English’s faith-based economics

Written By: - Date published: 8:40 am, July 2nd, 2010 - 90 comments
Categories: bill english, capitalism, class war, Economy, public services - Tags:

I really wonder sometimes about Bill English. He seems to think he has a licence to just make things up. Take his claim yesterday that our low national savings rate is due to the ‘government paying for everything’. According to English, people don’t need to save because the government pays for early childhood education, superannuation, Working for Families, and interest-free student loans. Does he have any evidence that is the case? Of course not.

This is faith-based government – English has faith that whatever silly idea he comes up with must be correct.

Leaving aside arguments over whether taxation to pay for superannuation, etc, is a form of collective saving/insurance, just look at nations that have more comprehensive public services than we do – Germany, the Nordic countries etc – they are huge net savers. Look at countries with similar or worse public provision than us – the US, Australia – they are big borrowers. No, public provision of services does not crowd out private saving.

If anything, it should make it easier for most people because they are net recipients of public services (they get more in public services than they pay in tax). Those public services replace private spending that families would have to make to get those services instead (either that or they would miss out entirely). That suggests lower expenses for families, which gives them more chance to save or less reason to go into debt.

Imagine a young family with a child in pre-school. In English’s utopia, they would not be getting WFF, they would be repaying their student loans (or, more likely, couldn’t have afforded tertiary education at all), they would be paying for their child’s pre-school and would have to be saving anything they can for retirement. In return, they would have a small tax cut.

Is that family going to be able to save more now or in English’s fantasyland?

Why can’t English just be honest and say he wants public services cut so he and his rich mates can have tax cuts? His CEO buddies certainly have no trouble being up front about the name of their game.

At least, English has once again given us a glimpse at National’s true vision for this country – public services cut to the bone and privatisation – a land for the few.

On a side note, English also says Corrections is about to become the largest government department. What an indictment on our society. We refuse to invest in young people and jobs to alleviate poverty but we’ll spend up big to lock up those people when they go off the tracks. If only we had a government with the vision to invest in the future of our people, rather than one whose only solution is to put more people in prison.

90 comments on “English’s faith-based economics ”

  1. Gooner 1

    According to English, people don’t need to save because the government pays for early childhood education, superannuation, Working for Families, and interest-free student loans. Does he have any evidence that is the case? Of course not.

    Um, er, the evidence is that the government pays for all of this, meaning people don’t need to save to pay for it themselves.

    • Marty G 1.1

      where is the evidence that the government pays for “early childhood education, superannuation, Working for Families, and interest-free student loans”?

      http://treasury.govt.nz/budget/2010

    • kriswgtn 1.2

      errr people pay taxes on everything duh-therefore WE pay for these services

      2- Nzers wages are low-cost of living is high,rents are high ,mortgages are high

      All fine fine for the clown to make those remarks- hes all good aint in in his little house in Karori that we been funding for how long??????

      Arrogant cock

    • Ari 1.3

      For your basic argument, you need two pieces of evidence to prove it, in the form of:

      If A, then B.
      A.

      Which gets you to B. All you’ve given us is the “A”- that the government has spending projects. You’ve yet to establish a rigorous link between government spending and lack of saving- in fact, Kiwisaver would suggest the best you could hope for would be:

      For some cases of A, then B.
      A.
      Therefore to some degree, B.

  2. Draco T Bastard 2

    Oh, Blinglish’s economy could work but it would require high wages (wages that would actually cover the costs of the required services), everybody to be omniscient (so that they really actually do know what’s best for themselves) and zero profit (reduction of deadweight loss).

    So, yeah, his actual position is based on faith and not reality.

    • Bored 2.1

      Draco, stating the obvious, it gets so boring that we have to keep doing so. I became a high level economist a few minutes ago, it was all a result of not using the tea strainer and looking into the cup afterward.

      Maybe the coffee machines and teabags available at Treasury and other corporate stargazing departments need loose tea and no strainers. Maybe filtered expresso is a form of transubstantiation, a mystery to be interpreted and ministered by the corporate priesthood? Who knows? They dont?

  3. Tigger 3

    That Corrections news is shameful. Talk about ambitious for New Zealand…

  4. joe90 4

    His CEO buddies certainly have no trouble being up front about the name of their game.

    His CEO buddies certainly have no trouble being up front about the name of their game about lining their pockets with a taxpayer funded construction bonanza.

    ftfy

  5. Herodotus 5

    A least Bill got one thing right “By any international measure, our housing market it still way overpriced. Ours and Australia’s are even more expensive than China’s. Is it going to stay that way? I would like to hear the case as to why it would,” English said.
    But like most pollys he has no idea as to why, so if you do not know the cause how do you cure? I thought a husband to a Dr would at least know that much.
    The sad thing is that houses are selling well below replacement value in Auckland, yet they are overpriced. So how can we build a house more efficiently, not cheaper (remember what happens to cheap houses, they leak !!)
    Perhaps the way the world is going Faith based management may be the only thing we can do :mrgreen:

    • Draco T Bastard 5.1

      Well, according to the market ATM, the way to build houses more efficiently is to pay the builders less than it costs to go to work.

  6. Roger 6

    Bill English must be comparing us to China where there is a high level of precautionary saving due to the lack of a proper social safety net. This adds to what we also know about National; they dislike democracy and will attack it on any front they can, they want protesters (eg Russel Norman)silenced and will even apologise for people who exercise their right to protest. They dislike free speech and dissent and will either silence or attack people for engaging in either. Perhaps being more like China is what National’s aspiration for New Zealand is. This is only National’s first term and China has been slowly improving in these areas over the last few decades so maybe in National’s Second term they can model their leadership on Kim Jong Il.

  7. ianmac 7

    Like Bill English, I am sure that most ordinary folk go out to see if they can buy a very expensive house that they can’t afford, and choose to buy overpriced ones at that. S’obvious Bill.
    So it is the buyers fault! Huh?

    • Draco T Bastard 7.1

      Blinglish had an advantage though. He didn’t need to be able to afford the house as he got the taxpayers to pay for it.

  8. tsmithfield 8

    Marty, the problem with your argument is it is much too simplistic.

    IF the government was to tax less and allow people to fund a lot of things themselves (education etc) then people would have more money in their pockets, although they would also have more outgoings in terms of the costs taxpayers would then pick up themselves. Obviously, the poor would need education vouchers or the like still provided by the tax system, although they could direct this funding to where they perceived they were getting the best bang for their buck.

    SO the question then is, would those type of services be funded more economically if funded directly by taxpayers rather than incurring the churn that results going through the government system. If direct funding by taxpayers is cheaper, then, people on average should have more money in their pockets thus allowing them more to save. Whether they actually WOULD save it is another question entirely, and strikes more the the cultural attitude towards saving.

    • TightyRighty 8.1

      don’t tax their poor wee brains ts. the concept of user pays is difficult enough without throwing in the outlandish concept of personal responsibility as opposed to state control.

      • joe90 8.1.1

        User pays, great, so when do we see a toll on the western ring route given that the rationale for building more motorways is economic benefits. To who?.
        I live in the lower north island so no economic benefit to me but a national surcharge on my fuel will be used to fund Auckland motorways. Oh, that’s right, user pays only applies to the great unwashed and Auckland businesses get propped up by the surcharge I pay.

        • TightyRighty 8.1.1.1

          I live in the lower north island, yet one arm of my business is in auckland, therefore we have auckland customers. if they can be more efficient in their day thanks to improved roading, then hopefully i can make more money out them. wealth flows to wellington and gets spent here, maybe at your place of work, you benefit.

          you could also look at your argument this way joe. south auckland has a high proportion of unemployed. you pay your taxes (read surcharge), that pay their dole. the great unwashed and auckland liqour stores are propped up by the surcharge you pay.

          I know which surcharge i would rather pay.

          • marsman 8.1.1.1.1

            TightyRighty is no doubt talking about Shipley’s ‘personal responsibilty’ which doesn’t apply to corporations or poeple like her on their taxpayer funded travel and taxpayer funded new BMW per annum etc.

    • just saying 8.2

      Had a chuckle to myself picturing a whole lot of Mangere kids showing up at their local King’s College with their education vouchers……..

    • Draco T Bastard 8.3

      It’s not cheaper. The cheapest way to provide the services is through collective systems (ie, taxes, government) that pay enough to do the services well but don’t incur the deadweight loss of profit.

      I know you don’t want to believe this but it’s simple reality.

      • tsmithfield 8.3.1

        I wasn’t necessarily talking privatisation. I was talking about taxpayers having direct control over where their money is spent.

        In the case of education for instance, taxpayers would direct their money (or vouchers) towards schools they believed would give them the best bang for their buck. This would mean that successful schools (public or private) would grow, while the unsuccessful ones would die. Thus, in an evolutionary sort of way the educational system would gradually improve and become more efficient.

        This is the way it should be.

        • just saying 8.3.1.1

          And these “successful schools” would just accept the poor kids with their vouchers and their begging bowls for lunch?

          • tsmithfield 8.3.1.1.1

            “Successful” doesn’t necessarily mean richest or best academic performance. Some schools might be extremely good at lifting disadvantaged kids into the high achieving category.

            • just saying 8.3.1.1.1.1

              And if Mangere parents thought King’s would give them “the best bang for their buck”?

              • tsmithfield

                Since Kings College is a private school, the Mangere parents would be able to use their vouchers to offset the private fees. If they were able to come up with the balance, then they should be able to be enrolled so long as they meet any other entry criteria.

                • just saying

                  So not really any choice for Mangere families then, given that the school in walking distance with the best facilities, equipment, grounds, teacher-pupil ratios etc costs more than the vouchers will afford them.
                  So, they can choose another local school in walking distance. But hang on a minute – they can do that now.
                  So how exactly does this system give Mangere parents more and better options?

        • Draco T Bastard 8.3.1.2

          Ah, so you’re the type that believes everyone is omniscient.

  9. randal 9

    the low savings rate in new zealand is a direct result of the media exercising unlimited pressure to persuade kwis tha they will no be happy unless they buy a hardly davidson or go to macchu picchu for the weekend.
    the savings paradox has been hidden from sight to match the unsatiable desire of of the bourgeois to distinguish themselves by their acquisitons
    we have become a nation of squanderers who cant do anything else except waste their disposable income on trade goods.
    thats a bout the size of it and until a revolution occurs in our thinking and habits then the government will always have the means to squeeze the the last dollar out of the spendthrifts pockets.

  10. burt 10

    English is right, the cradle to the grave promises that were made to the last few generations of New Zealanders has a lot to answer for. My parents generation in particular were told repeatedly by successive govt’s that if they just paid their high taxes and enjoyed the few pennies of private income for day to day living that the govt would ensure they retired in dignity.

    Naturally it was never going to work and the pollies knew that, but it made people vote for them and that was all they cared about.

    • Carol 10.1

      Well, I don’t know how old your parents are, burt, but I grew up in the heyday of the craddle-to-grave welfare state. We were brought up to live frugally, and were strongly schooled in the belief that the way to prosperity is through personal savings, and careful spending.

      It was the neo-liberal revolution of the 80s that promoted the belief that the way to prosperity is through consumption, and instant gratification.

    • burt 10.2

      Carol

      The Labour voting dim-bulbs of the 50’s and 60’s who were told that Nanny would look after them as they paid their 66% tax are the people who are passing away today with reverse mortages on their houses and no other savings. I pay the power bill and car running costs for one every month, bless her gullible soul.

      • Carol 10.2.1

        Well, that just doesn’t match up with my experience.

        But ofcourse, the 80s shift must have made some things worse for people on low wages, who couldn’t have afforded to save anything much, after either paying their taxes for welfare or user-pays essential services.

        • burt 10.2.1.1

          Yes that was the time the govt quietly slipped out from the social contract and started making the same people who had been promised they would be taken care of pay for themselves. That was the time that we slowly started digesting the message that the number of older people was going to be too high to support in the intergenerational theft model that had been so popular for so long.

          Anyone younger than about 50 today who didn’t read the signals that they needed to start looking after themselves and saving for their own retirement got caught between the BS promise of cradle to the grave and the reality that socialism was going to fail them.

          • Draco T Bastard 10.2.1.1.1

            You mean like the inter-generational theft model that NACT are presently implementing?

      • Pete 10.2.2

        Yeah, because burt sez something, that makes it so:

        Age and investment income (including as a proportion of total income) circa 2003 (latest available info): http://www.stats.govt.nz/browse_for_stats/work_income_and_spending/income/investment-income-nz-income-survey.aspx

        Of course they’re all like your dependents burt.

      • lprent 10.2.3

        Ummm wasn’t the National party in power for all of the 1960’s and most of the 50’s. I think that you’re retrospectively rewriting history?

        But from memory, actual real history isn’t one of your strong suits. Perhaps you’re directing your bile at the wrong party?

        (Nice when someone leaves such a wide open and inaccurate comment)…

        • burt 10.2.3.1

          So are you saying cradle to the grave was National party policy ?

          • lprent 10.2.3.1.1

            In the period you identified, National was the government for all except for 3 years (from memory), and implemented the social welfare policy of that time – which was the one you were complaining about.

            Do you deny that?

          • burt 10.2.3.1.2

            No, I got the period wrong. Make that 60’s & 70’s. Good call lprent.

            I think I’m still saying the same thing I was saying here;

            Govt rich – people poor

            We can’t pay high taxes to fund state provided “everything” for special target groups and expect individuals to accumulate personal wealth as well. Only so much money to go around and when the state hords and spends it – we can’t all do the same.

            • Rosy 10.2.3.1.2.1

              Govt rich = people poor is a bit of a sweeping statement isn’t it? Are you sure there is a correlation between personal wealth and government spending? I suspect there are some pretty wealthy people in high tax northern European countries that think they are doing ok.

            • lprent 10.2.3.1.2.2

              Pretty much the same in the 60’s/70’s though.

              During that period Labour was in for exactly 3 years. 1972-1975.

              The most expensive social policy during the whole of that period was the national superannuation swindle because of the way that it institutionalized intergenerational theft. Needless to say it was put in by National as being part of their usual short-term mindset.

              As I said, you are targeting the wrong party. Short-term thinking that costs too much in the long term is a characteristic of the National party….

      • Kerry Thomas 10.2.4

        Actually it was national who charged the 60% taxes to pay election bribes to superannuates and farmers. Look up your history. labour had introduced a savings fund for super that national removed to get elected.

        • burt 10.2.4.1

          I have no argument with that, National did carry on the cradle to the grave model because it was popular. The fact the concept was popular and was a failure is to be blamed more on the party that introduced the fantasy of socialism working but both parties in the two horse popularity contest of NZ politics have caused the issues English now points out.

          • Draco T Bastard 10.2.4.1.1

            National did carry on the cradle to the grave model because it was popular.

            No burt, they carried it on because, in the circumstances of the times, it worked and everything else that they had done didn’t. Everything else that they had done was reimplemented in NZ by the 4th Labour government and, as we’re finding out again, it still doesn’t work.

            Go read some economic history. Prior to he implementation of Keynesian theory, the economy was pretty much crashing every few years. The Great Depression was what finally got people to admit that the Classical Economics was wrong. Neo-Liberalism is a slight redefinition of Classical Economics.

        • burt 10.2.4.2

          Kerry

          We see much the same thing today, we still have the worlds only no fault state monopoly one size fits all accident compensation scheme, we still have WFF and we still have interest free student loans. Hell paying for all that it’s no wonder few people save much for their own retirement.

          • Pete 10.2.4.2.1

            So:

            – having a litigious accident insurance scheme which may exacerbate injury and illness, increase the work of medical and health professionals (at the expense of others in the public health system) and leaving people to move more slowly back into work will mean higher rates of saving

            – not incentivising people on low wages to enter or return to the workforce by providing tax breaks, accommodation supplements and assistance with childcare costs will mean higher rates of saving

            – making students pay for interest on top of ever-rising fees (already rising above inflation) will mean higher rates of saving.

            Yep, makes sense.

          • burt 10.2.4.2.2

            Another lover of state monopolies and one size fits all…. Is your house exactly like the one next door… the cost of building different houses is silly, we should all have exactly the same house….

            • Pete 10.2.4.2.2.1

              Am I?

              Are you suggesting that WFF and student loans are compulsory (i.e no choice is afforded to NZers), and that ACC exists in a vacuum?

              And, in your opinion, is the state not responsible for the well-being of its population (to the point where the negative symptoms of people’s deprivation impede on the rest of society)? – I’m talking about education, health and crime issues in particular, but also about allowing families to live above subsistence (or worse) c/o WFF.

              Also, do you believe that kids who are born to deprived families should be punished by not having a family able to afford food or healthcare (through no fault of their own)? Would removing WFF fix that in some way? Or is it a ‘who cares’ situation because those fools decided to have kids they couldn’t afford (not that you would be a culprit of that sort of thinking would you burt? – because, clearly, you’re not one to dismiss individual circumstances)?

              And no, my house is not the same as the one next door, thanks for asking. If you could constructively sway me on the points I made above that’d be OK BTW…

          • Kerry 10.2.4.2.3

            Yes we have the worlds most effective bang for buck accident and injury system or we did until the right wing messed with it. Do you prefer the states with the worlds most expensive and ineffective medical care where only a few get coverage.

    • millsy 10.3

      So you would have retirees living on the street?

      • burt 10.3.1

        Of course not, they paid their high taxes all that time so they kept their end of the social contract. The govt didn’t but that’s what we are talking about here.

  11. Adrian 11

    Of course public is cheaper, you have to look no further than schools. The private ones cost a lot more money for a lesser standard of results and a noticibly higher failure rate in the first year at Uni. All you are paying for is elitist bullshit. Health is exactly the same, in fact a hell of a lot worse because all of their cockups end up in the public system.

    • ianmac 11.1

      “The private ones cost a lot more money for a lesser standard of results and a noticibly higher failure rate in the first year at Uni”
      I agree. Given the huge advantages you would expect 1st year Uni theywould excel- but they don’t.
      And given the huge advantages and avoidance of public assessment, there is evidence that the value added is far less that in a State School.
      You would think that the private schools that Key/English send their kids to would leap at the chance to adopt NATIONAL STANDARDS for which they are exempt.

  12. kriswgtn 12

    but in meantime MPs going to get a 10% raise to compensate losing their travel perks

    What a disgrace

  13. BLiP 13

    Its not so much a faith-based economic as much as it is a “blame”-based economic model. Its about sending the word out that the government is cutting all the services for our own good, “incentivising” those of us who have been leeching off the system. Shame on us.

  14. burt 14

    Over the last decade when the govt was running record surpluses how did personal debt change?

    Did we (the people) get poorer or richer during that time? Our OECD ranking changes and the presence of govt surpluses during that time suggest English has hit the nail on the head. Socialism fails… nothing new in that, it’s happened everytime it has been tried.

    • Draco T Bastard 14.1

      Um, burt, it’s actually capitalism that has failed every time that it’s been tried (failed in ancient Greece, Rome, Egypt, the British Empire and now the American Empire). It then goes back to socialism to repair itself at everyone else’s expense.

      • tsmithfield 14.1.1

        It wasn’t capitalism that failed this time around. It was gross over-gearing of the financial system that caused the failure.

        • Lazy Susan 14.1.1.1

          Too true ts – gross over-gearing of the financial system by capitalists.

          • tsmithfield 14.1.1.1.1

            Not only. I think you will find there has been a lot of over-gearing and financial mismanagement by governments with a socialist bent who have been running massive deficits for decades trying to meet every need that people bleat for. So far as financial mismanagement by socialists, just look at the sub-prime fiasco as a good example of this. People who couldn’t afford house loans being given them anyway.

            • Lazy Susan 14.1.1.1.1.1

              Not sure what governments you might be referring to but I know you will find there’s been alot of over-gearing and mismanagement by governments with a neo-liberal capitalist bent. As for the big deficits – that’s what you get when you have to bail out the irresponsibilty of the private banking sector. Its what’s called privatising the profits and socialising the losses.

            • Uroskin 14.1.1.1.1.2

              I thought you used to blame Michael Cullen for running surpluses, not deficits. Looks like righty pundits suffer from amnesia when it comes to blaming “socialist” governments for capitalist market fuck ups. Try Goldman Sachs instead.

        • Draco T Bastard 14.1.1.2

          The financial system is capitalism. It failed. Same as it did in 1987, 1929, 1890s and every time before.

          • kriswgtn 14.1.1.2.1

            it doesnt fail for who it is set up to represent though and that is tory right wing sockpuppets whose end game is:: as long as I am ok its all good

            anti spam word: Ours

            ironic isnt it

            • Puddleglum 14.1.1.2.1.1

              Exactly. Capitalism (of the ‘pure’ or crony kind) works wonderfully at what it was designed for: The accumulation of wealth and, more importantly, its concentration in relatively few hands.

              The fact that it fragments social structure (community, family, even the individual) is neither here nor there and should be unsurprising. You can’t make a GDP omelette that is served on silver to the already wealthy without breaking social eggs. (There’s no such thing as a free omelette.)

      • burt 14.1.2

        OK, putting aside what failed, did average household debt levels increase or decrease during the period of fiscal drag that produced massive surpluses ?

      • tsmithfield 14.1.3

        Yeh. And socialism was such a screaming success in China that they’ve decided to move towards a more capitalistic model.

        • kaplan 14.1.3.1

          Fuck that’s one of the dumbest replies you’ve ever made.
          Had to be said.

        • uke 14.1.3.2

          I believe China had totalitarian communism not “socialism”.

          Socialism was what NZ enjoyed from 1935-1984. (Or even prior to that according to George Bernard Shaw.)

          • Kerry Thomas 14.1.3.2.1

            Socialism is what they enjoy in Denmark, Belgium, Switzerland, Sweden etc. All of which have higher taxes, more welfare, lower overseas debt and a more healthy economy than the less socialist Anglo Saxon countries which are heading towards failed states with huge debts and a large proportion of their population impoverished.

        • Draco T Bastard 14.1.3.3

          Ah, no. China wasn’t and isn’t socialist/communist – it is, and has been since it’s revolution, state capitalist. This fact is easily identified by it’s dictatorial nature.

          • uke 14.1.3.3.1

            Thanks Draco – I’ll ponder that one.

          • tsmithfield 14.1.3.3.2

            Socialism/Communism. It all blurs into one for us righties. 🙂

            [lprent: Just as the rather arbitrary distinction between wingnut, brownshirt, troll, and idiot blurs for me when I’m moderating… ]

        • Daveosaurus 14.1.3.4

          Communism (not socialism) was such a screaming success in China that the local Tories are absolutely terrified of the thought of offending their Chinese Communist Party lords and masters.

  15. peter 15

    I’d love to be able to save money ! However, after paying the mtge, rates, insurance, pwr, phone and food…There isn’t exactly a large amount left every payday !

    • burt 15.1

      Then we should put taxes up and offer you a bigger welfare benefit if you vote for the red team…. that will work… for getting the red team elected… but will “F” you up more in the long term.

      • Pete 15.1.1

        OR we could gear those working within the NZ economy to raise wages/salarys rather than seeing them progressively reduced in real terms.

        It’s what happened over in Australia (the country lauded so much as an exemplar we should follow during the campaign of ’08).

      • Bright Red 15.1.2

        burt. the change being suggested here is from national – that peter and everyone else should have to pay for their kids’ education etc directly. That would take more money out of our pockets, wewould be worse off, and our savings would be lower.

        Btw, you know what’s really going to screw over savers in this coming year? Bill English’s GST hike. It’s going to lead to sub-inflation interest rates, which will disincentivise savings an encourage borrowing.

        • burt 15.1.2.1

          Bright Red

          That would take more money out of our pockets, wewould be worse off, and our savings would be lower.

          I’m not sure about that, it is a national party policy so if people choose to opt out of the public system they will be able to have that adjusted in their taxes. Unlike Labour who would just call them rich pricks and demand that having paid for private they still fully fund the public system they do not use.

          • Kerry Thomas 15.1.2.1.1

            I am sure the people who do not want to support the public system will be happy to forgo a pension to be paid from the taxable income of the kids educated in the public system.

          • burt 15.1.2.1.2

            Kerry

            OMG – are you suggesting there could be a chance to move away from the one size fits all delivered by state monopoly model of socialism ?

            • Kerry 15.1.2.1.2.1

              I would rather have our system controlled by a democratic state than big business. Though it would be nice to actually have democracy.

              In 1941, the editor Edward Dowling wrote: “The two greatest obstacles to democracy in the United States are, first, the widespread delusion among the poor that we have a democracy, and second, the chronic terror among the rich, lest we get it.”

  16. Olwyn 16

    I wonder if the thought that he could rent a house off himself, with a government paid housing allowance, caused Bill to abandon saving. He, unlike the majority, is actually in the position to save. If he gave it up because the government pickings were too good to bother, then he has one example on his side.

    • Bored 16.1

      Or perhaps Bill has given up saving as he knows that the ‘money” is just digits in a database, removed from reality and tangibility….and he has no faith in the longevity of the institutions or the currency lasting….or the power staying on for the mainframe.

  17. The basic truth is New Zealand is a low wage economy with a high cost of living. This is why there is no money left over for savings.

    It makes you realise just how divorced from the realities of life Politicians are with their big fat salaries, their expense accounts and all the perks that go with the job as well.

    That is not adding in the superannuation we pay them from our public purse.

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  • Speech to the Wellington Chamber of Commerce
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    12 hours ago
  • NZ welcomes Australia and Brazil to agreements
    New Zealand has welcomed Australia to the Inclusive Trade Action Group (ITAG) and Australia and Brazil to the Global Trade and Gender Arrangement (GTAGA) Minister for Trade Todd McClay says.  As the current chair of ITAG and GTAGA, Minister McClay hosted the signing ceremony and issued the Abu Dhabi Joint ...
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    23 hours ago
  • Inquiry announced into school property
    The Government will conduct a Ministerial Inquiry to address problems with the school property system where the scope of property works planned was unrealistic and unaffordable. “The coalition Government has inherited a school property system bordering on crisis,” Education Minister Erica Stanford says. “There have been a number of cost escalations ...
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    1 day ago
  • New Chair for Guardians of NZ Superannuation
    Company director and investor John Williamson has been appointed as the new Chair of the Guardians of New Zealand Superannuation, the Crown entity that oversees the NZ Super Fund and the Elevate NZ Venture Capital Fund, Finance Minister Nicola Willis announced today.  Mr Williamson will take up his new position ...
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    1 day ago
  • Northland open for business as critical works to repair SH1 Brynderwyn Hills begin
    The Government is encouraging New Zealanders to support, visit, and explore Northland, as the closure and detour of SH1 at the Bryderwyn Hills begins, and critical repair work by the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) gets underway, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says. “Many regions across the country suffered extensive and devastating ...
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    1 day ago
  • Government backs police to crackdown on gangs
    The coalition Government is restoring law and order by providing police new tools to crack down on criminal gangs, says Justice Minister Paul Goldsmith and Police Minister Mark Mitchell.  “Over the last five years gangs have recruited more than 3000 members, a 51 per cent increase. At the same time, ...
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    2 days ago
  • Northland’s new Kāeo Bridge officially open
    Transport Minister Simeon Brown has welcomed the official opening of the new State Highway 10 (SH10) Kāeo Bridge, which will improve safety and traffic flow for people heading to and from the Far North. “This is an important piece of infrastructure for the Northland region that will help members of ...
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    3 days ago
  • Government grants $6.6 million to clean up old landfill sites
    The Government has granted $6.6 million to clean up four historic New Zealand landfill and dump sites vulnerable to extreme weather events and coastal erosion. At the BlueGreens Forum in Paihia today Environment Minister Penny Simmonds said that the Contaminated Sites Remediation Fund grants will go towards fixing former landfills ...
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    3 days ago
  • Dry weather triggers extra support for farmers and growers across the top of the South Island
    The coalition Government is providing support for farmers and growers as dry conditions worsen across the top of the South Island. “Conditions on the ground across the Marlborough, Tasman, and Nelson districts are now extremely dry and likely to get worse in the coming months,” Agriculture Minister Todd McClay said. ...
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    4 days ago
  • Trade Minister heads to Abu Dhabi for key WTO negotiations
    Trade Minister Todd McClay travels to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates for the 13th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) today, to take up his role as Vice Chair of the negotiations. The Ministerial Conference is the highest decision-making body within the WTO and meets every ...
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    4 days ago
  • Appointment round for King’s Counsel announced
    Attorney-General Judith Collins today announced an appointment round for King’s Counsel will take place in 2024. Appointments of King’s Counsel are made by the Governor-General on the recommendation of the Attorney-General and with the concurrence of the Chief Justice. The Governor-General retains the discretion to appoint King’s Counsel in recognition ...
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    4 days ago
  • Retiring Chief of Navy thanked for his service
    Defence Minister Judith Collins has thanked the Chief of Navy, Rear Admiral David Proctor, for his service as he retires from the Royal New Zealand Navy after 37 years. Rear Admiral Proctor will retire on 16 May to take up an employment opportunity in Australia.  “I would like to thank ...
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    4 days ago
  • Indonesian Vice President to visit New Zealand
    Indonesia’s Vice President Ma’ruf Amin will visit New Zealand next week, the first here by an Indonesian leader since 2018, Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters has announced. “New Zealand and Indonesia have a strong partnership,” Mr Peters says.  “The Vice President’s visit is an opportunity to discuss how we can strengthen ...
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    4 days ago
  • Government boost to fight against caulerpa
    The battle to contain the fast-spreading exotic caulerpa seaweed has today received a $5 million boost to accelerate the development of removal techniques, says Biosecurity Minister Andrew Hoggard.  “The time is now to really lean in and build on the work of Biosecurity New Zealand, mana whenua, communities and local ...
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    5 days ago
  • Minister attending Australian data, digital meeting
    Minister for Digitising Government Judith Collins is in Sydney to attend the first Data and Digital Ministers’ Meeting of 2024.  “This is a great opportunity to connect with our Australian counterparts and identify how we can work together on digital transformation,” Ms Collins says.   “Both our nations are looking into ...
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    5 days ago
  • Appointments to Antarctica New Zealand Board
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has appointed Leon Grice and Heather Simpson to serve on the Antarctica New Zealand board.  “Since taking office, the Coalition Government has become concerned about the direction of the Scott Base Redevelopment Project,” Mr Peters says.  “It is vital that Antarctica New Zealand has the right ...
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    5 days ago
  • Strengthening the Single Economic Market
    Finance Minister Nicola Willis has met with Australian Treasurer Jim Chalmers to discuss the opportunities to lower business costs and increase the ease with which businesses and people can operate across the Tasman.     “I have met with Treasurer Chalmers and shared our new Government’s ambitious economic goals, our plans ...
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    5 days ago
  • Government to address business payment practices
    The Government will repeal the Business Payment Practices Act 2023, Small Business and Manufacturing Minister Andrew Bayly announced today. “There is a major problem with large market players imposing long payment terms and routinely paying invoices late. “However, the Business Payment Practices Act is not an effective solution and would ...
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    5 days ago
  • Greater focus on work will reduce child poverty
    Worsening child poverty rates support the Coalition Government’s focus on reducing the cost of living and getting people into work, Child Poverty Reduction Minister Louise Upston says. Figures released by Stats NZ today show child poverty rates have increased, with the rising cost of living, driven by inflation, making it ...
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    5 days ago
  • NZ announces new support for Ukraine
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters and Defence Minister Judith Collins have marked two years since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine by announcing further support and sanctions, and extending our military assistance. “Russia launched its illegal, full-scale invasion of Ukraine, in blatant violation of international law, including the UN Charter,” Mr Peters says. ...
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    5 days ago
  • Finance Minister to meet Australian Treasurer
    Finance Minister Nicola Willis will travel to Australia today to meet her Australian counterpart, Treasurer Jim Chalmers.    “New Zealand and Australia have an incredibly strong trade and investment relationship. The Closer Economic Relations and Single Economic Market are powerful engines for growth on both sides of the Tasman.     “I will ...
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    6 days ago
  • PM shocked and saddened at death of Efeso Collins
    “I am truly shocked and saddened at the news of Efeso Collins’ sudden death,” Prime Minister Christopher Luxon says. “Efeso was a good man, always friendly and kind, and a true champion and advocate for his Samoan and South Auckland communities. “Our thoughts and deepest sympathies go to his family, ...
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    6 days ago
  • Greater support for social workers
    The Coalition Government is enhancing the professionalism of the social work sector and supporting the vulnerable people who rely on them, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston says.  The Social Workers Registration Legislation Amendment Bill passed its third reading in Parliament today. It amends the Social Workers Registration Legislation ...
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    1 week ago
  • Government delivers greater freedom and choice for sick New Zealanders
    The coalition government is delivering on its commitment to making principled decisions by getting rid of red tape that doesn’t make sense and allowing sick New Zealanders greater freedom and choice to purchase effective cold and flu medicines. A bill amending the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 is being introduced, and changes to the Medicines ...
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    1 week ago
  • Government begins reset of welfare system
    The Coalition Government is taking early action to curb the surge in welfare dependency that occurred under the previous government by setting out its expectations around employment and the use of benefit sanctions, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston says. In 2017, 60,588 sanctions were applied to beneficiaries who ...
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    1 week ago
  • State of the Nation
    Ka nui te mihi kia koutou. Kia ora, good morning, talofa, malo e lelei, bula vinaka, da jia hao, namaste, sat sri akal, assalamu alaikum. Thank you for coming to my first State of the Nation as Prime Minister. Thank you for coming to a speech where I don’t just ...
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    1 week ago
  • West Coast tourism attractions officially open
    Regional Development Minister Shane Jones will attend the official opening of two highly anticipated tourism projects on the West Coast today – Pike29 Memorial Track, dedicated to the memory of the Pike River miners, and Pounamu Pathway. “The Pike29 Memorial Track is a way to remember and honour the men ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Independent ferry service advisory group in place
    Appointments to the Ministerial Advisory Group tasked with providing independent advice and assurance on the future of KiwiRail’s inter-island ferry service have been made, State Owned Enterprises Minister Paul Goldsmith says. “It’s important for New Zealand that KiwiRail is focused on ensuring safe, resilient, and reliable ferry services over the ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Joint statement from the Prime Ministers of Australia, Canada, and New Zealand
    The Prime Ministers of Australia, Canada and New Zealand today issued the following statement on reports of Israel’s planned military operation in Rafah. We are gravely concerned by indications that Israel is planning a ground offensive into Rafah.   A military operation into Rafah would be catastrophic. About 1.5 million Palestinians ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Govt will deliver on expanded breast screening
    The coalition Government has made the first steps in delivering on its promise to  extend free breast screening to women aged 70-74, Health Minister Shane Reti says. “As part of the 100 day plan, the Government has now met with officials and discussed what is needed in order for the ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Government announces woolshed roadshows in support of sheep farmers
    The Government celebrates National Lamb Day (15 February 24) and congratulates sheep farmers on the high-quality products they continue to produce. Agriculture Minister McClay hosted bipartisan celebrations of National Lamb Day with industry representatives at Parliament this week to mark the anniversary of the first frozen lamb exports that left ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Speech: Address to the NZ Economics Forum
    It’s great to be back at the New Zealand Economics Forum. I would like to acknowledge everyone here today for your expertise and contribution, especially the Pro Vice-Chancellor, Head of the Waikato Management School, economists, students and experts alike. A year has passed since I was last before you, and ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Government tackling high construction costs
    The Government is focused on reducing sky-high construction costs to make it more affordable to build a home, Building and Construction Minister Chris Penk says.  Stats NZ data shows the cost of building a house has increased by 41 per cent since 2019, making housing even more unaffordable for Kiwi ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s Three Waters legislation repealed
    The Coalition Government’s legislative plan to address longstanding issues with local water infrastructure and service delivery took an important step today, with the repeal of Labour’s divisive and unpopular Three Waters legislation, Local Government Minister Simeon Brown says. “Repealing this legislation is a necessary first step in implementing our Local ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Cost of living support for beneficiary households
    The Coalition Government is delivering on its commitment to ease the cost-of-living by increasing main benefit rates in line with inflation and ensuring the Minimum Family Tax Credit threshold remains aligned with this change, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston says. The Social Security (Benefits Adjustment) and Income Tax ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Government announces agriculture delegations to better support Primary sector
    The coalition Government has announced ministerial delegations to support key areas across the Primary sector to deliver for New Zealand’s food and fibre sector, Agriculture Minister Todd McClay announced today. “I will be supported in my roles as Minister of Agriculture, Trade, Forestry and Hunting and Fishing, by three Associate ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Waikato MoU reinforces Govt’s commitment to increase NZ doctors
    The Government has taken an important step forward in addressing a critical shortage of New Zealand-trained doctors, with today’s signing of a Memorandum of Understanding for a third medical school, Minister of Health Dr Shane Reti has announced.  “Today’s signing by the Ministry of Health and the University of Waikato ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Speech – Lunar New Year 2024
    Annyeonghaseyo, greetings and welcome all. It is my pleasure as the Minister for Ethnic Communities to welcome you to the first Lunar New Year Event in Parliament. Thank you to our emcees for greeting us in the different languages that represent the many cultures that celebrate the Lunar New Year. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago

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