Labour won’t regain power until it wins the tax debate

Written By: - Date published: 4:36 pm, September 25th, 2017 - 178 comments
Categories: accountability, capital gains, Economy, election 2017, grant robertson, gst, jacinda ardern, labour, national, Politics, tax, winston peters - Tags:

Labour didn’t deserve to win on Saturday because, firstly, because it failed to bring a fully-fleshed tax policy to voters, and, secondly, it never attempted to win the ideological battle over tax.

Missteps over the Capital Gains tax apart, Jacinda Ardern ran an energetic and near flawless campaign and yet Labour still lost heavily.

It is as certain as death, that tax will be front and centre of the next election and voters will be easily scaremongered again, if Labour fails to address tax.

How a major party can spend nine years in opposition and still not have detailed its tax policy, bewilders me. It raises serious questions about the competence of Finance Spokesman Grant Robertson and other senior members of the leadership team.

To not finalise its position on tax, left gaping openings for National attacks – that it was both dithering and that unlimited tax options might be introduced by the Tax Working Group.

National was easily able to scare various sectors of the electorate by raising the prospect of a capital gains tax, inheritance tax, land tax, gift duties, or new higher income tax brackets.

Each of these taxes is perfectly worthy of consideration. But, assuming NZ First supports National to form a government, if Labour wants to stop an action-replay of this election, it must set up its own tax working group early next year and have its position nailed down by the end of 2018. (You can place your bet now that any government dependent on Winston Peter is not going to last until 2020).

Most importantly, whatever, the tax working group decides, Labour must put a categoric cap on how much tax, as a percentage of GDP, it intends to raise, to pre-empt tax-and-spend attacks.

If the working group recommends a CGT, as it most likely will and should, then Labour must give assurance it will maintain the cap irrespective of how much the CGT raises. So if CGT pulls in $500m of revenue by 2025, then income taxes, or the rate of GST, will be commensurately reduced.

Using the commitment not to go beyond the set ratio will allow Labour to allay attacks that it will tax anything that moves.

Far more important, however, is the need for Labour to win the ideological debate – that taxes help to build societies. This debate has to be tackled front-on and from the day parliament reconvenes. It cannot be left to an election campaign, where there are inevitable distractions.

Until Labour wins hearts and minds that taxes are the mechanism for creating a fairer, caring and better working society, it will always be on the back foot.

According to cognitive linguist George Lakoff of the University of California, the Right has succeeded in capturing the international debate on tax. The framing meme that lower taxes are good for voters has been backed by powerful, shorthand metaphors that make it difficult to counter.

Terms such as “tax relief”, used by the Right since the 1980s, conjure an unconscious message of tax as an affliction. Thus those proposing to cut taxes are portrayed as heroic, while those advocating holding, or raising tax, are portrayed as villains.

Similarly, the widely used term ‘nanny state’, succinctly and negatively frames any initiative to improve society’s wellbeing, such as debate on food and sugar use.
Lakoff says the language and framing capture explains why so many voters have been so willing to vote against their own interests.

Messaging on taxes by the Right has been highly effective in winning long stints in power which have been used to smash unions into submission, resulting in lower real wages and lower living standards for many.

Ironically, once workers’ pay is near subsistence levels, they then become more susceptible to the message of tax “relief”, often voting for parties proposing less progressive tax regimes such as lower income tax, but higher GST. That results in spending cuts that undercut the very support programmes in health, education and security that they need to live adequately.

Lakoff argues the Left must find similar effective framing and language for its argument that taxes are what people pay to build our community – that they allow us to live in a civilised, democratic, society which uses progressive taxes to try to equalise opportunity.

He also says the Left needs to frame tax as a moral issue – that people should willingly pay their fair share and that the ability of people to avoid paying tax on such things as capital gains is repugnant. Why should disgraced former MP Todd Barclay make hundreds of thousands of dollars of profit on the sale of his Arrowtown house and not pay a cent of tax, while regular workers who can’t afford a house never, have such opportunities?

Progressives around the world, including US senator Bernie Sanders and Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn in the UK have all shown there is appetite for parties that promise to use taxes to restore social services that have been slashed by the Right.

These movements have fallen short partly because of the failure to win voters over in the ideological discussion that lowering taxes is bad for society and for most voters.

To succeed at the next election, Labour must begin work today to frame this debate.

The frame should include Labour’s moral vision of empathy, responsibility, protection, fairness, equality and empowerment.  The narrative should emphasise that New Zealand, thanks mainly to previous Labour governments, has a history of looking after people, and Labour will build on that.

Every communication from Labour, whether on health, education, welfare or whatever, should add to the narrative about the need for taxes to support government initiatives. As well, there has to be a narrative about how tax cuts result in the removal of services and protections that have been created to ensure all citizens have the opportunity to fully participate in society and are cared for properly.

Such framing takes time, determination and cohesion. That’s the hard part. The relatively easy part is nutting out a detailed, comprehensive tax policy to present to voters. Failure to do that though, will certainly see result in another disappointment at the next election.

(Simon Louisson formerly worked for The Wall Street Journal, NZPA, Reuters, The Jerusalem Post and was briefly a political and media adviser to the Green Party)

178 comments on “Labour won’t regain power until it wins the tax debate”

  1. mikesh 1

    ¨Far more important, however, is the need for Labour to win the ideological debate – that taxes help to build societies. This debate has to be tackled front-on and from the day parliament reconvenes. It cannot be left to an election campaign, where there are inevitable distractions.¨

    I agree, and if we see a need to widen the tax base so as to include taxes on capital or wealth, then the ¨family home¨ should not be excluded. What should matter is how much tax one is paying, not what one levies it on.

    • Nic the NZer 1.1

      What we discussed the other day implies the government does not need to collect more taxes to support more spending. The left really needs to organise a proper public information based campaign to remove the ideological hurdles which are thrown up whenever additional spending programs are proposed.

      Articles like this, which falsely imply the Labour party must figure out how to collect more tax, are a hinderance which promote false and ideologically driven positions on government spending to the public.

      • popexplosion 1.1.1


      • mikesh 1.1.2

        [Articles like this, which falsely imply the Labour party must figure out how to collect more tax, are a hinderance which promote false and ideologically driven positions on government spending to the public.]

        I don´t think taxation is just about collecting more money. The purpose of engineering a tax shift from productive activity to capital and/or wealth would be to reconfigure the economy; in particular to discourage capital being poured into housing. Fairness is also a legitimate concern which might be addressed through tax measures – capital gains taxes and taxes on imputed rent have both been advocated as measures which could increase equity.

    • Labour_Voter 1.2

      Taxing the family home is death wish. Labour will never win if it includes that in the tax package.

      • KJT 1.2.1

        What about Key’s ten million profit on his “family home”?

        I don’t think taxing that would be unpopular, at all.

  2. Gabby 2

    So, showing people who are hovering on the verge of poverty that you’re not going to shove them blithely over would be a good idea.

  3. SpaceMonkey 3

    Not sure it’s about tax so much as the last thirty years having tangibly benefited only a very few. For rest now it’s either living an illusionary high, or struggling, or just miserable.

    Labour needs to be clearer about rejecting the neo-liberal experiment.

  4. Bob 5

    This whole Tax debate is silly, CGT should be dropped as it takes so long to start collecting such tax.

    The fact that all those west Auckland voters who gave their party vote to National, yet voting a strong Labour Electorate vote, says they are misinformed of said GCT.No tax can be retrospective, it will only affect the people buying homes after the Law is passed.
    Labour did not clarify this to voters, & National succeeded in planting the seed of Doubt. Even tho it were Lies ! Say it often enough & the people believe it.
    A Trumpism if ever there was on.

    Let Winnie go with the Nats & watch the implosion of both parties,
    I say let the Nats try & clean up their own mess & deal with winston at the same time.
    This will be interesting.
    NZ ers are not stupid, well 54% are not, the other 45.6% are simply ill informed and greedy.

    • David C 5.1

      Are you deluded or just misinformed?
      In a CGT all property will need to be valued as of the date of introduction (of the tax) and then CGT accrues after that.

      I really hoped for a fully worked CGT to be introduced. I would level the playing field wrt housing speculation.

      • Bob 5.1.1

        I realize all property will have to be valued, but existing home owners will not be affected, unless they buy another house after the law is passed.
        It’s already causing headaches and lost elections because of this misinformation, so I believe it needs to be dropped.

  5. One Two 6

    No mention of the money/debt/national/govt debt being the pre-requisite discussion

    Talking tax without talking money/debt is asinine!

  6. Stuart Munro 7

    CGT is long overdue. NZ needs to stop kidding themselves that our economists are rockstars – we’re not climbing OECD tables in anything positive. No need to reinvent the wheel or pretend we are cleverer than the rest of the world – CGT. We can even study multiple working variations to tune it to work better here. If Douglas had been an economist rather than a crook it would’ve come in with his first free market reforms.

    • mikesh 7.1

      ¨CGT is long overdue. ¨

      Long may it stay that way.

      • Stuart Munro 7.1.1

        No – it’s time NZ caught up with the rest of the world.

        Our economic pretenders are the biggest charlatans since Freud, they don’t have a fucking clue what they’re doing, and they’ve three quarters wrecked the country. Time – long past time – they began to pay their share. And also time that investment was channeled productively instead of into rent-seeking or capital gain tax dodges.

        • mikesh

          ¨No – it’s time NZ caught up with the rest of the world.¨

          The British and Australian experience seems to indicate that it doesn´t work. This seems to be at odds with the ¨conventional wisdom¨, so I suppose we should introduce it here to see for ourselves that it doesn¨t work.

          • KJT

            In what way?
            It broadens the tax base so there is less reliance on income tax.
            People in Australia and UK invest in things other than farming capital gains.
            Who knows how much their house price bubbles would have risen without CGT.

            Not working?

            The only ones who are against CGT, are rorting us by adding to our interest rates, capital gains farming, without compensating the rest of us for the increased costs and taxes we have to pay.

            Time the free ride was stopped.

            • mikesh

              There are better ways of broadening the tax base. The trouble with CGT is that, once introduced, other options will be more difficult to introduce. People will say we don’t want them if we have a CGT in place.

          • Stuart Munro

            Who say’s it doesn’t work – we’ve had steeper inequality growth than them because we don’t have one. But it was never pretended that a CGT was a magic bullet – it’s just one of a suite of measures to implement when housing becomes a significant problem. Restricting migration and speculation, together with more building and a CGT should slowly deal with the problem – if we can keep the fuckwits out of power for long enough.

            • mikesh

              Steeper inequality growth doesn’t show that CGTs work. It probably indicates a lack of productivity gains, or weaker unions.

              • Stuart Munro

                You’re in denial.

                Plenty of other countries have also had their unions suppressed by neo-liberalism – our inequality is worse (and our productivity is worse) because our anomalous tax regime locks in advantages for non-productive investment categories – speculation and rent-seeking.

                Easily fixed – the problem is the corrupted class don’t want to.

                • KJT

                  Pity they don’t read Adam Smith.
                  “Tax landowners, rentiers and traders”. Not workers and entrepreneurs.

                  The right wing, of course, have only ever read the one paragraph of Smith.

                  • mikesh

                    I agree with Adam Smith. Rentiers should pay tax on their rental profits. All three should pay a land tax. A good case can be made for taxing those who have not made a rental profit, on the rental profit that we consider they should have made, in the manner suggested by Gareth Morgan.

                • mikesh

                  [ You’re in denial. ]

                  I´m afraid it is you who is in denial. For my part I have never denied that rising house prices might have something to do with rising inequality. However you don´t seem willing to take on board the evidence, from the British and Australian experience, that CGTs don´t prevent rises in house prices.

                  Unfortunately the inequality red herring caused me to take my eye off the ball, which I guess was my own silly fault.

                  • Stuart Munro

                    We have heard that fiction many times.

                    It has never been contended that a CGT will solve house price rises entirely. It is a soft regulatory measure that will go some way to dampening them however. There is also a measure of justice in assuring that profit derived from capital is not infinitely privileged above profit derived from labour.

                    You have failed to justify your objections to a CGT, and the conclusion is that they are founded on prejudice – vagrant opinion loitering without the means of support.

                    • mikesh

                      [ There is also a measure of justice in assuring that profit derived from capital is not infinitely privileged above profit derived from labour. ]

                      The profit derived from capital is taxed in the present tax system. By that I mean that we tax rental income. I assume you are a non accountant because you don´t seem able to distinguish between capital and income. The two are different things. Capital gain is not income, it is a form of capital; and we don´t tax capital because capital is something we employ to earn income.

                      The taxing of a man´s means of earning income seems pretty diabolical. We tax income but we leave capital intact to earn more income, on which further tax can be paid.

                      I hope that clarifies this matter for once and for all.

                    • Stuart Munro

                      Don’t be silly Mikesh

                      The distinction you are drawing is theoretical – housing in NZ has been corrupted into a speculative enterprise because the accountants presumption simply isn’t true.

                      The capital gain from housing is no longer a small adventitious item as like or not to be consumed by depreciation – it is the raison d’etre for buying housing as an investment.

                      And you know that perfectly well.

                    • mikesh

                      [ The distinction you are drawing is theoretical – housing in NZ has been corrupted into a speculative enterprise because the accountants presumption simply isn’t true. ]

                      The distinction is based in fact. If one invests one´s capital in an asset which increases in value then the increase is a capital gain and represents an increase in one´s capital. This should be obvious from the fact that if one wished to reinvest the proceeds from the sale of an asset one would have less capital to invest if one has had to pay a capital gains tax.

                      [ The capital gain from housing is no longer a small adventitious item as like or not to be consumed by depreciation – it is the raison d’etre for buying housing as an investment. ]

                      The raison d´etre for investing in housing is to earn taxable income from rent. If the raison d´etre is flick it off for a profit then that profit is taxable under IRD rules – this is true even if the transaction does not come within the ambit of the brightline test.

                      I think there is both good and bad in the housing market. I think there are ¨honest¨ landlords whose sole purpose is to provide a rental service and to make a profit from it.

                    • Stuart Munro

                      It doesn’t matter how many times you repeat it Mikesh – it is palpably untrue to suggest that rental income drives housing investment decisions in NZ.

                      And that’s a problem. Hiding your head in the sand and pretending otherwise does nothing to resolve it. It’s not a matter of ‘good’ or ‘bad’ landlords – we have had housing hyperinflation – and that hyperinflation has been caused by governmental collusion in the property market.

                      This has extremely serious and negative social and economic consequences and muttering mimsy nonsense about distinctions between capital gains and other forms of income simply doesn’t cut it.

                      The capital gain dwarfs all other income.

                      It is vital that this rort is addressed – and a CGT is the best and simplest way to do so. You have not produced anything that could be mistaken for a credible alternative so clearly your expertise is considerably less than you claim.

                    • mikesh

                      [ It doesn’t matter how many times you repeat it Mikesh – it is palpably untrue to suggest that rental income drives housing investment decisions in NZ. ]

                      I´m pretty sure there are many many ¨honest¨ landlords in the rental market. If you think otherwise then I suggest you provide some proof. But even if it were untrue, the principle that the purpose of investment is to make rental income would still stand. It would just mean that everyone in the rental market was abusing the system; and it is that problem that we should be addressing rather than bringing in inferior tax measures.

                      [ And that’s a problem. Hiding your head in the sand and pretending otherwise does nothing to resolve it. ]

                      Hiding your head in the sand and refusing to recognise how a rental market ought to operate does nothing to solve the problem. Any decisions we make, regarding tax, should be made on the basis of how a housing market ought to operate, otherwise we are just pissing into the wind.

                      [ This has extremely serious and negative social and economic consequences and muttering mimsy nonsense about distinctions between capital gains and other forms of income simply doesn’t cut it. ]

                      Advocating a capital gains tax doesn´t cut it either. The evidence from Australia and Britain suggests it would achieve next to nothing. And, because of the householders exemption, it´s not even equitable

                      [ The capital gain dwarfs all other income. ]

                      That´s interesting. I really didn´t know that. But what is your argument exactly.

                      [ It is vital that this rort is addressed – and a CGT is the best and simplest way to do so. You have not produced anything that could be mistaken for a credible alternative so clearly your expertise is considerably less than you claim. ]

                      Calling something a ¨rort¨ does´t make it one. And a CGT is not the simplest way of addressing the problem. I have given credible alternatives; a CCT or a land tax. The latter I believe would actually be the simplest – land is not the sort of thing one can hide – and it could be collected simply by adding it to rates demands, with local authorities forwarding the proceeds to the government.

                    • mikesh

                      Something has occurred to me since my last comment, and which I hadn´t thought of before. It is that if Morgan´s CCT were introduced, a property owner, whether landlord or private, would, in effect,be paying a capital gains tax as he goes along, since the tax would be based on the total value of the owner´s equity, which would include accumulated capital gains. This means that a CCT, in addition to addressing the problem of the inequity of not taxing imputed rent, would also address the concerns of you CGT enthusiasts.

                    • KJT

                      Capital gains, is the income landowners are earning from their initial capital. That is the whole point.
                      There are now more people farming for capital gains, than are farming cows.

                      Both in excess, are detrimental to the economy and the environment.

                      You have absolutely no evidence that Capital gains tax hasn’t prevented even faster house price rises in other countries. Aa that would require a. parallel experiment in identical countries.

                      There is evidence that the lack of capital gains tax in NZ has distorted the economy from productive to speculative investment.

                    • mikesh

                      [ Capital gains, is the income landowners are earning from their initial capital. That is the whole point.
                      There are now more people farming for capital gains, than are farming cows. ]

                      As I have pointed out many times previously capital; gain is not income but an increase in the value of an asset.
                      the other ways of taxing farmers who appear to be farming for capital gains – I would suggest either a land tax, or a tax on imputed rents – and in any case a capital gains tax would also ¨punish¨ farmers who are not doing that, since it is not possible to be selective in who one is going to tax.

                      [ You have absolutely no evidence that Capital gains tax hasn’t prevented even faster house price rises in other countries. Aa that would require a. parallel experiment in identical countries. ]

                      There is no evidence that it has. As you say, it would require parallel experiments in identical countries to prove anything at all.

                      [ There is evidence that the lack of capital gains tax in NZ has distorted the economy from productive to speculative investment. ]

                      What evidence???

  7. Mickey Boyle 8

    Theres nothing stopping people from paying a substantial amount more tax than is currently taken off them, go make a donation to the government via the IRD, I dont want to be paying more taxes and i’m certainly not alone. I believe I have this attitude due to the huge amount of waste that has and is currently being spent on my behalf from the government. If I actually thought a tax increase might make a shred of difference to outcomes for the country as a whole I may be for it but alas I cant see the day where that will occur.

    • DoublePlusGood 8.1

      Sorry, where is this waste of which you speak? Most parts of the government are running on vastly less than what they need to run their responsibilities properly, and are therefore forced to do a lot of fiscal gymnastics to try and stay afloat.

      • GregJ 8.1.1

        You fundamentally misunderstand the concept that taxation is a large-scale collective action that is different from an individual act. Even if Gareth Morgan were to pay more taxes than he currently does it would have negligible effect on Government finances.

        “An individual who decides to pay more taxes than necessary does not have a small effect on government finances and decision making; he has no effect at all…”

        The quote is from a “The Economist” article that covered the argument fairly succinctly in this piece – So why don’t you just pay extra taxes? Hm?

        It also eliminates the “free rider” – the society as a whole pays tax for the benefit of the whole society. Your argument about waste is a red herring. That is a question of governance and financial control not tax. A better debate would be on progressive taxation and whether those who have more should be paying more.

      • BevanJS 8.1.2

        I’d suggest a fair chunk of particularly MBIE and also MPI as a start.

    • mikesh 8.2

      ¨Theres nothing stopping people from paying a substantial amount more tax than is currently taken off them, go make a donation to the government via the IRD,¨

      I like your sense of humour.

    • KJT 8.3

      You would rather free load off those of us who do pay tax.

      Funny how right wingers are fine with socialism, so long as it is our money, and work, paying to them.

      Right wingers seem to always have their hands out for “other peoples money”.

      • cleangreen 8.3.1

        Perfectly correct JKT,

        Just look at what our road freight industry have done to our roads now that they used powerful lobby’s to get government to increase the size and weight of trucks and then encourage more use of them!!!!!

        We now find our hillsides falling down from repeated road based vibrations causing hillsides to ‘fracture’ and now the roads are sinking under the weight and number of trucks on our roads now.

        Latest obsene plan to further sqander our public taxayer purse today is the bill of a estimated $10 billion for “a massive viaduct through the Manawatu Gorge.”
        Rail must now be used for ‘land transport’ of freight & passenger services through the Manawatu Gorge, to reconnect the western traffic to the eastern side.

        Finally this latest NZTA road plan for a possible (estimated) $10 Billion dollar “huge viaduct through the Manawatu Gorge” must then become a ‘toll road’ as it is expressly needed urgently only for the freight/road industry and expressly not needed for the occasional private car user.

        We must now realise to pay for all massive road upgrades/repairs especially in any locations such as road gorge configurations such as repeated slips occurring in the Manawatu, Waioeka, Otira, and other venerable road systems.

        Locations that are forced to use only a gorge then dictates that we must make ‘commercial users’ of our roads a “user pays” policy now as the local ratepayers and NZ taxpayer cannot sustain the increasing tax burden on them exclusively.

      • mikesh 8.3.2

        [You would rather free load off those of us who do pay tax.]

        Property owners pay tax. Rental income is taxable just like wages, business profits, etc.

        • Stuart Munro

          Rental income enjoys undeserved tax minimization opportunities.

          • mikesh

            [ Rental income enjoys undeserved tax minimization opportunities. ]

            It´s not that rental income provides tax minimisation opportunities, it is just that some landlords are taking on, probably, uneconomic properties and justifying this to themselves through the expectation of capital gain. This, I agree is unfair, but the way to address this problem would be to apply Gareth Morgan´s CCT rather than to introduce a CGT. After all there is no reason a decent rental profit should preclude a later capital gain, so these landlords can´t be said to be gaming the system to avoid tax now in order to obtain a tax free capital gain later.

            Some thought should also be given to the problem of interest. Where landlords are not making a profit it is probably because they are over leveraged, so that the interest they have to pay is gobbling up all their profits. A good case can be made that interest should not be tax deductible anyway, and if it wasn´t landlords in this position would find themselves having to pay a lot of tax despite a lack of profits.

            • Stuart Munro

              Morgan’s CCT is wishful thinking – you can’t implement it piecemeal, and he’ll never get a majority. So it’s a distractor – an idea like the FTT, but less progressive. We have a CGT now – all that remains is to expand it until it makes leveraging and other speculative strategies unattractive. That won’t on its own resolve the housing crisis – but it will soften inflationary tendencies.

              • mikesh

                Now that Morgan has put CCT ¨on the political table¨ I don´t think it will go away, even if TOP eventually disappears from the the political scene.
                It is likely Jacinda´s tax working group will now take a serious look at it.

                Incidently, the brightline test is not a CGT. What it means is that the IRD says that where an asset is acquired for the purpose of resale any profit from it´s sale is taxable. The difficulty lies in proving that an asset was purchased for that purpose. Under the brightline test an asset is DEEMED to have been acquired for the purpose of resale if it is sold within two years.

                • Stuart Munro

                  Yes – I’m aware of that – the fact is that property purchases have increasingly been driven by a desire to profit over recent years, enough that the old presumption that a purchase is not to obtain a profit by resale has been overturned – in the real world if not in tax law. This principle underwrites The Block among other things.

                  Labour’s intention of pushing the bright line out to five years will catch a lot of the remaining speculative activity – but owners and traders of multiple properties will still enjoy an undeserved tax exemption, especially if they trade at six years.

                  Until property is a tax neutral or negative activity it will continue to distort and dominate the NZ investment market, and burgeoning inequality will continue to worsen, while productivity lags.

                  There is no reason to suppose Morgan’s CCT will not die on ‘the table’ as Social Credit policies did, and an FTT seems likely to. The CGT is a much less intrusive reform – though the argument that there should in fact be no family home exemption is sound.

                  • mikesh

                    The difficulty with the brightline test is that they will catch a lot of home owners who sell for valid reasons eg the breadwinner is transferred to another town by his employer, or they need to cater for a larger family, or they simply want to trade up to something swankier. And even if private householders are exempted Labours extension to five years seems a kneejerk reaction to the problem of rising house prices – in effect, a claytons CGT.

                    [ There is no reason to suppose Morgan’s CCT will not die on ‘the table’ as Social Credit policies did, and an FTT seems likely to. The CGT is a much less intrusive reform – though the argument that there should in fact be no family home exemption is sound. ]

                    If the CCT can´t be introduced I would advocate introducing a land tax (with no exemptions apart from fallow maori land), since it not only has a higher profile than a CCT, but it is more equitable than a CGT. I believe that the Crown´s interest in land does not cease when that land passes into private hands.

                    Incidently, Social Credit ideas have not died. The UBI concept is just another name for Social Credit´s national dividend. There is also a fair amount of informed opinion which holds that commercial banks should not be creating money out of nothing. The Social Credit party still exists, though only just.

                    • Stuart Munro

                      The Social Credit idea is effectively dead.

                      You must’ve read Hickey – the last nine years have added over half a $trillion to house values, chiefly by inflation.

                      The capital cost of that is going to steeply reduce local home ownership and massively increase negative social phenomena like poverty, crime, homelessness and suicide.

                      It takes a long time to turn a housing market around without Draconian excesses – we don’t have the forty odd years that social credit was left loitering. We don’t have four.

                    • mikesh

                      Your first paragraph excepted (and it does´t have much relevance to the debate in any case), I can´t say I disagree with any of that. I have read some of Hickey´s stuff and the comments you quote sound like stuff he would have said, though I don´t recall any of it.

                      I don´t think there is much we can do to bring about anything other than a gradual reduction in house prices. CGTs, CCTs and land taxes are largely attempts to introduce greater equity into the market and though they may have some effect in reducing prices, I don´t think that effect will be great. Building more houses will obviously help, but building enough will take time. The only thing that would bring about a sudden reduction would be a devastating economic collapse, but in that case we would be into a completely new ball game.

                    • Stuart Munro

                      Yes, we know you think nothing can be done.

                      You are wrong however – we can implement a CGT. In the absence of such a measure to disincentivise housing inflation other measures will never catch up.

                      It’s the ‘nothing can be done’ which is your key premise, because it is your earnest wish that nothing be done.

                    • mikesh

                      I didn´t say ¨nothing¨ could be done. I said that the best we could do, using tax measures, was bring about gradual change. Significant change can probably only come from increasing the stock of houses, but this of course takes time. The trouble with tax measures is that they would have to be pretty draconian to bring about changes to the extent we desire.

        • KJT

          After you have claimed all the deductions. Right?

          We all know that capital gains is simply profit that is foregone, to avoid tax.

          I could have earned more money in the last ten years, tax free, by simply renting my Auckland house at a loss, then selling it, than i made by working.

          A loophole which is destroying the New Zealand economy, with all the people doing just that.

          Unfortunately, so many are now doing it ,that the first Government which stops the rort, that costs those of us left who do pay taxes on income, will be a one term Government.

          I remember once on a blog publishing the IRD numbers for average tax paid by farm owners. $1500. Someone said why did you pick a bad year. So i picked a good year. $1800.
          Obvious that most farms are farming tax free capital gains, not cows. To the detriment of those who want to farm as an ongoing, income earning, business. Farm prices are now so high, because of capital gains farming, that the traditional routes into farm ownership for youngsters are closed. And farming as a business can scarcely pay the interst on the land prices.

          • mikesh

            [We all know that capital gains is simply profit that is foregone, to avoid tax.]

            What utter drivel. It´s not profit at all. It is actually an increase in the value of an asset, particularly of an asset such as land.

            [ I could have earned more money in the last ten years, tax free, by simply renting my Auckland house at a loss, then selling it, than i made by working.]

            Under current tax law if you purchased the house for the purpose of resale you would be liable to pay tax on any ¨profit¨ you happened to make.

            • KJT

              Semantic bullshit. you make money on it. It is income/PROFIT. An increase in money/wealth you have, and should be taxed at the same rate as any other income.

              Under current law. You only have to say the land/house was not for the purpose of resale and IRD have to take your word. I sold to move for work. By the way.

              • mikesh

                [ Semantic bullshit. you make money on it. It is income/PROFIT. An increase in money/wealth you have, and should be taxed at the same rate as any other income. ]

                Capital gain is an increase in the value of an asset, and if it exists it does so independently of whether or not you ever sell that asset. Usually it will be reflected in increased rentals or enhanced benefits from the asset. Income/Profit is what you get from producing something, or providing some service, usually in return for monetary remuneration.

                When an asset is sold, and a capital gain realised, the gain is not underpinned by profit in the above sense – the seller hasn´t produced anything, or provided a service – so the only source of the gain can be the buyer´s loss. There is no income or profit where there is no net benefit to the community and the only thing that has changed is an exchange of assets ie where cash has been exchanged for property.

                [ Under current law. You only have to say the land/house was not for the purpose of resale and IRD have to take your word. ]

                Making false representation to the IRD in order to avoid paying tax is fraud, and the fact that you can get away with it doesn´t change that.

                • KJT

                  And. we know it happens all the time.

                  And where is an exchange of some asset for money any different in effect than exchanging my asset, skills and knowledge, for money.

                  You can wriggle all you like, but there is no justification, and considerable expense to the community for one to attract tax and the other, not.

                  • mikesh

                    [ And. we know it happens all the time. ]

                    Possibly. Though the brightline test helps avoid this, and one´s activities can usually provide evidence of intent.

                    [ And where is an exchange of some asset for money any different in effect than exchanging my asset, skills and knowledge, for money. ]

                    No. You get paid for the work you do. If you have special skills and knowledge you would probably be paid more. A doctor, no matter how well qualified, will receive no income at all if he sits on his bum all day and does nothing.

                    [ You can wriggle all you like, but there is no justification, and considerable expense to the community for one to attract tax and the other, not. ]

                    I don´t think you understand the meaning of the word ¨expense¨.
                    I suggest you look it up in the dictionary.

                    • KJT

                      So. I earn money, working hard, with an extremely high level of skill, by the way, and pay tax on it.

                      You get more money sitting on your butt, simply because you own a house in Auckland, and don’t pay tax.

                      Not only that, but the excessive immigration, high interest rates and extra infrastructure spending, caused by your decision to speculate in housing, is a many billion dollar cost on the rest of us.

                      Just one example is the interest cost to a NZ business is around 12% while overseas competitors are paying 3. With the reserve bank raising rates to try and put a brake on housing inflation.

                      Either you are being deliberately obtuse. Or you are blind to the effects.

                    • mikesh

                      [ So. I earn money, working hard, with an extremely high level of skill, by the way, and pay tax on it.

                      You get more money sitting on your butt, simply because you own a house in Auckland, and don’t pay tax. ]

                      Are you now suggesting that ¨family homes¨ should also be taxed? If so I would agree that, if we were deluded enough to introduce a capital gains tax, it should apply to all properties, including ¨family homes¨. If, on the other hand, you are talking about the rental income I might receive from a rental property, I agree that I should pay tax on that, and that the tax should be at a level appropriate to the income received.

                      [ Not only that, but the excessive immigration, high interest rates and extra infrastructure spending, caused by your decision to speculate in housing, is a many billion dollar cost on the rest of us.

                      Just one example is the interest cost to a NZ business is around 12% while overseas competitors are paying 3. With the reserve bank raising rates to try and put a brake on housing inflation.

                      Either you are being deliberately obtuse. Or you are blind to the effects. ]

                      Most of this I would probably agree with, but it´s not really relevant to the discussion since it does nothing to indicate that a capital gains tax would be more appropriate than other taxes that might be employed, or other measures that might be taken.

    • popexplosion 8.4

      lol. private taxes. costs of interest are past onto consumer prices, we are all paying more to pay for Auckland housing, a govt legislated private tax on the whole nation.

      • KJT 8.4.1

        Yes. The price of rising interest rates and the overpriced currency, (a brake on NZ exporters), extra infrastructure, increased population and decreased wages, from the shenanigans to keep Auckland house prices up, falls on the rest of us.

        While those who benefit, escape tax on their gains.

        Now they are complaining, because we want to withdraw their subsidy.

  8. Gristle 9

    David is correct in that CGT is a transaction based tax that is collected at every sale.

    For this reason property taxes are quicker to generate revenue and are likely to be levied annually.

    Given that property values are already being struck and that ownership and occupancy information is readily available the issues about levying will be low. No doubt it would follow the same sort of processing and enforcement path as rates.

    See the Netherlands for a working example.

    • mikesh 9.1

      I agree. The government would be better served by receiving a steady stream of income, year after year, from, say, a land tax, than from an occasional burst of income from a capital gains tax.

      Incidently, where can I find this ¨Netherlands¨? Somewhere in Europe, isn´t it?

      • RedLogix 9.1.1

        Which is why Morgan’s CCT or Asset tax is a far smarter and ultimately much fairer mechanism. And much less likely to introduce distortions.

        By contrast a CGT would almost certainly have to exempt the ‘family home’ and this massive loophole would just get gamed all to hell and back.

        • Stuart Munro

          Easily fixed – cap the value of the family home definition.

          • RedLogix

            What precisely do you mean by that? I’m always leery of tax thresholds of all sorts; they tend to become a form of distortion themselves over time; so I’d be curious to know how you think it works in this instance.

            In general the best strategy with tax is lots of small taxes, levied often and difficult (or better still pointless) to avoid. A CCT inherently meets that requirement; a CGT needs design fiddles.

            I’m not totally against CGT’s; it’s just that overseas experience with them suggests they rarely achieve the investment re-balancing goals that are claimed for them.

            • Stuart Munro

              You misunderstand – the object of a CGT, like the object of a Gift Tax, is not primarily to raise revenue. The CGT is to counterbalance inflationary tendencies in the housing market. The Gift Tax is to make evasion by transfers more difficult, not to raise revenue.

              Given a CGT shy population, a higher threshold might be chosen – say $2 million. Properties in excess of this value would be ineligible for the family home exemption. Over time this would concentrate housing values just below the bar. But it would also catch a lot of speculative trade in the high end of the market. The bulk of the market however would not be affected.

              The threshold would also provide a handy litmus for voters. ” <$2 million? Won't affect me."

              • mikesh

                “The bulk of the market would not be affected”

                This of course would be a disadvantage if it was the market that you were trying to regulate.

                • Stuart Munro

                  By no means – it is folly to regulate an activity which is universal – it lacks public support. Better to regulate the outliers.

                  The extremes of sociopathy are natural targets for regulation – raising taxes on the bloke down the road who does a bit of overtime is neither here nor there, but coming down like a tonne of bricks on the incontinent greed of assholes like Theo Spierings has a healthy deterrent effect in addition to providing a modest bump in state finances.

                  A strict regulation regime for housing could solve the affordability problem overnight – capping prices at $100k + $50k per bedroom. But the weeping and wailing of property speculators and their victims would in that instance become so loud as to overstretch noise abatement enforcement.

                  I offer you a market based solution and you choose tyrannical statism – who’d’ve thunk it!

                  • mikesh

                    ¨By no means – it is folly to regulate an activity which is universal – it lacks public support. Better to regulate the outliers.¨

                    A tax on proerty, such as a land tax, could be applied to everybody. It would still ¨regulate the outliers¨ inasmuch as they would be paying more than the ¨inliers´.

                    • Stuart Munro

                      The truth is that you are at pains to sabotage meaningful tax reform. You can only achieve this by lumping the non-problematic majority in with the problematic speculators and slumlords. If we separate them out there is no difficulty in finding broad based support for reform.

                      No need to punish everyone for the greed of a few.

                    • KJT

                      Progressive CGT is possible. EG. 0% up to a 500k. 15% up to a million.
                      30% over that.

                      As is replacing some income tax with Morgans version.. Levied along with rates.

                    • mikesh

                      [ The truth is that you are at pains to sabotage meaningful tax reform.]

                      I´m not. I like tax. Tax is what provides us with all sorts of good things like schools, hospitals, etc. The point is, though, that a tax, such as a land tax, should be applied to everyone who qualifies for it by owning land, in much the same way that PAYE applies to everyone who earns a wage or salary. This is true even if speculators and capital gains are not present.

          • KJT

            What he said.

            • cleangreen

              A tax, is a tax, is a tax!!!

              Is that clear to all who advocate a ‘across the board tax for all’.

              Wasn’t that National party policy whistle, to scare people off Labour about imminent increase in taxes?????

              You can bet the rich will welcome the ‘general tax all policy’ we see being advanced here right now.

              labour lost a lot with the tax debate, and now you want them to commit to a tax now?

              how is rthat going to fare when 2020 comes around?

              Another one term Government = Labour!!!

              Put it away and tax the rich please. They have spounged to long off us all.

              • KJT

                What is being advocated here is increased taxes on the wealthy, and decreased taxes on workers, especially low waged ones, along with help for the poorest.
                NOT. A general overall increase in taxation. That is National and the medias framing.

                Water taxes on farmers are simply asking for them to pay for the public services of water supply and disposal in the same way urban businesses have for decades. It is not up to us to subsidise your, untaxed, capital gains.

                National will always go for the more taxes frame. Not mentioning the things that will cost us more, to pay for tax cuts.

                “Free’ university education, a functioning health system, fixing housing and reversing the damage of the last 30 years will cost.

                Higher taxes on those who use the most public resources, the wealthy, are essential for a functional country.

                Successful countries all have a State share of GDP greater than ours.

                Higher taxes are inevitable, but it doesn’t have to be solely paid by PAYE
                payers. The great tax bait and switch from wealth to the rest of us, of the last 30 years, can be reversed.

  9. Craig H 10

    Labour had detailed tax policies in 2011 and 2014 including fully-costed and detailed CGT. Nobody should be bewildered by Labour’s inability to come up with a tax policy, because we came up with tax policies, twice, and we got slaughtered over it because no amount of messaging changed the simple attack lines of National or got any traction with voters. People believe, completely wrongly, but believe nonetheless, that CGT means government will tax all profits 100%, even the family home. No amount of explanation deals with totally irrational fears like that and ultimately that’s the issue for Labour- you can’t explain away an issue that people have reasoned themselves into.

    Much better to not have one and find something simple like the bright line test, possibly while reviewing all policies with the resources of government, and pick something easier to sell. Or just dump that, and go with the bright line test alone.

    If we want to win elections, we should reframe the debate to National increases taxes and creates new taxes, and will do it again, because who can trust them not to? Then smash them on it from now on, and all campaign when it comes up.

    Meanwhile, tell Joe Worker on Struggle Street that we will be cutting taxes somewhere and increasing it on the rich, by adding a fifth bracket of 40c/$1 over $150K. Dump ESCT and increase KS employer contributions. Above all, avoid any signs of increasing taxes below the rich.

    • McFlock 10.1

      I think your first paragraph hit the nail on the head.

      No matter what labgrn do (because it applies to both), National will follow their proven tactical template: lie big about the policy;
      if there is detail, criticise invented minutae as if it’s earth-shattering;
      if there are loopholes, exaggerate them and invent more;
      if there is a broad approach, claim invented details are being concealed.

      So any action by LabGrn is covered with an automatic spin response.

      But also, calling it a “tax debate” shows a policy bias that misunderstands the objective of National’s response template: it’s not a debate about taxes.

      National consistently turn what looks like a bureaucratic policy argument into a wider portrayal that attacks labgrn integrity and competence and deliberately alienates people from policy analyses. It becomes the situation where the confident-looking bullshitter looks more competent than the serious person trying to deny and correct the bullshit.

      For me, that’s the real weakness labgrn have facing the bullshitters: it’s not what the policies are, it’s that however they are presented they will be lied about, misrepresented, and lost in the fog of bullshit.

      • Macro 10.1.1

        For me, that’s the real weakness labgrn have facing the bullshitters: it’s not what the policies are, it’s that however they are presented they will be lied about, misrepresented, and lost in the fog of bullshit.


        Until we get a 4th Estate actually worthy of the name we shall have the right wing doing nothing, continuing with BAU, and fucking the planet up big time.

        • Craig H

          The 4th Estate did well on those issues in this election IMO – they called out the lies very quickly, and Paddy Gower in particular was great in really denouncing it. However, people still believed it, so I personally propose we come up with something similar and hammer them with it.

          • McFlock

            That just makes politics about lies vs lies, though – which is exactly the ground national want to fight on.

            Alienate even more voters.

            • Craig H

              I don’t mean actually lie, I mean find something to hammer them on (legitimately) and hammer them. Hammer them on a previous history of introducing taxes without telling the electorate first, or on increasing GST after saying they wouldn’t, or something like that. Don’t lie, just pick their perceived strength and hammer at it.

              • McFlock

                But it doesn’t occur in a vacuum: the referee is biased, and the nail has a mind of its own.

                Labour tried a bit of that this time, but the media always shied away from the message. And if you campaign too negatively it can count badly against you.

                And if one concentrates too much on one issue, it’s easily deflected into “you have no policy of your own” territory.

                There’s no workable tactic here. Success against tories relies in a large part on them fucking up – like eating their coalition partners.

        • mikesh

          It’s not just the bullshitters or the MSM, though of course contribute to the problem. It’s also the squattocracy, home owners residing in overpriced houses who don’t want anything to interfere with property values or the opportunity to accumulate even more capital gain.

    • Ad 10.2

      There are subtler ways of bringing in a CGT, already in place and working fine.

      National in particular bringing in the 2-year “bright line test” put a tax on the realized profits on the capital gain of the only asset 90% of kiwis will ever own: their home.

      If Labour had promised to introduce the 5-year “bright line test” and done absolutely nothing else, they would have got away with the entire tax debate and achieved the twin results of shifting asset classes nationally and cooling the housing market.

      • Craig H 10.2.1

        Exactly. I remember the tax working group policy because it arose out of a regional conference and wasn’t actually about CGT at all, but even just sticking with Andrew Little’s call to not implement anything out of it until after another election would have been enough.

    • mikesh 10.3

      ¨People believe, completely wrongly, but believe nonetheless, that CGT means government will tax all profits 100%, even the family home. No amount of explanation deals with totally irrational fears like that and ultimately that’s the issue for Labour- you can’t explain away an issue that people have reasoned themselves into.¨

      Perhaps you could tell the people that National were planning to tax wages 100% and, if the people didn´t believe you, ask them why they believe Labour would tax capital gains 100%.

      • Craig H 10.3.1

        Anyone I met who thought that, I turned them back by explaining that a) that wasn’t Labour policy and b) that’s not how a CGT actually works, but I can’t exactly explain that individually to thousands of people. By explanation in my original comment, I meant explanatory material e.g. a website, not personal explanation. Basically, if the Nats are just going to make it up, we may as well hammer the bejesus out of them instead of coming up with super detailed policy, because they’re just going to lie about it anyway.

  10. Zack Brando 11

    Disagree, Labour, Greens and Peters have the seats and they’re only going to increase once the specials come in. If there is an outpouring of love/support from the grass-roots public towards Peters to back a red-black-green Government, the Left will be in.

    Peters has negotiated many MMP deals and that skill set should be considered an advantage given Labour’s time out of government. The oldies want a change of government too and have voted in Winston as their insurance policy to represent their interests as the ‘times are a changing’.

    I think Winston is cool, it’s a shame he has to suffer so much elder abuse in parliament. He reminds me of the ‘Howard Lyman’ character from The Good Wife – their is an episode addressing ageism head-on, featuring a story line that brought sensitivity training to the fictional Lockhart, Agos and Lee law firm. Worth a watch: The Good Wife s07e05

  11. DoublePlusGood 12

    Basically, Labour should say it will ditch GST and replace it with significant income and wealth taxes aimed at stopping accumulation of wealth in the hands of the top 10%.

    Sold well, ditching GST should be an instant election winner. Just have to market National’s GST rise as punishing hard working New Zealanders. Say we need a more common sense tax policy. Attack the tax dodging bludging rich by painting them as costing hard working New Zealanders by making ordinary kiwis pay more money. Common Sense. Hard Working New Zealanders. Fiscal Responsibility. Strong tax leadership.
    And all the rest of that empty vacuous crap that voters low, but unlike National, backed by sound policy that helps New Zealanders.

    • KJT 12.1

      80% support ditching GST and having CGT, a higher top tax rate, inheritance taxes on wealth and wealth taxes instead. Reversing the give to the very rich, of the last 30 years.
      The status quo when we had one of the highest standards of living in the world.

      Successful economy’s, including ours in the past, have a Government share of the economy over 45%. Higher taxes, on those who take the most from our society, are essential.

      • RedLogix 12.1.1

        And that’s a critical point most New Zealanders have no idea about; that our Govt share of the economy once you have accounted for retirement income is one of the very lowest in the developed world. We have an appallingly mean and underfunded public sector; yet the Nats only plan is to plunge us further down the table … below Mexico last time I looked.

        (Nothing against the Mexicans … just one tough dammed country to live in for most people.)

    • NewsFlash 12.2

      +1 DoublePlusGood

      GST is a regressive tax that increases inequality, what you’re suggesting is bang on.

      I don’t think there would be a problem selling the idea as NZ just happens to have the WORST version of GST any where, NZ is the only country in the world that GST applies to 98% of all goods and services, Aus has a 10%GST, but only on 50% of goods and services, ie food, health are excluded, some Scandinavian countries have some high GST rates 50/60% but only apply to small number of goods and services.

      The other good idea for TAX reform is the introduction of a TAX threshold, currently in Australia the threshold is set at $18200, no tax is paid by anyone up to this amount, and then progressive, it means people on lower incomes get most benefit.

      • mikesh 12.2.1

        ¨GST is a regressive tax that increases inequality, what you’re suggesting is bang on.¨

        I don´t know that its regressiveness is a problem, providing it´s counterbalanced by a sufficiently progressive income tax.

      • Craig H 12.2.2

        GST is painful to implement when it has different rates and exemptions. Legitimately easier to use much more progressive income taxes or a tax-free threshold, than to play around with GST.

        • KJT

          GST would be better gone.

          It was a stealthy way of taxing lower income to cut taxes to higher incomes.

          But it has to be replaced by something, to accord with it’s original stated purpose.
          To damp down consumption, especially of imported goods, after tariffs were removed.

          • Draco T Bastard

            It was a stealthy way of taxing lower income to cut taxes to higher incomes.


            To damp down consumption, especially of imported goods, after tariffs were removed.

            Interestingly enough, tariffs. In fact, tariffs are far closer to free-trade than FTAs as they don’t take a country’s choices away from them.

            Also, need to set the exchange rate in relation to our actual trade rather than letting the currency speculators set it.

    • Attack the tax dodging bludging rich by painting them as costing hard working New Zealanders by making ordinary kiwis pay more money.

      They are costing hard-working NZers – billions per year – and everyone should know that.

  12. Pat 13

    think Mr Hickey has pretty well nailed it….

    no one is going to sign a blank cheque (those that know what one is)

  13. Keith 14

    In case you missed it Labour had many if not all economists backing their economic plans and guess what, Stephen Joyce made up the 11 billion dollar hole, yep, he just made shit up and just like that, enough dumb arse voters believed it even though Nationals record on honesty is awful.

    Thanks for playing, game over!

    They can get all their tax plans signed off by the best economic minds in the world but what about when National lie again and New Zealand’s thick voters fall for? What then, how do you counter the lying?

    But I do agree, present an overwhelming case on why we need more tax because Christ knows, our public services are running on empty.

    • Ross 14.1

      And of course National got away with misleading voters through their advertising. Labour ought to be looking at a few scare tactics – above board of course – of their own in 2020 whether they’re in govt or not. Nice guys come last 🙂

      • KJT 14.1.1

        Lying during an election campaign should result in instant disqualification from parliament, if not a criminal prosecution.

        11 billion dollar lies, about 20 years.

  14. Ad 15


    Ardern herself had overruled her own Deputy Leader Kelvn Davis and made a “captain’s call” to potentially implement a capital gains test in the first term. She embarrassed herself and humiliated her Deputy Leader.

    Then it went south.

    Robertson then had to effectively admit defeat and come in with less than two weeks to go, scoop the whole lot up, and dump it into the next term.

    So Ardern, Davis, and Roberston were damaged.

    Then on the water tax and emissions tax the farmers of Morrinsville aided and abetted by a Fonterra subsidiary took her carefully-spun country-girl image and ruined it on live tv. Ardern herself set that one up with the previously-planted origin story.

    The above simply piled onto Joyce’s narrative about “there’s a fiscal hole”, and the whole of Labour’s carefully framed audited set of accounts justifying their massive promises went up in a bonfire of manufactured authenticity.

    And with that of course went the 6% of the vote that they needed to wipe out National.

    Tax is earned; the right to tax citizens’ incomes is formed through the mandate of the ballot box. It is the origin of the distributive state upon which the Labour movement stands.

    Ardern showed that she did not understand that basic political premise. Ardern and Robertston are jointly to blame for the loss of the 6% that they needed to win.

    Ardern and Robertson’s handling of tax policy is the one thing that tells me that they could sit this term out (just like 1996) until they have a strong story to tell and Ardern has some actual leadership experience under her belt.

    • Ross 15.1

      A good analysis…in an FPP world. Pity we’re operating under MMP. National have won nothing.

      You might have missed the German elections over the weekend. Angela Merkel looks set to be the German Chancellor for another 4 years. Her party secured a mere 32.5% of the vote.

      • Ad 15.1.1

        Neither National nor Labour have won anything, nor did I claim that.

        You need lessons on how to squarely critique your own party without feeling like your world is collapsing.

        I have a post on the German elections coming out tomorrow.

  15. Shona 16

    +100 @doubleplusgood. Dump GST bring in FTT and tax money finally. All those currency traders traders will be squealing up a storm like weaner pigs taken off the teat. Pollution taxes need to be trialed if we get the desired coalition this time. Long overdue as is a UBI

  16. Terry 17

    We need to change the conversation about tax. Wage & Salary earners are taxed before our pay ends up in our bank accounts, our Kiwisaver contributions are taxed, if I have some spare cash & I open a term deposit, the interest earned is taxed & deducted by the bank. I get a second job & I get taxed, at a higher rate.

    However as a “Property Investor” I buy a house on a interest only loan, claim the interest payments as a taxable deduction, make a “loss” claim another taxable deduction. Sell the property for a profit and don’t get taxed. In fact I probably don’t pay any tax at all.

    The conversation needs to be about the people who don’t pay tax or are able to avoid it.

    • Ad 17.1

      If National forms a government I doubt that even a conversation about deductibility and loss-making claims will be possible. English and the Reserve Bank will simply continue to cool the housing market, first-home buyers get better and better breaks, and that will be enough for that kind of government.

      At base, so long as the state has enough tax to keep generously delivering the goods to taxpayers, a National-led government doesn’t need to start any tax conversation at all other than continuing to tinker around the income thresholds as they have been.

      • Carolyn_nth 17.1.1

        How is the state of our health and state education systems, life for those on low incomes, beneficiaries living on not enough, unaffordable housing, selling state houses, etc – delivering for tax payers – ie the workers, savers, GST payers, who don’t get income from housing inflation at no tax….?

        • Ad

          Your question makes no grammatical sense whatsoever.

          But the simple answer shining through your syntactical fog is: poorly.

      • mikesh 17.1.2

        ¨At base, so long as the state has enough tax to keep generously delivering the goods to taxpayers, a National-led government doesn’t need to start any tax conversation at all other than continuing to tinker around the income thresholds as they have been.¨

        It´s not about whether the government has enough money to deliver the goods: the government can print money if it has to. We just need taxation to control the money supply. The pertinent debate concerns the question of whether the burden is being equitably shared.

        • Ad

          Can you point to a government that successfully just printed money?

          Taxation is not there to “control the money supply”. Money is traded around the world every day. Taxation is justified every year by the government in their budgets line by line, precisely to deliver the things that society needs through the state.

          • KJT

            Labour for the original State housing. USA for the “new deal”. Germany issuing the mark, after WW2. Many others, but everyone knows how to google.

          • mikesh

            ¨Can you point to a government that successfully just printed money?¨

            The American Colonial government, prior to independence. The fact that that they were able to do this successfully caused the British to take umbrage, and was one of the factors that brought about the war of independence.

            In the 1930s the Savage government borrowed from the Reserve Bank (the equivalent of printing money) in order to finance the construction of state houses.

            I´m sure there are many other instances.

            ¨Taxation is not there to “control the money supply”.¨

            Governments either create or borrow the money needed to pay their way, and then use taxation to recover the money so spent; but, in doing so, they look at the GDP equation (GDP= C+I+G-T+X-M) to decide how much to recover.

            It´s probably better to create the the money they spend rather than borrow because then they don´t have to pay interest or build up public debt.

          • mikesh

            ¨Taxation is justified every year by the government in their budgets line by line, precisely to deliver the things that society needs through the state.¨

            Budgets detail how much governments intend to spend under the various headings: health, education, etc. They also detail how much tax they expect to collect from each tax base. Budgets don´t always balance, so they will usually indicate how they will finance any deficits.

          • Nic the NZer

            “Can you point to a government that successfully just printed money?”

            Actually given the context of what your saying the correct answer is probably every single one at all times. If your maintaining an official cash rate then the act of borrowing and spending is functionally equivalent to the act of spending and then borrowing. If (using NZ terms) the government or RBNZ chooses not to borrow back the government spending then extra reserves will accumulate in the interbank market. The banks lend surplus (to their immediate payment requirements) reserves to each other. The result will likely be the 90day bills rate diverging from and falling below the OCR.

            E.g There would only be a difference were the RBNZ to allow that to occur.

          • Draco T Bastard

            Taxation is not there to “control the money supply”.

            It’s one reason and probably the most important. Interest rates don’t work to well as the housing bubble shows.

            Money is traded around the world every day.

            But should it be?

            Taxation is justified every year by the government in their budgets line by line, precisely to deliver the things that society needs through the state.

            That doesn’t mean that that is the right way to do it. In fact, it seems to be the wrong way.

            Far better to see money as a cycle. It starts at the government and returns to the government. That government spending is what gets the economy moving to deliver, from the countries own resources, what the nation wants.

            And once you do make the money flow a cycle then taxation is control of the money supply. And interest rates can be, and should be, zero.

    • Blackcap 17.2

      Its a misnomer that you get taxed at a higher rate if you have a second job. Yes initially you do pay the secondary tax rate. However the total tax you owe is just the tax that you should have payed on your total combined gross wage/salary. If secondary tax causes you to pay more than you should have paid you can claim this money back as a refund.

      • KJT 17.2.1

        Who puts in a tax return.

        Only tax dodgers, and those who have to by law.

        Following that. Employers can claim back expenses against tax, but employees cannot. Even though a great many employers, require employees to supply their own equipment, these days.

        • Craig H

          Places like Woohoo have made a living doing it for salary and wage earners – with the various tax credits available, there can be quite large refunds available. Granted, people can choose the DIY option for free, but most avoid it in case they get it wrong and have to pay a bill.

      • Anonymous 17.2.2

        That you can get some back doesn’t change the fact you /are/ taxed at a higher rate. There’s no option to pay both PAYEs at main rate, even if you can show you shouldn’t be paying the extra. You’re still out of pocket for at least a year, and now unlike with just one job you need to keep immaculate records & chase up IRD.

        • Craig H

          Each tax rate has a corresponding secondary code, so people overpay because they select the incorrect tax code, rather than an inherent higher tax rate.

          Also, if individual circumstances require a more specific rate, people can apply to IRD for a special tax code.

          • Anonymous

            Hmm, when did they bring that in? Used to be main, secondary, and some specialist codes & that was it. Secondary was higher regardless.

            • Craig H

              October 2010 which set, in order, the Secondary codes as SB, S, SH, ST, each mirroring the tax brackets rates (10.5%, 17.5%, 30%, 33% respectively).

              Before that, the higher S codes matched the relevant tax brackets, but the standard S code was 21c, whereas the bottom rate was 19.5c. Not a huge difference, and presumably set to allow some leeway for people whose second job would put them slightly over the $38,000 threshold.

    • Strategos 17.3

      Yep, +1

    • mikesh 17.4

      Interest is problematic. There is an argument which suggests it should not be deductible and, if that were the case, highly leveraged landlords would be declaring large profits, and would have to pay an awful lot of tax.

  17. Incognito 18

    Thank you for an intelligent and well-articulated post.

    Is there any reason why tax shouldn’t be framed as part of a social contract, which each of us is morally and legally obliged to honour?

    As an analogy, when you stay in a hotel – let’s call it Hotel California – you pay an agreed price and although you can complain about certain things or service you don’t quibble with the receptionist or management on how they spend the money and run the business. A cheaper hotel is not necessarily a better deal for you or for other guests …

    • Ad 18.1

      Go ahead and expand the analogy out to New Zealand society.

      • Incognito 18.1.1

        Simple enough.

        Hotel=NZ Government


        Finding & comparing hotel deals=election campaign

        Hotel reservation=election promises & bribes

        Choosing Hotel =election

        Room rates=taxes

        Length of stay=3 years +/- a few days unless the hotel needs to be evacuated because of emergency

        Need more expansion?

  18. swordfish 19

    2014 New Zealand Election Study

    Q NZ needs a Capital Gains Tax excluding the family home

    Agree 34%
    (Strongly 13% Somewhat 21% = 34%)

    Disagree 35%
    (Strongly 22% Somewhat 13% = 35%)

    Neither 10%

    Don’t know 20%

    So voters pretty evenly divided in 2014 – but those who Agree with CGT more likely to be mildly supportive while those who Disagree more likely to feel strongly

    Also = a pretty substantial Unsure + Neutral element (30%)

    • Ad 19.1

      Were those people voters, or merely people responding to a questionnaire?

      • swordfish 19.1.1

        Yeah fair point

        From NZES

        The 2014 NZES attracted 2835 respondents, sampled from the electoral rolls, containing just over 91 percent of those estimated to be eligible to vote. Half (1419) also participated in the 2011 NZES

        NZES respondents
        83% voted = 2014 Election
        15% didn’t
        2% Unsure

  19. Michael 20

    I agree. After nine years in opposition, Labour has neither the intellectual rigour nor the moral courage necessary to develop and defend a socially just tax system to the people. As a result, National continues to set the agenda and will keep doing so until Labour decides what it stands for.

  20. How a major party can spend nine years in opposition and still not have detailed its tax policy, bewilders me.

    They haven’t spent nine years thinking that they needed to change the tax system. That’s new, seems to have come about in the last few months.

    You seem to be assuming that parties are monolithic and never changing which isn’t even true of National.

  21. happynz 22

    When I cast my vote taxes were not paramount in my voting preference. I reckon taxes are the cost of being part of a society. I may or may not be happy about the amount that is deducted, but I budget accordingly and then just get on with it.

    What I do look at is how well the government is managing infrastructure, if the citizens and residents are afforded the opportunities and help needed for living a dignified life, provide free quality education, secure the health and general welfare, and if they promote and follow through with being good stewards of the land. Those are my primary concerns.

  22. left_forward 23

    Intersting article excluding the utter nonsense of the opening sentence. This was a significant gain to the left battling against a well-resourced, msm neo-liberal campaign.
    The three main opposition (anti neo-liberal) parties now have the majority – this is not failure!

  23. bwaghorn 24

    you want to up the tax take while lowering income tax , simple , get rid of cash .

    ever noticed when you are in the corner dairy that if you hand over cash the till more often than not gets opened with out the amount being keyed in .
    then there is the mountain of under the table work done .

    stop living in dark ages cash must die .

    • Carolyn_nth 24.1

      There is an upside to cash – I use it as much as I can. No commercial or state surveillance of my activities – and I’m not a tax evader or avoider.

      • bwaghorn 24.1.1

        mate they can’t keep up with watching the badarses mfs like the headhunters , why in the hell would they waste resources looking at little old you !

        • Carolyn_nth

          Maybe not little me per se, but there’s a long record of state surveillance of left wing activists.

          Plus, I object to the surveillance of commercial enterprises – and worry about how it can get out of control.

    • greywarshark 24.2

      b waghorn
      You are wise to go on writing and reading here. In a little while you might realise for yourself why cash should not die. Cards just present a barrier to freedom of choice and privacy in what you do with your cash. The imminent danger of being under constant surveillance for everything you do, and being judged by the paranoid employees of a paranoid dictator government is here, and some like you say
      ‘Resistance is useless’.

    • mikesh 24.3

      If cash was abolished we would probably find a substitute: petrol vouchers perhaps, or postage stamps.

  24. savenz 25

    One look at what happens when you talk about raising taxes. The Greens! A moron at this point should be able to work out, more taxes campaign is the kiss of death in a relatively wealthy society.

    Sorry no matter how right or wrong taxation is, any talk of raising taxes totally puts that party out of the running to win. Without winning you can’t get your other policies in and the country gets progressively worse off by right wing policy who do win.

    It annoys me how Labour can’t actually get it, either. Just don’t screw up each election by campaigning on a capital gains tax. Seriously I hate National, but it’s getting irritating how Labour (and Greens) keep flogging a dead horse to voters about more taxes!

    The Greens are full of rich people who want to save the environment. Is their vote worth less than a beneficiary? If those that can’t be arsed voting don’t care enough to vote then you have got to work with that. The ‘youth’ vote, does not vote. Get over it and stop losing more and more voters over to the Natz who do vote. The left are constantly going on about issues that are not important to regular voters and don’t speak to regular voters experiences.

    Play the long fucking game for gods sake, you can’t help beneficiaries if you blow your chance each election. Learn from your mistakes!

    Labour has become encapsulated by special interest groups that actually don’t reflect what people want to vote for. People want change, that much is extremely clear, but voters don’t necessarily whole heartedly agree of any of the solutions being proposed by the opposition parties.

    It is easy to demand more taxes if you don’t have to pay them and they go to you. But less easy to sell to those giving more taxes.

    Likewise WOF of rentals. Great if you have $10,000 to upgrade houses, less great if you don’t have the money and even if you did, some P head might just destroy your house.

    If you have a look at the quality of housing in 2017 compared to 1950 it is significantly better. I used to flat in places that had one outdoor toilet, one horrendous bathroom and a kitchen that is unrecognisable to those under 40 years today.

    People over 40 can’t necessarily relate to this idea that younger people have to have so many mod cons provided to them – and clearly younger people are not that into the policy either judging by the voting patterns. I’m sure there are still horrendous houses out there, but there has been improvement. With improvement comes increased rents. The idea of more improvement in rentals with less rents was not ringing a bell with voters.

    I’m a huge fan of state houses. In particular not housing estates but state (not social) housing in rich, poor and middle class areas. With school zoning that means that we don’t have divided societies and rich and poor ghetto’s developing, like this high rise of poverty idea.

    Labour and Greens need to look at the bigger picture. Do they want National to win and actually sell off state houses, make people homeless by importing in 73,000 new people per year because they have become obsessed by a ‘warm dry house’ discourse that applies to voters that fail to vote and older voters having to provide it to some exacting standard that is deemed by a group of middle class intellectuals and buraucrats?

    There are PLENTY of ways to be more efficient to save money on government spending other than more taxes, for example. Health care, prevention, massive savings on IT, get rid of all the troughers that have ballooned away from health care under Bill English.

    The Auckland council wastes 1 billion on failed IT and their overpriced CEO structure just wants more rates. Government agencies are increasingly off on a tangent and completely unaccountable to those that provide money.

    The left catch cry of more taxes is failing to resonate for those proving the taxes but being left with less and less services for the taxes and more and more troughs diverting the money. Asking for more money is not solving the fundamental problems voters are seeing.

    If Labour started on that discourse of wasteful government spending under National, rather than a group of experts wanting more taxes, then they would have won the election outright and not be relying on Winston.

    • Sparky 25.1

      A voice of common sense and reason. Seems to be less and less of us these days. Well said.

    • Anonymous 25.2

      Who was talking about raising taxes? Labour wanted a tax working group, to look at the structure of tax. Too many people think the democratic process begins and ends at the ballot box, that ticking a box based on sound bites is the way to go. If people /really/ wanted a voice on taxes they’d’ve voted Labour, and the whole country could’ve had a massive discussion, select committees, etc etc. But no, instead of direct input people only want democracy as far as the vagueness’s of putting a tick in a ballot box. The mind boggles.

    • Hydrangea 25.3

      This has to be one of the best posts I have ever read at TS. Well thought through and spot on. Congrats Savenz.

    • Pat 25.4

      a lot to agree with there but would suggest that there is room for both your view AND increased taxation

  25. Sparky 26

    A vicious 15% GST on pretty much everything, substantial taxes paid on wages that are not keeping track of inflation, hefty council fees for home owners on over priced houses.Central and local government awash with public money.


    • savenz 26.1

      I hope people from Labour and Greens read this, because Sparky is probably representing the ‘working class’ voice that they keep harping on about wanting to attract, but actually don’t because they have too many middle class intellectuals, ‘experts’ and bureaucrats working out the policies that don’t actually reflect the working class experience anymore. And increasingly people are not even working class anymore. They are poor, middle class or wealthy.

      Labour and Green policy marketing has increasingly reflected a privileged experience of white middle class education but their images and speeches don’t reflect that. There is a disconnect as is, with those that are middle class and wealthy that they need to get on board to get the majority votes.

      Luckily Bill was a robot and all the Natz could come up with, was Delivering for New Zealanders. Hardly inspiring. The election was very close.

      I have never seen Maori, someone homeless, or anyone else worrying about whether his/her letterbox is obscured by greenery which was one of the things in the ‘voluntary’ WOF. It’s the sort of thing the worried well, worry about. (and then fail to vote Labour).

      Labour and Greens are MUCH better than that. Seriously. The world has a lot of problems, don’t turn voters off, by marketing the smaller issues or issues that effect a small segment of society.

      The voters for change deserve a deal with Labour/NZ First and Greens. It is their election to lose because it is not a fair fight anymore. Natz have amassed huge power and have no morals. The results in Auckland directly represent their policy on immigration and it will not stop.

      We have Dutch Fonterra chief earning over 8 million, while NZ farmers are going bankrupt and more and more farm land sold off. Why allow a discourse against the farmers to continue – half the lifestyle blocks on social media were wondering if they would have to pay capital gains – who knew??? And why go there. Why gift so many votes to National?

      • Ian 26.1.1

        Sparky talks a lot of sense and labour need to listen. As a dairy farmer who does a bit of irrigation they also need to stop targeting sectors in society that they perceive are making too much money. The water tax was a tax based on envy and targetted a very small group,of whom most are very hard working and it has backfired because most kiwis are fair minded and could see the stupidity of it.
        Sparky is also right about the enormous amount of money allready paid in tax that needs to be better managed.
        So would it be OK if Fonterra had a maori chief earning $8 million ?Theo has done a bloody good job over the last few years and added considerable value to Fonterra.

        • KJT

          Water tax is simply user pays.

          Just like city businesses have been paying rates for water supply and waste disposal forever.

          By the way. If I pollute the water in my job, I will get hauled off to jail. And the company I work for can be fined in the millions.

          It is not hating on farmers. Just an expectation that farming pays their own business costs like the rest of us. And, if there are good export policy reasons to subsidise farming, which we do, Farmers should be bloody grateful for it.
          Other export and local industries have been killed, to help farmers out with “free trade agreements and the like. Industries that could have earned a great deal more than dairy, . One reason why we now have a 1.2 billion trade deficit.

          So. excuse me, if I get rather annoyed at all the bleating for special treatment.

    • red-blooded 26.2

      So Sparky, if that’s the problem, how do you suggest we solve it?

      On the whole, competent, committed people find it bloody hard to work in a system in which they can’t deliver a reasonable level of service because they are not resourced adequately to do so. Our public services have been starved away under the austerity regime of this government, and we’re feeling its effects. My DHB has been replaced by a commissioner. Apparently, they weren’t “competent” or “committed” enough. Except – shock! horror! – she’s made no difference to their mountains of debt and services have gone backwards under her regime. People are waiting months and months for surgery, often having it scheduled and cancelled multiple times, even when they are at the top of the list and facing significant danger to their lives and long term well-being. Routine services seem to have been put on hold. For many years I have had regular appointments with a specialist to manage a long-term health condition – I should be seen every 6 months. It’s now been a year and a half since my last appointment.

      As for the original argument about Labour’s tax policy – I think it’s pretty bloody easy to sit on one side and criticise. Labour has to provide a mechanism for funding increased public services and as a party with a commitment to social justice, it also has a duty to try and make our tax system fairer. We’ve tried really detailed tax plans – what was the outcome? Attacks and scaremongering – voters assuming they’ll be “hit’ somehow and not able to see the bigger picture. This time, we said we’d consult with an expert panel to develop a fairer approach. Jacinda muddied the waters by saying that she’d bring forward the actioning of any recommendations, but I certainly understand why she’d do this and she made a pretty strong case, especially in relation to the property market. The tax working group wasn’t a radical idea – as pointed out many times, it’s exactly what the Nats did when they first came to power. The differences? They didn’t tell anyone about it beforehand and they angled things towards being less fair – impacting more on the poor through increased GST. Anyway, we all know the result – lies, attacks and scaremongering; voters assuming they’d be hit somehow and not able to see the bigger picture.

      I don’t necessarily have an answer for this, but I don’t think the “they didn’t do the work” argument holds true.

      • savenz 26.2.1

        Maybe instead of asking for an unidentified amount of higher taxes to pay for Health, Labour could be quoting what has occurred under Bill English in health,

        “The number of bureaucrats more than doubled between 1993 and the end of 1997, even as health workers lost jobs, reaching a ratio of one manager or administrator for every five medical staff by March 1998.59”

        “Labour will remedy wasteful spending of managers and administrators under National, and put more Doctors and nurses back in the Hospitals”.

        Likewise with teaching.

        “Labour will remedy the National standards which are a National failure (30% of school children are now failing maths and handwriting by year 8), and instead allow the teachers less time on mindless testing and more time teaching the kids”.

        “Under National Standards when kids are found to be failing, there is no money or resources provided to the schools to bring the kids up to standard. It is a complete and utter waste of time, marooning kids and teachers into a nightmare system of identifying failure and then not providing extra teachers to help the kids catch up”

        “Money under Labour will not be diverted to business for expensive Charter schools it will be used to give a world class education to ALL our children. If a business wants to have a charter school they can apply for it the old fashioned way with State-integrated schools and actually be accountable to the educational standards they bring. Not a way for private individuals and groups to steal public money from kids educations like under National”.

        Labour and Greens waste time with more taxes talk and instead they need to talk about how they can make a better society with the taxes how they are. Otherwise the debate always becomes about taxes, NOT about the essential services quality.

        • red-blooded

          Labour said all these things, and said them forcefully!

          • savenz

            @ red-blooded, Nope, nothing about getting rid of National’s wasteful spending (they are building the most expensive road in the world for God’s sake), nothing about Charters schools and National standards (in fact Granny ran fake fakes campaign praising National’s National standards), nothing about improving services like health, nothing about reducing bureaucracy in health care to save money.

            I think Labour did an ok campaign, but it’s not ACTION or inspiring – it’s bureaucratic sounding aka Not, we WILL clean up the rivers BUT Hold a Clean Waters Summit. Not improve Mental health BUT Set up a Ministerial Inquiry in order to fix our mental health crisis – , Introduce legislation to set a child poverty reduction target NOT action to reduce child poverty…. Too many inquiries and then firm action on the holy grail of NZ, property, …

            I’m pointing this out, because I want people to vote Labour and whoever Labour is using to work out election policy, is not actually creating a majority of voters voting for them. Their policy is firm in some areas that will turn off voters and wishy washy in others.

            National are creating a Kafka like control freakery government services that don’t function anymore and are literally destroying our country and Labour in spite of what they might believe are not being clear in pointing it out.

            Labour’s charter from their first 100 days on their web site.

            Make the first year of tertiary education or training fees free from January 1, 2018.
            Increase student allowances and living cost loans by $50 a week from January 1, 2018.
            Pass the Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill, requiring all rentals to be warm and dry
            Ban overseas speculators from buying existing houses
            Issue an instruction to Housing New Zealand to stop the state house sell-off
            Begin work to establish the Affordable Housing Authority and begin the KiwiBuild programme
            Legislate to pass the Families Package, including the Winter Fuel Payment, Best Start and increases to Paid Parental Leave, to take effect from 1 July 2018
            Set up a Ministerial Inquiry in order to fix our mental health crisis
            Introduce legislation to make medicinal cannabis available for people with terminal illnesses or in chronic pain
            Resume contributions to the New Zealand Superannuation Fund to help safeguard the provision of universal superannuation at age 65
            Introduce legislation to set a child poverty reduction target and to change the Public Finance Act so the Budget reports progress on reducing child poverty
            Increase the minimum wage to $16.50 an hour, to take effect from 1 April 2018, and introduce legislation to improve fairness in the workplace.
            Establish the Tax Working Group
            Establish the Pike River Recovery Agency and assign a responsible Minister
            Set up an inquiry into the abuse of children in state care
            Hold a Clean Waters Summit on cleaning up our rivers and lakes
            Set the zero carbon emissions goal and begin setting up the independent Climate Commission

            • red-blooded

              What you’re ignoring is that policy and policy statements are wider than the First 100 Days’ focus.

              • savenz

                If Labour wants to start winning it needs to have much better policy able to be digested in a modern society (aka media soundbite, debate and long read) and appeal to a wider group of people who it represents.

                Otherwise all the great work that the Labour MP’s do and other people supporting them are disappointed. They don’t understand why people are not voting for them more. I’m just trying to help them understand a wider group they have to appeal to, and that their marketing advisers obsession on appealing to small segments of society while ignoring the larger segments.

                No mention of TPP and no mention of immigration from Labour in their 100 day plan which were key policy differences from National.

                There was also no mention of TPP in the final days either from the Greens. The five reasons to vote for them were Clean up our rivers, Save the whales, Improve public transport, Help end child poverty, Real action on climate change. While I support all those things they were not presented in an authentic way and seemed like a mishmash of bad advertisements. No plea about what makes Greens different from the other parties in particular their strong stance on TPP (think of the amount of people who marched for this issue), nothing on assets sales and selling off the country etc, nothing on sustainability and zero urgency. It could have come from any charity asking for money.

                There is also a small element of whipping boy to some sectors from Labour and Greens such as farming and landlords. The policy makers should be the targets not the little guy. Even then, it starts getting negative press. Why not unite and think of positive things. If there were no landlords there would be no houses and if there was no farms there would be no food.

                Also they should have had Labour middle NZ and Greens further left. Instead both parties messaging seemed to flip flop with similar messages competing against each other and then leaving out the most important differences.

                Both seemed to have the warm dry house as a key policy overall – again a message affecting 35% of society, clean rivers, child poverty, mental health (not sure how many that effects) and tertiary students. Many of those probably fall into the under 35 voters which mostly don’t vote.

                Middle NZ may have been represented somewhere but it was not the main messaging in the last weeks of the election. People vote for the party who they believe will improve their lives the most. So it’s important to relate in a mainstream way, not just talk endlessly about someone else’s issues.

                I’m on both Greens and Labour mail outs and I mostly got asking for donations in the final weeks – and asking to vote. Not an impassioned reason why I should vote for them, and if I did none of the reasons related to me.

                Greens were the most appalling in their final campaign to their email members. In one mail out I kid you not, there was Chloe’s recipe for smashed avocados on the 15/9 and Holt’s hot hatch. If you really want to undermine the seriousness of an election – you could write a paper on what the Green’s were sending out prior to the election. Nothing about the important issues – mostly about how many Green MP’s they could get into parliament with how many votes.

                I don’t blame James Shaw who did a fantastic job saving the Greens – but clearly don’t let the 22 yo’s loose on social media and have someone running your campaign who is not a committed Greenie experimenting with god know what, (drugs??) – anyway clearly has ZERO idea what most serious Green voters want from the Green Party. Please can they get Lucy Lawless, Russel Norman or someone actually committed to Green issues next time if they want some input before they press, send.

                When you experiment, bear in mind you can actually repel people from voting for you, if you get it wrong and clearly that’s what happened to them. And that’s a massive shame. Likewise with Labour not knocking it out of the park when they are finally on the right track.

  26. Dean Reynolods 27

    Fantastic article – spot on! Labour must do this, starting now!

  27. DH 28

    I’ve had a ponder on this article for a day and have to say I disagree with it. To my mind Labour need to win the spending debate, not the tax one.

    Like most people I view it through my own lens which is that of a person who lives within their means and tries to budget wisely. I don’t have the luxury of putting my income up just because I want to spend more, and nor do many other NZers. I look for a Govt who will display due respect for other people’s money and I’m afraid Labour failed that test with nearly every campaign they’ve run. They rarely get my vote.

    The tragedy is that Labour don’t really need to do much on that front. Mostly they just need to stop promising more spending on their election campaigns. Capex is generally ok, we all understand that, but operating expenditure should be left until after they’re in Govt.

    • Michael 28.1

      You fail to understand the difference between a sovereign government and an individual household. Because governments have far greater powers, individuals agree to them exercising those powers, ideally for the common good. The Right want you to think small, and fret about “balancing the books”, because you won’t look at the big picture of the Right getting richer while you get poorer and your environment turns to shit (literally). It helps, too, if you are encouraged to hate someone else (usually people of a different skin colour to your own) for your steadily declining standard of living. National (and ACT) are brilliant at this (they have the best propagandists and dirty tricks performers money can buy), although it beats me why “Labour” doesn’t even try to defeat this wicked spin (FWICS, Labour just peddles a milder version of it instead). That’s why we’ve got a fourth term neoliberal government.

      • Craig H 28.1.1

        Arguably this will be a 12th term neoliberal government, regardless of who actually forms it…

        That aside, you’re right, but actually getting that across to people is tough, as per DH’s post. That’s also why Labour can’t afford to be seen as too soft on beneficiaries, for example – rightly or wrongly, public perception of beneficiaries is awful following decades of bashing them as lazy good-for-nothings, so it just looks like Labour will waste people’s taxes.

  28. Adrian Thornton 29

    +1 Excellent post Simon, thanks.
    You are quite correct that Labour has done a woeful job of unpacking the issue of tax to the citizens of NZ.
    However that they have, is sadly unsurprising from a centrist third way labour party moronically chasing the middle voting block who have obviously abandoned them long ago.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Labour MPs supporting Johnson’s turd-sandwich deal?
    I find this unbelievable:
    I've got one source saying more Labour MPs than expected are mulling whether to vote for the deal - including names who were not on the letter to Juncker and Tusk— Emilio Casalicchio (@e_casalicchio) 17 October 2019 I've compiled a list of possible reasons why Labour ...
    10 hours ago
  • Why do we need control orders again?
    On Wednesday, the government was loudly telling us that it needed to legislate to allow it to impose "control orders" - effectively a parole regime, but imposed without charge, prosecution, conviction or real evidence - on suspected terrorists because they couldn't be prosecuted for their supposed crimes. Today, it turns ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    12 hours ago
  • Bullshitting the Minister
    On Monday, the Hit and Run inquiry heard from NZDF's former director of special operations, who claimed that the defence Minister knew everything about the Operation Burnham raid. Today, the inquiry heard from that (former) Minister - and it turns out that he didn't know nearly as much as NZDF ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    13 hours ago
  • Speaker: Extinction Rebellion is not a cult (but ecstasy for the people)
    Yoga gurus and cult leaders – I’ve seen a few. Two weeks ago, I unknowingly joined an alleged new-age cult at the Kāpiti coast, together with a giant kraken and some neatly dressed pensioners who would make any book club proud.They were among the two hundred people of all ages ...
    15 hours ago
  • We need to bring the police under control
    The last decade has seen a trend of increasing weapons availability to police. Assault rifles. Tasers on every hip. Guns in cars. And following the march 15 massacre, pistols on every hip, all over the country. At the same time, its also seen an increase in the abuse of force: ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    15 hours ago
  • If you can’t measure it, does it exist?
    In the last couple of weeks, I’ve been busy preparing for our summer paper on Science Communication. Looking for something amusing about ‘risk’ in science, I came across this neat cartoon about why so many people come knocking on my door (or phoning me, or emailing me) desperately wanting ...
    SciBlogsBy Marcus Wilson
    19 hours ago
  • Swinson’s swithering
    Jo Swinson is doing even worse at this Being Sensible lark that I'd thought.  I've just become aware of the following utterance
    .@KayBurley presses Lib Dem leader @joswinson on whether she would agree to a #Brexit deal 'no matter how bad a deal it is' as long as it had ...
    1 day ago
  • Women’s rights, trans ideology and Gramsci’s morbid symptoms
    by John Edmundson The International Socialist Organisation (ISO) have recently reposted a February article, by Romany Tasker-Poland, explaining ISO’s position in the “trans rights” debate.  It is available on their website and on their Facebook Page.  The article sets out to explain why “socialists support trans rights”.  It reads more ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 days ago
  • We need to take guns off police
    Today's IPCA report of police criminality: a police officer unalwfully tasered a fleeing suspect who posed no threat to anyone:The police watchdog has found an officer unlawfully tasered an Auckland man who broke his ankle jumping off a balcony to escape arrest. [...] To avoid arrest, the man jumped over ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • “Bringing kindness back”
    "Auckland City Mission: 10% of Kiwis experiencing food insecurity", RNZ, 16 October 2019:About half a million people are experiencing food insecurity, according to new research from the Auckland City Mission. Food insecurity, or food poverty, is defined as not having enough appropriate food. The City Mission said over the last ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Press Release: “Fake News” from Auckland City Council CCOs Board Chairs re pay and performance b...
    Media Statement for Immediate Release 16th October 2019 “Fake News” from Auckland City Council CCOs Board Chairs re pay and performance bonuses for top managers Despite comments from Auckland City Council CCOs Board Chairs re pay and performance bonuses for top managers—Herald Newspaper Tuesday Oct 15th–there is very little evidence ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    2 days ago
  • Ever-So-Slightly Bonkers: Simon Bridges Plays To His Base.
    Would You Buy A Used Propaganda Video From This Man? Bridges and the National Party’s strategists have discovered that the ideas and attitudes considered acceptable by today’s editors and journalists are no longer enforceable. The rise and rise of the Internet and the social media platforms it spawned means that ...
    2 days ago
  • Asking for food
    There is plenty of evidence of the way the business mentality has permeated every level of society since the recrudescence of market liberalism 35 years ago. You only need to think of how citizens in need of help from their government, their state, their country, are now routinely described as ...
    Opposable ThumbBy Unknown
    2 days ago
  • Forty years of change in the jobs Kiwi do and the places they call home
    John MacCormick Over the last 40 years, New Zealanders – and people in other countries – have experienced big changes in the jobs they do and where they live and work. These changes include: a decline in manufacturing jobs an increase in jobs in ‘information-intensive’ industries (which are better paid ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 days ago
  • Protecting Fresh Waterways in Aotearoa/NZ: The Strong Public Health Case
    Nick Wilson, Leah Grout, Mereana Wilson, Anja Mizdrak, Phil Shoemack, Michael Baker Protecting waterways has the benefits of: (1) protecting water from hazardous microbes; (2) minimising cancer risk and other problems from nitrates in water; (3) avoiding algal blooms that are hazardous to health; (4) protecting mahinga kai uses (cultural ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    2 days ago
  • Massey University triggered to rebrand
    by The Council of Disobedient Women In a press release today Massey University announced it has decided to rebrand and reorientate after struggling to be a University for grown-ups. For some time the University has wanted to be a safe play space for wee-woke-misogynists who have been really badly triggered ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 days ago
  • Swinson backing calls for a second referendum (again)
    After a brief dalliance with 'hard Revoke' it looks like the Lib Dems are changing ground on on Brexit, with leader Jo Swinson reverting to calling for a second referendum on Johnson's deal.The party has tabled an amendment to the Queen’s speech requesting that any deal brought back from Brussels ...
    2 days ago
  • An odious bill
    The government has decided that someone has done Something Bad. But despite their belief, there seems to be no evidence that they have actually broken the law. So the government's solution is to pass a retrospective law allowing them to be punished anyway, on a lower standard of proof. If ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • National is now the party of climate arson
    So, Judith Collins has done a Facebook rant about climate change, peddling the same shit National has been shovelling for the past twenty years: the impacts are overstated, there's no need to do anything about it, and its too hard anyway (oh, and its so unfair that people who peddle ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • The environmental footprint of electric versus fossil car
    Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, please send it to There is a lot of discussion on the benefits of ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    3 days ago
  • “Manifest” by Andrew Bird – A Song For The Times.
    I came across this song quite by accident. If it isn't one of Greta Thunberg's favourites - it should be.Video courtesy of YouTube.This post is exclusive to Bowalley Road. ...
    3 days ago
  • Passing the buck
    Last month, NZDF's shoddy coverup of what it knew about civilian casualties in Operation Burnham began to fall apart, with the revelation that a report on the matter, which NZDF claimed not to have, had been sitting in an NZDF safe for the past nine years. Yesterday, the man responsible ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • India a major player in Earth observation satellites
    While many imagine that countries like the USA and Europe dominate space activities, in fact India is now a major player on this stage. It launches satellites for its own purposes and also commercially, and has constellations orbiting our planet and returning data of vital importance to that nation in ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    3 days ago
  • The rot at the top (2).
    Thanks to a report from the Acting Inspector General of Intelligence and Security following a complaint by Nicky Hager, we have come to find out that the SIS illegally spied on Mr. Hager on behalf of the NZDF after publication of Hager’s 2011 book, Other People’s Wars. The NZDF justified ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    3 days ago
  • Common misconceptions about “Global Warming”
    COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT GLOBAL WARMING MYTH 1: Global temperatures are rising at a rapid, unprecedented rate. FACT: The HadCRUT3 surface temperature index, produced by the Hadley Centre of the UK Met Office and the Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia, shows warming to 1878, cooling to 1911, ...
    An average kiwiBy
    4 days ago
  • A climate of tyranny
    For the past week, Extinction Rebellion has been peacefully protesting in London to demand action on climate change. The British government's response? Ban their protests:Police have banned Extinction Rebellion protests from continuing anywhere in London, as they moved in almost without warning to clear protesters who remained at the movement’s ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Collins crushes climate
    An essay by Judith Collins MP reported on Carbon News yesterday seems to show an alarming shift in attitude within the National Party. Collins argues against the Zero Carbon Bill, the Paris Agreement, and downplays the magnitude of climate impacts. The Paris Agreement was adopted in December 2015 and ratified ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert McLachlan
    4 days ago
  • More disappointment
    When they were running for election, Labour promised to overhaul the Employment Relations Act and introduce fair pay agreements to set basic pay and conditions on an industry level, preventing bad employers from undercutting good ones. They followed this up by establishing a working group, which reported back in January ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • What do these mother-child studies really say about fluoridation?
    A list of indicators of bad science – many of these are found in articles promoted by anti-fluoride activists. Anti-fluoride activists have been pouring money into a scaremongering campaign warning pregnant women not to drink fluoridated water. They claim fluoride will lower the IQ of their future child. Fluoride ...
    4 days ago
  • Losing Labour’s Mills-Tone.
    Nothing Left To Say: Labour's pollster, Stephen Mills, remains swaddled-up in the comforting myths of the 1980s. As if the experience of Roger Douglas’s genuinely radical post-Muldoon policy agenda was literally a once-in-a-lifetime thing – as much as the party could possibly absorb for at least the next 50 years.MEMO ...
    4 days ago
  • Speaker: Disability and the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historical Abuse
    The Royal Commission on abuse in care is very significant for the disability community. For many decades last century, thousands of disabled children, and adults who managed to survive, were locked away from families and communities. This was not for anything they had done, but for the perceived threat their ...
    4 days ago
  • Spain is not a democracy
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • UK Conservatives hate democracy
    With an unfair voting system, uneven electorates and an un-elected upper house, the UK's "democracy" is barely worthy of the name. But now the government wants to make it worse:The government has been accused of suppressing voters’ rights with the potential disenfranchisement of tens of thousands of people after plans ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • What is wrong with our building industry?
    Back in the 90's and early 2000's, the building industry was building leaky homes which should never have been granted consent. Now it turns out they've been building dodgy office blocks as well:New imaging technology has revealed hundreds of major buildings nationwide have defective or missing concrete or reinforcing steel. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Local bodies
    Local body election results were released over the weekend, to joy or despair depending on where you live. In Auckland, Phil Goff trounced John Tamihere, who is muttering darkly about running for Parliament again (but which party would want him?) Wellington is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Weta Workshop, except ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • A future of government
      How could government evolve over the next decades? Reports of democracy’s imminent demise are greatly exaggerated.  However, satisfaction with political systems in many countries is low, so there is much to do for governments of all political stripes to improve relevance and trust. Digital technologies are seen as one ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    7 days ago
  • Speaker: Catalonia, interrupted
    Two years have now gone by since the Friday afternoon when my university-student son and I headed out of our Barcelona flat to a nearby primary school, designated as a polling station for the vote that was to be held the following Sunday: the referendum on Catalonia’s independence from Spain ...
    7 days ago
  • Sage Decisions Unwisely Over-Ruled.
    Overruled: The joint decision of Finance Minister, Grant Robertson (Labour) and his Associate Minister, David Parker (Labour) arguably the two most powerful ministers in Jacinda Ardern’s government, to grant OceanaGold the consents which Land Information Minister, Eugenie Sage (Greens) had earlier denied them, offers bitter proof of how hard fighting ...
    7 days ago
  • Government may ban voting in effort to get more people to do it
    More than double the number of people who will vote in this year’s local body elections have tried marijuana or urinated somewhere they shouldn’t have. As local elections look set for the lowest turnout in decades, with many regions falling well short of 40%, the Government is exploring a number ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Woman: Deleted.
    A Statement on Abortion Law Reform by the Council of Disobedient Women   On the eve of bringing an end to antiquated, anti-women abortion laws Green MP Jan Logie intends to write women out of the Bill. With a stroke of the pen, the woke are aiming for total erasure ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • The Hollowest of Men Ride Again… SURPRISE!
    Musings continue apace about “the experienced businessman!” soon to be taking up a National Party MP position. Or to be more accurate, being parachuted into a seat to shut down their former MP Jamie-Lee Ross, who despite his own shortcomings shed at least some more light on the inner workings ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    1 week ago
  • Barbaric
    The Ugandan government wants to murder gay people:Uganda has announced plans to impose the death penalty on homosexuals. The bill, colloquially known as “Kill the Gays” in Uganda, was nullified five years ago on a technicality, but the government said on Thursday it plans to resurrect it within weeks. The ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Fighting Monsters.
    Freedom Of Speech? The Säuberung (cleansing by fire) was the work of the German Student Union which, on 10 May 1933, under the watchful eye of the Nazi Reichminister for Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, consigned 25,000 books to the flames in a ritual exorcism of “un-German thought”. According to the logic of the ...
    1 week ago
  • The next wave of kaupapa Māori politics: its constitutional, it must be.
      “There can be no such thing as kaupapa Māori political parties or politics in Aotearoa” (Willie Jackson, Labour Party (2017). Māori TV, General/List Election Special) I begin with that claim because at the time, I was confounded at first that it fell out of Willie Jackson’s mouth, and then ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    1 week ago
  • Night lights of NZ from orbit
    New Zealand has prided itself for decades with regard to its lack of pollution, and all will be aware that the ‘100% Pure New Zealand‘ meme is under threat through land, water and air pollution of various causes. There is another type of contamination that the country also faces: light ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    1 week ago
  • Reporters deliver uplifting news to fleeing Japanese residents: they won’t miss any rugby
    New Zealand’s media is doing its part in Japan, reassuring those in the path of the storm that they won’t miss any rugby while away from their flooded homes. New Zealand sports reporters stationed in Japan for the Rugby World Cup have had the rare and heartwarming opportunity to inform ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Government in contentious discussions about whether to put surplus on red or black
    Regional Development Minister Shane Jones is the only Cabinet member in favour of putting it all on green. As Finance Minister Grant Robertson finds himself with an enormous $7.5 billion surplus, the Government has begun intense, at times contentious conversations about whether to put the money on red or black at ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Jordanian teachers’ successful strike has lessons for here
    by Susanne Kemp At the start of September close to 100,000 school teachers went on strike in Jordan.  They demanded a 50% pay rise.  A pay rise actually agreed to by the regime back in 2014. In early October, however, in the face of government repression and threats, the teachers’ ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Why some people still think climate change isn’t real
    Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, please send it to Why do people still think climate change isn’t real? David ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • The SIS unlawfully spied on Nicky Hager
    Back in 2011, journalist Nicky Hager published Other People's Wars, an expose on NZDF's activities over the previous decade of the "war on terror". NZDF didn't like this, and especially didn't like the fact that it was base don leaks from their own. So, they had the SIS investigate him ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • October 2019 – Newsletter ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    1 week ago
  • And they wonder why we think they’re environmental vandals…
    The Zero Carbon Bill is due back from select committee in two weeks, and will likely pass its final stages in November. So naturally, farmers are planning a hate-march against it. But they're not just demanding lower methane targets so they can keep on destroying the planet; they're also demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Paying the price in California
    Last year, California burned. This year, to stop it happening again (or rather, to stop themselves from being found liable if it happens again), Pacific Gas and Electric is cutting power to half the state for a week:Schools are closed. Traffic lights down. Tunnels dark. Businesses unopened. Hospitals running on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Let’s Hear It For Up-Close-And-Personal, Hard-Copy Democracy!
    The Best Way: Missing from the on-line voting debate is any reference to the voting system that produces turn-out figures ranging from 77 to 93 percent of registered voters. The voting system used to collect and count the votes cast in our parliamentary elections. The system that involves citizens making ...
    1 week ago
  • 10/10: World Day Against the Death Penalty
    Today, October 10, is the world day against the death penalty. Out of 195 UN member states, 84 still permit capital punishment. Today is the day we work to change that. This year's theme is children. Having a parent sentenced to death or executed causes long-term trauma and stigmatization which ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Talking Freer Lives: a Marxist gender-critical perspective from Australia
    Among the great new bunch of political friends we have been making recently is the excellent Australian-based Marxist gender-critical site, Freer Lives.  So we asked the comrade who set up that blog to write something for Redline on the blog, himself, his analysis of the rise of gender politics and ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Government spin accepted by union leadership
    by Don Franks  The Auckland City Mission is struggling with a 40 percent increase in demand for food parcels this year. A total of 23,020 were needed by June. Last month Missioner Chris Farrelly told the Herald the “cupboards are bare” and without an emergency food drive, he can’t see ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Forbidden Thoughts
    by The Council of Disobedient Women   Massey Wellington Student Association had a sit-in today. Imagine a sit-in. On a campus. Against a women’s rights meeting. Did the ’60s really happen or did we fucking dream it? They gathered in the student square, an echo chamber. Sitting on soft pillows ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Much love to my loyal Ukrainian readership
    For some reasons, my post about the mystery message from inside the Downing Street bunker seemed to catch people's attention.  Quite a lot of hits from NZ (unsurprisingly) and the USA (a bit more puzzlingly, but hi there, USAians!!) and 76 views from the Ukraine.I've celebrated my Ukrainian readers in ...
    1 week ago
  • Another day of bonkers GNUmours (again, sorry)
    First, almost a score of Labour MPs seem to have sent a letter to the EU basically begging them to accept a deal - any deal - just so Britain can get the Heck on with Brexiting instead of being trapped in limbo:
    To avoid no deal, deliver on the ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour vs working class immigrants – again!
    by Phil Duncan In 2016 the National-led government suspended the Parent Visa Category, through which migrants were able to bring their parents into New Zealand.  Since then over 5,700 people have been in immigration limbo, stuck on the visa wait list. Labour is now bringing back the scheme.  Well, sort ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Speak Up for Women press statement: on Massey University and Feminism 2020
    The following was released yesterday (Tues, October 8) by the women’s liberation organisation Speak Up for Women. On 23 September Speak Up For Women announced that we would be holding an event at the Massey University Theaterette in Wellington. The event is called Feminism 2020. The intention of the event ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Farmers support dirty rivers
    The government is currently consulting on plans to improve freshwater quality. So naturally, farmers oppose it:South Taranaki farmers are preparing to fight proposed national freshwater changes that some fear will bankrupt them. The Government's proposed National Environment Standard on Freshwater Management, released in September, rated the Waingongoro River as one ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • No-one cares about local government
    Yesterday was the last day for (reliably) posting your vote away in local body elections. Turnouts are mostly much lower than the equivalent time last year (Palmerston North is down 2.3%), and so naturally people are pushing their online-voting snake oil again. Because the online census worked so well, lets ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The political ghosts of eugenics may matter more than the genetic
    This essay, on the political legacy of the eugenics movement, by Kenan Malik was originally published in the Observer on 6 October 2019, under the headline ‘The spirit of eugenics is still with us, as immigrants know to their cost’. Birth control. Intelligence tests. Town planning. Immigration controls. It’s striking how ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • “Surplus” again
    Another year, and the government has announced another enormous government "surplus". And just like last year, its nothing of the sort. When we have people homeless and sick and hungry, when we have schools and hospitals still falling down, when we have underpaid public servants and infrastucture unmaintained or unbuilt, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Inside the Downing Street bunker
    James Forsyth at The Spectator (I know, I know) has tapped one of his contacts inside Number Ten for an insight into the Johnson administration's thinking and strategy.It is fascinating, unsettling and quite, quite mad.  Some key points:Negotiations have stalled and the Johnson administration are keen to blame the EU: ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Taking Control Of The Nation’s Story.
    Fatal Contact: With the arrival of captain James Cook in October 1769, the islands of what would become New Zealand ceased to be the preserve of Polynesian navigators and settlers and became a part of both the world’s map and the world’s history.THE MAORI NATIONALIST assault upon the historical meaning ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Are GNUs extinct?
    Another round of tactical talks about forming a Government of National Unity have come to nothing with the Liberal Democrats still refusing countenance putting Jeremy Corbyn into Downing Street:Opposition talks on Monday made little headway over when to try and vote down Boris Johnson's government and who might succeed him as ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour chickens out again
    When the government was elected, it promised to lead the way on electric vehicles, and specifically to make the government vehicle fleet emissions-free where-practicable by 2025.They lied:There are 15,473 vehicles in the government fleet and only 78 are electric. When the coalition Government came into power in late 2017, the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Transgender extremism, violence at work against feminist meeting at British Labour Party conference
    by Nick Rogers The debate around the meaning of sex and gender made an appearance at this year’s British Labour Party conference in Brighton. Women’s Place UK – an organisation that questions the demand that biological males who self-identify as woman should have access to women’s spaces, to all-women shortlists, ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Rebelling in Wellington
    Yesterday I went down to Wellington to participate in the Extinction Rebellion protest. Its part of the latest global wave of XR actions, with actions happening all over the world. Some of those protests are massively disruptive: in Canada, XR is blocking major bridges, stopping people from getting to work. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • ‘The Workshop’ – Report: Talking about Poverty and Welfare Reform: A Guide to Strategies that ...
    The Workshop is a charitable trust for public good. The Workshop undertake research to find ways of communicating that will build support for the solutions that work to solve complex social and environmental problems. See their Report on Talking about Poverty and Welfare Reform below. ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    2 weeks ago
  • Exclusive language
    What is language? We generally assume that it a facility unique to humans, allowing us to share what’s in and on our minds. We can tell of our plans, our past exploits, our knowledge. It also allows us to lie. And yet there are vast numbers of people we can’t ...
    SciBlogsBy Michael Corballis
    2 weeks ago
  • April 2018 – Submission to the NZ Govt Tax Working Group
    You can read our submission HERE ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    2 weeks ago

  • Methane reducing cattle feed one step closer
    The Government today announced its support for a project that could substantially reduce agricultural greenhouse gas emissions from cattle. The announcement was made as part of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor’s visit to Nelson’s Cawthron Aquaculture Park. The Cawthron Institute will receive $100,000 from the Government’s ...
    13 hours ago
  • Bill to refresh superannuation system passes first reading
    Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni has welcomed the first reading of the New Zealand Superannuation and Veteran’s Pension Legislation Amendment Bill. “Every New Zealander has a stake in New Zealand Superannuation and Veteran’s Pension,” says Carmel Sepuloni. “They are our most common form of social assistance – nearly 800,000 New ...
    15 hours ago
  • Government announces next steps in fight against measles
    Babies in Auckland aged six months and over can receive a free vaccination and children will all have access to vaccines, Associate Minister of Health Julie Anne Genter announced today at Papatoetoe High School.   The move comes as part of Government efforts to step up the fight against measles. ...
    16 hours ago
  • Speech to the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs, Pacific Futures: Connections, Identity...
    ***Check against delivery*** Good morning. It is a pleasure to be here, and to have the honour of opening this important conference on behalf of the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs. Let us take the opportunity to acknowledge all the people who have helped make today possible, including our special ...
    17 hours ago
  • Police trial new response to high risk events
    Police Minister Stuart Nash says the safety of frontline officers and members of the public will be the focus of a new trial of specialist Police response teams in three of our largest urban centres. Police have this morning released details of an initiative to be trialled in Counties Manukau, ...
    17 hours ago
  • New awards celebrate fisheries sustainability
    The Minister of Fisheries is calling for entries for a new public award to celebrate innovation in our seafood sector. “I have established the Seafood Sustainability Awards to recognise and celebrate those throughout industry, tangata whenua and communities who demonstrate outstanding dedication and innovation towards the sustainability of New Zealand’s ...
    19 hours ago
  • More progress for women and we can do more
    Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter welcomes leaders in the private sector taking action on closing their gender pay gaps to ensure a fairer workplace for all New Zealanders. Ms Genter today launched a new report, Addressing the gender pay gap and driving women’s representation in senior leadership, from the Champions for ...
    23 hours ago
  • Proposals to curb environmental damage help our coasts and the oceans
    Government Ministers today welcomed the release of a marine environment report highlighting the four key issues affecting our oceans, estuaries and coastlines.  The release underlines the importance of government proposals to combat climate pollution, ensure clean freshwater, protect biodiversity, make land use more sustainable, and reduce waste and plastic.    Environment ...
    1 day ago
  • New mental health facility for Waikato
    The Government has approved funding for a new acute mental health facility for Waikato which will provide better care and support to people with mental health and addiction issues. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Health Minister Dr David Clark announced the $100 million project to replace the aging Henry Rongomau ...
    2 days ago
  • 500 new te reo Māori champions in our classrooms
    The Government is making progress on its goal to integrate te reo Māori into education by 2025, with over 500 teachers and support staff already graduating from Te Ahu o te Reo Māori,  Associate Education Minister Kelvin Davis announced today. Kelvin Davis made the announcement at an awards ceremony in Waikanae today, for ...
    2 days ago
  • Minister James Shaw welcomes 2018 Census first release
    Statistics Minister James Shaw has welcomed the first release of 2018 Census data. The first release of data today, 23 September, includes key data on population, regional growth, the number of homes and the size of different ethnic groups in New Zealand. Data from the 2018 Census will support the ...
    2 days ago
  • Driving transparency, ethics and accountability in government use of algorithms
    Minister for Statistics James Shaw today announced a public consultation on a proposed algorithm charter for government agencies. The charter has been developed by the Government Chief Data Steward in response to growing calls for more transparency in government use of data. Computer algorithms – procedures or formulas for solving ...
    2 days ago
  • New Zealand and the Netherlands working together on climate change
    Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor, Climate Change Minister James Shaw and visiting Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte co-hosted a business roundtable in Auckland this morning focused on working together to address climate change.  “The Netherlands is an important partner for New Zealand. We share a strong agricultural history. Sustainable agribusiness and ...
    2 days ago
  • Protecting fairness for workers and businesses
    The Government is taking action to build an inclusive economy where more of us receive our fair share at work and businesses can compete on great products and services, not undercutting wages and conditions, Immigration and Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says. Two consultations launched today seek feedback ...
    2 days ago
  • Indigenous Freshwater Fish Bill Passes
    The future for New Zealand’s threatened indigenous freshwater fish looks brighter with the passing of the Conservation (Indigenous Freshwater Fish) Amendment Bill in Parliament today said Minister of Conservation, Eugenie Sage. “Until now, our freshwater fish legislation has been 20 years out of date. We have lacked effective tools to ...
    2 days ago
  • Kiwis to take part in world’s biggest earthquake drill
    At 1.30pm tomorrow, hundreds of thousands of Kiwis will join about 65 million people around the globe in ShakeOut, the world’s biggest earthquake drill. The annual drill is to remind people of the right action to take during an earthquake which is to Drop, Cover, Hold, and to practise their ...
    3 days ago
  • Rising wages and low inflation supporting Kiwis
    Kiwis are benefiting from higher wage growth and low inflation under the Coalition Government. Stats NZ data out today shows the rise in the cost of living remains low, as annual Consumers Price Index (CPI) inflation fell to 1.5% in September from 1.7% in June. “The low inflation comes as ...
    3 days ago
  • NZ economy strong amid global headwinds
    New Zealand’s economic strength and resilience has been recognised in a major update on the state of the global economy. The IMF’s latest World Economic Outlook released overnight shows a reduced global growth forecast over the next two years as issues like the US-China trade war and Brexit take hold. ...
    3 days ago
  • Keeping New Zealanders safer with better counter-terrorism laws
    Justice Minister Andrew Little has today introduced a new Bill to prevent terrorism and support the de-radicalisation of New Zealanders returning from overseas. The Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders) Bill gives the New Zealand Police the ability to apply to the High Court to impose control orders on New Zealanders who ...
    3 days ago
  • Improved succession and dispute resolution core of Ture Whenua changes
    A Bill that proposes targeted changes to simplify the processes for Māori land owners when engaging with the Māori Land Court has had its First Reading today. “The approach taken by the Government is to ensure that the protection of Māori land remains a priority as we seek to improve ...
    3 days ago
  • Speech to CTU Biennial Conference
    Let me first thank all the new unionists and members in the room. There is nothing more important to improving people’s working lives than people making the decision to care, to get on board and help, to take up the reins and get involved. Congratulations to you. You bring the ...
    3 days ago
  • Minister ensures continued Whenuapai flight operations
    Minister of Defence Ron Mark has signed a certificate exempting the activity of engine testing at Whenuapai Airbase from the Resource Management Act 1991. The Act gives the Minister of Defence the power to exempt activities for the purposes of national security.  The certificate will mean the recent Environment Court ...
    3 days ago
  • NZ joins Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action
    Finance Minister Grant Robertson has announced New Zealand will join the Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action while attending APEC meetings in Chile. The objective of the 39 member Coalition is to share information and promote action to tackle climate change. It was formed in April this year, in ...
    3 days ago
  • Feedback Sought – Section 71 – Lyttelton Parking
    Feedback sought– Lyttelton commercial zone parking  The Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration, Poto Williams, is seeking feedback on a proposal to remove on-site car parking requirements for new developments in the Lyttelton commercial zone.  The proposal, by Christchurch City Council, asks that powers under section 71 of the Greater ...
    4 days ago
  • Feedback Sought – Section 71 – Hagley Oval
    Hon Minister Poto Williams Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration   MEDIA STATEMENT       Tuesday 15 October 2019 Feedback sought – Hagley Oval The Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration, Poto Williams, is seeking feedback on a proposal about Hagley Oval. The proposal was developed by Regenerate Christchurch ...
    4 days ago
  • CTU speech – DPM
    Ladies and gentlemen, NZCTU President Richard Wagstaff, members of respective unions – thank you for the invitation to speak to you today. This might be preaching to the choir, but the importance of trade unions in New Zealand’s historical arch is difficult to understate. And it is my belief that ...
    4 days ago
  • Police Association Annual Conference
    "Let’s start by acknowledging that it has been a huge year. " Police Association Annual Conference James Cook Grand Chancellor Hotel Wellington Nau mai, haere mai. Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, ka nui te mihi, ki a koutou katoa. President of the Police Association, Chris Cahill; Members of the Association and ...
    4 days ago
  • New Zealand announces a further P-3 deployment in support of UN sanctions
    Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters and Minister of Defence Ron Mark have announced the New Zealand Government’s decision to again deploy a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 (P-3) maritime patrol aircraft to support the implementation of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions imposing sanctions against North Korea. New ...
    4 days ago
  • New Zealand deeply concerned at developments in north-east Syria
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says New Zealand continues to have serious concerns for peace and stability in north-east Syria. “Recent reports that hundreds of ISIS-affiliated families have fled from a camp are deeply concerning from a humanitarian and security perspective”, Mr Peters says. “While we acknowledge Turkey’s domestic security ...
    4 days ago
  • Government on high alert for stink bugs
    Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor is warning travelling Kiwis to be vigilant as the high-season for the crop-eating brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) is under way. “We’re on high alert to stop BMSB arriving in NZ. The high season runs until April 30 and we’ve strengthened our measures to stop stink ...
    4 days ago
  • Better protections for students in halls of residence
    The Government is moving swiftly to change the law to improve the welfare and pastoral care of students living in university halls of residence and other tertiary hostels. Cabinet has agreed to several changes, including creating a new mandatory Code of Practice that sets out the duty of pastoral care ...
    4 days ago
  • New trapping guide for community and expert trappers alike
    The Minister for Conservation Eugenie Sage has launched a new comprehensive trapping guide for community trappers to help them protect our native birds, plants and other wildlife, at Zealandia in Wellington today. ‘A practical guide to trapping’, has been developed by the Department of Conservation (DOC), and was launched during ...
    5 days ago
  • Widening Access to Contraceptives Welcomed
    Associate Health Minister Julie Anne Genter welcomes PHARMAC’s move to improve access to long-acting reversible contraception (LARCs). PHARMAC has today announced it will fund the full cost of Mirena and Jaydess for anyone seeking long term contraception, lifting previous restrictions on access to Mirena. “I welcome women having greater choices ...
    5 days ago
  • Major upgrade for Taranaki Base Hospital
    The Government has approved the next stage of a major redevelopment of Taranaki Base Hospital, which will deliver new and improved facilities for patients. Health Minister Dr David Clark has announced details of a $300 million dollar project to build a new East Wing at the New Plymouth hospital. It ...
    6 days ago
  • Extra support for rural families
    Extra funding will allow Rural Support Trusts to help farming families, says Minister for Rural Communities and Agriculture Damien O’Connor. “I know that rural families are worried about some of the challenges facing them, including the ongoing uncertainty created by the Mycoplasma bovis outbreak. “Those concerns sit alongside ongoing worries ...
    7 days ago
  • Howard Leaque Beekeeper programme graduation
    Thank you for the opportunity to be here to present certificates to the 16 graduates who have completed a beekeeping course delivered by the Howard League.  Let us start by acknowledging Auckland Prison’s Deputy Prison Director Tom Sherlock, and Acting Assistant Regional Commissioner of Corrections Northern Region Scott Walker - ...
    1 week ago
  • Finance Minister to attend APEC meetings
    Finance Minister Grant Robertson leaves this weekend to attend the APEC Finance Ministers meeting in Santiago, Chile. Discussions between APEC Finance Ministers at the meeting will include the effects of the current global economic uncertainty, risks for APEC economies and sustainable development of the region. While at APEC Grant Robertson ...
    1 week ago
  • Pacific languages are a source of strength, they ground us and build confidence
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio says for Pacific people, language can be a source of strength. It can help ground us and give us confidence. When we speak them, our languages provide us with an immediate and intimate access to our identity and our story - and ...
    1 week ago
  • Major boost to support disabled people in sport and recreation
    The Coalition Government has announced an action plan to improve the wellbeing of disabled New Zealanders by addressing inequalities in play, active recreation and sport. The initiative includes training to develop a workforce that understands the needs of children and young people with a range of impairments, advocacy for fit ...
    1 week ago
  • More prefab homes to be built as red tape cut
    The construction sector is being freed up to allow more homes to be built more quickly as the Government cuts through some of the red tape of the Building Act.  “Every New Zealander deserves a warm, dry, safe home and old inefficiencies in the Building Act make building slow and ...
    1 week ago