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National stuffs up its financial analysis – again

Written By: - Date published: 1:42 pm, March 9th, 2022 - 79 comments
Categories: Economy, national, same old national, tax - Tags:

For so called economic geniuses National sure struggles to understand how to properly cost fiscal policy.

Who can ever forget the 2017 election campaign and serial economics paper failer Steven Joyce’s claim that there was an $11.7 billion hole in Labour’s fiscals. Even though pretty well everyone in the country who has a qualification in economics disagreed.  Maybe this was not surprising.

Or in 2020 when Paora Goldsmith managed to release policy with multiple mistakes in it.

I said this about the policy release at the time:

It has been a complete and utter shambles.  A clusterf&*k of epic proportions.  A week in and they are still being hammered about it.  Because if there is one part of National’s reputation that needs to be defended at all costs it is the perception that they are competent financial managers and making multiple billion dollar mistakes in your alternative budget at election time is the one thing over all else that will hurt that part of your reputation.

You would think that any released fiscal policy would have previously been checked and rechecked and rechecked.  And checked again just to be sure.

But this appears not to be the case.

About the latest policy release I said this a couple of days ago:

National’s rhetoric is deceptive.  Luxon in his speech said:

Even after accounting for the $1.7 billion cost of these tax cuts, the remaining $4.3 billion would still be the biggest allowance for new spending initiatives ever. Or Robertson could even use some of it to pay down debt – but that’s not really in Labour’s DNA.

The $1.7 billion is the cost of reindexing tax rates back to 2017 levels and takes no account of the cost of the further tax cuts proposed.  And to keep Auckland’s Transport projects on track a further $4.3 billion will be required to be found.  National’s sums do not match up.

This is not the first time it has engaged in misleading rhetoric about tax cuts.  Remember back in 2009 when they claimed that tax cuts they implemented would be fiscally neutral?

Surely it could not get worse.

But yes dear reader it has got worse for National.

At Interest.co.nz Jenne Tibshraeny has looked at the proposal and made these comments:

As for the cost of the tax cuts, there is some murkiness around this too.

The figure Luxon has used when discussing the cost of his party’s tax policy – $1.66 billion in 2022/23 – only relates to the cost of adjusting income tax thresholds to take account for bracket creep.

This figure assumes the top income tax rate of 39% for income over $180,000 remains in place, although National has committed to removing it.

The party told interest.co.nz it is yet to say when it would remove this top tax rate, and when it would repeal all the other tax changes it has committed to undoing.

National has pledged it would enable residential property investors to write-off interest as an expense when paying tax, bring the bright-line test back to two years from 10 years, and remove Auckland’s fuel tax.

Highly variable projections suggest the cost of National’s tax policy would be $2 billion in 2022/23, and lift to around $3 billion by 2024/25, should it have made all its changes by then.

That’s a fair bit more than the $1.66 billion Luxon has been discussing (interest.co.nz has asked National to share how it came to this figure).

And the Herald has suggested that the cut if enacted would wipe out all new spending that National could have in its first budget.

From Thomas Coughlan at the Herald:

National leader Christopher Luxon will not say when he plans to introduce his tax package when in Government, saying only that he would implement the cuts in the package in the party’s first term.

Debate has swirled around the cost of National’s tax plan, which would lift the tax thresholds, effectively giving every income tax payer in New Zealand a tax cut. The party costed that policy at $1.7 billion. National also plans to repeal the 39 per cent tax bracket, and allow landlords to deduct interest costs from their taxes.

National has not formally costed those policies, but most estimates suggest they would cost in the vicinity of $1.3b a year at first, giving National’s total plan an annual cost of $3 billion.

This is a problem for the party as the 2024 Budget, which would be National’s first budget should it win the next election, currently has only $3 billion of new operating spending allocated to it. This would be totally absorbed by the tax package, unless National plans to deliver no new services, or cut spending elsewhere.

National has been trumpeting how inflation is such a severe problem for the country.  The problem for Luxton however is that its tax cut proposals would make the situation worse.

The tax cut would, for the 1.1 million people on the lowest tax bracket, improve their situation not one iota.  And for those on the next tax bracket by my rough calculations the up to $100 per year saving in tax paid would be the same as a 0.2% wage increase.

The other cuts will make a difference for the wealthy, rental property owners and for a short time Auckland motorists until congestion hits them where it hurts as ATAP fails for insufficient funding.

All in all this feels like a half baked policy designed to gather support from those who hate paying taxes.  With no idea of what the consequences may be or how it is going to be funded.  And I wish the media would hold National to account the way they have in days gone by with Labour policy announcements.

Update:

This passage is also from Coughlan’s article:

Luxon continued, “at $79,000 when you kick into 39 per cent that’s a challenge. That’s not a lot of money I’d say $70,000 to $80,000. Yes it’s a lot more than others but you’re still feeling the cost of living squeeze here”.

In fact, the top tax bracket kicks in not at $79,000, but at $180,000. IRD’s most recent estimates suggest only the top 3 per cent of income tax payers pay the tax.

79 comments on “National stuffs up its financial analysis – again ”

  1. Tricledrown 1

    Nationals policies lie keep lying until people believe the lies.Crying Wolf their other policies ie we should have had vaccines earlier . We should have opened the border earlier.

    Making up shit National go to policy.

  2. Adrian 2

    No wonder AirNZ couldn’t survive without being a monopoly under Luxon.

  3. alwyn 3

    In the interests of an informed debate, and so that we can judge the likely quality of views expressed on this topic, do you plan to release the economics qualifications on the left of this debate.

    What are Robertson's qualifications for example? Did he even enrol for any study in the area? He certainly doesn't show any signs of having learnt anything about the subject does he?

    • Incognito 3.1

      Your whataboutery and feeble attempt at deflection and diversion have been noted. Your opening words are bitter irony. You interrupted my relatively peaceful (until now) afternoon and I’m not amused – please learn to debate properly or stay off this Post.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 3.2

      Surely as Mr Credential checker Alwyn you could present Simon Bridges economic or accountancy quals for our edification.

      he doesnt have any of course and only got the job by demanding it as 'his price' for an uncontested Luxon leadership

      I wonder how his performance review is going as Luxon was going to play CEO with his MPs and see that they are doing the hard work on policy.

      maybe thats the real reason so many in National suddenly have 'covid' and must isolate away from the boss?

    • Tricledrown 3.3

      Robertson has kept the NZ economy going better than 99% of any other country.

      Even Bill English a trained economist also worked at treasury as well.could only manage 1% growth per year, less the inflation rate.

      If not for the capital input from insurance ,EQC ,local govt and central govt he would have ended up even worse.

      Robertson has done an amazing job especially given Covid has done far more damage to the whole economy.

      Bill English would have stuck to his dry humourless austerity with absolute minimum fiscal stimulation which would have not included an AirNZ bailout.

      He would have cut military,health,education robbed peter to pay Paul.

      Alwyn don't forget Bungling double dipping dipstick from Dipton dipped into everyone's back pocket to pay out the $ 1.6 billion to pay out 700 SCF investors because he forgot to sign the insurance policy sitting on his desk for 6 weeks than cost tax payers when it should have been covered by the insurance.

      National financial management has been dismal over the whole history of the NZ economy.

      Buying votes with tax cuts gives the economy a 6 month out from elections a sugar hit which inevitably gets swallowed up by Nationals Austerity policy they run for the other 2 and 1/2 years of the election cycle.

      • alwyn 3.3.1

        I would like to see your evidence for these ridiculous claims. For example

        "could only manage 1% growth per year" Where did you get this from?

        " he forgot to sign the insurance policy sitting on his desk for 6 weeks than cost tax payers when it should have been covered by the insurance.". What on earth are you talking about? What insurance did he not sign?

        "He would have cut military,health,education robbed peter to pay Paul". And how did you come up with this fairy story?

        Come on. Put up your evidence for any of this.

        • ghostwhowalksnz 3.3.1.1

          South Canterbury Finance . You are smart enough to know all about Englishs role

          Tricledrown was a bit jumbled but essentially right . English signed off on SFC yearly coverage on the Crown guarantee of banks and finance companies.

          SFC cover shouldnt have been renewed for the last year 9 maybe longer) as it wasnt meeting the requirements anymore and continued its risky lending and in reality was a reverse ponzi scheme where money went out but not in. Never explained why Treasury 'missed the signs' when it was monitoring the books !

          • alwyn 3.3.1.1.1

            I know all about SCF and what the Government did, and didn't do.

            The very short version is that they shouldn't have been in the scheme at the beginning. That they were was the fault of the previous Government. When the renewal came up they had the choice of renewing, and trying to straighten the business out, or dropping them in which case they would have had an instant withdrawal of all the funds and the business would have immediately have gone broke and they would have had to pay out on the indemnity.

            However Tricledrown was rabbiting on about some insurance cover that English didn't sign. There was no such thing. He doesn't know what he is talking about. As usual he was just fantasising.

            • ghostwhowalksnz 3.3.1.1.1.1

              Deposit Guarantee was indroduced in Oct 2008 was was specifically mentioned as being for 2 years with each institution having a yearly renewal signed by Minister of Finance

              https://www.rbnz.govt.nz/news/2008/10/deposit-guarantee-scheme-introduced

              then there was the $175 million in bonds repaid for holders who werent covered by the guarantee at all. These new bonds should never have been issued which ranked higher than the secured desposits

              When was the guarantee going to be withdrawn if like you say there would be a flight of depositors, after all it did ended up in recievership and the crown took over An orderly disposal would have happened anyway , just the half billion shortfall got added to Crown debt

        • Tricledrown 3.3.1.2

          Alwyn I have read the entire history of the NZ economy for every every year ,every column of the NZstats yearly report.

          National have never out performed labour on economic growth when you look at the year to year volumes and compare year to year govt to govt.

          National average less than 1% allowing for inflation.

          Labour 3%

          Unemployment no contest Labour win hands down .

          Except for the last 3 years of Roger Douglas who upturned the NZ economy in one big hit unnecessarily.Labour turned into the National Party.

          The next 3 terms 1990 to 99 virtually no economic growth 6% by volume of output over 9 yrs.

          Most of that in just 18 months out of 9 yrs.

          Those 18 months were the election bribes tax cuts six months out from each election.

          National look after the very well off throw enough tax cuts to the middle class 6 months out from each election for a sugar hit.Then claw it back from the peasants by increasing user pays doctors visits prescriptions shool fees university fees. Reducing health funding by 20% over the last 9 yrs,run down the armed service cut police numbers by 20% all so National can bribe enough of the middle class to vote for them .barely a block of cheese tax cut.

          While the well off and the wealthy hoard more money and resources.

          No recipe for growth.

          • alwyn 3.3.1.2.1

            What were the "the last 3 years of Roger Douglas"?

            I would have said they were from December 1985 until December 1988. The economy was doing rather well during that period.

            Unfortunately Lange lost his nerve and sacked Douglas. The Labour Government, without any intellectual leadership staggered on for a further 2 years until late 1990 and were the deservedly dumped.

            It was the absence of Douglas that caused the collapse during that 2 years of course.

            • aom 3.3.1.2.1.1

              Dream on – you don't fuck a country over in five minutes after seeding a catastrophe. Douglas didn't even achieve it when he played the game in Russian on behalf of the US when it was on its arse.

              • alwyn

                The 1980s catastrophe was Rob Muldoon. Pure and simple. That man was the worst thing that happened to New Zealand in my lifetime.

                Douglas' actions were necessary after Muldoon's stuff ups. Actually some of the Think Big ideas made sense but they were before Rob got delusions that everything he did led the world.

                Mind you the current Government are giving him a bloody good run for our money. If they were to actually implement all the things they are talking about they would take over Rob's crown. Luckily for us they are useless at actually getting anything implemented

                • aom

                  Where have you been sunshine? Is it a lack of historical knowledge , research, or is it what an Aussie might call 'shitfuckery'. Sure, Muldoon was no exemplar of fiscal rectitude and many paid in excess of 18% mortgages but at least he aspired to see that the country was fed, clothed and that people had roofs over their heads. Anyway, he was yesterday's man when Douglas began fucking us over by finangling the financial system in 1984. He managed that task in short order and the plague he left behind has continued to wreck the country for all but the well-heeled today. Pity we have not had a successive Government of any stripe with the guts to deal to the self-entitled privileged.

            • Blazer 3.3.1.2.1.2

              Sharemarket crash of 87 ,a huge bubble popped in over priced stocks…interest rates 20% plus….'doing rather..well'!surprise

              • KJT

                Well. If Alwyn was one of those getting 18% interest on their "investments". Or those who got out of the share market just before they crashed it in 87. Or acquired infrastructure assets in the “Great fire sale”. I suppose that is "doing rather well".

                Meanwhile the right wing nut job fire sale of Muldoons attempt to build up long term assets, is biting us now. Again!

                Proof again, that to be a right wing voter in NZ, a total divorce from reality, combined with a memory "like a goldfish" is required.

                • alwyn

                  I didn't get out of the New Zealand share market in 1987. I got out in 1986. The companies left in New Zealand were organisations that were selling on their assets in a great big circle at ever higher prices and declaring vast profits at every transfer.

                  I saw people who were checking out the value of their share portfolios every morning to see how much richer they were. If you asked them what the businesses they were buying did they had no idea. It wasn't a Stock Market. It had become a casino.

                  However the crash actually stated on Wall Street, not here.

                  • KJT

                    As I said, short memories.

                    The 84 Governments deregulation and financial ineptitude, that got us caught in the crash.

      • Nic the NZer 3.3.2

        Good interview with two economists by John Stewart here.

        Follows on from an earlier interview where John talks to a senior economist and asks all the right questions but can't really get a straight answer due to using the wrong words. In any other area of expertise of course the expert interviewee would likely have lead the discussion to help John better express what he is really asking. For some reason when the question is how does the public finance things the subject becomes rather obtuse.

        Explains why Bill English poor economic performance can probably be attributed to his training, rather than being despite his training.

        Frankly the public will probably be a lot less interested in the credentialism on display in this post and will be more looking at the bottom line. All this careful analysis which goes into cost forecasting is largely academic so this is actually a more enlightened attitude which the public holds.

        • left for dead 3.3.2.1

          @Nic the NZer yes thanks for the reminder,wheres the Scotsman,no not the anivax, Mark Blyth,he was all over this.

          • Nic the NZer 3.3.2.1.1

            Mark Blyth has a regular podcast at the Watson Institute. You would not say he is an MMT economist, but as a political economist he seems to have a much more realistic idea of how institutions work in the real world. He also had a book and tour type setup going while trying to get europeans to understand they didn't need to damage their economies with austerity if they didn't want to. This was certainly exactly the same answer to the same question which was also being written about by prominent MMT economists at that time.

            One of the difficulties is as MMT is taken up by the mainstream, both for and against, its often miss-represented. You can find a recent example of this involving NZ written about here.

            http://bilbo.economicoutlook.net/blog/?p=49344

            • left for dead 3.3.2.1.1.1

              Thanks for the link,yes Have followed himself and Carrie back in trumps antics not so much latterly,his early stuff talked MMT a lot,I must have mis-understood,it seem to me he was a fan,certainly not Chicago school. cheers

      • Scotty 3.3.3

        "Even Bill English a trained economist"

        Not sure that’s correct.

        • alwyn 3.3.3.1

          Bill's first degree was a Bachelor of Commerce from Otago. That degree would almost certainly have included Economics.

          He later got an MA from Vic with First Class Honours in English.

          • In Vino 3.3.3.1.1

            And proceeded to mangle the English language on many occasions, just as he ruined the health system by loading it with overpaid bureaucrats just as he claimed he would not do when assuming the burden of reorganising (and stuffing up) our health system.

            Pick a better hero to defend, alwyn. Blinglish is a dud.

          • lprent 3.3.3.1.2

            The devil is in the details.

            A BCom only required a first year paper in economics. You'need to look at the transcript to see if he did more. My partner at the time did one in her BCom

            I did a paper in economics in my BSc, and another one in my MBA.

            My mother did one in her BA. I suspect that even today most economists do their undergraduate degrees in arts faculties. You need to know history and sociology to understand the behaviour of people.

            About half of the people I know who have degrees did economics papers.

            It hardly means that we would make good ministers of finance. All it does mean is that you have some grasp of the languauge of economics.

            Conversely I have heard some trained economists hold some real stupid opinions. I always remember one back in the 1980s telling me that computers are not significiant economic engines – that their cost outweighed their benefits.

            • alwyn 3.3.3.1.2.1

              I understand you went to Otago, and probably at the same time is English , so I'll take your word for the minimum necessary to do the degree. Still, even that plus his time at Treasury, would have been better training than most of them have.

              Labour's most successful Minister of Finance left school at 11 and got the bulk of his later education from the WEA so degrees can clearly be vastly overrated.

              • lprent

                …probably at the same time..

                He is 2 years younger, so he would have probably completed by the time I got down there. I did my second degree there after having done a few years work between them. I was down at Otago from 1985-mid-1986 doing 18 months on a full-time MBA. Had to stay in Dunedin for a further 18 months while my partner at the time finished her Llb/BCom. So I spent time doing computer support so I could play more with PCs.

                …so degrees can clearly be vastly overrated.

                No question about that. They are useful for providing an environment where you can learn how to learn and how to dig into things. It allows you to break out of "everyone knows" dogmas to finding out for yourself.

                That is a hell of an advantage over not doing one because it increases your depth early when you have time to adsorb it easily.

                Problem is of course that many students don't develop the habit of just looking around and being critical enough to get past dogmas. They often lack perspective because they go myopic into their own skill area. Especially if they stop their education after the first bit of paper or they mindlessly go from undergraduate to graduate to post-grad degrees without ever finding out how to work anything in the real world.

                People can self-educate yourself, and many do. But it is way harder to get both a wide and deep perspective if you don't have a broad perspective to fill it in from.

                I've worked with a lot of people who are hell on wheels in their own areas without a degree. But I can often wince because they often make bald assertions of fact and truth on topics where their assertion is clearly just opinion of a sub-area of their own culture. Even more so when frequently just repeating an dogma that is centuries old and been torn apart centuries ago as well. They don't know the limits of their own knowledge.

                One thing that uni helps with is making damn sure that you're aware of how much you don't know. Probably the most important lesson that anyone can learn, closely followed by the lesson that you can learn anything if you want to and are prepared to push your own blockages and expend time. You just may not be that naturally good at it – but it is always fun to just find that out.

          • ghostwhowalksnz 3.3.3.1.3

            Bill English did his first degree a BA in medieval english at Otago ( where he met his future wife who still works as a GP)

            Then he was a direct entry to Treasury where they wanted broader minds than the 1st class hon Economic graduates they usually took. So he worked at Treasury and studied in Wellington for the Economics degree – not sure the actual name of his qual.

            Thus he was a Treasury analyst and national party branch chair at Hataitai when he became the party candidate for Wallace seat in Southland where he grew up ( left for boarding school at St Pats Silverstream).

            • alwyn 3.3.3.1.3.1

              The University of Otago tells it this way.

              "Sir Bill was a resident of Selwyn College and graduated from the University of Otago with a Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Arts in 1985. He went on to receive a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in English Literature from Victoria University of Wellington."

              That certainly makes the claim that he got a BComm from Otago, not Wellington, although it in addition says he also got a BA from Otago.

              I incline to accept that the University actually know what happened.

              Wikipedia, although probably less reliable seems to agree with OU. "English went on to study commerce at the University of Otago, where he was a resident at Selwyn College, and then completed an honours degree in English literature at Victoria University of Wellington".

              But that was long ago ….

              • ghostwhowalksnz

                Certainly the 'farmer' side of things was a complete fabrication. One of his brothers took over running the family farm and another ended up heading Federated Farmers. Working on the farm during university holidays doesnt count.

                The University would have asked English for his bio

                Party President Judy Kirk praised the new candidate as a loyal servant of the party and branch chair in a Wellington suburb so he was married with a young family in Wellington when selected for Wallace electorate

                Bill built the farmer myth himself as 'treasury analyst' is a swear word amoung the party faithfull

                Gerry Brownlee never mentions he was a former woodwork teacher either

                Otago Uni graduate search gives
                BA May 84
                Bcom May 85

                • alwyn

                  Which is, of course, exactly what I quoted from the University records and disproves the proposal that he did his BComm studies in Wellington after he joined Treasury. Bill seems to have been honest.

                  Many politicians gild their qualifications and CV. Particularly the CV where it is very hard to prove things. Claiming that you had an MBA from Stanford, or Harvard, or The University of Pennsylvania would be pretty hard to pull off but saying you were a senior aide, or suchlike, to some senior foreign politician would be pretty easy to get away with.

                  • ghostwhowalksnz

                    Still doesnt make sense to do BA(hons) after you have got the BA. Its normally an 'upgrade' while doing the BA itself with an extra year study at higher level for gifted students. Vic doesnt have graduate search for before 1998 and even BA(hons) in English degree seems to be a very rare thing doing just a browse for all those degrees awarded

                    After all Bill got a degree for 'very tricky' to get the Government to pay him to live in his own house in Wellington

                    • alwyn

                      If you went to University it must have been at somewhere other than VUW. What you are saying in the first sentence makes no sense when talking about Vic.

                      At Vic one could do a BA degree. All undergrad papers and it could be done, full time in 3 years. After that you could leave or you could do the completely independent BA (hons) degree which was one year.

                      There was no need to have done a BA at Vic in order to do the BA (Hons) there. Bill could have done just a single year enrolled at Vic to get the degree. Mind you, if he did it part time he must have been both very, very bright and worked very, very hard to get First Class Honours as a part time student.

                      I don't know about other years but I do know, as I had a friend who did it, that in 1981 there were 40 people who did the BA (Hons) degree at Vic in English. I don't see why that number should have been greatly different from a bit later in the 1980s when Bill would have been there.

                      ps. It feels funny to use the man's first name but when you are talking about people named English and degrees in English it gets a bit complicated otherwise.

                    • ghostwhowalksnz

                      That must be it . As I understood an BSc hon and BA hons were 2 year courses where they were streamed off after completing 2 years. So studies in that area were either hons or plain degree not both. The Master level was for those who wanted further study after their first degree My brother did that and his MA was with hons and then further grad study in London was an MSc but same general topic area. Its would be just weird to have multiple BA degrees in the same specialist area.

                      Lets call it ' Dipton Double Dipping'

    • pat 3.4

      It matters not now whether Robertson or Bridges is the Minister of Finance in 2023 as the die is cast…the (at least) recession is baked in,

      Where the difference will be made is in the response….and neither may be tasked with the job.

  4. pat 4

    Unfortunately too many people stop thinking any further after hearing the words "tax cut" and vote accordingly…..and National know it.

  5. Peter 5

    Mike Hosking will be onto these issues. The ads have it that he 'asks the hard questions.'

    Luxon will be trembling.

    • JO 5.1

      Trembling with delighted anticipation of an easy morning canter with Mike, through a shimmering vision of gleaming towers in the land of opera tune, set to some gut-stirring Wagner?

    • ghostwhowalksnz 5.2

      Around 2012 or so Newstalk ZB newsroom got sent a copy of Keys daily talking points, which they then publicised of course

      Rumours were that it was merely sent to wrong email account in a hurry and it was for Mikes account

  6. Craig H 6

    Reading the National proposals, it certainly felt like they were revisiting the 2017 election.

    • Bearded Git 6.1

      Agreed Craig…..I think Luxon has made an almighty FU by releasing this tax policy so early….it has become an easy target for Labour, especially as the Nats have only released part of the costings associated with the policy.

      Did Luxon think people wouldn't notice? Talk about naive.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 6.2

      They offered tax cuts at 2020 election too, apparently it was funded by money set aside but not spent for the 'third wave ' of pandemic ( later known as Delta)

      Yes, they are economic geniuses

  7. Tricledrown 7

    Nationals finance spokesperson a former police prosecutor. Property investor .

    A real plodder. National can't break out of the chicago school straight jacket.

    Cost accountant mentality balance the books balance the books. Tax cuts for the well off austerity for the peasants.

    Pull yourself up by your bootstraps.

    Luxon statement 2 weeks ago said it was ridiculous that people could pull themselves out of poverty.Then saying Labour were pulling the rungs of the bottom rungs of the ladder out.

    Then he says every body needs tax cuts a couple of dollars for the peasants hundreds for someone on his income.

    Like he needs more, hoarding is a disease money hoarding is the disease the world is suffering from these days shutting out people from climbing the ladder.

    Especially as a few oligarchs hoard most of the world's wealth. That prevents poverty from being fixed.

  8. DukeEll 8

    And printing money doesn't cause rampant inflation. 7.5% by end of calendar year.

    a plague on both houses for economic mismanagement.

    • Nic the NZer 8.1

      So if I have your inflation theory right, companies like Foodstuffs, Mobil, etc…, where they have been raising prices due to supposed import costs and supply chain issues, are actually using this as an excuse for their price gouging. They don't actually face supply chain issues, or associated supplier price increases but it's plausible to the public that they would because lots of people are calling in sick at present.

      Also the price gouging is a bit of a tantrum because the RBNZ didn't allow interest rates to go through the roof on government debt (and used QE to prevent this happening). If the govt was paying 15% on its debt then inflation would be tracking 2% as ever.

    • Incognito 8.2

      So, it’s just the ‘printing of money’ to keep the economy afloat during the pandemic that’s causing inflation, here and overseas, and nothing else? If you honestly believe that I have a bridge to sell you.

      • Tricledrown 8.2.1

        Incognito you need to build a bridge how do you pay for it when the banks won't lend you don't have the capital but you have the income.

        Banks freeze lending in recessions low interest rates no body depositing. NZ banks can only print 33% of what they have in reserve or on deposit.

        When the banks can't borrow from bigger banks they just cut lending to only the most secure businesses and assets.

        So QE help keep blood flowing through the patient but the govt should have said house loans should only be for new builds .The banks just lend on old housing stock mainly causing massive house price inflation.

        Hand that money been confined to new builds much less existing house inflation.

        Robertson won't do another round unless the economy is threatened by another deadly covid strain or the Ukraine war gets out of Control.

        The big banks have more power than you think.

        • alwyn 8.2.1.1

          "house loans should only be for new builds".

          Is that a serious suggestion? I'll give you a simple scenario. You build a house in Auckland. You have a deposit and the bank lends you $800k to buy the land and build the place.

          A couple of years later your employer shuts up shop but you get an offer of a very good job in Tauranga. What are you going to do? You can't sell your house in Auckland because nobody can get a loan to buy it. That would be a loan on an existing property and you banned them.

          Are you going to rent the place out and move to Tauranga and start renting there? You certainly don't have the money for a deposit on another property do you? Or do you stay in Auckland and look for an unemployment benefit?

      • DukeEll 8.2.2

        Printing money combined with our immigration policy and our "unique" i.e. stand alone, approach to standards, has led to a large amount of liquidity being paid to fewer people to purchase fewer goods that need, by regulation, to be unique to a very small subset of the world wide consumer base.

        Yet it is not the governments fault that prices have risen apparently.

        • Incognito 8.2.2.1

          What’s your opening bid? A $1.7 billion Tax cut?

          • DukeEll 8.2.2.1.1

            the bulk of which will go to people on not much more than the minimum wage. Working poor if you will.

            however, I never expressed supported for a tax cut. I express disgust the level inflation grant Robertson obviously didn’t believe would be his problem, get excused because either it’s the rest of the worlds fault or national are worse for offering a tax cut.

    • Tricledrown 8.3

      Duke of . Yet trillions of dollars were printed 2008 onwards and no inflation what so ever for 11 years .

      The difference now is that it is supply restrictions caused by Covid . Putins invasion,exasperated by the US oil sanctions on Iran ,Venezuela and Russia.and a drought in Taiwan which supplies 82% of the world's micro chips.

      Vast quantities of water are required to manufacture microchips the drought has slowed production considerably.

      Facts not your Fantasy Duke of .

      Without the print you loose more of your economic activity which can take years to regain.

      It would be like letting AirNZ go bankrupt it would probably never be replaced.

      Running economies is way more complicated than a household or small business budget .

      The economy is like a complicated clock work mechanism if you don't lubricate it it slows down if you don't keep it wound up it stops.

      If one of the cogs breaks the whole clock stops that's a rough analogy.

      National follow the Margret Thatcher memes if don't keep spending under control the economy will tank.

      When it's been proven that it's supply if there is enough supply inflation won't rear its ugly head.

      The just in time delivery and open international markets have kept inflation at bay.

      Now hardly any industry is able to get just in time delivery with covid ravaging the supply lines across the world.

      • Descendant Of Smith 8.3.1

        It is quite clear that low inflation, low interest rates, tax deductability of interest and substantial tax cuts to the well off (not just PAYE but trust taxation, stamp duty, etc) pushed people with money to invest in housing. At the same time it kept wages down as no pressure on employers via CPI as rent is excluded from those calculations.

        Peoples wages were extracted then by the well-off in rents.

      • DukeEll 8.3.2

        What has happened to house prices since 2008 genius?

    • ghostwhowalksnz 8.4

      Printing money ( actually its bond which have interest due and have to be repaid) has been going on in major economies for over a decade now

      Since the GFC back in 2008 and even later when they recovered from that , with multiple further rounds of Quantitative easing as it was called.

      Any way NZ stopped printing its money/bonds halfway through last year, Australia has continued however .

      yet our inflation is higher – especially in sectors wheres there is lack of competition

      • DukeEll 8.4.1

        So more money, chasing a limited pool of goods, causes prices to rise.

        Good. glad we've cleared that up.

        • ghostwhowalksnz 8.4.1.1

          Ahh No . Other wise rampant inflation would have been a global thing from 2014 onwards

          In NZ for example Reserve bank just created bonds that provided debt for the government as no one would do it at 0.2% interest. Mostly overseas lenders.

          That $22 billion of new debt created by RB replaced overseas money that never came here.

          Its not the Weimar method of creating bank notes, indeed we are barely into the area of what was common inflation with no bond printing

          • DukeEll 8.4.1.1.1

            Still trying to claim this centuries methods have some correlation to last centuries? Did you write this on internet explorer? Did a friend fax you an interesting titbit about the scale of the Weimar republics printing and the height of the average German?

          • Nic the NZer 8.4.1.1.2

            The NZ government borrows almost exclusively in NZ$. Most of those involved in the government lending are primary dealers who are NZ registered financial institutions and not overseas lenders.

            As far as I am aware the 8 approved lenders are

            • ANZ Bank New Zealand Limited
            • Bank of New Zealand
            • Citigroup Global Markets Limited
            • Commonwealth Bank of Australia
            • Deutsche Bank AG, Sydney
            • J.P. Morgan Securities Australia Limited
            • UBS AG, Australia
            • Westpac Banking Corporation, New Zealand.

            https://debtmanagement.treasury.govt.nz/government-securities/primary-market-access-information

            The RBNZ then repurchased a lot of these bonds in the secondary bond market, presumably with a small profit margin for the primary lenders who purchased them from the government.

            • DukeEll 8.4.1.1.2.1

              Don’t talk facts and sense on economics round here

              • Incognito

                Because they make that whooshy sound that is so familiar to you that you call it wind?

                • Nic the NZer

                  Shhh, I think he's moments from explaining which goods should be heavily regulated, and who is being paid money to buy them (see 8.2.2). Since the goods are unique I recon its NFTs which need to be unique to a "very small subset of the world wide consumer base". I totally agree with this of course, anybody dumb enough to buy NFTs should get a unique what ever pixels they paid for. If regulating NFTs fixes pandemic induced inflation I'm all for it!

  9. newsense 9

    Either Luxon is more economical with the truth than Judith or Bridges is setting him up.

    But suggests Luxon just guna try to get in and transfer more wealth ASAP. Let’s not be confusing ourselves either that Labour isn’t serving Luxon and his mates fairly well with the rise in house prices. I mean it must annoy them not to be in charge, but they’re not really hurting despite the ho-hum over-taxed bs. They’re making out like bandits.

    That is what there should be angry protests about. That’s where society is being divided. That’s where bs morality about being successful and eating avocado toast is being deployed.

    Still Labour may be getting to public transport and housing density, though the Nats have gone culture war on things the business community is fairly keen on, even if they are a little muted in their support. Still it will be a gift to the next generation rather than much use in the next fifteen years. Cripes we’re still a few years from finishing the city rail link!

  10. tc 10

    Mickey it's all about optics and dog whistling IMO as luxon sets the stall up for an election.

    An election where he can rely on nationals media mates to do their bit. His bigger issue appears internal discipline and former leaders.

    • Patricia Bremner 10.1

      Micky, I laughed out loud when Luxon said "I have a talented team!"

      He has a group of people who have been scrapping over the Leadership for three years. If you look back at Leadership photos one person is always in the foreground. (Willis)

      They schemed exaggerated told porkies and altogether were a sad unhelpful lot in a pandemic.

      They made endless errors in their fiscal briefs and lost talent in the fallout. Left behind are three previous failed leaders, an assortment of weak ministers who behave badly at the drop of a hat and a Party President who has promoted some real bad choices.

      This all made the Act leader look plausable.

      Luxon under estimates two things. The impact of Labour's Michael Cullen Kiwi Saver Scheme, and the promise of security in the face of unemployment as another leg to a wellbeing stool promised by Grant Robertson. The third leg being to put "Wellbeing" at the centre of Planning. Yes wellbeing… not money. Money becomes a tool, not the be all and end all.

      People have shifted their thinking during Lock downs. They have learned what is important to them. I don't think $2 a week or even $15 a week in hand "tax cuts" looks inviting against a planned set of ongoing improvements, and high employment, even with inflation.

      Looking at the world and what is happening elsewhere, inflation the great resignation the weather the war endless covid deaths, this feels a safe wee corner. Granted some are struggling with the impacts of omicron, but most believe we will overcome that. We tend to listen to the medical advice.

      A concerted early Dirty Politics push coupled with electioneering has to be maintained for 18 months, while Policy outlined will be implemented. People have their bulls..t antenna working reasonably, excepting our folk who fell down the internet black hole.

  11. Barfly 11

    "Hanlon’s razor is the adage that you should “never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity”.

    As far as the National Party goes I suspect the adage should be reversed

    “never attribute to stupidity that which is adequately explained by malice”

    I can see you Mr Luxon

  12. Corey Humm 12

    Good analysis/round up Mickey, we absolutely know that National would not be satisfied with simply spending $3 billion in their 2024 budget they'd find money for other vanity projects elsewhere via cuts and borrowing.

    I didn't realize the middle would only get $100.

    I do genuinely believe there is a progressive need for tax reform in NZ and that by international standards our tax system is ludicrous, I think maybe now isn't the right time but there's definitely a progress argument for dropping gst to 10% like Australia (Canadas is 5%) and like those countries having the first $20 thousand tax free. It may force us to raise the top tax rate to around 47% pass a capital gains tax (it's absolutely got to happen ) and gather revenue by a sin tax on marijuana (not necessary but I think it should happen) there are absolutely other tax reforms that would certainly be more progressive.

    Perhaps now is not the right time but I'd hope the government doesn't rule out eventually reforming tax reforms in a center left manager because the Tory's won't and there's certainly a progressive argument for NZ to get smarter on tax.

    • Craig H 12.1

      Time to reverse the 2010 tax changes and follow Australia in this area – lower GST, higher tax brackets, lower rates at the bottom and higher rates at the top.

      Reducing GST to 12.5% would cost around $6 billion p.a. Dropping it further to 10% would presumably double that. If revenue neutrality is an aim, then the higher rates will probably have to be quite a bit higher.

  13. Adrian 13

    Don’t forget that the person in charge of the biggest financial fuck up in years was…wait for it! …and the Oscar for Stupendous Financial Naivety goes to , dah, dah dah dah ….Simon Bridges for Transmission Gully.

  14. peter sim 14

    "Lay all the economists in the world end to end , they would not reach a conclusion"

    My apologies to G B Shaw if I misquoted it. I have treasured it since my student days "studying economics" at university. Shaw was correct.

    The chances of an economist being correct are of the same order of me winning Lotto if I bought a ticket..

    I would love to know what Alwyn "is on". Obviously something "mind altering".

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