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For whom the Toll bells

Written By: - Date published: 10:26 am, May 5th, 2008 - 62 comments
Categories: assets, economy, election 2008, Environment - Tags: ,

The Government has bought back the rail stock and ferries from Toll for $655 million.

The privatisation of these vital assets, which are also natural monopolies, by National was a disaster from Day 1. National flogged the railways and the ferries off dirt cheap to their mates who asset-stripped them by slashing maintenance and taking huge profits. As every asset-stripper knows, at some point the Government has to stop economically vital assets being degraded and that’s what happened when Labour bought back the railways and the rail stock and ferries went into the ownership of Australian-based Toll.

The situation stopped getting worse but hasn’t improved: Toll wanted to make big profits too, it didn’t want to pay for the use of the tracks, and it was tempting to direct freight away from rail to its trucking line. While the Government has poured money into improving the tracks, Toll hasn’t done its part. More and more freight is moving by road when it should be going by rail.

20 years of under-investment and greedy owners have left us with a dilapidated rail and ferry system. Now the Government owns the whole system again it doesn’t need to waste time and effort trying to get private wonders to invest; it can start to make the upgrades that are needed itself. Rail should be an integral part of our national infrastructure, especially as peak oil approaches and more energy efficient means of transport are needed (rail is at least three times more energy efficient than road).

National has said it will sell the railways now the Government owns them again (well English said that, then Key said no asset sales in a first term, so who knows where they stand). Labour will undoubtedly be planning a major investment programme. The ownership of rail and the broader issue of public assets is shaping up to be a central election issue.

62 comments on “For whom the Toll bells ”

  1. Steve Pierson 1

    So happy I got to use that pic of the wee kiwi and the train again

  2. higherstandard 2

    Nice pic Steve

    Will be interesting to see the debate on this issue I’m am ambivalent about whether it’s a good or bad thing.

    As Michael Cullen said Toll had done a good job increasing freight volumes and streamlining the operation of terminals, but it had struggled to run a “commercially viable” business without government support.

    Personally I’d love to have a train system as good as those in certain parts of Europe and NZers using it more – my biggest concern is however that they won’t and the government will find it just as difficult as Toll to make it run economically – although I’d be delighted to see the opposite happen.

  3. Great stuff, does the taxpayer inherit the billion plus dollar track upgrade bill? Hell, those tracks need some big time work, ask any Coal train driver.

  4. Very good. Now we need to buy back contact energy.

    Weird captcha is “confiscate it” – I like this very much.

  5. Steve Pierson 5

    They sure do need work and that’s going to be easier to do now the Goverment owns both the tracks and the rolling stock.

    I’m not sure we can ever expect rail to be economic in itself – it is the broader benefits it brings to the economy and the enviornment that are important.

    It will be interesting to see what Natioanl has to say: English said they would sell but later Key said no asset sales in a first term

  6. Perhaps some of the more marginal long-haul passenger routes, e.g. the Southerner and Overlander could be run as an afternoon-evening service – that way tourists could hop off along the route and stay for a day at one of the many small stops.

    This move is great for regional New Zealand, increased access to passenger terminals and freight flows will give some well-paid jobs back to the regions.

    One statement I have heard today particularly sticks in my mind – in response to the criticism that the NZ Railways Corporation was used to hide unemployment – “Surely, working at the railways, even under its old guise in which it is unlikely to return to, is better than unemployment for the individuals concerned?”

  7. So Steve “not sure we can ever expect rail to be economic in itself” ? Then why are we throwing money at it? The (private) trucking companies can make a profit while paying taxes to pay for building and maintaining roads and to subsidize their unprofitable rail competition. I’m not clear how this is going to stop the free fall of our productivity statistics: http://www.interest.co.nz/ratesblog/index.php/2008/01/28/chart-productivity/

  8. James Kearney 8

    mawgxxxiv- trucks don’t pay their own way on the roads considering the damage their weight does. The rest of us are effectively subsidising them, not to mention their carbon emissions.

  9. Steve Pierson 9

    mawgxxxxiv. you could never expect a health system that delivers care to everyone regardless of ability to pay to make a profit or an education system that gives educations to all up to 16 to be profitable and yet we have those because we realise there are wider benefits to having them. It is a nonsense to look only at the profitablity of an individual piece of infrastructure when considering it’s value to the economy.

    bernard hickley’s an idiot, I won’t be turning to him for economic advice.

  10. James Kearney 10

    a partisan idiot too

  11. Ted 11

    The Government did a ripping job of maintaining the railroads last time it owned them, I can’t wait for the repeat!

  12. Tane 12

    Of course Ted, they’ll be run on an entirely different model, one proven to be far more efficient than the ‘flog it off cheap to our robber barons mates’ model favoured by the Nats.

  13. Stephen 13

    The State Owned Enterprises Act might help in this case.

  14. Susan 14

    The pun in the title pains my achy breaky heart. But the song in my head is planes, trains and automobiles. It’s just brilliant that Kiwis are getting their assets back.

    Captcha: Bowie Ministerial

    I’d vote for that.

  15. Seems crazy to me that they freight coal from one side of the South Island to the other. Build the jetty at Granity Solid Energy. Go on. I dare you? Makes sense with rising fuel costs and at that other crap!

  16. James: could you publish the link to the numbers that show that heavy trucks don’t pay their way ? If you indicating cars are cross-subsidizing trucks isn’t the simple answer to change the tax regimes on petrol and diesel so that they reflect the actual costs attributable to the two different classes of vehicle. This still doesn’t rationalize cars & trucks subsidizing unprofitable rail freight.

    Steve: the implications of the health sector analogy you are offering is that those who opt for private health care should pay an additional special tax to fund the public health care system. The public health care system (unlike public freight transport) is actually providing a service that is not entirely duplicated by the private sector so the analogy is entirely meaningful.

    Surely the only way for long distance freight trains to turn a profit in New Zealand is for the government to regulate the ability of trucks to compete. Perhaps that is next on the ‘to do list’?

    Reading the rationale for electrification of Auckland’s passenger rail network ( and the special regional fuel tax to pay for it) it is interesting to observe that the actual benefits are hard to pin down and are not quantitatively monetized http://www.arc.govt.nz/transport/rail-electrification/electric-trains-and-a-regional-fuel-tax.cfm

  17. Here is an interesting alternative to electric trains: electric trucks !!!

    “Volvo has been working on research and development of hybrid technology for 20 years. Volvo’s tests and simulations show that hybrid drive for heavy vehicles is most suitable for vehicles forced during operations to make many starts and stops, such as buses, distribution trucks and refuse vehicles. In these cases, fuel savings can be up to 35%.” http://www.gizmag.com/go/6839/

  18. Phil 18

    In order to believe that this is a good move, you have to implicityly agree that more freight should be shipped by track, and less by road, than the current ‘regieme’ produces.

    I’m not convinced this is a good idea at all.

    If you want to move freight by road, the process is this;
    Get a truck to your warehouse, put good X into back of truck, drive to destination, pull good X out of truck into destination warehouse

    on the other hand, by rail the process goes;
    Get a truck to your warehouse, put good X into back of truck, drive to rail yard (which in all likelyhood invlolves navigating city streets) take good X out of truck and put it into railyard warehouse, put good X on rail line, train goes to destination, good X comes off rail line and into rail yard warehouse. Get a truck to the destination rail yard warehouse, and drive to destination warehouse (which again probably invloves navigating city streets)

    How can this be more efficient?

  19. Ari 19

    Maw: The point is that if you did jig around the taxes so that trucks paid their fair share, then there’d simply be an increased price passed on to the consumer for goods transported by road, notably food. Now, if rail is largely more viable, that might not be a bad idea in general, but their are consequences to removing subsidies and we should consider the cons as well as the pros when we’re considering removing them.

    Whatever you set the taxes to, we’re ALWAYS going to pay a social cost for the transportation network- if we’re going to have to pay that cost anyway, why not focus on transport that hauls more people or cargo for less cost, like trains? 😉

  20. Hoolian 20

    Labour will undoubtedly be planning a major investment programme. The ownership of rail and the broader issue of public assets is shaping up to be a central election issue.

    And whose going to pay for this? How can the Govt afford to buy back rails when it won’t buy (but rather sell) electricity lines or provide tax cuts to middle-income NZ?

    Why is the Govt doing this now, when current fiscal forecasts predict low (or no) budget surplus, when the Govt had a $11 billion surplus in the last few years? Now, the economy is slowing, household budgets are been squeezed and we’re all over taxed and underfed. Just another thing that NZ’ers have to pay for, with no benefit to any of us except the possiblity of Labour 4th term.

    Good one Labour. While I support the idea behind this intiative, I think its all too late, with only ‘potential’ gains for the common Kiwi – a lame duck I suspect.

  21. MikeE 21

    Are there any means of production that shouldn’t be nationalised according to the standard?

    [who are you asking? we’re a diverse group from across the Left. I would argue that most businesses ought not be nationalised but that we should as a society own the infrastructure that our economy is built on – other Standardistas might argue to the left or the centre of that position. SP]

    [lprent: And I’m to the right of SP – read the policy (top of the screen). Hey Steve you’re blocking my fun.]

  22. Steve Pierson 22

    Phil. Isn’t that an argument against having any decentralised production and distribution at all? If we all grew our own vegetables and made our own clothes we wouldn’t have to have trucks driving from point a to b to c at all. tha’s the logical conclusion to your argument.

    It’s more energy efficent to haul freight over long distance by rail than truck and the better your rail system the less you have to worry about delays.

    Dad4J – I agree with you about the coal from the West Coast too.

  23. Tane 23

    Are there any means of production that shouldn’t be nationalised according to the standard?

    Like most things MikeE, it depends which one of us you talk to.

  24. mondograss 24

    I wonder if they’ll let it be run as a standalone SOE, or if they’ll try to integrate with something else. NZ Post for example is a pretty good freight and logistics company in its own right. I wonder how they’d feel about running the freight side of the operation?

  25. Draco TB 25

    on the other hand, by rail the process goes;

    Or it could go like this:
    Load goods into container, truck picks up container and delivers it to the holding yard, Container placed on train and taken to destination where the process is reversed. I can see business opportunities here.

    Basically what you’re doing there is overstating the process to make it look more complicated. All of the process that you listed would still have to be done if there were no trains involved. That courier van that picked up the parcel for delivery to another city isn’t going to drive to the other city. It’s going to go to the warehouse where it will be packed with other parcels and put on a larger type of transport.

    Surely the only way for long distance freight trains to turn a profit in New Zealand is for the government to regulate the ability of trucks to compete.

    If it benefits society as a whole then why shouldn’t they be regulated?

    Captcha: highway have – definitely what’s happened since trucking was deregulated.

  26. randal 26

    nix to the railways dude…I wanna trip to disneyland, a spa pool, anew used car, aplasma tv, a trip to antarctica, a hardly davison, a leaf blower, a angle grinder, a vertical shafter, a horizontal planer, a trip to china to fulfill my destiny, and and and and and then we can fix up all the stuff that needs fixing…first things first ok!

  27. Phil 27

    “Isn’t that an argument against having any decentralised production and distribution at all? If we all grew our own vegetables and made our own clothes we wouldn’t have to have trucks driving from point a to b to c at all. tha’s the logical conclusion to your argument.”

    No, that’s not the logical conclusion at all, because you’re ignoring the fixed costs all those individual operations have to cover.

  28. “Are there any means of production that shouldn’t be nationalised according to the standard?”

    Hey, mike, turn that question on yourself…

    Are there any means of production that you would like to see in state ownership?

    Monopoly private providers lead to failed markets, which the taxpayer either ends up subsidising, regulating, or consumers paying out of their arse. Now, Labour has ended the private monopolies of two ex-SOE’s.

    Now all transportation will have to comply with triple bottom line standards.

  29. higherstandard 29

    Mondo

    Good lateral thinking

  30. Ari: re-balancing (if necessary, I have yet to see a link to the numbers) of overall road tax between heavy & light vehicles would not increase the overall tax take. We might pay more for food but less for petrol.

    “why not focus on transport that hauls more people or cargo for less cost” , clearly trains have not been able to achieve this or Toll wouldn’t have ditched them and the taxpayer wouldn’t have been the only buyer.

    Buying the trains was ,like blocking the sale of privately owned AIAL shares against Treasury & OIA advice, a politically & poll driven election year tactic.

  31. Billy 31

    People may not remember but, I think right up until the Lange government, if a business wanted to transport goods other than by rail, it had to demonstrate why transport by road was impractical and get a license from the government. I think this was openly acknowledged as a straight protection-of-the-government’s-business thing.

    It is not difficult to imagine that we are not far from going back to that.

  32. Billy 32

    “…why transport by road was impractical…”

    why transport by rail was impractical…”

  33. ghostwhowalks 33

    Billy says
    ..It is not difficult to imagine that we are not far from going back to that.

    not .. not… back ..
    A triple negative.

    They protected the rail because there wasnt the money for investment in roads

    AS for the numbers
    ONE 40 t TRUCK does as much damage as 9600 cars
    http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2007-09-10-3878428638_x.htm

    Look at the Albany to Silverdale motorway.
    needs major repairs after 5 years only.
    Normal design period for the road is 20 years, with say resealing every 6 -8 years

  34. Billy 34

    When did “back” become a negative?

  35. Santi 35

    As a Toll shareholder I must congratulate the socialist Labour government for paying a handsome premium for my shares. It made my day and a few thousand dollars richer.

    Who says socialists aren’t losers? Well…..they are!

  36. RedLogix 36

    Santi,

    And if as a Troll shareholder you had lost money on the deal (it’s a free market after all which means you were free to loose as well as make on the deal)…. you would have been here accusing socialists of being corrupt thieves trampling on your sacred property rights.

  37. If rail is strategic, why are power lines not?
    And why did Cullen pay in excess of 200 million dollars more than this is worth. A socialist and other peoples money. I despair.

  38. Swampy 38

    There’s a lot of bollocks going out about this deal, especially the “sustainable” bit. All the rail tracks in the world are no use if we cannot economically export our stuff to the world, so to hear the Greens ranting on about reducing our dependence on oil is complete nonsense when their idea of NZ is an impoverished hippie backwater. As oil prices continue to rise the cost of shipping our goods to overseas markets will make much of our export sector unviable and the businesses will close up and move to Europe or the US (where their rail networks can ship the stuff economically to major population base) thus losing more and more jobs and shrinking our economy bigtime.

  39. Swampy 39

    Yes D4J why do they ship the coal across the South Island? Probably because Labour know they will have to close the coal mines soon to comply with their Kyoto commitments and don’t want to waste the money at Granity.

  40. How many facts can you manufacture at once?
    Rail is a natural monopoly: So how come it competes with trucks and coastal shipping? Natural monopolies have no readily substitutable alternatives, rail does.
    20 years of underinvestment and greedy owners: Well given five of those years were under state ownership, what does that say? Especially since the state spent $1.35billion bailing it out of debt in 1990. Great investment.
    Rail is at least three times more fuel efficient than road: Ignoring double handling and the fact that, amazingly with record oil prices, there isn’t a massive switch to rail. The fuel efficiency is true for long haul bulk freight but most of NZ freight movements are not of that kind. Regardless, if rail can’t compete with road then this much vaunted fuel efficiency doesn’t offset other costs.
    Brings benefits to the environment: How? Where is the evidence? The Surface Transport Costs and Charges study indicated that road was more environmentally friendly for freight movement than rail in some cases. This is an article of faith only.
    Trucks don’t pay the costs they impose on the roads: Um they do, road user charges increase exponentially according to weights of trucks, and this over recovers road maintenance costs for state highways.

    There is no economic or environmental reason to do this, it is an article of faith pure and simple. The government has forced everyone else to pay for a train set.

  41. burt 41

    Stuff: History of NZ railways

    An interesting read…

    1986 Labour government makes railways a state-owned enterprise. In six years the workforce is cut from 21,000 to 5000, while productivity of the land-based workforce is lifted 300 per cent.

    And back we go!

  42. burt 42

    vto nails it here

    Folk can’t afford the weekly food bill, power and petrol and the govt pays more than $200m over the book value just so it can say we own it.

    This is a disgrace, the govt are rich the people are poor. Go on slap em with more road and petrol tax to make the railways viable.

  43. Burt:

    You don’t understand productivity.

    The people are poor because wages are too low.

    Wages are low because people who think productivity comes from lowering wage inputs (as you seem to) had control of the government for fifteen years.

  44. burt 44

    Robinsod

    Wages are low and we have had a Labour govt for almost nine years.

    Wages have kept pace with the magical “inflation” percentage for the vast majority of NZ workers. If the vast majority of workers had had the same percentage pay rises since 1999 that the MP’s have had we would not be experiencing such budgetary pressure now.

    Junior Dr’s wouldn’t be on strike and people like you wouldn’t be trying to distract readers from the reality that the govt is rich and the people are poor. It’s time for Robin Hood to take back the big fat surpluses that the crooked king Cullen has taxed from our hard earned wages to build his empire.

    FFS – you call yourself a lefty and you support a govt that amasses enormous central wealth while workers suffer on low wages while you blame a govt from 18 years ago for todays situation. You are a sell out Labour apologist or a through and through communist. Please identify which you are.

  45. burt 45

    lprent

    I noticed that appear after I refreshed the page to obtain a more easily deciphered captcha. Kind of funky, Can you give me the same pattern but yellow?

    captcha: officials can ( well that answers my question)

  46. burt 46

    lprent

    OK, now you are deleting your own comments…. spooky.

  47. Sam Dixon 47

    Burt – “If the vast majority of workers had had the same percentage pay rises since 1999 that the MP’s have had we would not be experiencing such budgetary pressure now. ”

    The government doens’t set the wages of the vast majority of workers. Businesses do, it’s them you should be directing your complaint at

    And, of course, there is a limit to how quickly you can increase wages relative to growth before it just becomes pure inflationa nd you start a wage-inflation spiral.

  48. lprent 48

    Yeah – it was a test message to check the icon pickup speed. I usually zap them after doing whatever test I was after.

    I addressed it to you because you were the last message in the system. While checking your comments I noticed that your e-mail and therefore gravator had changed. Looked like an e-mail typo. Look at http://www.thestandard.org.nz/?p=1792#comment-31565

    I’m afraid that the identicons are generated from the MD5 of the e-mail. They come from gravator. I don’t pick them.

    You can have whatever you want. Just upload an image to gravatar – instructions and explanation in a new menu item at the top of the page. But it has to have a valid e-mail for the authentication e-mail.

    Lynn

  49. burt 49

    Sam Dixon

    It’s not business setting the pay rises for the teachers, the doctors, the nurses, police, GP’s and the radiographers. You know the people I’m talking about, the ones who the state can’t retain or attract.

    Remember the state it’s controlling 43% of our GDP. I’m thinking in Auckland airport terms 43% would be seen as a ‘majority’ but in NZ terms you seem to ignore it in the pay round equation.

  50. burt 50

    Sam

    To further qualify. I know the MP’s don’t set their own salary I have no issues with the MP’s getting pay rises well above the official CPI figures, what I do have issues with is that they won’t approve similar pay rises for sectors that badly require realignment with international markets.

    Had junior doctors had pay rises of the same percentage as the MP’s have had every year then I’m picking we wouldn’t have junior doctors strikes going on now.

    As for how quickly you can increase wages, do your maths on what level of pay rises 75% of families have had over the last few years. Didn’t Dr. Cullen say that govt spending is not inflationary, like Labour tax cuts aren’t. Come on cut the Labour good National bad shit – this country is heading for economic chaos if there isn’t some changes of direction very soon.

  51. Tane 51

    Burt, stoked to hear you’re in favour of big wage increases across the board. How do you reckon we go about doing it?

  52. Sam Dixon 52

    The public service employs 250,000 people (that’s the nurses doctors teachers etc). That’s about one in eight workers.

    Go to treasury and find our where the rest of the money goes (clue: superannuation). And it’s not 43% of GDP. Again, Treasury.

  53. burt 53

    Tane

    Lets start with the ones we can control, the public service pay, the tax and benefit rates.

    Link the public service (all sectors) pay rises to the Cabinet Ministers. No longer one getting circa 10% and another striking because they can’t have the same. Link the minimum wage to the same as well and flatten the tax rates after introducing a tax free bottom end and introduce income splitting abolishing WFF as you go. Index tax thresholds to ensure fiscal drag isn’t eroding peoples earning power as it is today.

    There, that’s a start.

  54. Sam Dixon 54

    Real (that’s after-inflation) household incomes have increased an average of 15% under Labour.

    The greatest increases have been for those on or near the minimum wage who have benefited from a 50% increase in the minimum wage and Working for Families.

    Would it be great if wages went up quicker? Sure. Tell me how you would see that happen. And remember – if it’s tax cuts, that’s a one-off increase and you won’t have any moeny to pay those junior docotrs and teachers more.

  55. burt 55

    Sam

    I was reading some material today about govt as a percentage of GDP, I don’t have it available where I am now. I’ll link a reference or post a source to back up my assertion (or I’ll apologise for my error) tomorrow.

  56. Sam Dixon 56

    Your solution is to fiddle with the tax rates, creating a couple of percent up some peple and down on net income for a few people (down for those paying not net tax currently thanks to working for families).

    And if you’re going to cut taxes sufficently to really move up net incomes by any meaningful amount (still nto a huge amount and remember it’s a one-off boost), you’re not going to have any money for large publice sector pay increases – so that’s not a solution to boosting thsoe wages, all you will do is keep the minimum wage, MPs, and the public service stuck on the same rate.

    I have sympathy with the idea that MPs pay rises are too high but there simply isn’t the money to give all the public service similar rises – it would have to come from higher taxation, and you’ve just lowered taxes, so it would have to some from borrowing, which is inflationary. A government that is borrowing to pay it’s staff is in deep sh*t.

    So, you could tie MPs rises down with others but that’s not going to life wages overall. And, as a good capitialist, I wonder if you would agree with CEOs and senrio mangement getting only the same rises as junior staff. After all, they get much larger rises now and it is actually those large rises that cause the MP rises to be large because the Remuneration Board that sets MPs wages is guided by similar level jobs in the private sector.

    Remember – even if you cut incoem tax altoghether you wouldn’t close the pay gap with Aussie and you would be left wih no money to pay the public service. The problem is low wages in the private sector, not tax.

  57. burt 57

    Sam

    You make the assumption that a capitalist wouldn’t want annual increases the same across all staff, they are apparently to cover inflation. Pay increases as a result of changes in duties, changes in role or other performance/experience based measurements are another story, as are adjustments for market forces.

    Lets make no mistake about this, the majority of low paid workers get a “CPI” increase and that is it. No performance bonus, no incentive to work smarter, no incentive to work harder or otherwise increase productivity. Union ‘award’ rates and collective bargaining have a lot to answer for here.

    Don’t confuse the MP’s pay rises with CPI increases, they are worth a lot more than that. However the fact they won’t approve similar increases for other public servants who are internationally very under paid astounds me. And don’t be a smart ass about not being able to afford it because I have just cut taxes, I haven’t, Labour hasn’t (yet) and it’s been a problem for a few years now.

    Besides, since when is a radical restructure of the tax system (add zero rates, add income splitting, change and flattern rates and index thresholds) been a one of bonus. Increasing a junior Dr’s take home pay through reducing taxation will stop them leaving the country as quickly as increasing their gross pay over three years. How you Labourites can’t understand net vs gross pay astounds me.

  58. burt 58

    Sam

    From stuff: http://www.stuff.co.nz/4490859a20475.html

    In June 2006, junior doctors went on strike for five days, disrupting care for 17,000 patients and costing boards about $5 million.

    What was the surplus in 2006? $8b? Ummm. You are right about the fat cat CEO’s enjoying the fruits of other peoples labour. I can’t see how you can support a political party who do exactly what you despise in the private sector. These pricks (the rick pricks) are flatly refusing to see other public servants (workers) get pay rises in the same vicinity as their own for the last 9 years.

    Now, about these railways – how much additional petrol tax will it take to subsidise the rail network to the point where people use it?

  59. burt 59

    Sam Dixon

    Re: the state controlling 43% of GDP.

    The source of that information was an article in ‘NZ Property Investor’ weekly from 05th May.

    “It’s May – the month Kiwis start working for themselves”

    “And, says Kerr, if the national tax burden is measured as a ratio of taxation to GDP, instead of spending, the picture of this country as being highly taxed is further accentuated. The latest OECD figures show that the “ratio of general government total tax and non tax receipts” to GDP – for New Zealand – is 45% for 2008, well above the average OECD ratio of 38.6% and higher than Germany’s ratio of almost 44%.”

    Kerr then uses these statistics to further discuss productivity, as you would expect an intelligent person to.

  60. r0b 60

    “And, says Kerr, if the national tax burden is measured as a ratio of taxation to GDP, instead of spending, the picture of this country”

    And, says r0b, if the national tax rate is measured using any numbers I like take away seven and carry the nine, then I can get you any answer I like.

    Measured as per the OECD’s standard figures, personal tax in NZ is the third lowest in the OECD (lower than Australia!), see the graph on this page:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Income_tax

  61. burt 61

    rOb

    Yes, jumble up some numbers, just like the official CPI. scoff scoff petrol, basic food items, housing… Three things everybody needs which are consuming all of a low income but only a portion of a high income.

    It’s interesting on that graph you reference that NZ personal taxation is higher than Australia’s but our corporate taxation is much less. It’s odd that people are called ‘right wing’ when they highlight personal taxation of workers as being too high yet people who defend high personal taxation of workers and low taxation of corporates call themselves left wing. NZ is such a funny place.

  62. burt 62

    Dohhh

    Got that the wrong way around. No wonder it seemed odd.

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