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Farmers unhappy about lower power prices?

Written By: - Date published: 8:32 pm, April 28th, 2013 - 39 comments
Categories: climate change, im/migration, Mining, poverty, referendum, uncategorized - Tags:

Former banker Bruce Wills and current head of Federated Farmers has joined the chorus attacking NZPower. He invokes how horrible  life was before 1984, as thought this had something to do with NZPower. You can read the full list of his horrors here. Among them was this gem:

Prior to the 1980’s economic reforms, the entire New Zealand tax system was a dog’s breakfast. The largest tax burden fell upon wage and salary earners who, in 1983/84, carried 64 percent of the burden. Today, it is less than 40 percent.

As one commenter noted, there was no GST in 1983/84. Duh!

Willis goes on:

Personal income taxes were eye-wateringly high with 66 percent as the top rate and that started at $38,000 ($106,817 in today’s dollars). Tax avoidance and evasion were rife due to copious tax shelters, dodges and “cash jobs”.

And he thinks that’s not happening today? Farmers don’t use tax shelters, dodges and “cash jobs?” Puhleeease…

It would be interesting to know if real farmers would rather have lower power prices, or banker Bruce as their spokesman. I’m not so sure that this latest addition to the NZPower naysayers chorus has much in the way of real arguments. His reaction seems more based on specious history and knee-jerk ideology.



39 comments on “Farmers unhappy about lower power prices?”

  1. Jimmie 1

    I’m a farmer and let me think:

    If the Lab/Greens get in well lets see what the net benefit of their combined policies would be in relation to power bills:

    – NZ Power = -$300 p/a (maybe)

    ETS increase = + how much??
    Petrol tax increase = + how much??
    Income tax increase = + how much??
    Interest rate increase = + how much??
    RMA red tape cost increase = + how much??
    Capital Value lost through CGT = + how much??
    Land Use restrictions = + how much??

    Hmmmm I wonder which option I would rather go with the status quo or the watermelon nightmare?

    • karol 1.1

      Oh, so increases for the better off people, but ignoring that a lot of your list will have little impact on those who are, right now, struggling to pay their power bills. The latter people will be better off with lower power prices.

      Such things as NZ power, and any other changes to taxes, will be a correction after the tax cuts for the wealthy in recent years, which have been at the expense of the less well off.

      • Jimmie 1.1.1

        Well then maybe the Lab/Greens should have been honest then.

        Instead of bleating on at a press conference about reducing everyone’s power bill by an average of $300 they should have said rich pricks are gona pay more and poor folks will pay less.

        (Though why you think that poor folks don’t buy petrol or that the ETS increase will somehow be aimed only at rich pricks beats me)

        NZ Power was a ill-thought out and dishonest attempt to interfere with the MRP float – it may have given a vague short term boost to the far left morale but how will it be read by the general public – many of whom are in the process of buying the MRP shares.

        NZ Power might end up being Shearer’s ‘show us the money’ moment and also the moment when the MSM decide that the Green’s economic policies require a fair bit more scrutiny.

        • geoff

          “rich pricks”
          At least you’re honest.

        • karol

          Well then maybe the Lab/Greens should have been honest then.

          Don’t confuse my comments with the policies of Labour-Green.

          NZ Power will mean less money for the powerco bosses, and lower power bills for consumers.

          the tax issues are a different matter, and I hope Lab-Greens, when next in power reverse NAct’s tax switches, that benefited the few at the expense of the many.

          Sheesh, you sure get angry when politicians say they’ll stop the greedy already-haves from profiteering from the hardship of those struggling on peanuts. I guess that’s what greed does to profiteers – have more, want still more.

        • RJLC

          Farmers paying their fair share of ETS = good.and fair.
          Current situation where farmers and select industries are being subsidised by the commons turns Jimmie into a welfare bludger.

        • Foreign Waka

          Jimmie, do you really want to live in a country where the wages drop in relation to expenses every year and at the same time power prices are being hiked amongst other expenses to Joe Blog, to give a tax brake to those on high incomes? Older people in particular and those on fixed incomes cannot “save” in the conventional way and those hikes just mean no heat, more illness = higher health service costs. Of cause if you cut these too, just wondering about the general pronunciation of “a decent country” – this may need a bit of a revision.

    • Murray Olsen 1.2

      It’ll all be too much for you Jimmie. We’ll nationalise your farm so you don’t have to worry.
      Peace of mind – priceless.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 1.3

      5 years years of national havent led to increases in the above ?- even the GST increase when they promised to to raise it.

      And since when did capital value be lost through CGT ? , ask Australians about how the tax has pushed prices down

    • Tom Gould 1.4

      Funny how so-called ‘spokespeople’ for farmers overlook the obvious benefits of a ‘collective’ approach? Let’s see Bruce Wills put his money where his mouth is and turn up to the current round of Meat and Wool meetings and tell them their plans for a Fonterra-like collective is socialist lunacy that will turn farming into a polish shipyard. Or is he just a hypocritical Tory crony?

    • Draco T Bastard 1.5

      Well, Jimmie, you just proved why we have those regulations and why they need to be strengthened. It’s because arseholes like you will pollute without regard to the damage and costs that you put upon society if we don’t have them.

  2. GP 2

    What jimmie said.

    • felix 2.1

      What jimmie said was a bit vague.

      I couldn’t tell whether he was worried about a Lab/Green govt or another National one with all the talk about increases in fuel levies and more “red tape”.

      Otherwise I’d hazard a guess that he hasn’t bought any fuel, registered a vehicle or renewed a passport lately (damn near doubled).

      And I guess he forgot to complain about them raising GST (after promising not to).

      All highly regressive taxes too I might add.

      • Draco T Bastard 2.1.1

        What jimmie said was a bit vague.

        No, what Jimmie said was quite clear – he wants to pollute freely and not have to pay the costs. He wants society in general to do that instead so that he can be richer.

  3. joe90 3

    Not a sausage about the rural supply network upgrade scam of 1992-1995. Urban consumer investments surreptitiously slipped into his members hands.

  4. ak 4

    Ah well, progress I guess on the scaremongering front. From North Korea and the USSR of NZ to the unspeakable terror of no shopping on Sundays and waiting for a phone connection.

    Pathetic, Brucie; you’re a flaccid Massey’s Cossack in Key’s slippery clothing, but without the bicep.

    Your promulgation of the worship of Greed has ripped the guts out of your own members’ communities up and down the country and now they count their shekels alone as they watch their kids depart and turn to suicide in record numbers.

    So take a bow, laddie: you’ve massacred communities and a once-proud heritage for a wine on Sundays. And there’ll always be a wee Jimmie clapping while his hands are greased.

  5. georgecom 5

    Ummm, so Wills is going on about how bad things were before 1984.

    But what the hecks that got to do with a single buyer of bulk electricity. His first couple of lines talk about the Labour-Green plan but he then goes off topic for almost the entire remainder of the article.

    The 1400s probably were not such good times to live in either, but what has that to do with power issues as well.

    Can someone please tell some of the media commentators to take a deep breath, breathe through their noses and concentrate. Maybe then they’d stop writing such unrelated loads of rubbish.

    • Colonial Viper 5.1

      Can someone ask Wills how much mortgage debt bankers had in the 1970’s, as compared to now?

      Maybe he needs to turn on his brain for a sec, in order to represent the interests of his members.

  6. Dv 6

    Pre 1984
    Muldoons welfare for farmers.

  7. Descendant Of Sssmith 7

    And of course he also conveniently forgets to mention the massive farm subsidies that existed during that period of high tax rates when some farmers got up to 40% of their income from the taxpayer.

  8. irascible 8

    As I recall pre 1980 there was the great Muldoon- National Party scheme that gave Family Benefit to the Ewes while increasing the tax burden on you & me.

  9. fambo 9

    Time for Labour and the Greens to start splitting the farming sector into two – the wealthy right wing elite, and farm workers who have nothing to gain from Federated Farmers. A long term goal but one worth putting the thin edge of the wedge into

    • Colonial Viper 9.1

      Remember: most farmers are not members of the Feds. Many have chosen to leave the Feds over the years because they did not feel that their views were being fairly heard or represented, as members.

      • dw 9.1.1

        Too right. I’m a farmer and hate the Feds with a passion. They’re essentially a soft political arm of the Act party and are so out of touch with progressive farming it’s laughable.

        So as a farmer, yes, I’d like lower power prices, even though it won’t affect me as most of my farm is on Solar power.

        • Red Rosa

          +1. Feds had those wingnuts Pederson and Nicholson as presidents, which turned a lot of people off.

    • Paul 9.2

      And split business as a whole into two sections. The finance and banking industry which has swollen into a mammoth since deregulation in the 80s and the rest of business.
      Just as an example. Most businesses would benefit from reduced electricity costs. But investment bankers won’t as they will gain from the sale. It was them that were jumping up and down hysterically about the NZ power proposal.
      There are many economists who are calling for the control of the finance industry. We just don’t hear their voices.

      • Colonial Viper 9.2.1

        We also need a distinction for SMEs versus big business and corporates.

        Weighting the playing field in favour of SMEs keeps big corporates on their toes as well as encouraging the next generation of enterprising NZers.

  10. Red Rosa 10

    Most irrigated dairy farms have big power bills – $50k per year not uncommon, and up to $100k for a few. Even 1% off is serious money. Do Feds really want higher power bills?

    They should get stuck in with an issue closer to home – local body subsidies. Dead against these. ‘Core business’, that’s the word. But hang on….


    Right on Brucie’s back doorstep. Go get ’em, boy!

  11. Jimmie 11

    I think what Bruce Wills was saying (and the point I was making) is that you can’t look at the Lab/Green Policy on NZ Power in isolation.

    And when you take into account the total sum of all their policies you would have to be a moron not to conclude that all farmers (and business owners) will be paying a whole lot more in taxes and levies under a red/green government.

    And which leaves me wondering why Mike Smith would put up a post saying that farmers should welcome NZ Power as a way of reducing their energy costs??

    Disengenuous much

    • DH 11.1

      “I think what Bruce Wills was saying (and the point I was making) is that you can’t look at the Lab/Green Policy on NZ Power in isolation.”

      If that was what he was saying then he’d have said it. What he was obviously trying to do there was create an equivalence between the ’70s and NZ Power. He failed.

      I find these people who hark back to the ’70s rather tiresome with their selective memories. The entire western world was like that back then, it’s not as if NZ was doing anything others weren’t. Muldoon was even president of the World Bank for a while.

  12. Adrian 12

    I’m a farmer too Jimmie, and collectivly we pay fuck all tax. As a percentage of income nessecary to live on we probably pay 10% of what your service industry workers ( drivers, shearers, reps etc ) pay. So STFU or you’ll put them on to us.

  13. Foreign Waka 13

    Has anyone considered that the Fed Farmers might get a discount deal like the Alu smelter or other corporates? Why else would they complain? They maybe the disguised ma and dad punters for the shares. Any serious journo would dig a bit deeper – just to make sure that we have all the facts.

  14. felix 14

    Who gives a fuck what Bruce Willis thinks anyway? Cool in Pulp Fiction but has he even done anything since Sin City?

  15. xtasy 15

    This post seems a bit stupid to me. I am sorry, but Mike Smith, is this all you can deliver on the power discussion? What about doing some studies and research, to back up what you have recommended David the Shearer to agree to, while it was according to Chris Trotter Grant Robertson, who really urged Labour to join the Greens on NZ Power.

    I am starting to bloody despair with you people down there in the Wellington political arena. We get a bit of policy here and there, ok NZ Power was a real stirrer, but having your Leader go off to Europe and so, and also having Norman from the Greens leaving it to a “green behind the ears” Hughes to defend policy, with “Clint chat” on camera, this is NOT going to deliver.

    You guys better bloody get your acts together, as this will fail, if not something else comes very, very soon.

    Luckily I am NOT a Labour supporter anymore, so I have little hope and reliance in you guys anymore anyway, but what about your members, supporters and prospective voters? Do they not deserve something more convincing and better?

    So I am just wondering, what all this is about, it seems that some in this wider forum are also running out of hope, wits and suggestions. At least some ideas are needed, but hey, where are they?

    Leaving NZ and their voters to this bunch of idiot nohopers, that run the show, and then not delivering more than I see and we get, that is close to treason. Thank you for bothering to reading this, if you even do. Good night.

  16. millsy 16

    It was actually farmers who drove the setting up of the old power boards to get electricity reticulated into rural areas.

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