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National’s advice to the poor – you are on your own

Written By: - Date published: 8:11 am, March 13th, 2022 - 125 comments
Categories: Economy, national, poverty, same old national, tax, todd muller - Tags:

Todd Muller, he who mucked up six years of Parliamentary pecuniary interest registers because he forgot to mention that he had an interest in a Kiwifruit farm and a second family home has come out with advice for poor people.  Here it is:

The abridged version:

  1. Be nice to your landlord and kiss his arse.  That way he may be kind to you.
  2. Shop around for the best price for your power and if you are lucky then just like Rio Tinto you can get the Government to give you really cheap power.  Nah just kidding.
  3. Get as much free food as possible.
  4. Don’t impromptu buy things.  Even if it is food and you are staving.

This is from a man who owns two homes and a Kiwifruit farm.

And a party that has offered tax cuts that will mean that those on the minimum income will receive exactly precisely nothing while the leader of the opposition will receive $7,000 in tax cuts and a further unknown amount on the six properties he owns and does not actually live in,

But what proposals does National have for the poorest amongst us?  No money only platitudes and lectures on how they can do better.

If National was intent on putting money into people’s pockets then it could do this by adjusting the bottom tax bracket.  That way everyone would get an increase.

The way they have structured their policy would mean that the wealthiest and owners of multiple properties get most of the benefit and those earning up to $14,000 get nothing.  A clearer case of class warfare I cannot imagine.

125 comments on “National’s advice to the poor – you are on your own ”

  1. dv 1

    No tax up to 20k

    Compensated by a tax rise over 150k

    • Ad 1.1

      Labour already raised taxes on those over $180k.

      It was a 202 election promise.

      • dv 1.1.1

        Would that balance the 0 rate on up to 20k?

        • Ad 1.1.1.1

          I'm going to wait until Budget in May to comment on tax brackets.

        • dv 1.1.1.2

          On my calcs the would take ABT 7% increase on 150k tax rate(To allow 0 tax up to 20k

          This was pre tax increase
          https://www.treasury.govt.nz/information-and-services/financial-management-and-advice/revenue-expenditure/revenue-effects-tax-changes/who-pays-income-tax

          • alwyn 1.1.1.2.1

            I am curious as to how you come up with a figure of only a 7% increase in the over $150k rate.

            There were only about 120k people in that bracket. They would be the only ones who would have to pay any more. On the other hand those who would pay less would be anyone at all who paid tax., It isn't just the people whose income was below $20k. It would be all the people who paid any tax at all which is about 3.65 million.

            Can you give an explanation of your calculation?

            Treasury used to have, 3 or 4 years ago, a little model where people could prepare their own budget. It was great fun to play with as you found the real effect of proposals. Mostly that you were going to do things like halve the tax collection by setting the lower brackets to lower rates. It was most disconcerting Unfortunately I can't find it any more.

            • dv 1.1.1.2.1.1

              lost the spread sheet. will try to repeat

            • Craig H 1.1.1.2.1.2

              https://www.treasury.govt.nz/publications/model/aggregate-personal-income-tax-revenue-estimate-tool for the spreadsheet.

              The model hasn't been updated for 39c but adding that in at 150K (the tool doesn't allow adding it in at 180K, not enough people earned that much in 2019 for the data to be reliable apparently) adds $615 million, and I think estimates were that the new bracket would add $500 million in revenue, so that's pretty close.

              That aside, according to that tool/model, if you reduced the bottom rate to 0% on $20,000 p.a. it would cost $7.135 billion. Adding a bracket at 150K as suggested doesn't offset that drop at any level, even 100%.

              Obviously it's possible to redesign the brackets and/or tax rates to pay less tax at the bottom and more at the top, but not just by decreasing the bottom and increasing the top bracket at the same rate.

              • alwyn

                That's the one. I had great fun with it at the time. As you point out it is very hard to cut the lowest bracket by very much at all and then get the money back by a high rate at the top.

                There are just so very, very few people who get hit by a high rate of tax on a high income. People really don't have high incomes.

                • aom

                  So are you admitting the whole taxation system is not fit for purpose then? Time to call avoidance what it really is – evasion!

                  Have you forgotten the magical solution for reducing the top rate – increase GST so the poorest subsidise the wealthiest.

                  • alwyn

                    That is the exact opposite of what I said. There is a persistent belief from left wing idiots that the rich can be taxed in such a way that anyone on less than the average wage say doesn't have to pay any tax at all. It isn't possible because there are very few people available to pay the tax in that situation and even if they were taxed at 100% you wouldn't raise even a fraction of the tax we do now.

                    Your second paragraph is, on the other hand, quite easy to accomplish. If you were to put the GST up from 15% to 16% you would probably take in enough extra money to reduce the tax rate on the highest income levels down to 30% and still have lots left over.

                    That's just a guess by the way but it would increase the GST by around 2% of the total tax take. That is simply because there are so few people who earn enough to be in the highest bracket.

                    I must point out that it is never going to happen. You are the first person I have seen who is actually proposing that it should happen.

                    • aom

                      Sorry if my comment was too subtle for you to understand. Does one have to tag /sarc for you to work out when you are subtly said to be uploading full of shit 'I'm all right comments?

                    • alwyn

                      Sorry aom. What you comment doesn't count as "subtle". It is just "stupid".

                  • lprent

                    Does one have to tag /sarc

                    Yes – add the /sarc or equivalent. Otherwise it is perfectly reasonable to read your statement as you wrote it, and to treat you as someone who is somewhat thick.

                    After all this is why many comedy duos have the straight person as a sort of dummy attached to the gag or joke.

                • KJT

                  Thanks for the excellent argument for taxing wealth. Rather than income and consumption. Adam Smith would agree with you.

                  Taxation in NZ, compared with many OECD countries, is heavily skewed towards taxing workers, not asset owners/rentiers.
                  An example of “regulatory capture” by the wealthy.

                  As you said, "few in NZ have High incomes".

                  More than 40% of millionaires paying tax rates lower than the lowest earners, Government data reveals | Stuff.co.nz

                  How super-rich Kiwis dodge tax – NZ Herald

                  "Inland Revenue has found that 107 out of 161 "high-wealth individuals" who own or control more than $50 million worth of assets declared their personal income in the last financial year was less than $70,000 – the starting point for the top tax bracket of 33 cents in the dollar".

                  There is a way of cutting taxes to lower income earners and productive people, while maintaining enough Government income for State services.
                  Tax unproductive, rent seekers.

                  • alwyn

                    I would like to see how you are going to measure "wealth", particularly when you get a small business. Shares in big companies? Easy enough. What is the share price. What is a small garage, or even harder a local dairy, worth? In economic terms the worth of a business, and hence the wealth it represents, is simply the net present value of the income it will produce in the future so if you write down the income you also diminish the wealth it represents. You are after all only measuring the same thing in different ways.

            • Ed1 1.1.1.2.1.3

              Percentages are tricky – a 7% increase in the over $150k rate could be interpreted as taking the over 150k tax rate and multiplying it by 1.07 (giving 41.7%, say 42%) or by adding 7% to 39%, giving 46%. I suspect the first calculation was anticipated by dv (it would give 7% more revenue).

              I have previously suggested that the rate of tax and abatement should never exceed the top tax rate – I suspect that a model as dv has described would demonstrate that for some benefits abatements would not completely eliminate benefit payments until quite high incomes.

      • Paul Campbell 1.1.2

        We used to have a 39% tax rate, National got rid of it and increased GST to 15% claiming that it would be neutral, or course it was really a regressive tax on the poor used to fund a giveaway to their rich mates.

        Let's undo National's jiggery-pokery, reduce GST and lower the 39% tax threshold back to where it was (I say this pointing out that it would mean that I personally would pay a lot more of that 39% tax)

        • lprent 1.1.2.1

          That would be my preference as well for a more equitable tax system. The old 39% kicked in at about $70k, where the current 33% kicks in.

          Currently more than half of my income taxed at 33%, raising it by 6% simply isn't going to disturb me much. I don't overspend on property, so a drop of 5% in GST after income tax will probably significantly reduce any personal loss from an income tax increase.

          Having more clarity in the economy that doesn't reward lousy unproductive investments would be useful.

          Of course those it will hit the hardest are those who have been over-spending on property as a proportion of their after-tax income.

          • Poission 1.1.2.1.1

            Your household running expenses would also decrease,such as rates,insurance,energy etc.

            • lprent 1.1.2.1.1.1

              Exactly.

              For me my largest single non-GST expenses are accommodation costs through mortgages. That is about a third of my post income tax, post-kiwisaver net income. The other two thirds has GST.

              GST is a tax on the whole of the nett income (including the income below 70k) I don't shovel to a bank as repayment of a loan or interest. A 5% reduction will roughly give me a 3-4% increase in my disposable income.

              But if you're doing 50% or more of the nett income paid to the bank for the same things (as many people are), then you're in a form of debt peonage. Terrified about slowdowns in the property market and terrified about interest rate rises. Thye also have no room to be creative or to increase productivity – because they have colossal mortgage to service.

              Totally unproductive for our economy.

    • Agreed, and remove GST on fresh fruit and vegetables – both measures directly benefitting those on lower incomes – and incidentally, the health system.

      Labour (LINO) has to front foot this 'crisis.'

      • Byd0nz 1.2.1

        Agree. Removing GST as you say is the best credible tax cut available.

        • Mike the Lefty 1.2.1.1

          If you remove GST then logically you have to find an alternative source of taxation if you want to maintain current expenditure. What would that be: financial transaction tax? luxury tax, capital gains tax? I suppose National could afford to do it because it would undoubtedly want to slash expenditure on gaining the treasury benches.

          • Nic the NZer 1.2.1.1.1

            This is not true. There is no immediate need to replace taxation to maintain spending. In fact the amount of taxation the government will collect fluctuates quite a lot across time depending on peoples spending and employment conditions, similarly for the government spending.

            Basically if your looking at the budget you should remember its a bunch of forecasts and they are frequently wrong by quite a bit and this is both a non-issue and quite a good excuse for not funding things the government doesn't want to fund.

            • Ed1 1.2.1.1.1.1

              Perhaps not for small changes, but I suspect GST on food is not trivial. Before complicating our GST system considerably it would be good to see some evidence that such a policy has led to better results (either for health or income inequality) than a simple single rate system such as we have. One advantage that GST does have is that it is paid by tourists, as well as by those whose tax specialists and lawyers manage to avoid nearly all income tax . . .

              A different tax would be a company surcharge of a small percentage on all income paid to individuals over say 5 times the average remuneration for all employees. There may well be some fairly simple ways of keeping low income employees out of that calculation, but it would send a message that executive salaries of say 10 times average employee income are not desirable . . .

      • gsays 1.2.2

        Why stop at fresh fruit and veges?

        Both the rich and poor need haircuts, pay a utilities bill.

        Do away with the most regressive tax we have, GST.
        This incrementalist thinking, practiced by Ardern’s Labour is the real enemy of the poor.
        Put in a FTT and/or put the fuel excise up to 65 or 75%.

  2. SPC 2

    Class warfare alright.

    Luxon the man with 6 properties and a salary in the hundreds of thousands who

    plans to repeal the 39 per cent tax bracket, and allow landlords to deduct interest costs from their taxes … estimates suggest they would cost in the vicinity of $1.3b a year at first

    lifting the tax thresholds, effectively giving every income tax payer in New Zealand a tax cut … the party costed that policy at $1.7 billion. … giving National's total plan an annual cost of $3 billion.

    as PM.

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/politics/christopher-luxon-wont-say-if-tax-cuts-will-be-staggered-or-if-landlords-should-cut-rents-after-being-given-tax-cuts/IIKUPY3W4QZCCPFVIKTKUXS3SU/

    Clearly they have no intention to boost the AS to support those paying rent, or target support to those on low income families (who get miserly amounts from changes in tax scales) – so poverty is going to get much worse.

    And we all know National will hand out small MW adjustments and obstruct fair wage and industry award developments – and enable resort to migrant labour to place downward pressure on wage levels.

    The extremism indicated could well indicate an intent to bring in an American style faith based provider (Upper Room ministry version of subsidiarity) and term limit welfare reform regime – possibly via a coalition agreement with ACT.

    Their real housing policy might be to remove people from state housing and place them into the prison system – a return to private investment in incarceration?

    The alternative involves a rent freeze and either a bump in the lowest zero tax on income threshold and or tax credit adjustments for low income families.

    • Barfly 2.1

      “I’m a big fan of increasing minimum wages, but when you do it when your economy is growing around 3 to 4 per cent mark so you can sustain in,” Luxon said.

      https://www.1news.co.nz/2021/12/04/luxon-big-fan-of-raising-minimum-wage-if-economy-growing/

      During the time National has been out of power that level of growth has been achieved about 50% of the time and when National was in power I think the MW increases were 25 to 50 cents (from memory) Add to that Act Policy of no minimum wage increases for 3 years and well ….we can all join the dots I figure

  3. higherstandard 3

    All quite reasonable tips from the Tauranga budget advisory service.

    it really is a bit odd the things people choose to get outraged about on a Sunday morning.

    • mickysavage 3.1

      I am outraged that National proposes tax changes that will see its leader save $7,000 in tax but leaves the provision of help for the poorest up to the Tauranga Budget Advisory Service.

      • Dennis Frank 3.1.1

        It would make more sense to be outraged by the economic policy that produced the poor in the first place. Arguing over whether National or Labour is a better administrator of that policy seems like an exercise in window-dressing.

        Perhaps you feel Labour is best served by a focus on trivia at this point in the electoral cycle? If so, there's an obvious problem: the poor aren't all that fussed about which hand holds the whip. When they vote, it's more likely to be on the basis of perception that one of the two is genuinely trying to help them. Not just pretending. So how can Grant fake being genuine whilst maintaining neoliberalism?

        Watch the budget to see how he pulls any such rabbit out of his hat. Tax cuts are a lure for suckers to bite on, so his smoke & mirrors act will have to seem more authentic, eh? Delivery rather than promise would be a good start…

        • Ad 3.1.1.1

          No party in parliament is proposing an alternative to what you call "neoliberalism".

          Shaw's Carbon Trading regime is fully a global commercial construct based on very little other than late 1990s World Bank ideology.

          • Dennis Frank 3.1.1.1.1

            Yeah the lack remains conspicuous. It does create a perception in the public mind that BAU still works okay. Would make more sense for the Greens to start differentiating from that – which would require them to explain how a resilient economy can trend towards sustainability.

            Then all Ardern would have to do is tell the people that it's Labour's plan too. Win/win. Spitting the dummy can become contagious – it just takes an initiative to start the new trend.

      • Cricklewood 3.1.2

        Are you outraged by how much house prices and rents have risen under this govt?

        • mickysavage 3.1.2.1

          I am outraged how much they have risen over the past 30 years.

          • mosa 3.1.2.1.1

            " own our future " sounds suspiciously like " a brighter future " and we all know whose future that applied to !

          • DukeEll 3.1.2.1.2

            You’re tribal labour. A good thing to see these days where most people are apathetic

            but how can you reconcile this statement that your outraged with the fact a labour government is best for increasing house prices AND have been in power for half of the last 30 years and remain tribal?

            I don’t agree with Dennis Franks hard left turn as a solution, but being committed to retain this government kind of says your outrage is Twitter outrage.

            • mickysavage 3.1.2.1.2.1

              I don't agree with everything that Labour does. If it was up to me I would have imposed a CGT on all real estate except possibly the family home.

              I still find that I support 90% of what Labour does and less than 10% of what National does. The decisions about my allegiance is pretty easy.

            • Dennis Frank 3.1.2.1.2.2

              I don’t agree with Dennis Franks hard left turn as a solution

              Thanks for the kudos but I can't really take credit for that. In advocating the ditching of neoliberalism I'm really just being pragmatic: economic policy works best when it adapts to circumstances.

              It's all in the framing nowadays – not in ideology. Steering towards resilience & sustainability can be done whilst operating in the current status quo economy. You just get everyone thinking differently about the future.

              Oh, and there's also the fact that a real hard leftist described me as a rightist onsite here yesterday! 🤩

      • Barfly 3.1.3

        I see your "outraged" and raise you by my completely "unsurprised" over to you -call, raise or fold?

        • Ad 3.1.3.1

          Call crisis and flop down.

        • Ad 3.1.3.2

          You get a Full Opposition House for "Failure", "Unsurprised", "Outraged", "Crisis", and "Emergency".

          This is responded to in upward raises of "Appropriate", "Concern", followed by "Report", potentially an "Inquiry", even more expensive a "Ministerial Inquiry", 'the call a friend' function for a "Commission", or take your chips all in with a "Royal Commission".

          Each raise has a bluff function.

      • Anker 3.1.4
        • National aren’t in power currently, so are unable to do anything about the cost of living crisis. Hence circulating the budgetary advisers advice could be helpful for some.

        taking GST off food sounds good. Pretty outrageous that we are taxed on our food. I did see that young economist, Bradley Olsen on the tv saying taking gst off food was complicated and would cost more and the tax works well, because it is a blanket cost. I don’t know if he is correct.

        Perhaps David Seymour idea of temporarily reducing gst to 10% as simple yet immediate action that could be taken to combat the cost of living crisis? It might also stop the economy from tanking as people stop spending on all but essentials.

        • Ad 3.1.4.1

          Bring the whole of GST back down to 5% would cost stupendous amounts of government income, but would drive a stake through the heart of inflation and limit fuel price explosions.

          • Barfly 3.1.4.1.1

            Petrol excise gathers $2 billion a year would be far cheaper to halve it or temporarily bin it.

            • Ad 3.1.4.1.1.1

              Cutting petrol tax is the tougher one to cut because its largely hypothecated regime means a big cut there means cuts to bus, train, ferry services, GOLD Card freebies, no more student discounts, no more disabled taxi subsidies, more potholes unfixed, and even fewer cycleways than we have now because of their high maintenance.

              • Craig H

                Agree with this, and it's pretty evident when comparing to the other main regime of diesel and road user charges which is pretty similar to 91 in total cost.

                • Barfly

                  I guess I wasn't clear(sorry) I was suggesting to cut the excise to give relief to the "many" I was not suggesting to cut the services that it nominally pays for – I would have no problem with bunging on a new tax rate at say $200k to compensate and remember as John Key said "it's not an extra tax it's a rebalancing" we could honestly promise it's "revenue neutral" devil

          • Craig H 3.1.4.1.2

            My calculation from Treasury material for net GST is that 2.5% is worth about $6B, so 10% would be $24B, although obviously people having more money might spend a bit more, so there might be a bit of an offset from increased spending = increased GST collected.

        • mosa 3.1.4.2

          " National aren’t in power currently, so are unable to do anything about the cost of living crisis "

          Like they are unable to do anything about it when they are !

    • Ad 3.2

      You've forgotten what they're like in power.

  4. Mike the Lefty 4

    National has missed an opportunity here to reinvent itself as "the best economic manager". It could have come up with some bold new ideas how to rejuvenate an economy struggling from the effects of COVID and the Ukranian-Russian war but instead it predictably reverted to its perennial default position that every economic problem can be solved with tax cuts.

    National must also have been disappointed with the general reaction. It must have thought that tax cuts would strike a chord within a society being hit by escalating petrol and food prices and angry with COVID restrictions but in fact there was only lukewarm support from business leaders and none from welfare organisations and advocates.

    It was all too nakedly transparent and opportunist – the rich getting most of the benefits, the poor getting a few left over crumbs. Bereft of any new ideas. Tax cuts will not do much to help one of the most needy sectors of the economy – hospitality and tourism.

    The only worthwhile part was to fix what used to be called "the fiscal drag" – the situation where as incomes rise and tax scales don't simultaneously rise then more people move into a higher tax bracket.

    A bold alternative economic plan by National would have been welcomed by an electorate that is losing faith in the Labour government, but National blew it.

    This is my first post for The Standard. I used to be a regular contributor to the Daily Blog but I don't waste my time there any more because of the editor's increasing tendency to go like Cameron Slater and censor any opinions that differ from his own, whilst at the same time allowing trolls free reign to make their own inane comments.

    • Dennis Frank 4.1

      Your point about National is valid, Mike. I think though that it's just an interim position for them – mainly designed to accelerate the return of that part of their support base that deserted to ACT.

      Inasmuch as tax-cuts are trad ideology for the right, the strategy does serve as proof that National are the real neoliberal party. Labour therefore must use the budget to compete with that strategy to maintain their recycling of rogernomics. Whilst pretending to be socialist simultaneously:

      https://jacobinmag.com/2021/05/new-zealand-labour-party-socialists-jacinda-ardern

      Re TDB's editorial policy, yeah I abandoned the site years ago after encountering the same bullshit from Bomber. Pretend radicals are tedious.

    • Your point about The Daily Blog jells with me, Mike. I used to occasionally post there and read the comments, but the right whinge trolls have taken over that site!

    • Ad 4.3

      Mike I hope you have a better experience here.

      Some minor tips:

      – You get sin binned for a few weeks if you're a dork or if you attack the moderators

      – You get banned for a year for repeat offences

      – Open Mike is reasonably robust, but it's useful to cite a link to an opinion

      – Don't just drop a link and walk.

      – There's some technical tips in the edit function for inputting graphs and images.

      – You have I think 6 minutes to edit

      Otherwise game on.

    • mickysavage 4.4

      Welcome Mike!

  5. Reality 5

    Today's Herald headline – Paula Bennett "I was grateful to NZ taxpayers but it's time to stop depending on the state".

    Took what she could when she could but has the audacity to now say figuratively "get lost" to others.

    • SPC 5.1

      Used the TIA to get her place and then used by National as their front in removing it to others. Shameless.

    • gsays 5.2

      Not dependent on the state. Hah.

      Surely every real estate parasite agent, gets down on their knees and prays for more of the same from Wellington, ie, nothing meaningful.

  6. Westykev 6

    I’m outraged the PM denies there is a cost of living crisis.

    • mickysavage 6.1

      Sloppy rhetorical attack by National. They want her to say this and then will use it in attack ads.

      • Herodotus 6.1.1

        We have extremely low unemployment food banks with excessive demand more people on housing waiting lists, inflation at levels many have never experienced and expected to rise, there is something really WRONG in this picture. And our PM self-congratulatory herself on increasing benefits next month."She argued the Government had lifted the minimum wage and increased the family tax credits in response to inflation." – Problem is that these increases were announced at the last budget as a response of what had gone before they were NOT measures to counter up coming increases that were expected -Since then costs have dramatically spiralled UP. When you react to what has past you are playing catch up and those affected pay the cost. – And what of pensioners ? Their benefit is based on 66% of the 'average ordinary time wage' after tax.

        So Micky No it is the governments reaction that is SLOPPY and it is ONLY political. Open your senses because you may feel totally betrayed when you do, and only then can change occur.🙊🙈🙉

        https://www.odt.co.nz/business/cost-living-now-kiwis-biggest-concern-pm-says-no-crisis

        https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/coronavirus/127929844/covid19-pacific-food-banks-struggle-to-meet-demand-as-more-families-isolate

      • James Simpson 6.1.2

        No – they wanted her to deny there was a crisis to portray her as out of touch.

        However, today she has actually admitted that there is the crisis which has killed that attack line

  7. alwyn 7

    Meanwhile the Government shows its concern for the people, normally on the minimum wage, who provide support services to the elderly, the disabled or those receiving palliative care and are being hammered by the petrol price increases. They use their own car and get mileage payments at below the current IRD approved rates. What is the Government doing about this? Well we are feeling "concern" says the PM. Other than that? Well, nothing according to Andrew Little who says "travel reimbursement rates didn't usually change because of short-term price fluctuations.".

    However, in regard to pay increases these workers may get one. It probably won't come anywhere near the inflation rate of 6.9% though as "The most recent increase was 1.576 per cent".

    Good one Andrew, and PM Ardern. It's good to see your great concern for those who actually provide necessary services to the infirm.

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/128037811/support-workers-struggling-as-fuel-prices-outstrip-government-mileage-rates

    Still, why should The PM and Mr Little worry. They get Limo service whenever they want it and also a free tax-payer provided and tax-payer fueled vehicle for their, and their families private use.

    • mickysavage 7.1

      Petrol increases are really recent and there is a budget coming up soon. I expect there will be some significant policy changes.

      • Herodotus 7.1.1

        Perhaps they could cancel the public sector pay freeze, last 2 years their incomes have reduced in real terms by over 10% (cpi increases) for those to live on ? That is 5 weeks less spending than they did in 2019. And will our benevolent government take into account these 2 years ? Look how the education and health workers had to fight tooth and nail for their increases, and I note the 3 year increases that were advertised by mininsters to portray those undeserving as a total 3 year increase (10%) and not the annual 3%. Bloody disgraceful from a political Party backed by unions.

        • Craig H 7.1.1.1

          As someone heavily involved in this area in my day job, there is no pay freeze in the public service at least (as in, govt departments), although there has certainly been restraint to increases for higher salaries. The recent massive CPI increase is a real problem though.

          • Herodotus 7.1.1.1.1

            Some of us not directly connected to Public Service can only go by what ministers have said. Should we not believe what Hipkins or the PM reported on or has what has been said not been carried out in the real world??

            "However, she (Jacinda Adern) said the PSA had highlighted that many public sector workers did not have step-based progressions and so would not see any increase in pay at all over the next three years."

            That came on the heels of the Government’s announcement of a de facto ‘pay freeze’ for public servants over the next three years. While those earning less than $60,000 a year will see pay increases, and those earning above that level up to $100,000 will be offered pay increases in some circumstances, the Government intends there to be no increases for anyone earning above that level.

            https://www.wgtn.ac.nz/clew/news/central-government-sector-pay-to-freeze-or-not-to-freeze

            https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/political/442326/public-sector-pay-freeze-unions-cheer-softer-government-stance

            • Craig H 7.1.1.1.1.1

              The pay guidance itself has a fair amount of direction for where Cabinet wants money spent, and where it doesn't – mostly on lower-paid staff, keeping up with the living wage, reducing/eliminating gender and ethnic pay gaps, recruitment pressures. For obvious reasons, contractual obligations must be met.

              The requirement to bargain in good faith prevents employers from turning up and refusing to bargain pay with unions, so this guidance is the starting point for bargaining positions, not something the unions have to give effect to.

        • Belladonna 7.1.1.2

          Not a lot of public support for pay increases for what are seen as back-room public service drones [NB: perception, not reality]. Most people think that a policy analyst in Wellington is already overpaid at 90+K pa.

          The people who are seen as the 'true' public servants (nurses, etc) have indeed had pay-rises – and these are not grudged (by the public) – though certainly seem to be grudged by Government.

          • Craig H 7.1.1.2.1

            I agree with you about public perception there, but from my interactions with them, I don't think Cabinet begrudges it either for the front lines. However, there are many layers of management between Cabinet and the front lines of the Public Service…

      • Poission 7.1.2

        February saw a decrease in Fuel spend as Omicron and working from Home took place,a decrease in sales will relate to a decrease in excise tax,gst,and Auckland levy as unit sales fall significantly over the next few months.

    • Barfly 7.2

      Talking about limo services probably isn't the smartest Alwyn…

      Luxon used one to travel 200 meters and Bridges spent over a $100k doing a Tiki tour in one

    • Incognito 7.3

      They’re not the same as the party limos hired for school balls, hen nights & weddings, or birthdays. They’re extensions of the office. Why do you make these capricious comments?

      • gsays 7.3.1

        To help us understand, with an example, some of the reasons for the massive disconnect Minister Little and the PM display from time to time.

        • Incognito 7.3.1.1

          Disappointing to see that you fell for alwyn’s diversion tactics and whataboutery. These (e.g. Crown limos) are spurious ‘arguments’, at best. Which is why I tend call out alwyn on it, from time to time, because they do anything but help us understand anything about the relevant issues.

          • alwyn 7.3.1.1.1

            You really do live in a different world from the people who provide these care services don't you?

            The important part of what I wrote was that the people providing these services are doing so for chickenfeed compared to what their high paid superiors get. They do it for pay which is typically at minimum wage levels. They don't get provided with a vehicle to travel to where they are needed but have to use their own car and they are supposed to be reimbursed for this.

            They don't have the option of just charging their petrol to the Crown. They have to pay for it themselves and they have to do it on the spot. Comments like Micky Savage's don't help.

            "Petrol increases are really recent and there is a budget coming up soon. I expect there will be some significant policy changes.".

            They can't tell the garage providing them with fuel that there is a budget coming up in about two and a half months and with a little luck they might get some money a few months after that to pay for the fuel. They have to do it now. NOW.

            The whole purpose of the comment about politicians perks was to show how out of touch they are from the way ordinary people live and why they don't seem to understand what their underlings have to put up with. The politicians simply don't have to live from day to day, without perks, and without a $250,000+ salary and perks on top of that.

            Get real. People providing these services are being crapped on.

            • alwyn 7.3.1.1.1.1

              @incognito

              I had hoped that you might have noticed this comment of mine in response to yours and replied to it. I think that our current set of Minister's are simply incapable of understanding how the average person actually lives and would have welcomed your comment on that.

              Oh well, c'est la vie.

  8. Reality 8

    Alwyn, the PM is a very very busy person and needs to quickly and safely get to where she needs to be, so must have a Crown car on hand. To suggest otherwise is silly.

    Just remember Luxon's self-anointment of his (I ran an airline – even though it needed government support) stature by hiring a luxury car to cross the road. That act alone showed delusions of grandeur.

    • alwyn 8.1

      Of course she needs a Crown car. That is what the BMWs were for.

      However she also has an Audi e-tron for her use in the same role..

      And she gets provided with an Hyundai Ioniq for her personal use, or for her family. That car for her personal will continue for the rest of her life, just as will the Limo service.

      What is she going to know about the cost of petrol?

      • Ad 8.1.1

        You guys with the Gold Card free public transport don't have much idea either.

        Best you Zimmer back down to the mall and suck up the air conditioning.

        • Barfly 8.1.1.1

          Hey! I still have another 20 months before I get my Winston Card

          • Ad 8.1.1.1.1

            From my cumulative tax to your discount: you're welcome

          • Tricledrown 8.1.1.1.2

            Worthless if you have any money Barfly hope you don't fall off your stool.

            • Barfly 8.1.1.1.2.1

              Well Tricledown I have pretty much been on the bones of my arse for the last decade and a half so I figure it will be handy laugh

        • alwyn 8.1.1.2

          My, my.

          I didn't think such ageism was approved of these days?

          • Gabby 8.1.1.2.1

            The gold card IS ageist.

            • Incognito 8.1.1.2.1.1

              How so?

            • alwyn 8.1.1.2.1.2

              I was just about going to agree with you, until I looked up what ageist means.

              "characterized by or showing prejudice or discrimination on the grounds of a person's age."

              It is certainly selective about the age at which you can get but I don't think discrimination or prejudice is being shown to the people who can get it.

    • QTxxxx 8.2

      Yes he has an apartment on Molesworth St, but what makes you so sure he was coming from his apartment that morning?

  9. Belladonna 9

    Meanwhile, Carmel Sepuloni says nothing about the impact of inflation, but celebrates the board chairs and CEOs that report to her [from her Facebook page]

    [deleted]

    Yes, I know "Women's Day" – newsflash, more women on various benefits than men.

    And Stats NZ says that the effect of inflation is 3 times higher for people on benefits, than the rest of the population.

    https://www.stats.govt.nz/news/annual-inflation-almost-three-times-higher-for-beneficiaries

    [NB: those figures from 2020 – before inflation really started to bite. Primarily driven by housing costs, but now factor in increased housing, increased food, and increased petrol/transport]

    I need to see Labour taking effective action. If you leave a vacuum, of course the opposition are going to fill it.

    • Ad 9.1

      These are the things National didn't do for the poor:

      • $5.5 billion Families Package including: increases to the Family Tax credit, Accommodation Supplement changes, Winter Energy Payment, and Best Start Payment
      • Indexation of main benefits to average wage growth for the first time in New Zealand’s history
      • Increased weekly benefit rates three years in a row. Most recently, Budget 21 lifted rates by between $32 and $55 per adult by April 2022, in line with a key recommendation from the Welfare Expert Advisory Group (WEAG)
      • The largest increase in abatement levels in over two decades, increasing the amount beneficiaries can earn before their benefit reduces
      • Further Working for Families increases in April 2022, lifting Family Tax Credit and Best Start payment rates, and increase the incomes of 346,000 families by an average of $20 a week.
      • Lifted minimum wage by 33% from $15.75 in 2017 to $21.20 from 1 April 2022
      • $2.8 billion COVID income support package, which permanently increased benefits by $25 per week, doubled the Winter Energy Payment for 2020, and broadened eligibility for the In-Work Tax
      • Introduced measures to stop predatory lending that often impact low income families
      • Expanded school-based health services and making doctors’ visits free for children under 14
      • Removed NCEA fees, and stopped public school donations
      • Improved the quality of housing and conditions for renters by implementing the Healthy Homes Guarantee Act 2017 and through changes to the Residential Tenancies Act 1986
      • Expanded free healthy lunches in schools, serving. 45 million lunches to 211,304 learners in 921 schools and kura
      • Rolled out free period products for all student across New Zealand. 1,996 schools and kura have provided 343,472 learners with access to products.
      • Delivered more public, transitional and emergency housing, with over 18,000 places due by 2024 through the public housing build programme.
      • Increased public housing places by over 8,000 to 74,300 after National was selling them off.
      • All measures of child poverty trending down. First government to bring in measures to be accountable to on poverty.

      Child poverty statistics show all measures trending downwards over the last three years | Stats NZ

      Of course you can consider that a vacuum.

      But the actual sucking noise is coming from Luxon.

      • Belladonna 9.1.1

        CPAGs take on child poverty figures – ‘trending down’ is a highly optimistic interpretation.
        https://www.cpag.org.nz/news/

        How do you think those figures are looking once inflation is factored in?

        Salvation Army survey, paints a much bleaker picture:
        https://www.1news.co.nz/2022/02/15/weve-all-failed-report-finds-child-poverty-in-nz-unchanged/

        • Ad 9.1.1.1

          The Salvation Army itself noted that increases to core welfare benefits and other assistance in 2020 and 2021 are projected by the Government to further reduce child poverty.

          We will get a further update on the official Child Poverty indicator set later this year.

          I certainly know what will happen to child poverty should National get back in.

          • Barfly 9.1.1.1.1

            Well National have a very strong declared love of the poor – after all they must as they keep making more of them angry

          • Belladonna 9.1.1.1.2

            Can you provide a quote for that?

            I can't find any expectation in their report that things will improve – and as, it's dated 2022 – they'll already have accounted for the increases from 2020 & 2021.

            https://www.salvationarmy.org.nz/sites/default/files/uploads/2022/02Feb/tsa_sotn_2022_summary_online3.pdf

            • house prices and rental costs have continued to
            soar, putting a significant strain on families as
            they struggle to access the housing market
            • the Housing Register has ballooned up to 25,000
            on the wait list, suggesting that many are
            struggling
            • there are 21,000 more children living in benefit-
            dependent households than before the pandemic
            • families are experiencing the precarious nature of
            surviving on inadequate levels of income
            • we continue to face challenges of violence towards
            children, the need to reduce the harm of addictions
            and improve the mental health of youth.

            I'm not arguing that National will do better. I'm arguing that Labour are not achieving in this area (yes, Covid; yes, International situation). But, more importantly, aren't front-footing this issue.

            Whether or not the PM denied there was an inflation crisis (spin it how you want) – the impression that's been left with a heck of a lot of NZers is that she's both out of touch and uncaring (both significant hits to her persona and credibility).

            I commented on Sepuloni in particular, because this is the heart of her ministry. And she needs to be being seen as an effective advocate (that's not the way that she's being seen ATM)

            Labour needs to be front and centre on this. Because for an increasingly large swathe of NZ this is a crisis, one that affects their ability to put food on the table. And, they do not want to hear that there's a working group to be set up!

            The fact that you didn't link to a front-page article quoting the PM, or Robertson, or Sepuloni outlining urgent plans to address this, speaks volumes.

            I don't expect hard plans. I do expect a statement along the lines that the steeply increasing cost of living for ordinary NZers will strongly inform the budget planning, and will be urgently addressed in the budget released in May. In the meantime, contact XYZ agency if you're in need of urgent assistance.

      • gsays 9.1.2

        Considering the nature of a lot of those on yr list, they are examples of systemic poverty.

        The government is keeping that going sustainably and kindly.

    • weka 9.2

      I've deleted the unlinked quote. You have to link every time. So sick of telling people this who should know better. Seriously, you’re already copy and pasting, why do you not also copy and paste the URL so we can all see the words in context?

  10. tsmithfield 10

    "during the current times of International hyper inflation"

    I assume this statement is hyerbole. Hyper-inflation is defined as:

    "What Is Hyperinflation?

    Hyperinflation is a term to describe rapid, excessive, and out-of-control general price increases in an economy. While inflation is a measure of the pace of rising prices for goods and services, hyperinflation is rapidly rising inflation, typically measuring more than 50% per month."

    https://www.investopedia.com/terms/h/hyperinflation.asp

    What has been seen in the likes of Zimbabwe meets the definition of "hyper-inflation", but not what is happening at the moment.

    So, what do you think that can be usefully done that doesn't feed into the inflation loop, and thus not solving anything?

    If the problem is, in part at least, caused by large amounts of money printing, borrowing, and injecting too much liquidity into the system, then surely, the solution can only be something that reverses that process?

  11. tsmithfield 11

    I think something that could be done with fuel prices is to ensure the tax on fuel is a flat levy rather than a tax take that increases with price.

    This would require removing GST from fuel for such an idea to work. GST on fuel is a bit of a rort anyway as it is a tax, at least partially, on a taxes.

    • Craig H 11.1

      We already have something like that in road user charges, so I guess we could just move everything onto that regime and just leave GST on the actual fuel costs. Everything is online now, it can't be that hard to buy RUCs on regularly.

      Edit: Obviously a flat levy on fuel would also work. Rather than reduce GST (adds accounting issues at pump), I would suggest setting the levy at a lower amount to take GST into account, and then just moving that portion of GST to the transport fund i.e. make it a government accounting issue, not a local business one.

    • felix 11.2

      I think the fuel excise is already a flat levy per litre rather than a percentage. But yes being taxed for paying a tax does let you know what they really think of us.

  12. Bazza64 12

    At least the Nats are giving everyone a tax cut & recognising there is a problem. Those on the lowest incomes will get a tax cut which has got to be better than Jacinda refuting there is a problem. This government sadly is out of touch with its voter base.

    Maybe Labour should do a tax cut as well but increase the top rate over $200k to 45% to help pay for it, but it won’t help much as not many people earn over $200k. But so far Labour are silent which is not good for them.

    The budget advice seems sensible to me, although with house prices & all other costs going up it would only be a drop in the bucket.

    Noted by a previous commenter how much assistance in the past Labour has provided for those on lower incomes, things that were supposed to keep people out of poverty. But sadly once inflation kicks in those things quickly become not enough.

    The inflation problem isn’t all Labour’s fault, but they have contributed to it so need to start taking this seriously.

    • Craig H 12.1

      Reworking tax brackets and income tax rates while also reducing GST is an obvious way to attempt to address the issues.

  13. Belladonna 13

    Maybe Labour should do a tax cut as well but increase the top rate over $200k to 45% to help pay for it, but it won’t help much as not many people earn over $200k. But so far Labour are silent which is not good for them.

    Highest tax bracket should be one that catches the lowest paid back-bench MP – so 160K. Which would also encompass the majority of senior public servants as well.

    NB: AND MP’s super top-ups (2.5 x their contribution) should be taxed as income.

  14. Anker 14

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/300539820/act-party-proposes-giving-carbon-credit-back-to-struggling-families

    another idea from David Seymour….carbon tax credits to go to struggling families.

    • Dennis Frank 14.1

      Yeah I posted a comment on OM about that earlier this afternoon. Practical socialism, ACT outflanking Labour on the left. Incognito replied with a different framing.

      • KJT 14.1.1

        No. Just a way of pretending to care, while avoiding the need to pay higher wages and welfare, and take less profits.

        Price gouging by corporates is the real reason for the higher prices.

        For example oil companies paid for the oil they are selling in NZ months ago. It is likely they have hedged even further ahead. The only reason for currently raising prices is "because they can".

  15. Anker 15
    • Thanks Denis, I wondered if someone else had posted it. I will read what Incognito has written. I wasn’t sure how or if it would work. But at least he’s thinking of those who are suffering
  16. swordfish 16

    .

    Whereas Labour, the Greens & their self-interested middle-class Woke activists are waging a more specific class-war against a whole swathe of their own core supporters: lower-income Pakeha, Asians & other non-Polynesians.

    Most may be lifelong Labour voters but – with the gradual implementation (largely by stealth) of crude, distorted Critical Race Theory & "equity" discrimination – they'll be the ones systematically scapegoated, transformed into second-class citizens & forced to do all the sacrifice & suffering … especially in health, housing & education.

    Zero sacrificing for our dear “unusually moral” chums, the affluent Woke … Total frauds.

    The Labour-Green message to poorer intersectional 'outgroups': You're on you own.

    Inevitable when both Major Parties are driven by self-interested elites … albeit with one outrageously masquerading as unusually morally good.

    • SPC 16.1

      Those who educated you to hate the woke, so that those who practice class warfare could rule, love your testifying.

      • Drowsy M. Kram 16.1.1

        "Total frauds."

        Remind you of anyone?

        How US 'wokeness' became a right-wing cudgel around the world [1 March 2022]

        The 'anti-woke' crusade has come to Europe. Its effects could be chilling [7 January 2022]
        Britain's anti-woke crusade sometimes borders on the farcical — from a "woke watch" segment on GB News, a British television news channel critics say was set up to find an audience amid the culture wars, to a lawmaker bemoaning that civil servants are still "woke-ing from home."

        Nor has every skirmish against social justice movements been a win for the government. UK Home Secretary Priti Patel accused England's national football team of engaging in "gesture politics" for taking the knee before its matches in a protest against racism, and refused to condemn those who booed the players for doing so.

        But the tactic backfired when the country rallied around the team after some of its players experienced racial abuse online in the aftermath of England's Euro 2020 final defeat in July. By the end of the Euros, polling showed most England football fans supported the team taking the knee.

        "You don't get to stoke the fire at the beginning of the tournament by labelling our anti-racism message as 'Gesture Politics' & then pretend to be disgusted when the very thing we're campaigning against, happens," England footballer Tyrone Mings wrote in a Twitter post responding to a tweet by Patel condemning the post-final racism.

        "It is clear the British public cares quite a lot [about] the equalities agenda, and it is quite easy for that kind of [government] mobilization to backfire," Christopher Bertram, emeritus professor of social and political philosophy at Bristol University, told CNN.

        It also shows that while the anti-woke messaging works with their base, British society is getting more multi-ethnic, tolerant and woke, Bale said.

        "The Conservatives are going to have to make a decision if they carry on railing against the way society is going," Bale said. "There is a long-term risk for them as it alienates [younger] future voters who they need to keep on side," Bale added. "There is a limited number of grumpy, older White men to get off on this kind of stuff."

        Even the 73-year-old grandson of Winston Churchill, Nicholas Soames, has heard enough, calling the furor over the Churchill Trust "so sad and so pathetic" in an interview with the Times. "Apparently anyone who modernizes anything or does anything to remotely bring it up to date is 'woke.'" he said. "It's absolute b****cks."

  17. Anker 17

    One doesn't need educating to "hate the woke"

    One just needs a critical brain. I personally don't hate the woke. I am not sure if Swordfish does either, although I of course cannot talk for him.

    I despair of the wokes lack of critical thinking.

  18. QTxxxx 18

    It's clearly a screenshot from the local paper in which he was quoted. What's your issue with his passing on tips that people may find helpful if they do not subscribe to that paper, which may be beyond people's budgets?

  19. I am pleased to see the government cutting the tax on fuel. Exactly the right thing to do, and probably one of the most effective steps the government could take to help families immediately and reduce some pressure on inflation.

    So, credit where credit is due.

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    Boost for Māori economic and employment initiatives. More funding for Māori health and wellbeing initiatives Further support towards growing language, culture and identity initiatives to deliver on our commitment to Te Reo Māori in Education  Funding for natural environment and climate change initiatives to help farmers, growers and whenua ...
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  • Government delivers critical infrastructure
    New hospital funding for Whangārei, Nelson and Hillmorton 280 more classrooms over 40 schools, and money for new kura $349 million for more rolling stock and rail network investment The completion of feasibility studies for a Northland dry dock and a new port in the Manukau Harbour Increased infrastructure ...
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  • A health system that takes care of Māori
    $168 million to the Māori Health Authority for direct commissioning of services $20.1 million to support Iwi-Māori Partnership Boards $30 million to support Māori primary and community care providers $39 million for Māori health workforce development Budget 2022 invests in resetting our health system and gives economic security in ...
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  • Investing in better health services
    Biggest-ever increase to Pharmac’s medicines budget Provision for 61 new emergency vehicles including 48 ambulances, along with 248 more paramedics and other frontline staff New emergency helicopter and crew, and replacement of some older choppers $100 million investment in specialist mental health and addiction services 195,000 primary and intermediate aged ...
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  • A Secure Future for New Zealanders’ health
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  • Cost of living package eases impact on households – 2.1 million Kiwis to get new targeted payment
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  • Budget highlights underlying strength of economy in face of global headwinds
    A return to surplus in 2024/2025 Unemployment rate projected to remain at record lows Net debt forecast to peak at 19.9 percent of GDP in 2024, lower than Australia, US, UK and Canada Economic growth to hit 4.2 percent in 2023 and average 2.1 percent over the forecast period A ...
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  • Budget 2022: A secure future in difficult times
    Cost of living payment to cushion impact of inflation for 2.1 million Kiwis Record health investment including biggest ever increase to Pharmac’s medicines budget First allocations from Climate Emergency Response Fund contribute to achieving the goals in the first Emissions Reduction Plan Government actions deliver one of the strongest ...
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  • Budget 2022: A secure future
    Budget 2022 will help build a high wage, low emissions economy that provides greater economic security, while providing support to households affected by cost of living pressures. Our economy has come through the COVID-19 shock better than almost anywhere else in the world, but other challenges, both long-term and more ...
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  • Health Minister to attend World Health Assembly in Geneva
    Health Minister Andrew Little will represent New Zealand at the first in-person World Health Assembly since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, to be held in Geneva, Switzerland, from Sunday 22 – Wednesday 25 May (New Zealand time). “COVID-19 has affected people all around the world, and health continues to ...
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  • New efforts to counter illegal timber trade
    New Zealand is committing to trade only in legally harvested timber with the Forests (Legal Harvest Assurance) Amendment Bill introduced to Parliament today. Under the Bill, timber harvested in New Zealand and overseas, and used in products made here or imported, will have to be verified as being legally harvested. ...
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  • Deaths in New Zealand lower than expected so far during the pandemic
    The Government has welcomed the release today of StatsNZ data showing the rate at which New Zealanders died from all causes during the COVID-19 pandemic has been lower than expected. The new StatsNZ figures provide a measure of the overall rate of deaths in New Zealand during the pandemic compared ...
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  • New law helps secure New Zealand’s maritime domain
    Legislation that will help prevent serious criminal offending at sea, including trafficking of humans, drugs, wildlife and arms, has passed its third reading in Parliament today, Foreign Affairs Nanaia Mahuta announced. “Today is a milestone in allowing us to respond to the increasingly dynamic and complex maritime security environment facing ...
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  • Trade and Export Growth Minister to travel to Bangkok for APEC
    Trade and Export Growth Minister Damien O’Connor is set to travel to Thailand this week to represent New Zealand at the annual APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade (MRT) meeting in Bangkok. “I’m very much looking forward to meeting my trade counterparts at APEC 2022 and building on the achievements we ...
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