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Axe the tax

Written By: - Date published: 12:00 pm, March 2nd, 2010 - 60 comments
Categories: gst, labour, parliamentary spending, phil goff, tax - Tags:

Labour’s ‘Axe the Tax’ campaign has hit the road. Phil Goff is travelling around New Zealand explaining why Labour opposes National’s plan to hike GST on everyone to pay for tax cuts that will primarily go to the well-off.

It looks like it’s going well. A tour like this is a good chance to get your voice in the local media and speak at places that don’t usually see high profile politicians. Goff’s got a good message too: National has no mandate for GST increases, and this is a theft from middle New Zealand to pay off National’s rich mates.

The Right is trying to make some kind of deal out of the fact that the bus is funded out of Labour’s Leader’s Budget. Um. That’s what it’s there for – to pay for parties to communicate their positions to the public.

When Rodney Hide goes around the country telling people that Maori are bludgers and promising that Heather Roy and Roger Douglas aren’t about to roll him, that will be paid for out of his Leader’s Budget. And remember National’s desperate attempt to convince parents that national standards isn’t a total dog? Well, who do you think paid for that?

You can tell National are worried about this. They’re not trying to sell the tax package as a good idea anymore. No, they’re attacking the funding and falling back on the ‘well Goff’s gotta promise he will undo it’ line. As if the GST increase is a fait accompli and tax cuts for the rich are set in stone.

The first time we heard them pull out this desperate line was a frankly painful patsy question from some guy with a squeaky voice (NBR’s Rob Hosking?) at last week’s post-Cabinet press conference, and it’s National’s only line on tax now. They’re not even trying to defend their tax package anymore, and it’s still months until the Budget.

Meanwhile, Labour just needs to hit those strong and simple truths: National’s tax package isn’t fair and it doesn’t have to be this way but National insists on rewarding the well-off at the cost of everyone else.


60 comments on “Axe the tax”

  1. blinded by the right 1

    They would be well advised to stay on message, and not sing on camera.

  2. Never thought I would see the labour party, be against a tax.

  3. Bill 3

    What is this ‘middle’ New Zealand when it’s at home?

    That a space inhabited by middle class or ‘normal’ New Zealanders? If so, what about the rest of us…either the working class ( assuming a class definition to the MNZ terminology) or (assuming a non-class definition) those of us tending more to the fringes or falling outside any mainstream perception of normality? Do we count in this cosy but dead little world view? Or is ‘middle’ NZ just another fluff term devoid of meaning beyond its implicit exclusivity…that being that only the boring, uninspired and uninspiring can live here in this little rut that runs around down here? Why use such an off putting piece of terminology?

    Is this where and what Labour is pitching itself to and as?

    Just asking.

  4. Bearhunter 4

    “I would take middle NZ to exclude the rich few.”

    And by definition the poorest as well, surely.

    • Lanthanide 4.1

      Marty’s post says “middle New Zealand”.

      Labour’s site says middle and low income kiwis:
      “GST will hurt most middle to low income Kiwis.”

      “But the real sting will be in National’s proposed income tax changes. The winners will be the highest earners, the losers will be those on middle and low incomes.”

      That’s from the map page of their tour.

      Don’t confuse Marty’s post for Labour’s rhetoric.

  5. tsmithfield 5

    I understand that the taxpayer is paying for Labour’s spin offensive via the leaders budget. At least theres going to be a GST increase to help fund it.

    • Armchair Critic 5.1

      Did you read the fourth paragraph of the post? This is legitimate spending, just like other leaders spending from their budgets.

      • tsmithfield 5.1.1

        Where did I say it wasn’t legitimate?

        • Armchair Critic

          At about the same place as you implied a link the rise in GST and the funding of the leaders budget. Got any proof to show a link between the two?
          Back to the bigger issue – got any thoughts on why the party that campaigned on tax cuts is now planning to raise taxes, again, having already cancelled tax cuts, should not be called out as a bunch of hypocrites? Or is that too much to ask?
          Really, saying “I never said that” is pretty weak. I would have been more impressed if you had pinged me for using the “National did it too, so it must be okay” argument.

        • Draco T Bastard

          Ah, so you were just being stupid – again.

    • lprent 5.2

      I understand that the taxpayer is paying for National’s spin offensive via the leaders budget. At least theres going to be a GST increase to help fund it.

      A one word change and it still makes sense…. Why do you dribble so…..

  6. Santi 6

    This must be a world first: the socialist NZ Labour Party campaigning against a tax!

    Comrade Helen Clark must be fuming in New York, while Michael Cullen, enjoying a very comfortable retirement, thank you, laughs all the way to the bank.

    • Clarke 6.1

      Is that the best you can do? Is the National Party’s tax-the-poor-to-pay-the-rich money grab so indefensible that all you can come up with is a few tired jabs at “Comrade Helen”?

    • Macro 6.2

      nah!!! nah!!! nah!!!
      Such a clever piece of logic Santi!
      My God! Your Brilliant!

  7. PeteG 7

    It may be “legitimate” spending, but is it cost effective? Or sensible? On a proposed policy only, where many of the details are still unknown?

    “Axe The Tax” isn’t even relevant to the campaign. I guess it sounds catchier than ‘Axe the bit of the tax that is a possible increase unless the counterbalancing tax and benefit adjustments are worthwhile changes” but it misses the mark.

    I’m despairing over Labour strategy, I would like to see them rebuild into a viable opposition party but I can’t see current antics appealing to many outside the already devoted.

    This campaign is another cringe.

  8. tsmithfield 8

    Armchair Critic “Back to the bigger issue got any thoughts on why the party that campaigned on tax cuts is now planning to raise taxes, again, having already cancelled tax cuts, should not be called out as a bunch of hypocrites?”

    As I understand it, it is a rearrangement of existing taxes, rather than a tax rise. I am sure National would love to cut taxes further. However, that would mean cutting services/benefits etc. I am sure you would not want that. Although, from my perspective, I would welcome it.

    However, readjusting the tax system so that more of the tax is consumption-based does give people a degree of choice as to whether they pay tax or not. According to my bank manager NZers spend at a rate of approx 1.06 x their income (using debt to fund the difference). Therefore, anything that encourages saving is a good thing.

    • lprent 8.1

      I suspect the real question is on whom the costs of the tax changes falls most strongly. Note that the costs include things like rising rents because of property tax changes. Fiscally neutral does not mean that it won’t affect groups adversely.

      At present even through all of the really fuzzy signals that the government is throwing it looks like the government is pulling money from those who are struggling to stay afloat and giving it to those who are affluent.

      Yes it will probably increase savings. But at the cost of pushing more people down into the poverty traps without opportunities to get out.

      But this is a government that likes removing opportunities for people that don’t vote for them to compete with their affluent offspring. They’re killed second chance education with the ACE cuts. They removed second chance education with the training allowances for those on the DPB and probably elsewhere. They’re now talking about removing second chance access to tertiary education with the over-20’s exemption. Meanwhile they’re shoving copious amounts of tax money into private schools.

      The ‘rearrangement’ will just push people underwater and attempt to hold them there until they drown. Hardly useful for NZ in the long term.

  9. Herodotus 9

    Where is any indepth discussion on our ability to pay our way. In a few years time GSt will rise again income tax will increase and there will be some new taxes incurred by us by who ever is in power. How can we as acountry increase our govt debt, contigent liabilities such as Pensions, health care for the aging and a decreasing work force to become productive ebnough to cover yhese costs above. BUT no all we get from Lab is knee jeck reaction to Nat, and what was Nat knee jerk to Lab. There are some serious issues that no one wants to address, who will pay for our current position a debt based country and future reqirementas mentioned above. Lab magic bus tour (Part ii) is only arguing the symptoms to really fix is to understand the underlying cause and treat these. Lab may win votes for me currently thery donot posses the cure. Remember we consume 73% of our GDP. So we roughly export the same value as govt spending !!
    p.s. Marty Labours WFF and other benefits were not fair to all as well.

    • TightyRighty 9.1

      herodotus, no way will WFF ever be acknowledged as discriminatory. It defies belief that anyone with children should not be getting more money at the expense of those who are single.

      • PeteG 9.1.1

        I have paid my own way to bring my own kids up, and now I should pay for others to bring their kids up?

        I’m not against some family support but WFF takes it far too far and distorts the tax take and benefits far too much. If it can’t be scaled back then I might end up having to pay more for myself in retirement after paying taxes right though my working life.

        The more groups that get preferential treatment the more anomalies we will have.

        • TightyRighty

          I know pete. while young, i feel you’re pain. don’t worry though. It’s fair that kids can have ipods while you will potentially freeze in you’re council one room flat. it’s already been defended here hundreds of times.

        • IrishBill

          I’m picking that you’ve also had the benefit of free education, family support, award wages, subsidised housing (or the cheap housing market it created) and a whole lot of other things that today’s young parents couldn’t even dream of. And now you’ll be expecting to be looked after by them with superannuation set at 66% and free healthcare.

          While, for obvious reasons, I don’t buy into the blame-the-boomers narrative I’d still suggest that anyone who was born between 1946 and 1965 isn’t in a position to complain about how hard they had it compared with the kids/ young parents of today.

          • Herodotus

            So how will all this posturing solve the real issues out there, and for my 2cents worth it will only get worse as our inability to face up to this growing debt and minimal real GDP growth. This is just the initial stages as we become aware that we cannot live as to that which we were acostomed to as we are spending more than we earn, and playing deck chairs with a tax system may fix a symptom for a short period byut the patient is becomming terminally ill.
            I could if I was shallow or a uni grad point out a Monty Python take on how hard it was in my time, but those who are in the know are already away of it !!

        • pollywog

          “I have paid my own way to bring my own kids up, and now I should pay for others to bring their kids up?”

          yeah sure, it takes a village to raise a child…

          …i mean, wheres the love bro ?

  10. Tiger Mountain 10

    How illuminating, the usual suspects niggle away at “Axe the Tax’ and so far, totally ignore Marty G’s other post today on bourgeoning unemployment numbers.

    • blinded by the right 10.1

      Lie, damn lies, and statistics. I avoid anything written by Marty G using statistical analysis, as I do anything by DPF using statistical analysis.

      Besides, who can be arsed thinking about numbers when there is a big red bus?

  11. vto 11

    how much of an average person’s (middle new zealand?) average income gets spent on GST each week you think?

    • Macro 11.1

      After paying for rent/mortgage the remaining amount I would imagine. What’s your take?

    • Lanthanide 11.2

      John Key’s live on-air guesstimate on Campbell Live was that a person earning $48k will spend $20k of it on GST-accruing expenses, or $384/week.

      • Herodotus 11.2.1

        You would back out the cost of housing (Mortgage or rent) given in 07 the cost of housing was about $275/week or $14k p.a. add this $20k + PAYE tax $10k +4k????. Given thatthe housing cost is for a household. There is $4k unaccountable and the housing costs look a bit heavy. But he may be using a calc that rounds up to the $0,000. So with that it does work!!!

      • vto 11.2.2

        So, say $400 per week on things that attract GST (leave aside housing even though it does in fact attract GST – or rather, the cost of housing would drop by the amount of GST if the developing and building of new houses no longer had GST applied).

        Of that $400 then $45 is GST. This is to rise by 20%. Hence that $45 will become $54, an increasse of $9.

        Or rather, people will have $9 less each week. That is how much the tax savings have to be then. Correcto?

        • Macro

          $48,000 that OLD LIE! Anyone who believes that the majority of incomes fall in the $48k range is seriously mistaken!
          You asked for the “average” – there are 3 common measures of central tendency – mean, median, and mode as any Year 9 child will tell you. The one measure that least describes the highly skewed distribution of income – such as now exists in western countries – is mean; the one Key and Campbell choose to use – because it suits the lie that we are all doing quite nicely thank you very much.
          The mode – ie the most common wage – is around $20k.
          The median – the figure above and below which 50% of incomes lie – is around $30k.
          Both of these figures far more accurately describe the “average” NZ yearly income.
          A person on $48k is in the top 25% of incomes. NOT a representative figure at all.
          That families continue to make ends meet is due to the fact that now both partners work – if they possibly can.
          There is a fundamental idea in western economies that todays youth will earn more than their parents in real terms. That is a very false assumption to make. In fact, that principle died in the 1970’s – but the idea still persists to our detriment today.
          eg. off-shoring of jobs, “equal employment” opportunities for women, democratization of communist USSR, and the recent emergence of China, and India mean that wages and salaries for even highly qualified positions are under constant downward pressure from millions of equally qualified people globally.

          • Herodotus

            Macro, income does not take into account gov assistance either, so you can be in a situation whereby you have greater disposable income than gross income, and there are many cases whereby this holds true for those in the lower income brackets. I can see a case where there is a strong possibilitiy that the majority can have the increase in GST compensated by a reduction in tax.
            Do not forget that some spend that attracts GST is from tourists that will be kept bythe govt without any requirement for an offset. If the Nats cannot compensate the majority in May then there will be hell to pay, until then is this not just scare mongering, with the potential of making LAb look like calling wolf when ther eis no wolf and loss credibility?

            • Macro

              What I am particularly concerned about here is the CONTINUED MISREPRESENTATION by Key and the Media on what is the actual status of income distribution in this country which – since the 1980’s has been steadily becoming more and more inequitable. It is little more than a damned lie and needs to be challenged at every instance.

              Raising GST, by its very nature, is of major benefit to the small number of people who are very rich and who can hide their spending in companies and tax write offs. Furthermore they don’t spend anywhere near the same proportion of their income as those who are forced to spend all of theirs in order to survive.

              • Herodotus

                If you spent all you money with GST @ 12.5% and were compensated by the increase to 15% then you are no worse off.
                We do not have many very rich.. did you not read that 50 of the wealthest people earned below the 38% threashold?
                So if they can hide the spending @15% would they not be doing this now to hide $100k spending pre GSt they would only be rorting the system by $2.5k on top of the $12.5k already. So attack the cause notthe symptom

  12. sdm 12

    I posted this on Tumeke – the maths was a little hard but I wonder if you people might consider

    I know we dont have the details, but consider the follwing family weekly budget.

    Income – 900.00
    PAYE 178.41.
    NETT 721.59

    SAY 720.00

    Lets say they spend it as follows

    Rent – 350
    Expenses – 270
    Debt servicing – 50
    Savings 50.

    So they only pay GST on the 270 – $30.

    So their total tax bill is $178.41 + 30 = 208.41.

    Lets say the GST was to go up to 15%.

    Thus the $270 (240 nett) would become $276.00 ($240 + 15%). So the increase in GST makes these people $6 a week worse off.

    But if you offset that by a tax cut of say 2.5% across the brackets, then my calucations which could be wrong would be that the PAYE would reduce from $178.41 to $155.92 (or lets just say a $22.50 a week saving).

    So total tax paid has dropped from $208.41 to $191.92. Thus the family is $16.50 a week better off under my scenario.

    (no allowance for WFF has been made.)

    Gotta remember people – if you cut tax over a persons entire income but increase GST, GST is only payable on certain things (not debt servicing, rent, mortgage or savings).

  13. tsmithfield 13

    Macro “That families continue to make ends meet is due to the fact that now both partners work if they possibly can.”

    So you would accept that many families would have a combined income of 48k?

    From VTO’s figures it looks like an individual/combined income of 48k would need a tax cut of approx 1% to compensate for the extra GST. That sounds doable to me. If someone on 20k is spending 15k a year on GST incurring expenses they will need a tax cut of approx 1.9%. Again perfectly doable.

    So why all this bitching and moaning about a 2.5% rise in GST? Its all just politics without substance. Once this truth has been made known Labour are going to look like a bunch of tards.

  14. Macro 14

    Of course SOME families WILL have a combined income greater than $48,000. MANY MORE won’t. Do some basic maths. The reality is that couples who both earn high incomes will be more likely be both working full time – they can afford the childcare etc.
    Low income families however will be able to take advantage of 20 hours free child care possibly – so one partner will be working around 20 hours per week – $15,500 (20 hours per week at $15 per week – way above what many on part time employment are being paid actually) plus $31,000 (40 hours per week at $15) is still less than $48,000. Of course you will tell me that you don’t know any people who are being paid at $15/hour which may be true, but then let me tell you that there are in fact hundreds of thousands.
    So tc – your argument while it may offer you a glimmer of hope is in fact little more than a straw man. An essentially false proposition that is easily refuted.

    • tsmithfield 14.1

      What both Sdm and myself have shown is that it takes bugger all of a tax cut to compensate for the increase in GST. So, to waltz around the show claiming that the end of the world is nigh as Labour are doing is grossly misleading and patently untrue.

  15. A wee reminder (cheers, Jenny) of the rest of the itinerary for those readers who want to move their politics from the keyboard to the streets:

    Wednesday 3 March
    Rotorua, Tokoroa, Te Kuiti

    Thursday 4 March
    New Plymouth, Stratford, Hawera

    Friday 5 March
    Wanganui, Bulls, Feilding

    Saturday 6 March
    Palmerston North, Foxton, Shannon, Levin, Otaki, Waikanae, Paraparaumu

    Sunday 7 March
    Wellington Central, Rongotai, Ohariu, Hutt South, Mana, Rimutaka

    Monday 8 March
    Picton, Nelson, Westport

    Tuesday 9 March
    Westport, Reefton, Hanmer Springs,

    Wednesday 10 March
    Christchurch Central, Christchurch East, Waimakariri, Port Hills, Ilam and Wigram

    Thursday 11 March
    Christchurch, Ashburton, Temuka, Timaru, Waimate, Oamaru

    Friday 12 March
    Dunedin North and Dunedin South

    I wonder if spelling Wangaz without an H is to stop Michael Laws throwing himself under the wheels of the bus?

  16. Jenny 16

    Hi Marty,

    “Ax the Tax”, a great sentiment we can all agree on.

    Sorry I didn’t make the bus tour when it was in Auckland.

    Unfortunately I didn’t see the tour itinerary till you posted it today. Therefore I was unaware it was in Auckland on the weekend. I would have really have liked to have been able to attend. (I was actually at home in Papakura on Sunday when the bus was here in the main street at 3pm and could have easily made it.)

    Sadly because of work and family commitments I won’t be able to attend any of the bus stops in other centres either.

    Are there any transcripts or video or audio of any of the Auckland events?

  17. tsmithfield 17


    Umm…in absolute terms the wealthy will be paying a helluva lot more in additional GST than the poor because they spend a lot more in dollar terms even if they spend less of their income in percentage terms than the poor. Since the wealthy will pay a lot more in additional GST it is only fair that they are compensated in tax cuts.

    Macro: “And no! you haven’t shown anything of the sort.”

    I did show that a person on 20k only needs approx 2% in tax cuts to compensate them. So, I don’t agree with you at all on this point.

    • Ari 17.1

      Actually, the wealthy tend to spend far less of their income as a proportion than the working class. They are far less impacted by GST than people on lower incomes- and far more impacted by taxes on investments, savings, property, etc…

  18. sdm 18

    Again my Maths shows that a family earning a moderate income wont be worse off by GST. Cut the slogan BS, show me where my maths is wrong

    • Marty G 18.1

      You make one important assumption and one mistake:

      1) you assume that there will be tax cuts across all the brackets. Remember, that’s what the left is demanding and that’s what Key has indicated won’t happen. He has indicated, however that he will spend a quarter of the GST money on tax cuts for the 12% who earn over $70K

      2) you’ve not factored in working for families, which gives your family a higher disposable (and GST carrying) income than you calculate.

      At the end of the day you can’t have everyone put into a pot of money, give a quarter of that pot to 12% of the people and have everyone else come out even or better.

      Don’t forget too that your family is going to have their rent go up because of the property law changes, you’ll need compensation for that too.

      • Lanthanide 18.1.1

        “1) you assume that there will be tax cuts across all the brackets. Remember, that’s what the left is demanding and that’s what Key has indicated won’t happen. He has indicated, however that he will spend a quarter of the GST money on tax cuts for the 12% who earn over $70K”

        Seriously Marty, please provide evidence for this. The ONLY thing I have heard Key say in this regard is that there will be “tax cuts across the board”.

    • I suspect your maths maybe wrong in the bit about the 2% tax cut. Because that bit isn’t happening.

    • Armchair Critic 18.3

      Well, it’s wrong because you didn’t apply GST to debt servicing or savings.
      You need to include debt servicing because unless the debt servicing was to buy a GST exempt item, the debt included GST. For example, a household appliance on HP had GST included in the sale price and thus GST is part of the repayment.
      Savings are spent at some stage, and again, unless the spending is on a GST-exempt item the spending attracts GST. Your assumption relies on a false premise around the timing of the spending.
      Oh, and then there is the rent. There are some circumstances under which GST is payable on rent. Yes, they are unusual, but they do occur.
      There are other errors in your assumptions about the distribution of the spending, too, but they are minor in comparison to your other obfuscations. And apart from that – yeah, your maths is great.

      • Herodotus 18.3.1

        GSt will not effect the debt levels on housing as there will not be a correction in the market by all housing to increase by 2.2%., the market sets the price it is not a cost + basis. Debt for GST incl items will increase by about $nil, as the interest cost on an addition 2.2% of purchase price = the positive side of nil.
        More importantly the greatest destruction of wealth for NZ of $23b will increase by about $500m.,

  19. sdm 19

    But arent you jumping to conclusions – fact is, we dont know what they will do.

    My point was this – if you cut tax across a persons entire income, whilst increasing tax on a proportion of that income, the person is better off. Only if the person spends 100% on GST rated items (unlikely) will that person not be better off.

    Rent prices may increase, but ultimately supply and demand dictates rent price not taxation.

    • OK, so you are putting up a hypothetical case. The fact is, the Nats have no history of helping lower income families. The last time they were in power during a time of recession, their answer was to shift the burden of the crisis to the less well off and there are plenty of indications that is the path they are following now.

      My hypothetical case: GST 15%, most of us worse off.

  20. I’m one of those low to middle income earners that Key reckons SHOULDN’T be worse off, but the thing is, I know i’m not going to be better off either.

    So why bother messing with the program when it might be that i could be worse off ? And if it turns out i do become worse off, then what ? He’ll admit to being pretty relaxed about it and may have made a mistake ?…Well a fat load of bloody good that’ll do me.

    What he does know for sure, is that those on higher incomes will be better off and the more you make the better off you WILL be !…and a fat load of bloody good that’ll also do me .

  21. SPC 21

    Let us not forget, that

    1. National campaigned on the line that it could afford its tax cuts without cutting government spending
    2. Then National said the budget forecasts were worse than expected and so they would defer their tax cut programme AND began to cut government spending (the dealy in tax cuts supposed to legitimise breaking their promise on spending).
    3. Now they have a way to “step change taxation” where they continue with the government spending cuts because of the budget position but now go ahead with the tax cuts (by using GST to pay for most of it).

    Oh and they promised they would have no need to increase GST to fund their economic programme (see 1).

  22. tsmithfield 22

    Pollywog: “So why bother messing with the program when it might be that i could be worse off ? And if it turns out i do become worse off, then what ? He’ll admit to being pretty relaxed about it and may have made a mistake ? Well a fat load of bloody good that’ll do me.”

    Lets assume that you are no worse off due to compensating tax cuts.

    You now have more choice about how much tax you pay. For instance, even if you are poor, you might be able to grow your own vegetables rather than by them from the supermarket, thus reducing the amount of GST and thus the amount of overall tax you pay. You might also feel more motivated to shop around for the best deal, or buy second-hand rather than new etc. Any such steps you can take will reduce the overall amount of tax you have to pay due to reducing the amount of GST you pay.

    • pollywog 22.1

      Is that it tsmithfield ?..lets assume i’m no worse off ?

      Nah fuck that, lets assume i am worse off, while others who are already well off, are even better off. No, even better, lets not assume and take it as fact.

      Your answer is grow my own veges and shop around for a better deal at all the second hand stores ?…you’re fucking kidding right ? Thats my best choice option for avoiding paying more tax ? Scratch around in the dirt and compare prices at various dumps ?

      There is another option. How about i roll round your place with a few cuzzies and dispossess you of some of your luxury shit you’ll inevitably buy with your tax cut and flog it off to even out the non payment of GST on second hand items…i hope your insurance is up to date.

      of course i dont role like that but theres heaps of working and non working poor poly’s out ther who do and will.

  23. greed is not good 23

    to tsmithfield and so many others who agree with his, and too many others, comments

    please explain to us, the ignorant under 20k pa workers who do many jobs you and your ilk would never lower yourselves to, how do we buy second hand power, second hand food, second hand phones services, second hand petrol.

    Hundreds of thousands of NZrs spend EVERY CENT they earn on g.s.t items. it is a simple fact and one that you must begin to understand. The G.S.T. increase is going to cause more hardship, more hunger, more illness, and obviously more crime.

    What does your 48K maths test say on these issues?

  24. Our small Labour Party Branch in Tory Cambridge meet the bus and we had an hour canvassing the High St .The response was excellent .However what struck me was the number of people who said ‘well I didnt vote for them “(Nats) . The only conclusion I have come to is that there are a lot of people who are now ashamed they voted for a change. Phil Goff was also well recieved and I have no doubt the GST bus will prove to be most sucessfull.

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    It is appropriate that the palm kernel expeller (PKE) ship off Tauranga has been sent packing. For weeks I have been saying this ship needed to be sent away, but it seems as if MPI has been trying to find ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning
    6 days ago
  • Do you #LoveSnow?
    I was a lucky kid. When I was about five or six my mum and auntie took me up to Whakapapa on Mt Ruapehu and taught me to ski. As a young kid I thought there was no bigger ...
    GreensBy James Shaw
    6 days ago
  • Awa Kairangi/Hutt River – Swimmable?
    On Thursday night I hosted a great swimmable rivers meeting organised by the local Greens in Heretaunga (Hutt Valley). It was great to see about 70 people attend and engage in the topic. We were welcomed by Te Atiawa representative ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    6 days ago
  • September benefit figures disappointing
    The Government is out of touch with the reality that fewer people are going off the benefit and into employment or study, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni.  “The quarterly benefit numbers for September are concerning. They show that ...
    6 days ago
  • MFAT officials refuse to back Prime Minister on Saudi sheep claims
    An Ombudsman’s interim decision released about the existence or otherwise of legal advice on the multimillion dollar Saudi sheep deal shows MFAT has failed to back up the Prime Minister’s claims on the matter, says Labour MP David Parker. “The ...
    6 days ago
  • Barry Coates on his first weeks in Parliament
    Week one in Parliament has been quite an occasion. I would like to share the experience. I had given up on the prospect of getting into Parliament before the election and had been enjoying the diverse work I was doing ...
    GreensBy Barry Coates
    6 days ago
  • Nats still planning to take Housing NZ dividend
    Housing New Zealand’s Statement of Performance Expectations shows that the National Government intends to pocket $237m from Housing New Zealand this year including a $54m “surplus distribution”, despite promises that dividends would stop, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “After ...
    7 days ago
  • Parliament must restore democracy for Ecan
    Parliament has a chance to return full democracy to Canterbury with the drawing of a member’s bill that would replace the Government’s appointed commissioners with democratically elected councillors, says Labour’s Canterbury Spokesperson Megan Woods. “In 2010, the Government stripped Cantabrians ...
    7 days ago
  • Police struggle to hold the line in Northland
    Labour’s promise of a thousand extra police will go a long way to calming the fears of people in the North, says the MP for Te Tai Tokerau Kelvin Davis.  “Police are talking about the Northland towns of Kaitaia and ...
    7 days ago
  • Vote Sooty Shearwater/Tītī for Bird of the Year
    Sooty shearwater (Puffinus griseus) are amazing and deserve your vote in Forest and Bird’s Bird of the Year competition.  They make one of the longest known bird migrations, flying an annual round trip of 64,000 kms across the entire Pacific ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    7 days ago
  • Urgent action on agriculture emissions needed
    Immediate action is required to curb agricultural emissions is the loud and clear message from Climate change & agriculture: Understanding the biological greenhouse gases report released today by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, says Labour’s Climate Change spokesperson Megan ...
    1 week ago
  • Super Fund climate change approach a good start
    Labour Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson and Climate Change Spokesperson Dr Megan Woods have welcomed the adoption of a climate change investment strategy by the New Zealand Super Fund. “This is a good start. It is a welcome development that the Super ...
    1 week ago
  • Energy use going in the wrong direction
    New data out this week from Statistics NZ paints a concerning picture of energy use across the economy under this National Government. You won’t be surprised to hear that there is some seriously worrying information here about how dirty our ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    1 week ago
  • Raising the age the right thing to do
    The announcement today that the Government will leave the door open for young people leaving state care still means there is a lot of work to do, says Labour's Spokesperson for Children, Jacinda Ardern "The Government indicated some time ago ...
    1 week ago
  • Junior Doctors go on Strike
    Thousands of junior doctors took strike action for 24 hours this week for better working conditions and safer working hours.  The Green Party supports their cause, and particularly their claims to reduce the number of days worked from up to ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    1 week ago
  • Coleman plays down the plight of junior doctors
    Junior doctors are crucial to our health services and the industrial action that continues tomorrow shows how desperately the Government has underfunded health, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King.  “Jonathan Coleman’s claim that he has not seen objective evidence of ...
    1 week ago
  • Inflation piles pressure on National and Reserve Bank
    While many households will welcome the low inflation figures announced today, they highlight serious questions for both the National government and the Reserve Bank, Labour’s  Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson said.  "While low inflation will be welcomed by many, the ...
    1 week ago
  • Officials warned Nat’s $1b infrastructure fund ineffective and rushed
    Treasury papers show the Government rushed out an infrastructure announcement officials told them risked making no significant difference to housing supply, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “Like so much of National’s housing policy, this was another poll-driven PR initiative ...
    1 week ago
  • More cops needed to tackle P
    New Police statistics obtained in Written Questions show John Key is losing his War on P, highlighting the need for more Police, says Opposition Leader Andrew Little.  “New Zealanders expect serious action on P but today’s hodgepodge of half-measures won’t ...
    1 week ago
  • Strengthening our relationship with the Rātana movement
    It was a privilege to visit Rātana Pā last week with fellow Greens’ Co-leader James Shaw, our Māori Caucus and senior staff to meet with the leaders of te iwi mōrehu, to strengthen the ties between the Green Party and ...
    GreensBy Metiria Turei
    1 week ago
  • MBIE docs show country needs KiwiBuild, not Key’s pretend “building boom”
    John Key’s spin that New Zealand is in a building boom does not change the massive shortfall in building construction as new MBIE papers reveal, says Labour Party housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “We can fix the housing crisis, by the ...
    1 week ago
  • 1 in 7 Akl houses now going to big property speculators
    Speculators are running riot in the Auckland housing market making life tougher for first home buyers, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  Newly released data from Core Logic shows a 40 per cent increase in the share of house sales ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Disconnected thinking dirties the water
    Iain Rabbitts’ belief that drinking water quality, charging for water use and the land use that leads to water quality degradation should be treated separately is part of the problem we have right now in this country. The connection is ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 weeks ago
  • Report back from Hands Off Our Tamariki hui
    This week I attended a hui in Otaki organised by Hands Off Our Tamariki about the proposed reforms to the Child Young Persons and their Families Act. Moana Jackson and Paora Moyle spoke.  They expressed deep, profound concern about the proposed ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour mourns passing of Helen Kelly
    Helen Kelly was a passionate advocate for working New Zealanders and for a safe and decent working life, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says.  “Helen Kelly spent her adult life fighting for the right of every working person to ...
    2 weeks ago
  • National’s visionless immigration policy
    National’s recent immigration announcement is a continuation of the visionless approach to government that it has displayed in the last three terms. Rather than using the levers of government to implement a sustainable immigration policy that benefits new and current ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    2 weeks ago
  • Andrew Little: Speech to the Police Association Conference 2016
    Police Association delegates, Association life members and staff, representatives from overseas jurisdictions. Thank you for inviting me here today. The Police Association has become a strong and respected voice for Police officers and for policing in New Zealand. There is ...
    2 weeks ago
  • 1,000 more police for safer communities
    Labour will fund an extra 1,000 Police in its first term to tackle the rising rate of crime, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “Labour will put more cops on the beat to keep our communities safe. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Call for all-party round table on homelessness
    Labour is calling on the Government to take part in a roundtable meeting to hammer out a cross-party agreement on ending homelessness.  Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford said the country wanted positive solutions to homelessness, and wanted the political parties ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Seclusion rooms in schools
    Schools are undoubtedly stretched and underfunded to cope with students with high learning support needs. But this cannot justify the use of rooms (or cupboards) as spaces to forcibly isolate children. It has emerged via media that this practice continues ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 weeks ago
  • Public should get a say on new Waikato power station
    I had an opinion piece published in the Waikato Times about a controversial proposal to build a new gas-fired power station. It’s not on their website yet, so here it is: If you think the public would get a say ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    2 weeks ago
  • MSD and their investment approach
    The Government talks about investment but there is no investment. It is not investment if it isn’t over the whole of life and if there is no new money  — Shamubeel Eaqub   Investment sounds like adequate resourcing but this ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    2 weeks ago
  • Certainty needed for community services
    A couple of months ago I was at a seminar where three community organisations were presenting. Two of the three presenters were waiting to find out if their organisation would get a contract renewed with MSD. Not knowing if their ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    2 weeks ago
  • Domestic Violence – some advice for the media
    For the purpose of this piece, I’m going to use Domestic Violence (DV) as a proxy for intimate partner violence. DV is not isolated to physical abuse in a relationship between people with the same power. DV is a pattern of ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    3 weeks ago
  • Leroy’s New Paw Prints
    Leroy, an Auckland great dane recently received a new 3D printed bionic leg after cancer was discovered. I think this is a fantastic story and highlights the real potential of additive manufacturing, or 3D printing Leroy’s prosthetic was printed in titanium and was ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    3 weeks ago