Peter Dunne and Act are in favour of a set of 10/20/30% band of tax rates, I don’t see why this would suddenly drop to 23% for the top rate to ‘fix’ WFF, which is targetted squarely at those in the middle tax rate.

    No, what I think is they meant the *middle* tax rate which is currently 33% should drop to 23%. That way you are still targeting the middle income earners who are currently getting WFF while easing the high marginal tax rates by virtue of not having tax rebates messing the whole picture up. Of course going from 23% to 38% is a big marginal tax increase too, so that’s probably not the whole picture.

    Yes, this is conjecture on my part, but dropping the top tax rate to 23% to ‘fix’ WFF simply makes no sense. Maybe I’m being unrealistic to expect the MSM to make sense, though.

  5. mike 5

    Always thought WFF should be capped at 5 kids. I am convinced some people breed past their means so they can claim more.
    I have 3 and believe me that’s plenty…

    • Bright Red 5.1

      Did you see the earlier post on the economics of breeding for a business? It doesn’t add up mike.

      You get like $80 a week per child, doesn’t cover the cost of a child, does it?

      Or have you got some evidence to back up your conviction? Something more than class prejudice?

      • mike 5.1.1

        They are obviously not so sharp on economics if they if breed they 8 kids on one income are they?
        They look at the IRD spreadsheet and see $ signs – more smokes and beers eh

        • Shambling Rambler 5.1.1.1

          Are you fucking kidding?

          I have 7 siblings, neither of my parents are Catholic, nor are they ‘breeding’ for the WFF.

          You’re a fucking animal.

  6. Tom Semmens 6

    “…And those rich families became rich by working hard and making the right choice(sic)…”

    Or they could be like most of Auckland’s rich whites – lucky enough to be born into a family whose great-grandfather had a big dairy farm in what is now Epsom.

    And that is the problem with this sort of nonsense. The assumption that no one else contributed to your success is stupid beyond belief. The roads you drive on, the police and doctors and teachers you rely on, the sanitation that keeps you healthy… All of these things contribute to peoples success.

  7. tsmithfield 7

    There are reasons for having trusts that don’t involve rorting the tax system.

    In fact, according to my accountant, any tax benefits from a trust are only legitimate if they are ancillary to some other purpose. For instance, the main reason for a trust maybe to enable personal assets to be to enable smooth estate administration.

    If the trust is set up only for the reason of rorting the tax system, then it is likely to be attacked by the tax department.

    Anyway, the wealthy may not be so inclined to set up tax avoidance schemes if they didn’t see their money being tipped down the toilet by whatever party happens to be in power at the time.

    • Pascal's bookie 7.1

      Good to hear it, Smithy.

      In light of the audits being done on those few welfare recipients getting over $1000/week, I think the IRD should be directed to check out the trusts of the people involved in the WFF rort.

      If all is above board all to the good, but otherwise, what’s the difference between this and welfare fraud. If there is no difference, why are they being treated differently by this government?

  8. TightyRighty 8

    marty, you seem to have forgotten that people got on pretty well before WFF.it is essentially middle class welfare. this site always screams for pay rises for the lower paid, well why should they get it when they have WFF, have to take time of work for the kids etc. why not pay the young childless people who are discriminated against by the tax system those higher wages? thats fair and equitable if your going to take a stand against no WFF and lower taxes all around. oh, and i have no problem with wealthier families using trusts to take advantage of middle class welfare. especially if this site has a collective problem with education subsidies being taken away from those whose welfare payments exceed the average wage.

  9. richgraham 9

    you say “Working for Families isn’t the problem”.
    I think it is the problem.
    When I received WFF for 1 child when I was on a low income it was immediately clear
    to me that this was an irresistible trap – I confidently predicted WFF would increase the birth rate and larger families would result.
    WFF was invented by Labour with the main intention of creating a new set of welfare class, it was a deliberate strategy to increase the number of state dependents, and thus secure a larger group of supporters for the Labour pary at election time.
    It has worked well, we have a vastly increased welfare class, and a lot more children.
    Oddly enough, I think the increase in the number of children is a good thing !

    • Akldnut 9.1

      bitchgraham – what a load of crap!

      I confidently predicted WFF would increase the birth rate and larger families would result.

      Post a link to it creating larger families.

      WFF was invented by Labour with the main intention of creating a new set of welfare class, it was a deliberate strategy to increase the number of state dependents

      WTF! What would national have done?
      Just in case you haven’t read it properly here’s the first few lines of this post

      “Here is Bill English in the cocktail tapes talking about Working for Families:

      “the reality is if we had been the government, with the surpluses they had, we would have done something similar, like Working for Families….

      Don’t that make you sick

      and thus secure a larger group of supporters for the Labour pary at election time.

      If you had thought about the election result, you would have shut up & deleted this!

    • So Bored 9.2

      Rich G, if WFF was an irresistable trap when you claimed for one child (my tax dollars of course, but hey I am generous and I assume your child needy), where perchance are your children numbers two, three etc?

      Did you resist the temptation, therebye proving that the theories of rational materialists wrong, that higher motives might really be at play? Heroically demolishing the sacred shibboleths so loved by new right economists? Well done.

      • burt 9.2.1

        Draco T Bastard

        The fact that National might have done the same is no argument to support the policy as being a good one.

        However I can’t see National crowing before an election that they have a welfare package that 75% of families will get access to – but that’s my opinion.

        Agree wages are too low in NZ. Still who’s going to want to push their wages up when abatement rates against benefits make the aggravation of a pay rise above CPI barely worth the cost of a latte.

        MP’s on the other hand did pretty well throughout the last 9 years. We would have a very different median wage today if the median wage had risen by 9% every year for the last 9 years like the MP’s public CEO’s salaries did. I don’t suspect National will be any different to Labour in this regard over the next few years.

        • Draco T Bastard 9.2.1.1

          The fact that National might have done the same is no argument to support the policy as being a good one.

          Good or not, it’s still needed because there’s no way you could get the capitalists to pay enough in wages. That’s what your tax dollars are being used for there burt – to subsidize businesses who refuse to pay the cost price of living.

    • Draco T Bastard 9.3

      …as wages decrease so the working class will die off
      Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations, vol. 1 (probably not exact but close enough)

      WFF isn’t the problem. The problem is that businesses aren’t paying enough wages to cover the costs of living. This forces smaller families (which is good IMO) but capitalism needs a growing population else it will collapse so WFF was needed to counteract peoples propensity not to have children because they can’t afford to. As Blinglish said “the reality is if we had been the government, with the surpluses they had, we would have done something similar, like Working for Families “ – National would have done the same and for the same reason.

  10. aj 10

    “I confidently predicted WFF would increase the birth rate and larger families would result”

    Link to prove this has happened please? 🙂

    Meantime back in the real world…..

    http://www.stats.govt.nz/browse_for_stats/population/births/BirthsAndDeaths_MRJun09qtr.aspx

    National will never be able to dismantle WFF without introducing some even more complex scheme that will have loopholes as well.
    Oh, right – apart from a flat tax.

  11. burt 11

    Mental note: Do not tell Labour supporters that flagship Labour policies are not working exactly like the glossy red brochure said they were. As a messenger you get shot for delivering the message that the brochure didn’t want you to know about.

    I see nobody has made any comment about the graph link I provided…. Guess that $60K threshold had no effect on tax payer behaviour either…. the graph is BS… yes I get it now.

    • Marty G 11.1

      burt. My point is borne out by your graph – the rich rort the system.

      The solution isn’t to throw out the system and lose all the good aspects of it, it’s to remove the tools for rorting it. Just because the bathwater is dirty, you don’t need to throw out the baby too.

    • burt 11.2

      Marty G.

      Are you suggesting a completely flat tax rate ? Because that is what it will take to stop people working the angles. Don’t forget that if people cap their income at $60K (or the current rich prick threshold) then they are still paying tax on all income till they are classified as rich. If everyone who was working was paying as much tax as them then we wouldn’t have a problem.

      I know Dr. Cullen though the idea behind taxation was to pluck the goose with the least amount of hissing but there is an alternate view that taxation should be fair.

      The key problem with taxation debates is that some people believe it is unacceptable that large tax payers get tax cuts when unemployed people don’t, but as long as we have progressive taxation then the reality of adjusting progressive thresholds will cause this to happen. However if you think that progressive taxation is a broken model because adjustment favour big tax payers then you will not get any argument from me.

  12. Pascal's bookie 12

    “I know Dr. Cullen though the idea behind taxation was to pluck the goose with the least amount of hissing but there is an alternate view that taxation should be fair”

    English, Douglas, and every other politician that you care to mention believes exactly the same thing you ascribe to Cullen.

    I’ll let you in on a non-secret. People have different ideas about ‘fair’ means. They do. They really really do. It’s not a trick, they’re not lying. They really truly have differences of opinion about this notion of fairness. It’s what accounts for politics burt.

    So given that there is this genuine difference of opinion about what ‘fair’ means with regard to taxation policy, what’s the fairest way of deciding what to do about it?

    I don’t know, but I do believe that the method we use at the moment for deciding which opinion should be enforced is the best we’ve managed to come up with so far.

    It’s called ‘having regular elections, in a liberal, pluralistic democracy’. If folks don’t like the current policy, and think it’s unfair, they are free to try and change it. Is it fair to rort that democratically expressed will of parliament burt? Or do you think that would be corrupting that system?

  13. burt 13

    Pascal’s bookie

    I have no argument that different people have different views of fair. Some people think progressive taxation is fair but that lifting top thresholds (which only gives benefits to top tax payers) is unfair. So sure, fair is very subjective.

    Oh, stolen elections are not democratic and neither is telling lies about tax policies to win votes.

    Nobody earning under $60K will pay a cent more income tax – Broken promise within the one year of it being said.
    Only the top 5% will pay this top tax rate – Broken promise the day it was implemented.

    But of course Labour went on in 2002 claiming they had kept all their 1999 election promises and the really weird thing is that some really thick people believed them.

    • Akldnut 13.1

      Hey Burt – My Prediction

      But of course National will go on in 2011 claiming they had kept all their 2008 election promises and the really weird thing is that some really thick people will believe them. 🙂

    • burt 13.2

      Akldnut

      I have no argument with you on that one. Myopic partisan crusaders of any stripe are all of questionable intelligence.

      • Akldnut 13.2.1

        Burt Myopic partisan crusaders of any stripe are all of questionable intelligence.

        Well put, but there was no need to get personal.

        I’m a bit disappointed that you’re lumping me in with the with National and all their short sightedness, whose policies/predictions you spent a large portion of your day defending.

        Would that make you a “Myopic partisan crusader”?

  14. Pascal's bookie 14

    “I have no argument that different people have different views of fair”

    So you agree then this:

    “…but there is an alternate view that taxation should be fair”

    is just a meaningless lump of twaddle.

    And ‘fair’ isn’t ‘very’ subjective, it’s purely subjective. (Randians and certain types of Communist might tell you different, but that’s what makes them mental.)

    Thanks again for your little potted history on what you found awful about the last government. I know you found it shocking. (I’m actually starting to suspect some form of tourettes is in play burt, I understand there are good treatments available to get this sort of thing under control if you ever find it makes life harder for you than life needs to be.)

    But it doesn’t answer my question burt.

    Do you agree that our system of governance is a fairly good one for determining what policies should be put in place, and if so, do you think it corrupt for citizens to rort the system just because they don’t think the system set up by our elected government is ‘fair’.

    It’s about the principle burt, if you can forget about your undying hatred of Labour for just a moment or two, I’d be much obliged.

    • burt 14.1

      Pascal’s bookie

      I, in the main, agree with you entirely PB. The issue I have is that fair taxation and popular taxation are not one in the same. Try selling a top tax bracket like was sold in 1999 to the masses now. Especially try doing it while telling people it will be set for 9 years and by the time it changes the average household income will classify them as rich if it is earned by one person.

      This is where fair in the context of having been elected as part of a popularity portfolio starts to get tricky in that it (the tax policy) is no longer operating in the way it was sold.

      Douglas has a low and flat view of taxation. This is his version of fair. It is a difficult logical argument to say that paying the same percentage of your income irrespective of how much you earn is unfair when we have welfare applied only to the lower income brackets. The current system where the biggest tax payers are entitled to the least welfare benefits is easy to justify with ideology but difficult with reason. However as you say, we get the govt we deserve and it is fair that they implement shitty tax/social policy if we vote for it.

    • burt 14.2

      Pascal’s bookie.

      If National decided that WFF was to be scrapped, GST put to 40% and income tax was to be abolished then by your definition that would be fair. I would say I disagree but because people voted for National I would be wrong. Under your definition, I take it you would say it was fair?

      • felix 14.2.1

        Fine with me if that’s what they campaigned on. As I recall National campaigned long and hard on “tax cuts north of $50 a week” which they’ll never deliver.

        Your hypo sounds more like something ACT would campaign on.

      • Pascal's bookie 14.2.2

        burt, I agree that such a regressive tax syatem would be manifestly unfair. However, if that’s what the elected govt put in place then the way for me to express my opinion about it would be try and get a new govt. It’s not about being ‘wrong’. ‘Wrong’ is for matters of fact, and ‘fairness’ is about opinion.

        I think it would be corrupt of me to use things that are set in place for some other purpose, like say charitable organisations or whatever, to avoid paying the GST. No matter how clever my accountants.

        Just so that we are clear, you agree that rorting the trust system to get WFF and avoid the 39% tax rate is, at best, morally corrupt, and that those that do so should, at the least, be thought of the in same way as those who ‘breed for a career’ and be audited to make sure that everyting is legit?

  15. Draco T Bastard 15

    There is an easy way to fix the rorts of course. Tax businesses and trusts the same as personal income.

    • burt 15.1

      Draco T Bastard

      Same as current personal income or as a flat rate? I despair if you really think companies and trusts could be taxed progressively without distorting the tax base even more.

      • Draco T Bastard 15.1.1

        The tax base is close to flat anyway. Due to GST which takes more as a percentage from those on lower incomes than from those on higher incomes the tax rate is close to a flat 30% (give or take a percentile). So, tell me burt, what distortion are you talking about?

  16. Maggie 16

    Gee, isn’t it great having a National government?

    307 families on welfare are being audited.

    9700 well off families rort the system and the answer is to give them a tax cut so they don’t have to rort it anymore?

    John Key somehow manages to keep a straight face while condemning rich people rorting WFF payments. Rich people rorting accommodation payments are in a different category, apparently.

  17. Meddler 17

    Tax is not the main reason why high net worth individuals (doesn’t that make rich pricks sound all nice?) put their money in family trusts. The main reason is the generously termed “creditor protection’ aka “here’s to you creditors, hahaha!’

    Trust lawyers and accountants would like to think that the law says any property in a person’s trust is not “their’ property (even if they have complete control of the trust); therefore, no one can take it in payment of a debt or on insolvency. (Petrecevic anyone?)

    Secrecy is another big benefit/problem with trusts. Anyone can search on the various public registers and find out who owns what, except that if something is owned by a trust it cannot be traced back to the real owner. One example is how it benefits MPs from all parties. Have a look at the MPs’ financial interests register and there are trusts all over it, i.e. MPs completely avoiding the purpose of having the register.

    There are some other well-known reasons for having a trust. One is to avoid paying for one’s care in a rest home. The rest home subsidy is a minimal benefit that is paid for rest home care for those in poverty and whose families can or will not look after them; it is not an entitlement. Yet lawyers are always advising people to have a trust ready so that if rest home care is ever required the taxpayer can pay instead. Trusts have also been used to avoid child support and to obtain legal aid but these loopholes have been blocked by legislation.

    The above uses of trusts are all rorts and completely overwhelm the moral uses of trusts, such as: administration of estates, charities, family arrangements for sharing property and care of property on behalf of those cannot care for it themselves (children, disabled, absent, etc). Trusts are expensive to set up and have administration costs that can be very expensive, which means they are only useful for very rich people; the rule of thumb with lawyers is $2 million before it is worth while.

    In short, another example of richies using law against the rest of the society.

  18. Swampy 18

    Any time you create a subsidy, people will find ways of rorting it. Can you rort tax cuts as easily?

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • New Zealand First Statement on Muller Resignation
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, Leader of New Zealand First New Zealand First Leader Winston Peters acknowledged today the heavy price of trying to lead the National Party today. ‘One’s sympathy goes out to Todd Muller and his family. Todd is a good man, unlike most of his colleagues he does ...
    1 day ago
  • Week That Was: Keeping New Zealand moving
    We're keeping New Zealand moving, one progress-packed week at a time. Read below to find out how we're creating jobs, protecting the environment, looking out for the health of New Zealanders', and upgrading our critical infrastructure - and that's only this week. ...
    2 days ago
  • Week That Was: Keeping New Zealand moving
    We're keeping New Zealand moving, one progress-packed week at a time. Read below to find out how we're creating jobs, protecting the environment, looking out for the health of New Zealanders', and upgrading our critical infrastructure - and that's only this week. ...
    2 days ago
  • Government backs Northland innovation and enterprise park
    Hon Shane Jones, Minister for Regional Economic Development The Provincial Growth Fund is providing up to $19.5 million to boost innovative primary sector businesses and create training and job opportunities for Northland locals through the construction of an innovation and enterprise park at Ngawha, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones ...
    2 days ago
  • Green Party unveils Clean Energy Plan
    The Green Party is today unveiling part one of its plan for a fossil-fuel free Aotearoa, including an immediate ban on new industrial coal boilers. ...
    3 days ago
  • New Zealand First calls for tahr cull halt
    Mark Patterson MP, Spokesperson for Primary Industry New Zealand First is supporting calls by hunters and the New Zealand Tahr Foundation (NZTF) to halt a large scale cull of Himalayan Tahr by the Department of Conservation in National Parks. The calls are supported by a 40,000 strong petition and the ...
    1 week ago
  • Response to Spin-off allegations
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, Leader of New Zealand First New Zealand First leader Winston Peters today scoffed at suggestions that a team of six political operatives have been dispatched to New Zealand to assist his campaign. ‘As President Ronald Reagan once said, ‘there they go again.’ ‘The clickbait journos can’t ...
    1 week ago
  • Jenny Marcroft MP to represent New Zealand First in Auckland Central
    New Zealand First is pleased to announce Jenny Marcroft as the party’s election 2020 candidate for the Auckland Central electorate. Jenny spent years working in Auckland Central, having spent a vast proportion of her broadcasting career there. She says she, "knows the place and knows the people." Ms Marcroft says ...
    1 week ago
  • Creating jobs and cleaning up our rivers
    New Zealanders deserve healthy rivers and lakes that are safe to swim in - but they have been getting worse for decades. That's why, with our latest announcement, we're investing in projects that will help clean up our rivers and lakes and restore them to health, within a generation. ...
    1 week ago
  • Jacinda Ardern: 2020 Labour Congress Speech
    Jacinda Ardern's speech to the 2020 Labour Party Congress. ...
    1 week ago
  • Kelvin Davis: 2020 Labour Congress Speech
    Kelvin Davis' speech to the 2020 Labour Party Congress. ...
    1 week ago
  • Week That Was: Another week of major progress
    This week we moved into the second half of 2020 - and our Government delivered another week of big changes and major progress for New Zealanders. Read below for a wrap of the key things moments from the week - from extending paid parental leave, to making major investments in ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Green Party opposes RMA fast-track bill that cut corners on environmental safeguards and public cons...
    The Green Party has opposed the COVID-19 Recovery Fast-track Consenting Bill which shortcuts normal consenting processes under the Resource Management Act (RMA), reduces public participation and narrows environmental considerations. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Site of new freight hub revealed
    Hon Shane Jones, Minister of Regional Economic Development A regional freight hub for the lower North Island will be built just northeast of Palmerston North, Regional Development Minister Shane Jones has announced. The Government is investing $40 million through the Provincial Growth Fund to designate and buy land and design ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Greens call for Guaranteed Minimum Income to alleviate skyrocketing debt with MSD
    Green Party Co-leader Marama Davidson is calling for the introduction of a Guaranteed Minimum Income to lift hundreds of thousands of people out of poverty and prevent more families entering into further debt with the Ministry of Social Development.  ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Winston Peters: Facts matter when taxpayer money is on the line
    There has been renewed focus on New Zealand First acting as a handbrake on the Government after our decision to not support Auckland light rail. We are a handbrake for bad ideas, that is true, but our track record since 2017 has seen New Zealand First constructively also serve as an ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Bill raising minimum residency requirement for NZ Super passes first reading
    Mark Patterson MP, New Zealand First List MP New Zealand First’s Fair Residency for Superannuation Bill passed its First Reading in Parliament today. The Bill makes a significant change to NZ Super by raising the minimum residency requirement from 10 to 20 years, after age 20. “Currently, a migrant of ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Harsher penalties for assaults on first responders one step closer
    Darroch Ball MP, Spokesperson for Law and Order A New Zealand First member’s bill in the name of Darroch Ball introducing a six-month minimum prison sentence for assaults on first responders has passed its second reading in Parliament. The new offence of "injuring a first responder or corrections officer with ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Criminal Cases Review Commission delivers Coalition promise
    Fletcher Tabuteau MP, Deputy Leader of New Zealand First New Zealand First welcomes the launch of the new Criminal Cases Review Commission, gifted with the name from Waikato-Tainui - Te Kāhui Tātari Ture, announced in Hamilton today by Justice Minister Andrew Little. “New Zealand First has long believed in and ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Greens welcome huge new investment in sustainable projects
    The Green Party is celebrating over $800m in new funding for green projects, which will get people into jobs while solving New Zealand’s long-term challenges. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand First demands answers from Meridian Energy
    Mark Patterson MP, Spokesperson for Primary Industries New Zealand First is appalled that Meridian seems to have been unnecessarily spilling water from its dams to drive up its profits."While New Zealanders have been coming together in some of our darkest hours, we don’t expect power gentailers to waste water and ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Getting New Zealand moving again: June 2020
    We wrapped up the first half of 2020 with a busy month, taking additional steps to support New Zealanders as we continue with our economic recovery. We rolled out targeted packages to support key industries like tourism and construction, helped create jobs in the environmental and agriculture sectors, and set ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Māori union leader appointed to Infrastructure Commission board
    Hon Shane Jones, Minister for Infrastructure Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones has welcomed the appointment of Maurice Davis and his deep infrastructure and construction experience to the board of the Infrastructure Commission. Mr Davis (Ngāti Maniapoto), is the seventh and final appointment to the board led by former Reserve Bank Governor ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Click-bait journalism at its worst
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, Leader of New Zealand First New Zealand’s click bait journalism is taking a turn for the worse, with yet another example of sensationalist, wilful-misrepresentation of the facts. “New Zealand First has worked constructively with its Coalition partner on hundreds of pieces of legislation and policy, and ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Green Party proposes transformational Poverty Action Plan
    The Green Party is today unveiling its Poverty Action Plan, which includes a Guaranteed Minimum Income to ensure people have enough to live with dignity.     ...
    2 weeks ago
  • PGF accelerates Rotorua projects
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, Deputy Prime Minister Fletcher Tabuteau MP, Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development The Rotorua Museum redevelopment and Whakarewarewa and Tokorangi Forest projects will be accelerated thanks to a $2.09 million Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) boost, Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters and Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Week That Was: Getting people into jobs
    This week, we rolled out the next steps of our recovery plan, with new infrastructure investment, extra support for tourism operators, and a new programme to get Kiwis into agriculture careers. The global economic consequences of COVID-19 will continue to be a challenge, but we have a detailed plan to ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Coalition commitment establishing Mental Health Commission delivered
    Jenny Marcroft MP, Spokesperson for Health New Zealand First welcomes the passage of the Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission Bill through its final reading in Parliament today fulfilling a coalition agreement commitment. “This is an important step in saving the lives of New Zealanders and delivers a key coalition commitment ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Whakatāne gets a $2.5m ‘turbo boost’
    Whakatāne has been given a $2.5 million boost to speed up previously funded projects and create more than 450 jobs in the next decade. Of those, the equivalent of 160 full-time jobs could be delivered in the next six weeks. Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters is in town to make ...
    3 weeks ago
  • $2.5m PGF funding to speed up economic recovery in Whakatāne
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, Deputy Prime Minister Fletcher Tabuteau MP, Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is investing $2.5 million to accelerate three infrastructure projects in Whakatāne, Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters and Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau announced today. “This package is about ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Shane Jones calls out those holding drought-stricken Auckland ‘to ransom’ over water
    Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones is throwing his weight behind a bid by the Auckland Council to fast-track the more than doubling of the city's water allowance from the Waikato River. And he's coming out strongly against anyone who plans on getting in the way of this campaign. "It is my ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Another Green win as climate change considerations inserted into the RMA
    The Green Party is thrilled to see changes to the Resource Management Act (RMA) that mean consents for large projects can be declined if they will have significant climate change implications that are inconsistent with the Zero Carbon Act and Aotearoa New Zealand’s Paris Agreement obligations.  ...
    3 weeks ago
  • New Navy vessel Aotearoa to arrive in New Zealand
    Hon Ron Mark, Minister of Defence The Royal New Zealand Navy’s new ship, Aotearoa, set sail for New Zealand on 10 June from the Republic of Korea, and is due to arrive in Auckland tomorrow, announced Minister of Defence Ron Mark. “Aotearoa is the Royal New Zealand Navy’s new fleet ...
    3 weeks ago

  • Next steps in COVID response
    Kia ora tatou Today I am setting out our plan in the event we have a new case of community transmission of COVID-19 in New Zealand. I will take a bit of time to do that, and then I’ll be happy to take questions at the end. Since we moved ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 hours ago
  • Government steps up action on waste – funds recycling infrastructure and expands levy scheme
    ·$124 million Government investment in recycling infrastructure ·Plans confirmed to increase and expand the waste levy to divert material from landfill, and recycle revenue into resource recovery and waste minimisation ·Innovative construction and demolition facility opened in Auckland with $3.1 million in support from Government’s Waste Minimisation Fund (WMF). As ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 hours ago
  • Wellbeing infrastructure for Kaipara
    A package of wellbeing infrastructure investments in Kaipara which focuses on improving the lives of the elderly and upgrading the iconic Kauri Museum has been announced by Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones today. “These shovel-ready projects will have significant benefits for their respective communities and I’m pleased this funding ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • More support rolls out for SMEs
    More support is rolling out for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) from the COVID Response and Recovery Fund, to help them adapt and innovate to deal with the impact of the virus. The Ministers for Economic Development and Small Business have announced a further $40 million for the Regional Business ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • District Court Judge appointed
    Stephen Clark, Māori Land Court Judge of Hamilton has been appointed as a District Court Judge with jury jurisdiction to be based in Hamilton, Attorney-General David Parker announced today. Judge Clark graduated with an LLB from Auckland University in 1988 and was admitted to the Bar in the same year. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Hawke’s Bay Airport agreement protects jobs, safeguards terminal development
    The Crown will provide a loan to Hawke’s Bay Airport to ensure it can trade through COVID-19 economic impacts, support the region’s recovery and protect up to 200 jobs. The Crown has a 50 percent shareholding in Hawke’s Bay Airport Limited (HBAL), with Napier City Council holding 26 percent and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Funding boost for four cultural events
    Four celebrated Māori and Pasifika events will receive up to $100,000 each in funding from the new Creative and Cultural Events Incubator fund, Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford announced today. The four events that were successful in the inaugural funding round are: Kia Mau Festival, Wellington Māoriland Film Festival, Otaki ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Inaugural launch of Kiribati Language Week
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio is pleased to announce the inaugural launch of Kiribati Language Week as part of the 2020 Pacific language Weeks programme. “I am so pleased that this year we are able to provide resourcing support to the Kiribati community in Aotearoa which will ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New support package for wildlife institutions
    Wildlife institutions affected by a loss of visitor revenue during the COVID-19 lockdown are set to receive government support with nearly $15 million of funding available announced Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage.  “Eco-sanctuaries, zoos, aquariums, wildlife parks, and wildlife rescue, hospital and rehabilitation facilities provide crucial support for the recovery ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • 300,000 students to benefit from free mental health services
    The Government is expanding and accelerating frontline mental health and wellbeing services at tertiary education institutes (TEI) to help students manage ongoing stresses related to COVID-19. “The lockdown has been hugely disruptive for students. Many of them have had to relocate and move to online learning, isolating them from their ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Gang crime, meth harm targeted in Waikato
    The Minister of Police says a major operation against the Mongrel Mob in Waikato will make a big dent in drug harm and violent offending linked to organised crime networks. “Senior leadership of the Waikato Mongrel Mob has been taken out as a result of Operation Kingsville, which resulted in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Supporting victims and families to attend mosque attack sentencing
    The Government is extending the border exception criteria to enable some offshore victims and support people of the Christchurch mosque attacks to attend the sentencing of the accused beginning on 24 August2020, says Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway. “We want to support our valued Muslim brothers and sisters who were directly ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Boost for community freshwater restoration projects
    A project to support volunteer efforts to look after streams and rivers is getting a boost thanks to support from DOC’s Community Conservation Fund announced Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage today.  “The government is backing efforts to look after waterways with $199,400 for the Mountains to Sea Conservation Trust from ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • More support for women and girls
    Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter today announced that funding for the COVID-19 Community Fund for women and girls will be doubled, as the first successful funding applications for the initial $1million were revealed. “Women and girls across the country have suffered because of the effects of COVID-19, and I ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Crown accounts stronger than forecast with higher consumer spending
    The Government’s books were better than forecast with a higher GST take as the economy got moving again after lockdown, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. The Crown Accounts for the 11 months to the end of May indicate the year end results for tax revenue will be stronger than forecast. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Govt releases plan to revitalise wool sector
    A plan to revitalise New Zealand’s strong wool sector and set it on a new, more sustainable and profitable path was unveiled today by Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor. The newly-released report - Vision and Action for New Zealand’s Wool Sector - was developed by the Wool Industry Project Action Group ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Funding for Predator Free Whangārei
    Community efforts to create a Predator Free Whangārei will receive a $6 million boost, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage announced today. The new funding, through Government company Predator Free 2050 Ltd, will create around 12 jobs while enabling the complete removal of possums over ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • New Zealand to review relationship settings with Hong Kong
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has announced that the New Zealand Government is reviewing the settings of its relationship with Hong Kong. “China’s decision to pass a new national security law for Hong Kong has fundamentally changed the environment for international engagement there,” Mr Peters said. “New Zealand remains deeply ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Funding for Whangārei’s infrastructure projects revealed
    Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones has announced details of a multimillion-dollar investment in Whangārei for infrastructure projects that will help it recover from the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 200 jobs are expected to be created through the $26 million investment from the Government’s rejuvenation package ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Managed isolation and quarantine update
    Following a second incident in which a person escaped from a managed isolation facility, security is being enhanced, including more police presence onsite, Minister Megan Woods said. “The actions of some individuals who choose to break the very clear rules to stay within the facilities means that more resourcing is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Funding for Kaipara district community waste programmes
    Waste reduction and recycling programmes in Kaipara are set to get a boost with Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage today announcing a $361,447 grant from the Ministry for the Environment’s Waste Minimisation Fund (WMF) Sustainable Kaipara. “The new funding will allow Sustainable Kaipara to partner with local schools, kura, community ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government will support the people and economy of Southland
    The Government will support the Southland economy in the wake of multinational mining company Rio Tinto’s decision to follow through with its long signalled closure of the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter. “This day has unfortunately been on the cards for some time now, but nevertheless the final decision is a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • New transformational tools for the Predator Free 2050 effort
    New tools being developed to help boost Aotearoa’s Predator Free 2050 effort were unveiled today by Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage and Under Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau. A new rat poison, a camera with predator recognition software to detect and report predators, a new predator lure and a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • New Armoured vehicles for New Zealand Army
    The Coalition Government has approved the purchase of a fleet of Bushmaster vehicles to replace the New Zealand Army’s armoured Pinzgauers, Defence Minister Ron Mark has announced today. The new fleet of 43 Australian-designed and built Bushmaster NZ5.5 will provide better protection for personnel and improved carrying capacity. “The age ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Community-led solutions to prevent family violence
    The Government’s three prevention frameworks to reduce family violence in Aotearoa were launched this week by Associate Minister for Social Development Poto Williams.   The frameworks were developed in partnership with communities around New Zealand, and build on the work the Government has already begun with its new family violence prevention ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Govt confirms investment in better radiology and surgical services for Hawke’s Bay
    The Government is pleased to confirm funding for improvements to radiology and surgical services at Hawke's Bay DHB, Health Minister Chris Hipkins says.     "The Minister of Finance the Hon Grant Robertson and former Health Minister Dr David Clark approved funding for Hawke's Bay DHB’s redevelopment of their radiology facilities ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Specialist alcohol and drug addiction services strengthened across New Zealand
    •    New funding for four beds at Napier’s Springhill Residential Addiction Centre •    A new managed withdrawal home and community service, and peer support before and after residential care at Tairāwhiti DHB  •    A co-ordinated network of withdrawal management services throughout the South Island •    Peer support in Rotorua and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Coastal Shipping Webinar
    Introduction, seafarers and POAL Good morning everyone, I am delighted to be online with you all today. Before I begin, I have to acknowledge that COVID-19 has disrupted the maritime sector on an unprecedented scale. The work of seafarers and the maritime industry is keeping many economies around the world ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Support for resilient rail connection to the West Coast
    A $13 million investment from Government will create jobs and improve the resilience of the rail connection between Christchurch and the West Coast, Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones and Regional Economic Development Under-Secretary Fletcher Tabuteau say. The funding comes from the tagged contingency set aside in Budget 2020 for infrastructure projects ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Major investment in safe drinking water
    The Government is investing $761 million to assist local government upgrade under-pressure water services across the country, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced today.  The announcement was made at the site of the water bore that was found to be the source of the fatal ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Supporting stranded seasonal workers to keep working with more flexible options
    Recognised Seasonal Employers and migrant seasonal workers stranded in New Zealand will be able to continue working and supporting themselves with more flexible hours and roles, says Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway. The time-limited visa changes are: Stranded RSE workers will be able to work part-time (a minimum of 15 hours ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Relief for temporary migrants, employers and New Zealanders who need work
    The Government is making immediate short-term changes to visa settings to support temporary migrants already onshore in New Zealand and their employers, while also ensuring New Zealanders needing work are prioritised, Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says. We are: Extending temporary work visas due to expire by the end of 2020 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Freshwater commissioners and fast-track consenting convenor appointed
    Professor Peter Skelton CNZM has been appointed as Chief Freshwater Commissioner and Alternate Environment Court Judge Craig James Thompson as Deputy Chief Freshwater Commissioner for the newly established Freshwater Planning Process (FPP). Environment Minister David Parker today also announced the appointment of Chief Environment Court Judge Laurie Newhook as the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Appointment of Judge of the High Court
    Auckland Queen’s Counsel Neil Campbell has been appointed a Judge of the High Court, Attorney‑General David Parker announced today. Justice Campbell graduated with a BCom and LLB (Hons) from the University of Auckland in 1992. He spent two years with Bell Gully Buddle Weir in Auckland before travelling to the United ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Feedback sought – Commercial Film and Video Production Facilities
    The Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration, Poto Williams, is seeking feedback on a proposal to better enable the development and operation of commercial film and video facilities in Christchurch. The Proposal, developed by Regenerate Christchurch in response to a request from Christchurch City Council, asks that powers under section ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Govt launches bold primary sector plan to boost economic recovery
    The Government has launched a bold plan to boost primary sector export earnings by $44 billion over the next decade, while protecting the environment and growing jobs. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern today released Fit for a Better World – Accelerating our Economic Potential, a 10-year roadmap to unlock greater value ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Wellbeing of whanau at heart of new hub
    A new approach to prevent family harm that encourages greater collaboration across government and community groups is being celebrated at the opening of a new facility in Auckland. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern today opened the Multi-Disciplinary Family Harm Prevention Hub Te Taanga Manawa in Lambie Road in Manukau. The facility ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Report on Auckland Port Relocation
    The Government has released a major new report on the options for relocating the Port of Auckland’s freight operations while deferring any decision on the issue. “That decision needs to be informed by policy analysis that is still to be completed. As a result it will be up to a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Dual place names for Te Pātaka-o-Rākaihautū / Banks Peninsula features
    The history of Rāpaki is being restored through the inclusion of te reo in thirteen official place names on Te Pātaka-o-Rākaihautū / Banks Peninsula and around Lyttelton Harbour/Whakaraupō, the Minister for Land Information, Eugenie Sage, announced today.   “I am pleased to approve the proposals from Te Hapū o Ngāti ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government and Air New Zealand agree to manage incoming bookings
    Bookings for seats on Air New Zealand flights into New Zealand will be managed in the short term to ensure the Government is able to safely place New Zealanders arriving home into a managed isolation or quarantine facility, says Housing Minister Megan Woods.  “Last week Air Commodore Darryn Webb and I ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago