Tax reform for everyone, not just the rich

Written By: - Date published: 7:26 am, November 27th, 2009 - 42 comments
Categories: tax - Tags:

Why is it that whenever you see discussion of introducing capital gains tax, land tax etc, the assumption is always that the money will be used to cut the top tax rates?

That seems completely misguided to me. Why should tax reform be all about taking tax burden off those most able to bear it? Taxes to disincentivise housing as an investment won’t only be borne by housing investors. In fact, the Tax Working Group says the effect of closing the tax breaks for housing will be regressive (ie take a higher portion of the incomes of people on low incomes than those on high incomes) because there will be pass-on to rents. So, if the new taxes, as desirable as they are, will be felt by a broad section of the population, why should the counteracting tax cuts only go to the wealthy elite?

Now, a lot of you out there will be saying ‘I earn over $70,000 and I’m not rich’. Two points:

1) relatively, you are. 91% of New Zealanders earn less than $70,000. The median income in New Zealand is $28,000, which means half of New Zealanders get by on less than that. The median wage is $41,000 and the median full-time wage is $45,000. So, yeah $70,000 is a bit. (see NZ Income Survey)

2) Sure, if you’re on $75,000 or $80,000 you get a little bit from a cut to the top tax rate but a 1% reduction in the top tax rate only gives you a dollar a week per $5,000 over $70,000 you earn. And consider: on $80,000 you get a whole $2 a week. But if you’re Rob Fyfe on $3.1 million you get $600 a week. Top bracket tax cuts aren’t only unfair to everyone earning below $70,000, they’re unfair to nearly everyone earning above $70,000 too.

Serious consideration should be given using the revenue from new property-based taxes to pay for a tax-free income tax bracket. OK, let’s say the combination of new taxes brings in $2 billion a year. If that money is used to cut the upper tax rates the top tax rates could be cut to 26% but three out of four people would get nothing, most of the rest get less than $20 a week, and 1.5% of taxpayers make off with tax cuts averaging $178 a week.

(in the graphs, one worker=100,000 taxpayers, each stack represents an income bracket $10,000 wide, the last two are $100K to $150K and $150K + the blue is the weekly tax cut)

tax cuts for the rich

A tax-free bracket up to about $5,300 would cost the same amount and would give everyone $13 a week.

fair tax cut

Now, which sounds fair to you?

42 comments on “Tax reform for everyone, not just the rich ”

  1. tsmithfield 1

    Its because we need to be creating an environment that encourages people to move ahead and improve their circumstances.

    An example of the effect of reversing the tax reduction schedule as you propose can be seen in one of my workers. He refuses to work overtime because it will reduce his level of family support, and so the extra income from overtime is no value to him.

    This is the effect of increasing taxes as people move up in the income bracket. It serves as a damper on the economy and in the end is bad for everyone including the low income workers.

    • Marty G 1.1

      “Its because we need to be creating an environment that encourages people to move ahead and improve their circumstances.” see: http://www.thestandard.org.nz/the-myth-of-upward-mobility/

      the richest countries in the world have higher top tax rates than we do – norway, sweden, uk, france, australia etc

      maybe you should hire another worker rather than expect people to work overtime.

      It is true that because people now get Working for Families and that abates as income rises it creates a higher marginal tax rate.

      If your worker has a enough kids, then his marginal earnings could be in the 38% bracket, and with Working for Families abating at 20 cents in the dollar that’s an effective marginal tax rate of 58 cents in the dollar.

      But what’s the alternative? get rid of WfF? Don’t think he would like that. Abate at a slower rate? Then richer people would get it and i remember the fuss the right kicked up over that.

      • Lanthanide 1.1.1

        The guy from the tax working group on 9 to noon yesterday morning acknowledged that Oz has a higher rate – 45%, but that it kicks it at a much higher income threshold, $180,000. The effect of this is that while we have a lower headline rate, 38%, people that are on that rate still pay a lot more tax on average than those overseas. He said you’d have to earn $200,000 before you start to pay less tax in NZ as a result of our lower headline rate than Oz – that means that up until $200k you pay more tax in NZ.

        So yes, we may have a lower *headline* rate, but the *effective* rate is higher than the rest of the world, and that is the issue that they are talking about.

    • prism 1.2

      Tsmithfield’s worker is making a good economic decision for his own circumstances. The trouble about many of our tax regimes is that they are too clear cut at the edges ie earn a bit more and you get hoisted into another tax bracket. Not indexing for inflation exacerbates this.
      Earn a bit over the allowed earnings for a beneficiary and you lose your allowances, and end up with less than your previous income which will not be the high rate sensationally trumpeted in the media. I haven’t seen an example of how such a high income can be allocated.
      The secondary tax system is another government tax rort based on the idea that a second job is a luxury as the first, main job pays enough to live on.
      Our tax system has been designed for simplicity and ease of accounting – the idea of a rational system and fair taxes that don’t discourage workers to earn more doesn’t come into it.

      • Marty G 1.2.1

        agree that the abatement rate for benefits sucks – 70%!

        Add in 12.5% or 21% tax and people trying to come off the benefit face marginal tax rates of up to 91%. It makes it every unappealing to go from the benefit to part-time work. You’re basically giving up a lot of time for bugger all extra cash.

        Tricky though. Lower the abatement rate and you’ll have people earning thousands of dollars a year from work while getting the unemployment benefit. And you can imagine the Right’s response to that.

        • TightyRighty 1.2.1.1

          who would work because it’s the right thing to do, rather than just sucking from the taxpayers tit. all the bullshit that pours of this site about how much people who are unemployed would love to work, and then this bullshit comes out about how people need to make rational economic choices. benefits need to be taken away if people think it’s more economic to stay on them. because benefits are for people who deserve them, not sponges.

          • JonL 1.2.1.1.1

            When you;re earning SFA to start with, every dollar counts! Would you work, knowing that tax is taking 40mins of every hours wages?

      • felix 1.2.2

        Agree with prism (and Marty) on benefit abatement rates.

        Also on the secondary tax system – I’ve never understood how this is supposed to make sense. It seems like a relic from a bygone era.

        • Draco T Bastard 1.2.2.1

          Most of our tax system is a relic of a bygone era – the era when we didn’t have computers and high speed data connections.

    • jcuknz 1.3

      This letter tsmithfield illustrates the mad pre-occupation with getting ahead monetarywise instead of living a good and full life which used to be the New Zealand ethic as opposed to the crazy dog eat dog world of America. On the otherhand I thought fellow workers who refused overtime ‘because of the extra tax paid’ as rather stupidly self centred as it is the responsibility of those who have it to pay it for the benefit of all … worker or employer. Much of my working life I paid above average tax and never regretted it … my contribution to a responsible society.

    • roger nome 1.4

      It’s because we need to create an environment that encourages correct grammar, and critical faculties, that allow us to see trough neo-liberal dogma (i.e. that people are only motivated by cash.

      You embody the failure of the National’s and Labour’s 1990s-present policies. Time to move on.

  2. Ron 2

    So your worker won’t work overtime? If they had decided this because it interefered with their church repsonisbilities? If the they decided not to because they preferred to spend time with their family? If they had a doisbal;ed family member who required their time? If they decided not to take overtime because they’re happy with their income and don’t want the extra work?

    It’s a workers right to work overtime or not and it should be no concern of yours what those reasons are.

    • gitmo 2.1

      Ummmmm I think the point being made is that in this particular case there is a perverse incentive for this person not to increase their gross income as it will decrease their net income…….I hope you can see that situation is non-sensical

      • Marty G 2.1.1

        oh dear gitmo.

        There is no way for tax to turn an increase in gross income into a lower net income. You’re talking about a marginal tax rate over 100%. It doesn’t exist.

        The highest you can get in NZ is an income over $70,000 with Working for Families, which gives a marginal tax rate of 58% – 38% tax, 20% abatement of WFF.

        You realise that when your income enters a higher tax bracket it is only the earnings in that bracket that are taxed at the higher rate, eh? Everything else is taxed at the lower rates.

        captcha: invalid

        • gitmo 2.1.1.1

          That’s odd I had one staff member with the same issue who was convinced that if we gave her the increase we were proposing it led to a decrease in her WFF and a decrease in her net income…. perhaps we calculated it incorrectly ?

          • Marty G 2.1.1.1.1

            there aren’t 100%+ marginal tax rates. Not since Muldoon’s day. No-one would accept a payrise that pushed them over the boundary if there was.

        • Lanthanide 2.1.1.2

          Also throw in the 10% student loan payments, as someone earning over $70k is likely to have. Obviously it’s not really a ‘tax’, but it does come out of your take home pay.

          • snoozer 2.1.1.2.1

            if you’re on a benefit, that could potentially make your marginal tax rate 101%. But for people on over $70K and getting Working for Families and with a student loan to pay (not a huge group, of course) it’s 68%

            • felix 2.1.1.2.1.1

              Do people on benefits have to make student loan repayments?

            • snoozer 2.1.1.2.1.2

              if they earn over the repayment threshold. Say you were earning for half a year and now you’re on the dole, if it takes your annual earnings over 16K or whatver the threshold is, you need to pay 10 cents in the dollar above that threshold

      • Ron 2.1.2

        Can’t see anything non-sensical aboout it. The comment was trying to draw a connection between levels of taxation and/or government support and the willingness of his/her workers to work overtime. It’s irrelevant. A worker has a right to decide for themselves whether they want to work overtime. Their reasons for this are none of the employer’s business.
        The fact that this worker is sensibly supported through WfF is a good thing for our sociaety and if they choose not to work overtime because they value that support – again – none of the employer’s business.
        You could just as easily aruge that we should pay people less as an incentive to do overtime? In fact that is what is being argued.

  3. tsmithfield 3

    The situation with our business is that we have customers who can only have work done after hours. So overtime is unavoidable. The stated reason my worker doesn’t want to do overtime is abatement of family support, no other reason.

    Marty, how do you think your upward mobility study would look in a hypothetical situation where the tax percentages were reversed, so that low income workers paid tax at the highest rate?

    The problem at the moment is that the so called wealthy are paying highest tax rates in terms of both amount and percentage. Furthermore they don’t get any of the benefits from the state (family support, community services card etc). Therefore they are disincentivised in more ways than one. These people also often are in a position to take there money and go to another country that treats them more fairly if they so wish if they feel like they are getting too screwed over. So, be careful what you wish for.

    • Marty G 3.1

      how am I meant to create a fantasy world where the poor are taxed more than the rich?

      That’s actually nutty. You’re saying let’s take the people with the least, the people on the edge and take more of what little they have so that people like you and I can have more cash for funding our comfortable lifestyles.

      All that would happen is the poor would be poorer and the rich richer. It’s not going to suddenly make everyone rich. That train of thought assumes that people want to be poor.

    • Ron 3.2

      “The situation with our business is that we have customers who can only have work done after hours. So overtime is unavoidable.” OR – you structure your business to cater to your clients.

      • felix 3.2.1

        Nah, it’s totally the worker’s problem.

        • prism 3.2.1.1

          Hey, that doesn’t address the reality of after main business hours needs of customers. Then there are roads or railways where work may have to be done when traffic is light. Wellington people may like to give a big thank you to the people working over the Christmas holidays updating parts of the rail system there.

          • snoozer 3.2.1.1.1

            employing people to work outside normal business hours isn’t the same as expecting them to work overtime.

    • Bored 3.3

      Hi ts, I too run a company that has regular overtime required at all hours 24*7. To enable us to do this I accept the need to pay penal rates that exceed any displaced income elsewhere (i.e. extra income eats into family entitlements etc). This I pass on to the customer (a luxury a lot of companies dont have I admit), but at least this gives some incentive.

      The above scenario I dont blame on the tax system per se, it is more a result of my efforts to maximise my profit which is generated by the work put in by the employees. The issue is systemic, if I pay more I become both less profitable and less competitve price wise and we are all out of work. If I dont pay enough the work doesnt get done.

      I dont complain about the tax system the employees work within, any business person worth their salt knows any number of ways to structure the rest of the business to take advantage of where the taxman meets the ledger. We have the luxury PAYE people dont of choosing what Caesars cut comes from at the best rate. That is where tax reform needs to be concentrated, not on the least able to take advantage.

    • jcuknz 3.4

      >>>The situation with our business is that we have customers who can only have work done after hours<<<
      Surerly this is a situation where you employ people to work those hours and to have time off during the 'working day'. A good proportion of my working life I was employed that way with 10-7 and 5-midnight shifts becuase that was when the work was. No overtime was required apart from covering other staff sickness etc.

      It also seems wrong that we have so many beneficiaries in the country with punitive abatement levels which mean such small reward for extra work. A further problem is that cutting taxes for 'the workers' is so expensive for government and so unrewarding for the worker….. or is that a fallacy?

  4. vidiot 4

    So in Martys terms, a single income family earning $80K per annum is rich, yet a dual income family earning 2 median full-time wage of $45,000 ($90K) is not ?

    You call it working for families, yet it actively discourages having a single income family ? And instead encourages both parents to go back to work. Like that’s really going to help your family unit… here strangers look after my kids, I need to earn a buck to stay afloat.

    • Marty G 4.1

      it doesn’t discourage single income families. It is the family income, not yours alone that is taken into account.

      Obviously personal circumstances change your wealth. If you are single on $50K with no kids, you’re sitting pretty easy. $70K between two of you with two kids is not so easy.

      • vidiot 4.1.1

        It does discourage single income families.

        Q) How much tax does a single income family pay on 80K of income ?
        A) $21,309.60

        Q) How much tax does a dual income family on 80K (2 x 40k) pay ?
        A) $15,778.80

        The difference – $5,530.80 – about $106.00 per week and that’s before any WFF payments are taken in to account.

        • snoozer 4.1.1.1

          vidiot. The issue you’re talking about there is income splitting, not Working for Families.

          Working for Families doesn’t discourage single earner families. Income splitting arguably would encourage single earner familes.. but implicit in your example is the assumption that, if only the tax system would encourage them to do it, the couple would stop earning 40K each and one of them would be able to magically increase (his) income to 80K. And that’s just fantasyland stuff

          Income splitting would probably be mostly used for rorting by business owners.

          • vidiot 4.1.1.1.1

            An easy fix would be to allow income splitting, but that income splitting stops either the moment the registered 2nd adult starts full-time work or the youngest child turns 18.

        • prism 4.1.1.2

          The Wffamilies is seen by some as a welfare handout not a rebalancing of an unfair rigid tax system which recognises the extra cost burdens that parents bear. Every now and then there are disparaging comments about it. It would be far better to have the old adjustable tax system where the family pay a set rate of tax according to the numbers of children – say 1-2, 3-4 5 and over. More work for administration? That’s what computers are meant to help with isn’t it! Then no handbacks to allow people just to manage.

          There is plenty of evidence in NZ of a growing number of working poor on low incomes who can hardly manage to pay the bills and don’t have much money left over for pleasure let alone emergencies. And they often have shit jobs with shit bosses and shit hours as well. Happy days in the bright NZ economy ushered in by Rodger and his band of elves.

          And all the time the rainbow vision dangled in front of us – parity with higher Australian incomes. At what pay level exactly are we talking about here. Those at the high end who think that $80,000 pa isn’t being rich. Some people are born moaners, they won’t be satisfied till they pay the same tax as someone on $30,000 and consider that is a fair and reasonable way to draw a country’s needed revenues.

          Sort of communistic isn’t it when you look at flat taxes – funny how right-wingers can twist and turn when there is advantage to them.

  5. Herodotus 5

    The tax system views earners as individuals the welfare/state looks at the family situation re income. One system does not dove tail into the other. So there are cases where the “rich” families who earn less than those that the state determines requires additional assisatnce.
    Under the tax system single income families are disadvantaged, so you conclude that labour & Nats do not value families esp parents who stay at home.
    I will coninue one of my pet questions that NO ONE will answer – What is a Livable wage. Then once this is ascertained then how does the tax system/ with welfare assist those under this level to live in a meaningful way ? But this question just solicites emptyness. If Labour cannot answer or is unwilling to perhaps that is why no one will vote for them.

    • Bored 5.1

      I remember the cheers from single people with no kids when the tax brackets were removed making all incomes taxed much the same way. In the 70s I recall you got taxed more if you were single or as a secondary income earner in a family. The tax got less the more kids you had.

      I suspect some of the results of this change include the need for family income support, surplus expenditure by childless people on consumer products, inability of poorer families to provide good parenting etc etc.

      Capcha “Senior”…I was a kid in the 70s

  6. ben 6

    Marty: again you miss the obvious. The stated goal is to shift tax from mobile factors to immobile factors. If you tax things that move then they may go to low tax jurisdictions. If you tax things that are immobile then you reduce DWL for any given amount of ta raised. Not a hard concept, not necessarily incompatible with your progressive ideal, and a well publicised one. Somehow, something you have missed.

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  • Fact Brief – Is the ocean acidifying?
    Skeptical Science is partnering with Gigafact to produce fact briefs — bite-sized fact checks of trending claims. This fact brief was written by John Mason in collaboration with members from the Gigafact team. You can submit claims you think need checking via the tipline. Is the ocean acidifying? Acidification of oceans ...
    5 days ago
  • 20,000+ on Queen St.
    The largest protest I ever went on was in the mid 90s. There were 10,000 people there that day, and I’ve never forgotten it. An enormous mass of people, chanting together. Stretching block after block, bringing traffic to a halt.But I can’t say that’s the biggest protest I’ve ever been ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    5 days ago
  • Josh Drummond's Columns
    Hi there,I wanted to put all of Josh Drummond’s Webworm pieces all in one place. I love that he writes for Webworm — and all of these are a good read!David.Why Are So Many “Christians” Hellbent on Being Horrible?Why do so many objectively hideous people declare themselves “Christian”?Meeting the Master ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    5 days ago
  • Bernard’s Saturday soliloquy and weekend Pick ‘n’ Mix for June 8/9
    Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: On reflection, the six things to note in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy around housing, climate and poverty this week were:The Government-driven freeze in building new classrooms, local roads and water networks in order to save cash for tax cuts is frustrating communities facing massive population ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    5 days ago
  • The no-vision thing
    Hello! Here comes the Saturday edition of More Than A Feilding, catching you up on the past somewhat interrupted week. Still on the move!Share Read more ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    5 days ago
  • When Journalists are Disingenuous
    Hi,One of the things I like the most about Webworm is to be able to break down the media and journalism a little, and go behind the scenes.This is one of those times.Yesterday an email arrived in my inbox from journalist Jonathan Milne, who is managing editor at Newsroom.I don’t ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    5 days ago
  • Me, elsewhere: Just say you’ll do the thing
    Wrote something over at 1/200 on a familiar theme of mine: The way we frame the economy as a separate, sacred force which must be sacrificed to, the way we talk about criminals as invaders who must be repelled, the constant othering of people on the benefit, people not in ...
    Boots TheoryBy Stephanie Rodgers
    6 days ago
  • A Voyage Among the Vandals: Accepted
    A nice bit of news today: my 4600-word historical fantasy-horror piece, A Voyage Among the Vandals, has been accepted by Phobica Books (https://www.phobicabooks.co.uk/books) for their upcoming Pirate Horror anthology, Shivering Timbers. This one is set in the Mediterranean, during the mid-fifth century AD. Notable for having one of history’s designated ...
    6 days ago
  • Ministerial conflicts of interest
    Since the National government came to power, it has been surrounded by allegations of conflicts of interest. Firstly, there's the fast-track law, which concentrates power in the hands of three Ministers, some of whom have received donations from companies whose projects they will be deciding on. Secondly, there's the close ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • The 2024 Budget Forecasts Are Gloomy Prognosis About The Next Three Years.
    There was no less razzamatazz about the 2024 Budget than about earlier ones. Once again the underlying economic analysis got lost. It deserves more attention.Just to remind you, the Budget Economic and Fiscal Update (BEFU), is the Treasury’s independent assessment and so can be analysed by other competent economists (although ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    6 days ago
  • A government that can't see twenty feet ahead
    There are two failings that consistently characterise a National government. One is a lack of imagination, the other is their willingness to look after their mates, no matter what harm it might do to everyone else.This is how we come to have thousands of enormous trucks carving up our roads. ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    6 days ago
  • A post I hope is incorrect
    In May, we learned that National MP David MacLeod had "forgotten" to declare $178,000 in electoral donations. Filing a donation return which is false in any material particular is a crime, and the Electoral Commission has now referred MacLeod to police, since they're the only people who are allowed to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Māori Cannot Re-Write New Zealand’s Constitution By Stealth.
    The Kotahitanga Parliament 1897: A Māori Parliament – at least in the guise of a large and representative body dedicated to describing the shape of New Zealand’s future from a Māori perspective – would be a very good idea.THE DEMAND for a “Māori Parliament” needs to be carefully unpicked. Some Pakeha, ...
    6 days ago
  • Cowpats and Colonials.
    Dumbtown, is how my friend Gerard refers to people like ZB listeners - he’s not wrong.Normally on a Friday I start by looking at Mike Hosking’s moronic reckons of the week which he vomits down the throats of his audience like helpless baby birds in a nest, grateful for the ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    6 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on cutting the sick leave of vulnerable workers
    Should sick leave be part and parcel of the working conditions from Day One on the job, just like every other health and safety provision? Or should access to sick leave be something that only gradually accumulates, depending on how long a worker has been on the payroll? If enacted ...
    WerewolfBy lyndon
    6 days ago
  • Nobody Move: Ageing Boomers, Laurie & Les, Talk Politics.
    So long as we live in a democracy, economic policy can never be anything other than social-democratic.“HEH!”, snorted Laurie, as he waved his debit card over the EFTPOS machine. “Same price as last week. I guess budgets aren’t what they used to be.”“I wouldn’t know,” replied the young barman, wearily, ...
    6 days ago
  • In Search Of Unity.
    Kotahitanga: New Zealand’s future belongs to those who do not fear a nation carved out of unity and solidarity, and are willing to trust the carvers. Some New Zealanders will be required to step up, and others, perhaps for the first time in their lives, will be expected to step ...
    6 days ago
  • Weekly Roundup 7-June-2024
    Welcome to another Friday roundup! Here are some recent links and stories that caught our eye, perfectly timed for your watercooler discussions and weekend reading. As always feel free to share more in the comments. Our header image this week is by Patrick Reynolds, and shows Te Komititanga from above. ...
    Greater AucklandBy Greater Auckland
    6 days ago
  • The Hoon around the week to June 7
    As Workplace Relations and Safety Minister, ACT’s Brooke van Velden is fronting proposed changes to sick pay regulations and The Holiday Act. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The podcast above of the weekly ‘hoon’ webinar for paying subscribers features talking with:The Kākā’s climate correspondent talking about the ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • Did we boil the oceans by cutting pollution?
    Lowering aerosol emissions from shipping has altered clouds, with potentially drastic effects. Photo: Getty ImagesTL;DR: Here’s the top six news items of note in climate news for Aotearoa-NZ this week, and a discussion above between Bernard Hickey and The Kākā’s climate correspondent Cathrine Dyer:New evidence is increasingly pointing at efforts ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #23 2024
    Open access notables Abrupt reduction in shipping emission as an inadvertent geoengineering termination shock produces substantial radiative warming, Yuan et al., Communications Earth & Environment: Human activities affect the Earth’s climate through modifying the composition of the atmosphere, which then creates radiative forcing that drives climate change. The warming effect ...
    7 days ago
  • Fragments
    The best observation I’ve read this week about the deep, profound harm Trump is doingTrump has hurled threats and smears at witnesses, jurors and the judge (including his family)... [he] has tried to intimidate witnesses and delegitimize the New York courts as corrupt. In continuing to incite his mob (that ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    7 days ago
  • March for Nature
    Do do do do do do do doDo do do do do doDi di di di di di di di di di diNature enter me…In 2018 the Labour lead government banned new oil and gas exploration in Aotearoa. A change welcomed by those who care deeply for our environment and ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • Bernard’s Dawn Chorus and pick ‘n’ mix for Thursday, June 6
    The Transport Minister is trying to push through urgent legislation that would allow him to change emissions standards for car imports without approval from Parliament, after only consulting car importers. Photo: Lynn GrievesonTL;DR: Just as two major reports showed fossil fuel burning was warming the planet to dangerous levels and ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • A Better Broadway: Act 2
    This is a guest post by reader Grant A, the second of a pair about how to fix Broadway. If you missed the beginning of the show, here’s the link to Act 1 from yesterday. Yesterday, I discussed changing traffic circulation around Broadway in Newmarket. This included implementing a car-free ...
    Greater AucklandBy Guest Post
    1 week ago
  • National breaks another health promise
    National has broken another manifesto health promise, apparently to save only $550,000. It will now train an additional 25 med students next year rather than the 50 it promised. This comes on top of the delays caused by National’s coalition partners in pushing ahead with the Waikato Medical School and ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    1 week ago
  • Climate Adam: Coping as the world’s best known climate scientist
    This video includes conclusions of the creator climate scientist Dr. Adam Levy. It is presented to our readers as an informed perspective. Please see video description for references (if any). Katharine Hayhoe is quite possibly the world's most famous climate scientist. She's produced wide ranging research, and communicated climate change with ...
    1 week ago
  • SIS “evidence” isn’t, again
    Back in 2016, then-Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne cancelled a New Zealand woman's passport, claiming she was a terrorist. The basis for his decision was a secret briefing by the SIS, which claimed that if she was allowed to travel, the woman would "engage with individuals who encourage acts of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • As Low As You Go
    Taking you as low as you goAs low as you goA sense of Déjà vu this morning. How many times have I begun a newsletter, “just when you thought they couldn’t go any lower…” Only for the groundhog to reappear, more pissed off than the day before.Another day with headlines ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • Bernard's Dawn Chorus and pick 'n' mix for Wednesday June 5
    TL;DR: The public health costs of human-caused air pollution in Aotearoa-NZ is estimated at $38.8 billion a year because it kills 3,300 people each year, which is almost ten times more than the death toll on roads from accidents. Yet the Ministry for the Environment has just one staff member ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • A Better Broadway: Act 1
    This is the first of a two-part guest post by Grant A, a long time reader and commenter with a keen interest in all things urban, especially cycling and public transport. He’s been thinking about how to fix Broadway. Stay tuned for Act 2! Readers might remember the pre-Christmas traffic snarl-ups in ...
    Greater AucklandBy Guest Post
    1 week ago
  • Road trance
    Sometimes technology is your friend and sometimes it can’t be bothered with you. Once you’re away from home and your dependable wifi, well, there’s no telling what will happen. I’ve been going in and out of high-speed and low-speed no-speed Internet pockets all over England and France and look, I’m ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • You Can't Undo Fake News
    Hi,I’ve been thinking a lot about Corey Harris, the 44-year old man who went viral after Zooming into his court appearance while driving. The headlines generated were basically all the same: “Man With Suspended Driver's License Dials Into Court Hearing While Driving”. The headlines said it all, and most people ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    1 week ago
  • At a glance – CO2 is the main driver of climate change
    On February 14, 2023 we announced our Rebuttal Update Project. This included an ask for feedback about the added "At a glance" section in the updated basic rebuttal versions. This weekly blog post series highlights this new section of one of the updated basic rebuttal versions and serves as a ...
    1 week ago
  • Acting Prime Minister David Seymour.
    When it came to David Seymour, Jacinda got one thing right, and another wrong. What is the sacrilege, I hear you ask? In what world in relation to David Seymour was our Jacinda ever wrong?Subscribe nowAs you no doubt remember, and personally I think there should be some sort of ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • More democratic abuse from National
    "Abuse of democracy" seems to be the emerging theme of this government, with bills rammed through under urgency or given pathetically short select committee submission times seemingly designed to limit and undermine public engagement. And today we have another case, with the public given just nine days to submit on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Gordon Campbell on the curse of being politically moderate about everything
    Nigel Farage’s initial reason for not standing in the British election – because he wanted to be a Trump adviser – never looked very convincing. His perfectly timed “change of mind” though, has won him extensive media coverage, and he’s now plunging into the election campaign as the rival candidate ...
    1 week ago
  • Bernard’s Dawn Chorus and pick ‘n’ mix for Tuesday, June 4
    Placards at a 2018 rally for better funding for new cancer drugs. National’s pre-election promise to do so may have won it votes, but the attempt to quietly drop the plan has now ignited a firestorm of protest. Photo: Lynn GrievesonTL;DR: The Government is now being engulfed in a firestorm ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • Budget 2024 Highlights
    Last week the government delivered their first budget and while there’s been plenty of other discussion about the main aspects of it, I was particularly interested to look at what it meant for transport. Before getting into too much detail, the chart below shows at a high level where transport ...
    1 week ago
  • Jeff Masters and Bob Henson give us the low-down on the 2024 Atlantic hurricane season
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Samantha Harrington (Background photo credit: NASA/NOAA GOES Project / CC BY 2.0 DEED) To kick off hurricane season, Yale Climate Connections editors Sara Peach and Sam Harrington sat down with meteorologists and Eye on the Storm writers Jeff Masters and Bob ...
    1 week ago
  • Bernard's pick 'n' mix for Monday, June 3
    TL;DR: The Tiwai Point aluminium smelter, which consumes over 15% of the motu’s renewable electricity, has struck a deal to stay open for another 20 years. This will delay Aotearoa-NZ’s transition to carbon zero and make it more expensive and unfair for the 100,000 households who currently can’t afford their ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • maBaguette
    Today we rolled through troglodyte caves and ate a fresh roast chook by the river, the mighty Loire River, the still quite angry-looking Loire River. The Loire is not itself because it has been raining here for the last seven months without a break, the locals have been telling us, ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • Empty Promises.
    Fighting out of the blue corner, wearing a pale pink jacket, a half hearted smile, and a lot of flack from the left and the right, it’s your Finance Minister - Nicola Willis.Her challenger will probe the Minister for answers. Armed with boyish charm and tricky questions, the last remaining ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • 2024 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #22
    A listing of 33 news and opinion articles we found interesting and shared on social media during the past week: Sun, May 26, 2024 thru Sat, June 1, 2024. Story of the week Sometimes one story is not enough. Our ongoing 2023-2024 experiences with lethal heatwaves, early wildfires and a threatening Atlantic hurricane season ...
    2 weeks ago

  • Ministry for Regulation targets red tape to keep farmers and growers competitive
    Regulation Minister David Seymour, Environment Minister Penny Simmonds, and Food Safety Minister Andrew Hoggard have today announced a regulatory sector review on the approval process for new agricultural and horticultural products.    “Red tape stops farmers and growers from getting access to products that have been approved by other OECD countries. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 hour ago
  • Government to reverse blanket speed limit reductions
    The Coalition Government will reverse Labour’s blanket speed limit reductions by 1 July 2025 through a new Land Transport Rule released for public consultation today, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.  The draft speed limit rule will deliver on the National-ACT coalition commitment to reverse the previous government’s blanket speed limit ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 hours ago
  • Chair appointments for NZSO, CNZ and NZ On Air
    Minister Paul Goldsmith is making major leadership changes within both his Arts and Media portfolios. “I am delighted to announce Carmel Walsh will be officially stepping into the role of Chair of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, having been acting Chair since April,” Arts Minister Paul Goldsmith says.  “Carmel is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 hours ago
  • Government focus on long-term food, fibre growth
    Food and fibre export revenue is tipped to reach $54.6 billion this year and hit a record $66.6b in 2028 as the Government focuses on getting better access to markets and cutting red tape, Agriculture Minister Todd McClay and Oceans and Fisheries Minister Shane Jones say. “This achievement is testament ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 hours ago
  • Govt consulting on cutting red tape for exporters
    A new export exemption proposal for food businesses demonstrates the coalition Government’s commitment to reducing regulatory barriers for industry and increasing the value of New Zealand exports, which gets safe New Zealand food to more markets, says Food Safety Minister Andrew Hoggard.  “The coalition Government has listened to the concerns ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    22 hours ago
  • New Zealand and Philippines elevating relationship
    New Zealand and Philippines are continuing to elevate our relationship, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.   “The leaders of New Zealand and Philippines agreed in April 2024 to lift our relationship to a Comprehensive Partnership by 2026,” Mr Peters says. “Our visit to Manila this week has been an excellent ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Paid Parental Leave increase to help families
    Workplace Relations and Safety Minister, Brooke van Velden says paid parental leave increase from 1 July will put more money in the pockets of Kiwi parents and give them extra support as they take precious time off to bond with their newborns. The increase takes effect from 1 July 2024 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Defence increases UN Command commitment
    The number of New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel deployed to the Republic of Korea is increasing, Defence Minister Judith Collins and Foreign Minister Winston Peters announced today.  NZDF will deploy up to 41 additional personnel to the Republic of Korea, increasing the size of its contribution to the United ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New Zealand to attend 'Summit on Peace in Ukraine' in Switzerland
    New Zealand will be represented at the Summit on Peace in Ukraine by Minister Mark Mitchell in Switzerland later this week.    “New Zealand strongly supports Ukraine’s efforts to build a comprehensive, just, and lasting peace,” Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.   “Minister Mitchell is a senior Cabinet Minister and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Big step forward for M.bovis programme
    Farmers’ hard work is paying off in the fight against Mycoplasma bovis (M. bovis) with the move to a national pest management plan marking strong progress in the eradication effort, says Biosecurity Minister Andrew Hoggard.  “The plan, approved by the Coalition Government, was proposed by the programme partners DairyNZ, Beef ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Build To Rent opening welcomed by Housing Minister
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and Housing Minister Chris Bishop formally opened a new Build to Rent development in Mt Wellington this morning. “The Prime Minister and I were honoured to cut the ribbon of Resido, New Zealand’s largest Build to Rent development to date.  “Build to Rent housing, like the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Agriculture to come out of the ETS
    The Government will deliver on its election commitment to take agriculture out of the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (NZ ETS) and will establish a new Pastoral Sector Group to constructively tackle biogenic methane, Coalition Government Agriculture and Climate Change Ministers say. Agriculture Minister Todd McClay says New Zealand farmers ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Luxon Tokyo-bound for political and business visit
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon will travel to Japan from 16-20 June, his first visit as Prime Minister.   “Japan is incredibly important to New Zealand's prosperity. It is the world’s fourth largest economy, and our fourth largest export destination.  “As you know, growing the economy is my number one priority. A strong economy means ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Bayly travels to Singapore for scam prevention meetings
    Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Andrew Bayly, travels to Singapore today to attend scam and fraud prevention meetings. “Scams are a growing international problem, and we are not immune in New Zealand. Organised criminal networks operate across borders, and we need to work with our Asia-Pacific partners to tackle ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • More help for homeowners impacted by severe weather
    People who were displaced by severe weather events in 2022 and 2023 will be supported by the extension of Temporary Accommodation Assistance through to 30 June 2025. Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston says the coalition Government is continuing to help to those who were forced out of their ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Government to reverse oil and gas exploration ban
    Removing the ban on petroleum exploration beyond onshore Taranaki is part of a suite of proposed amendments to the Crown Minerals Act to deal with the energy security challenges posed by rapidly declining natural gas reserves, Resources Minister Shane Jones says. “Natural gas is critical to keeping our lights on ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New Zealand and Malaysia to intensify connections
    New Zealand and Malaysia intend to intensify their long-standing, deep connections, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.    “Malaysia is one of New Zealand’s oldest friends in South-East Asia – and both countries intend to get more out of the relationship," Mr Peters says.   "Our connections already run deep and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Ending contracted emergency housing motels in Rotorua
    The end of Contracted Emergency Housing (CEH) motels in Rotorua is nearing another milestone as the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announces it will not renew consents for six of the original 13 motels, Associate Housing Minister Tama Potaka says. The government is committed to stop using CEH ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • First Home Grant closure exemptions
    The Government is providing a narrow exemption from the discontinuation of the First Home Grant for first home buyers who may face unfair situations as a result, Housing Minister Chris Bishop says. “The First Home Grant scheme was closed with immediate effect on 22 May 2024, with savings being reprioritised ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Faster consenting for flood protection projects in Hawke's Bay
    Work to increase flood resilience in Hawke’s Bay can start sooner, thanks to a new fast consenting process, Minister for Emergency Management and Recovery Mark Mitchell and Environment Minister Penny Simmonds say.  “Faster consenting means work to build stop banks, spillways and other infrastructure can get underway sooner, increasing flood ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Judge Craig Coxhead and Nathan Milner newest Māori Land Court appointments
    Tangata tū tangata ora, tangata noho tangata mate. Minister for Māori Development Tama Potaka today announced acting Deputy Chief Judge Craig Coxhead as the new Deputy Chief Judge, and Nathan Milner as Judge of the Māori Land Court. "I want to congratulate Judge Coxhead and Mr Milner on their appointments ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government signs Indo-Pacific Economic agreements to boost trade
    Trade Minister Todd McClay and Climate Change Minister Simon Watts, today signed three Indo Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) agreements that will boost investment, grow New Zealand’s digital and green economies and increase trade between New Zealand and the 14 IPEF partners. IPEF’s partners represent 40 per cent of global GDP ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Government signs Indo-Pacific Economic agreements to boost trade and cooperation
    Trade Minister Todd McClay and Climate Change Minister Simon Watts, today signed three Indo Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) agreements that will boost investment, grow New Zealand’s digital and green economies and increase trade between New Zealand and the 14 IPEF partners. IPEF’s partners represent 40 per cent of global GDP ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Visit to Viet Nam strengthens ties
    New Zealand and Viet Nam are focused on strengthening cooperation by making progress on mutually beneficial opportunities, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says. “Viet Nam matters enormously to New Zealand," Mr Peters says. "Our countries enjoy broad cooperation, in such areas as defence, security, trade, education and tourism. We are ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Government delivers funding boost to fix potholes
    The Coalition Government is delivering on its commitment to boost funding for pothole prevention, with indicative funding levels confirmed by NZTA showing a record increase in funding to help fix potholes on our State Highways and Local Roads, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.  The NZTA Board has today confirmed indicative ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government making fuel resilience a priority
    The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment will halt work on procuring reserve diesel stock and explore other ways to bolster New Zealand’s diesel resilience, Associate Energy Minister Shane Jones says. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) will also begin work on changes to the minimum fuel stockholding ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Govt strengthens COVID-19 preparedness
    Health Minister Dr Shane Reti says additional supplies of COVID-19 rapid antigen tests (RATs) will enable New Zealanders to continue testing this winter.  “In January, we announced an extension of public access to free RATs until the end of June,” Dr Reti says.  “I’m pleased to confirm that Health New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • NZ and Fiji commit to strengthening partnership
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has met with his Fijian counterpart, Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka, and discussed how New Zealand and Fiji can further strengthen their partnership.  During their bilateral talks in Suva this morning, Mr Luxon and Mr Rabuka canvassed a range of issues including defence and regional security, trade, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Making it easier to invest in New Zealand
    The Associate Minister of Finance David Seymour has issued a new Ministerial directive letter to Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) to make consent processing timeframes faster under the Overseas Investment Act.  “New Zealand is currently rated as having the most restrictive foreign direct investment policy out of the OECD countries ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • $30m investment for faster access to radiology services
    New Zealanders will now benefit from free access to radiology services referred directly by their general practitioner, resulting in faster diagnosis and improved health outcomes, says Health Minister Dr Shane Reti. “Our Budget last Thursday delivered the foundations for a thriving New Zealand economy, but also for better public services ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Speech to Pacific Economic Development Agency – Pacific Business Trust
    Good afternoon everyone, and warm Pacific greetings. Thank you for your lovely introduction Mary Losé. It’s wonderful to be here today at the Pacific Economic Development Agency - Pacific Business Trust. I want to acknowledge the chair Paul Retimanu and chief executive Mary Losé, your team and the many business ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Progress for fixing the Holidays Act 2003
    The Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety Brooke van Velden says this Government will improve the Holidays Act 2003 [the Act] with the help of businesses and workers who will be affected by changes to the Act.  “Change has been a long time coming, and I know there are many ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand and Niue mark special milestone
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and Niue Premier Dalton Tagelagi have agreed to enhance the special relationship that exists between their two countries, as Niue marks 50 years of self-government in free association with New Zealand. Mr Luxon and Mr Tagelagi held formal talks this morning and released a Joint Statement ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Ministry for Regulation kicks off first sector review – Early Childhood Education
    Minister for Regulation David Seymour today announced the terms of reference for the sector review into early childhood education (ECE) by the new Ministry for Regulation. This will be the first review by the Ministry.   “Issues with affordability and availability of early childhood education, and the complexity of its regulation, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • $43 million commitment for local catchment groups
    The Government is backing farmers to improve land management practices with a $36 million commitment to support locally led catchment groups, and an additional $7 million direct investment into catchment groups across the country, Agriculture Minister Todd McClay has announced. “Budget 2024 provides $36 million over four years for regionally based ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • $36 million commitment for local catchment groups
    The Government is backing farmers to improve land management practices with a $36 million commitment to support locally led catchment groups, $7 million of which will go directly to catchment groups across the country, Agriculture Minister Todd McClay has announced. “Budget 2024 provides $36 million over four years for regionally based ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Communities reap rewards of regional investment
    The success of regional investment in the Far North has been highlighted with the opening of two community projects that benefit their communities, Regional Development Minister Shane Jones says. Mr Jones attended a dawn blessing for the $10.16 million Te Hiku Revitalisation project, which has provided much-needed community infrastructure improvements ...
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