Should Labour take GST off fresh food?

Written By: - Date published: 10:53 am, July 28th, 2023 - 87 comments
Categories: chris hipkins, gst, labour, maori party, nicola willis, tax - Tags:

National’s Nicola Willis has claimed that Labour will soon announce policy to take GST off fresh fruit and vegetables.

While this should be taken with a considerable grain of salt, as it is coming from National, Chris Hipkins has not refuted it.  Time will tell.

From Katie Scotcher at Radio New Zealand:

National is claiming to know details of Labour’s soon-to-be-announced tax policy, suggesting the party will campaign on removing GST from fruit and vegetables.

Labour leader Chris Hipkins is not denying National’s claims, saying “we haven’t announced our tax policy yet… people can speculate all they like”.

National’s deputy leader Nicola Willis said she understood Labour’s policy included the removal of the 15 percent tax on fruit and vegetables.

When asked how she knew details of Labour’s policy, Willis replied: “there’s been quite a lot of leaks out of the government lately”.

“This is information that has come to me that I believe to be true.”

The policy has been labour policy in the past.  It was election policy in 2011.  In 2014 under David Cunliffe it was reversed.

The policy is problematic.  The cost of implementing the system would be considerable, it creates confusion at the edges and initial gains may be absorbed by supermarkets rather than passed on to consumers.

But it is a potentially popular policy and could wrest the initiative for Labour.  Right now Labour could use some momentum.

And there will be some pressure on Labour to complete this if it regains power.  Te Pāti Māori have proposed the removal of GST off all kai.

Time will tell if this is party policy.

As for the leaker given the size of National’s war chest anything is possible.  Time will tell.

87 comments on “Should Labour take GST off fresh food? ”

  1. MickeyBoyle 1

    Personally I think it is a stupid policy that will be hard to implement and even harder to ensure compliance.

    But Hipkins also recently said this.

    • Janice 1.1

      I agree, it would be a silly thing to do. Anyone who has filed a GST return knows how difficult it would be to exempt some items. Hipkins would be better to make a song and dance about National putting up GST without mentioning it their pre-election statements and returning GST to 12.5%.

    • alwyn 1.2

      "recently said this"

      Recently? That was 4 months ago. If, as Harold Wilson quipped, "A week is a long time in politics" then four months is an eternity.

      When you are as deep in the swamp as Hipkins and Labour are you will try anything, no matter how stupid it is. Our GST system works very well because it is inclusive and has a single rate throughout. Even Robertson realises that, although he does seem rather more interested in keeping his very well paid job that keeping his principles intact just at the moment.

      A selective GST system is good only for the lawyers. They can haggle over what is, and what is not, exempt from GST forever.

  2. Alan 2

    Yes, great policy if you want to make supermarkets richer and provide greater savings to wealthy families.

    Otherwise, a stupid policy, just ask Grant and David.

  3. riffer 3

    Seems to me that the new grocery commissioner's role could be augmented to ensure that this policy would work. If the prices don't come down, fine the supermarkets 15% of their turnover for the year. Return it proportionately to each taxpayer in your end of year tax.

    I'm pretty over greedflation. Sacrifices need to be made at the top end of town.

    • MickeyBoyle 3.1

      There are so many varied ways supermarkets and other vendors could get around this.

      How can you with certain, say that these outlets are not "rigging the system"?

      It would be nigh on impossible to prove.

  4. Blazer 4

    Would not make a discernable difference to the lives of the people it is supposedly targeted to …help imo.

    Smart budgeting can save alot more $'s.

  5. Descendant Of Smith 5

    Moronic over complicated policy.

    Simpler to reduce bottom rate of taxation even by 1% and increase benefits ( people on benefit are never helped by tax cuts something National has forgotten to mention) by 10%.

    Puts money in both sets of pockets with little fuss.

    • Sanctuary 5.1

      Yes, well my view is a tax free threshold of at least 10k is the single best way to give those on struggle street a help out.

      • BAW 5.1.1

        Nat voter.

        Sensible. Beside those earning less than 10K are not contributing much to the general tax take.

        Further it is reasonably politically easy to implement. ACT and the Nats are unlikley to reverse this policy.

  6. BAW 6

    Nat voter here.

    Your making the wrong thing GST free – too complex. Find things that are easier to do.

    Instead try

    • GST free home electricity.
    • GST free domestic Water charges.
    • GST free domestic Gas (Depending on how climate frendly you are feeling).
    • GST free home rates
    • GST free public transport

    Making one of these things GST is easier to implement, and as a bonus easier for the voter to count how much they will save.

    • Shanreagh 6.1

      Remove GST on Fresh food etc 'NO'

      But from BAW’s ideas

      • GST free home electricity. YES
      • GST free domestic Water charges. YES
      • GST free domestic Gas (Depending on how climate frendly you are feeling). YES
      • GST free home rates YES
      • GST free public transport YES

      If Labour is looking at GST on food of any kind it shows a dearth of 'fresh' thinking when there are these options above.

      or Sanctuary’s idea

      Then having a tax free threshhold on the first $10,000

      Plus work on tax bracket creep.

      I wonder if the Nat so-called leaked policy is a sophisticated riff on the old strawman argument…..the strawman being the writing on the leaked paper,…put it out so that Labour has to deny it and possibly lose face……along the lines that 'explaining is losing'.

      • BAW 6.1.1

        Yes make it easy so that the boss can stop spending time with his accountant gaming the system, or with the politicians seeking rent, and more time actually doing their job!.

    • Mike the Lefty 6.2

      All these are EASIER to implement than removal of GST on fruit and veges?

      I doubt whether any tax expert would agree with you.

  7. AB 7

    It's better than nothing, but seems like a weak halfway house. The messiness of implementation is only just worth the limited benefit it gives to those who really need it. Feels like Labour is choosing to be hung as a lamb rather than a sheep.

    It needs strengthening – to all food, or to a 2.5 – 5% cut in all GST. It needs to be combined with a tax switch, so that the revenue forgone is recovered from those with disproportionate* wealth. There is a package in here that might variously combine GST cuts, a tax-free threshold to $10-15k, wealth taxes and higher marginal income taxes – and it would crack the election wide open in an unpredictable way. It might wipe Labour out or give them victory. Even something as weak as GST off food and veges has the right in a lather, because they just love regressive taxes and they see it as a slippery slope – if the left start cutting GST how far might they go? Their think tank puppets will be popping up like a fairground game and condemning the move.

    *"disproportionate" means attributable to the natural perversity of markets, which tend towards disequilibrium and excessive rewards for those with extractive market power – and not attributable to how hard someone has worked, the difficulty of what they do and the social value they create. (i.e. the neoclassical idea that value can be discovered only through price is a myth). It's always a guess of course – but the reputed $5m in Robertson and Parker's plan seems to be in the ballpark of what most people would see as reasonable.

  8. Sanctuary 8

    The thing with this "fresh fruit and vegetables" palaver is it conforms to a largely middle class view of what is important for families trying to feed themselves. It would be much easier, and make a lot more sense, to simply subsidise an approved basket of, just for arguments sake, 100 staple brand products eaten in bulk by families.

    For example, do a deal with Goodman-Fielder to apply a government subsidy to some of their brands like Nature's Fresh white bread, Tararua Dairy Butter, or Edmonds plain flour. Or maybe some Delmaine brand tinned products or San Remo spaghetti.

    You could then simply label them as attracting the government food subsidy on their packaging and have the list available for download or perusal; the list might even change seasonally.

    That get's around the (largely spurious) "complexity" argument since everyone knows exacly what brands and products are subsidised and I reckon a working class Joe with a growing family would prefer subsidised white bread, weetbix and milk to reducing the cost of a stick of celery by 30c. And of course, subsidised food would be a universal benefit except to the snobs who only buy fancy French butter and $12 sourdough loaves.

    And given the growing threat to food supply caused by climate change, it would be in my opinion a prudent course of action to start creating mechanisms that might be used for any sort of future food security policies – maybe even rationing if the world really goes to hell in a handbasket.

    • Blazer 8.1


      'For example, do a deal with Goodman-Fielder to apply a government subsidy to some of their brands like Nature's Fresh white bread, Tararua Dairy Butter, or Edmonds plain flour. Or maybe some Delmaine brand tinned products or San Remo spaghetti.

      You could then simply label them as attracting the government food subsidy on their packaging and have the list available for download or perusal; the list might even change seasonally.'

      A really dumb idea.Isolating certain suppliers for govt subsidies would be a big can of …spaghetti.

      • Sanctuary 8.1.1

        Actually, I think suppliers would like the opportunity to display socially responsible credentials by signing up to a government scheme.

        If using capitalism didn’t work out just build government bread factories and direct Fonterra to provide the butter, cheese and milk. Even the suggestion of government competition would be probably terrify the big food companies into cooperation.

    • BAW 8.2

      Nat voter.

      Kiwibread perhaps?

      Might be a bit harder to implement for a few things like eggs, butter and milk, but could work nicely for more processed goods like bread.

      • Sanctuary 8.2.1

        Dry goods are particularly good for a government subsidy, and actually provide a better source of shelf stable calories than fresh fruit and vegetables, which typically have very high wastage rates.

      • Blazer 8.2.2

        The supermarkets have been using bread(and to a lesser extent butter)as loss leaders for years.Started with $1 loaves,now around $1.50.

        A brand like Delmaine seeks to identify as a premium,quality product.The reality is, you just need to look at some of their products to see that apart from their label,they are identical to others that are 30-40% cheaper.

        The Grocer App will reveal the huge discrepency in pricing for thousands of items.

    • Charlotte Rust 8.3

      Agree, I’d say lower income families would be buying more processed food – cheaper and saves time – rather than expensive cauliflower and broccoli and therefore wouldn’t reap the so called benefits of gst off fresh fruit and vege. This is pure virtue signalling and not actually helping. People need their earnings boosted and the really big expenses such as rent and power reduced to a more realistic level. Eventual price rises of food will swallow any of the initial savings up anyway and then what?

    • Macro 8.4

      The Aussies seem to cope pretty well with GST on some foods and not others. Basics such as butter, oil, cereals, bread, tea, coffee, etc are GST free. Being a regular shopper over the ditch, I am envious that they can sell milk etc. much cheaper than here in NZ.


      2L full cream milk $3.10 = $3.37NZ

      Free Range eggs $5.20 a dozen = $5.65NZ

      Even taking an exchange rate of $NZ1 = $A0.92 that's still way cheaper.

      • Blazer 8.4.1

        Using current xchange rate—$A3.10=$NZ-3.35

        $A5.20=$NZ5.62.—'way cheaper'!

    • Graeme 8.5

      Probably easier to do something like this at a retail level where certain retail categories / product groups attract a subsidy.


      Think about what the Accomodation Allowance has done to rentals. Expect prices to quietly go up by the amount of the subsidy.

  9. Jack 9

    Labour is a bit snookered if this is there one big tax idea.

    The idea has largely been panned by the experts.

    Robertson is on the record as negative against the idea. Opposition parties will therefore rightfully highlight the cabinet split if this becomes policy.

    Estimates say the average family will save about $5 a week, assuming the supermarkets pass the savings on.

    Robertson has on numerous occasions chided National in the house for there inflation indexing of tax bands as saving the average worker (not family) a few bucks a week.

    All in all, very underwhelming as a policy to take to the electorate.

    • pat 9.1

      Not necessarily a true reflection but a vox poll on Checkpoint last night indicated that most asked considered this a policy to vote for….surprisingly.

  10. satty 10

    Germany has two tax rates for the GST (MWST):

    • Standard – 19%
    • Reduced – 7%

    The reduced GST applies to fresh food, books and transport. I would expect most software used in supermarkets, retail etc. to be able to handle multiple tax codes.

    However, the reason this probably won't work here in NZ: Real competition between supermarkets is required to pass through the "GST savings". This is simply not going to happen.

  11. James Simpson 11

    It just shows desperation in my view. The PM and Finance Minister are on record about this so to turn around and promise it now is not a great look.

    There are far better way to target government spending at those in need as opposed to a tax cut that won't be passed in by full by the Supermarkets.

    • MickeyBoyle 11.1

      A portion of the 15% may be passed on in the short term, but I don't expect that to last. There are many ways around this for vendors.

      Like you, I would prefer a more targeted approach that is easily measured and removes the compliance aspect of this potential policy.

    • Ed1 11.2

      I believe the desperation is from National – this prank has given them at least three days without questions about their lack of policies. Reducing tax at lower incomes would need to be offset by increases in higher rates – but I think some work could be done on reducing the effective tax rate for those where a benefit is being reduced as income increases; a complicated area but if 39% is OK for the very wealthy, why is the effective rate higher for people that still need help from the state?

      I suspect that the complications of a GST exemption would create a huge cost for the whole food chain as well as for government – for little real benefit.

      We are internationally very competitive on taxation – see so a new top tax rate of say 50% for income over say $300,000 could probably be justified.

      Being able to recover more quickly from increasingly severe weather events is a higher priority than cutting tax – what will our summer be like?

  12. Tiger Mountain 12

    Of course Labour should take GST off food…just for the populist appeal and to give the profiteering food industry a nice fright.

    But NZ Labour should also do about twenty other things (which I won’t list all of) that would gain large support, such as a State House/apartment mega build–using flat packs etc. if the NZ building industry won’t support it fully.

    Labour has had 39 years now of monetarism and they will not change willingly. Maybe regular Climate Disasters like there have been in 2023, and a strong Green/TPM turnout & result in the General Election will achieve what their Caucus own counsel has been unable to.

    • Cricklewood 12.1

      Why would it frighten the food industry? If anything it provides oppourtunity to eek out a bit more margin which they'll no doubt justify by blaming additional admin costs.

      I guess it will make the $40 Per kg cherries a bit cheaper at xmas…

  13. UncookedSelachimorpha 13

    Seems complicated for little benefit, so I wouldn't bother. Get much more social and economic improvement from a significant wealth tax funding a guaranteed minimum income, for example.

    What really disappoints me is the heavy focus on this topic, rather than the fundamental problem that 50% of NZ owns only 2% of the wealth – and tinkering with GST etc won't change that. I was really impressed TPM brought this up and put 'redistribution' front and centre of their policies. The 'R' word seems to be reviled by both Labour and NAct, even though it is the only way to improve many of the problems faced by NZ.

    • MickeyBoyle 13.1


      Is reviled by both National and Labour as I believe they have seen the polling on it which imo kiwis overwhelmingly do not support.

      We are not a generous people, many of us are selfish and hate the idea of someone reaching into our pockets to help someone else, even if it is for the greater good.

      TPM imo will not get any of their tax policies across the line if they are fortunate enough to be in government come October. Neither will the Greens with their wealth tax.

      • UncookedSelachimorpha 13.1.1

        "Is reviled by both National and Labour as I believe they have seen the polling on it which imo kiwis overwhelmingly do not support."

        Yes, I suspect you are right. Of course a government should try to lead and educate on matters of progress and principle, not be mere passive poll chasers. Parker’s work on tax injustice was starting to do just this I thought.

  14. MickeyBoyle 14

    Is the purpose of this currently "hypothetical policy" to save kiwis money? Or is there other benefits I'm not seeing.

    Because if it's simply about cost, I'd argue there are far more targeted ways to benefit those who have financial challenges.

    I don't believe reducing the cost of fruits and vegetables will mean those who need them most will purchase them more frequently. If this was the case, the uptake of canned and frozen fruits and vegetables would be greater than it currently is.

    Many who I deal with simply don't have the time or energy to cook homemade meals from scratch, that's why they choose the easier options that are often less healthy. I don't see frozen or canned veges in their pantries and freezers.

    If this is Labours policy for the election, I hope they are over the details, or they will get absolutely shredded for this. A more targeted approach would be my preference.

    • gsays 14.1

      "Is the purpose of this currently "hypothetical policy" to save kiwis money? Or is there other benefits I'm not seeing."

      My two cents worth is this is as much a breaker switch away from Kiri Allan/poor polling/shallow talent pool/potential schism in Cabinet as anything to do with cost of living.

      It's policy dreamt up by advisors/officials/spin doctor types. Not from someone who stands for something. The visionary bereft.

      The cynical side of me says that this has been deliberately leaked and Labour is running it up National's flagpole and are seeing who/how many salute it. Again, politics from those that lack a vision or imagination.

      I agree, if this is taken to the election there better be a few wee snappy soundbites to explain it.

  15. Ad 15

    With Greens, Maori Party, Act, and NZFirat all releasing tax policies, and National having released some of theirs about rental property and to reverse Labour changes, Labour needs to show it has something to say.

    Where is it?

    Silence about a credible leak about Labour tax policy is not credible.

    We are 11 weeks out FFS.

    Please God Hipkins stabilise the tax debate and get it out of the way before it's the primary election-dominant issue.

  16. georgecom 16

    I am ambivalent about gst off fruit and veges. It will be a policy aimed at an election win like many others including WFF, tax cuts, tough on law and order, change rules on investment property etc. If it helps get Labour re-elected it helps get Labour re-elected. but here is the wider game I think. A coalition with the Greens and MP include gst of fruit and veges but also a CGT, I am more in favour of that than a % wealth tax. If Hipkins wants to "blame" someone he can say it was a bottom line of a deal with the other parties. Use the $$$ to pay for the GST policy and lifting tax brackets and some toward climate change costs. I cannot see that being too unpopular with much of the populace. If Nat/ACT don't like it over turn the changes when they get into power

    • georgecom 16.1

      should have said if Nat/ACT 1% funders don't like it they can instruct the parties to overturn the changes if they get into power.

      This election is significant for at least 2 reasons (1) do we get farming to start to pay for and reduce greenhouse gases or do we just pretend we have some more time and do nothing for another 5 years (2) do we bed in policies to shift investment away from housing or do we continue with the kiwi fixation of investing in housing

  17. ianmac 17

    A woman guest on Nine to noon this morning suggested a card for low income people to present at the checkout which gives a 15% discount of up to $20 pw. Not sure if that is on fruit and vegetables or generally. A bit like the Gold card perhaps?

    • adam 17.1

      Why not just wear a Star of David or a Pink Star?

    • weka 17.2

      we have the community services card in NZ for low income people. I'm not a fan of attaching that to grocery shopping, because that would involve a huge number of private business and someone having to disclose they are poor. I think it would be very complicated too.

      better to tax the rich and raise everyone out of poverty once and for all.

      • Blazer 17.2.1

        People already use WINZ cards that are loaded with funds to purchase groceries and furniture etc.People also use food banks .

        Disclosing that they are ..'poor' is hardly a consideration unless they suffer from severe status anxiety.

        • weka

          forcing beneficiaries to use WINZ food cards is part of the punitive/controlling Bennet welfare reforms. Just because paternalistic arseholes came up with the idea doesn't mean it's a good one.

          • arkie

            WINZ cards aren't accepted everywhere either, even some supermarkets don't accept them, forcing card users to have to travel further, costing them more.

          • Blazer

            I made no comment on the merit of the situation,just pointed out its existence.

            The stigma of being poor is real but how it affects individuals differs.

  18. adam 18

    Oh look the labour party is going to do a tax thing, maybe, sort of.

    But in the usual way, ham-fisted, smug, and condescending to working people.

    What was it Peter Fraser said about leaving a name lying around for any old tosser to use again…

  19. Adrian 19

    Stop believing bullshit, anybody can "give "anything to National which the Nats have had made up so that Labour has to deny it. A Labour MP has said privately that there is going to be one of these red herrings a week until the election so they are on to it and my bet is that it will come back to bite the Nats on the arse and deservedly so.

    BTW, any censure in the wind for the two Nats who each "forgot " they owned another house as shown in the revised COI admission on Monday.

    • Jack 19.1

      Trouble with that theory is that Labour, to an MP, we’re denying for months that they were cooking up a wealth tax … until they got busted … then there was a document dump, a triple backward somersault from the PM in Lithuania and a ministerial resignation

    • Ed1 19.2

      I agree – Willis wants anything possible to distract from their only certainty – dropping the top tax rate.

      Who were the two who forgot about a property? – and were they recent purchases?

  20. Corey 20

    No. Just drop GST off of everything from 15% to 10%. John Key raised it from 12% to 15% to pay for his tax cuts.

    NZ's GST at 15% is outrageously high.

    It's easier, fairer and simpler to just cut it from everything.

    Frankly Id prefer to get rid of GST altogether, I don't know how any lefty can ever possibly justify forcing people to pay a bloody consumption tax.

    I hear time and time again that cutting GST would help rich people, which is nonsense.

    Poor and working class people spend a far larger proportion of their income on things that are taxed by GST like food, petrol and living costs.

    Consumption taxes are disgusting.

    • SPC 20.1

      If the government had an $8B pa surplus it might consider cutting GST to 10%

      If it did not instead

      invest in water infrastructure and flood protection, future transport system resilience, properly fund health, invest in age care facilities (suitable housing), include sickness in the ACC regime, pay disability at super rates, increase state housing (income related rent) levels to 100,000+, pay teachers and nurses the Oz pay rates and so much more

      It's as dumb as National's tax cuts, and as dumb as not raising more $8B more revenue from CGT, wealth and estate taxation, progressive company taxation, FTT, tax on vacant land in areas for development, a mortgage surcharge tax, etc

  21. Jester 21

    Even Grant Robertson doesn't like this policy.

  22. Vivie 22

    According to nutrition experts, tinned or frozen fruit and vegetables are as nutritious as fresh fruit and vegetables, and are often far cheaper. Removing GST off fresh fruit and vegetables seems tokenistic.

    Te Pāti Māori’s tax policy is clearly designed to assist people in the most financial need. Surely this objective makes sense in a morally high functioning society. Why would anyone resent this?

    From Te Pāti Māori’s website:

    "Te Pāti Māori’s plan to shift the burden of tax from income to wealth and provide tax cuts for whānau.

    More than 2 million (47%) people earn below $30,000 per year.

    Only 78,000 (1.8% of earners) people earn over $200,000 and will pay more in Income Tax under our plan.

    We are proposing to create a $30,000 tax free band which will help those on lower incomes.

    The vast majority of whānau will receive a tax cut under our plan. More than three million people will be better off.

    New tax rates under our plan: (from 1st July 2024)

    0% Income of $30,000 or less
    15% Income of $30,001 and up to $60,000
    33% Income of $60,001 and up to $90,000
    39% Income of $90,001 and up to $180,000
    42% Income of $180,001 and $300,000

    48% Income of $300,001 and above

    Under our plan:

    • Almost 90% of Aotearoa will benefit from significant tax cuts; this
      equates to 3.8 million people.
    • Whānau receiving the benefit or superannuation will not be taxed.

    A person who earns $30,000 will pay no tax and get an extra: $82/week
    A person who earns $60,000 will get an extra: $125/week

    A person who earns $90,000 will get an extra: $119/week $6,220/year"

    What do others think of these tax rates?

    Re comments about cheap white bread, the different cheap brands sold at supermarkets and the Warehouse also make wheatmeal bread for the same retail price. This cheap wheatmeal bread contains the same percentage of wholemeal flour as many much more expensive brands. People wanting to save money on bread do not need to resort to only white bread, as many commenters seem to believe.

    • Alan 22.1

      Anyone who did more than year 9 economics will resent this.

      • SPC 22.1.1

        Absurd claim, without merit – as anyone who has passed NCEA 3 would be able to determine.

        2/3rd of OECD nations have an estate tax. And all but one has a CGT.

        Many have a threshold before applying income tax. Many have a top rate over 39 cents.

        It's closer to the tax polices of other OECD nations than what we have.

      • Vivie 22.1.2

        Alan: You haven't explained why you or anyone will resent Te Pāti Māori’s tax policy, which is designed to assist people in the most financial need.

        • Alan

          See Ads post further down. 27.

          If the TPM policies were put in place, there would be massive flight of capital and business from NZ.

          The economy would shrink dramatically, unemployment would surge, the governments tax take would head south in a major way. The government pantry would be bare.

          Capital, investment, running of businesses etc. are all mobile, they leave environments where it is too hard to do business.
          The people in need that you refer to would be hit really hard – unemployed, a government that does not have enough tax revenue to support them.
          It would be miserable.

          • Phillip ure

            Then see my response @ 27.1…

            Where I point out the claims he makes in that comment..are factually incorrect..

  23. Mike the Lefty 23

    If it actually becomes Labour policy it is good, in a way.

    But unfortunately the results might not be all that noticeable because fruit and vege prices fluctuate so much depending on the season and climate that consumers wouldn't really know how much a lower price is due to the lower GST or simply a lower market price.

    Plus you can be sure that the Supermarkets would find some way of exploiting the lower GST to increase their profits.

    But it might be a vote catcher for Labour as National would be forced into opposing it because agreeing with it would make them look weak.

  24. SPC 24

    For less money the government could organise the free delivery of fruit and vegetable packages to those in need (and or via food banks).

    This complements the food in school programme.

    It could also subsidise meals to homes.

    The supply of potatoes (last longer) and carrots to food banks (with canned stews for easy meals) in addition to fruit in cans.

    And develop community market gardens for the supply.

    • Mike the Lefty 24.1

      This idea has merit, but the way the vegetable markets in NZ have been moving over the last decade is away from the smaller local providers to the big corporate (largely overseas owned) growers, like in Pukekohe.

      A lot of the original local providers were Chinese who have now grown too old to do the business anymore, their children are not into market gardening so they end up selling their land to the corporate farmers, or (more commonly) to housing developers. Good horticultural land wasted.

      If this land could be put back into production with incentives for local people to get into the market gardening business this would be great.

  25. Rosielee 25

    How do we know that Willis is telling the truth and not just mischief making?

    • Anne 25.1

      My best guess is: Labour has a plan involving GST and it may include certain food items so National is attempting to use this limited information to start a political war over the rights and wrongs of 'meddling with GST' and force Labour into announcing the policy too soon.

    • Shanreagh 25.2

      My point exactly Rosie.

      28 July 2023 at 12:56 pm

      "I wonder if the Nat so-called leaked policy is a sophisticated riff on the old strawman argument…..the strawman being the writing on the leaked paper,…put it out so that Labour has to deny it and possibly lose face……along the lines that 'explaining is losing'."

      I would doubt

      a) that is a piece of paper with so-called tax ideas on it

      b) that if there is that it was leaked to Willis

      If the strawman fallacy is not thought to be convincing then what say it is 'reverse kite flying' so the Oppo flies a kite that purports to be the Govt's kite.

      Surely we all know by now not to take anything put out by the Nats, especially some thing as explosive as this, at face value. Until she puts up I am not inclined to believe her.

    • PsyclingLeft.Always 25.3

      not just mischief making?

      Well, all things being equal, and, giving due weighting to the party she represents : National (Dirty Politics Are Us TM )

      Chances are high, that mischief… is game on !

  26. Phillip ure 26

    The maori party tax plan of first 30 grand tax-free is the most efficient way of helping re-balance the gross inequities imposed upon us by rogernomics..and it's bastard offspring.. neoliberal incrementalism..

    Much more simple/efficient than a few bucks saved on fruit/veg..

    I am not necessarily against gst off fruit/veg..

    But if that is it…from labour..if that is their big-bang election is nowhere near enough..

    ..and it is really just another example of that poxy neo-inc..

    ..that has so blighted labour/us…

    ..and will do nothing to re-balance the inequalities that now define nz ..

  27. Ad 27

    New Zealand doesn't make enough money or enough savings or capital for doing both multi-billion tax cuts for the under $30k and taxes on capital.

    Australia does because its average savings and compulsory super and number of billionaires and non-mobility of mining make it one of the top richest countries in the world.

    Whereas we are capital-light vulnerable because of Australias proximity, have v low savings, v few billionaires, and high consumption taxes corroding the poor for decades which have funded government paying for massive NZSUPER and health services and multiple crises.

    Otherwise Labour would have proposed cuts by now.

    • Phillip ure 27.1


      I can't remember where I heard it…but part of the reporting on this was that the respective parliamentary financial body had done a full costings on the maori party policy…showing the total tax policy package is financially neutral..

      Are you aware of this..?

      If so why are you saying it is unaffordable..?…when it clearly is..

      And if dismisses that contention you are making…

      Will you concede this..?

      • Alan 27.1.1

        Phil, you are assuming that all existing businesses and rich pricks would stay and remain in operation – they would not, they would depart in droves.

        Unemployment would soar, the governments tax take would fall off a cliff, misery assured, particularly for those already struggling.

        • Phillip ure

          I am calling b.s. on that ..

          What tmp are calling for is quite common in other countries… gains tax etc…

          Their policies they claim will give serious tax cuts for 3 million nz'ers…

          And taxing empty houses/land banked/unused land..makes sense…

          The top tax rate of 48% kicks in at 300 grand…how is that unfair..?

          And..the big question for you…is where would they go..?…leaving their money making businesses behind..?

          You are running a false bogey man of an argument..

          And do you feel things should just stay the same..?

          That we should do nothing about poverty/inequality..?

          And if you do care about that…what should we do to fix it..?

          'cos what we are doing now.. clearly isn't working..

          • Alan

            Call BS all you like, that is what would happen. Those policies will not help those that need it most, it will make it worse for them.

            The big question – where would they go? Australia, Asia, Europe, take your pick.

            They would not leave their businesses behind, they would take the with them, business, capital, investment etc are mobile, they can go anywhere they choose.

            • Phillip ure

              So why have those business owners in oecd countries that already have most of what tmp proposes..why have they not left..?

              Your argument is totally straw man…

              And your claim the poorest will not be just more b.s..

              They will get $82 pw back in their pockets..

              How is that them not being helped..?

              Especially compared with the chump-change for those poorest offered by the tories..

              And national can no longer call themselves the tax cuts party…can they..?

              Tmp have well and truly taken that from them..

              It is almost like a crocodile dundee/knife moment:

              'you call them tax cuts..?..these are tax cuts..!'

              Heh..!..I find that part of it quite delicious..

          • alwyn

            "leaving their money making businesses behind..?"

            Why not? In many cases, provided the business is not a tiny one, the owner could easily move to Australia and leave the business operating here. After all many of our largest businesses are predominately owned by overseas domiciled owners.

            Were they to do that the business could continue operating as it does at the moment with overseas domiciled owners. They would of course no longer have to pay their individual taxes in New Zealand but would do so in Australia perhaps.

            • Phillip ure


              How about doing some basic research on these orifice-plucks you present..?

              In australia the top tax rate is 45%..and it kicks in at $180.000..


              • alwyn

                I lived in Australia for quite a number of years. I know exactly how the system works.

                It doesn't include the completely insane system that the Maori Party is proposing which would mean that in addition to high income tax rates they are going to whack you with an enormous levy on your assets, regardless of whether you got any income from them.

                • Phillip ure

                  I was replying to your pearl-clutching claim of businesses/the rich bailing australia was the destination you cited..

                  Whereas the facts of the matter are they would pay more tax sooner over there…making your claim a joke..

                  And yes..the richest will pay more under the maori party plan…

                  What is wrong with that..?

                  But the 3.8 million nz'ers who aren't the richest..will get tax cuts…

                  And as I noted…the policy has been costed as being financially neutral…

                  So what is your problem with all this..?

                  Do you believe the evils of poverty/inequality in nz should just continue to prevail..?

                  If not…what would be your plans to right these wrongs…?

                  • alwyn

                    You don't understand do you.

                    They may pay a similar amount of Income Tax in Australia.

                    However if the Maori Party had their way they would then pay an EXTRA 8% of their wealth each year in addition to their Income Tax.

                    That is an EXTRA payment which would almost certainly be much more than their real income.

                    As far as being fiscally neutral, you are assuming that they will stay in New Zealand and will have to pay the money. If they go to Australia they won't be paying any personal tax in New Zealand. We will be collecting less money from the rich than we are now.

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      Do you agree with Alan (@27.1.1) that progressive changes to how Kiwis are taxed would cause “rich pricks” to depart NZ in droves?

                      What I don't understand is why there are any wealthy people left here at all – surely there have always been other countries that offer better tax deals and dodges for wealthy individuals.

                      It couldn't be that some wealthy individuals have priorities other than wealth and profit – could it? Probably not, but just imagine…

                    • alwyn


                      I may be a little unusual on this site but I don't believe that the words "rich" and "prick" necessarily go together. I realise that I differ from people like yourself who seem beset by the sin of envy.

                      Mark Dunajtschik and Dorothy Spotswood, who gave $53 million towards the $116m final cost of the Children's Hospital in Wellington are certainly rich but only nutters of the far left would describe them as "pricks" surely?

                      It quite fitted people like Michael Cullen who first publicised the phrase and fitted it very well of course.

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      I don't believe that the words "rich" and "prick" necessarily go together.


                      I realise that I differ from people like yourself who seem beset by the sin of envy.

                      Not so – hope you''ll accept my assurance that I would never run the words "rich" and "prick" together in my comments, except when quoting our fellow Standardistas – in this case Alan @27.1.1.


                      Although perhaps not considered wealthy (wealthy enough?) by some, luckily I have all the wealth I could ever reasonably need, and so am mercifully free from the burden of 'wealth envy', a pejorative favoured by some on the political right – not you, obviously, but people like you.

                      Pity those beset by the sin of greed – they seem so fearful.

                      Three great forces rule the world: stupidity, fear and greed.
                      – Albert Einstein

                      A trifecta of misery, imho.

          • Phillip ure

            Correction:..tmp tax policies will give cuts to 3.8 million nz'ers..not the 3 million I claimed..

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    Let’s begin today by thinking about job interviews.During my career in Software Development I must have interviewed hundreds of people, hired at least a hundred, but few stick in the memory.I remember one guy who was so laid back he was practically horizontal, leaning back in his chair until his ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    6 days ago
  • Geoffrey Miller: New Zealand’s foreign policy resets on AUKUS, Gaza and Ukraine
    New Zealand’s international relations are under new management. And Winston Peters, the new foreign minister, is already setting a change agenda. As expected, this includes a more pro-US positioning when it comes to the Pacific – where Peters will be picking up where he left off. Peters sought to align ...
    Democracy ProjectBy Geoffrey Miller
    6 days ago
  • Auckland rail tunnel the world’s most expensive
    Auckland’s city rail link is the most expensive rail project in the world per km, and the CRL boss has described the cost of infrastructure construction in Aotearoa as a crisis. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The 3.5 km City Rail Link (CRL) tunnel under Auckland’s CBD has cost ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • First big test coming
    The first big test of the new Government’s approach to Treaty matters is likely to be seen in the return of the Resource Management Act. RMA Minister Chris Bishop has confirmed that he intends to introduce legislation to repeal Labour’s recently passed Natural and Built Environments Act and its ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    6 days ago
  • The Song of Saqua: Volume III
    Time to revisit something I haven’t covered in a while: the D&D campaign, with Saqua the aquatic half-vampire. Last seen in July: The delay is understandable, once one realises that the interim saw our DM come down with a life-threatening medical situation. They have since survived to make ...
    6 days ago
  • Chris Bishop: Smokin’
    Yes. Correct. It was an election result. And now we are the elected government. ...
    My ThinksBy boonman
    6 days ago
  • 2023 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #48
    A chronological listing of news and opinion articles posted on the Skeptical Science  Facebook Page during the past week: Sun, Nov 26, 2023 thru Dec 2, 2023. Story of the Week CO2 readings from Mauna Loa show failure to combat climate change Daily atmospheric carbon dioxide data from Hawaiian volcano more ...
    7 days ago
  • Affirmative Action.
    Affirmative Action was a key theme at this election, although I don’t recall anyone using those particular words during the campaign.They’re positive words, and the way the topic was talked about was anything but. It certainly wasn’t a campaign of saying that Affirmative Action was a good thing, but that, ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    7 days ago
  • 100 days of something
    It was at the end of the Foxton straights, at the end of 1978, at 100km/h, that someone tried to grab me from behind on my Yamaha.They seemed to be yanking my backpack. My first thought was outrage. My second was: but how? Where have they come from? And my ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    7 days ago
  • Look who’s stepped up to champion Winston
    There’s no news to be gleaned from the government’s official website today  – it contains nothing more than the message about the site being under maintenance. The time this maintenance job is taking and the costs being incurred have us musing on the government’s commitment to an assault on inflation. ...
    Point of OrderBy Bob Edlin
    1 week ago
  • What's The Story?
    Don’t you sometimes wish they’d just tell the truth? No matter how abhorrent or ugly, just straight up tell us the truth?C’mon guys, what you’re doing is bad enough anyway, pretending you’re not is only adding insult to injury.Instead of all this bollocks about the Smokefree changes being to do ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • The longest of weeks
    Hello! Here comes the Saturday edition of More Than A Feilding, catching you up on the past week’s editions.Friday Under New Management Week in review, quiz style1. Which of these best describes Aotearoa?a. Progressive nation, proud of its egalitarian spirit and belief in a fair go b. Best little country on the planet c. ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • Suggested sessions of EGU24 to submit abstracts to
    Like earlier this year, members from our team will be involved with next year's General Assembly of the European Geosciences Union (EGU). The conference will take place on premise in Vienna as well as online from April 14 to 19, 2024. The session catalog has been available since November 1 ...
    1 week ago
  • Under New Management
    1. Which of these best describes Aotearoa?a. Progressive nation, proud of its egalitarian spirit and belief in a fair go b. Best little country on the planet c. Under New Management 2. Which of these best describes the 100 days of action announced this week by the new government?a. Petulantb. Simplistic and wrongheaded c. ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • While we wait patiently, our new Minister of Education is up and going with a 100-day action plan
    Sorry to say, the government’s official website is still out of action. When Point of Order paid its daily visit, the message was the same as it has been for the past week: Site under maintenance is currently under maintenance. We will be back shortly. Thank you for your ...
    Point of OrderBy Bob Edlin
    1 week ago

  • Ministers visit Hawke’s Bay to grasp recovery needs
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon joined Cyclone Recovery Minister Mark Mitchell and Transport and Local Government Minister Simeon Brown, to meet leaders of cyclone and flood-affected regions in the Hawke’s Bay. The visit reinforced the coalition Government’s commitment to support the region and better understand its ongoing requirements, Mr Mitchell says.  ...
    1 day ago
  • New Zealand condemns malicious cyber activity
    New Zealand has joined the UK and other partners in condemning malicious cyber activity conducted by the Russian Government, Minister Responsible for the Government Communications Security Bureau Judith Collins says. The statement follows the UK’s attribution today of malicious cyber activity impacting its domestic democratic institutions and processes, as well ...
    2 days ago
  • Disestablishment of Te Pūkenga begins
    The Government has begun the process of disestablishing Te Pūkenga as part of its 100-day plan, Minister for Tertiary Education and Skills Penny Simmonds says.  “I have started putting that plan into action and have met with the chair and chief Executive of Te Pūkenga to advise them of my ...
    2 days ago
  • Climate Change Minister to attend COP28 in Dubai
    Climate Change Minister Simon Watts will be leaving for Dubai today to attend COP28, the 28th annual UN climate summit, this week. Simon Watts says he will push for accelerated action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement, deliver New Zealand’s national statement and connect with partner countries, private sector leaders ...
    2 days ago
  • New Zealand to host 2024 Pacific defence meeting
    Defence Minister Judith Collins yesterday announced New Zealand will host next year’s South Pacific Defence Ministers’ Meeting (SPDMM). “Having just returned from this year’s meeting in Nouméa, I witnessed first-hand the value of meeting with my Pacific counterparts to discuss regional security and defence matters. I welcome the opportunity to ...
    2 days ago
  • Study shows need to remove distractions in class
    The Government is committed to lifting school achievement in the basics and that starts with removing distractions so young people can focus on their learning, Education Minister Erica Stanford says.   The 2022 PISA results released this week found that Kiwi kids ranked 5th in the world for being distracted ...
    3 days ago
  • Minister sets expectations of Commissioner
    Today I met with Police Commissioner Andrew Coster to set out my expectations, which he has agreed to, says Police Minister Mark Mitchell. Under section 16(1) of the Policing Act 2008, the Minister can expect the Police Commissioner to deliver on the Government’s direction and priorities, as now outlined in ...
    3 days ago
  • New Zealand needs a strong and stable ETS
    New Zealand needs a strong and stable Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) that is well placed for the future, after emission units failed to sell for the fourth and final auction of the year, Climate Change Minister Simon Watts says.  At today’s auction, 15 million New Zealand units (NZUs) – each ...
    3 days ago
  • PISA results show urgent need to teach the basics
    With 2022 PISA results showing a decline in achievement, Education Minister Erica Stanford is confident that the Coalition Government’s 100-day plan for education will improve outcomes for Kiwi kids.  The 2022 PISA results show a significant decline in the performance of 15-year-old students in maths compared to 2018 and confirms ...
    4 days ago
  • Collins leaves for Pacific defence meeting
    Defence Minister Judith Collins today departed for New Caledonia to attend the 8th annual South Pacific Defence Ministers’ meeting (SPDMM). “This meeting is an excellent opportunity to meet face-to-face with my Pacific counterparts to discuss regional security matters and to demonstrate our ongoing commitment to the Pacific,” Judith Collins says. ...
    5 days ago
  • Working for Families gets cost of living boost
    Putting more money in the pockets of hard-working families is a priority of this Coalition Government, starting with an increase to Working for Families, Prime Minister Christopher Luxon says. “We are starting our 100-day plan with a laser focus on bringing down the cost of living, because that is what ...
    5 days ago
  • Post-Cabinet press conference
    Most weeks, following Cabinet, the Prime Minister holds a press conference for members of the Parliamentary Press Gallery. This page contains the transcripts from those press conferences, which are supplied by Hansard to the Office of the Prime Minister. It is important to note that the transcripts have not been edited ...
    5 days ago
  • Lake Onslow pumped hydro scheme scrapped
    The Government has axed the $16 billion Lake Onslow pumped hydro scheme championed by the previous government, Energy Minister Simeon Brown says. “This hugely wasteful project was pouring money down the drain at a time when we need to be reining in spending and focussing on rebuilding the economy and ...
    7 days ago
  • NZ welcomes further pause in fighting in Gaza
    New Zealand welcomes the further one-day extension of the pause in fighting, which will allow the delivery of more urgently-needed humanitarian aid into Gaza and the release of more hostages, Foreign Minister Winston Peters said. “The human cost of the conflict is horrific, and New Zealand wants to see the violence ...
    1 week ago
  • Condolences on passing of Henry Kissinger
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters today expressed on behalf of the New Zealand Government his condolences to the family of former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who has passed away at the age of 100 at his home in Connecticut. “While opinions on his legacy are varied, Secretary Kissinger was ...
    1 week ago
  • Backing our kids to learn the basics
    Every child deserves a world-leading education, and the Coalition Government is making that a priority as part of its 100-day plan. Education Minister Erica Stanford says that will start with banning cellphone use at school and ensuring all primary students spend one hour on reading, writing, and maths each day. ...
    1 week ago
  • US Business Summit Speech – Regional stability through trade
    I would like to begin by echoing the Prime Minister’s thanks to the organisers of this Summit, Fran O’Sullivan and the Auckland Business Chamber.  I want to also acknowledge the many leading exporters, sector representatives, diplomats, and other leaders we have joining us in the room. In particular, I would like ...
    1 week ago
  • Keynote Address to the United States Business Summit, Auckland
    Good morning. Thank you, Rosemary, for your warm introduction, and to Fran and Simon for this opportunity to make some brief comments about New Zealand’s relationship with the United States.  This is also a chance to acknowledge my colleague, Minister for Trade Todd McClay, Ambassador Tom Udall, Secretary of Foreign ...
    1 week ago
  • India New Zealand Business Council Speech, India as a Strategic Priority
    Good morning, tēnā koutou and namaskar. Many thanks, Michael, for your warm welcome. I would like to acknowledge the work of the India New Zealand Business Council in facilitating today’s event and for the Council’s broader work in supporting a coordinated approach for lifting New Zealand-India relations. I want to also ...
    1 week ago
  • Coalition Government unveils 100-day plan
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has laid out the Coalition Government’s plan for its first 100 days from today. “The last few years have been incredibly tough for so many New Zealanders. People have put their trust in National, ACT and NZ First to steer them towards a better, more prosperous ...
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand welcomes European Parliament vote on the NZ-EU Free Trade Agreement
    A significant milestone in ratifying the NZ-EU Free Trade Agreement (FTA) was reached last night, with 524 of the 705 member European Parliament voting in favour to approve the agreement. “I’m delighted to hear of the successful vote to approve the NZ-EU FTA in the European Parliament overnight. This is ...
    2 weeks ago

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