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Tax cuts or fix this…

Written By: - Date published: 7:01 am, July 21st, 2017 - 54 comments
Categories: education, election 2017, health, labour, tax - Tags: , , , , , , ,

Auckland City Councilor Richard Hills was on to something yesterday when he tweeted:

There’s a few more things below need fixing before tax cuts. You might want to add your own in comments. Good thing Labour is promising to cancel the tax cuts and spend billions more on health and education.


https://twitter.com/talk2graeme/status/887993527744946176

54 comments on “Tax cuts or fix this… ”

  1. Andre 1

    Having homeless people and beggars in your face and seeing poor people generally shat on was one of the most unpleasant aspects of living in the US. Returning to NZ in ’99 brought some sense of relief that even a decade of Nat callousness wasn’t enough to eliminate that fundamental decency in NZ society.

    But con-fucking-gratulations, current Beehive occupants. Over the last 8 years you’ve managed to leapfrog the US is at least one of those shameful criteria, and are visibly trying hard to outdo the US in the others. I’m just disgusted.

    • Guerilla Surgeon 1.1

      I remember seeing beggars in the US, and while I was expecting it, it was quite unpleasant to see whole families living in shop doorways – seemingly. Begging for change. Not even aggressively – quite passively – maybe the cops made sure of that. But then I came back to New Zealand and saw my first New Zealand beggar. That was gut wrenching. There was no need for it then, and there is no need for it now.

  2. This needs to be plastered all over the MSM.

    Doesn’t matter if its close to election time or not , – in fact if a government has been carrying on like this , all the moreso it needs to be exposed.

    You DO NOT reward incompetence that harms other people.

    And this government is harming tens of thousands.

    • Keepcalmcarryon 2.1

      That OECD graph is shocking. I had no idea we were the worst per capita- this needs to be broadcast everywhere like you say WK.

      • tc 2.1.1

        we’ve gone the wrong way on many graphs since national re-took treasury benches in 2008.

  3. patricia bremner 3

    I agree Andre, 1
    and the failure of the press to do decent journalism about these situations,
    the closing down of sympathetic coverage, (John)
    the systematic shifting of government assistance to charities
    the inadequate and decreasing funding of services
    the sell off of public assets owned by the taxpayer at cheap rates
    the constant memes “user pays” “personal choices”
    All these actions of this government has caused terrible tears in NZ’s social fabric.

    We need to stop bickering, join together and as united progressives and cause change.

    First change the government
    Change the memes to “hope” “community” “togetherness” “sustainability”
    We have good intentions we need to harvest and Tatou Tatou.

    Andrew has stated he
    “Wants the Greens in Government” so “Together” “Hope” “Community sustainability”

  4. Wayne 4

    As soon as I read the homeless chart cited by Graeme Axford I knew it had to be wrong.

    There is no way that NZ has 5 times per capita as many people who are homeless as the US.

    A quick check on the web picked up a 2015 Economist article on US homelessness which had 578,000 living on the streets, in tents and in cars. There is another 1.49 million in emergency state/charity provided accommodation. A Social Statistics survey had 564,000 living rough (streets, tents and cars).

    The 564,000 or 578,000 figure is clearly where the 0.2% figure for the US in the chart cited by Axford comes from.

    New Zealand does not have 45,000 people living on the streets, in tents or in cars. The 45,000 covers people staying with relatives and in emergency accommodation (motels). In fact these two categories cover the great bulk of the 45,000.

    Now I appreciate that there is a big housing problem to solve, but lets not use false statistics. Even if they have a source that might seem credible, it is sometimes obvious that they cannot be correct, or at the very least are not comparing the same things.

    • Muttonbird 4.1

      Seeking to minimise the problems which face the vulnerable.

      How classy.

    • Andre 4.2

      When I left New Zealand in 1990, beggars and homeless people and window-washers on street corners weren’t ever seen. In the US throughout the 90s they were everywhere. When I returned to New Zealand in 1999, they weren’t visible. In 2008, they weren’t visible in Auckland. Now the visible presence of homeless, beggars, window-washers in Auckland feels much the same to me as it did in the 90s US.

      No amount of quibbling about statistics changes that shameful observation.

      • gsays 4.2.1

        And as Wayne found out recently about wages, statistics and reality are often miles away from what he ‘thinks’.

      • marty mars 4.2.2

        I agree with a lot of what you are saying especially your last line. And there was homelessness in 1990 and earlier – perhaps not seen or seen and not noticed – hell for Māori it has been perennial.

        “In 1975, the Housing Corporation referred to the ‘serious effects’ of a housing shortage with ‘many situations of overcrowding’, and a 1979 pilot survey of Auckland found that numerous people did not have access to adequate housing. [11] Surveys conducted in the early 1980s concluded there was a ‘housing crisis’ in Christchurch, and in Auckland homelessness also appeared to be a ‘significant problem’. [12] A 1988 report by the National Housing Commission estimated at least 20,000 households had a serious housing need. [13]

        In 1991, full market rents for state houses were introduced, with the government providing an accommodation supplement. The Housing Corporation was restructured, and some state housing sold. [14] The Citizens Advice Bureaux Association received 2,500 emergency housing inquiries in 1995, a 40% increase over the past three years. Contributing factors included a shortage of state housing, along with rents and bonds often being too high for beneficiaries and low income earners. [15] Concern was expressed over homelessness in large cities and smaller areas. [16] After the 1999 general election there was a moratorium on selling state housing and income-related rents were reintroduced. [17]”

        https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/research-papers/document/00PLEcoRP14021/homelessness-in-new-zealand

      • Wayne 4.2.3

        Andre,

        It is not a minor quibble. Compared to the US figure in the chart, the NZ figure is at least 5 times overstated.

        Max Rushbrooke has interviewed Dr Kate Amore on the Morgan Foundation website. She says that of the 41,00 homeless (it was 36,000 in 2006), 28,000 are living in someone else’s home, basically two families in one home. 4,000 are living in streets and cars. The balance of 9,000 live in campgrounds (caravans and buses) and in govt provided emergency housing (motels).

        So the comparable figure to the the 578,000 in the US is 4,000 on the streets and cars and probably a similar number in caravans and campground cabins. So perhaps 8,000. The US figure of 578,000 is people on streets, cars and tents, not even able to live caravans and cabins. The US has millions living in trailer parks.

        There is a serious problem to be solved, but to suggest we are anywhere near as bad as the US, or has Graeme Axford would have it, 5 times worse than the US, is not the reality.

        You can’t effectively solve a problem or make a priority list of who needs the most help if you choose to be blind to the actual facts.

        • marty mars 4.2.3.1

          yep – spend all day chattering about the number meanwhile more kids live in cars and more homeless men die on church steps – gnats just cannot for the life of them DEAL with the issue – always playing games and billshitting.

        • WILD KATIPO 4.2.3.2

          @ Wayne

          … ” You can’t effectively solve a problem or make a priority list of who needs the most help if you choose to be blind to the actual facts ”…

          Which is exactly what you and the National party are.

          The very fact we have a Deputy PM coming on today – who not so long ago shared the housing portfolio and was the butt of all jokes putting people up in motels to hide the true extent of the housing crisis , – making this outrageous statement about ” not knowing how bad the housing crisis was ”…

          And her mate Flavell saying ” I have no idea how homelessness got so bad”….

          Shows a monumentally COLOSSAL blindness to the facts.

        • Andre 4.2.3.3

          Ok Wayne, lets take your spin defending a government you were a senior member of at face value.

          Let grant, purely for the sake of this argument, that Axford has overstated the NZ problem by a factor of 5. Then NZ’s problem is now roughly the same size as that of the US.

          The US has a very individualistic culture, and historically has had a notably uncaring, even punitive cultural attitude towards those down on their luck. New Zealand, by contrast, historically had a culture of helping those unfortunates, giving them a helping hand back up. That’s mostly now gone.

          Are you proud of the fact that under the government you were a senior member of, New Zealand has now degraded to match the US’ shameful situation?

        • Draco T Bastard 4.2.3.4

          It is not a minor quibble. Compared to the US figure in the chart, the NZ figure is at least 5 times overstated.

          [citation needed]

          Really, you’ve just been Making Shit Up™ to suit your prejudices – again.

        • TootingPopularFront 4.2.3.5

          Mr Axford is quoting Yale researchers’ figures Wayne, would you care to critique the methodology of researchers from that institute?

          • One Anonymous Bloke 4.2.3.5.1

            He already did: he reckons it can’t be right. This is what the National Party considers good Law Commissioner material.

    • Stunned Mullet 4.3

      Agreed Wayne – the bullshit manipulation of stats as per this post is what turns people off politics.

      • WILD KATIPO 4.3.1

        No ,… first off its only B.S to the likes of Wayne and yourself.

        Second off, no ones turned off politics by it except such as yourself. A right winger in denial. If anything, articles such as this are the very reason there is now such growing fears among National.

        Which is a joy to see.

        I can smell your sweat from here.

        Unfortunately.

      • tc 4.3.2

        sorry to see you go then, bye.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 4.3.3

        Whatever you need to tell yourself to maintain the pretence that there’s nothing to see, and it’s nothing to do with you or the policies you support.

    • @ Wayne

      And can you start to be even a fraction of a tad more honest that the very neo liberal policies that created the 578,000 homeless in the USA are pretty much the same sort of policies that have created NZ’s 45,000 ?

      I don’t think you can , can you… its beyond you.

      That would undermine your narrative.

      And that of our globalist neo liberal PM the Double Dipper from Dipton.

      And the fact that there even IS , … 45,000 homeless / in temporary accommodation does nothing to validate the ideology you seem perpetually compelled to want to justify. Your neo liberal ideology.

      This is why I said on another post that your views along with Paula Bennett and the Double Dipping PM are getting harder and harder to take seriously.

    • Keepcalmcarryon 4.5

      So the 45000 don’t have a home but aren’t homeless? God you are revolting Wayne.

      • tc 4.5.1

        The reasonable and calm face of neoliberalism rationalising peoples suffering into some conveniently created memes to make it all sound anything but those in powers fault.

        He’s pretty good at it though you have to admit.

    • “As soon as I read the homeless chart cited by Graeme Axford I knew it had to be wrong.

      There is no way that NZ has 5 times per capita as many people who are homeless as the US.”

      Breath-takingly arrogant there, Wayne.
      You just knew.

      • Wayne 4.6.1

        Robert,

        You don’t have to know much to know that the US is worse off than NZ in almost every adverse social statistic. So a chart that shows NZ is 5 times times worse than the US in homelessness, should trigger just about anyones “bullshit” alert.

        • Robert Guyton 4.6.1.1

          And yet your team slavishly follows their lead?
          What are we to think, Wayne?

        • Stuart Munro 4.6.1.2

          In a well run country it would trigger a robust gathering of data, not the pathetic asscovering and hiding that characterizes the incompetent assemblage of ambulant dog tucker that pretends to the status of ‘government’ in NZ.

        • marty mars 4.6.1.3

          what about youth suicide statistics wayne – we are beating them with that one aren’t we – and there are many more. Talk about living in a fact free dream world trev geeze.

    • Macro 4.7

      Did you actually read the article linked to in the tweet Wayne?
      If you had you would note:
      1. Whilst the US has a national strategy to address homelessness, NZ has not.
      2. The just under 1% of NZers who are homeless correctly represents the around 45,000 people who are homeless in this country, where homelessness is increasing, whereas in the US until recently Homelessness was decreasing. The report makes mention of of the US

      National levels of homelessness are typically lower than those of their major cities. For example, while the US rate of homelessness is 0.17 percent, the rate in its capital, Washington, DC, is more than seven times higher at 1.24 percent. The majority of homeless in the United States, 60 percent, are male, with rates nearly twice as high as those of women.

      3. The data used in the bar chart are derived from the OECD.

      The causes and effects of homelessness listed in the Yale article are worth repeating as well because they are all factors that exist in NZ>

      Causes of homelessness across countries are multifaceted, though some factors stand out, including shortages of affordable housing, privatization of civic services, investment speculation in housing, unplanned and rapid urbanization, as well as poverty, unemployment and family breakdown. Also contributing is a lack of services and facilities for those suffering from mental illness, alcoholism or substance abuse and displacement caused by conflicts, natural disasters and government housing policies. In some cases, too, homelessness leads to alcoholism, substance abuse and mental illness.

      In many countries the prices to buy or rent homes are relatively high and rising faster than wages. Urban “gentrification” leading to rising property values and rental rates push low-income households into precarious living arrangements including slums, squatter settlements and homelessness.

      Even people with jobs sometimes cannot afford adequate housing on minimum wages. One recent study, for example, found that nowhere in the United States can someone who works 40 hours a week at the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour afford a one-bedroom apartment at fair market rent. To afford a one-bedroom apartment at the average fair market rate without paying more than 30 percent of one/s income, a person must earn at least $16.35 an hour.

      In many cities, growing homelessness is straining resources for social workers and shelters. When officials try to open new facilities or provide services for the homeless, they encounter financial constraints as well as resistance from the public and private enterprises in many neighborhoods, which consider homelessness burdensome and bad for business.

    • Bill 4.8

      So (if my quick calculations are right), what you are saying Wayne, is that NZ is as bad as the US when it comes to people living on the streets – ie, 0.2%.

      That’s diabolical, and given that NZ is meant to have a social security safety net that was never really put n place in the US coz – American Dream and “opportunity” – that 0.2% suggests something vile is happening in NZ at the level of government exercising society’s moral obligations. (Or should that be exorcising?)

    • Macro 4.9

      What you say is totally incorrect Wayne
      The figures for both the US and NZ

      Figures include more than persons 1) living
      rough, 2) living in emergency accommodation,
      and 3) living in accommodation for the
      homeless

      As quoted by the Yale report as obtained from OECD data here:
      http://www.oecd.org/els/family/HC3-1-Homeless-population.pdf
      pg 3

      • Wayne 4.9.1

        Draco,

        Clearly you did not look at the interview between Max Rushbrooke and Dr Kate Amore, which sets out the facts of homelessness in NZ, or else you would not have made your post.

        The US has 70 times the population of New Zealand. So if I take the New Zealand figure of 8,000 which includes 4000 people in caravans and cabins, then that is comparable to the US figure of 560,000. Except the US figure is sleeping on streets, cars and tents.

        The Guardian, (May, 2015) says 20 million US residents (6% of the population) live in trailer parks. Now I appreciate that the typical US trailer is better than the equivalent in NZ. Still it is a very big number in the US who don’t have what I regard as a permanent home. However, some US trailers are pretty good and some people live in them by preference.

        Therefore the better comparison is the 4,000 in NZ living on the streets and cars, compared to 560,000 in the US. That is half the US rate. I added the additional 4,000 people in motor camps, because in my view NZ motor camps are not as good as US trailer parks. Therefore they need better housing than they currently have.

        Macro,

        When you include the number living in emergency accommodation and accommodation for the homeless, the number rises to 2 million. The 578,000 are those living rough (streets, cars, tents). Based on the article in the Economist.

        Bill

        New Zealanders living on the street or in cars is 4,000 (0.1%). This is a solvable problem. For instance Auckland needs a homeless shelter, and the govt should fund The Salvation Army to build one, for say at least 200 people.

        I would note the problem has not just arisen in the last 9 years. As Dr Amore notes we have had this for some decades. When I was a kid in the North, there were some terrible living conditions.

        • Macro 4.9.1.1

          Well Wayne; to which set of figures do you give the most credence?
          The OECD or the Economist? The OECD acknowledges the difficulties in comparing countries as each country reports the numbers of homeless differently – however in the article to which I referred, and the one which has been used by the Yale University Report, both the NZ figures and the US figures include those living rough, those living in emergency accommodation,and those living in accommodation for the homeless
          Since 2008 (ie under the Obama administration) in the US there has been a significant decline in the number of homeless (from around 672,000 in 2007 to the 565,000 in 2015). Most of these people are in the major cities which is why they are so apparent. But the US is a big country, and there are many millions living outside the cities.

        • Draco T Bastard 4.9.1.2

          Homelessness

          adjective
          1. without a home:
          a homeless child.
          noun, ( used with a plural verb)
          2. the homeless, persons who lack permanent housing.

          Which means that you’re talking out you’re arse. People swishing in five families to a room are homeless because they don’t have a home. They’re living in someone else’s and will be asked to move ASAP.

        • Korero Pono 4.9.1.3

          @ Wayne, no. New Zealand does not need a fucking night shelter, it needs a Government that gives a toss. We don’t need to normalise shelters, we need homes. We don’t need to give Salvation Army money to do government’s job, we need government to do a proper job. We seriously don’t need you or your ilk causing more damage to our country and people. Wayne no matter how you spin it, National have fucked up.

    • Wensleydale 4.10

      Like Wayne, I strongly disapprove of the use of “false statistics”.

      That’s the sort of disingenuous, self-serving, blatantly dishonest political chicanery the National Party indulges in, and I shall have none of it.

      In other news, if, by some perverse twist of fate, National wins again this election… I will pour acid in my eyes and fly to the sun.

    • mac1 4.11

      Wayne, using your figures. 578,000 US homeless as a percentage of 330,000,000 US citizens gives 0.175%. That same percentage applied to NZ’s 4,500,000 citizens gives a total of 7,875 people.

      What is NZ’s figure of homeless people? More or less than 7875?

      In the town I live in there are 128 on the HNZ list which is a difficult list to qualify for. We have 1% of the population of NZ. That means 12,800 people in the HNZ category throughout NZ, 0.28%

      That is still a bigger percentage than the homeless of the US, the land of the free and the homeless.

      • Wayne 4.11.1

        The US figure of 578,00 is those sleeping rough (streets, cars and tents). The comparable figure in NZ is 4,000. I added a further 4,000 for those in caravans and cabins, but that is not the same as sleeping on streets, cars and tents. There is also 4,000 in emergency accommodation.

        There are obviously more people than that who do not own or rent, but are forced to live with relatives and friends, with an inadequate number of bedrooms. For instance two families with children in a three bedroom house. This is another 28,000.

        I do recall when I was a kid, that lots of people with larger families had “sleep outs.” So for instance two boys would be in a little unheated cabin in the back section. In winter (Reporoa in the central North Island) they were pretty cold. Lots of blankets and a hot water bottle or two were essential.

        Anyway the total of the figures above is 41,000. All would qualify for the HNZ list, though perhaps not all would be won the HNZ “hit list”. Obviously the situation varies for different towns and cities. Auckland would be worse than say New Plymouth. Maybe in your city of 45,000 with 128 on the HNZ hit list, the situation is not as bad as South Auckland.

        On any reasonable reading of the actual statistics (as opposed to the graph) the situation in New Zealand is definitely not as bad as the US. For instance 20 million (6%) live in trailer parks. In New Zealand, people living in trailer parks (caravan parks) would not be remotely close to 6%. Though in the US there are lots of quite good quality trailer homes.

        Of course, as many commenters have observed, New Zealanders, right across the political spectrum, expect us to do better than the US in these kinds of social statistics.

        • mac1 4.11.1.1

          Thanks for your reply, Wayne.

          I’d be interested to know the source and therefore the accuracy of your 4000 figure for homeless in New Zealand, and thereafter for those in caravans etc and those living in overcrowded situation like two families in one house.

          Your argument does depend on these figures if comparisons are made between ourselves and another country.

  5. alwyn 5

    This would be the Richard Hills who was a candidate for Labour in 2011 and 2014 I presume?
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Hills_(politician)
    I wonder why he, and you for that matter, don’t think that fact is relevant?
    Did he write the stuff himself or did he just pass out the material he was handed by the leader’s office?

    • red-blooded 5.1

      I suspect it wasn’t mentioned because it’s totally irrelevant. How about addressing the issues, rather than attacking the one of the many messengers?

    • tax cuts or fix this leaky mouth?

      It was witty al even you can see that – plus I notice you spelled his name correctly – good boy, well done – good to see you are learning something in these forums.

  6. Incognito 6

    Some problems cannot be fixed with money, rather the opposite.

    Another problem is that economists and politicians, and people in general, view money as a limited and precious (!) resource that takes priority over almost (…) everything else.

    For the love of money is the root of all evil

  7. UncookedSelachimorpha 7

    The Labour billboard shown on the Standard homepage for this post is brilliant! I hope it gets a lot of coverage.

    A similar theme in a great cartoon from Toby Morris on RNZ today:

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/on-the-inside/335541/the-money-or-the-bag

    • Brutus Iscariot 7.1

      Brilliantly disingenous. The Nats tax cuts are aimed squarely at the middle class and average income earners. To say they target the top 10% is laughable – they haven’t touched the top tax bracket or rate.

      The fact that Labour are protesting them shows how leftwards the Overton Window has slid.

      • UncookedSelachimorpha 7.1.1

        I disagree about the Overton window (I think it is still very much to the right), but you are right about the focus of the current tax cuts – while they provide more benefit to those better off than the worst off, they are largely not targeted at the top 10%.

        Having said that, most of the tax changes over the last 30 years have primarily benefited the top 10%, as does our continued refusal to tax capital effectively.

  8. Cinny 8

    Just wanted to say I’m absolutely thrilled to pieces with Labours Education Manifesto, buzzing out about the opportunities it will create for all.

    Awesome work, well done to everyone involved, especially Chris Hipkins. Fantastic.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eu_dUxTg33I

    http://www.labour.org.nz/labour_to_invest_4_billion_in_education

  9. Keepcalmcarryon 9

    Of course the answer is tax cuts AND spend 10s of millions of other people’s money (who knew?) putting the homeless in temporary accommodation while selling off state houses.
    You spend the money twice over, don’t fix the problem and worsen the housing shortage.
    That’s the economic genius of National, it’s how you add 80 billion dollars of national debt while worsening social problems.

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