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Open mike 09/10/2020

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, October 9th, 2020 - 159 comments
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Open mike is your post.

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Step up to the mike …

159 comments on “Open mike 09/10/2020 ”

  1. gsays 1

    Where are the shareholders of Briscoes, Sommerset, The Warehouse, Hallenstiens, insisting that their ill gotten gains be returned to the taxpayers of Aotearoa?

    This was on the tranny a few days ago and had my blood boiling.


    From what I recall (does that stop me/TS being sued?), Briscoes paid out a dividend to its shareholders, one indivdual received 75% of those dividends.

    Sommerset paid a dividend even though they did not make a profit, so had reserves from which wages could be paid.

    I get the onus on directors to maximise profit. This naked greed and immorality hopefully will impact on future trading when the good folk of NZ decide to boycott these parasites.

    • Ad 1.1

      Fair enough with the greedybastardy n'all, but the government put fuckall safeguards to ensure they could lever the money back. Which would not have been hard.

      • gsays 1.1.1

        That is setting a low bar there Judith Ad.

        • Ad

          Robertson clearly decided that the benefit of essentially helicopter cash at a time of crisis was worth the risk of some corporate kleptocracy.

          In this scale and speed of crisis, some bits get a little rough around the edges. Hindsight is so pure.

          • arkie

            Absolutely, hindsight should inform future action however. This issue could have been avoided if the 'helicopter cash' went to individuals instead of employers.

          • Draco T Bastard

            And I'd agree with Robertson at the outset but a better system needed to be planned and implemented shortly after rather than extending that bait for the corporate kleptocracy.

    • PsyclingLeft.Always 1.2

      "Foodstuffs says New World stores that have applied for the Government's wage subsidy will withdraw their applications.

      The Government database of employers who have applied for the wage subsidy – which has now topped $6.6 billion in payouts for more than a million workers – shows a New World Metro with 71 employees was paid $482,124 and Waikanae New World was paid $140,592 for 20 employees."


      But ONLY after some intense "feedback". Greedy pricks….

      And yet supermarket Staff…even with the Covid stress, customer abuse etc; are still fighting for a Living Wage. Food Essential Service. And Workers Essential too….

    • Foreign waka 1.3

      You will find that these are distinct individuals, often chairs on several boards spreading the greed mantra of yesteryear, behaving not unlike the virus itself.

      • gsays 1.3.1

        Maybe it is my age, I see a marked difference in business leaders and politician's from last century and the current crop coming through.

    • Patricia Bremner 1.4

      Agree. I will not shop at Briscoes any more… have emailed.

      • gsays 1.4.1

        On behalf of other tax payers, Thank you Patricia.

        I am not one to frequent red sheds or Briscoes.

    • mikesh 1.5

      Warehouse declared a dividend prior to lockdown but cancelled it when lockdown came into effect. They posted a loss for the year and are now declining to pay a final dividend. They say, also, that the staff layoffs that occurred later were planned well before the pandemic started.

    • SPC 1.6

      The government initially had a cap on the size of the business eligible for the wage subsidy – but National wanted no such cap and so here we are.

      • solkta 1.6.1

        So how did National force the gummint to do that?

        • SPC

          When National sided with businesses excluded by the cap, they made the matter political.

          • solkta

            Right, and the gummint always does what Nact and big business want eh.

            • Draco T Bastard


              Doing what business wants is, after all, the whole meaning of neo-liberalism.

            • SPC

              National is now claiming the government was wasteful for doing what they said they would do, not have a cap, They are who they are.

      • Enough is Enough 1.6.2

        National has no power at all. Are you suggesting Grant calls Goldie for approval?

        • SPC

          They clearly had sufficient influence at the time (their poll ratings were higher then) that government changed their mind on having a cap.

          1. It meant no political opposition to spending more on a wage subsidy

          2. It meant more workers got their jobs protected

    • Draco T Bastard 1.7

      Since late March just over 750,000 businesses have claimed $14 billion worth of wage subsidies, of which about $440 million has been paid back in refunds by roughly 15,000 companies.

      My bold.

      I'm actually impressed by these companies honesty.

      Now, the question is how many should have paid back.

      Of course, it would have been better just to give everyone a decent unemployment benefit so as to maintain spending and put in place protections so that people wouldn't lose their homes during lockdown.

      • Dennis Frank 1.7.1

        At the risk of seeming provocative, someone oughta suggest that Labour establishes a commissar of subsidy reclamation, to head up a team of ex-gang heavies for doing the collection. After the election, of course… devil

        • woodart

          yes, could co-opt some of the nats raptor strike force. break down a few doors, kick a few heads,,,, pictures at eleven….would make the revenge lovers happy, for about a minute!

      • Incognito 1.7.2

        Of course, it would have been better just to give everyone a decent unemployment benefit so as to maintain spending and put in place protections so that people wouldn’t lose their homes during lockdown.

        No, it would not have been better because you’re comparing apples with oranges.

        As I saw it, the Wage Subsidy was an emergency measure to helicopter cash out as quickly as possible with few restraints and with a clear purpose in mind, at the time, albeit untargeted and general by ‘design’. That purpose was not primarily to maintain spending (in order to keep the economy going) and/or to avoid people losing their homes.

        Wage subsidy schemes

        Financial support for businesses and workers who are financially impacted by COVID-19 to maintain an employment connection and ensure an income for affected employees.


        • Draco T Bastard

          What Robertson did was good – for a short time but it can't be maintained over the entire time of the pandemic thus something else needs to be done. That would either have to be a fairly high unemployment benefit to maintain spending or a jobs guarantee within the public sector that paid the Living Wage.

    • Incognito 1.8

      IIRC, one of the few criteria for receiving the Wage Subsidy and passing it on to employees was a marked demonstrable loss of income compared to some previous period. Nobody knew what was happening at the time. The fact that some (?) businesses have apparently enjoyed a post-lockdown rebound and strong surge in business and therefore in profits does not make it morally wrong to have claimed the subsidy in the first place. I think this makes the accusation misguided and misleading. The Professor’s field is not ethics, is it?

      I also note that the Professor’s ‘research’ was highly selective in that it only looked at “the top 50 companies on the NZX”, which is a minute fraction of all businesses in NZ – 10 out of 750,000 is only 0.00133%.

      • Graeme 1.8.1

        The initial Wage Subsidy also included the expectation of a 30% reduction in revenue.

        Your business must have experienced a minimum 30% decline in actual or predicted revenue over the period of a month, or 30 days, when compared with the same month, or 30 days, last year, and that decline is related to COVID-19.

        There's also a requirement that you have to do everything you can to mitigate the impact

        Your business must have taken active steps to mitigate the financial impact of COVID-19.

        This could include:

        • drawing from your cash reserves (as appropriate)
        • activating your business continuity plan
        • making an insurance claim
        • proactively engaging with your bank

        This last bit could prove interesting in an audit and I'm of the understanding that audits are occurring. This could be a shot across the bows to induce voluntary repayment

        In a lot of cases profit could less affected than revenue over the period because expenses went down due to the business being closed, so reduced power and telecom, depending on the lease no or reduced rent and lots of other incidentals would have dropped of for a while.

      • gsays 1.8.2

        I am not saying they shouldn't have applied for the subsidy. What I am saying is they should have refunded the subsidy before paying a dividend to shareholders.

        The shareholders must take the good with the bad.

        As to the professor not being an expert in ethics, you don't have to be qualified to see that a lot of this behaviour is unethical.

        The top 50 companies on the NZX is a good place to start. Potentially larger numbers to focus on/seek repayment from. Alas these 'leaders' of commerce are setting an example for other aspirational business folk to follow.

        • Incognito

          I was commenting on this from your link @ 1:

          University of Auckland accounting professor Jilnaught Wong says his investigation shows 10 of the top 50 companies on the NZX claimed the wage subsidy and morally some companies should not have. [my italics]

  2. PsyclingLeft.Always 2

    Militant Protestors advocate breaking NZ Laws !


    Were there any Pretty Communist signs?

  3. Peter 3

    There's the rub. The government did one really dumb thing – they took an approach of trusting people.

    Had they not, the scalpers would have been in the raucous mob complaining about not being trusted and being treated like children.

    So, the choices: To treat people as mature, having a sense of civic responsibility, untrustworthy, as children or scum? Whatever, some took the scum road.

    • Graeme 3.1

      It will be interesting to see a wash up of the high trust, publicly open information model used for the wage subsidy compared to the zero trust, confidential model used in most other welfare government assistance situations.

      Was there any difference in false claim and payment rates? Did the greater spend on administration compensate for any reduction in fraud in the zero trust model. Did the speed of the high trust model give less negative outcomes that would have been the result of delays due to approval of applications in the zero trust model?

      I've got a feeling that the high trust model may turn out to be a lot more efficient was of distributing government assistance.

      • Uncle Scrim 3.1.1

        Yes good post Graeme, and Peter too. Rather than criticising the wage subsidy on the basis that some took advantage, we might wonder if it is in fact an efficient and more equitable model for other forms of welfare.

        I thought of this when during one of the debates Ardern said she didn't need a tax cut and Collins replied, well then you can give it back – ie she was comfortable with giving the better off choices, but not beneficiaries or the low paid. Might the same argument be applied to welfare or the minimum wage – make these generous and if it turns out those benefitting didn’t need assistance after all, they can give it back …

  4. Dennis Frank 4

    Harman considers the imminent Labour landslide: "never have the minor parties mattered less than they do this election." https://www.politik.co.nz/2020/10/09/fighting-for-political-relevancy/ | Politik

    Jacinda Ardern’s popularity may have dropped in last night OneNews Colmar Brunton poll, but her Labour Party is now powering its way to an overwhelming victory in the election.

    Meanwhile there is international speculation that Ardern may tonight win the Nobel Peace Prize. Time magazine has her in their top three picks to win. if she won, that would give Labour’s campaign another boost.

    The minor parties battled it out on TVOne last night with divisions opening up about our relationship with China. On the campaign trail, both Advance NZ and ACT have been calling for a re-calibration of New Zealand’s foreign and trade policies away from China. “What we’ve also done is put too many eggs in the China basket,” said AdvanceNZ co-leader, Jami Lee Ross. “We need to expand our trade agreements to our more traditional trading partners. “And I think we should also need to come down hard on China and not be afraid of them.”

    Maori Party co-leader, John Tamihere, took another view. “They’re an outstanding and huge economy, and we need to trade with them.”

    NZ First Leader, Winston Peters is also Foreign Minister and has been subtly shifting New Zealand’s foreign policy emphasis away from China and closer to the United States and Australia. Peters agreed with Ross the Chinese money was coming into New Zealand politics. “I don’t see it in the media, and I don’t see it in the serious fraud office,” he said. “I think this is catastrophically bad.” “We’ve got too much dependence on one market. “And they(the National Government) walked into it without their wise eyes wide open. “They were always going to be outsmarted by the Chinese. “Don’t blame the Chinese; blame our past leadership.”

    Quite so. However they were simply following Bilderberger instructions from the 1990s globalist agenda. That's requisite for mainstream political leaders. Left or right brand differentiation is irrelevant in geopolitics. I presume the Bilderbergers will pivot away from China now, anyway, since a resilient global economy can only embed via a diverse trading strategy post-pandemic.

    • Drowsy M. Kram 4.1

      Goodness – Ardern in the running for a Nobel Peace Prize! She would no doubt accept it on behalf of all NZers, many of whom will have Ardern in their thoughts, and prayers. wink

      • Dennis Frank 4.1.1

        If she does accept it on that basis, I'd like to see her specify the political common ground that made it possible:

        "The peaceful state of mind in Aotearoa has been achieved by going hard and going early on the pandemic response. Getting that right has enabled kiwis to maintain complacency – our traditional pacific state of mind. Our people have resisted the rightist siren call of division and separatism: we are united in our addiction to neoliberalism!"

        "We will keep trading with China because money is more important than ethnic tribes in concentration camps: that's what Labour stands for! We embrace this bipartisan stance because it has become traditional, and we like conservatives – that's why we made peace with them. Progress can be made if we do the same old stuff forever. Labour remains a party of the establishment!"

        • Drowsy M. Kram

          Dennis, our PM will surely give your considered opinion the attention it deserves; I look forward to her extraordinary Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech.

          Tbh, I haven’t perceived a lot of bipartisan political ‘peace and love‘ of late, but maybe the rancour is just a show for the gullible masses.

          I'm moderately very grateful to the Government for their decision to 'go hard and go early' in response to the serious health threat that the COVID-19 pandemic represents – getting that response right certainly saved lives, even if (as you suggest) that was only a collateral outcome, and it's done wonders for my immediate peace of mind. After all, we're all in this together.

          "We don't know how lucky we are…"

        • Ad

          You guys should STFU and concentrate on ensuring your actual political survival before you start linking Prime Minister Ardern to concentration camps.

          • Dennis Frank

            surprise Empress has fantabulous clothes on? So glamorous that nobody will notice the trading policy link? Close enough to trad Labour thinking that it could work.

            • Ad

              I am sure you and the Greens can show how New Zealand can replace is 30% of exports to China and 40% of imports from China. Sometime about now since it's an election will do.

              And those fantabulous clothes are all from China, and you're wearing them.

              Meantime Labour is leading the country through the worst economic crisis in a century without the assistance of foolish preening from the Values wing of the Greens.

              • Draco T Bastard

                I am sure you and the Greens can show how New Zealand can replace is 30% of exports to China and 40% of imports from China.

                Developing the economy would work.

                • Stuart Munro

                  Developmentalism would put all those non-performing hacks in Treasury out on the street. Doing that to everyone else never seemed to trouble them.

              • KJT

                Keep telling yourself that. As Labour adopts more and more Green policies.

          • Drowsy M. Kram

            Prefacing orders advice with "STFU" may not have the desired effect – oh look!

    • Draco T Bastard 4.2

      since a resilient global economy can only embed via a diverse trading strategy post-pandemic.


      A resilient global economy can only come about if trade is not needed.

      • Dennis Frank 4.2.1

        In principle, I agree. The principle being self-sufficiency (Jeanette F always called it self-reliance). In practice, however, trading seems hard-wired into human nature.

        Trading networks are detectable throughout history and seem ubiquitous – perhaps only relatively so, since some indigenous cultures are collectively self-reliant. A comprehensive documentation of the extent by antropologists collaborating with sociologists would be enlightening (I haven't encountered one).

        Barter can even happen naturally within a family. I have distant memories of doing a bit with my younger brothers from time to time. I suspect it is part of being a social animal. Other primates do sharing of food, and trading food for sex has been established as a common pattern of behaviour.

        • Draco T Bastard

          The principle being self-sufficiency (Jeanette F always called it self-reliance). In practice, however, trading seems hard-wired into human nature.

          Self-sufficiency means each country producing what it needs to survive indefinitely. Trade between countries then becomes a nice to have which pretty much means luxuries that a country can't produce itself. Trade would still exist but would decrease from where it is now.

          Thing is, as far as I can make out, the only reason why we have trade is so that the producers have a larger market to sell to which then makes them richer. This is, as we're learning, unsustainable.

          • Dennis Frank

            Your description of a reslient economy is correct. Neoliberalism requires co-dependency (in mass psychology) as the tacit basis of the system. To explain this problem to politicians it would help if economists adept at mass psychology were facilitating the discourse. Silo thinking in academia still prevents such sophisticated culture from emerging…

  5. Uncle Scrim 6

    It will be interesting to see in this election how close the final few weeks' polls are to the actual result. They could be expected to be closer than ever, especially as a good chunk of people answering pollsters’ questions at this stage will have actually already voted.

  6. Dennis Frank 7

    Cunning rightist plot to drop the Greens below threshold & out of parliament:

    LIKE THE EXCLUSIVE BRETHREN in 2005, the Taxpayers’ Union is poised to launch a well-funded, last-minute attack on the Greens.

    According to Richard Harman’s Politik website, the right-wing, anti-tax, lobby group is about to send a personalised letter to every homeowner whose property is valued at more than a million dollars. The letter “explains” how the Green’s proposed 1 percent Wealth Tax on property valued at more than one million dollars will apply to them.

    When questioned by the veteran broadcaster and journalist about the source of the sizeable funds required, the Union would say only that the money had been raised in response to a special appeal for financial support.

    Harman also makes clear that the Taxpayers’ Union has registered itself with, and obtained all the required approvals from, the Electoral Commission. The latter has duly authorised the Union to spend up to $338,000 on its “political campaign” against the Greens’ tax policy.


    • Andre 7.1

      So cunning they're leaving it until at least 25% of votes are cast before they drop it.

    • SPC 7.2

      Thus exposing themselves as a front for the interests of the most wealthy New Zealanders.

    • Uncle Scrim 7.3

      Given the polls and the fact that Labour have ruled such a tax out, won't that just encourage those homeowners to vote Labour? Pushing Labour towards 50% is the only way to ensure this tax won't happen.

      I doubt any Green voters owning homes worth $1M will be swayed by a letter from the Taxpayers' Union, so don’t see how this campaign would help push the Greens under 5%. In that case, voting Nats-Act only makes a Lab-Green coalition more likely.

      • Enough is Enough 7.3.1

        I am predicting the National Party vote to collapse this week for that very reason. There are now only two scenarios come election night. Labour majority government, or Labour Green coalition government.

        Which one do you think traditional National voters would prefer?

    • dv 7.4

      AND the threshold of 1$m is really 2$m for a couple.

    • This is the problem, spelt out in the article linked by Dennis above, and is the reason that Labour voters need to strategically vote Green.

      "For most strategic thinkers on the right, the only viable path to victory for National is over the dead body of the Green Party. If the Greens can be driven below the 5 percent MMP threshold, and the so-called “Trash Vote” pumped up to something approaching 10 percent, then a combined tally of National and Act votes of around 45 percent should be enough to reclaim the Treasury Benches. Assuming Act stands firm on 8 percent, National need only lift its Party Vote to around 37 percent for it to be “Game On!

    • Patricia Bremner 7.6

      Is that funding from the money they received from the Government's $60 000 to keep them afloat? They have $300 000 to waste on this? Paid by???? Nats????

    • Anker 7.7

      Yes for some reason I received said letter. Have no idea how they got my address. Hubby wrote a hilarious letter back saying thanks for pointing out the Greens policy. We are not Green voters, but are now considering voting for them

      tempted to also write asking them how do they expect the country to afford the wage subsidy Tax union received without finding new avenues of income for the govt……arseholes

    • Hooch 7.8

      Presumably if they’ve had such large donations they’ll be paying back the wage subsidy?

  7. mikesh 8

    I would think that anyone owning a million dollar plus home would probably not be a green supporter, and in any case would be well aware of how the wealth tax would affect them.

    • mikesh….the tax is based on NET assets above $1m, so if you had a home worth $1.2m and a mortgage of $200k, even though you have an asset worth $1.2m you pay no Wealth Tax at all.

      The Wealth Tax proceeds are proposed to alleviate poverty in NZ.

      But will the proven liars in the Taxpayer Union explain any of this?

      Nasty campaigns like this can have the opposite effect to that hoped for when the media gets hold of it and may push votes to the Greens.

      • Bearded Git 8.1.1

        The Green Party Wealth Tax explained.

        • The Al1en

          The greens probably won't get this through, and there will be no CGT either, so implement a wealth tax on portfolio and overseas owners instead. The more houses you own, the more tax you pay. Bought property from overseas and don't live in it, tax it hard, and again, rising with the more you own.

      • woodart 8.1.2

        this letter writing campaign should be given as much publicity as possible AND should also be publically compared to exclusive brethren dirty tricks. that alone would make taxrorters hide in shame.

        • tc

          Don't hold your breath on that with our media who have shown time and again they are part of this cycle.

          The rorters have no shame so I wouldn't rely on that either.

        • Sacha

          this letter writing campaign should be given as much publicity as possible

          They would love you for that.

      • dv 8.1.3

        AND for a couple that is 2M$, $1m each.

    • Adrian 8.2

      I dunno, drive around Rocks Road from Nelson to Tahunanui where the houses are more expensive than Paratai Drive ( well, almost ) and count the number of Green hoardings.

      At least we are still a little bit egalitarian.

    • Andre 8.3

      I would think that anyone owning a million dollar plus home would probably not be a green supporter

      Speculating from a position of complete ignorance? They do exist, and if my circles are any indication (which they likely aren't), they likely make up a significant portion of Green support. Or used to, anyways.

      When considering the impact of a policy like the wealth tax, it won't just influence those that are directly hit. It will also influence those that see themselves moving into the bracket in the near future, those that aspire to move into the bracket, and those with family and friends in the bracket.

      • I Feel Love 8.3.1

        and considering a 1m dollar home is a pretty normal dwelling in NZ …

      • Alan 8.3.2

        It will also be a major consideration for elderly couples who are not liable currently but will become liable when one of them passes away.

        Go the caring greens, heaping financial anxiety on top of grief.

        • Andre

          The usual mindless repetition of the Green line that they can defer the tax coming in 3 … 2 … 1 …

          Which completely ignores the many explanations already given of how a mounting debt affects the psychological well being of those people at a life-stage where debt-free financial independence is of high importance.

          • SPC

            A deferred tax makes it an estate tax. There should be an estate tax.

            My IQ and thoughtfulness is higher than yours and any reply to my post proves you have every right to your inferiority complex.

            • Andre

              My IQ and thoughtfulness is higher than yours

              Take a drug test and show us the results before starting to debate!

              A deferred wealth tax payable on death is not an estate tax. It's an ill-conceived tax that in some situations bears a passing resemblance to an estate tax. If an estate tax is wanted, then propose an honest upfront estate tax instead of trying to backdoor one by pretending something else is one.

              Personally, I'm of the view that an estate tax and a gift tax and a capital gains are all needed to reintroduce some much needed fairness and equity into our tax system and broader society. But to me the Greens' proposed wealth tax is so badly designed, and it will produce harmful distortions in investment and life choices generally, that I don't want anyone so clueless that they get behind it to be anywhere near the levers of power.

              I'm also unimpressed by the argument that it doesn't really matter because Labour will never agree to it. If you're going to make noise about something that's never going to happen, at least make it something that would be sensible and work well if it were implemented. Greens do that on other issues, so it's not like they're incapable of it.

              • SPC

                A deferred wealth tax payable on death is not an estate tax.

                Not in name, but it achieves much the same – but for only those with real wealth.

                90% of New Zealanders would not be impacted – whereas they would with an estate tax.

                A gift and estate tax system would not work in an era where parents are the bank of childrens equity in homes. Your alternative is worse and will never get electoral support. This is the best and only way.

            • Sacha

              perfect physical specimen

          • SPC

            Not sure how anyone paying a wealth tax on equity/wealth over $1m single or $2m couple would feel insecure about a mounting unpaid wealth tax bill they chose to defer against the estate.

            In most periods the asset wealth would be rising much more quickly than this "debt".

            • Andre

              For a lot of people that have made their lives and put down roots in a particular place, debt-free financial independence has an outsize importance. Any kind of deferred payment is equivalent to going back into debt, and takes away that sense of independence and replaces it with a feeling of being beholden to and under the control of someone else.

              I've seen it happen with an elderly neighbour forced into deferring her property taxes in the US, I've heard reports of people completely losing their peace of mind after taking out a reverse mortgage.

              In all cases, it would be easy to say it is irrational, because their offspring were all successful and were already significantly well off quite a ways beyond the small top up they would get from the eventual inheritance. As it happened, the deferred taxes case was finally resolved by her son paying off the deferred taxes, at the cost of a significant rift in the relationship because she felt her independence was being disrespected by her son. So it's easy to say it's irrational, and may be difficult to understand if you've never seen it happen, but it's also very lacking in empathy.

              • SPC
                1. Deferred tax debt does not necessitate a need to reverse mortgage a property.
                1. Where property values are rising, not necessarily so in the USA, some/many homeowners are considering leveraging lower debt to buy a rental – get more debt. Debt is not feared.

                Older people worth over a $M not required to pay a penny in wealth tax until they die (if this is introduced) ARE not become my first concern as to well being.

                Those without home ownership over 65, those without housing for their age mobility, those without home support, or access to pallitative care, Pharamac drugs, medical procedures to maintain well-being

                You're sounding like Chris T over at The Daily Blog not supporting CGT on the farmers and other aspirational success stories of his generation. Or Collins full of compassion for farmers and landlords … .

                As to drug use and revenues derived from – a billion in tax revenue would be nice.

              • Brigid

                So the wealth tax is unfair because a person it applies to chooses to behave irrationally, and that those who don't believe it unfair are lacking in empathy? Seems to me that you expect all governments to base their policies on whether or not this person will be disturbed by such policies.

                That's just batshit crazy

                • Andre

                  Your comment reads like you think one small aspect of the many problems with the proposed wealth tax is the entire argument against it. I'm sure there's a specific name for that particular fallacy, but I can't be arsed looking it up.

          • solkta

            Fuck, how do you think parents going without food so that their kids can eat or have shoes affects psychological wellbeing? Cry me a river.

        • bwaghorn

          Yip it's a shit tax. A cgt is so much better ,its a pity Ardern let them corner her . But key proved you can lie about tax and get away with it.

          • Bearded Git

            CGT is very complicated and brings in far less revenue than the wealth tax proposed by the Greens, which applies to only the top 6% of the population. A CGT could apply to many more depending how it was framed.

            The Greens WT could be amended so that it applied to (say) the top 4% rather than the top 6%.

            • bwaghorn

              Na you just make a cgt on all properties and shares and have the tax set a 5% or there abouts . Simple cheap to operate totally unavoidable.

              • SPC

                The lowest rate of CGT in the world. The one you have when there is no effort to be serious about taxing capital gains as income.

                Those paying tax under the brightline test would love it at 5%.

                • bwaghorn

                  Make it 10% then but the instant you have loop holes those you want to tax most will dodge it.

                  Shit if I had brought a house in auckland 8 years ago instead of taumarunui when i started living on the farms i worked on i would have made $500 k atleast tax free while i paid 20% +on the measly wage I've made in that time .

            • Draco T Bastard

              A tax isn't always about how much it brings in. After all, as a currency issuer, the government doesn't actually need an income.

              • AB

                Yep – I've said before that the primary purpose of a wealth tax shouldn't be to raise revenue, but to limit the political power of the very wealthy – the vicious cycle where wealth produces power which produces more wealth.

                It therefore needs to start at a higher threshold than the Greens propose and be at a much higher rate – effectively applying only to accumulations of wealth that cannot possibly be proportional to effort, innovation or contribution. It shouldn't apply to wealth that is a reasonable aspiration for fairly unexceptional people.

                When we say that only 6% of people would be affected by the Greens' proposal, we mean 6% of those alive at the moment. More than 6% will be affected by the tax at some point in their lives. A better measure would be to look at everyone who has died in the last 5-10 years and see how many of them would have paid the tax (inflation-adjusted) at some point.

                That said – I still voted for the Greens this time to help them get over 5% and I think they will probably refine this policy. To me it has the look of a slightly sour grapes over-reaction to the scuppering of CGT.

                • KJT

                  More like a feasible option, when Labour, for some unfathomable reason, took CGT totally off the table. And. It wasn't lack of public support. A large proportion of possible Labour/Green voters approved of CGT.

                  So, the only option going forward is either higher income and or consumption taxes, or something similar to the Greens wealth tax, or TOP's.

                  It is perfectly obvious that the Government share of the economy needs to be increased, or we will become, Seymour's third world libertarian "paradise".

                  The reason for the one million individual threshold, is that it excludes almost all "Family homes" even in Auckland. While including the million dollar beach mansions , laughably called, "family baches".

                  Not the best option, but doeable..

                  I don’t favour a tax on unrealised gains. Should be on sale, inheritance or other windfalls, but that seems currently off the table. Maybe after a few years of unrealised gains taxes, there will be more support for CGT and inheritance taxes.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    It is perfectly obvious that the Government share of the economy needs to be increased, or we will become, Seymour's third world libertarian "paradise".

                    Under ACTS preferred policies we'd probably drop down to Fourth World status.

      • SPC 8.3.3

        Aspirational – by sitting on a property title they can gain more in wealth in a year than most workers or business owners earn in a year or two or three …

      • Drowsy M. Kram 8.3.4

        Collectively NZers are wealthy – but how to redistribute a small percentage of that wealth more evenly? A wealth tax might contribute to maintaining and even improving public services, and helping citizens in times of need, e.g. during a pandemic.

        I like the look of the Swiss wealth tax which generates a relatively large amount of revenue. It's not centrally administered, so regional variation offers choice.


        Personally don't understand all the fuss – it's not like a wealth tax is theft.

        • Alan

          it is blunt tool at best

          • Drowsy M. Kram

            A hammer sometimes gets the job done.

            "Wealth taxes appear to be losing, rather than gaining, political support: Table 1 shows that of the 14 OECD nations that raised recurrent taxes on wealth in 1995, only 5 still did so in 2014."

            Why might that be, I wonder? Could be informative to graph individual opinion (including politicians) of a wealth tax (favourable/unfavourable) against individual wealth.

            • Andre

              A hammer sometimes actually gets a screw into a bit of wood. But mostly the result is a munted screw and a munted bit of wood.

              A tool properly designed for the job at hand is a much better strategy.

              • solkta

                Yes, it might be better to just screw rich people.

                • Andre

                  That does indeed appear to be the sole intent and purpose of the proposed wealth tax.

                  • Drowsy M. Kram

                    The primary purpose of the proposed wealth tax is to generate revenue – can't rule out the possibility that a big "screw you" to the 'top' 6% was also a motivating factor.

                  • solkta


              • Drowsy M. Kram

                Andre, re taxing wealth, could you and the orange shit gibbon be on the same page for once? Btw, nice Trump – Oompa-Loompa comparison.

                Would be reassuring to know that those objecting to a wealth tax on the basis of design flaws might be comfortable paying a similar (presumed) increase in tax via a 'properly' redesigned tax regime. Proper redesign takes time, of course.

                My favourite is "Like trying to solve a Rubik's cube with a baseball bat."

                • Andre

                  I've already said it a large number of times, including on this very thread.

                  Capital gains taxes are a much better answer to taxing the income from capital.

                  Estate taxes and gift taxes are a much better tool for tackling inequality.

                  In terms of my comfort level, I've paid about 4 times as much in capital gains taxes (to the US) as I have in what is effectively a wealth tax (to NZ) on my US retirement savings. But the capital gains taxes have never bothered me, because they are levied at a time when what used to be a significant part of my life had been turned into a mere financial instrument with the cash at hand to pay the tax. But the wealth tax fucks me right off every time, because it has nothing to do with any underlying cashflow, government contribution to success, it just feels like a mafia shakedown.

                  Paperwork associated with capital gains taxes are cited as a reason against them. But a wealth tax has pretty much the same paperwork burden every. single. fucking. year, as opposed to just the occasional instances for capital gains taxes.

                  As for an illustration of the difference in how wealth taxes and CGT operate, and get contributions back from those that benefit from government actions creating wealth, I gave examples here in my tale of three rich pricks: https://thestandard.org.nz/open-mike-24-09-2020/#comment-1753161

                  • Drowsy M. Kram

                    Got it – less ‘theft‘, more a “mafia shakedown.” And I get that they're rich, but why are they "pricks"? Ah, the rich – so hard on themselves, when life is 'so rich'.

                    Could I borrow a match? You see my gas has gone out and my batter pudding was just about to start browning.

                    Certainly, here… No, no, no… Keep the whole box, I have another match at home.

                    So rich! Well, thank you m'sieur, you have saved my batter pudding from getting cold. As you'll agree there's nothing quite so bad as being struck down with a cold batter pudding.

                  • SPC

                    Capital gains taxes are a much better answer to taxing the income from capital.

                    No one is claiming that wealth taxes are an effort to tax capital gains.

                    In the lack of a CGT (see real world Ardern not while PM), there is only wealth taxes or gift and estate taxes.

                    Gift taxes will not gain support when the bank of parent loans out home equity to children. And most New Zealanders do not want the family home of the 90% not so weathy New Zealanders to be hit with an estate tax. No one seees Labour going from no CGT on the family home to an estate tax on family homes.

                    So its either this form of wealth tax or nothing but waiting for the 2030's for someone to lead the Labour government to election victory with a CGT policy. By then the average home will be worth over $1M on current trends.

          • KJT

            Tax works best if it is simple, easy to understand and broad based.

            You can see with current CGT how accountants can drive a bus through anything else.

            Eh? How about we get rid of income tax on workers." It is a blunt tool at best".
            Even Adam Smith thought labour should not be taxed. Unfair that those who work hard all year get taxed up to 33% while those who sit on their arse watching asset prices go up, mostly because of improvements in tax funded infrastructure, and immigration levels that require even more tax funded infrastructure and services, can escape tax.

            • Draco T Bastard

              Tax works best if it is simple, easy to understand and broad based.

              That was, of course, how they justified GST despite how regressive it was. The income from GST was then used to cut the taxes from 66% despite the fact that such high tax rates weren't really about government income but to, effectively, put in place a maximum income and thus create a more egalitarian economy/society.

              And, yes, that would require that the present tax loopholes that allow massive income to remain untaxed to be fixed. A capital tax is part of that.

  8. Andre 9

    Covid is making the resemblance ever stronger, with an ever more delightful colour contrast between the creepy withered bleached-white microscale raccoon paws and the dayglo orange modelling clay trowelled on up top.


  9. bwaghorn 10


    If your going to tax it you need a truly accurate stock taking system that includes all carbon storage.

    • Graeme 10.1

      I thought that was some very positive work. Looking like quite a proportion of agriculture could already be carbon neutral, and maybe negative, with a slight (maybe) change in the definition of forest. Would have been nice if they'd gone into the nitty gritty of what has to change in the definition to show whether the idea's practical and economic from a farming sense.

      Still be really good if we can get most sheep, beef, and probably deer, operations carbon neutral with not much more than changing some words. Would have some profound impacts on land and landscape management if that scrubby gully or face was making a positive contribution to the balance sheet, rather than being viewed as non-productive.

      Also give those farmers something pretty cool to talk about in selling their produce.

      Some of the more modern intensive dairy operations might find it a bit hard by comparison.

      • bwaghorn 10.1.1

        All the creeks and wetlands being fenced will be increasing the carbon storage, remnant bush areas would to especially If they get fenced off . Then get the deer population back under control( because it is exploding out here in the hills ) would massively increase storage in bush guts and gullies.

    • Stuart Munro 10.2

      Good link. It may be sufficient to separate sheep and beef from big dairy to begin with.

      It'd be nice to see a bit of oxygenation going on where nitrate levels are problematic – it takes 4.5 oxygen molecules to convert one molecule of animal pee ammonia to plant accessible and much less toxic nitrate – doesn't take much at that rate to degrade streams.

    • Robert Guyton 10.3

      "The report also underlines previous independent work by the University of Canterbury that sheep and beef farmers are making an unparalleled contribution to NZ’s indigenous biodiversity."


      Agriculture, with it's simplistic grass pastures and ravenous livestock has supplanted the bulk of New Zealand's indigenous biodiversity and now wants praise for returning snippets of it? Really???

      • bwaghorn 10.3.1

        Reward good behavior there Bobbie boy and more will do it.

        • Robert Guyton

          Are they children?

          Where's the self-awareness and sense of responsibility to repair the damage?

          • greywarshark

            Good question Robert G. However it was rhetorical wasn't it! If we had all neural pathways functioning well at least 75% of the time we wouldn't have our present theatre of farce and hypocrisy, self-centredness and materialism par excellence.

  10. greywarshark 11


    sounds interesting.

    I'm thinking that ayn rand was a sort of soviet device – an ied?

    • KJT 11.1

      Interesting idea, that Ayn Rand was a Soviet plant to destroy the USA.

      Certainly succeeding.

      Though, in NZ, just as we were congratulating ourselves on being more sensible than the USA. Polling shows 8% are prepared to vote for a Randian twit.

      • Draco T Bastard 11.1.1

        That would be better than the ~25% of USians that voted for Trump or the ~50% that didn't vote at all.

  11. Dennis Frank 12

    Points to ponder in this analysis – and the contrary commentary:

    This week the New Zealand Initiative published their latest missive addressing the supposed “rot at the core of schooling in New Zealand”. Briar Lipson’s report titled New Zealand’s Education Delusion: How bad ideas ruined a once world-leading school system claims to explore “the origins and consequences of New Zealand’s unchecked adherence to child-centred orthodoxy, contrasts the scientific consensus about how children learn with the different and, in many ways, contradictory advice given to educators and policymakers, it exposes how parts of the research community confuse evidence with values, and uncovers how curriculum and assessment policy rest on a flawed philosophy”.

    In plain English, the author claims that New Zealand education is in the grips of a veritable death spiral as the result of a child-centred approach to teaching and learning, an overly flexible curriculum and an education system that, she believes, ignores the science about how children learn best. https://thespinoff.co.nz/society/08-10-2020/a-rot-at-the-core-of-schooling-the-new-report-that-gets-education-in-nz-wrong/

    I see the two sides as a dialectic, finding myself in sympathy with both. Fostering narcissism was never likely to work as social policy – yet kids do need self-esteem to develop & flourish. How to do it is the key.

    According to the New Zealand Initiative website, Lipson is a research fellow specialising in education. Before joining the group, she was a maths teacher and assistant principal in London, where she also co-founded the Floreat family of primary schools.

    Lipson has worked for international education consultancy CfBT, the Westminster think tank Policy Exchange, and holds a Masters Degree in Economics from the University of Edinburgh.

    During her time at London-based conservative think tank Policy Exchange, Lipson worked with Conservative Party MP and former UK Education Secretary Michael Gove. Lipson is clearly a right-leaning “researcher” who works for equally right-leaning conservative think tanks. Ironic that her report calls out “groupthink” when she clearly represents exactly that.

    Quite so. Yet defenders of the education establishment fail to own their bias too! Centrists therefore must balance both. I hope govt will design an integral plan, so policy progress will emerge via synthesis.

    • ianmac 12.1

      The New Zealand Initiative (The New Zealand Initiative is a pro-free-market public-policy think tank and business membership organisation in New Zealand. It was formed in 2012 by merger of the New Zealand Business Roundtable and the New Zealand Institute)

      They deliberately misunderstand what Child Centred Learning is. But rest assured the more any learner has a stake in their own learning and can see a relevance to their own lives, the more reason they have to read and write and add and explain. Powerful incentives. The NZI was party to the National Standards which might explain the fall off of standards.

      What the NZI claims is absolute rubbish.

    • KJT 12.2

      In reality, NZ education is not doing so well due to an overkill on "standards", one size fits all, education as cannon fodder for industry and "bums on seats" tertiary institutions, rote based learning and too much summative assessment.

      Imposed on teaching by right leaning idealogs, who ignore research, and Teachers insights into how we learn.

  12. mac1 13

    Collins today in a public meeting. The only way to stop the Greens is to two tick National. The Greens are now the bogey. They are also being used, she said, by Labour to bring in a Wealth Tax since Labour has eschewed a CGT. It's all to do with Grant Robertson machinating out the back.

    All of you people with more than a million owned in assets will get taxed $7200; and if your assets aren't in cash, then the government would get it when you die……. It's all a hard left conspiracy to take all your hard-earned money, though she does believe in taxation. She said the difference was that National would not tax and waste.

    She still believes in testing people before they get on planes to come here, and that people should pay for their own isolation.

    Political wilderness, here she comes………

    • Graeme 13.1

      What's the turnout and reception like

      • mac1 13.1.1

        180 in the venue. Reception was a stand up applause for her entry, applause at her digs at her opposition, tame questions but all a bit muted. Applause for her announcing that the local MP would make an excellent Cabinet Minister in her next government. One Nat stalwart in conversation with me, knowing my politics as he does, said that the election is a foregone conclusion. The concern for him was whether the Greens would be in government with Labour. He agreed that Labour might just be able to govern alone based on the numbers.

        Her lengthy spell pushing technology went beyond people’s attention levels and she spoke often in generalisations and three times made accusations based on such generalisations and then had to withdraw a bit as she realised that her remarks could be critical of her audience- about Labour only having public servants experience, that Labour had to call on old hands to save their covid strategy and then realised the age of her audience, and third criticised Labour’s tax plans as being grabs at people’s wealth and then having to backtrack to say that National too believed in taxation- just not waste tax payers hard-earned money.

      • weka 13.1.2

        "They are also being used, she said, by Labour to bring in a Wealth Tax since Labour has eschewed a CGT. It's all to do with Grant Robertson machinating out the back."

        Fuck, I hope so.

    • Cinny 13.2

      Dang, United Arab Emirates currently test all passengers before they fly, it's done bugger all to help.

      Last I heard you had to give a clear test something like 72 hrs before boarding a UAE flight, with no isolation requirements in the hours after the test prior to boarding.

      Good on you for checking it out and thanks for sharing. Sounds like jude was preaching to the converted and possibly losing a number of them in the process.

    • Leighton 13.3

      Where did the $7200 come from? Doesnt it matter how much more than $1m you own? For instance, if you own $1,000,001 your annual wealth tax would be one cent. To get taxed $7200 a year you would have to own $1,720,000. Just seems like a random number for Judith to pick out.

      • weka 13.3.1

        yep. She's making shit up. Kind of like how National imply that a tax increase is on all income not just the top tax bracket.

  13. joe90 14


    • The Al1en 14.1

      Maddow read some newly un-redacted excerpts last week and informed us that a judge had ordered a large tranche to be similarly released on or before the 3/11.

  14. greywarshark 15


    sounds interesting.

    I'm thinking that ayn rand was a sort of soviet device – an ied?

  15. greywarshark 16

    I don't know whether everyone has caught up with this. It may have been good advice from a doctrinal POV from Electoral Commission but hey the place would have turned to moosh by then.


    And something I dislike is hearing foreign accents, especially 'American' or possibly Canadian when official announcements are made. I heard a spokeswoman for the Electoral Comm on Radionz this morning and got this cold feeling of possible Trump-virus symptoms.

  16. greywarshark 17

    Mental health, managing stress and the dark thoughts from someone with experience and nous.

    https://www.rnz.co.nz/national/programmes/ninetonoon/audio/2018767288/combatting-the-dark-thoughts-in-our-brains 😀 😀 😀 😀

    Long deep breaths also help to reset the body and prepare it for deep sleep, he says.

    But changing habits is also necessary to addressing mental adversity.
    “We like to run in neural pathways, so patterns of behaviour and these are very difficult to change. It was once said that it takes 21 days to break a habit. We now know that’s not true. It might be if it’s a small habit but it can take as much as 80 days.”…

    He says writing lists, validating worries and working through these worries practically, amounts to self-induced neuro-plasticity.

    “What we’re doing is using the brain’s natural positive chemicals to start working on things that were worrying us. We can do two things – work on worry or work on what’s worrying us.”
    Busy-brain syndrome, as Burdett calls, it is when the brain works too hard at resolving worry, becoming overwhelmed, leading to lack of memory and concentration in the present.

    This stuff is gold. It all rings true, and making time to take it in and follow the guidelines could be a game changer in NZ. It could be as crucial as that while we are perched at the tipping-point of so many crucial matters.

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