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National tries to have it both ways

Written By: - Date published: 8:31 am, November 19th, 2016 - 51 comments
Categories: ACC, bill english, christchurch earthquake, disaster, economy, Economy, infrastructure, making shit up, national, Politics, same old national, spin, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags:


National has for a while been talking about tax cuts and clearly was positioning itself to announce cuts during the election campaign next year. The justification is a $1.8 billion operating surplus and such details as book losses for ACC of $5.1 billion and for the Cullen Super Fund of $2 billion, an increase in the Government ETS liability of $1.5 billion and net Crown debt increasing by $1.3 billion are not going to get in the way.

But after the Kaikoura earthquakes this week you would think that some restraint should be shown. But no, National is refusing to rule out tax cuts. Sometimes even the pretence will provide political benefit so in these post truth political days I guess I am not surprised.

From the Herald:

Finance Minister Bill English is moving to lower expectations of a windfall in the Government’s books ahead of new forecasts, saying spending pressures even before this week’s earthquake have been building up.

“There will be significant extra spending generated by the earthquake but it comes on top of other spending pressures that have been building up for a while,” he told the Weekend Herald.

Among those big ticket items included issues related to pay equity claims, the need to fund a significant growth in the prison population which would put pressure on operating and capital spending, as well as the pressures brought about by population growth.

Asked whether there was less chance of there being a tax-cut package in next year’s budget, he said it was too soon.

“It is yet to be seen when you take into account some of these spending pressures.

“Even though the economy is stronger we have yet to see whether the surplus is going to be stronger in the short term.”

“But an accumulation of issues means it is unlikely to be big windfalls.

A responsible Government would say plainly that tax cuts are not an option. The country’s needs require the Government to step up and play its part.  Short term political considerations should be shelved as these needs are addressed.

And there is an urgent need to replenish the EQC fund. Back in 2010 before the first Christchurch earthquake the fund sat at $5.93 billion. The latest report shows that things are now not so rosy. EQC’s assets are $2.1 billion but its liabilities are $2.5 billion and this was before this week’s events. There is a Crown guarantee for the fund. Looks like the Government will have to write a large cheque pretty soon.

Road reconstruction is going to hit the National Land Transfer Fund hard.  Some of those roads of national significance need to be rethought.  Quickly.  And Auckland’s urgent need for infrastructure funding is an ongoing need that is developing into a crisis.  If National wants to stake economic development on rampant immigration it will need to help with growth costs.

Why would the Government still be talking about a tax cut?  To reinforce an existing prejudice that somehow it is better with the country’s finances than the opposition and that it is more likely to give one.

Clearly in the Government’s mind the illusion is all important.  It is a shame about the reality.

51 comments on “National tries to have it both ways”

  1. Ad 1

    English could blow it all on new housing and do us all some good.

  2. Keith 2

    Actually the cut backs/frozen budgets in health, education, police, justice, housing and RNZ to name what I know to cover the last tax cuts plus the dividend demands from SOE’s that essentially broke Solid Energy and Housing NZ and the ongoing borrowing to cover the shortfalls are all reasons not to cut tax any further, rather increase them.

    • Bearded Git 2.1

      DOC’s budget has been cut too. There was no justification for tax cuts before the quake.

      Agree with Ad above-any surplus should be spent on state housing-this government has reduced the number of state houses (thus claiming a false deficit) at a time they should have been increased.

      Watch out for the clever and devious accounting over the effective privatisation of half of Kiwibank too, swelling the government’s coffers in the short term, but (as with the power co’s) wrecking public income in the long term. Not enough people on the Left have picked up on this.

  3. Brendon Harre 3

    Yes it is a nonsense. National should be crucified for its tax cutting agenda when clearly we need better government services in so many areas to protect New Zealand.

  4. greywarshark 4

    I think that image of English calls for some captions.
    ‘It is that big’ comes to mind. Talking about the planned tax cut of course.

  5. NZJester 5

    I wonder if they will do the same tax cut trick they did a while back to cover it. Remember the time they gave us all a so called tax-cut on PAYE putting more money in our pockets that was a big joke on most hard working New Zealanders. Because while they put more money in peoples pockets after PAYE in real terms the taxes went up as they increased the GST shrinking the amount of goods that money could buy you.
    All the while claiming that GST was not a tax even though the T stands for Tax and they had not put taxes up with their tame MSM not calling them out on the fact that it was a massive tax swap from the rich to the poor.

    • james 5.1

      Well – here is a chance for Andrew Little to come out and be all “leaderish”.

      He should stand up and say “we dont know what the books are going to look like in a years time – but by gum it – We guarantee ZERO tax cuts regardless of the situation”

      Do you think he would do that?

      Personally I would love to see him take such a principled stand very publicly.

      • alwyn 5.1.1

        Perhaps he could take an equally principled stand and tell Phil Goff there will be a ZERO contribution from the Crown to Phil’s little dream of a billion dollar white elephant stadium in Auckland.

        Andrew could also take a principled stand and tell Goff that there will be ZERO Crown contribution to his multi-billion boondoggle of light rail from the CDB to the airport

        He could also announce that Auckland is going to have to finance some of its infra-structure requirements itself and selling off the Port Company would be a good way to do it.

        Come on Andie. Display a little bit of principled leadership.

        • millsy

          Don’t know why you have such a big issues with councils owning ports and things. They have done so for hundreds of years.

          • alwyn

            “councils owning ports ……done so for hundreds of years”.
            They haven’t actually, at least not in New Zealand.
            Any ownership of such things by the local councils only started at the end of the 1980s, and 100% ownership by the ARC only happened in about 2005.
            Before that the various harbour boards were independent organisations.

            • KJT

              Independent, elected! organisations.
              Port companies, and the extremely costly, to the whole country, fake competition they are now involved in, was a device to soften them up for sale to Nationals mates.
              One of the reasons National is starving Auckland, and Christchurch, of funds are to force more privatisation.
              Despite conclusive evidence that privatising essential infrastructure has been a costly failure.

        • Sacha

          Pffft. Is the Act party after a new leader again?

          • alwyn

            I’m certainly not the person to ask. I have nothing whatsoever to do with any political party. Never have belonged to one and never will.

      • framu 5.1.2

        talk about a BS distraction james.

        Instead of your invented and silly script, maybe address the actions of the current govt?

        Where the original tax cuts from key and co tax neutral?

  6. Siobhan 6

    ….and despite people going blind waiting for an appointment, and people housebound waiting for knee ops. and blah de blah everything else we should be able to expect sorted in a comparatively well off and steady economy/country…..

  7. mosa 7

    If they are so hell bent on giving tax breaks then cut the GST rate if they want to as they say “giving hard working kiwis some money back.

    In the wake of another serious disaster it would be seen as a sensible move to signal no tax cut rate for the next 2 years at the least.

    But National does not do sensible and would rather gamble the country’s finances for political expediency.

    Playing to kiwis greed is always a winner for the National party.

  8. Kevin 8

    Wouldn’t be surprised if the governments contribution to the CRL is ‘deferred’.

    • dukeofurl 8.1

      The Holiday Highway which is in the rural area of Auckland is the project least likely to proceed.

      • Sacha 8.1.1

        Holiday highway project is already underway. And there is no way large Auckland businesses and property developers will let the Nats back off on funding the CRL. They want it.

      • Keith 8.1.2

        There’s no way Nationals donors will let them off the holiday highway. Big money up for grabs there.

    • Leftie 8.2

      But you can bet contributions (in the billions) to IMF and the WB won’t be.

  9. Incognito 9

    National is bound to push ahead with the tax cuts regardless. Don’t forget that National still believes (!) that the tax cuts (and increase in GST) in 2010 were good for New Zealand.

    National’s political rhetoric is no different from any other’s: say what people want to hear at the right time and ‘soften’ when appropriate. This is how (many) people get elected.

    National will say & do anything to stay in power.

  10. Rae 10

    Isn’t this article about tax cuts? Why do you have a photo of English discussing the size of his old fellah?
    But seriously, there was plenty of stuff any extra could be spent on BEFORE the earthquake. Stunning they keep pushing this barrow.

  11. Chrys Berryman 11

    The National “government” should legislate for a “Kaikoura Tax” on all income earners to pay for the billions of dollars needed to fix the place……and remove it when this is achieved……… like they should have done after the Christchurch quakes…..but this will never happen under National as they can’t stomach a collective response to anything,especially if it requires raising taxes……and all this does is reinforce that there is a direct correlation between the belief that we should shrink the size of Government with the ever shrinking brains of its disciples.

  12. Leftie 12

    Change the government.

  13. Leftie 13

    Change the government

  14. Draco T Bastard 14

    Clearly in the Government’s mind the illusion is all important. It is a shame about the reality.

    This government ignores reality so as to cater to the greed of the rich. That makes it the worst possible economic manager and the result of it’s manipulation will be the collapse of society.

    • johnm 14.1


      I’ve given up. We’ve been warning about these crooks so long, but they still get in! Thank the million dimwits who can’t get off their arses to vote! I’ve already wasted too much vitality saying this, so go rot on NZers! Vote National.

  15. adam 15

    At this time, when we should be talking about a short term tax to help with the recovery, this lot go the other way.

    It’s official, this national government have lost the plot completely.

  16. Ian 16

    Yesterday having lunch at the Takahanga marae with a stamp on my hand waiting to be evacuated I had a long talk to a nga Tahu leader. Those guys have done a wonderfull job and the only black mark he had,regarding the emergency response without any prompting was the absolute waste of space of Andrew Little. His visit was so memorable that if he turns up again he will need SAS protection.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 16.1

      I was talking to several people today who think that John Key is incompetent and corrupt. They’re disgusted with his ponytail fetish and his lies, and his utter contempt for the Pike River families.

      He already needs protection everywhere he goes.

    • Muttonbird 16.2

      Andrew Little will have protection next time he turns up – the DPS assigned to the Prime Minister.

    • gnomic 16.3

      Is this an anecdote? Or are you by any chance a dork? Perhaps arrange to be evacuated to Trumperica. Your talents might be appreciated there. Why are you even sharing this garbage here?

    • Cinny 16.4

      Fascinating how when people feel threatened they will run others down, rather than talking up their own political preferences.

      But even more intriguing is the fact that Ian says nadda about the outgoing PM.

      And the most comical of all.. most are aware of Ians agenda, so Ian ends up looking like a dick with his attempts of story telling.

  17. Ian 17

    And Nga Tahu don’t pay income tax.

  18. Ian 18

    The person I was talking to employs a number of people ,has just seen his place,his river and his mountain severely beaten and never the same again. His business,that he grew from nothing is destroyed. Get your priorities in order comrade.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 18.1

      Don’t piss in my pocket and tell me it’s raining, hypocrite. Your priorities are such that you had to rush and tell your little tale here as fast as ever you could, like a little Stalinist Tory boy with someone to inform on.

    • KJT 18.2

      Wait until Key closes the rail line and rebuilds the highway inland.
      Your mate will have a quick change of heart then.
      Mind you there has always been a bunch of Māori moneyocrats who support National. Who have learnt from Pakeha how to get rich while stiffing their own people.

      • Ian 18.2.1

        just saying that little made a dick of himself. He opened his mouth.

        • gnomic

          Try to grow a brain. Let’s hear your critique of Brownlee and Joyce and the regime overall to date on this latest major national crisis Oh, you think the sun shines from their nether regions? What a surprise.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          Tittle-tattle Toryboy wishes all politicians were Dear Leader.

          • Pete George

            Little labour lickspittle spitting into the wind.

            [take the day off for flamming – weka]

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              Petty George, living up to his name as usual. He even manages to squeeze in one of his zombie lies (they keep on moaning and shuffling) in the midst of his ad hominem pique.

              Telling porkies about my political affiliations is just another one of Petty’s feeble attempts to get dirty. He wishes he was Cameron Slater 😆

    • halfcrown 18.3

      I wondered when a comment like that surface. So I take it then comrade that it is Labour’s “Fault,”

      Pun intended.

    • framu 18.4

      he also pays no tax according to you

      get your stories straight man

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