Farrar illustrates WfF folly

Written By: - Date published: 9:02 am, March 4th, 2011 - 44 comments
Categories: dpf, families, same old national - Tags:

John Key has tidied up the confusion he caused yesterday and says that the quakes will cost the government $5 billion in rebuilding and $5 billion in lost revenue over the next 4 years. Big bikkies but easily covered by an emergency levy and canning the white elephant motorways. So, why are the Nats obsessed with tinkering with Working for Families?

As Zet pointed out yesterday, National has long made a song and dance about high income families getting WfF but before the 2008 election, they gave up on the policy because they learned that only 1,000 families with incomes above $100,000 get WfF and they only get $1,000 a year each on average. Such a small problem, if one concedes it’s a problem, is not worth the government and Parliament’s effort and the side-effects of trying to fix.

Apparently, thanks to inflation, there are now more families on more than $100,000 getting WfF but the total bill is still a meager $6 million. The Government spends more than that on BMWs without battering an eyelid, so why are the Nats rabbiting on about reforming WfF again?

David Farrar gives us an insight.

First, he concedes that taking WfF away from high income families without also taking it off low and middle income families is not easy. Then, he writes:

At present, familes (in work) receive WFF up to the following income bands:

  • 1 child – $75,317
  • 2 children – $91,227
  • 3 children – $107,137
  • 4 children – $126,947
  • 5 children – $146,757
  • 6 children – $166,567

It’s important to note that, at these incomes, families get no WfF, and they get only $4 a week for every $1,000 their income is below these marks.  – eg. a 3 child family on $100,000 (2 adults in full time work on the average wage) gets only $28 a week.

“What I would consider is increasing the abatement rate from 20% to 25% just for those earning over $70,000 a year. You see National dropped the top tax rate from 39% to 33% (something Labour vows to reverse)for those earning over $70k year so the EMTR would still be slightly lower than it was under the last Government if they are a sole income family.

Now one could say is there any point in reducing the top tax rate by 6% and increasing the WFF abatement rate by 5%. Well yes there is. It is better to have a lower tax rate and not pay a relatively wealthy family welfare, then have higher tax rates and higher welfare payments. Tax churn is inefficent and wasteful.

So what would an extra 5% abatement do for WFF maximum incomes? They would be:

  • 1 child – $75,317 to $74K
  • 2 children – $91,227 to $87K
  • 3 children – $107,137 to $99K
  • 4 children – $126,947 to $115K
  • 5 children – $146,757 to $131K
  • 6 children – $166,567 to $147K”

First thing – these aren’t exactly dramatic reductions eh? I mean, if you’re fretting that a 5 child family on $125K a year can get $8 a week in WfF, are you going to stop fretting when only a 5 child family on $113K can get it?

Now, Farrar’s increased abatement rate kicks in at $70,000. What’s the median income for families with dependent kids? $70,000. So this isn’t ‘rich’ when you’re talking about a household – it’s 1 parent on the average wage, the other in the minimum wage. And it puts these parents’ effective marginal tax rates up above what they were when National was elected (from 41% to 42.5%). Farrar tries to confuse the issue by conflating individual and household incomes.

But let’s follow through the logic of Farrar’s numbers. How much money would actually be saved?

As a rough estimate, fuck all. A 3 kid family on $99,000 was getting $32 a week and is now getting nothing – annual saving, $1,500. A 1 child family on $74,000 goes from getting $4 a week to getting nothing, $200 a year. Those are the maximum savings for those family sizes, if the family earns either more or less, the savings from changing the abatement rate would be smaller.

We don’t have exact numbers on how many families would be affected but you can see it’s pretty small beer – how many 1 child families earn between $70,000 and $75,000 and would get, at most, $200 a year shaved off their WfF? How many 3 child families earn between $70,000 and $107,000 and would lose up to $1,500? How many larger families are there anyway, and how many of those fall in the necessary income bands?

This is no great money saver and it comes at the cost of putting up effective tax on middle income Kiwis who have already seen their wages stagnate while GST and petrol prices eat up their meager tax cuts and more.

The solution to filling the hole in the government’s books isn’t fiddling around with WfF, generating a lot of small but hurtful income cuts for middle income families. The solution is to ask high income earners to give back the massive tax cuts they have received from National cutting the top tax rate from 39% to 33% and to stop wasting money on motorways that were already uneconomical even before this latest oil shock.

What can we conclude by National’s obsession with shaving WfF and their refusal to look at an emergency levy other than that they want to keep the massive tax cuts they have given themselves while playing scrooge on working families?

44 comments on “Farrar illustrates WfF folly”

  1. ianmac 1

    I seem to remember Michael Cullen saying back then that it was not worth the money to cut off higher income WFF? The bureaucracy would exceed the return.
    We might suspect that the suggestions about WFF from Mr Key might be a feint. Like throwing a few scraps to the chooks to fight over while the nests are robbed.

  2. Tigger 2

    Would love to know what generating all these scenarios and projections is costing in labour for those wasteful back office layabouts. Further proof the public sector needs to be gutted!

  3. Any benefit of WfF is that it targets families for receiving tax credits. People without families do not qualify. So the tax paid by non-families remains at the usual levels. Reducing entitlement for WfF is – effectively – a tax INCREASE…and it’s a tax increase that specifically targets families who earn the least.

    Better to cancel motorways and improve public transport….but the National Party is clearly incapable of seeing that (or at least….following that path). Trying to talk to Tau Henare, for example, about Peak Oil is equivalent in his view to discussing alien invasion. Those were his words, not mine.

    Evidence be damned. IEA Report 2010 – irrelevant. Can’t be bothered.

    So we need a different government in the short term…and the National Party needs to free itself from the increasingly bizarre American ‘conservative’ ideology that has corrupted National’s thinking and blinded it to the staringly obvious.

  4. tsmithfield 4

    “The solution is to ask high income earners to give back the massive tax cuts they have received from National cutting the top tax rate from 39% to 33% and to stop wasting money on motorways that were already uneconomical even before this latest oil shock.”

    Firstly, the 39% top tax rate was a stupid idea in the first place. Many in that bracket are company owners who would simply ensure any income that put them over the threshold was taxed at the lower company rate. Very hard to legislate against this, because companies could have lots of arguable reasons to put up for retaining profits in the company. If fiddling with WFF is stupid because it gains very little, then the same argument applies to reinstating stupidity with the 39% tax rate.

    Secondly, agree that infrastructure spending such as roads could be looked at.

    • RedLogix 4.1

      Many in that bracket are company owners who would simply ensure any income that put them over the threshold was taxed at the lower company rate.

      Again I ask you the same question as I did yesterday. I can understand why arguing that aligning the top tax rate and the company rate makes sense to you… I still think it amounts to rewarding cheats… but lets go with your position for a moment.

      What then is your justification for the govt then planning to lower the company tax rate to 28% in 2012… restoring almost exactly the same incentive to cheat as before?

      • Bright Red 4.1.1

        lolz

      • Colonial Viper 4.1.2

        My 2c worth…its a race to the bottom of the barrel…next step will be to argue that the top income tax rate needs to be realigned to prevent tax avoidance…this time down to 28% of course.

      • tsmithfield 4.1.3

        “I can understand why arguing that aligning the top tax rate and the company rate makes sense to you… I still think it amounts to rewarding cheats… but lets go with your position for a moment.”

        I don’t see it as cheating. Just paying the minimum amount that is legally required.

        “What then is your justification for the govt then planning to lower the company tax rate to 28% in 2012… restoring almost exactly the same incentive to cheat as before?”

        Yes. I agree with you. The flatter the tax system the better, so National moving away from this ideal by going for a 28% tax rate.

        • RedLogix 4.1.3.1

          I don’t see it as cheating. Just paying the minimum amount that is legally required.

          Think about it. What possible reason would a company owner have to ‘leave profit in the business’ rather than take it out as personal income? Apart from ‘minimising tax’ that is? If that cash is being used to develop the company, well and good.

          But if the cash was simply being spent on items that really amount to a personal benefit to the owner (like a flash company boat for example), and FBT was not being properly applied…. then how is that not ‘cheating’?

          so National moving away from this ideal by going for a 28% tax rate.

          Well fair enough… but surely the 28% company tax rate pretty much demolishes English’s spin on this. Really it had nothing to do with eliminating the incentive to mimimise tax…. it was just a naked tax cut for the rich.

          He just couldn’t say that.

          • tsmithfield 4.1.3.1.1

            “What possible reason would a company owner have to ‘leave profit in the business’ rather than take it out as personal income?”

            Lots of reasons. For instance:

            Money kept in the company to fund future growth.
            Money kept in the company to meet bank equity requirements.

            “Well fair enough… but surely the 28% company tax rate pretty much demolishes English’s spin on this. Really it had nothing to do with eliminating the incentive to mimimise tax…. it was just a naked tax cut for the rich.”

            I remember English saying that he wasn’t concerned about the incentive to keep money in companies because that is good for business growth etc. Also, I understand the adjustment to the tax rates is part of a long-term strategy to move towards a flatter tax system, so it doesn’t mean that tax rates won’t eventually be aligned.

            As I said, I agree with you though. I would actually prefer a tax system that is totally consumption based (e.g. totally GST). This would be impossible to avoid, very efficient, and save a lot of money that is otherwise wasted in churn.

            That would be a tax system that is as flat and efficient as possible.

            • RedLogix 4.1.3.1.1.1

              Interesting.. once we define our terms properly it turns out we aren’t so far apart. I’m inclined to agree that a fully consumption based tax would make a lot of sense technically, but it would be awfully regressive.

              But at that point you’d want to have a think about the fact that currently all financial transactions are zero-rated for GST. That might skew things quite a bit.

              Just an interesting curve ball for you. How about this? If one could ensure that all FBT was properly applied… why have a company tax at all?

              • tsmithfield

                Actually, I quite like the idea of some sort of transaction tax as that would spread the burden more fairly and simplify the system even further.

                I can’t remember, was it you who was arguing for a guaranteed minimum income? Because I think that idea combined with a completely consumption based tax system would be the ultimate of simplicity and efficiency. The size of IRD and WINZ would probably shrink by 90% as would the number of people employed as accountants!

                Don’t like the FBT idea because that provides just another layer requiring enforcement. I prefer the KISS principle.

            • Lanthanide 4.1.3.1.1.2

              “Lots of reasons. For instance:

              Money kept in the company to fund future growth.
              Money kept in the company to meet bank equity requirements. ”

              Yes, but essentially what you’re suggesting here is that because the company rate has dropped to 30% from 33%, and will soon be dropping to 28%, people are saying “well, instead of paying myself this money as a dividend, instead I’m going to keep it in the company to grow it or for bank requirements”. As if somehow being taxed less suddenly makes someone do something else with the money they now had?

              If you were going to give $67 company money to yourself, but now instead the figure has increased to $70 you decide instead to leave it in the company? Similarly if you were already going to leave $67 in the company, then surely you’d be more likely to skim that extra $3 off for yourself because ‘your company wouldn’t miss it anyway’?

              • tsmithfield

                I agree that people might have motivations for making these decisions than what they state in their company minutes. But from an enforcement and legislative perspective it becomes very murky trying to prove the decisions were made specifically for avoidance.

            • Draco T Bastard 4.1.3.1.1.3

              This would be impossible to avoid,

              Except that it’s possible for some to avoid it. As I said the other day, if you have an office at home a home air conditioning unit (well, heat pump anyway) is 100% tax deductible so no GST on that.

              • tsmithfield

                True. But this would generally apply to one-person businesses operating from home who probably need a few advantages anyway. 🙂

                • Draco T Bastard

                  It’s still a tax dodge.

                  • Lanthanide

                    Yeah, I would suggest a big incentive for going into a home business like that, which don’t tend to be amazingly profitable (eg, never profitable enough to hire an employee) is simply to get tax deductions on things you’d be buying anyway, like your electricity bill, your rates and your insurance.

                    This would especially be the case if you weren’t relying on the home business as the sole family income – husband goes to work and gets a salary, wife stays home and potters around in her ‘business’ that is more of a hobby for 15/hours a week, makes $15k in profit per year but gets $5k in tax writeoffs while doing it. This is essentially what my parents did for most of my childhood – although for my mother it really was a very hard-work business that took more time than 15hrs on average, and I don’t believe she abused the tax deductions at all (like buying a heatpump for example).

                    • Armchair Critic

                      I would suggest a big incentive for going into a home business like that…is simply to get tax deductions on things you’d be buying anyway…
                      I would suggest you are wrong.
                      I would say its to:
                      avoid commuting, and the office environment,
                      to get every dollar you earn, rather than have it going to some faceless shareholder,
                      to have flexibility around the work you do and when you do it
                      or, at least, that’s why I did it.
                      If your main reason for starting a home business is to do with tax then you aren’t really focussing on what your business is about. Or you’re setting yourself up to fail.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      My biggest problem isn’t that a heat pump (and other stuff) can be written off if you happen to be a business working from home but that employees, who really are operating a business, don’t have those same write-offs available to them.

                      Now a number of people are going to say that they can all go on contract, which they can and something that I’ve said before, but doing so has a number of disadvantages and barriers:
                      1.) Loss of statutory rights/protections
                      2.) Expense. Although cheap and easy to register a business in NZ the costs (re software/accountants) involved are beyond what most people can afford
                      3.) Knowledge. Most people just haven’t got a clue as to how to set up a business and don’t know where to go to get that knowledge
                      4.) Accountant – the present system, if everyone became a business, would turn us into a nation of accountants 😛

    • Bright Red 4.2

      “Firstly, the 39% top tax rate was a stupid idea in the first place. Many in that bracket are company owners who would simply ensure any income that put them over the threshold was taxed at the lower company rate. Very hard to legislate against this, because companies could have lots of arguable reasons to put up for retaining profits in the company. If fiddling with WFF is stupid because it gains very little, then the same argument applies to reinstating stupidity with the 39% tax rate.”

      Are you denying that the 39% rate brought in significantly more revenue than the 33% rate does?

      Funny, because Treasury disagrees. http://treasury.govt.nz/government/revenue/estimatesrevenueeffects/estimates/index.htm

      Each cent off that top rate meant $140 million less revenue. So a 6 cent reduction has cost nearly a billion.

      All the Left is saying is ‘temporarily restore the top tax rate to where it was just two years ago’. The world didn’t end when we had a 39% rate for 9 years, nor did it end when the top tax rate was over 60% for all but 6 years between 1960 and 1986. The rich will still be rich with the old top tax rate back.

      • Colonial Viper 4.2.1

        Land tax and CGT please. (Beating up on PAYE earners is overrated, although the system should be made more progressive taking into account those who are on 5x and 20x the median income.)

        Or simply increase GST as applied to rates, as an interim measure.

      • tsmithfield 4.2.2

        “Funny, because Treasury disagrees. http://treasury.govt.nz/government/revenue/estimatesrevenueeffects/estimates/index.htm

        Each cent off that top rate meant $140 million less revenue. So a 6 cent reduction has cost nearly a billion.”

        Fair point.

        A couple of things in response.

        Firstly, those who benefited from the removal of the 39% rate will be paying a numerically a lot more in GST due to the fact they have a lot more to spend than other groups. So, this would have offset the income lost from the tax change.

        Secondly, I don’t think there would be a straight line loss from 33 to 39. This is because the incentive to avoid the tax would increase for each cent the tax rate exceeds the company rate. Thus I would expect a decreasing marginal return for rate increases.

        • Bill Browne 4.2.2.1

          I carefully calculated the difference between the tax I was paying before and the additional GST I would be paying and carefully squirrel that amount away in the bank every month.

          I plan to spend it on an overseas trip later this year.

          • tsmithfield 4.2.2.1.1

            Fair enough. I guess you will be paying increased GST on the air fares though.

            • Lanthanide 4.2.2.1.1.1

              On an overseas trip where you need to stay in accommodation for longer than a week or so, generally the airfares will start to become a minor part of the cost.

            • Bill Browne 4.2.2.1.1.2

              No GST on international airfares 🙂

              It’s all win!

              I’m going to spend what I saved on hookers and blow while I’m overseas.

              • Colonial Viper

                lolz, now just frame it as a business trip and those hookers as “personal business consultants” and the rest of us will happily pick up the tab.

        • Draco T Bastard 4.2.2.2

          Firstly, those who benefited from the removal of the 39% rate will be paying a numerically a lot more in GST due to the fact they have a lot more to spend than other groups. So, this would have offset the income lost from the tax change.

          Just because they have more to spend doesn’t mean that they will spend it. In fact, people who have discretionary income tend not to spend it but to save it and so, no, the loss won’t be offset by GST and that’s even after the GST increase.

    • Rosy 4.3

      Some people in the top tax brackets would aviod paying whether the tax rates are aligned or not. In some ways it’s not about the money, it’s about the notion of paying tax.

    • Lanthanide 4.4

      “Very hard to legislate against this, because companies could have lots of arguable reasons to put up for retaining profits in the company”

      I guess you missed the court case last year about two doctors, I believe from Christchurch, that were paying themselves salaries of under $60k and getting the rest of their income via their company, effectively using the loophole you’re talking about here. IRD pursued them in court and won on the basis of evading tax because they should have been receiving salaries of approx $230k and paying 39% tax on that, and won at appeal I believe too. I think there are more appeals being tried, and the “tax advisory” industry is up and arms about the outcomes from the case.

      So yes, while it might be hard to legislate against it, we thankfully have these things called “courts” that can use common sense to see when the law is being twisted for personal gain.

      • tsmithfield 4.4.1

        Yeah. I know about that. Not what I was getting at though.

        I am thinking more about arguments such as retaining profits to grow the company, keeping money in the company for bank equity requirements etc etc. There are so many variables such as this that could be used as justification for keeping the money in the company to be taxed at a lower rate that would be very difficult to argue against.

        • Lanthanide 4.4.1.1

          And, if the money is actually kept in the company and not later given to the owners of the company as an under-the-table salary, then I don’t think anyone has a problem with that.

    • Ari 4.5

      TS: People putting income back into their companies and spending it is exactly what we want- this is why the top tax rates should be higher than the corporate tax rate- to encourage people investing that extra money rather than spending it all on luxury items produced abroad or saving it.

      • tsmithfield 4.5.1

        I see your point. In fact, I think that was a reason English raised as to why he was not concerned about the company rate going down to 28%.

        The counter to that is that it is unfair on the high earning PAYE workers who don’t have the capacity to structure their affairs to avoid the higher rate.

        • Draco T Bastard 4.5.1.1

          Now that’s something I agree with – people on PAYE are really badly screwed by the present tax system. They get double taxed on their work expenses and they can’t do anything about it. This is another reason why I want a UI and to shift everybody onto the same set of rules. The multiple rule sets that we have now is, IMO, the major source of tax loopholes that allow some people to avoid paying taxes.

      • Lanthanide 4.5.2

        The point is that they keep the money in the company as ‘retained earnings’ and then take it as a dividend or other disbursement from the company. In other words they get money in their back pocket out of the company, but it was taxed at the company rate of 30% instead of 39%.

        It’s a salary in everything but name and tax liability.

        • Colonial Viper 4.5.2.1

          Dividends received need to be accounted for as personal income unless there are attached imputation credits from the company.

          • Lanthanide 4.5.2.1.1

            Yeah, I’m hazy on the specifics as I’ve never done it myself. But I know the principal behind it and that it is possible in a fairly straightforward manner.

  5. randal 5

    the thing about national is they cant stand anyone getting money that they consider to be theirs.

  6. Draco T Bastard 6

    You see National dropped the top tax rate from 39% to 33% (something Labour vows to reverse)for those earning over $70k…

    And that would be DPF lying outright as he knows full well that Labour promised no such thing. What Labour have proposed is another tax bracket in the 6 figure income range.

    A second source of funds to allow us to create a tax free zone will be to claim back some of the windfall tax cuts from the very top income earners.

    We haven’t yet set a new top tax rate.

    Nor have we determined the level of income that it will apply to. But it will only affect incomes comfortably into six figures, the top few per cent of earners.

  7. I suspect that some of the liable parents are swindling child support payments like they are swindling IRD in paying business tax.

    • Vicky32 7.1

      Oh that’s almost certain… (I had a rich ex, and no question he was doing that.) Because I was on DPB it was all irrelevant to me, I never saw a cent of it., but he paid the minimum. If he’d paid what he was supposed to, I’d actually have got some of it!
      Deb

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    After a brief dalliance with 'hard Revoke' it looks like the Lib Dems are changing ground on on Brexit, with leader Jo Swinson reverting to calling for a second referendum on Johnson's deal.The party has tabled an amendment to the Queen’s speech requesting that any deal brought back from Brussels ...
    4 days ago
  • An odious bill
    The government has decided that someone has done Something Bad. But despite their belief, there seems to be no evidence that they have actually broken the law. So the government's solution is to pass a retrospective law allowing them to be punished anyway, on a lower standard of proof. If ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • National is now the party of climate arson
    So, Judith Collins has done a Facebook rant about climate change, peddling the same shit National has been shovelling for the past twenty years: the impacts are overstated, there's no need to do anything about it, and its too hard anyway (oh, and its so unfair that people who peddle ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • The environmental footprint of electric versus fossil car
    Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, please send it to climate.change@stuff.co.nz There is a lot of discussion on the benefits of ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    5 days ago
  • “Manifest” by Andrew Bird – A Song For The Times.
    I came across this song quite by accident. If it isn't one of Greta Thunberg's favourites - it should be.Video courtesy of YouTube.This post is exclusive to Bowalley Road. ...
    5 days ago
  • Passing the buck
    Last month, NZDF's shoddy coverup of what it knew about civilian casualties in Operation Burnham began to fall apart, with the revelation that a report on the matter, which NZDF claimed not to have, had been sitting in an NZDF safe for the past nine years. Yesterday, the man responsible ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • India a major player in Earth observation satellites
    While many imagine that countries like the USA and Europe dominate space activities, in fact India is now a major player on this stage. It launches satellites for its own purposes and also commercially, and has constellations orbiting our planet and returning data of vital importance to that nation in ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    5 days ago
  • The rot at the top (2).
    Thanks to a report from the Acting Inspector General of Intelligence and Security following a complaint by Nicky Hager, we have come to find out that the SIS illegally spied on Mr. Hager on behalf of the NZDF after publication of Hager’s 2011 book, Other People’s Wars. The NZDF justified ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    5 days ago
  • Common misconceptions about “Global Warming”
    COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT GLOBAL WARMING MYTH 1: Global temperatures are rising at a rapid, unprecedented rate. FACT: The HadCRUT3 surface temperature index, produced by the Hadley Centre of the UK Met Office and the Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia, shows warming to 1878, cooling to 1911, ...
    An average kiwiBy admin@averagekiwi.com
    5 days ago
  • A climate of tyranny
    For the past week, Extinction Rebellion has been peacefully protesting in London to demand action on climate change. The British government's response? Ban their protests:Police have banned Extinction Rebellion protests from continuing anywhere in London, as they moved in almost without warning to clear protesters who remained at the movement’s ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Collins crushes climate
    An essay by Judith Collins MP reported on Carbon News yesterday seems to show an alarming shift in attitude within the National Party. Collins argues against the Zero Carbon Bill, the Paris Agreement, and downplays the magnitude of climate impacts. The Paris Agreement was adopted in December 2015 and ratified ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert McLachlan
    6 days ago
  • More disappointment
    When they were running for election, Labour promised to overhaul the Employment Relations Act and introduce fair pay agreements to set basic pay and conditions on an industry level, preventing bad employers from undercutting good ones. They followed this up by establishing a working group, which reported back in January ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • What do these mother-child studies really say about fluoridation?
    A list of indicators of bad science – many of these are found in articles promoted by anti-fluoride activists. Anti-fluoride activists have been pouring money into a scaremongering campaign warning pregnant women not to drink fluoridated water. They claim fluoride will lower the IQ of their future child. Fluoride ...
    6 days ago
  • Losing Labour’s Mills-Tone.
    Nothing Left To Say: Labour's pollster, Stephen Mills, remains swaddled-up in the comforting myths of the 1980s. As if the experience of Roger Douglas’s genuinely radical post-Muldoon policy agenda was literally a once-in-a-lifetime thing – as much as the party could possibly absorb for at least the next 50 years.MEMO ...
    6 days ago
  • Speaker: Disability and the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historical Abuse
    The Royal Commission on abuse in care is very significant for the disability community. For many decades last century, thousands of disabled children, and adults who managed to survive, were locked away from families and communities. This was not for anything they had done, but for the perceived threat their ...
    6 days ago
  • Spain is not a democracy
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • UK Conservatives hate democracy
    With an unfair voting system, uneven electorates and an un-elected upper house, the UK's "democracy" is barely worthy of the name. But now the government wants to make it worse:The government has been accused of suppressing voters’ rights with the potential disenfranchisement of tens of thousands of people after plans ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • What is wrong with our building industry?
    Back in the 90's and early 2000's, the building industry was building leaky homes which should never have been granted consent. Now it turns out they've been building dodgy office blocks as well:New imaging technology has revealed hundreds of major buildings nationwide have defective or missing concrete or reinforcing steel. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Local bodies
    Local body election results were released over the weekend, to joy or despair depending on where you live. In Auckland, Phil Goff trounced John Tamihere, who is muttering darkly about running for Parliament again (but which party would want him?) Wellington is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Weta Workshop, except ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • A future of government
      How could government evolve over the next decades? Reports of democracy’s imminent demise are greatly exaggerated.  However, satisfaction with political systems in many countries is low, so there is much to do for governments of all political stripes to improve relevance and trust. Digital technologies are seen as one ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Catalonia, interrupted
    Two years have now gone by since the Friday afternoon when my university-student son and I headed out of our Barcelona flat to a nearby primary school, designated as a polling station for the vote that was to be held the following Sunday: the referendum on Catalonia’s independence from Spain ...
    1 week ago
  • Sage Decisions Unwisely Over-Ruled.
    Overruled: The joint decision of Finance Minister, Grant Robertson (Labour) and his Associate Minister, David Parker (Labour) arguably the two most powerful ministers in Jacinda Ardern’s government, to grant OceanaGold the consents which Land Information Minister, Eugenie Sage (Greens) had earlier denied them, offers bitter proof of how hard fighting ...
    1 week ago
  • Government may ban voting in effort to get more people to do it
    More than double the number of people who will vote in this year’s local body elections have tried marijuana or urinated somewhere they shouldn’t have. As local elections look set for the lowest turnout in decades, with many regions falling well short of 40%, the Government is exploring a number ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Woman: Deleted.
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    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • The Hollowest of Men Ride Again… SURPRISE!
    Musings continue apace about “the experienced businessman!” soon to be taking up a National Party MP position. Or to be more accurate, being parachuted into a seat to shut down their former MP Jamie-Lee Ross, who despite his own shortcomings shed at least some more light on the inner workings ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    1 week ago
  • Barbaric
    The Ugandan government wants to murder gay people:Uganda has announced plans to impose the death penalty on homosexuals. The bill, colloquially known as “Kill the Gays” in Uganda, was nullified five years ago on a technicality, but the government said on Thursday it plans to resurrect it within weeks. The ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Is this study legit? 5 questions to ask when reading news stories of medical research
    Hassan Vally, La Trobe University Who doesn’t want to know if drinking that second or third cup of coffee a day will improve your memory, or if sleeping too much increases your risk of a heart attack? We’re invested in staying healthy and many of us are interested in reading ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Fighting Monsters.
    Freedom Of Speech? The Säuberung (cleansing by fire) was the work of the German Student Union which, on 10 May 1933, under the watchful eye of the Nazi Reichminister for Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, consigned 25,000 books to the flames in a ritual exorcism of “un-German thought”. According to the logic of the ...
    1 week ago
  • The next wave of kaupapa Māori politics: its constitutional, it must be.
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    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    1 week ago
  • Night lights of NZ from orbit
    New Zealand has prided itself for decades with regard to its lack of pollution, and all will be aware that the ‘100% Pure New Zealand‘ meme is under threat through land, water and air pollution of various causes. There is another type of contamination that the country also faces: light ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    1 week ago
  • Reporters deliver uplifting news to fleeing Japanese residents: they won’t miss any rugby
    New Zealand’s media is doing its part in Japan, reassuring those in the path of the storm that they won’t miss any rugby while away from their flooded homes. New Zealand sports reporters stationed in Japan for the Rugby World Cup have had the rare and heartwarming opportunity to inform ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Government in contentious discussions about whether to put surplus on red or black
    Regional Development Minister Shane Jones is the only Cabinet member in favour of putting it all on green. As Finance Minister Grant Robertson finds himself with an enormous $7.5 billion surplus, the Government has begun intense, at times contentious conversations about whether to put the money on red or black at ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Jordanian teachers’ successful strike has lessons for here
    by Susanne Kemp At the start of September close to 100,000 school teachers went on strike in Jordan.  They demanded a 50% pay rise.  A pay rise actually agreed to by the regime back in 2014. In early October, however, in the face of government repression and threats, the teachers’ ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Why some people still think climate change isn’t real
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    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • The SIS unlawfully spied on Nicky Hager
    Back in 2011, journalist Nicky Hager published Other People's Wars, an expose on NZDF's activities over the previous decade of the "war on terror". NZDF didn't like this, and especially didn't like the fact that it was base don leaks from their own. So, they had the SIS investigate him ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • October 2019 – Newsletter
    https://mailchi.mp/7d9133add053/closing-the-gap-october-2019-newsletter ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    1 week ago
  • And they wonder why we think they’re environmental vandals…
    The Zero Carbon Bill is due back from select committee in two weeks, and will likely pass its final stages in November. So naturally, farmers are planning a hate-march against it. But they're not just demanding lower methane targets so they can keep on destroying the planet; they're also demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Paying the price in California
    Last year, California burned. This year, to stop it happening again (or rather, to stop themselves from being found liable if it happens again), Pacific Gas and Electric is cutting power to half the state for a week:Schools are closed. Traffic lights down. Tunnels dark. Businesses unopened. Hospitals running on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Let’s Hear It For Up-Close-And-Personal, Hard-Copy Democracy!
    The Best Way: Missing from the on-line voting debate is any reference to the voting system that produces turn-out figures ranging from 77 to 93 percent of registered voters. The voting system used to collect and count the votes cast in our parliamentary elections. The system that involves citizens making ...
    2 weeks ago
  • 10/10: World Day Against the Death Penalty
    Today, October 10, is the world day against the death penalty. Out of 195 UN member states, 84 still permit capital punishment. Today is the day we work to change that. This year's theme is children. Having a parent sentenced to death or executed causes long-term trauma and stigmatization which ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Talking Freer Lives: a Marxist gender-critical perspective from Australia
    Among the great new bunch of political friends we have been making recently is the excellent Australian-based Marxist gender-critical site, Freer Lives.  So we asked the comrade who set up that blog to write something for Redline on the blog, himself, his analysis of the rise of gender politics and ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Government spin accepted by union leadership
    by Don Franks  The Auckland City Mission is struggling with a 40 percent increase in demand for food parcels this year. A total of 23,020 were needed by June. Last month Missioner Chris Farrelly told the Herald the “cupboards are bare” and without an emergency food drive, he can’t see ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Forbidden Thoughts
    by The Council of Disobedient Women   Massey Wellington Student Association had a sit-in today. Imagine a sit-in. On a campus. Against a women’s rights meeting. Did the ’60s really happen or did we fucking dream it? They gathered in the student square, an echo chamber. Sitting on soft pillows ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Much love to my loyal Ukrainian readership
    For some reasons, my post about the mystery message from inside the Downing Street bunker seemed to catch people's attention.  Quite a lot of hits from NZ (unsurprisingly) and the USA (a bit more puzzlingly, but hi there, USAians!!) and 76 views from the Ukraine.I've celebrated my Ukrainian readers in ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Another day of bonkers GNUmours (again, sorry)
    First, almost a score of Labour MPs seem to have sent a letter to the EU basically begging them to accept a deal - any deal - just so Britain can get the Heck on with Brexiting instead of being trapped in limbo:
    To avoid no deal, deliver on the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour vs working class immigrants – again!
    by Phil Duncan In 2016 the National-led government suspended the Parent Visa Category, through which migrants were able to bring their parents into New Zealand.  Since then over 5,700 people have been in immigration limbo, stuck on the visa wait list. Labour is now bringing back the scheme.  Well, sort ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Speak Up for Women press statement: on Massey University and Feminism 2020
    The following was released yesterday (Tues, October 8) by the women’s liberation organisation Speak Up for Women. On 23 September Speak Up For Women announced that we would be holding an event at the Massey University Theaterette in Wellington. The event is called Feminism 2020. The intention of the event ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Farmers support dirty rivers
    The government is currently consulting on plans to improve freshwater quality. So naturally, farmers oppose it:South Taranaki farmers are preparing to fight proposed national freshwater changes that some fear will bankrupt them. The Government's proposed National Environment Standard on Freshwater Management, released in September, rated the Waingongoro River as one ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • No-one cares about local government
    Yesterday was the last day for (reliably) posting your vote away in local body elections. Turnouts are mostly much lower than the equivalent time last year (Palmerston North is down 2.3%), and so naturally people are pushing their online-voting snake oil again. Because the online census worked so well, lets ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • The political ghosts of eugenics may matter more than the genetic
    This essay, on the political legacy of the eugenics movement, by Kenan Malik was originally published in the Observer on 6 October 2019, under the headline ‘The spirit of eugenics is still with us, as immigrants know to their cost’. Birth control. Intelligence tests. Town planning. Immigration controls. It’s striking how ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • “Surplus” again
    Another year, and the government has announced another enormous government "surplus". And just like last year, its nothing of the sort. When we have people homeless and sick and hungry, when we have schools and hospitals still falling down, when we have underpaid public servants and infrastucture unmaintained or unbuilt, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Inside the Downing Street bunker
    James Forsyth at The Spectator (I know, I know) has tapped one of his contacts inside Number Ten for an insight into the Johnson administration's thinking and strategy.It is fascinating, unsettling and quite, quite mad.  Some key points:Negotiations have stalled and the Johnson administration are keen to blame the EU: ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Taking Control Of The Nation’s Story.
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    2 weeks ago
  • Are GNUs extinct?
    Another round of tactical talks about forming a Government of National Unity have come to nothing with the Liberal Democrats still refusing countenance putting Jeremy Corbyn into Downing Street:Opposition talks on Monday made little headway over when to try and vote down Boris Johnson's government and who might succeed him as ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour chickens out again
    When the government was elected, it promised to lead the way on electric vehicles, and specifically to make the government vehicle fleet emissions-free where-practicable by 2025.They lied:There are 15,473 vehicles in the government fleet and only 78 are electric. When the coalition Government came into power in late 2017, the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Transgender extremism, violence at work against feminist meeting at British Labour Party conference
    by Nick Rogers The debate around the meaning of sex and gender made an appearance at this year’s British Labour Party conference in Brighton. Women’s Place UK – an organisation that questions the demand that biological males who self-identify as woman should have access to women’s spaces, to all-women shortlists, ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago

  • Methane reducing cattle feed one step closer
    The Government today announced its support for a project that could substantially reduce agricultural greenhouse gas emissions from cattle. The announcement was made as part of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor’s visit to Nelson’s Cawthron Aquaculture Park. The Cawthron Institute will receive $100,000 from the Government’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Bill to refresh superannuation system passes first reading
    Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni has welcomed the first reading of the New Zealand Superannuation and Veteran’s Pension Legislation Amendment Bill. “Every New Zealander has a stake in New Zealand Superannuation and Veteran’s Pension,” says Carmel Sepuloni. “They are our most common form of social assistance – nearly 800,000 New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government announces next steps in fight against measles
    Babies in Auckland aged six months and over can receive a free vaccination and children will all have access to vaccines, Associate Minister of Health Julie Anne Genter announced today at Papatoetoe High School.   The move comes as part of Government efforts to step up the fight against measles. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Speech to the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs, Pacific Futures: Connections, Identity...
    ***Check against delivery*** Good morning. It is a pleasure to be here, and to have the honour of opening this important conference on behalf of the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs. Let us take the opportunity to acknowledge all the people who have helped make today possible, including our special ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Police trial new response to high risk events
    Police Minister Stuart Nash says the safety of frontline officers and members of the public will be the focus of a new trial of specialist Police response teams in three of our largest urban centres. Police have this morning released details of an initiative to be trialled in Counties Manukau, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New awards celebrate fisheries sustainability
    The Minister of Fisheries is calling for entries for a new public award to celebrate innovation in our seafood sector. “I have established the Seafood Sustainability Awards to recognise and celebrate those throughout industry, tangata whenua and communities who demonstrate outstanding dedication and innovation towards the sustainability of New Zealand’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • More progress for women and we can do more
    Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter welcomes leaders in the private sector taking action on closing their gender pay gaps to ensure a fairer workplace for all New Zealanders. Ms Genter today launched a new report, Addressing the gender pay gap and driving women’s representation in senior leadership, from the Champions for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Proposals to curb environmental damage help our coasts and the oceans
    Government Ministers today welcomed the release of a marine environment report highlighting the four key issues affecting our oceans, estuaries and coastlines.  The release underlines the importance of government proposals to combat climate pollution, ensure clean freshwater, protect biodiversity, make land use more sustainable, and reduce waste and plastic.    Environment ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New mental health facility for Waikato
    The Government has approved funding for a new acute mental health facility for Waikato which will provide better care and support to people with mental health and addiction issues. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Health Minister Dr David Clark announced the $100 million project to replace the aging Henry Rongomau ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • 500 new te reo Māori champions in our classrooms
    The Government is making progress on its goal to integrate te reo Māori into education by 2025, with over 500 teachers and support staff already graduating from Te Ahu o te Reo Māori,  Associate Education Minister Kelvin Davis announced today. Kelvin Davis made the announcement at an awards ceremony in Waikanae today, for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Minister James Shaw welcomes 2018 Census first release
    Statistics Minister James Shaw has welcomed the first release of 2018 Census data. The first release of data today, 23 September, includes key data on population, regional growth, the number of homes and the size of different ethnic groups in New Zealand. Data from the 2018 Census will support the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Driving transparency, ethics and accountability in government use of algorithms
    Minister for Statistics James Shaw today announced a public consultation on a proposed algorithm charter for government agencies. The charter has been developed by the Government Chief Data Steward in response to growing calls for more transparency in government use of data. Computer algorithms – procedures or formulas for solving ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New Zealand and the Netherlands working together on climate change
    Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor, Climate Change Minister James Shaw and visiting Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte co-hosted a business roundtable in Auckland this morning focused on working together to address climate change.  “The Netherlands is an important partner for New Zealand. We share a strong agricultural history. Sustainable agribusiness and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Protecting fairness for workers and businesses
    The Government is taking action to build an inclusive economy where more of us receive our fair share at work and businesses can compete on great products and services, not undercutting wages and conditions, Immigration and Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says. Two consultations launched today seek feedback ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Indigenous Freshwater Fish Bill Passes
    The future for New Zealand’s threatened indigenous freshwater fish looks brighter with the passing of the Conservation (Indigenous Freshwater Fish) Amendment Bill in Parliament today said Minister of Conservation, Eugenie Sage. “Until now, our freshwater fish legislation has been 20 years out of date. We have lacked effective tools to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Kiwis to take part in world’s biggest earthquake drill
    At 1.30pm tomorrow, hundreds of thousands of Kiwis will join about 65 million people around the globe in ShakeOut, the world’s biggest earthquake drill. The annual drill is to remind people of the right action to take during an earthquake which is to Drop, Cover, Hold, and to practise their ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Rising wages and low inflation supporting Kiwis
    Kiwis are benefiting from higher wage growth and low inflation under the Coalition Government. Stats NZ data out today shows the rise in the cost of living remains low, as annual Consumers Price Index (CPI) inflation fell to 1.5% in September from 1.7% in June. “The low inflation comes as ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • NZ economy strong amid global headwinds
    New Zealand’s economic strength and resilience has been recognised in a major update on the state of the global economy. The IMF’s latest World Economic Outlook released overnight shows a reduced global growth forecast over the next two years as issues like the US-China trade war and Brexit take hold. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Keeping New Zealanders safer with better counter-terrorism laws
    Justice Minister Andrew Little has today introduced a new Bill to prevent terrorism and support the de-radicalisation of New Zealanders returning from overseas. The Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders) Bill gives the New Zealand Police the ability to apply to the High Court to impose control orders on New Zealanders who ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Improved succession and dispute resolution core of Ture Whenua changes
    A Bill that proposes targeted changes to simplify the processes for Māori land owners when engaging with the Māori Land Court has had its First Reading today. “The approach taken by the Government is to ensure that the protection of Māori land remains a priority as we seek to improve ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Speech to CTU Biennial Conference
    Let me first thank all the new unionists and members in the room. There is nothing more important to improving people’s working lives than people making the decision to care, to get on board and help, to take up the reins and get involved. Congratulations to you. You bring the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Minister ensures continued Whenuapai flight operations
    Minister of Defence Ron Mark has signed a certificate exempting the activity of engine testing at Whenuapai Airbase from the Resource Management Act 1991. The Act gives the Minister of Defence the power to exempt activities for the purposes of national security.  The certificate will mean the recent Environment Court ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • NZ joins Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action
    Finance Minister Grant Robertson has announced New Zealand will join the Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action while attending APEC meetings in Chile. The objective of the 39 member Coalition is to share information and promote action to tackle climate change. It was formed in April this year, in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Feedback Sought – Section 71 – Lyttelton Parking
    Feedback sought– Lyttelton commercial zone parking  The Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration, Poto Williams, is seeking feedback on a proposal to remove on-site car parking requirements for new developments in the Lyttelton commercial zone.  The proposal, by Christchurch City Council, asks that powers under section 71 of the Greater ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Feedback Sought – Section 71 – Hagley Oval
    Hon Minister Poto Williams Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration   MEDIA STATEMENT       Tuesday 15 October 2019 Feedback sought – Hagley Oval The Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration, Poto Williams, is seeking feedback on a proposal about Hagley Oval. The proposal was developed by Regenerate Christchurch ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • CTU speech – DPM
    Ladies and gentlemen, NZCTU President Richard Wagstaff, members of respective unions – thank you for the invitation to speak to you today. This might be preaching to the choir, but the importance of trade unions in New Zealand’s historical arch is difficult to understate. And it is my belief that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Police Association Annual Conference
    "Let’s start by acknowledging that it has been a huge year. " Police Association Annual Conference James Cook Grand Chancellor Hotel Wellington Nau mai, haere mai. Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, ka nui te mihi, ki a koutou katoa. President of the Police Association, Chris Cahill; Members of the Association and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • New Zealand announces a further P-3 deployment in support of UN sanctions
    Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters and Minister of Defence Ron Mark have announced the New Zealand Government’s decision to again deploy a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 (P-3) maritime patrol aircraft to support the implementation of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions imposing sanctions against North Korea. New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • New Zealand deeply concerned at developments in north-east Syria
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  • Howard Leaque Beekeeper programme graduation
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