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Is National Just Inconsistent or Incompetent?

Written By: - Date published: 7:00 am, June 1st, 2020 - 65 comments
Categories: business, Economy, employment, jobs, minimum wage, national, Politics, todd muller, unemployment, wages, welfare, workers' rights - Tags: , , ,

It must have come as a great relief for Todd Muller when he managed to announce National’s first new economic policy under his leadership called JobStart. It might be stretching it to call it a Captain’s call but it is a start, a baby step for a big guy with so much business experience.

So far, I’ve seen little analysis of this policy but this could be explained by the long weekend. Alternatively, there is just little to criticise and the details still need to be worked out – the Devil is always in the detail. I am by no means an employment expert but I cannot shake the feeling that we, and perhaps National, are missing something.

According to the handy factsheet:

We will require businesses to sign a statutory declaration – similar to the wage subsidy scheme – which includes employer obligations, including a requirement that the job is genuine, permanent and offered in good faith. [my bold]

That sounds good, on paper. The $10,000 to the employer is exempt from income tax, as is the case with the Wage Subsidy Scheme. However, I assume that the new hire will have to pay income tax on their income. As it happens, $10,000 over 90 days is pretty much equivalent to the minimum wage rate. This means that it will be taxed at around 15%.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that all new hires will be on the minimum wage, but employers could have an employee for free for 90 days if they wish and they wouldn’t have to contribute a cent. To me, this means that the Taxpayer might carry all financial risk. Hmmm.

The other thing that I don’t quite understand is how this policy aligns with the 90-day trial period for businesses with 19 or fewer employees. Although the job may be permanent, the employee can be given the boot within 90 days if this is written into their contract before they start working.

On the 90-day trial period, it is interesting to note that Dan Bidois is calling for full re-instatement of the 90-day trial period. In case you don’t know who Dan Bidois is, he is the MP for Northcote and ranked at #46 on the National Party list. According to Mr Bidois, he owes his current high ranking to merit and not because he’s of Māori descent. I like his self-deprecating irony 😉

There is also a feeling of National trying to pick winners. The businesses that are really struggling and fighting for survival are less likely to hire new staff, I’d think.

In any case, JobStart has been capped at 50,000 jobs in the first instance with a budget of $500 million. Let’s hope it won’t turn into a giant job-rotating scheme with downward pressure on wages but instead that it will help to create genuine jobs that are fulfilling and sufficient to support a decent living.

65 comments on “Is National Just Inconsistent or Incompetent? ”

  1. Grant Insley 1

    A few things around his announcement.

    "Todd Muller wants JobStart policy in place 'within weeks'….."

    Wants? Really?

    Then this back at him: "Finance Minister Grant Robertson has said he is prepared to consider the JobStart policy, while adding the Government focus is on keeping people in work and creating new jobs now – not in November."

    Gets better though: "As the Minister, Mr Robertson can direct officials to fine-tune the policy and implement the administrative details to get this up and running immediately," he said.

    Seems to me he doesn't actually have a policy, just a set of speech notes.

    'His' idea, that he expects others to provide the detail on? That's because he knows it's full of fish hooks!

  2. Graeme 2

    There's similar programs already. WINZ have two schemes to set people up in their own business, the Self-employment start up payment, and the Flexi-wage for self-employment

    The start up payment is up to $10,000 in a 52 week period, and Flexi-wage gives up to the minimum wage for 30 hours a week, for up to 52 weeks.

    Both are equal, or better than Muddler's suggested scheme.

    I couldn't find anything that goes direct to an employer but it's probably there as well.

    The thing looks like they got a heads up from someone working up a programme in WINZ or MSD and popped out an announcement making out that it's their idea. sigh.moan had form at this.

    • froggleblocks 2.1

      Both of those polices are only open to people who are on main benefits or qualify to be.

      Muller's proposal is the money is paid to the business, not the employee.

      Those polices are a faint shadow of what Muller is proposing.

      • greywarshark 2.1.1

        But the idea that Graeme has outlined is for the money to be paid to someone who is wanting to start their OWN business, they may have been an employee but are now looking to do the hard graft to start something new. That's not what you say iceblocks.

  3. Sacha 3

    downward pressure on wages

    You may have spotted their agenda.

  4. peterh 4

    November is the start of the horticulture season all will be putting on new staff, just as they do every year how ever this year they will call them new jobs get $10,000 for each and after four months give them the flick, Muller has been in Horticulture long enough to know this, I have also been in horticulture for 40 years and 25 or so years ago there was a job creation scheme and it was full the same ripoffs

    • Grafton Gully 4.1

      "a requirement that the job is genuine, permanent and offered in good faith" covers this.

      • peterh 4.1.1

        In good faith ??

      • Psycho Milt 4.1.2

        It would cover it if they didn't reinstate the 90-day trial period. With the 90-day trial, it opens up an obvious scam: the job was permanent but this particular staff member didn't work out. Oh, and then we had to restructure and now we have this new job for which we'd like $10 Gs, please.

      • KJT 4.1.3

        Like that is going to work.

        Already seen first hand, how the subsidy for long term unemployed, works, combined with the ninety day rule, with employers like fast food, hospitality and crop picking.

        Some trade employers may use it honestly, but I think National's plan will only work, which may well be the underlaying intention, to get short term subsidised cheap employees, for businesses that used to use backpackers and work visa's.

  5. Dennis Frank 5

    I get the impression that his basic idea is that the economy seems dead in the water, but if thrown this lifeline it may start to swim again.

    “If you, as small business owners, give just one of your newly unemployed neighbours a job before Christmas, you will be the heroes of the economic crisis, the way that our nurses and doctors and all five million of us who stayed at home and washed our hands were the heroes of the health crisis,” Muller said.

    Responding to the announcement, Finance Minister Grant Robertson said the policy was not a new idea, with a number of other countries having undertaken similar initiatives after the GFC and now.

    So Muller frames small business as an heroic endeavour, to rescue us all. Robertson cites the method as traditional and current – but didn't say that it actually works.

    https://www.newsroom.co.nz/politics/2020/05/29/1211068/national-pitches-10k-hiring-bonus-scheme

    • Incognito 5.1

      Almost. He wants us to believe that the economy is dead in the water and then to be miraculously saved/rescued by the only one(s) with the skills and knowledge. All he wants (from us) is to be given the power to enact and complete his fairy tale story. And we lived long and happily ever after in Middle-Management Earth after the Princess and the Knight had eliminated the wicked virus with the help of the five million dwarves. The End.

      • Dennis Frank 5.1.1

        Ah, mythos. Always under-rated as shaper of the forces of history. Somewhat more prosaic is Brian Easton in his new book:

        Much of our history has indeed been written from a leftish perspective. However, the pink cloud obscures the total story of New Zealand’s development.

        And, despite more observers categorising him as leftist himself, he's right that a dispassionate overview is necessary to inform someone fully. Michael Reddell has this interesting observation:

        Easton here (as in the previous book) seems less than persuaded by the notion that large scale immigration to New Zealand since World War Two has done anything beneficial for the productivity or material living standards of New Zealanders. Here, as I’ve noted before, he stands in continuity with earlier authors on New Zealand economic history.

        https://croakingcassandra.com/2020/05/30/not-in-narrow-seas/

        Economic historians often illuminate causal relations that nobody else perceives, that produce political consequences. I await analysis from both – when the two recovery plans are made available to the public in full.

        • Incognito 5.1.1.1

          Uhhmmm, ok, but how is this relevant to Todd Muller and his framing of the economy and his ‘rescue plan’?

          If you don’t mind me saying, you do seem to have a habit, intentional or accidental, on going off on a tangent and losing just about every other commenter here and presumably readers as well. I assume you’re interested in assisting change and the necessary debate and dialogue rather than using TS as a soapbox for unidirectional monologue. IIRC, you recently said as much.

          • Dennis Frank 5.1.1.1.1

            Oh, I assumed that would be evident – I assume the policy advocated is a key part of the foreshadowed National plan. Which cannot be evaluated by economists operating as economic historians until it is revealed in full, when they get the opportunity to say `yep, it worked here & here', specifying those historical instances. And the plan which Grant evolves in consultation with the public service, likewise…

            • Incognito 5.1.1.1.1.1

              Ta

              No, it was not evident, at least not to me, which was my point.

              I still don’t quite get the role you see for economic historians. Any economic plan needs to be thoroughly reviewed and analysed (modelled, if you like) and be based on best available evidence. We don’t and can’t wait for a historian to write a book about it!

              • Dennis Frank

                Yes but in their blogs these guys do provide real-time analysis of policy & application. I read them due to that relevance & learn from them sometimes. Both National & Labour use traditional economic practice, and as someone who has long believed that to be wrong, I feel it is necessary to try & glean accuracy of match between theory & practice.

                If they reason that the plans are viable due to matching with prior historical circumstances, that will impress most readers (I, as a natural sceptic, don't matter) and thus seem credible to the politicians who must operate in accord with the beliefs of voters. Whether it fits the neoliberal prescription or the socialist prescription doesn't matter – it has the mandate of tradition. Or, as Confucius would put it, the mandate of heaven. If I was more erudite, I'd quote him to reinforce the point!

                • Incognito

                  Ok, I’m going to make a crude and provocative statement:

                  History can teach us what worked and what didn’t and possibly tell us why. However, it cannot predict the future.

                  In other words, the further you extrapolate and the more you deviate from (historical) data, models, and knowledge, the more uncertain the prediction and analysis becomes. In the end, you are just waving your hands around and looking up to the sky chanting learned words that have lost all their meaning and purpose.

                  To mitigate risk, especially when risk averse such as in politics, economics, and finance, for example, any change will and has to be incremental by default. Given that these systems are enormously interwoven and complex, they tend to be buffered against change, and they absorb external and internal shocks. So-called paradigm shifts, i.e. major shifts in thinking, understanding, and acting, do not just occur but have to be actively implemented, enforced almost, at great cost of effort and energy. The other opportunity for major change is after blunt trauma such as (global) war or (global) disaster such as a pandemic.

                  We have dodged a bullet and now some people say that there never was a bullet in the first place. That’s not learning anything from history, but is maintaining wilful ignorance through stubborn and dogmatic denial.

                  • Dennis Frank

                    Oh yes, all true. Yet the sad fact is decision-makers tend to be guided by economists. Dead economists, primarily, as some wit once pointed out. I don't claim to be wise enough to know why. I actually haven't got a clue. 😕

                    • Incognito

                      The economy, stupid

                      This meme is now endemic and there’s no vaccine.

                    • pat

                      "Yet the sad fact is decision-makers tend to be guided by economists. Dead economists, primarily, as some wit once pointed out. "

                      Nothing wrong with dead economists, so long as you are particular about which (dead) economists you give credence…after all human behaviour hasn't changed in millennia.

  6. Muttonbird 6

    It's $5K at commencement and $5K after 90 days, I think.

    Surely businesses only hire worker when the work demands it. JobStart seems to miss that crucial plank of free market capitalism.

    • Descendant Of Smith 6.1

      I'd rather see a commitment for government departments to pick up some school leavers and particularly young Maori who the labour market won't employ. At least then they will be paid a decent wage, with that money going into communities that need decent wages. Areas that National ran down like DOC in small communities would be a good start.

      https://www.newshub.co.nz/nznews/gisborne-doc-workers-take-redundancy-2009051512

      https://www.nzherald.co.nz/wanganui-chronicle/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503426&objectid=11094458

      Stopping centralising government jobs in Wellington would be another good option. Technology allows people to work from anywhere – as COVID has shown. Spread the jobs out to the regions.

      The role the public service plays in supplying good regional jobs is so underplayed by successive governments. That is taxpayer funds going back into communities.

      Too many Wellington based empire builders I'm told.

      • RedBaronCV 6.1.1

        And a lot of the large companies have transferred most of their jobs into Auckland. Telco's, banks, kiwirail costing us a fortune in infrastructure they won't be paying for.

        Incentivize them to move – plus drag back some more of those call centres from overseas or enable staff on the ground to actually do stuff.

        [Fixed typo in user handle]

  7. …employers could have an employee for free for 90 days if they wish…

    and

    …Dan Bidois is calling for full re-instatement of the 90-day trial period.

    They're neither inconsistent nor incompetent. Their weaselry is very consistent and they know exactly what they're proposing.

  8. pat 8

    "That sounds good, on paper. The $10,000 to the employer is exempt from income tax, as is the case with the Wage Subsidy Scheme."

    Haven't looked at the Nat proposal in any detail but the wage subsidy IS subject to taxation (though not GST)

    • The Al1en 8.1

      Not as it enters the employers bank account in a lump sum, but definitely taxed when passed on to employees each week.

      • pat 8.1.1

        classed as a compensatory payment and therefore counted as income

        • The Al1en 8.1.1.1

          For the employer, employee or both?

          • pat 8.1.1.1.1

            for the party that receives it….employees don't receive it (directly)

            • The Al1en 8.1.1.1.1.1

              With the wage subsidy, as an employee I do pay tax on it, including student loan. I sure think my boss didn't paid tax on it when she received the lump sum from the government.

              Edit: Posted before reading the exchange below 🙂

              • pat

                yes you as an employee would pay tax…no dispute…I didn't think the employer was tax exempt, but it appears they are…sole traders and self employed (myself, which was why I disputed original position) are not

    • Incognito 8.2

      Tax treatment

      The modified Wage Subsidy Scheme, and the previous COVID-19 leave and wage subsidy schemes, are considered excluded income to businesses and are also GST exempt. When passed on as wages, businesses don’t get a deduction for income tax purposes.

      Payments to employees under the modified Wage Subsidy Scheme, and the previous COVID-19 wage subsidy and leave schemes, are wages. Therefore, they are subject to standard deductions like PAYE, ACC levies, KiwiSaver contributions and student loan repayments.

      https://www.employment.govt.nz/leave-and-holidays/other-types-of-leave/coronavirus-workplace/wage-subsidy/

      • pat 8.2.1

        have just checked and different application for sole traders and self employed as opposed to employers

        "Please note that the tax-free treatment in respect of employers who receive the wage subsidy for their employees does not apply to self-employed people who receive the subsidy for their personal loss of income. The subsidy will only be tax free as excluded income for a self-employed person to the extent it is used by them to subsidise wages of their employees."

        https://www.ird.govt.nz/covid-19/business-and-organisations/employing-staff/wage-subsidies/wage-subsidy—issues-for-self-employed

        • Incognito 8.2.1.1

          Ta

          In the context of JobStart, it seems that the new hires will have to pay income tax as per usual, which is what I assumed and wrote in the OP.

          This ‘new’ policy was clearly put up with haste. It borrows heavily on previous and existing ideas and schemes yet it is feather light in terms of detail. Details are important, as any manager would know.

  9. JustMe 9

    Lets look at the track record of National whilst they were in government when it came to workers.

    They had one leader who took delight in pulling the ponytails of female staff at their local cafe and deemed the action as being 'all in good fun'.

    They have one MP who pushed his way through and past a airport worker whilst claiming he was 'running late for a plane'.

    Another former National MP was angry a waiter didn't know who he was whilst another MP used workplace bullying towards his staff within parliamentary grounds.

    Another eventual leader of the NZ National party claimed low income workers were living beyond their means and MUST experience financial cutbacks but was caught out DOUBLE DIPPING on the same NZ taxpayers he was denigrating.

    There wasn't a peep of concern by the National government of the time when it came to employers like Bunnings having Zero Hour contracts.

    In fact I am sure National would be comfortable(using one of John Key's pet words)with Zero Hour contracts and the 90 day employment program whilst paying employers $10,000 per employee at the same time.

    It would be a win/win situation for National and devious employers and a no win situation for workers.

    But then when has National ever cared about low income NZers in what is well known as deliberately kept low income NZ?

    • Chris T 9.1

      Do you really want to have a to and throw about bad things Nat and Labour MPs have done, as it is pretty ugly on both sides.

      • Incognito 9.1.1

        If you cannot address the actual comment, please don’t derail the OP with whataboutisms and theydidittooisms, thanks.

  10. Wayne 10

    I can't see why you think the two policies are inconsistent.

    You need to bear in mind that New Zealand already has the 90 day trial period, albeit limited to SME's with less than 20 people. So any job creation programme implemented by the current government has that as a factor.

    I wonder if Labour will campaign to eliminate the 90 day trial period altogether? Obviously the Greens will, but we have yet to see if Labour will have that as a policy. It is my prediction Labour won't, but time alone will tell.

    • Poission 10.1

      I can't see why you think the two policies are inconsistent.

      The evidence suggests that the 90 day policy adds nothing to increased hiring of staff,hence the two policies are incoherent as treasury suggests ie not statistically significant.

      We find no evidence that the ability to use trial periods significantly increases firms’ overall hiring; we estimate the policy effect to be a statistically and economically insignificant 0.8 percent increase in hiring on average across all industries. However, within the construction and wholesale trade industries, which report high use of trial periods, we estimate a weakly significant 10.3 percent increase in hiring as a result of the policy. We also find no evidence that the policy increased the probability that a new hire by a firm was a disadvantaged jobseeker for a range of definitions of disadvantaged jobseeker: beneficiaries, jobseeker beneficiaries, non-workers, recent migrants, youths under 25 years old, Māori or Pasifika under 25 years old, or education leavers. This result holds both over the economy as a whole, and in the high-use industries. Trial period policy also does not appear to have affected the probability that a newly hired worker remained with his employer for at least two, five, 12 or 24 months; the policy seems not to have substantially increased short-term hiring

      https://treasury.govt.nz/sites/default/files/2017-11/oia-20160188.pdf

      At present the NZ economy is undertaking a recovery from a shock (a singularity) there is significant evidence that it can be resilient (record household bank deposits) and the paydown of personal debt (credit cards and consumer finance) along with trading surpluses,that we (nz ) may be on the path to living within our means for the first time in a generation.

    • Incognito 10.2

      I also doubt that Labour will campaign on getting rid of the 90-day trials. It would be a huge risk of upsetting the business community for essentially a psychological but not structural victory. All research that I’ve seen points to potentially a small positive effect for businesses and not much (!) evidence of businesses rorting it and exploiting employees. For Labour there is little gain and much to lose. Therefore, it’ll stay IMO. With National in charge, OTOH, it’ll be different.

    • Tricledrown 10.3

      Wayne NZ first is the soft edge of the National Party I would say Labour would like to make the 90 day trial fairer though.Small businesses like this policy because it allows them to hire productive staff.

      Many young ones don't turn up to regimented work routines ie no work ethic.While their are a few rogue employers out there who are getting found out.Many small businesses can't afford to have employees who can't carry their weight .Those SME 's make up a good percentage of voters now .

  11. Sabine 11

    Wage Subsidy Scheme is taxed. Not sure where the author thought that it would be exempt from Income tax. Or does PAYE not count, cause the wage subsidy that i paid to my staff sure as hell was taxed. She paid income tax on that. To the point where the 585 only amount to about 490$ for full time.

    as for National? Like labour/Greens/NZfirst/ACT etc they are finding themselves in times where non of the old bullshit works and its now just time to grab, loot, n run. Global warming, global recession/depression, global pandemics etc and sure enough you run out of good ideas. Couple that with the fact that there is not one person in the National Party that actually is working for the country rather then their own collection of fancy and overpriced shoes and boom, they are not only incompetent, but also inconsistent and often times malicious. What else is new?

    • Incognito 11.1

      It is in the Q&A in National’s factsheet that I mentioned in the OP:

      Is the $10k JobStart taxable income?

      • No. The payment will be tax exempt for businesses in a similar way the wage subsidy scheme is tax exempt.

      https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/nationalparty/pages/13686/attachments/original/1590718492/Fact_Sheet_-_JobStart.pdf?1590718492

      It is also discussed in the thread @ 8 😉

      • Sabine 11.1.1

        Yes, and as I said in my comment, The Wage Subsidy Scheme is TAXED via PAYE. So is not exempt from income tax.

        While you said:

        The $10,000 to the employer is exempt from income tax, as is the case with the Wage Subsidy Scheme.

        that is what i refereed to. Nothing to do with anything else. And i would like to point out that the wage subsidy scheme is intended to go to the workers and should not be gobbled up by employers.

        • Incognito 11.1.1.1

          All good, we’re both right today 😉

          The JobStart handout of $10,000 obviously goes to the worker too unless the employer is doing something dodgy. The worker pays income tax on that, the employer does not.

  12. SPC 12

    Preferable would be a scheme whereby the $10,000 was only paid after the hire was employed for 6 months.

    But better still subsidise on the job training – $10,000 for one year paid by both government and employer – $20,000 half the MW for a one year training position.

  13. observer 13

    I don't think we need to take too seriously a policy that has little to do with business or jobs – except Todd Muller's own. He needed to announce something – anything – to get the media to change the focus from his multiple car crash.

    To be fair, the bad headlines for Muller have faded in the last few days. National have achieved this by removing their leader from sight. He's become un-Googled.

    Invisibility is a bold strategy for an exciting new leader. It'll be tough to avoid all media questions until the election, but it may be his best option.

    • pat 13.1

      Lol…yep very likely so…however as Chris Trotter noted in a recent article the fact Simon is gone will likely be enough to bring many back to the fold no matter how poorly Todd performs….I suspect he will prove to be correct, to a certain extent

    • Incognito 13.2

      It had occurred to me that JobStart referred to Muller’s new role as Leader of National 😉

      The long weekend has given him three days of breathing space. Coming week will be telling; I’m sure Muller and his team of talent have had a busy three days.

  14. adam 14

    This does look more like socialism for the rich, and capitalism for the poor. It's an irony which leaves a sickening taste in the mouth. Funny how the right wing are so into socialism when it's for their direct benefit.

  15. Darien Fenton 15

    Dan Bidois' announcement was not well timed, boringly last century, and contradictory to the JobsStart policy. I remember a similar argument when they introduced the 90 day trial period with Paula Bennett who insisted it would apply to new starts coming off the benefit. I think she backed down in the end. Dan Bidois is an unfortunate pick for National and an easy target. After all, he is the man who said he wants to see unions gone.

    • Incognito 15.1

      I think National is using its MPs as pawns in a game of political chess. When Bidois or Maureen Pugh come up with those press releases, social media messages, and what have you, I think they act on instruction, and not off their own bat. It is a Borg Collective. Occasionally, one engages their own brain and inevitably regrets it 😉 This is the Party of self-responsibility and personal choice, which is rather rudderless at the mo and has long lost its civil/moral compass.

      • Robert Guyton 15.1.1

        Agreed.

      • Sacha 15.1.2

        The one election we have had where the incumbent govt's advantages are offset by vastly superior funding for the main opposition party's campaign activities but the Nats are too rudderless to put up a decent fight.

        • Incognito 15.1.2.1

          Indeed, and my worry is that if they can’t put a decent fight they might resort to a dirty one.

          • Sacha 15.1.2.1.1

            With Fieldmarshall Brownlee in charge what could possibly go wrong..

  16. Tiger Mountain 16

    Bidois is anti union, the Nats very DNA is Union busting, and worker suppression–think Massey’s “Cossacks” and Holland’s ’51 waterfront lockout. Compliant workers brimming with fear and loathing are easier to manipulate and discard with no obligation–that is what the old 90s buzz term “labour flexibility” really meant. And it is exactly what 90 day fire at will is all about.

    The original iteration of “sack ’em on day 89” was never even properly monitored by the appropriate departments from the outset! Treasury did say something as alluded to above.

    The Employment Contracts Act 1991–NZ National Party all the way–was the end of wide spread collective coverage for NZ workers. Working class families have felt the impact ever since, and in 2020 we need to improve the situation not adopt reactionary measures.

  17. TJ 17

    It encourages employers to be dumber than necessarily required to hire staff, and run a business anywhere except into the ground while churning staff as quickly as running a tap. Just like the 90 Day law always did. No risk, no cost, no stake in the game, opportunity to take all the rewards and none of the cost, no real need for the employer to learn anything from their failure, and no need to say anything truthful about anything during what is now a non-existent interview process, but everything done in total "good faith".

    No intelligent person would hire an employee who publicly announced, over and over, they had no intention of fulfilling their responsibilities. Yet we are allowing employers to do this, and arguing it might work? Where is the crisis? Where exactly is the crisis that requires this deadly cure?

    In five years from now the majority of employers will be even dumber than they are now, helped along by their own greed, and a criminally insane government. This same government will be at a total loss to understand how things went wrong, except to blame the opposition, whoever they are, while only ever accelerating the destruction of yet another social pillar that generally speaking stops nations falling into wholesale poverty – in this case, stable and permanent employment in meaningful jobs. A future worth voting for I'm sure, as long as your rental property gets that new kitchen in before Christmas.

  18. Kevin 18

    I'm baffled as to why you would put a cap on the number of jobs.

    • Incognito 18.1

      I think this is so that they can manage and budget for it. No Government writes out blank cheques because it would lose control of its finances. That said, I don’t think National has done its homework on this policy. Muller needed something positive to end the week with.

  19. This whole commentary reads like the minutes of an economists meeting.

    If all the economists in the world were laid end to end they would not, still, reach a conclusion.

    (My apologies to GB Shaw for the misquote, it is close enough.)

    • Incognito 19.1

      Again, just for you:

      The economy, stupid

      Quiz: Who said this?

      A. An economist

      B. A politician

      C. Neither

      D. Both

      E. Don’t Know

  20. greywarshark 20

    National Party – an enigma that Turing couldn't break. In- something, I can't think of the word. I've got it – Incontinent!

    A bit of fun and frivolity: Bet they are too flat-footed to dance the Continent-al. A different sort of in-continent.
    (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yz7_e8ClwzA

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    1 day ago
  • Milestone of half a million mental health sessions delivered
    The Government’s flagship primary mental health and addiction programme Access and Choice has hit the milestone of delivering more than 500,000 sessions to New Zealanders needing mental health support. Health Minister Andrew Little made the announcement at ADL – Thrive Pae Ora in Cromwell which provides mental wellbeing support services ...
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    1 day ago
  • Government continues to future-proof arts, culture and heritage sector
    The Government has announced further support for the recovery and resilience of the arts, culture and heritage sector as part of its COVID Recovery Programme’s Innovation Fund. “We’re continuing to secure the recovery of our arts, culture and heritage in Aotearoa New Zealand by supporting transformational initiatives across the motu,” ...
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    2 days ago
  • Government steps up kauri protection
    The Government is delivering on an election commitment to protect kauri in our northern forests through the new National Pest Management Plan (NPMP) for the forest giant and the allocation of $32 million of funding to back the coordinated effort, Biosecurity Minister Damien O'Connor and Associate Environment Minister (Biodiversity) ...
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    2 days ago
  • Russia’s Ukraine referenda a sham
    Aotearoa New Zealand does not recognise the results of the sham referenda in Russia-occupied regions of Ukraine, Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta says.  “These so-called referenda were not free or fair, and they very clearly were not held in accordance with democratic principles,” Nanaia Mahuta said. “Instead, they were hastily organised ...
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    2 days ago
  • Govt invests in New Zealand’s wine future
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has officially opened New Zealand Wine Centre–Te Pokapū Wāina o Aotearoa in Blenheim today, saying that investments like these give us cause for optimism for the future. Funding of $3.79 million for the Marlborough Research Centre to build a national wine centre was announced in 2020, ...
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    3 days ago
  • Appointment of Judges of the Court Martial Appeal Court
    Attorney-General David Parker today announced the appointment of Colonel Craig Ruane, Commander Robyn Loversidge, and James Wilding KC as Judges of the Court Martial Appeal Court. The Court Martial Appeal Court is a senior court of record established under the Court Martial Appeals Act 1953. It is summoned by the ...
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    3 days ago
  • Government strengthens measures to combat migrant worker exploitation
    Offence and penalty regime significantly strengthened New infringement offences for non-compliance Public register of individuals and businesses that are found guilty of migrant exploitation New community-led pilot to educate migrants workers and employers of employment rights Implemented reporting tools successfully brings exploitation out of the shadows Take-up of protective visa ...
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    3 days ago
  • Livestock exports by sea to cease
    The passing of a Bill today to end the export of livestock by sea will protect New Zealand’s reputation for world-leading animal welfare standards, Minister of Agriculture Damien O’Connor said. “The Animal Welfare Amendment Bill future-proofs our economic security amid increasing consumer scrutiny across the board on production practices," Damien ...
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    3 days ago
  • Extra measures to increase census turnout in 2023
    3500 census workers on the ground, twice as many as last census More forms to be delivered – 44% compared to 3% in 2018 Prioritisation of Māori and other groups and regions with lower response rates in 2018 Major work to ensure the delivery of a successful census in 2023 ...
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    4 days ago
  • Shining the light on screen workers
    Improved working conditions for workers in the screen industry is now a reality with the Screen Industry Workers Bill passing its third reading today, announced Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Wood. “It’s fantastic to see the Screen Industry Workers Bill progress through Parliament. The new Act will strengthen protections ...
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    4 days ago
  • Mental health resources for young people and schools launched
    Associate Minister of Education (School Operations) Jan Tinetti and Associate Minister of Education (Māori Education) Kelvin Davis have today launched two new resources to support wellbeing, and the teaching and learning of mental health education in schools and kura. “Students who are happy and healthy learn better. These resources ...
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    4 days ago
  • Progress continues on future-proofing Auckland’s transport infrastructure
    Transport Minister Michael Wood has welcomed the latest progress on Auckland’s two most transformational transport projects in a generation – Auckland Light Rail and the Additional Waitematā Harbour Connections. Auckland Light Rail and Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency have named preferred bidders to move each project to their next phase, ...
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    4 days ago
  • Government supports local innovation in homelessness prevention
    Ten successful applicants in round two of the Local Innovation and Partnership Fund (LIPF) Close to $6 million allocated as part of the Homelessness Action Plan (HAP) Māori, Pasefika and rangatahi a strong focus Round three opening later this year with up to $6.8 million available. Government is stepping up ...
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    4 days ago
  • More medicines for New Zealanders, thanks to Govt’s Budget boost
    Health Minister Andrew Little is welcoming news that two more important medicines are set to be funded, thanks to the Government’s big boost to the country’s medicines budget. “Since coming into Government in 2017, the Labour Government has increased Pharmac’s funding by 43 per cent, including a $71 million boost ...
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    4 days ago
  • Government delivers ACC change to support 28,000 parents
    The Maternal Birth Injury and Other Matters Bill passes Third Reading – the first amendment to ACC legislation of its kind From 1 October 2022, new ACC cover to benefit approximately 28,000 birthing parents Additional maternal birth injuries added alongside new review provision to ensure cover remains comprehensive Greater clarity ...
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    4 days ago
  • Further cuts for East Coast tarakihi limits to rebuild numbers faster
    Commercial catch limits for East Coast tarakihi will be reduced further to help the stock rebuild faster. “Tarakihi is a popular fish, and this has led to declining levels over time. Many adjustments have been made and the stock is recovering. I have decided on further commercial catch reductions of ...
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    4 days ago
  • New Ambassador to Colombia announced
    Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta today announced the appointment of diplomat Nicci Stilwell as the next Ambassador to Colombia. “Aotearoa New Zealand’s relationship with Colombia is fast growing with strong links across education, climate change and indigenous co-operation,” Nanaia Mahuta said.  “Trade is a key part of our relationship with Colombia, ...
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    4 days ago
  • 3000 more RSE workers to ease workforce pressures
    The Government continues to respond to global workforce shortages by announcing the largest increase in over a decade to the Recognised Seasonal Employer Scheme (RSE), providing 3000 additional places, Immigration Minister Michael Wood and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor have announced. The new RSE cap will allow access to 19,000 workers ...
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    4 days ago
  • Sanctions on more of the Russian political elite
    Further sanctions are being imposed on members of President Putin’s inner circle and other representatives of the Russian political elite, as part of the Governments ongoing response to the war in Ukraine, says Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta. “Ukraine has been clear that the most important action we can take to ...
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    4 days ago
  • New Principal Youth Court Judge appointed
    Judge Ida Malosi, District Court Judge of Wellington, has been appointed as the new Principal Youth Court Judge, Attorney-General David Parker announced today. Born and raised in Southland, Judge Malosi graduated from Victoria University of Wellington and spent her legal career in South Auckland.  She was a founding partner of ...
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    4 days ago
  • Visitor arrivals highest since pandemic began
    Overseas visitor arrivals exceeded 100,000 in July, for the first time since the borders closed in March 2020 Strong ski season lifts arrivals to Queenstown to at least 90% of the same period in 2019 Australia holiday recovery has continued to trend upwards New Zealand’s tourism recovery is on its ...
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    4 days ago
  • Language provides hope for Tuvalu
    Climate change continues to present a major risk for the island nation of Tuvalu, which means sustaining te gana Tuvalu, both on home soil and in New Zealand Aotearoa, has never been more important, Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio said. The Tuvalu Auckland Community Trust and wider Tuvalu ...
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    6 days ago
  • Minister Sio to attend Asian Development Bank meeting in Manila
    Associate Foreign Affairs Minister Aupito William Sio travels to the Philippines this weekend to represent Aotearoa New Zealand at the 55th Annual Meeting of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) Board of Governors in Manila. “The ADB Annual Meeting provides an opportunity to engage with other ADB member countries, including those ...
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    1 week ago
  • United Nations General Assembly National Statement
    E ngā Mana, e ngā Reo, Rau Rangatira mā kua huihui mai nei i tēnei Whare Nui o te Ao Ngā mihi maioha ki a koutou katoa, mai i tōku Whenua o Aotearoa Tuia ki runga, Tuia ki raro, ka Rongo to pō ka rongo te ao Nō reira, tēnā ...
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    1 week ago
  • New strategy unifies all-of-Government approach to help Pacific languages thrive
    A united approach across all-of-Government underpins the new Pacific Language Strategy, announced by the Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio at Parliament today. “The cornerstone of our Pacific cultures, identities and place in Aotearoa, New Zealand are our Pacific languages. They are at the heart of our wellbeing,” Aupito ...
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    1 week ago
  • Upgrades for sporting facilities ahead of FIFA Women’s World Cup
    Communities across the country will benefit from newly upgraded sporting facilities as a result of New Zealand co-hosting the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023. The Government is investing around $19 million to support upgrades at 30 of the 32 potential sporting facilities earmarked for the tournament, including pitch, lighting and ...
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    1 week ago
  • Partnership supports climate action in Latin America and Caribbean
    Aotearoa New Zealand is extending the reach of its support for climate action to a new agriculture initiative with partners in Latin America and the Caribbean. Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor announced a NZ$10 million contribution to build resilience, enhance food security and address the ...
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    1 week ago
  • Landmark agreement for Māori fisheries celebrates 30th year
    The 30th anniversary of the Fisheries Deed of Settlement is a time to celebrate a truly historic partnership that has helped transform communities, says Parliamentary Under-Secretary to the Minister for Oceans and Fisheries Rino Tirikatene. “The agreement between the Crown and Māori righted past wrongs, delivered on the Crown’s treaty ...
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    1 week ago
  • Government backs initiatives to cut environmental impact of plastic waste
    The Government has today announced funding for projects that will cut plastic waste and reduce its impact on the environment. “Today I am announcing the first four investments to be made from the $50 million Plastics Innovation Fund, which was set last year and implemented a 2020 election promise,” Environment ...
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    1 week ago
  • Call for expressions of interest in appointment to the High Court Bench
    Attorney-General David Parker today called for nominations and expressions of interest in appointment to the High Court Bench.  This is a process conducted at least every three years and ensures the Attorney-General has up to date information from which to make High Court appointments.  “It is important that when appointments ...
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    1 week ago
  • Depositor compensation scheme protects Kiwis’ money
    New Zealanders will have up to $100,000 of their deposits in any eligible institution guaranteed in the event that institution fails, under legislation introduced in Parliament today. The Deposit Takers Bill is the third piece of legislation in a comprehensive review of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand Act and ...
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    1 week ago
  • New fund to help more Pacific aiga into their own homes
    The Government has launched a new housing fund that will help more Pacific aiga achieve the dream of home ownership. “The Pacific Building Affordable Homes Fund will help organisations, private developers, Māori/iwi, and NGOs build affordable housing for Pacific families and establish better pathways to home ownership within Pacific communities. ...
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    1 week ago
  • More than 100,000 new Kiwis as halfway point reached
    Over 100,000 new Kiwis can now call New Zealand ‘home’ after the 2021 Resident Visa reached the halfway point of approvals, Minister of Immigration Michael Wood announced today. “This is another important milestone, highlighting the positive impact our responsive and streamlined immigration system is having by providing comfort to migrant ...
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    1 week ago
  • Maniapoto Claims Settlement Bill passes third reading – He mea pāhi te Maniapoto Claims Settl...
    Nā te Minita mō ngā Take Tiriti o Waitangi, nā Andrew Little,  te iwi o Maniapoto i rāhiri i tēnei rā ki te mātakitaki i te pānuitanga tuatoru o te Maniapoto Claims Settlement Bill - te pikinga whakamutunga o tā rātou whakataunga Tiriti o Waitangi o mua. "Me mihi ka ...
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    1 week ago
  • 50,000 more kids to benefit from equity-based programmes next year
    Another 47,000 students will be able to access additional support through the school donations scheme, and a further 3,000 kids will be able to get free and healthy school lunches as a result of the Equity Index.  That’s on top of nearly 90% of schools that will also see a ...
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    1 week ago
  • Healthy Active Learning now in 40 percent of schools across New Zealand
    A total of 800 schools and kura nationwide are now benefitting from a physical activity and nutrition initiative aimed at improving the wellbeing of children and young people. Healthy Active Learning was funded for the first time in the inaugural Wellbeing Budget and was launched in 2020. It gets regional ...
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    1 week ago