Open mike 24/02/2010

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, February 24th, 2010 - 15 comments
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15 comments on “Open mike 24/02/2010”

  1. Jenny 1

    It seems that when it comes to GST Tweedle Goff and Tweedle Key hardly ever disagree.

    ( My apologies to Lewis Carroll.)

    When I was driving from work yesterday, I heard an interview with Phil Goff on The National Programme’s Waatea Radio, about a proposed Labour Party bus tour of the country, over Labour’s differences with the National Government’s plan to increase GST to 15%.

    On being questioned about removing GST from food, Goff said, that there was no way that any future Labour Government would agree to remove GST from food.

    It seems that if the Maori Party bill calling for the removal of GST from food is pulled from the ballot, Labour under Goff will join with National and ACT to vote it down.

    On being further questioned, Goff also refused to be pinned down on whether a Labour Government would reverse National’s GST increase to 15%.

    Thanks to this interview, and despite his planned travelling roadshow, Goff’s statements reveal that the difference between the Nats and Labour on GST, is in fact negligible.

    On The Standard, Labour party supporters have long been arguing, that National’s GST rise to 15% (or more) is OK if the bottom percentile are properly compensated.

    GST up? It depends


    Garner: poor GST compo will cause backlash

    These are only two of several posts on this theme.

    Both Labour and National supporters concede that the low paid will be the hardest hit by the rise in GST, and Key has said he agrees with Labour about the need for some compensation for the low paid and beneficiaries for the rise.

    It seems that the only apparent point of difference between these two parties, is that while Key and the Nats claim that the government’s compensation for those on low incomes will be adequate. Goff and the Labs are preparing to quibble about the amount and adequacy of National’s compensation package, (even though it hasn’t even been released yet!!?), claiming that a Labour Party compensation package would be more generous.

    In my opinion, this debate is neither hear nor there, missing the main point in the debate over the rise in GST, which is it’s regressive nature.

    However adequate the compensation for people on low incomes is, it can only be a one off benefit, as over time, inflation will eat away at it, leaving the low paid worse off in the long-term, as both National, and Labour, are comfortable with maintaining GST at 15% indefinitely.


    I have tried to find a written transcript of Goff’s interview, to check the accuracy of my summation of his views.

    However, I have had no luck.

    And it seems that apart from Watea Radio, no other news service has picked up on Goff’s views.

    • prism 1.1

      Yes Jenny surprising similarities of views. There seems to be a lack in Labour’s world view, where they are not orientated to the needs of the broad mass of people but to having efficient systems. They lost the election because they didn’t have any apparent conviction to do anything much to improve life for NZs.

      Labour had to lose the election to shift from the leadership of Helen Clark, a great prime minister who had reached her time to step down along with her Minister of Finance Cullen, but they don’t do that when they’re at the top do they – the electorate has to reject the party then the party puts the word on the PM to go. There needs to be a three strikes and you’re out so new blood and slight changes can be made to the political vehicle’s driving habits without losing a good political party with basically positive direction for the country.

      GST is efficient at collecting revenue, the govt takes a dip just about every time money changes hands and it is a stamdard figure for all, the rich can’t argue. The fact that if you separated out the likely GST paid by a household at low middle and high decile points, then calculated the discretionary income remaining and worked out what percentage of that the gst paid amounted to it might then be 60% for low decile incomes. High dec. incomes would be the ones close to 12.5%. This is how it is experienced in reality by the people who have the least money.

      Why would a true Labour party not stoutly reject an increase in gst to 15%, but instead herald a drop to 10% as a tax cut when they get back in? It is a tax on all trading and a depressive one, and just because other countries charge more is no reason for us to have one that is incompatible with our permanent status of a low-wage economy which dropping tariffs etc and wage under-cutting by poor countries has ensured. The puffery talked by politicians is so slimy – making feelgood slogans about future good, it’s always going to be jam tomorrow when we are like the lucky country Australia.

      • Adders 1.1.1

        “GST is efficient at collecting revenue . . .’

        Except that only a small part of the national wealth passes through consumption patterns. Financing billion-dollar public operations by taxing a few cents at a time is so inefficient as to be silly. And for individuals and small businesses the administration of GST is time-consuming. It represents time wasted on a non-productive activity; hence the administration of GST is inflationary.

    • r0b 1.2

      Jenny, your comments here are great. Ever thought about trying some guest posts?

      • Jenny 1.2.2

        Thanks for your vote of confidence r0b. I have tried to put stuff in the guest post slot, but have had no luck. I am probably not doing something right, or something.

        Maybe the sysop could help me here?

        • r0b

          So is it that (1) the contribute post page not work, or (2) the page work OK but posts you have submitted don’t appear?

          If (1) tell us what happens, if (2) ask for feedback via email…

          • Jenny

            First off thanks very much Rob for your reply.

            I think it is the first option.

            I put in a submission for a guest post and then put in the anti-spam word, and then hit send. It may work for all I know. But there seems to be no acknowledgement that it has been sent.

            What do you think?

            • lprent

              I haven’t seen it. I’ll have a play with the contribute post this weekend.

              But if you still have a copy (on the back button if no-where else?) send it to thestandardnz at gmail dot com

  2. There are considerable differences between the two parties’ positions, Jenny. The problem for Labour at the moment is that its hard to comment on something that does not yet exist. Given the poll driven nature of Key’s government, I’d say there is a good chance they won’t go ahead with the rise anyway. If they do, I reckon you’ll find Labour would have a return to 12.5% as a policy plank in the election.

    As for the GST on food, it’s a non issue. Differentiating between items that attract GST is an administative nightmare and as far as know, no party in NZ is advocating adding another level of complexity to the GST system. Well, no electable party, anyway.

    The bus trip sounds great though. They did something similar last year and I went to a packed meeting in Whanganui, where I got a sense of Goff as a genuine leader for the first time. But more importantly, he was a genuine listener as well. Perhaps the road trip would be a good venue to discuss GST and other matters with him?

    • Jenny 2.1

      Great news VOR, I am sure that if Labour have a policy of reversing National’s GST hike, it will be a vote winner.

  3. You wouldn’t be a Green Party supporter by any chance would you Jenny?
    As as been pointed out Jenny you are expecting Goff to come up with a plan to address specifics that are not yet public. Its easy to be all idealistic, but when you actually are in Government you have to be able to deliver that Mum and apple pie that you have promised, other wise you become a sloppy all style do nothing populist that becomes very unpopular in the long run, which is no way to run a country. I would suggest that if the Greens are serious about being in Government that they and their small band of supporters stop attacking Labour and start working on a coherent Policy platform that would be useful.

  4. winston smith 5

    well what do you know!

    The Stranded’s major corruption beat-up on McCully by a bunch of diversophobes over his ownership of some shares in a mining company, which shares turn out to be worth $31.63???

    Major scoop, team! Keep up the great work. You’ll have the main stream media really worried soon.

    [lprent: You are a bit slow. There was a post up last night by Z about the values of the shares – read that. ]

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