Farrar illustrates WfF folly

Written By: - Date published: 9:02 am, March 4th, 2011 - 46 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?

46 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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    Not so much from a lack of nominal income but from rising mortgage interest ratesThe just released Statistics New Zealand (SNZ) estimates child poverty for the year ending June 2023 show the proportions of children on nine different poverty measures are higher than they were in the June 2022 ending ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    3 days ago
  • C.Money Luxon puts his hand in yer pocket
    1. Which of these things did C.Money Luxon, owner of 7 properties and Keepa of da Mojo not say?a. If I can pay, I should payb. I know how hard you work to pay your taxesc. Under my government the culture of treating taxpayers like an ATM is overd. Look, ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    3 days ago
  • BRYCE EDWARDS: NZ’s “media apocalypse” is shifting us into a Public Relations Democracy of di...
    Bryce Edwards writes – Democracy is the loser whenever a major media company disappears. We’ve seen a total consensus about this in the last two days – politicians, academics, and journalists have commented on the demise of Newshub, pointing out that a reduction in journalists reporting on and ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    3 days ago
  • MICHAEL BASSETT: TV One still doesn’t get the message
    Michael Bassett writes – It’s becoming clear that the state-owned TV One and its management have no intention of stopping their left-slanted news presentations despite being reminded by Karl du Fresne and others that using the airwaves to proselytise is improper journalism. Worse, it seems that the new ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    3 days ago
  • Govt is gunning for gangs – but McKee reckons some Firearms Prohibition Orders could be lifted mu...
    Buzz from the Beehive Having sorted out the war criminals and terrorists with a series of foreign affairs announcements yesterday, the government today confirmed its plans to allow police to search gang members, their vehicles and homes at any time using court-authorised firearms prohibition orders (FPOs). The orders – introduced ...
    Point of OrderBy Bob Edlin
    3 days ago
  • What does ‘entitlement’ look like, Chris Luxon?
    Wow. A mortgage free apartment, but he claims ‘accommodation expenses’ (really a taxpayer-funded allowance) of $1,000 per week – on top of his $471,000 pa salary and other benefits, etc etc. The National Party CEO must be so used to the good life, eh? The Prime Minister will receive a ...
    The PaepaeBy Peter Aranyi
    3 days ago
  • ELE LUDEMANN: What’s the cost of slow roads?
    Ele Ludemann writes –  It used to take us an easy hour and a half to get from home to Dunedin. If traffic was light with no hold-ups we could get get there in a little more than an hour and a quarter. That was then, now is a ...
    Point of OrderBy Bob Edlin
    3 days ago
  • How is that News?
    Before we begin today, a word of warning.Some of you might think this newsletter is some old leftie yelling into the internet that things ought to be better. You’d be right.That kindness wasn’t just a slogan that sounded good, and in our limited period of existence it just makes sense ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    3 days ago
  • The Prime Hypocrite
    National's Christopher Luxon unveils trio of fiscal transparency policies, RNZ, 15 May 2023: The government had "abused" taxpayers for the past six years, Luxon said. "I am sick of taxpayers being treated like a bottomless ATM, to be raided at any time, for any reason. National will respect taxpayers ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • NZ on Hamas and Zionist Settlers.
    Here is one for the road before I shut down for a while due to the previously mentioned family medical issues. It is about NZ designating Hamas as a terrorist entity, adding its political wing to the 2010 decision to … Continue reading ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    4 days ago
  • Migration surge reduced inflation, says Orr
    Record high net migration in 2023 produced a net detraction from inflation because of a surge in labour supply, but the effects may be more inflationary this year. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: Te Pūtea Matua (Reserve Bank) Governor Adrian Orr told me in an interview yesterday that record ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • Weekly Roundup 1-March-2024
    Welcome to Friday, and to March, traditionally the busiest month for people trying to get into and around our city. The Northwestern Cycleway has been going gangbusters this week. How’s it looking out there for you, around the rest of the isthmus? Here are some of the articles that caught ...
    Greater AucklandBy Greater Auckland
    4 days ago
  • February AMA
    Hi,As someone generous enough to pay for Webworm — literally allowing this thing to exist — I always want to give you extra stuff (next week a story I’ve been wanting to tell for about eight years) and make myself available to answer any questions.Hence these AMAs, which I really ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    4 days ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #9 2024
    Open access notables Rockfall from an increasingly unstable mountain slope driven by climate warming, Stoffel et al., Nature Geoscience: Rockfall in high-mountain regions is thought to be changing due to accelerating climate warming and permafrost degradation, possibly resulting in enhanced activity and larger volumes involved in individual falls. Yet the systematic lack ...
    4 days ago
  • Newshub awaits a miracle – but in the meantime its Mātauranga Māori debate has spurred Jerry Coy...
    Emeritus Professor Jerry Coyne, from his base in the United States, may well be oblivious to the furore raised about the state of  the news media in New Zealand – and the implications for our democracy – after TV3’s American owners announced Newshub’s fate.  The news service will be shut ...
    Point of OrderBy Bob Edlin
    4 days ago
  • Correction
    Sorry!!! Today’s edition has the wrong damn link for Chlöe Swarbrick’s excellent speech.This is the right one. Read more ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    4 days ago
  • Correction
    Sorry!!! Today’s edition has the wrong damn link for Chlöe Swarbrick’s excellent speech.This is the right one. Read more ...
    More than a fieldingBy David Slack
    4 days ago
  • A speech and a beer, both delivered perfectly
    So, what can we do about these deplorable people and the appalling things they are doing?Every time Chlöe Swarbrick gets to her feet or leans into a mic, she offers a very good  answer. Clear, plain, compelling words. Clear, plain, compelling thinking.Guys, she tells new MPs who have just given maiden ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    4 days ago
  • A speech and a beer, both delivered perfectly
    So, what can we do about these deplorable people and the appalling things they are doing?Every time Chlöe Swarbrick gets to her feet or leans into a mic, she offers a very good  answer. Clear, plain, compelling words. Clear, plain, compelling thinking.Guys, she tells new MPs who have just given maiden ...
    More than a fieldingBy David Slack
    4 days ago
  • 2024 Reading Summary: February (+ Writing Update)
    Completed reads for February: Tarzan of the Apes, by E.R. Burroughs The Lost World, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle The Poison Belt, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Struwwelpeter: Merry Stories and Funny Pictures, by Heinrich Hoffman The Moon Hoax, by Richard Adams Locke The Strange Voyage and Adventures of ...
    4 days ago
  • Aoteraoa, Ukraine, and Gaza
    Today the government designated the political wing of Hamas as a terrorist entity, making supporting them a criminal offence. I honestly don't know much about Hamas' organisation, or how involved its politicians were in planning its crimes in October last year, but when Israel is actively carrying out a genocide ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • ETS review will be good news (we think) for the forest sector but govt gets tough with Hamas and Isr...
    Buzz from the Beehive When the Luxon government took office last year, forest owners and investors were among the myriads of interest groups who pressed incoming ministers with pleadings, urgings and advice – typically self-serving –  for change. The forestry bunch hoped the new government would give clearer direction on ...
    Point of OrderBy Bob Edlin
    4 days ago
  • Tougher Love.
    "Ullo, ullo, ullo, what's coming off here then?" Mark Mitchell’s Gang Laws are separating the Liberal Sheep from the Authoritarian Goats.  THE INTENSIFYING POLITICAL CONTROVERSY over the Coalition Government’s policy on gangs promises to be one of those sheep-from-goats moments. While the Left will veer instinctively towards the sociological, the Right ...
    4 days ago
  • The Clue Is In The Name.
    Truth In Advertising? The Nats do best when they take the “National” part of their name seriously, WHEN ITS FOUNDERS christened New Zealand’s newest anti-socialist party “National”, they had two objectives. The first was largely cosmetic. The second, and much more important objective, was ideological.In 1936, the year in which ...
    4 days ago
  • Another forced break.
    Well, the time has come yet again for my son to go back into Starship for another major surgery (the fourth in five months). The mass in his chest is growing and has enveloped his left carotid artery as well … Continue reading ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    4 days ago
  • BRYCE EDWARDS:  How Wellington City Council got captured by vested interests
    Bryce Edwards writes – Wellington City has become a great case study for those that are suspicious that both local and central government politicians have become enthralled by property developers, the “professional managerial class”, and other vested interests. Politicians from parties of both left and right are increasingly ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    4 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on the Newshub/Smokefree twin fiascos
    H</spanere’s a tale of two sunset industries. One has a track record of quality investigative reporting, and sound reportage of the 24/7 news cycle. The other sunset industry peddles a deadly substance that kills and injures tens of thousands of New Zealanders every year, while imposing significant annual costs on ...
    5 days ago
  • RBNZ's dovish pivot revives rate cut hopes
    The question now is which hint banks will take: the one from Orr that they pass on rate cuts, or the one from Assistant Governor Karen Silk saying they have some leeway to continue not passing them on. File Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The Reserve Bank held the ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    5 days ago
  • That was Then, This is Now #32 – What's the difference between aluminium and democracy?
    ..Thanks for reading Frankly Speaking ! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.That was then…Rio Tinto will not reimburse the $30 million Government subsidy it received to keep Tiwai Point open, in spite of posting a $3.7 billion 2013 profit.[…]…if Rio Tinto had closed straightaway and ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    5 days ago
  • A Market Model for Intercity Rail
    The North Island Main Trunk rail line between Auckland and Wellington is 680km long, mostly electrified, and low speed for intercity rail (80-100kph). It’s a major public asset, but woefully underutilised. How can we work this asset harder, to deliver way more benefits for our country and our people? This ...
    Greater AucklandBy Patrick Reynolds
    5 days ago
  • Redundancies Bite.
    We all knew this government meant redundancies - lots of them. National highlighted they’d be taking a scalpel to government departments, cutting them to the bone. ACT fantasized about going deeper.Thousands losing their jobs in a sector that won’t be hiring any time soon. I could make a joke here ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    5 days ago
  • Tough choices on climate change for new government
    Slowly but inexorably, the country is getting to the point where it is going to have to make some tough choices about actually lowering greenhouse gas emissions rather than planting or buying its way out of them. Prime Minister Christopher Luxon, at the weekend, removed any last hope that climate ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    5 days ago
  • That was Then, This is Now #31 – Urgent for me, but not for thee?
    ..Thanks for reading Frankly Speaking ! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.That was then…“In Parliament today, Labour was pushed to justify their use of urgency to rush through a Bill to get rid of a public veto on Māori wards, and they couldn’t,” National’s Local ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    5 days ago
  • Rattus Supermarketicus: Countdown Reopens
    So my infamously rat-infested local supermarket was finally able to re-open today, after spending a good two and a half weeks closed. https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/510363/countdown-dunedin-south-reopens-after-rat-infestation I went in for a look this evening, having heard that they were offering chocolates earlier in the day. I was disappointed. No chocolates. ...
    5 days ago
  • Clearly still no adults in this Chaos Cabinet, aiming to sell Aotearoa off to the highest bidders…
    Grant Roberston has left the Labour team in Parliament, Efeso Collins tragically died at the outset of what was surely to be a stellar career as an MP… a heavy result last year, losses and a tragedy to start this year. That overall sense of tragedy is not limited ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    5 days ago
  • Productivity Commission gone tomorrow, Māori Health Authority gone in June – so what should we do...
    The Productivity Commission will cease operations tomorrow, to make way for the new Ministry for Regulation. On the same day, the Waitangi Tribunal will begin an urgent inquiry into the government’s proposal to disestablish the Māori Health Authority. But legislation passed under urgency by Parliament will result in the authority being ...
    Point of OrderBy Bob Edlin
    5 days ago
  • QUESTIONNAIRE NEW ZEALAND
    So you want to be a member of this exciting new government, eh? Good thinking! There’s obviously no future in journalism. We’re not just hiring any old comms person though. We want someone with the right attitude and MOJO. So grab a pen and fill out this questionnaire will you? ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    5 days ago
  • Another secret OIA “consultation”
    When the previous government decided in 2018 to review the OIA, the Ministry of Justice decided to do the entire thing in secret, planning a "targeted consultation" with a secret, hand-picked group of lawyers, bloggers and commentators. Because obviously, wider civil society has no interest in the operation of the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Puff! And before you can get through a packet of 20, Parliament will have stubbed out parts of Labo...
    Buzz from the Beehive Health dominated the government’s announcements over the past 24 hour or so, at the same time as Parliament was debating legislation to abolish the Maori Health Authority and repeal parts of the previous government’s planned changes to regulate smoked tobacco. Health Minister Shane Reti brandished a ...
    Point of OrderBy Bob Edlin
    5 days ago
  • Journalism in New Zealand Is Collapsing
    Hi,I was not intending to send out a Webworm today, and I hate that I am having to write about this.After nearly 35 years of broadcasting, the TV newsroom in New Zealand that was my home for about a decade is set to close in June.Some of my closest and ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    5 days ago
  • A revolting breach of Te Tiriti
    In 2019, the Waitangi Tribunal released a preliminary report in the Wai 2575 inquiry, finding pervasive inequities in the New Zealand health system which systematically disadvantaged Māori, in breach of Ti Tiriti O Waitangi. It recommended the creation of an independent Māori Health Authority as one way of remedying these ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Bishop wants house prices to halve vs income
    TL;DR: Housing, Infrastructure and RMA Reform minister Minister Chris Bishop gave the new Government’s most important and ambitious speech of its first 100 days yesterday, pledging to flood cities with land for homes and help give councils new revenue to pay for the water and transport infrastructure needed to build ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • Lyin' Luxon
    All we want is a touch of truthnot cue-card words for the polling booththis ballhead man and his MacDonalds wisdomselling soap or a new tax systemSo begin the lyrics for the new single, Lyin’ Luxon (and his tobacco goons)”, from Darren Watson - released just this morning. You can check ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    6 days ago
  • Albo gives Luxon a big invite
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon gets his first big foreign affairs opportunity next week when he travels to Melbourne for the 50th Anniversary of Australia’s partnership with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has invited the heads of all ten members for a special summit. ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    6 days ago
  • Of Mining Interests and the West Coast-Tasman Result: Look at the Split Vote
    The various New Zealand election donations have been disclosed, and one Jonathan Milne has noticed the role of mining interests in backing an independent candidate on the West Coast: https://newsroom.co.nz/2024/02/23/big-coal-company-bought-west-coast-election-campaign/ The article goes on to suggest that the independent candidate’s performance – garnering some 5903 votes – was key ...
    6 days ago
  • At a glance – Is Greenland gaining or losing ice?
    On February 14, 2023 we announced our Rebuttal Update Project. This included an ask for feedback about the added "At a glance" section in the updated basic rebuttal versions. This weekly blog post series highlights this new section of one of the updated basic rebuttal versions and serves as a ...
    6 days ago
  • Dark money has entered the New Zealand electoral scene at unprecedented levels
    Radio NZ’s Farah Hancock has analysed the Electoral Commission returns of money paid to influence the 2023 NZ General Election. Her article $2m surge in election campaign spending by third-party groups (RNZ) shows that as well as the huge donations-directly-to-the-parties imbalance, previously reported, a large amount of untraceable dark money ...
    The PaepaeBy Peter Aranyi
    6 days ago
  • I remember better days
    The school property system is BORDERING ON CRISIS according to the Prime Minister and his Education Minister.Same old crisis panic button. God only knows what they’ll press when they get a real one.The self-serving agenda here is pretty transparent: Find ourselves an out for not delivering what people expect us ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    6 days ago
  • No, it isn’t a surprise – the government is disestablishing the Māori Health Authority (just a...
    Latest from the Beehive The mainstream news media have been grimly auguring this news for  the past few days under headings such as… Axing Māori Health Authority before hearing ‘disrespectful’ — expert (One News); Coalition Government to forge ahead with repeal of smokefree laws, Māori Health Authority this week ...
    Point of OrderBy Bob Edlin
    6 days ago
  • BRYCE EDWARDS: NZ elections are being Americanised with “dark money” flowing into campaign grou...
    Bryce Edwards writes –  Elections in the United States are dominated by big money. But what isn’t commonly understood is that most of it is raised and spent, not by the political parties and candidates for office, but by special interest groups who run their own election campaigns to ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    6 days ago
  • More dishonesty from Costello
    When Cancer Minister Casey Costello was caught lying to the media and to Parliament about whether or not she had requested advice on cutting tobacco excise tax to benefit the cancer industry, her explanation was to blame "confusion arising from my understanding of the differentiation between seeking specific advice and ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • LINDSAY MITCHELL: Child poverty – complex or simple?
    Question: Do you understand how the child poverty statistics are derived? Clearly some people do not. Last week the latest child poverty statistics were all over the media. But there are a number of misunderstandings that need addressing. Like this one from NewstalkZB’s John MacDonald who wrote: Living in households ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    6 days ago
  • CHRIS TROTTER: Tougher love
    Mark Mitchell’s gang laws will separate the liberal sheep from the authoritarian goats Chris Trotter writes – THE INTENSIFYING POLITICAL CONTROVERSY over the Coalition Government’s policy on gangs promises to be one of those sheep-from-goats moments. While the Left will veer instinctively towards the sociological, the Right ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    6 days ago
  • Bernard's Top 10 @ 10 am 'pick 'n' mix' for Feb 27
    A mega-documentary about the influence of China’s Communist Party in our political system that remains stuck inside Stuff’s editorial system. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāHere’s my top ten links to news, papers and reports elsewhere as at 10 am on Tuesday February 27:Today’s must-read: Whatever happened to Stuff Circuit’s ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    7 days ago
  • The day our infrastructure deficits came home to roost
    Ugly moments of infrastructure deficit truth are popping up all over, including the revelation that Wellington’s train service will be disrupted for up to 15 years. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: National and Labour are bickering over who is to blame for ‘mismanagement’ of infrastructure spending on rail and ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    7 days ago
  • It’s March Madness Time again
    We may still be in February but yesterday marked the start of March Madness, typically the busiest time of the year for transport of all modes. That’s due to a number of factors, such as: The summer holiday period is over meaning All schools and now University’s being ...
    7 days ago

  • GPS 2024: Investing in reliable public transport
    Transport Minister Simeon Brown has confirmed targeted investment of more than $2 billion over the next three years for public transport projects and services, as part of the draft Government Policy Statement (GPS) on Land Transport.  “Delivering reliable, effective, and efficient public transport is a priority for the Coalition Government. The ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 hours ago
  • GPS 2024: Keeping New Zealanders safer on our roads
    The Coalition Government will keep New Zealanders safe on our roads with a stronger focus on road policing and enforcement, investment in new and safe roading infrastructure, and targeting the leading contributors to fatal crashes, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.  “The draft Government Policy Statement (GPS) on Land Transport outlines ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 hours ago
  • GPS 2024: Keeping New Zealanders safer on our roads
    The Coalition Government will keep New Zealanders safe on our roads with a stronger focus on road policing and enforcement, investment in new and safe roading infrastructure, and targeting the leading contributors to fatal crashes, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.  “The draft Government Policy Statement (GPS) on Land Transport outlines ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 hours ago
  • GPS 2024: 15 new Roads of National Significance
    The Coalition Government’s priority for investment in the draft Government Policy Statement (GPS) on Land Transport is to support economic growth and productivity and ensure our land transport system allows people and freight to move quickly and safely, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.  “Delivering on commitments in our Coalition Agreements, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 hours ago
  • GPS 2024: 15 new Roads of National Significance
    The Coalition Government’s priority for investment in the draft Government Policy Statement (GPS) on Land Transport is to support economic growth and productivity and ensure our land transport system allows people and freight to move quickly and safely, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.  “Delivering on commitments in our Coalition Agreements, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 hours ago
  • GPS 2024: New $500 million Pothole Prevention Fund
    The Coalition Government will increase investment in road maintenance, including establishing a new $500 million Pothole Prevention Fund to tackle the record number of potholes on our roads, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says. “The draft Government Policy Statement (GPS) on Land Transport changes the way we invest in road maintenance, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 hours ago
  • GPS 2024: New $500 million Pothole Prevention Fund
    The Coalition Government will increase investment in road maintenance, including establishing a new $500 million Pothole Prevention Fund to tackle the record number of potholes on our roads, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says. “The draft Government Policy Statement (GPS) on Land Transport changes the way we invest in road maintenance, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 hours ago
  • GPS 2024: Over $20 billion to get transport back on track
    Transport Minister Simeon Brown has released the draft Government Policy Statement (GPS) on Land Transport, outlining the Coalition Government’s plan to build and maintain a transport system that enables people to get to where they need to go quickly and safely.  “Over the next three years, our investment of around ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 hours ago
  • GPS 2024: Over $20 billion to get transport back on track
    Transport Minister Simeon Brown has released the draft Government Policy Statement (GPS) on Land Transport, outlining the Coalition Government’s plan to build and maintain a transport system that enables people to get to where they need to go quickly and safely.  “Over the next three years, our investment of around ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 hours ago
  • Remand prisoners to receive rehabilitation support
    The coalition Government has taken the first steps to ensure prisoners on remand can access the rehabilitation and reintegration support they need to turn their lives around, says Corrections Minister Mark Mitchell.   “The number of people on remand has increased by 146 per cent over the past 10 years. With ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Ongoing security plan will help keep hospital EDs safe
    Health Minister Dr Shane Reti says a continuation of increased security measures at eight key hospitals around New Zealand reflects the Government’s ongoing commitment to the safety of healthcare staff, and patients. “I’m very pleased Health NZ – Te Whatu Ora have been able to confirm that additional security support ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government supports safer digital transactions
    The Government supports the recommendations of the Finance and Expenditure Committee reports on bank scam processes, Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Andrew Bayly says. “Scams are becoming more sophisticated and causing a growing number of vulnerable Kiwis significant emotional harm and financial loss. “Altogether, nearly $200 million was lost to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government congratulates JPs on centenary
    Associate Minister of Justice Nicole McKee has extended her congratulations to the Royal Federation of New Zealand Justices’ Associations on its centenary this year. The occasion is being celebrated at the Federation’s annual AGM and Conference, which opens in Wellington today.  “Justices of the Peace (JPs) play a vital role ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government going after gangs’ guns with FPOs
    The Government is continuing its work to restore law and order, announcing new measures that will enable police to crack down on gangs through Firearms Prohibition Orders (FPOs).  “Firearms are being illegally used by gangs to intimidate, to commit violent crime in support of their profit making, and to initiate ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Open ocean salmon farm a win for the economy
    The final approval of New Zealand King Salmon’s Blue Endeavour open ocean aquaculture project is a significant step for New Zealand’s aquaculture, and a win for the economy, Oceans and Fisheries Minister Shane Jones says.  “Blue Endeavour will be the first open ocean aquaculture salmon farm in New Zealand. It’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • NZ – UAE trade agreement consultation begins
    Following a meeting with UAE Trade Minister Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi at the WTO Ministerial Conference in Abu Dhabi, Trade Minister Todd McClay has launched public consultation for a trade agreement between New Zealand and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).   “The UAE is a top-20 export market for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Minister thanks Public Service Commissioner
    Public Service Minister Nicola Willis has thanked retiring Public Service Commissioner Peter Hughes for his 43 years of service. Mr Hughes retires today, after serving eight years as Public Service Commissioner.  “Peter Hughes is an outstanding public servant who has served many governments, regardless of their political leaning, with professionalism and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Tourism data shows determination of sector
    New tourism data out today shows the continued importance of tourism to the New Zealand economy as tourism steps up to become our second-biggest export earner, Tourism Minister Matt Doocey says. “The Tourism Satellite Account shows how strongly tourism rebounded post-pandemic with total tourism expenditure in New Zealand of $37.7b ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Housing Minister thanks outgoing Kāinga Ora Chair
    Housing Minister Chris Bishop has today thanked outgoing Kāinga Ora – Homes & Communities Chair Vui Mark Gosche for his many years of public service. “Mr Gosche tendered his resignation as Chair yesterday evening. He will remain a member of the Board until the end of March,” says Housing Minister ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New sanctions package against Russia
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters today announced a new package of sanctions as part of the ongoing international sanction response to Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.   The new sanctions are:   Implementation of the G7-plus price cap on Russian-origin oil; making explicit the prohibition on exporting restricted ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Travel bans on extremist Israeli settlers
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and Foreign Minister Winston Peters have announced travel bans on a number of extremist Israeli settlers who have committed violent attacks against Palestinians in the West Bank.   “New Zealand is seriously concerned by the significant increase in extremist violence perpetrated by Israeli settlers against Palestinian populations in recent months. This is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • NZ designates entirety of Hamas as terrorist entity
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and Foreign Minister Winston Peters have announced today the designation of Hamas in its entirety as a terrorist entity.   “The terrorist attacks by Hamas in October 2023 were brutal and we have unequivocally condemned them,” Mr Luxon says.    Following these attacks, then Prime Minister Chris Hipkins commissioned advice from officials about designating the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Government announces independent review of forestry ETS costs
    Forestry Minister Todd McClay has today announced an independent review into the forestry component of the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) Register to ensure it is efficient and cost-effective. “Up and down the country forestry owners have been raising concerns about the excessive costs that have been imposed upon them by ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Access barriers to PET-CT scans removed
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