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Open mike 02/03/2010

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, March 2nd, 2010 - 30 comments
Categories: open mike - Tags:

Open mike is your post.

It’s open for discussing topics of interest, making announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose.

Comment on whatever takes your fancy.

The usual good behaviour rules apply (see the link to Policy in the banner).

Step right up to the mike…

30 comments on “Open mike 02/03/2010 ”

  1. Jenny 1

    With the huge rise in food prices and with 15% GST looming, GST off food was the front page story of last week’s Whangarei Leader, the local community newspaper, distribution 30,000+.

    This extended article by journalist Denise Piper begins:

    “Whangarei residents want a new approach to GST on food.

    Prime Minister John Key says the government is carefully considering increasing GST from 12.5 percent to 15 percent this year, to discourage spending and encourage saving.
    The tax rise is to be off-set by cuts in income tax.

    But Kiwi households are already being hammered in the pocket with food prices up 12 percent in the past two years.”


    Piper finishes her article by questioning people in the street on their views on this topic:

    “Toni Love agrees GST should be taken off food.

    “It’s a basic human necessity,” she says.

    “Organic food should be cheaper it’s way too expensive.”

    Dion Gray says healthy food should be subsidised.

    “I think if they tax junk food and not the other stuff it would be good.”

    But Anita Pilkington is not so sure about taking GST off food because the tax has to come from somewhere.

    “I’m not sure if it’s not on food they will put higher taxes on other areas.”


    Though Piper’s report does not directly challenge the apologists who defend taxing this “basic human necessity”.

    I thought I might add a view poignant facts.

    The vast majority of countries that have GST, exempt food.

    As most of the accountancy software in this country comes from overseas, there is already a built in system to remove GST from food in these accountancy packages. This gives a lie to the closet Rogernomes claim, that it is far to complicated to implement.

    Even in New Zealand, though they are relatively minor, there are already exemptions, for instance the sale of second hand clothes is exempt, and has been for years. There have been zero complaints of being of it being far too complex to manage, from clothes dealers. If these small businesses can handle this sort of exemption, this gives further lie to the apologists claims.

    • blinded by the right 1.1

      It’s not removing GST from items in accounting software that is the issue (as you say, it is very easy to mark things as exempt). It is determining exactly what constitutes “food”. Which would be a nightmare.

      The exemption you mention is not solely for second-hand clothes, under the GST Act most second-hand goods are exempt from GST. It is not implementation that is going to be difficult (past the one-off setup changes to costs to systems). It is the determination, and the on-going process of determining what new products qualify as food.

      • prism 1.1.1

        It also would be good if repairs were exempt. Usually repairs are to items that would be classed as second hand. When you are on a low budget and to keep useful items going they have to be fixed from time to time it becomes more expensive because the government wants to charge you tax for having that work done. Repairs and maintenance can be charged against turnover in a business – private citizens need similar consideration.

        • blinded by the right

          In a business, items that get repaired (and are claimable) are used in the generation of revenue (widely speaking). It makes no sense at all to make my TV repair have no GST simply because the lawnmowing contractor down the road is able to claim for repairs to his mowers.

      • Jenny 1.1.2

        It’s as easy or as complicated as you choose to make it.

        OK Blinded, I’ll play your game.

        To cater to obstructionist objections, instead of an’ “on-going process of determining what new products qualify as food.” which you seem to think will be the outcome of removing GST off food;

        How about, a one off determination. If it goes in your mouth, it’s food.

        Even with this simple definition, I imagine the obstructionists will still try to pettifog and argue; “But what about toothbrushes, and dental floss, and false teeth, and spoons, and toothpicks, and dental floss, and mouthwash, and dental floss, and dental fillings, and chewing gum, and dental floss, and tongue depressors and thermometers, and blue striped peppermint flavoured dental floss, etc. etc. etc.” ad infinitum.

        Ignore the pettifoggers.

        We all know what food is.

        • blinded by the right

          If you think that your definition of food is “if it goes in your mouth” then you really are away with the fairies.

          You even mention chewing gum as one of your possible examples of things that go in the mouth but aren’t food. Using your extremely loose definition, why is chewing gum not food?

  2. I would like to point out that yet another of John Key’s secretive friends has been caught out at who would have guessed: Lying and tax dodging.

  3. Ron 3

    If a Labour or Green politician had stood up at their conference and said “New Zealand voters are stupid and greedy” the media would have been all over it. Brash and Hide, however, seem to be getting away with it.

    • blinded by the right 3.1

      Probably because everyone realises Brash is a little bit nuts, and Rodders is on borrowed time. But it could be a media driven vast right wing conspiracy.

      • felix 3.1.1

        I don’t think Ron suggested a conspiracy of any sort, but you knew that.

        I think the reason the comments aren’t widely reported is perfectly obvious.

        • blinded by the right

          Yes, Brash is nuts, and Rodders is a fringe nut on borrowed time.

          • Pascal's bookie

            Rodders is a minister of the crown, with a cosy electorate deal from the Nats.

            His party is closely associated with some very nutty nuts it’s true, but the are not on the fringe of power, they are right in the thick of it.

          • felix

            Both true, Brash and Hide have always been nuts and it hasn’t prevented their rantings from being widely reported.

            The real reason is that most in the media find nothing controversial about their recent statements. And to do so would involve taking a level of responsibility for keeping the public informed for which those in the media are totally unequipped.

            • Ron

              Agred that Rodds is nits, Brash is nits. Rodders is a member of our government. Nuts or no – TV and radio and the papers ould have reported Goff or any of the left if they’d said what Rodders said. The scary thing is without any decent reporting we’ll have Rodders back in Govt for the next round.

  4. Tigger 4

    Leaky homes and now inadequate insulation. I swear, the National Party do not get building at all.

  5. walter 5

    Why is John Key crowing about New Zealand soldiers being involved in a gunfight in Afganistan? I know the previous government quietly had the SAS there on three previous deployments, but there was little or no hoop-la about it. In fact, I believe they tried to keep it quiet.

    Now if our boys are there to help, that’s all well and good, but it’s looking to me as though they are being used as a publicity stunt why else would John be telling the world about it?

    I know Uncle Sam is finding it hard to maintain any credibility is his foreign wars does our presence provide a little of that for him? If so, I’m glad the lives of our 70 SAS soldiers are contributing positively to the American War publicity machine. I might go as far as to say that I’m delighted that the name of our most respected and decorated soldier is being attached to this endeavour.

    I’m sure those nasty insurgents won’t take offence, after all we are liberating them from tyranny. For my part, I’d say there’s nothing more liberating than seeing armed foreign troops marching round your cities.

    Now some may say this wholly altruistic and highly publicised action may make New Zealand a target for some kind of terrorist backlash well let them try! John and I are perfectly happy to put us at risk when it comes to our principles. In fact, Anne Tolley has gone as far as to suggest that giant targets be painted on the roof of each low decile school in New Zealand to show that we are not deterred by threats.

  6. Lanthanide 6

    The slippery slope of National’s employment law has begun:

    “The Government has floated a proposal to increase the 90-day probation period for employees in small firms as part of a planned revamp of personal grievance rules.”


    • felix 6.1

      Wow, who could have predicted that the 90 day probation period was just the thin end of the wedge?

      Oh that’s right, everyone.

  7. Lanthanide 7

    Interesting article on a global financial transaction tax of 0.05% (5 cents in $100):

    “Before we dismiss the idea, consider this: just two minutes of a global FTT could pay for basic healthcare for 100,000 people. Two months of the FTT would provide the funds necessary to get every child on Earth into school.”


  8. BLiP 8

    Genetic Engineering – out of the test tubes and into the food chain. Thanks Labour.

  9. randal 9

    this government is all crap.
    they know that there must be a certain level of taxation for the country to function effectively.
    they are just feeling their way into how they can skim the cream for themselves while they hide behind all this other bushwa about choice and self determination and the fake promises of late consumerist capatilism.
    it aint rocket science.

  10. Armchair Critic 10

    The initial stocktake of public infrastructure assets that could be flogged off is complete, and without much fuss because it doesn’t involve big holes in National Parks. The number of “issues” that can be converted into rhetoric to support the sale of the infrastructure is a real credit to the authors.
    And before anyone comes up with either the “NACT haven’t said they want to sell” or the “the document doesn’t say they should be sold” line – yeah, yeah yeah, heard it all before. I’m not keen to wait and see the real agenda.

    • Jenny 10.1

      It seems that in the Super City reorganisation, private business managers are set to get control of Auckland’s roads, buses, trains, ports and water without any democratic oversight;

      It looks like Rodney Hide thinks a Super City, needs a Super Thief.

      Yeah right.

      • prism 10.1.1

        But businessmen and women are so good at running things, and giving quality, efficiency and effective outcomes. So goes the dogma.
        Like the leaky homes, the commercial television concentrating on trivia, crime and sensation with dull unquestioning minds, the dud finance companies, the Ansett debacle, the emptying plughole of the strong wool industry etc. The competing electricity companies, the domination of individual rights over public good when it comes to vital infrastructure planning so the systems are overstretched.
        The allocating of future water supplies so we may have insufficient to supply public need and meet contracts and limit salinity at the mouths of our rivers which could have environmental effects on marine life.
        Then compare the willingness to hand out water to those who organise so it flows their way where they waste it by throwing it up in the air, to the requirement for fully paid up ACC now to provide for decades ahead. That’s all I can think off the top of my head.

      • Armchair Critic 10.1.2

        The super city is a done deal, its assets ready to be sold after the 2010 local govt and 2011 national election results deliver a weak endorsement to the National party and its backers.
        This report shows how the NIU have looked at the rest of the country to see what other infrastructure there is to put up for sale. The press releases saying “it would be better managed and more efficient in private hands” are already being considered.

  11. Tigger 11

    So Whale Oil, care to champion this case as one requiring a lack of name suppression?

  12. Mr Magoo 12

    What our government is negotiating behind your back. ACTA has been revealed again. This time showing that NZ is directly participating in this shame and our country, with it stagnant innovation record, is about to get screwed by the US.


    Another freedom is about to bite the dust.

  13. robinhood tax 13

    a must watch for all

    would love to see the government’s buddies say why this is a no go to our faces

  14. prism 14

    We apparently have been putting up some thoughtful, reasonable policy on internet management and control. The person below commenting on the michaelgeist site thought so. I think they may be seeing NZ a little rosily enhanced but we have been judged as overall doing good.

    A said: Thank you New Zealand
    Thank you New Zealand for opposing the ludicrous and harmful laws proposed by the U.S. government. Replying to Stewart above: I’m all in favor of free trade, but you’re absolutely right that U.S. copyright laws have become dangerously unbalanced, harmful to the causes that copyright is supposed to promote according to the U.S. Constitution, and generally harmful to the public. An extension of those laws internationally would be a grave disservice to the future of humanity.

    I was born an American, in a family that has been American for almost 400 years, but I’m seriously considering moving to a civilized country, and New Zealand is near the top of that list. A century of government schooling has managed to reduce America from having the best-educated citizenry in the world to having one of the least-educated citizenry in the world, and it’s beginning to show.

    (However I believe that we copied Tomorrow’s Schools from the USA education system so we will all be likely dumbed down to the level of what 5 or 10 school board trustees consider appropriate soon.)
    captcha – doe (John Doe?)

    • Mr Magoo 14.1

      Except we are not opposing it. We are just trying to take the hard edges off the recession…I mean treaty.

      Making judgments relative to the US as he is doing is a VERY weak measure.

      Mark my words. This will be very bad for our country.

      PS: The tangent about education he is complaining about? Yeah, that was the no child left behind policies of Bush which we are more or less about to implement right here. At least that is what has made it so bad right now. Lack of funding for the public system is what made it mediocre in the past.
      The funding issue and teaching to the test has already come up which is what crippled the US system also. Also we are cutting back on public spending and will do so again in May…so…

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