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: /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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  • The Abigail Article; Martyn Bradbury’s Article, and My Response
    . . This blogpost is different to my usual format of reporting on issues… Since July 1011, I have blogged on a variety of political issues; near always political and/or environmental; mostly highly critical of the previous National Government. Other issues included Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and repression of ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    3 days ago
  • Police will have to wear silly Buckingham Palace hats from now on, says Police Minister
    Those close to the Police Minister believe the initiative may be the result of Nash “seeing a great deal” on AliExpress. In a move that comes seemingly out of nowhere, Police Minister Stuart Nash announced this afternoon that he expects all frontline staff to don bearskin hats, famously worn by ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    4 days ago
  • A sensible crackdown
    The government has released its Arms Legislation Bill, containing the second tranche of changes to gun laws following the March 15 massacre. And it all looks quite sensible: a national gun register, higher penalties for illegal possession and dealing, tighter restrictions on arms dealers and shooting clubs, and a shorter ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • California bans private prisons
    Private prisons are a stain on humanity. Prison operators explicitly profit from human misery, then lobby for longer prisons terms so they can keep on profiting. And in the US, prison companies run not only local and state prisons, but also Donald Trump's immigration concentration camps. Faced with this moral ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Why PPPs are a bad idea
    When National was in power, they were very keen on Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) - basicly, using private companies to finance public infrastructure as a way of hiding debt from the public. They were keen on using them for everything - roads, schools, hospitals. But as the UK shows, that "service" ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • A Movement That No Longer Moves.
    Moving And Shaking: There was a time when people spoke matter-of-factly about the “labour movement” – a political phenomenon understood to embrace much more than the Labour Party. Included within the term’s definition was the whole trade union movement – many of whose members looked upon the Labour Party as ...
    4 days ago
  • NZ ‘left’ politically embracing extreme postmodernism
    by Philip Ferguson Much of the left, even people who formally identify as marxists, have collapsed politically in the face of postmodern gender theory of the sort pioneered by American philosopher Judith Butler. For Butler even biological sex is socially constructed. “If the immutable character of sex is contested, perhaps ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    4 days ago
  • The obvious question
    The media is reporting that the (alleged) Labour party sexual assaulter has resigned from their job at Parliament, which means hopefully he won't be turning up there making people feel unsafe in future. Good. But as with everything about this scandal, it just raises other questions. Most significantly: why the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • The moment I found out that you found out, I acted swiftly
    By Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern I am every bit as angry as you are. I am every bit as disappointed as you must be. The people with power, oversight and the ability to do something about these processes within the Labour Party should be ashamed. Whoever those people are, I ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    5 days ago
  • This is why people hate property developers
    Property developers think there is an "oversupply" of houses in Auckland:High turnover rates and falling prices may be a sign that there are too many new houses going in to some parts of Auckland, commentators say. [...] Property developer David Whitburn said there was a "bit of an oversupply" in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Australia to Pacific: “Fuck you, you can all drown”
    World leaders are meeting in New York in two weeks for the 2019 Climate Action Summit, where they are expected to announce new and more ambitious targets to stop the world from burning. But the Australian Prime Minister won't be there, despite being in the USA at the time:Scott Morrison ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Implausible ignorance
    Labour Party president Nigel Haworth resigned yesterday over the party's sexual assault scandal. But while that's good news, its unlikely to take away the stench of a coverup. Because according to Paula Bennett in Parliament yesterday, pretty much everyone in the Prime Minister's office was involved as well:I have been ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Labour’s Fatal Flaw.
     Two-Faced? Labour insiders' commitment to the neoliberal status quo puts them at odds with their party’s membership; its trade union affiliates; and a majority of Labour voters, but this only serves to strengthen the perception they have of themselves as a special elite. Among the lesser breeds, they’ll talk up a ...
    5 days ago
  • Ten reasons the Tories do NOT want an election
    There has been a lot of talk about Boris Johnson wanting an election, and he has blustered with great gusto about 'chicken' Jeremy Corbyn refusing one, but I think there are many reasons why he is secretly glad he has been refused the opportunity:The Tories are an utter rabble,tearing themselves ...
    5 days ago
  • Prorogation Illegal, rule Scottish judges
    Scottish appeal court judges have declared that Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament in the run-up to the October Brexit deadline is unlawful. The three judges, chaired by Lord Carloway, Scotland’s most senior judge, overturned an earlier ruling that the courts did not have the powers to interfere in the prime ...
    5 days ago
  • Let me explain what I meant by Everyday New Zealanders
    By Simon Bridges. The following is a press release from the office of Simon Bridges, leader of The National Party. Key ora, New Zealand. Happy Maori Language Week. Look, I’m writing to you today because I want to clear something up. There’s been a lot of kerfuffle around some things ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    6 days ago
  • Yes, the SIS is subject to the Public Records Act
    I understand there's some stuff going round about how the SIS "was removed from the list of public offices covered by the Public Records Act in 2017". The context of course being their records derived from US torture, which will be disposed of or sealed. The good news is that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • An evidence-based discussion of the Canadian fluoride/IQ study
    Dr. Christopher Labos and Jonathan Jarry discuss the recent Canadian fluoride/IQ research. They provide an expert analysis of the paper and its problems. Click on image to go to podcast. The critical debate about the recent ...
    6 days ago
  • Climate Change: Australia in denial
    Australia is burning down again, and meanwhile its natural disaster minister is denying climate change:Australia’s minister responsible for drought and natural disasters, David Littleproud, has said that he doesn’t “know if climate change is manmade”. Clarifying earlier comments that the question is “irrelevant” when considering the Coalition government’s response to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Philippines activist speaking on the Duterte tyranny
    Auckland Philippines Solidarity is excited to host Professor Judy Taguiwalo for a speaking tour of NZ in September. She is a well-known activist in the Philippines and was a political prisoner under the Marcos dictatorship. Professor Taguiwalo briefly served as a Cabinet member under President Duterte but was forced from ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    6 days ago
  • Disgust
    I have no special insights to offer on the Labour sexual assault coverup. All I have is disgust. Disgust that an organisation could fail its people so badly. Disgust that they punished the victims rather than the perpetrator. Disgust that its party hacks are apparently blaming the victims for demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Speak Up for Women calls out Greens’ censorship
    This open letter to the Green Party was penned after an opinion piece by Jill Abigail, a feminist and founding member of the party, was censored by the Greens’ leadership. (Redline has reprinted her article here).The intolerance of the Green Party leaders and their acceptance of the misogyny of gender ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    6 days ago
  • Member’s Day: End of Life Choice, part 3
    Today is a Member's day, and David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill continues its slow crawl through its committee stage. They're spending the whole day on it today, though the first hour is likely to be spent on voting left over from last time. After that they'll move on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Flight to Los Angeles turned back after passengers decide they don’t want to go anymore
    An ambitious plan to fly to Los Angeles petered out into a brief sight-seeing trip and a desire to return home and get some sleep before work tomorrow. Air New Zealand has confirmed a flight to Los Angeles last night was turned back about a quarter of the way into ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    6 days ago
  • Indigenous Futures: defuturing and futuring – an analytical framework for policy development?
    There appears to be consensus – by omission – that the concept of indigenous futures should be accepted at face value. So I scavenged the internet to see if I could locate an academic descriptor or a framework around how we think about it as a concept, and whether it ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    7 days ago
  • Cadbury rumoured to be releasing the Pineapple Trump
    Here’s another novelty chocolate to shove in your gob, New Zealand Cadbury could be seeking to make itself great again with a rumoured new release: Pineapple Trumps, a spin on its classic chocolate-encased pineapple treat and do-it-yourself tooth remover. The global confectionery manufacturer and bumbling “before” character in an infomercial, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    7 days ago
  • The coming resource war.
    During my time in the Pentagon I had the privilege of sitting down with military leaders and defence and security officials from a variety of Latin American nations. Sometimes I was present as a subordinate assistant to a senior US defence department official, sometimes as part of a delegation that ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    7 days ago
  • Māori Language Week with The Civilian
    Kia ora, Aotearoa. It’s that magical time of year. Te Wiki o te Reo Māori. In English, the week that frightens talk radio. As you probably know by now, all your favourite media outlets are participating, some more successfully than others. Stuff has changed its name to Puna for the ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    7 days ago
  • Will Horizons act on climate change?
    Local body elections are coming up next month. And it looks like all Palmerston North candidates for Horizons (the Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Council) want to take action on climate change:Climate change is set to be a key issue in Palmerston North for the next three years if those wanting to get ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • BORA reform is stalled
    Eighteen months ago, the government promised to strengthen the Bill of Rights Act, by explicitly affirming the power of the courts to issue declarations of inconsistency and requiring Parliament to formally respond to them. So how's that going? I was curious, so I asked for all advice about the proposal. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Corbyn and Brexit
    As the Brexit saga staggers on, the focus is naturally enough on the Prime Minister and his attempts to achieve Brexit “do or die”. But the role played by the Leader of the Opposition is of almost equal interest and complexity. The first problem for Jeremy Corbyn is that he ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    7 days ago
  • A ditch for him to die in
    Last week, English Prime Minister Boris Johnson boldly declared that he would rather die be dead in a ditch than delay Brexit. Unfortunately for him, the UK parliament accepted the challenge, and promptly dug one for him. The "rebellion bill" requires him to ask for and secure yet another temporary ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Warning! Warning! Danger Jacinda Ardern! Danger Marama Davidson! Warning!
    Lost In Political Space: The most important takeaway from this latest Labour sexual assault scandal, which (if I may paraphrase Nixon’s White House counsel’s, John Dean’s, infamous description of Watergate) is “growing like a cancer” on the premiership, is the Labour Party organisation’s extraordinary professional paralysis in the face of ...
    1 week ago
  • Union solidarity with Ihumatao land occupation
    by Daphna Whitmore Every Sunday for the past two months unionists from First Union, with supporters from other unions, have set out to the Ihumatao land protest, put up gazebos and gas barbeques, and cooked food for a few hundred locals and supporters who have come from across the country. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: The wrong kind of trees?
    Newsroom today has an excellent, in-depth article on pine trees as carbon sinks. The TL;DR is that pine is really good at soaking up carbon, but people prefer far-less efficient native forests instead. Which is understandable, but there's two problems: firstly, we've pissed about so long on this problem that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • No freedom of speech in Turkey
    Canan Kaftancioglu is a Turkish politician and member of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP). Like most modern politicians, she tweets, and uses the platform to criticise the Turkish government. She has criticised them over the death of a 14-year-old boy who was hit by a tear gas grenade during ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Tadhg Stopford: Why I’m standing for the ADHB
    Hi there, just call me Tim.We face tough problems, and I’d like to help, because there are solutions.An Auckand District Health Board member has nominated me for as a candidate for the ADHB, because her MS-related pain and fatigue is reduced with hemp products from Rotorua.  Nothing else helped her. If I ...
    1 week ago
  • Good little vassals
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security has published their report on whether the SIS and GCSB had any complicity in American torture. And its damning. The pull quote is this:The Inquiry found both agencies, but to a much greater degree, the NZSIS, received many intelligence reports obtained from detainees who, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Who Shall We Turn To When God, And Uncle Sam, Cease To Defend New Zealand?
    Bewhiskered Cassandra? Professor Hugh White’s chilling suggestion, advanced to select collections of academic, military and diplomatic Kiwi experts over the course of the past week, is that the assumptions upon which Australia and New Zealand have built their foreign affairs and defence policies for practically their entire histories – are ...
    1 week ago
  • The Politics of Opposition
    For most of the time I was a British MP, my party was out of government – these were the Thatcher years, when it was hard for anyone else to get a look-in. As a front-bencher and shadow minister, I became familiar with the strategies required in a parliamentary democracy ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • More expert comments on the Canadian fluoride-IQ paper
    The Green et al (2019) fluoride/IQ is certainly controversial – as would be expected from its subject (see If at first you don’t succeed . . . statistical manipulation might help and Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear). Anti-fluoride campaigners have been actively promoting it ...
    1 week ago
  • The return to guerrilla war in Colombia
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh On August 29th a video in which veteran FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) commander Iván Márquez announced that they had taken up arms again was released. There was no delay in the reaction to it, from longtime Liberal Party figure and former president Uribe, for ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Air New Zealand identifies this enormous plot of unused land as possible second airport site
    Air New Zealand couldn’t believe its luck that this seemingly ideal piece of real estate had so far gone entirely unnoticed. Air New Zealand’s search for a site to build a second Auckland Airport may have made a breakthrough this afternoon, after employees scanning Google satellite imagery spotted a huge, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Redline on the Labour Party
    No-one on the anti-capitalist left in this country today puts forward a case that Labour is on the side of the working class.  There are certainly people who call themselves ‘socialist’ who do, but they are essentially liberals with vested interests in Labourism – often for career reasons. Nevertheless, there ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • New Fisk
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s failure
    When National was in government and fucking over the poor for the benefit of the rich, foodbanks were a growth industry. And now Labour is in charge, nothing has changed: A huge demand for emergency food parcels means the Auckland City Mission is struggling to prepare for the impending arrival ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Ardern attempts to vaccinate Clarke Gayford live on television to prove that it’s safe
    Gayford, pictured here on The Project, before things got wildly out of control. A bold public relations move by the Government to encourage parents to vaccinate their children has gone horribly wrong. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern appeared on tonight’s episode of Three’s The Project, where the plan was for her ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Has Mr. Whippy gone too far by parking on our front lawns?
    Mr. Whippy’s business model has driven it down a dark road of intimidation. Residents in major centres around the country are becoming disgruntled by the increasingly aggressive actions of purported ice cream company Mr. Whippy, who have taken to parking on people’s front lawns and doorsteps in a desperate attempt ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Cleaning up the water
    Today the government released its Action Plan for Healthy Waterways, aimed at cleaning up our lakes and rivers. Its actually quite good. There will be protection for wetlands, better standards for swimming spots, a requirement for continuous improvement, and better standards for wastewater and stormwater. But most importantly, there's a ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Fronting up
    Today I appeared before the Environment Committee to give an oral submission on the Zero Carbon Bill. Over 1,500 people have asked to appear in person, so they've divided into subcommittees and are off touring the country, giving people a five minute slot each. The other submitters were a mixed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear
    Anti-fluoride activists have some wealthy backers – they are erecting billboards misrepresenting the Canadian study on many New Zealand cities – and local authorities are ordering their removal because of their scaremongering. Many New Zealanders ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Democracy – I Don’t Think So
    So, those who “know best” have again done their worst. While constantly claiming to be the guardians of democracy and the constitution, and respecters of the 2016 referendum result, diehard Remainers (who have never brought themselves to believe that their advice could have been rejected) have striven might and main ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • Government says it will now build just one really nice home
    Following publication of this article, the Ministry has requested it to be noted that this supplied image is not necessarily representative of what the final house will look like, and it “probably won’t be that nice.” As part of today’s long-anticipated reset of the Government’s flagship KiwiBuild policy, Housing Minister ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Imperialism and your cup of coffee
    Over the next week or two we will be running three synopses of parts of the opening chapter of John Smith’s Imperialism in the 21st Century (New York, Monthly Review Press, 2016).  The synopsis and commentary below is written by Phil Duncan. Marx began Capital not with a sweeping historical ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Still juking the stats
    The State Services Commission and Ombudsman have released another batch of OIA statistics, covering the last six months. Request volumes are up, and the core public service is generally handling them within the legal timeframe, though this may be because they've learned to extend rather than just ignore things. And ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Hard News: Time for a New Deal: 25 years on
    In 1994, I was editing an ambitious street mag called Planet, from a fabled office at at 309 Karangahape Road. The thirteenth issue of the magazine was published in the winter of that year and its cover embodied a particularly ambitious goal: the end of cannabis prohibition.I wanted to do ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Not impressed
    KiwiBuild was one of the Ardern government's core policies. The government would end the housing crisis and make housing affordable again by building 100,000 new homes. Of course, it didn't work out like that: targets weren't met, the houses they did build were in the wrong place, and the whole ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Solar beats coal
    As the climate crisis escalates, it is now obvious that we need to radically decarbonise our economy. The good news is that its looking easy and profitable for the energy sector. Wind is already cheaper than fossil fuels, and now solar is too:The levellised cost of solar PV has fallen ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • A Step Too Far.
    A Crown Asset? For reasons relating to its own political convenience, the Crown pretends to believe that “No one owns the water.” To say otherwise would re-vivify the promises contained in the Treaty of Waitangi – most particularly those pertaining to the power of the chiefs and their proprietary rights ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Where Money Comes From
    Most people would say, no doubt, that they have a pretty good idea of what money is. They live with the reality of money every day. It is what is needed to buy the necessities of life and to maintain a decent standard of living. You get money, they would ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • Banned by the Green Party leadership: Jill Abigail on women’s rights and trans rights
    The article below was an opinion piece that appeared in the Spring 2019 issue of Te Awa (the NZ Green Party’s newsletter) and on the Greens website.  In keeping with their policy of hostility to women defending women’s right to female-only spaces, Green bureaucrats have since removed the opinion piece.  ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • The fallacy of the proximity argument.
    Longer term readers may remember my complaining that, as a political scientist, it is burdensome to have non-political scientists wanting to engage me about politics. No layperson would think to approach an astrophysicist and lecture him/her on the finer details of quarks and black holes, but everybody with an opinion ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    2 weeks ago
  • Where We Stood: Chris Trotter Replies To Stevan Eldred-Grigg.
    Joining The Fight: Stevan Eldred-Grigg's argument for New Zealand staying out of the Second World War fails not only on the hard-headed grounds of preserving the country’s strategic and economic interests; and not just on the soft-hearted grounds of duty and loyalty to the nation that had given New Zealand ...
    2 weeks ago

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