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Budget Blues

Written By: - Date published: 4:33 pm, May 22nd, 2015 - 139 comments
Categories: benefits, Economy - Tags:

Twenty five dollars a week can’t be bad, can it? For families on the breadline, it’s surely better than nothing and every little helps. And when the total spend is $790 million, that’s not peanuts, is it? – even if multiplying $25 up to this total should surely tell just how many qualifying families there are and just how widespread family poverty is in today’s New Zealand.

The increase in benefits has of course captured the headlines and is apparently a master-stroke of so-called “compassionate conservatism” in disarming those critics who have complained about widening inequality and deeply entrenched poverty. Most people will not notice or care that it is chickenfeed by comparison with the handouts made to the rich under the current government. It is easy, after all, to get one’s head around twenty five dollars a week – not so easy to comprehend the billions of dollars that have been siphoned off for the benefit of the government’s wealthy supporters.

And memories are short. Who now recalls the cuts in top-rate income tax that were worth billions to our top earners? Who remembers the hike in GST rates that transferred so much of the tax burden away from income tax and on to spending – ordinary everyday household spending, the kind of spending that accounts for every cent of a poor family’s income?

And who registers, even today, as the drums are beaten for the paltry benefits increase, that it will have been paid for, when it comes into effect next April, by tax rises such as the airports tax, by the removal of the $1000 incentive to join KiwiSaver, and by the heartless tightening of the benefit rules that will force solo mums back to work on their child’s third birthday?

And who understands just how much more significant than a few dollars a week per family in poverty are the powerful macro-economic forces at work – the forces that determine who gets the benefits and who pays the price for what happens in the wider economy? Let’s take as an example the rate of unemployment – still at nearly 6%, stuck there stubbornly because of the priority the government has given to getting its own books back in balance rather than getting the country back to work, and still understating the true rate of joblessness by counting every part-time one-hour-a-week employment as a job.

Who benefits and who loses from this historically high rate of unemployment? A pool of unemployed helps employers of course by keeping wages down since there will always be those ready to step into low-paid jobs if those in them ask for a wage increase. The low-paid, and those who are increasingly long-term unemployed, pay the price and have no chance of breaking out of the poverty trap – and twenty five dollars a week is a cynically contemptuous price-tag to place on their unwilling sacrifice

And who pays the rising rents generated by the housing affordability crisis? Or the soaring power bills as the result of privatisation? Are they to be met from twenty five dollars a week? Who benefits, on the other hand, from the extravagantly increased value of the equity in Auckland houses which rises on average by $80,000 a year – or nearly $1600 a week – without the owners doing anything?   That $1600 a week would certainly make a difference to families in poverty expected to be grateful for the $25 that will, we are told, give them a better life.

And where do the $4 billion of bank profits exported to Australia each year come from? Could they have something to do with the ever-increasing lending that drives the rise and rise in Auckland house prices? And we haven’t even begun to look at the huge tax breaks handed over to Rio Tinto Zinc or Warner Brothers, or even the comparatively trivial $6 million gifted to a Saudi businessman to keep him sweet. But the pattern is surely clear. The widening gap between rich and poor in New Zealand has not arisen by accident. It is not an objective moral judgment, handed down by the market gods, that rewards the hard-working and punishes the feckless. It is instead the direct result of the way our economy is deliberately run.

Some people, it seems, matter more than others. They deserve, we are told, to get richer. There are others – with low-paid jobs or no jobs at all, with poor health, unhealthy and overcrowded housing, low educational achievements – who slip under the radar, and have little chance of getting the economy to work for them. But when the polling shows at last a rising level of public concern about children growing up with blighted life chances, about families in poverty whose plight makes us all poorer, then $25 dollars will do the trick, won’t it? We can all relax.

Bryan Gould

22 May 2015.


139 comments on “Budget Blues ”

  1. Macro 1

    Thank you Bryan. You have said – far more eloquently than I – my thoughts entirely.

  2. Facetious 2

    One must ask: why did not Labour make a substantial increase to welfare benefits during its nine long years in government? What stopped the caring party?

    • b waghorn 2.1

      Helen had to fund her legacy of turning the south island into a weedy mess while transferring wealth to the landed gentry down there.

    • adam 2.2


    • Tracey 2.3

      one must ask, if Labour ignores the vulnerable then no one can criticise national for putting the boot in to them?

      • Facetious 2.3.1

        But, but, but, National is NOT putting the boot on beneficiaries. On the contrary, it has increased the monies. Would it be any different if a government led by Andrew Little has done this?

        • North

          Love your fascination with earlier governments Facetious. Do you study last week’s excrement in your search for the meaning of life? Thought so. Thicker, more facile than Ferguson on Morning Report. ” Weell, bearter then noothing……shurley ? ” How the fuck did that flibbertigibbet get that job ?

      • Colonial Rawshark 2.3.2

        Tracey – it’s been a full day since the Budget was released. Its broad implications are now well understood.

        Has Labour committed to doing more for beneficiaries than National has? Has Labour committed to reversing the work requirements and work testing that National is introducing? Will Labour better National’s $25/week increase in base benefits?

        My bet is that Labour remains scared of looking like the party for benes and we will hear crickets on all of the above.

        • weka

          National isn’t increasing benefits by $25/wk. This has been explained ad nauseum in the past 24 hours. It’s a ruse.

          Good questions about Labour though. I’d add, how’s Andrew Little going to be supported on the UBI issue?

          • Sacha

            You can see how well the spin sticks, eh.

            • Colonial Rawshark

              So the NATs are saying this policy is going to cost them over $700M in extra benefit payments. Departmental guidance says families will be better off by $23 a week in hand on average, once all factors have been considered.

              You’re saying nah, its going to do next to nothing.

              Frankly, if Descendent of Ssmith thinks the NATs move is decent, I think its probably pretty reasonable.

              • weka

                “You’re saying nah, its going to do next to nothing.”

                No, I’m not saying that. I don’t know how you have missed this unless you are simply not reading people’s comments. They are putting up some (not all) benefits, and some of that rise will be clawed back via abatements. So the real amount the govt is giving to beneficiaries is likely to be a lot less than the amount claimed in the budget. Unless you are suggesting that they’ve taken into account the various claw backs, in which case I’d like to see that cited (or at least a decent argument made).

                Sssmith’s comments were good, but incomplete. Look at the income abatement issue and then you will see where more of the savings are for the govt.

                • Descendant Of Sssmith

                  Nah I didn’t miss the income abatement issue I said people are overstating it due to the maximum limits on those forms of assistance.

                  I mainly care about excessive scare-mongering (slight in this case) because my wife works with vulnerable people and the distress people are caused when people make assertions that they will be worse off or not better off when they will be doesn’t help them.

                  Broadly people will fall into three groups:

                  1. Those not getting other payments
                  2. Those getting other payments but not at the maximum or just qualifying for it
                  3. Those getting the maximum but who would get more if the maximum wasn’t in place eg their costs are really high

                  Group one and three will be better off as one has nothing to abate and three will have the extra income affect the calculation of what they could get but will still qualify for assistance at the maximum as their costs were so high.

                  Basically as I understand it if you were in Hamilton, a sole parent with one child you would only ever get $75-00. So if your costs meant that you would, if it wasn’t for the maximum, have got $100-00 then you’ll be still be better of by the full $25-00.

                  Some of group 2 may not be better off by $25-00 but will in most cases still be some better off.

                  It would be useful if someone actually did some real life calculations maybe.

                  The thing is it wouldn’t have mattered if benefits were lifted by $10-00 or $80-00 the abatement would still have occurred.

                  What does really matter is that some benefit rates are being lifted. As someone who has advocated for this for a long time it’s pleasing to see.

                  As I said not as much as I would like and not for everyone but better than Labour has offered / is offering.

                  If Labour’s response is to simply criticise it without offering anything better you can certainly consider that the emperor has no clothes.

                  • weka

                    Sorry, can’t follow that. What ‘other payments’ are you referring to? What is the max $75 in the Hamilton example, ie which payment is that?

                    The income abatement relates to forcing parents of 3 year olds into work. Unless they get enough regular hours to take them above the danger zone, many will be worse off. This isn’t a straight out benefit calculation, it includes the cost of working, and the cost of not having those hours at home to run the home/family (two parent families share that load). More well off people can pay someone to change the oil in their car or clean their windows, sole parent have to do that work on their own. And don’t get me started on how this will affect the community and official and unofficial voluntary work.

                    btw, it’s not scaremongering, it’s political analysis. I think there will be people who will gain from this policy, others who are ineligible so won’t, and people who will get given something with this hand and be taken from from that hand. Overall, it looks to me like a minimal policy, probably designed around what they could get away with. It’s not the policy of a party wanting to do right by vulnerable people or to address poverty.

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      DoS has already outlined the large groups of beneficiaries who will be better off under English’s budget. You cannot deny that.

                      The increased work requirements however, are a negative and will impact some.

                      We already know that. No one is disagreeing with you.

                      National has done more for beneficiaries this year than Labour has in 18 years of Government. (To paraphrase Phillip Ferguson, that closet neolib).

                    • Sacha

                      Until someone gets hold of MSD/Treasury’s basis for the Budget bid we will not know how big those beneficiary sub-groups are nor how much they can each expect their overall income to change by. Someone has modelled it.

                      Yes, it is better than nothing and it certainly puts Labour’s inaction to shame.

                    • weka

                      CV, I really don’t think this is your area of expertise. For instance, I’m still waiting for you to give examples vis a vis your comment “Labour also loves piling all kinds of onerous requirements on beneficiaries”.

                      “The increased work requirements however, are a negative and will impact some.

                      We already know that. No one is disagreeing with you.”

                      I’m not sure if you appreciate the problem tbh. Which is why your cheerleading the budget looks off to me. It’s not that I think people are disagreeing with me, it’s that I’m seeing very little analsysis of what this will mean for actual people on the DPB.

                      “National has done more for beneficiaries this year than Labour has in 18 years of Government.”

                      See, that statement looks good as a slogan, but I have a couple of problems with it. One is that it erases the things that Labour do far better than National for beneficiaries. And it also avoids looking at the hooks and ties. I would have more sympathy for your response to the budget if it included some analysis of what is needed next to really make a difference.

                    • Descendant Of Sssmith

                      Somehow “accommodation supplement” disappeared in my editing when referring to the $75-00 maximum.

                      The abating people have been complaining amount is around the fact that some of the increase will get eaten up in the adjustments made to accommodation supplement and TAS.

                      I’m simply trying to point out that it’s not as bad as some are making out. And year it’s scaremongering because if it was analysis some would have done the actual analysis.

                      There’s times trying to make a political point based on incorrect assumptions or beliefs just makes the political point look silly.

                      That’s why in my original post I linked to the Labour nonsense about going to remove secondary tax and give people more money as a result.

                      Someone else made the comment about Labour not actually understanding how the benefit system works.

                      I tend to agree cause they really say some stupid things.

                      The income testing abatement is another whole different kettle of fish.

                      Bottom line is still National increased benefits for some, Labour did not.

                    • weka

                      “Until someone gets hold of MSD/Treasury’s basis for the Budget bid we will not know how big those beneficiary sub-groups are nor how much they can each expect their overall income to change by. Someone has modelled it.”

                      True Sacha, although much of what I am saying is based on the fact that the reality of how WINZ operates and the lived experience of beneficiaries often doesn’t match policy in the way many here are assuming. That’s part of why National gets away with bene bashing so well.

                      Sssmith makes many credible points in previous comments, but they’re also right that someone needs to sit down with the benefit calculators and put some real life examples through them and see how they pan out for various situations. I’d do it but I don’t have kids and don’t fully understand the tax credits stuff. It’s a lot of work. The people who will eventually know what is going on are the beneficiary advocates, because they’ll deal with the fallout including the fairly inevitable mess when WINZ don’t know how to process benefits properly.

                    • weka

                      “Bottom line is still National increased benefits for some, Labour did not.”

                      I guess I don’t agree with that. If the policy makes the most vulnerable people worse off is that still a good policy? It’s all a bit reductionist for me. It is unfortunate that it’s so complex that no-one really knows yet how good the increases are.

                      Re the National/Labour thing, when Labour targeted some people and left out others (WFF) they got slammed by the left and rightly so. National should be getting the same.

                    • Descendant Of Sssmith

                      I’ve jumped on the MSD website to get the calculation.

                      Here would be a sole parent in Hamilton paying $280 per week rent.

                      (A quick look on TradeMe showed rents are between $200 and $450 for two bedroom flats and houses.)

                      Rent $280-00
                      less Entry Threshold $98.00
                      Rent remaining $182.00

                      The sole parent is eligible for up to 70% of $182.00 – $127.40

                      Round up to the nearest $ equals $128.00

                      The maximum payable however for Hamilton is $75.00 so the sole parent will get $75.00.

                      What happens if benefit rates go up is the threshold moves. The threshold is for a sole parent 30% of the benefit rate + family tax credit. Had to look in the legislation for that.

                      So the entry threshold rate will likely go up by 30% of $25.00 = $7.50.

                      So the new calculation would be:

                      Rent $280.00
                      less Entry Threshold $105.00
                      Rent remaining $175.00

                      The sole parent is eligible for up to 70% of $175.00 – $122.50

                      Round up to the nearest $ equals $123.00

                      The maximum payable however for Hamilton is $75.00 so the sole parent will get $75.00.

                      If this scenario was Auckland where the maximum was $165.55 the sole parent would have got $128.00 per week and would now get $123.00 per week.

                      I suspect though that you wouldn’t be paying $280.00 per week rent in Auckland though.

                      Used to do these calculations all the time in the 80’s as you couldn’t just chuck it into a computer. There’ll be a few other old(er) advocates around as well who will be able to do this as well.

                      Take this all as approximate though I just trying to demonstrate the point that it’s not as bad as people are suggesting.

                      I guess knowing this stuff from the past makes me more quickly appreciate that there’s going to be lots more people with some more money to buy food. It’s a shame it’s not Muldoon freezing rents though so the landlords don’t just take it in higher rents.

                    • Sacha

                      Note we already discussed another source of abatement the media seems to have missed – on the extra 5 hour work obligation: http://thestandard.org.nz/budget-gives-with-one-hand-and-takes-with-the-other/#comment-1018439

                      And TAS abates at 100% so will have a bigger impact on the net income than accommodation will – which is no doubt why MSD only mentioned the accommodation adjustments to reporters.

                      So the reduction may not be the small amount some are suggesting. That MSD figure of $23 is an *average*. Lets see the median, and some worked-through real cases.

                      And I’m done discussing this again and again.

                    • weka

                      There’s a very good story here for an investigative journalist or blogger who has the time to really dig into it. Both about this budget and what it really means, but also just looking at how completely crazy the WINZ system has become.

                    • Descendant Of Sssmith

                      I’m rather you used facts than debate.

                      TAS abates at 100% in the sense it’s based in the difference between income and expenditure. Just like Special Benefit was back when but with more restrictions.

                      TAS has upper limits as well and the same principles apply.


                      So if your deficiency between income and expenditure is more than $25.00 then you’ll still get the same rate of TAS as you get now.

                      If your deficiency is between $25.00 and $49.00 you’ll get less and if your deficiency is $50.00 or more you’ll get what you get now.

                      Again this is roughly how it works and not exact but it’s misleading to portray things are as bad as being suggested.

                      I’m not cheerleading for anyone apart from those who are actually affected. Their lives are difficult enough without having a whole group of people think they won’t get something out of this when they will.

                    • weka

                      Sssmith, I’ve done my fair share of calculations on paper too over the years. And yes, National’s policy looks good for some on paper. But I take it your Hamilton woman has one kid and no TAS right?

                      Let’s see what happens when her child turns 3. Now she has to be work ready. She has to attend seminars and interviews. This interfers with her cash job (cleaning for a woman who understands her situation and allows flexibility in her hours/times), so already something is slipping back. Then WINZ find her a 20/hr a week job so she has to give up her cash job and suck up the abatement from the secondary tax and income testing. Plus transport money, and childcare and some of her hours are outside of the subsidised childcare centre.

                      Her kid gets asthma, and really hasn’t settled into childcare so is often upset when she gets home, so she’s sometimes dropping out of her shifts at short notice, which means her boss is less inclined to give her regular hours. WINZ require her to declare her income every week, but because it’s now irregular amounts, she never knows from one week to the next how much income she is going to have and starts to find it really hard to budget. She misses a couple of important payments, so has to go to WINZ to get an advance. Now she has a debt repayment being taken out of her benefit each week. Next time this happens she finds she is at the advance limit for the year, so she has to use a finance company or a loan shark and pay interest.

                      Between work and parenting and travelling and the additional stressors she is now exhausted. She has a shit GP and can’t get him to write a letter supporting her to be exempt from work requirements.

                      I coud go on. This is not an atypical story of descent for a beneficiary. So yeah, the increase looks great on paper for some, but I’d really like to see how it’s going to play out in reality. If Labour had introduced this policy, they’d be getting heavily criticised.

                    • Descendant Of Sssmith

                      Grr editing.

                      So if your deficiency between income and expenditure is more than $25.00 then you’ll still get the same rate of TAS as you get now.

                      should be

                      So if your deficiency between income and expenditure is less than $25.00 then you’ll lose TAS but still be better off.

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      CV, I really don’t think this is your area of expertise. For instance, I’m still waiting for you to give examples vis a vis your comment “Labour also loves piling all kinds of onerous requirements on beneficiaries”.

                      Weka, if you’re the expert you should know. Why do you want me to find out for you. I am referring to every single WINZ hoop beneficiaries were made to jump in 2008 and before. You can’t say you don’t know about them, right?

                    • Descendant Of Sssmith

                      Weka I get all that and we’re on the same side.

                      One of the first things on this site that had me getting back into looking at benefit advocacy issues was someone on this site who’s father had been told he couldn’t get a benefit til he used his cash assets.

                      That was a problem in the 80’s as well. People being told that. People spent their redundancy payments unnecessarily. Based on false advice from people who though they knew but really didn’t.

                      I knew people who got into unnecessary stress and hardship as a result of that advice.

                      I saw my wife’s clients get distressed when mis-information was spread about welfare reforms and the impact on them which was none.

                      I think the left does the very people they are purporting to represent a dis-service when they make things seem worse they they are.

                      Apart from the secondary tax issue, people don’t have to pay secondary tax they can get IRD to assess a PAYE rate just for them, the other things you say are all issues.

                      How would you feel though if the government announced you were going to get $25.00 a week and those standing up for you said “oh no you won’t” and then you found out that you still did.

                      Where might your allegiance swing. Where might your credibility sit?

                      The Labour announcement to remove secondary tax and make people better off was both laughable and derisory at the same time. There’s an opportunity to be critical of this policy but not at the cost of misrepresentation.

                      I’ve tried my rusty best to explain that it’s not as bad as people are saying.

                      There will be a group in the middle who will suffer from some abatement but those with the highest costs, and therefore the poorest won’t be in that group.

                    • weka

                      “Weka, if you’re the expert you should know. Why do you want me to find out for you. I am referring to every single WINZ hoop beneficiaries were made to jump in 2008 and before. You can’t say you don’t know about them, right?”

                      That’s right, I do know about them, I just wanted to know if you did and I think you’ve just confirmed you don’t. You’ve been running round saying that Labour are as bad or worse than National and you don’t actually know what you are talking about some of the time. What National have done in the last 5 years takes hoop jumping to a whole new level. I get that you are righteously angry with Labour, but in this instance you are distorting the debate.

                    • weka

                      Thanks Sssmith, it’s the WINZ culture stuff that has me worried too.

                      I probably won’t be convinced until I start hearing direct stories (or do the calculations myself).

                      btw, I think the people who have read the MSM headlines, believe they will get a $25 rise and then find out later that they won’t are just as important as the few who read a few left wing blogs and end up mistakenly thinking they won’t get something but then do. At least here there is a range of opinions covering all the issues.

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      That’s right, I do know about them, I just wanted to know if you did and I think you’ve just confirmed you don’t.

                      So you admit that I was right in my opinion that Labour did indeed set up all kinds of additional hoops for beneficiaries – and then you admit that you were wasting my time by asking me a question that you already knew the answers in detail to.

                      Well, you can fuck off with that Weka, I have better things to do then perform for your school teacher classroom routines.

                      And no, I am not an expert on the ins and outs of the benefits system and its history, but like most people, I correctly understand that Labour screwed beneficiaries just as bad as National.

                    • weka

                      It’s important to understand the differences, and there are real differences. If you think the shit that’s happened in the last 5 years also happened under the Clark govt then you’re going to misrepresent reality and thus what needs to be done. There is a whole new layer of stuff that National are doing that’s never been done before. I think your feelings about Labour are blinding you to that.

          • NZJester

            All National increases for the middle class and poor are a ruse. They gave us lower PAYE but then increased GST so that any gain we made was lost for all but the well healed National supporters. Most of the middle class and poor ended up paying higher tax amounts due to that tax swap. The extra hurdles you have to jump through for additional benefits also make it hard for anyone to get a lot of those extra benefits. The extra cost to those mothers with under 5s who are now required to go into part time work will also be greater than that extra $25 they might get. Once they are in part time work they will also then be ineligible for a lot of the other add on benefits they currently get that are higher than that $25 a week. Factor in what they will get on minimum wage, need to pay for child care as well as transport and they will be even worse off financially.

            • Draco T Bastard


              Factor in what they will get on minimum wage, need to pay for child care as well as transport and they will be even worse off financially.

              Abatement rates on welfare have always been excessively high so as to make it impractical to go to part-time work unless you’re doing that part-time work under the table. Essentially, National’s and Labour’s policies over the years have encouraged breaking the law just so that people can live.

        • keyman

          welfare bums wont vote no point in helping them

        • Tracey

          you vote for them and attend their meetings. I dont.

      • burt 2.3.3

        That’s a good question, why didn’t Labour put benefits up ?

        I’m picking it’s because they were already fighting the normal high inflation we get under high tax and spend governments and they decided it was better that beneficiaries were struggling more because of said inflation and therefore guaranteed to vote Labour.

    • RedBaronCV 2.4

      It was called WFF remember – a major targeted tax cut for the poorer. And the emphasis on jobs really lowered the unemployment rate.

      • burt 2.4.1

        It wasn’t for the poorer – it was middle class welfare to further entrench welfare dependency.

        • Naturesong

          The middle class aren’t dependant on welfare by definition.
          If they need govt help to put basics on the table, they’re not middle class.

          The poor often are, because food tends to cost money and they have none.

          People become dependent upon welfare because of the decisions made in government (currently over one quarter of New Zealand’s working age population is either unemployed or underemployed), not because of some moral failing.
          When there is work available, people work – as anyone who has been unfortunate enough to be unemployed for longer than a brief period can attest.

          Does anyone else find it weird that that under labour only 3.4% of the population were “lazy bludgers”, but when National got in, over 6% of the Nation decided to down tools and suckle from the government teat?
          Clearly, National are the party that loves welfare, or the argument is bankrupt – you decide.

          Also kinda weird that they keep saying that throwing people of welfare = more employment when all that does is ensure rising health and social costs.

          Btw, it’s really shitty to use language that by design conflates need (food, shelter etc.) with addiction.
          People who do so, do it because they either wish to divide our communities (for cheap, nasty short term political advantage which causes long term damage to NZ communities), or because they are useful idiots – I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you’re an idiot.

          *NB Both WFF and the accommodation benefit are really terrible policies. They do nothing to address the root causes of the problems the purport to alleviate.

          • burt

            You seem to have forgotten the numbers associated with WFF when it was introduced. The rich prick income threshold was $60,000 but a family could qualify for WFF with earning up to $120,000.

            Would you like to reconsider that people who had access to this welfare for rich pricks certainly wasn’t just people below middle income.

            Perhaps you’d like to have a crack at justifying paying welfare ( call it tax credits if you want ) up to levels twice what the income tax system says is rich. Nobody on this site ever has other than to say it’s Labour policy and therefore good, so give it go if you’re keen.

            • felix

              I’m pretty sure “rich prick” in the context you’re using it referred to a man earning at least four times that amount from his salary, more from his investments, and was widely reported to be worth about 50 million.

              Anyway, to make your point relevant you need to say how much of a $60,000 income was subject to the top tax rate, and how much WfF was a family with an income of $120,000 entitled to.

              I think the answer to the first part is $1, and I don’t know the answer to the second but I imagine it would have been similar to the first.

              • burt


                Today with 5 kids a family in $120,000/year would get about $114/week.

                Is $120,000/year low income ?

                • felix

                  I don’t know, burt. According to you, probably.

                  Nothing to do with what I asked you though, is it?

                  • burt

                    What did you ask – there isn’t a single obvious question in what I responded to. All you did was prove your ignorance about what you are commenting on.

                    Perhaps your question was do I think you’re to dim to use a WWF calculator in the IRD site or do I think you don’t care for facts because Labour policy although impossible to justify is good because Labour said it is ?

                    • felix

                      No, you implied that there was some gross inhumanity at the margins of the top tax rate and the wff cutoff.

                      I showed you why your complaint about the tax rate was rubbish. At 60,000 the top tax rate would only apply to $1.

                      Why did you calculate for 5 children now instead of an average family a decade ago?

                    • felix

                      ps what on earth makes you think I support Labour policy in general or WFF in particular?

                      WFF is just a subsidy to allow employers to pay lower wages than are required to live properly in our society. It’s not something I would ever support.

        • Sacha

          WFF is really a wage subsidy for employers.

          • burt

            It certainly is. The introduction of it would certainly have decreased upward pressure on wage and salaries.

    • leftie 2.5


      What has the previous Labour government got to do with this National government’s 7th failed budget?

  3. Karen 3

    Excellent post Bryan. The MSM have happily swallowed the lies and deceptions of this government, and meanwhile inequality grows.

    I despair for the future of this country.

  4. Tracey 4

    Thanks bryan

  5. Colonial Rawshark 5

    Bryan Gould makes very good points. But would Labour ever act to significantly reduce the $4B in bank profits taken out of the country? (Or the billions in other profits extracted from NZ by foreign based corporations who have bought up our assets?) Would Labour ever undo the dreadful and regressive GST that they themselves instituted?

    All credit to Gould for raising these issues – but who is offering NZ any real political economic alternatives?

    • b waghorn 5.1

      What would the effect of getting rid of gst and lifting all the tax rates by say 5%

      • Macro 5.1.1

        The real problem with respect to the $4b profits shunted overseas by the banks as Bryan Gould explains it is

        The Bank of England has recently conceded that 97% of all money in the UK is created out of nothing by bank lending and the greater part of that goes on house purchase. We are in exactly that same situation; there is no solution to housing unaffordability until the banks are made to behave more responsibly.

        One solution is to restrict lending by banks on house mortgages to actual bank deposits, (a la the building societies who previously had the role of home lending) banks would only be able to create money on loans which involve the creation of employment, or productive enterprises. This was suggested in 1999 by John McMurtry in his book “Unequal Freedoms” pp 308-314.

        • b waghorn

          Banks should only be allowed to lend to a total of what it would cost to rebuild the house plus the land value minus the %20 deposit.
          Lending on the expected sale price down the track is insane.

          • Macro

            That would not limit their ability to create money as they do now. Giving the banks unrestricted ability to lend money (and thereby create money) is the reason house prices have escalated as they have.

            • Craig H

              I saw an interesting idea – maximum mortgage term (and therefore the minimum payments based on that) is set at 10 years rather than the current 30. Heavily restricts borrowing ability for land (but not business so much) which then reduces its value.

              • Macro

                The $4B that the foreign banks now strip out of our economy every year is money they themselves have created by being given license to virtually print money at will. I believe the fairest restriction would be to introduce a steadily tightening credit squeeze to the point where banks can only lend up to the limit of their deposits on such things as houses and already produced goods. Other lending that promoted renewable resources and employment would be fair game for expansionist lending because it improves productive capacity of the economy – lending on houses doesn’t.
                The short term (10 year) loan idea would restrict house purchases to those who could afford large deposits, a la the 20% deposit requirement now. Yes it has slowed the market slightly but tipped it in favour of the wealthy yet again.

      • Colonial Rawshark 5.1.2

        Taxing wealth assets and financial transactions is the way to do it; leave income tax alone

      • John 5.1.3

        The effect would be an immediate loss of $1.5b in gst from tourists, having to be made up for by Kiwi workers.

        • Colonial Rawshark

          Or Australian banks who remove $4B a year from NZ, and you are OK with that

        • b waghorn

          Cheers maybe just killing gst on food then and keep it simple just all food sold thru a grocery outlet

          • Colonial Rawshark

            Our branch down here in Dunedin South had a far better idea. Zero GST on all items under $100. 20% GST on every dollar an item is over $100 = a high consumption tax

            • weka

              That’s steep. What is the purpose of disincentivising high consumption? Is it a degrowth strategy? Am thinking things we should be encouraging people to spend money on, like buying a bike, or building their own home, or important services (whereby other people make a living).

              • Colonial Viper

                a big part of it is shifting gst away from day to day items needed for ordinary living so it becomes a progressive tax.

            • felix

              Per item or per purchase?

              • Colonial Viper

                per item. almost no items in a supermarket would attract gst, for instance.

            • Ergo Robertina

              ”Our branch down here in Dunedin South had a far better idea. Zero GST on all items under $100. 20% GST on every dollar an item is over $100 = a high consumption tax”

              That’s an awful policy idea. The McKinlays shoes I buy manufactured in South Dunedin would attract GST even though they support local jobs and are better for the environment than a $30 pair at Shoe Warehouse.
              Consider the true cost of items we use. This is often not reflected in the ticket price, especially when manufactured offshore. The way to discourage excess consumption is to foster higher quality production.

              • Colonial Viper

                yes, more expensive durable goods will attract the GST. nb a $150 pair of shoes would only attract $10 of GST.

                • Ergo Robertina

                  Goods with a low ticket price may be ”expensive” but the true cost isn’t reflected in the ticket price.
                  A marginal GST rate on higher priced goods incentivises more consumption by subsidising crappy goods, which is surely not your desired outcome?

                  • Colonial Rawshark

                    Correct. Your stated case points out how modern capitalism is all about offloading costs and externalities on to others.

                    But the reality is that poor people have to buy cheap shit to survive and they should not be hit by a regressive version of GST. People who can afford to buy $150 pairs of shoes are not going to quibble about $10 of GST.

                    And people who buy a $200,000 Porsche should be up for a $40,000 GST bill.

                    • Ergo Robertina

                      Try other means of targeting the rich through a progressive tax system that doesn’t punish NZ’s last shoe company and incentivise offshoring.
                      Back to the drawing board for the AB-PB Dunedin South…

                    • Colonial Viper

                      sorry if our GST proposal affects those who can afford it mate. We’re looking after those in one of the poorest areas of NZ by deprivation for whom a $150 pair of shoes is a middle class dream. If you resent paying $10 GST on your NZ made shoes, thats your issue.

                    • weka

                      It still looks a bit counterproductive to degrowth and sustainability though, which is part of Robertina’s point.

                      (I’m not sure about the whole who can afford a pair of $150 shoes thing. It’s not like people go from poor to well off in one discrete jump. Interesting proposal though).

                    • Ergo Robertina

                      You carry on as if the only way to target the wealthy is a marginal GST tax that exacerbates global inequality. You are stubbornly ignorant at times.
                      Go tell the workers in NZ’s last shoe company, which is in one of NZ’s most deprived communities (one of a vanishing few manufacturing companies in the area now), that their products are a ”middle class dream” . Grow up.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      be as condescending as you like. You have a better proposal for making GST far more progressive, I’m all ears. Under our proposal there would be less GST on a $150 pair of shoes than there is right now, FFS. BTW if you cannot accept that to most people on NZs median income or less that a $150 pair of shoes is a luxury, i’d say you should get out more and look around.

                    • Ergo Robertina

                      Get rid of GST and introduce a financial transactions tax.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      i’d be all for that.

                • alwyn

                  A pair of shoes ay $150 per pair needn’t incur any GST under your proposal.
                  After all you claim the tax would be per item so you would simply buy a left shoe for $75 and then a right shoe for $75.
                  No tax, right?
                  I suspect it would be possible to arrange that for almost anything. You wouldn’t buy a car. You would buy a whole lot of bits, individually priced, and if you bought all the bits they would assemble it for you free. No GST owing that way.
                  The bill would look a bit funny of course. Suppose you ended up with a 4 cylinder car. The bill would include thousands of lines like.
                  Cylinder, type 1, $75
                  Cylinder, type 2 $75
                  Cylinder, type 3 $75
                  Cylinder, type 4 $75
                  Piston rings,A $25
                  Piston rings,B $25
                  etc, etc, etc

      • alwyn 5.1.4

        “What would the effect of getting rid of gst and lifting all the tax rates by say 5%”

        Not very much I’m afraid.
        Using the actual figures for 2013-2014 in the reference at the end We get figures for Personal Income Tax of $28.3 billion and for Company Tax of $10.4 billion.
        The GST figure was $22.4 billion.

        If we were to replace GST by increases in these taxes we would need to increase the revenue from those sources by about 60%. One way to do that would be to increase the rates for each bracket of personal tax by 60%.
        Thus the brackets would become, approximately.
        0 – $14K. An increase from 10.5% to 16.8%
        14k – $48k. An increase from 17.5% to 28%
        $48k – $70k. An increase from 30% to 48%
        Over $70K. An increase from 33% to 52.8%

        Company tax would have to go from 28% to 44.8%

        That assumes that there was no change in the way people take their income and report it. I think that (legal) avoidance would increase if the marginal tax rate on a pretty standard income rose from 33% to 52.8%


    • sabine 5.2

      who of all the other parties could do it?

      • Colonial Rawshark 5.2.1

        Labour should definitely be the one to do it, but I just caught up with Andrew Little floating the idea of means testing Super.

        Basically, Labour are fucked.

        • b waghorn

          What if the bar for means testing was set at $5 million net worth. Of course some way to work out what all the wealth hidden in trusts was would need to be found.

          • Colonial Rawshark

            Don’t do it. We need more universal, unconditional benefits for NZ citizens, not fewer. Labour always heads down these bullshit tracks. They fragment benefits with means testing and work testing, and then it just makes it easier for a nasty Tory austerity driven govt to make it worse and worse over time. The earners in NZ who make tens of thousands of dollars a month in salary are the ones who have paid the most income tax. And now you’re going to take NZ super away from them??? I mean, WTF.

            Let me reiterate: the NZ Government need never ever run out of money if it wishes not to run out of money. The NZ Government is the sole issuer of NZ dollars in the world, and as long as NZ Super is paid out in NZ dollars, there will never ever be an inability for the NZ Government to pay out.

            • b waghorn

              On the surface I like the concept of a ubi for all from the cradle to the grave , but in all honesty is there any chance of enough punters getting there head around it for the polys to seriously coincided it.

              • Colonial Rawshark

                that’s a very good question

                politicians are not leaders…they are followers

                • b waghorn

                  It’s the one great flaw in democracy , that leaders can’t truly lead.
                  I wonder if every time the house votes, it was done as a secret vote by each member whether we would get better outcomes.??

                  • Colonial Rawshark

                    well, the moment secrecy becomes prevalent in a democracy, that’s really the end of true democracy anyways…

        • weka

          “I just caught up with Andrew Little floating the idea of means testing Super.”

          Shit. Is that in the public domain?

  6. b waghorn 6

    ‘removal of the $1000 incentive to join KiwiSaver’ it will be the tax credits next budget which I could live with if the $520 is spread around the low income earners.

  7. coaster 7

    the 520 tax credit is only av ailable if you contribute more than $1000 per year. those of us on low wages get shafted because of this anyway.

    • b waghorn 7.1

      I truly can’t imagine how people get buy on minimum wage or there about s in a city let alone on on a benefit. For most of us workers it seems all we can hope for is not to much of a miserable old age.

    • Dave_1924 7.2

      Coaster.. the government contribution credit is:

      “From 1 July 2011 the Government will pay 50 cents for every dollar of member contribution annually up to a maximum payment of $521.43. This means that you must contribute $1,042.86 annually to qualify for the maximum payment of $521.43.”

      If you only have 500 dollars in contribution in the kiwisaver year [1 july to 30 June] the government kicks in 250 dollars.

      you get a credit on a pro rata basis if you have less than 1042.86 in annual contributions…

    • burt 7.3

      Perhaps instead of funding a union so the union can fund Labour you could put that money into your own KiwiSaver.

  8. Pat 8

    seem to recall there was something bought in called family assistance….does that not count?

  9. logie97 9

    … and how has Little managed to grab the headlines. By announcing an extraordinary anti low-paid worker policy of suggesting that working past 65 will remove your right to draw the Super. My wife and I have just stopped our membership of the Labour Party.

    The Labour Party says it was their policies that lost them the election. I believe it was the personnel and team that they put up and it doesn’t look like it’s getting much better.

    • b waghorn 9.1

      ‘suggesting that working past 65 will remove your right to draw the Super.’
      Its called for the greater good . surely if you’re still working you don’t need the super.
      I’m personally in love with Tarianas suggestion of if you take super early you get less than you would if you hold off and the amount increases every year you wait.

      • Colonial Rawshark 9.1.1

        Its called for the greater good . surely if you’re still working you don’t need the super.

        Oh FUCK OFF

        I mean excuse my French, but with Auckland mortgages today ordinary couples are going to have to be working into their 70s to pay off their homes. $500K mortgages in Auckland are run of the mill, and younger people are having to save up until they are 40 just for a deposit FFS

        John Key 2017: “National means NO to means testing of national super” –> Labour on the road to electoral annihilation.

        • b waghorn

          To my knowledge no bank has ever held a gun to anyone’s head and made them take a massive mortgage.
          What came first high house prices or big mortgage s.

          • Colonial Rawshark

            Bank credit and willingness for banks to extend ever increasing amounts of bank credit because of how profitable it is for themselves, are the main driver for increasing house prices.

          • Colonial Rawshark

            I should say, I think people who want to live in AKL and pay AKL prices are a bit nuts anyways, but then I do live in Otago…

            • logie97

              What gets my back up is that the politicians who are determining what Joe Blo gets in retirement, have themselves got a gilt edged superannuation scheme. Now if they were going to have to live on Super alone, they might not be so keen to change things.

              And don’t come the common good thing. The married Super rate is not sufficient to live on and as a retired teacher, the opportunity to do the odd bit of relief teaching is a bonus.

              • Colonial Viper

                yeah u noticed that too eh. The privileged and comfortably off telling others that they need to do it harder because ‘there’s no money’.

      • PhilP 9.1.2

        B waghorn, it may have been suggested by Tariana Turia but it has been touted for many years as United Future policy. i.e. a lower rate at age 60 and a higher rate if you take it at say 70.

        • b waghorn

          Cool as a guy who might be broken down by 60 I like the idea

          • Naturesong

            That’s the barb right there.

            If you have poor health (one of poverty’s stalking horses), or have worked in professions that wear heavily on your body you will likely take super earlier, and the amount will be less than someone who is able to work till they are 65; good health, white collar jobs, genetic makeup, luck.

            It ensures that those who have had a hard life, will have a harder retirement.

            • Colonial Viper

              i reckon you can elect for full super at 60 as long as you receive no income from employment. We need to exit people out of the workforce anyways to bring down youth unemployment.

              • Atiawa

                Increase super to the equal of 40 hours/week at the minimum wage. If you continue to work at age 65 you don’t qualify.
                Bowls clubs will enjoy a resurgence in participation.

    • Craig H 9.2

      He gave a speech at today’s regional conference (region 5) and explained the context in which the comments were made. He was giving a speech, then did Q&A, and the question of funding super came up. He said the best way to do that is to resume contributions to the Cullen Fund, and the failure to achieve surpluses means a bigger funding gap in the future due to not resuming contributions. He then said that a consequence of that gap could be a future government having to examine all options for super, and named some options.

      That was then immediately reported as Little being in favour of means testing and/or super for people still working at 65 (he assured us, including the senior members, that he isn’t in favour of either of those options).

  10. NZJester 10

    “the comparatively trivial $6 million gifted to a Saudi businessman to keep him sweet. ”
    That $6 million gifted to the Saudi businessman however is only the tip of the iceberg there. The government effectively gave away lots of possible future earning of New Zealand farmers and meat workers in that region by helping him set up a sheep farm with prime NZ breading stock bread with techniques learned through NZ tax payer funded research outside of NZ. That farm and anyone in the region he on-sells future breading stock to will almost certainly at some point compete with our own farmers meat sales there and meat processing jobs in New Zealand will likely be heavily effected as well.

  11. Peter 11

    ……. will Mr Gould, once a regular contributor, ever be published in the Herald again? I suspect he has gone the way of John Campbell.

  12. Mike the Savage One 12

    Bryan, you raise valid considerations, but get real, who will benefit and get the full 25 dollars then? Most will not, they may get something between one to twenty three dollars, and that is because of abatement regimes that WINZ have in place. They give with one hand, the Nat government, they take with the other, at the same time.

    Perhaps do some research and investigations re this, it will not be what it looks like, but it was effective policy salesmanship by Bill English, for sure.


    Note the excellent questions by Mary and Bill’s answers, dodgy, I say.

  13. SMILIN 13

    Strange thing about Keys outrageous claim that its the biggest benefit rise in 43 years
    Well that goes back to 1972 and guess what there was no unemployment benefit then or I never heard of it
    That also was the year I believe the DPB CAME INTO BEING so I suppose from his BS perspective thats probably what was relevant to him which I suppose is why he grew up with an insane sense of entitlement and arrogance about how great he thinks he is for NZ and would eventually destroy NZs socialist politics being the worst PM ever.
    Why do we put up with his bullshit
    In those days if I remember correctly 2 people worked in the labour dept in the whole of Wellington and they use to help people keep their jobs because the was next to nothing to a benefit
    So Keys knowledge is sadly lacking in credibility again when it comes to NZ real history

  14. Upnorth 14

    middle NZ pays – at what stage Bryan do you take into account that low income families pay for health and education – i mean who subsidises that? Middle nz.

    who pay rates for all local services – middle nz.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 14.1

      Yes, you’re right: far too much wealth is concentrated in far too few hands. We need stronger unions and better employment law to raise wages across the board.

      • Colonial Rawshark 14.1.1

        And we need to get off the owner-manager-employee model of operation and move to a democratic economy.

  15. Tory 15

    National raises benefits, Little wants super means tested. Sorry but who holds the high ground now?

    • Colonial Rawshark 15.1

      That Labour caucus is way off on the wrong track. Half of them should be shunted to Tory orthodox fiscalville

  16. Philip Ferguson 16

    Bryan Gould’s article is interesting.

    National’s benefit increases are woefully inadequate, but they’re still way more than the *last three Labour governments* have delivered. Eighteen years in power – 18 years! – and Labour not once increased benefits.

    So Bryan’s criticisms of National are even more true of Labour.

    This budget is actually *to the left* of anything delivered by Labour in probably two generations.

    If Key had a ‘secret agenda’ it was not, as many on the left suggested, to finish off the job begun by Douglas and Richardson; it was to raise benefits for the first time in 43 years, impose a wee capital gains tax, and make a wee redistribution of income from high income earners to low income earners through adjusting Working for Families.

    Turns out Key is more social democratic than Labour! Since the politician he most admires is Holyoake, this should not be too surprising.

    Since Labour won’t – and can’t – move to the left, Key has stonkered them.


    • Colonial Rawshark 16.1

      Some big calls from a true socialist like yourself PF (largely agree with you too.)

    • Naturesong 16.2

      John Keys ideology is power.

      Put that filter on and have a gander at the way he makes his decisions.

    • Ergo Robertina 16.3

      People are getting really carried away here.
      The centre is shifting because multiple market failures are now too big to ignore.
      National does not deserve credit for that; they’re simply trying to survive the next election.
      Have a read of Fran O’Sullivan: http://m.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11451336 – the Govt had to act over Auckland housing demand side, and it’s not doing enough.
      Lobbying from the Chinese Govt could also be a factor.
      Fran was also good on the panel on the Nation today.
      The $25 benefit raise is not a base rise it’s to help the poorest children, and I’m relieved to see that. However it does nothing structural and the Nats are doubling down on the punitive ‘incentives to work’ theme which is disingenuous since the Nats support structural unemployment and a hostile employment relations framework.

      • Colonial Viper 16.3.1

        if the centre is indeed “shifting” left, how come National are getting all the benefits of it and Labour hasnt been moving left with it?

    • Puddleglum 16.4

      Hi Philip Ferguson,

      When you said the ‘last three Labour governments’ were you including the Third Labour Government?

      If so, are you saying either that the latest budget is better for beneficiaries than the following changes made by that Third Labour Government, detailed in the Wikipedia entry, or that the entry is wrong?

      The Third Labour government made considerable changes to New Zealand’s social security system, both in terms of the adequacy of benefits and in the range of welfare benefits available. As noted by the historian Keith Sinclair,

      “The Kirk-Rowling Government gave exceptional attention to the needs of the needs of the least privileged – often recent Pacific Island immigrants or ‘solo mums’.[20]

      Substantial increases were made to social security benefits[21] such as married couple’s benefits, single benefits, and pensions. The basic benefit was also increased and sickness benefit was liberalised: where a married couple had both been in full-time employment for at least 12 months and intended to remain members of the regular workforce, a sickness benefit would be paid for up to three months at half the rate payable to married couples, if one couple became sick. There would be no income test on this. Prior to this reform, if a husband had fallen ill while his wife was working, no Social Security payment was made. Pensions were increased and state insurance rebates were also introduced for pensioners.[3] Fathers became entitled to the Domestic Purposes Benefit in 1973, albeit under more restrictive conditions than those applying to mothers.[22] In addition, the Xmas bonus was subsequently repeated in 1973 and 1974, while age benefits were adjusted six times from 1972 to 1975. The real incomes of many means-tested beneficiaries were further increased by the introduction of telephone, television, and rates rebates in 1973. In 1974, aid was given to help pay the insurance premiums on the homes of pensioners, and a major effort was undertaken to increase the availability of suitable accommodation for the elderly. Increased financial assistance was also provided to voluntary groups working with handicapped or underprivileged persons, while four weeks paid relief was provided for those caring for the disabled and handicapped at home. From January 1974 onwards, approved day-care centres for children received a government grant of $4.50 per week per child.[1] In addition, wheelchair access to buildings was promoted.[23]

      In February 1973, the maximum Advance Payment of Benefit was doubled from $400 to $800 “to be used for home maintenance or provision of essential services.” In July 1974, Cabinet agreed that where special annuities were paid as though they were equivalent to a War Widows Pension or a War Pension, the cost of living adjustment granted to War Pensions would apply to these annuities as well. In December that same year, a Special Christmas payment was provided to beneficiaries.[24]

      The amount of income that income-tested beneficiaries could receive before their benefit levels were affected was also increased, while the basic dental service for children was extended to dependants up to the age of eighteen. In addition, the physiotherapy benefit was increased while a new hearing aid benefit was introduced. Altogether, the increases in welfare benefits and pensions helped narrow the gap between one-income families and welfare recipients.[3]

      Although numerous benefits such as pensions, sickness benefits, and unemployment benefits were increased Third Labour Government’s time in office,[19][25][26][27] it failed to increase the family benefit, which continued at a nominal rate set in 1972 by the previous National government at $3 a week per child, which led to the real value of the family benefit being reduced to the extent of $1 a week for each child. In defending the Third Labour Government’s family policy record, however, Labour MPs pointed to subsidies on a variety of consumer products including gas, electricity, postal charges, wool, milk, meat, eggs, bread, and some transport items.

  17. SMILIN 17

    What unbelievable tripe to anyone who thinks this budget is creditable , the borrowing of this Key govt has saddled any govt in the future to a debt burden and that any year by year lolly scramble budget will only be vote conning if national is in
    Facts are facts and we are in huge debt and that the selling of this country’s resources and sovereignty to the multinationals will be the only answer we have and gone will be the words “God’s own” Clean Green Pure or all the others that gave an identity to this country before the present bunch of rape and pillage economists and twat warmongers ,the real mongrel mob, this govt took over, a pack of hypocrites or critters for short
    Looking at Keys working history as a financier you would have to be a fool to think any of his political BS has any credibility
    The only thing he has done for NZ is show us how the financial power of the US France Britain China still rules the future of this country otherwise he would be impeached if this was a republican democracy
    for treason and financial mismanagement of this country
    Why is parliament sitting at present to once again squash dissent over this budget and any ability the opposition has to have it dealt to
    Key is a lying thief and Bill is his glove puppet

    • Colonial Rawshark 17.1

      NZ debt is denominated in NZ dollars. We can take back our financial future in our hands if we were willing to take back true currency sovereignty as a nation.

  18. finbar 18

    The rues of the budget and its $25 weekly increase for solo mums and dads,has a Social Manipulation,that all solo mums and Dads,have to seek work after their child turns three years of age,social engineering caveat.

  19. finbar 19

    Was watching the Backbench the other night.Our Labour man dandy,Mr Nash,would be pretender if truth known,was asked when the panel also was asked about the property they owned as the discussion was about the affordability of home ownership.Mr Nash,in his attempt of being smart said,i have a home,but the bank does own it,the host said, does the bank also own your investment apartment block, silence was his reply.What hope for our Labour care.

  20. SMILIN 20

    7 billion tax tax cut for the rich last term and 790 million now for the poor get jumped on Key your a toilet

  21. Clemgeopin 21

    The Budget. A kiss and a kick. My #cartoon today @PressNewsroom #nzpol #childpoverty #parenthood pic.twitter.com/vzt7EDo0US— Sharon Murdoch (@domesticanimal) May 22, 2015

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    2 days ago
  • Government investment in farmer-led catchment groups sweeps past 150 mark
    171 catchment groups have now been invested in by the Government 31 catchment groups in the Lower North Island are receiving new support More than 5,000 farmers are focussed on restoring freshwater within a generation through involvement in catchment groups  Government investment in on-the-ground efforts by farmers to improve land ...
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    3 days ago
  • Fight to protect kauri on track
    The Government is pitching in to help vital work to protect nationally significant kauri forests in Auckland, Minister of Conservation Kiri Allan says. “Ensuring the survival of these iconic trees for future generations means doing everything we can to prevent the potential spread of kauri dieback disease,” Kiri Allan said. ...
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    3 days ago
  • Joint statement of Mr Bernard Monk; Hon Andrew Little, Minister Responsible for Pike River Re-entry,...
    [Note: The Parties have agreed on terms to fully and finally settle the proceeding and will jointly issue the below statement.] At the heart of this litigation are the lives of the 29 men tragically lost at the Pike River mine on 19 November 2010 and to whom we pay ...
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    3 days ago
  • More financial support for businesses
    Today’s decision to keep Auckland in a higher COVID Alert Level triggers a third round of the Wage Subsidy Scheme which will open for applications at 9am this Friday. “The revenue test period for this payment will be the 14th to the 27th of September. A reminder that this is ...
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    4 days ago
  • Aotearoa New Zealand provides further humanitarian support for Afghanistan
    Aotearoa New Zealand is providing a further $3 million in humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan, Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced today.  “There is significant humanitarian need in Afghanistan, with the crisis disproportionately affecting women and girls,” said Nanaia Mahuta. The UN has estimated that 80% of the quarter of a million ...
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    4 days ago
  • Innovative te reo prediction tool announced in Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori
    A new Māori language prediction tool will play a key role in tracking our te reo Māori revitalisation efforts, Minister for Māori Development Willie Jackson announced today. He Ara Poutama mō te reo Māori (He Ara Poutama) can forecast the number of conversational and fluent speakers of te reo Māori ...
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    4 days ago
  • Further Government support for people to access food and essential items
    The Government is responding to need for support in Auckland and has committed a further $10 million to help people access ongoing food and other essential items, Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni announced today. This latest tranche is targeted at the Auckland region, helping providers and organisations to distribute ...
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    4 days ago
  • Half a million Pfizer vaccines from Denmark
    The Government has secured an extra half a million doses of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines from Denmark that will start arriving in New Zealand within days, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today. “This is the second and larger agreement the Government has entered into to purchase additional vaccines to meet the ...
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    5 days ago
  • Inland Revenue providing essential COVID support for businesses
    Inland Revenue is seeing increased demand for Resurgence Support Payments and other assistance schemes that it administers, but is processing applications quickly, Revenue Minister David Parker said today. David Parker said the Resurgence Support Payment, the Small Business Cashflow (loan) Scheme and the Wage Subsidy are available at the same ...
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    6 days ago
  • New Zealand marks 20th anniversary of 9/11 attacks
    New Zealand is expressing unity with all victims, families and loved ones affected by the September 11 2001 terrorist attacks, and all terrorist attacks around the world since, including in New Zealand. “Saturday marks twenty years since the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States, which killed nearly 3,000 people ...
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    7 days ago
  • Speech to SPREP Environment Ministers
    Talofa Honourable Ulu of Tokelau Faipule Kelihiano Kalolo Tēnā koutou katoa and warm Pacific greetings from Aotearoa to your excellencies, ladies and gentlemen. The new science released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on 8 August paints an alarming picture of the projected impacts of climate change on the ...
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    1 week ago
  • Additional Resurgence Support Payments to support business
    Businesses affected by higher Alert Levels will be able to apply for further Resurgence Support Payments (RSP). “The Government’s RSP was initially intended as a one-off payment to help businesses with their fixed costs, such as rent. Ministers have agreed to provide additional payments to recognise the effects of an ...
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    1 week ago
  • More Dawn Raids scholarships announced
    Details of the ‘Manaaki New Zealand Short Term Training Scholarships’, a goodwill gesture that follows the Government’s apology for the Dawn Raids of the 1970s, were released today by Pacific Peoples Minister Aupito William Sio. “These scholarships that are targeted to the Pacific will support the kaupapa of the Dawn Raids’ ...
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    1 week ago
  • One-way quarantine-free travel for RSE workers starting in October
      One-way quarantine-free travel for Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) workers from Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu starts in October New requirement for RSE workers to have received their first vaccination pre-departure, undertake Day 0 and Day 5 tests, and complete a self-isolation period of seven days, pending a negative Day 5 ...
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    1 week ago
  • Govt boosts Pacific suicide prevention support
    Applications have opened for the Pacific Suicide Prevention Community Fund as the Government acts to boost support amid the COVID delta outbreak. “We know strong and connected families and communities are the most important protective factor against suicide and this $900,000 fund will help to support this work,” Health Minister ...
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    1 week ago
  • Govt parks the expiry of licenses, WoFs and regos
    As a result of the Delta outbreak, driver licences, Warrants of Fitness (WoFs), Certificates of Fitness (CoFs), vehicle licences (‘regos’) and licence endorsements that expired on or after 21 July 2021 will be valid until 30 November 2021, Transport Minister Michael Wood has announced today. “While this extension won’t officially ...
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    1 week ago
  • COVID-19 community fund to provide support for vulnerable women and girls
    Minister for Women Jan Tinetti today announced a $2 million community fund that will provide support for women and girls adversely affected by COVID-19. “We know that women, particularly those who are already vulnerable, are disproportionally affected by the kind of economic disruption caused by COVID-19,” Jan Tinetti said. ...
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    1 week ago
  • Next phase of support for Fiji’s COVID-19 response announced
    A further NZ$12 million of support for Fiji’s COVID-19 response has been announced by Foreign Minister Hon Nanaia Mahuta today. The package builds on previous tranches of assistance Aotearoa New Zealand has provided to Fiji, totalling over NZ$50 million. “Fiji remains in a very challenging position in their response to ...
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    1 week ago
  • Robotic asparagus harvester aimed at addressing industry challenges
    The Government is backing a $5 million project to develop a commercial-scale autonomous robotic asparagus harvester, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor announced today. The Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures fund (SFF Futures) is contributing $2.6 million to the project. Project partner Robotics Plus Limited (RPL) will build on a prototype asparagus ...
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    1 week ago
  • Additional Pfizer vaccines to arrive tomorrow
    More than a quarter of a million additional doses of the Pfizer vaccine are on their way from Spain to New Zealand, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today. The additional doses will arrive in Auckland on Friday morning to help meet the current surge in demand for vaccination. “It’s been ...
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    1 week ago
  • Young people to have their voices heard in Youth Parliament 2022
    The dates and details for Youth Parliament 2022 have been announced today by Minister for Youth Priyanca Radhakrishnan, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives. Youth Parliament is an opportunity for 141 young people from across Aotearoa New Zealand to experience the political process and learn how government works. ...
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    1 week ago
  • Boosting support for tertiary students affected by COVID-19
    Students facing a hard time as a result of COVID-19 restrictions will continue to be supported,” Education Minister Chris Hipkins confirmed today. The Government is putting a further $20 million into the Hardship Fund for Learners, which will help around 15,000 students to stay connected to their studies and learning. ...
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    1 week ago
  • COVID-19: Immediate relief available for Māori and iwi organisations
    The Government has reprioritised up to $5 million to provide immediate relief to vulnerable whānau Māori and communities during the current COVID-19 outbreak Minister for Māori Development Willie Jackson announced today. The COVID-19 2021 Whānau Recovery Fund will support community-driven, local responses to gaps in access and provision of critical ...
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    1 week ago
  • New beef genetics programme to deliver cows with smaller environmental hoof-print
    The Government is backing a genetics programme to lower the beef sector’s greenhouse gas emissions by delivering cows with a smaller environmental hoof-print, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor announced today. Informing New Zealand Beef is a seven-year partnership with Beef + Lamb New Zealand that is expected to result in more ...
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    1 week ago
  • Appointments to the New Zealand Qualifications Authority
    Education Minister Chris Hipkins today announced new appointments to the board of the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA). Former Associate Minister of Education, Hon Tracey Martin, has been appointed as the new Chair for NZQA, replacing the outgoing Acting and Deputy Chair Professor Neil Quigley after an 11-year tenure on ...
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    1 week ago
  • Govt supports residential house building by allowing manufacture of building supplies
    The Government has agreed to allow some building product manufacturing to take place in Auckland during Covid lockdown to support continued residential construction activity across New Zealand. “There are supply chain issues that arise from Alert Level 4 as building products that are manufactured domestically are mostly manufactured in Auckland. ...
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    1 week ago
  • Government invests in scientific research to boost economy, address climate change and enhance wellb...
    Research, Science and Innovation Minister Hon Dr Megan Woods has today announced the recipients of this year’s Endeavour Fund to help tackle the big issues that New Zealanders care about, like boosting economic performance, climate change, transport infrastructure and wellbeing. In total, 69 new scientific research projects were awarded over ...
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    1 week ago
  • Transport to drive economic recovery
    The Government is investing a record amount in transport services and infrastructure to get New Zealand moving, reduce emissions and support the economic recovery, Transport Minister Michael Wood announced today. The 2021-24 National Land Transport Programme (NLTP) was released today which outlines the planned investments Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency ...
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    1 week ago
  • Government congratulates NZ Paralympic team
    The Government has congratulated New Zealand’s Paralympic Team following an outstanding showing at the Tokyo Paralympic Games. “Our New Zealand Paralympian athletes have once again shown incredible talent, tenacity and determination at the Tokyo Paralympic Games winning 12 medals, with every athlete who represented New Zealand making us so proud,” ...
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    2 weeks ago