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Economic step-change or English side-step?

Written By: - Date published: 5:54 pm, July 20th, 2010 - 14 comments

Beware of a Finance Minister who is selective in the use of statistics. This was Bill English’s answer to a patsy question in Parliament about National and the economy…

What would you have done, Prime Minister?

Written By: - Date published: 11:36 pm, June 23rd, 2010 - 33 comments

A very strange statement from Timaru financier Allan Hubbard in this story from the Herald after his company had been put into statutory liquidation by Justice Minister Simon Power: Power said on Sunday there was not adequate documentation of loans made on behalf of 407 investors who were owed NZ$98 million. “I think if Mr […]

The beam in the eye

Written By: - Date published: 5:31 pm, June 10th, 2010 - 17 comments

For me the main scandal about taxpayer funding this week is the fact that we have all contributed $209,000 towards  helping Nick Smith  get  out of a $15 million lawsuit. For saying something for which he has given an apology in court and paid up more than that out of his own pocket. None of […]

Weasel words from no-balls McCully

Written By: - Date published: 7:51 pm, May 31st, 2010 - 11 comments

This from McCully – It is not up to the Minister of Sport to investigate allegations of racial team selection, Murray McCully says. He said if that was the case then he would have his staff monitoring talkback radio. McCully’s trying to tell us his staff aren’t monitoring talkback radio? The great strategist and spin-meister […]

Bill wants to shift Kiwibank risk to “Kiwi mums and dads”

Written By: - Date published: 6:56 pm, May 29th, 2010 - 12 comments

When floating the idea of Kiwibank’s possible sale to a post-budget audience last week,  Bill English said that the government did not want to  put more capital in  because it was risky. Mr English, fresh from delivering the 2010 Budget, told a gathering of South Island business people yesterday that the Government might consider a […]

Investment ethics a million miles away

Written By: - Date published: 12:20 pm, May 19th, 2010 - 6 comments

Brian Gaynor in Saturday’s Herald argues that investment industry organisations and their advisors owe a duty of care to investors. He calls it an “ethical overlay”, and says Unfortunately a number of developments indicate that we seem to be a million miles away from having this ethical overlay. There is little incentive for New Zealand […]

“Surgical mining” like “surgical bombing”

Written By: - Date published: 2:10 pm, March 23rd, 2010 - 12 comments

Remember John Key’s talk about “surgical mining?” It’s like “surgical bombing” – there is a lot of collateral damage. A lot of people get hurt. It’s no good saying afterwards that he didn’t mean for that to happen.

Lee, Joyce and Hide’s Super City “pig’s arse”

Written By: - Date published: 3:23 pm, March 17th, 2010 - 9 comments

In a letter to the Herald today, responding to Mike Lee’s op-ed of yesterday, Steven Joyce says:

“Contrary to what Mike Lee says, the Auckland Council will be able to appoint or dismiss any member of the Auckland Transport Board at any time.”

Problem is, Mike Lee didn’t actually say what Joyce says he did.

Herald’s “democracy lockout” campaign – pick it up!

Written By: - Date published: 5:44 pm, March 13th, 2010 - 5 comments

On Monday this week the front page of the Auckland Herald’s print edition announced that the paper was going to run a campaign to fight what it called “the lockout of democracy” in the Super City. There was nothing on the Herald website all week, which seems odd if it was a real campaign. On […]

National Standards Mk 2?

Written By: - Date published: 2:15 pm, March 7th, 2010 - 14 comments

Michael Gove, Britain’s Conservative shadow Children’s Minister, has unveiled their version of National standards. Like Anne Tolley, he is sure he knows what parents want. The Times reports: ‘I’m an unashamed traditionalist when it comes to the curriculum,’ Mr Gove said. ‘Most parents would rather their children had a traditional education, with children sitting in […]

Tax and economic growth – Bill comes clean

Written By: - Date published: 1:37 pm, February 22nd, 2010 - 19 comments

Bill English’s argument that cutting taxes for the few at the top can cause an economic step change has always been nonsense.

His appearance on Q&A yesterday simply confirmed it.

GST is not a tax – suck it up

Written By: - Date published: 10:03 am, February 12th, 2010 - 24 comments

The best political commentary these days doesn’t come from the political journalists. As Zetetic shows, they have turned themselves into government minders. But there are others who tell it like it is. Such as Karlo Mila in today’s DomPost. The article was headed up “If you could just suck it up, that would be nice.” […]

Pay the money back, John

Written By: - Date published: 4:00 pm, February 5th, 2010 - 22 comments

Today’s editorial in the Herald is headlined “Class standards leaflet a misuse of public funds.” It says: In response to criticism from educationists and an opposition roadshow by the primary teachers’ union, National MPs will host public meetings around the country and information on the standards will be mailed out to households. Unfortunately, this material, […]

Tax Working Groupthink

Written By: - Date published: 11:25 am, February 5th, 2010 - 29 comments

The Tax Working Group’s summary presentation at their December seminar came from a senior partner from one of the Big 4 accountancy firms, Price Waterhouse. One scenario for the preferred ultimate outcome aligned income, trustee and company tax at 27%, paid for by increasing GST to 15%. At the top: Big change The graph tops […]

A little knowledge

Written By: - Date published: 7:46 pm, January 21st, 2010 - 17 comments

David Farrar on Kiwiblog says When Labour reduced the top tax rate from 66c to 33c in the 1980s, the amount of tax paid actually increased. Wasn’t that because they introduced GST as a new tax?

Congratulations Mike!

Written By: - Date published: 12:25 pm, January 20th, 2010 - 82 comments

Good to see that Mike Moore has been appointed our new Ambassador to Washington. Mike’s energy and connections in Washington and the world will be an asset. It’ll also be a lot more satisfying for him than life as an author and columnist. Mike’s a  big picture man and gives 110 per cent  – we […]

Poll closes up in Britain

Written By: - Date published: 10:29 pm, November 23rd, 2009 - 2 comments

The latest poll in Britain has Labour within 6 points of the Conservatives. A hung Parliament is in prospect. One poll is not a trend but maybe it is too early to shoo Cameron in.

Government of Fantasyland

Written By: - Date published: 3:38 pm, November 18th, 2009 - 16 comments

This is Nick Smith in Parliament yesterday, replying to a question on Treasury’s re-calibrated $50 billion costs of Nationals ETS Bill: Hon Dr NICK SMITH: That number is a fantasyland number. Let me tell the member why. The member opposite wants to give great credence to what might occur in 2050. It is not rocket […]

Ashcroft out of Belize into New Zealand?

Written By: - Date published: 9:45 pm, November 1st, 2009 - 30 comments

‘Lord Ashcroft of Belize’ facing eviction as country turns on him. This is the heading in an article in today’s Observer. It’s worth a read. Some excerpts: So extensive are his interests, and so arcane some of his methods, that many Belizeans believe Ashcroft owns businesses that he may not. “He uses so many shell […]

Double-talk from Dipton

Written By: - Date published: 11:52 am, October 28th, 2009 - 10 comments

Here’s what Double-Dipper Bill English had to say about taxpayer-funded advertising before the last election. National has raised fresh concerns about Labour cashing in on government departments pushing key policies in the run-up to the election, after a $2 million jump in public sector advertising. Mr English said that Labour was piggy-backing on departmental spending […]

Farrar right on electoral administration

Written By: - Date published: 11:12 am, October 23rd, 2009 - 6 comments

I agree with David Farrar on the National Party’s proposed law combining the Electoral offices. These appointments are far too important to be decided by a Minister, who is only required to consult on the appointment. The Super-city showed us what little that means. David is worried about Labour, I’m worried about National.They have made […]

Fart tax Mk II – they fart we pay

Written By: - Date published: 10:30 pm, October 22nd, 2009 - 1 comment

I’ve thought for some time that some of the best political writing in the Herald is to be found on the business pages. Here is a taste of Brian Fallow on the Emissions Trading Bill, currently being rushed through Parliament with scant regard to submitters. Legislate in haste, repent at leisure. What we have right […]

Kicking the tyres at ACC

Written By: - Date published: 4:23 pm, October 18th, 2009 - 14 comments

The Sunday Star-Times details hitherto secret proposals from the John Judge-chaired ACC to cut back entitlements and increase user-pays. The hidden agenda: Introduce a $100 excess on every claim. Reduce income compensation from 80% to 70% after one year and 60% after two. Impose a two-year limit on compensation for soft tissue injuries, such as […]

Afghanistan election result crisis

Written By: - Date published: 4:35 pm, October 17th, 2009 - 6 comments

The Guardian reports today under the headline “Crisis looms in Kabul over Karzai election results:” Frantic diplomacy under way as report looks set to give Afghan president less than 50% of the vote, forcing run-off. Karzai’s share of the vote is expected to drop to below 50% as a result of the inquiry, forcing a […]

Nick Smith and “Patsy” Goudie

Written By: - Date published: 11:03 am, October 16th, 2009 - 8 comments

The Herald posts this clip from Parliament entitled “Nick Smith under fire for ACC bungling”. Nice catch from Darren Hughes at the end. What a shambolic lot.

Electoral SM

Written By: - Date published: 7:08 pm, October 12th, 2009 - 5 comments

Philip Temple makes some good points in the Herald today: The Minister of Justice, Simon Power, indicated that he would soon present a paper to Cabinet on the proposed referendum on MMP. Presumably this will hold true to National’s election promise, that it will be held “without any further consideration”. Meaning no consultation with the […]

Money and justice

Written By: - Date published: 4:24 pm, October 11th, 2009 - 32 comments

Jenny Ruth has the best comment I’ve seen on Philip Field’s sentence in today’s Sunday Star-Times – not available on the paper’s website or on Stuff.co.nz. Taito Philip Field was a pompous twit over the Thai tilers’ affair, particularly in his inept attempts at a cover-up, but his six -year jail sentence is outrageous. Ruth […]

Anniversary-gate?

Written By: - Date published: 9:45 am, October 8th, 2009 - 12 comments

The Standard would like to wish Mrs Mavis Lawson many happy returns on her 100th birthday yesterday. We also had a chuckle when we read this from today’s Herald: When Papatoetoe resident Mavis Lawson turned 100 on Tuesday she got the standard birthday card from the Queen but, rather puzzlingly, she also received a card […]

Nanny Coleman on immigrant advice

Written By: - Date published: 9:34 pm, October 7th, 2009 - 12 comments

Jonathan Coleman insists that there is nothing wrong with the Immigrant Advisers Act that restricts anyone giving any advice on immigration matters to registered advisers, against reasoned protest from Helen Winterbottom and others. David Farrar at Kiwiblog thinks this is a wrong call and I agree. Instead of insisting on shutting down any and all […]

No bull

Written By: - Date published: 8:51 pm, October 4th, 2009 - 1 comment

An interesting take on the Crafars from Bernard Hickey in the Herald. He starts off: The Crafar Farms tragedy is a microcosm of many of the things wrong about our business and investment culture. Then goes on to say: We believe land is the best investment always. We are happy to load up with debt, […]

Slow off the mark

Written By: - Date published: 6:58 pm, October 3rd, 2009 - 9 comments

Colin Espiner also writes in yesterday’s blog: The Government was slow off the mark in sending a minister up to Samoa. While Labour quickly dispatched two MPs, Winnie Laban and Chris Carter, as late as Wednesday McCully was still saying he saw no point in going up there. It took a couple of gentle digs from […]

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