The tax cut bandwagon

Written By: - Date published: 5:58 am, April 14th, 2009 - 29 comments
Categories: tax - Tags:

For the last two election campaigns we had to put up with National, aided and abetted by many commentators, dominating the agenda with its incessant calls for tax cuts. Last year they promised “meaningful cuts”, “North of $50”, a promise repeated even in the face of the emerging economic crisis.

As previously discussed here those cuts are unlikely to materialise. Most of the NZ public will forgive National this broken promise, because people are wise enough to value some things more than tax cuts:

Taxpayers do not want further tax cuts if they mean more government borrowing, a new survey shows. The survey comes as social welfare campaigners say tax cuts failed to help those most in need.

The New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development survey found that while most people wanted tax cuts planned for 2010 and 2011, they did not want them if it meant further borrowing.

The first round of tax cuts were introduced last week and were worth between $10 and $18 extra a week to most people. Christchurch City Missioner Michael Gorman said the tax cuts missed many poor people.

“I think there is a whole sector of society that the tax cuts have missed and they are mostly the people that come to the mission,” he said. People earning less than $14,000 a year were worse off because of the higher Accident Compensation Corporation levy, he said.

Households with incomes between $100,000 and $150,000 a year were the least keen on new tax cuts, with 70 per cent opposed.

So we aren’t desperate for tax cuts after all? Is that pretty surprising news do you think? Well no, not really. We the people said something similar in 2007:

Asked if surpluses should fund tax cuts or be invested in public services like health and education, only 25 per cent said they wanted tax cuts, against 58 per cent who wanted the money invested..

And in 2008:

Ms Fitzsimmons said the Budget “ignored 61 percent of New Zealanders who last month said they would rather not have tax cuts if it meant cuts to social spending like health, benefits and education.”

I am sure that survey after survey will confirm our common sense on this matter. So how did tax cuts get to be the defining issue of the last 2 election campaigns again?

29 comments on “The tax cut bandwagon ”

  1. TBA 1

    “So how did tax cuts get to be the defining issue of the last 2 election campaigns again?”

    Seriously if you guys can’t work that out, then the Left are stuffed. Personally I would start reflecting on the best economic years since World War 2 (as we were repeatedly told), the “Chewing Gum Tax Refund” and the “Canceled Chewing Gum Tax Refund”.

    These things pissed off a lot of people and like any issue where you have large numbers of unhappy voters it becomes political capital.

    • lprent 1.1

      Just because you are mindless, doesn’t mean that everyone else is. There was no significant room for taxcuts if there was to be a recession. Michael Cullen paid off most of our debt, prepaid a chunk of our future debt, and finally and reluctantly allowed taxcuts.

      Reason for the reluctance – recession is inevitable. When that happens the costs of government go up. The costs of the tax-cuts go straight into debt and the repayment of debt. Things like unemployment benefits and the reduction in tax takes cost.

      That is what we have been living with for the last 30 years and where about a third of the government revenue has been going for that time. To pay for debt mountain that started 35 years ago has been enormously expensive, because even at low rates of interest the compounding gets enormous.

      To date I’ve never seen any credible evidence that cutting tax arbitrarily increases productivity or investment. I’ve seen a lot of evidence that cutting taxes in the good times inevitably leads to raising taxes in the bad times because the government starts in bad fiscal shape. Raising taxes in a recession is a bad idea.

      Morons like yourself are so far stuck into the here and now that you don’t think of the future. So you want taxcuts now regardless of the burden of debt and increased taxes that you will pass to your kids.

      • greatape 1.1.1

        I know its easy to attack the ideas and opinions that you disagree with Lprent however TBA has simply spoken the truth. He didn’t argue the right/wrongs of the decision but simply voiced a commonly held feeling by a large group of New Zealanders, in response to a question raised by the author about how the issue became an election issue.

        As for your comment “There was no significant room for taxcuts if there was to be a recession” Lprent are you seriously suggesting that back in 2005 when the Chewing Gum Tax was announce that the world was expecting a recession?

        • lprent 1.1.1.1

          I get irritated with the fiscal idiots who can’t read a balance sheet and prefer to believe what they’d wish was true – like TBA. Then rant on about something that they clearly have little or no understanding of.

          After the 2005 election, it took a further two years to drop the government debt to a ‘normal’ level. That is where the debt is like an business overdraft, it is used to handle the difference in timing between incoming and outgoing streams.

          We also started from about 2001 (?) putting money away for the future liabilities of the superannuation system that show up in the accounts with an aging population – ie more superannuiants. We are probably about a third of the way to covering that major liability. You use the good times to cover forward liabilities so that when they hit, you don’t have to skyrocket the tax rates. You sure as hell aren’t going to do it in a recession.

          There wasn’t any money available for taxcuts in 2005, 2006, 2007, or for the foreseeable future. Tax cuts were a bribe that Brash & Key were trying to put into place because they thought it would be electorally useful in pandering to people who can’t read a financial statement. Both were aware of the real situation, but chose to selectively quote from the equivalent of a profit and loss statement rather than the balance sheet. In other words they were lying to the NZ public when they said that there was room for taxcuts.

          These points will become clear when you look at the May 27th budget. Bill has a hell of a task balancing the NACT’s irresponsible promises of taxcuts with the expenditure of government coping with a recessional economy. However if you look at the forward liabilities, it will become clear that he will be unable to do anything for them, and they will increase as a result of the debt that will be accumulated in the next years. The nett effect is that you can look forward to tax increases within the decade.

          My point is that neither you or TBA have the faintest idea about what I’m talking about. You are too damn lazy to find out, as is apparent in your respective comments. You prefer to rely on slogans rather than actually reading the numbers. You are fiscal idiots, and that will remain my opinion until you say something that indicates that you have any idea about which you speak.

          • greatape 1.1.1.1.1

            Hold on Lprent, have I said that I thought tax cuts were a good idea? No I didn’t that, nor do I believe that they were.

            I personally felt that any spare revenue that was gained through taxes would have been better off being reinvesting in “New Zealand” through either additional funding for essential services like health/education/policing etc.

            However I do acknowledge that there was an strong desire for Tax cuts to have been made in which case I would have liked to have seen them made at the bottom end of the salary scale vs the top.

            Normally Lprent I enjoy reading most of your stuff as you seem to be a pretty switch on sort of a guy, however it seems today you have woken up on the wrong side of the bed and have interpreted what has been said quite different to what is actually there in black in white and instead gone on the attack with terms like mindless, morons and idiots. Hopefully tomorrow will be better.

            Regards.

          • George Darroch 1.1.1.1.2

            I’m with TBA and greatape here. I think the issue was a political one – this was a stick with which the opposition could whack the Government with, and was relatively successful because of a receptive media. “Chewing gum budget” wasn’t the black budget, but it certainly wasn’t perceived as a golden one for many among the middle classes either.

            I think that the problem was that the Labour Government was unable to articulate successfully why this spending was better than tax cuts. I do think they failed to address the charge properly and take it head on, but I’m not sure they would have been successful had they tried.

            One thing I learned in sales a few years ago was that you spend the first part of your time creating a need in the (potential) customer, and then the rest in showing how you can fill that need. In this case, the desire for tax cuts was pretty clearly created (or made manifest, if you think it was already there), and National effectively demonstrated that they would fill that need. The solution is of course to create a conflicting need, and make people uncertain about whether they should go with the first. In this case, a reason why the spending was necessary needed to demonstrated in a way that resonated.

            People will be upset if their tax cuts are canceled, but I think they’ll forgive the Government due to the recession. They’ll be upset if tax cuts go ahead and spending cuts start to hurt, as that was never advertised.

        • ripp0 1.1.1.2

          really turned on folks were – expecting a recession scenario back in 05..

          we might merely consider the unusual requirement of attendent private banking entities to bend Bankruptcy legislation further their way.. to know this.. go see the Reform Amendment thereto..

    • ripp0 1.2

      TBA and greatape,

      allow me come from a Basel II (accounting) position.. to say that higher taxes (total take) holds direct relation to growth.. greater growth or a long period of fairly steady growth from incomes’ expenditures = more tax paid..

      So.. taxcuts are made.. and recession hits along with very likely high debt in the taxpayer population.. low growth.. no growth results.. viz anticipated stay on growth not realised..

      my point: taxtake is concomitant on growth.. thus taxtake = indirect growth value..

      how would you care to explain how less taxtake equates growth/value/whatever..?

  2. Peter Johns - bigoted troll in jerkoff mode 2

    Most of the public do not want increases in benefits if it means extra govt borrowing either. This survey was a croc from another numpty left wing collection of wallys. Real loaded question.

  3. I’m now paying more not less PAYE. Fuck you John!

    • Rich 3.1

      You’re obviously not rich enough. Did you seriously think National tax cuts would be for anyone other than the wealthy?

  4. randal 4

    mass production needs mass consumption and fair distribution of the produced wealth.
    obviously key and the tories don’t care about the producers of wealth in this country.
    only about themselves

  5. Stephen 5

    Bill has a hell of a task balancing the NACT’s irresponsible promises of taxcuts with the expenditure of government coping with a recessional economy. However if you look at the forward liabilities, it will become clear that he will be unable to do anything for them, and they will increase as a result of the debt that will be accumulated in the next years. The nett effect is that you can look forward to tax increases within the decade.

    I may be wrong, but that whole paragraph seems to imply you now believe that the government isn’t going to ‘slash and burn’ government services at all?

    edit: when I say ‘you now believe’ I assume you thought Key was going to slash and sell everything, since you’re posting on The Standard and all.

  6. Jasper 6

    interesting this tax cuts business

    A lot of the people I spoke to before the election were going for National because they quite simply offered them more money. These people were of the great unwashed variety, both politically and economically illiterate, single and earning $30K a year. They’re also very dependent upon cell phones for communication, so are missed by the pollsters (not)

    Many of these people are my friends who refused to listen to my pleas, and still went ahead and voted NACT in the mistaken belief (perpetrated by the “north of $50” quote pushed by Granny and DimPost) they would receive more money in the hand come April 1.

    Now the first wave are getting their first pay packets. The tax cut they DID get in October last year has been taken away from them. It’s no use crying foul as it was printed in black and white, but I would assume that tiger is in the same boat (though being more politically aware, you would have known)

    My pick is come June, Nationals polls are going to slump which provides perfect fodder for Labour to come back with a told you so, and start preaching how they will reinstate tax cuts for the <$40K workers once in power in 2011….

    it’s nice to dream.

  7. Peter Johns - bigoted troll in jerkoff mode 7

    Jasper – under Labour we would have had more taxes imposed (local fuel taxes, ETS based taxes) and the April ones would have been cancelled last December. Labour were rather coy about the December mini budget when pressed before the election, don’t you think?

    I don’t know many/if any people who voted based on the tax changes, this is small fry really, sure it was part of the decision. People voted Labour out bc they were corrupt (Peters), the EFA (attempt to silence free speech), Greens being in power with Labour were more important with floating voters. Last election it was essentially a choice between National or Labour/Greens, not National or Labour.

    Like the Labour Party you are in denial to the real reasons they were not voted in.

    Keep dreaming though.

    • Ag 7.1

      Like the Labour Party you are in denial to the real reasons they were not voted in.

      They weren’t voted in because they were a three term government, and the usual desire for “a change” kicked in. It has very little to do with policy. It was the same in 2005, but Don Brash threw that election away.

      It has very little to do with tax cuts and everything to do with irrational political behaviour. Once people have decided that the time of a government is up, they will look for excuses to get rid of it. It’s a recurring feature of democracies.

    • Quoth the Raven 7.2

      National’s already pencilled in fuel tax rises for October. The bulk of people pay more under National fuel taxes, road user charges, car registration, and the rich they get a tax cut. National just takes care of its own.

      • George Darroch 7.2.1

        Don’t forget that everybody in NZ, from the kid down the road to currency traders worth millions, pays a 12.5% flat tax on whatever they spend. This flat tax is something that Labour and everyone right of them agree on.

        Of course, if you’re worth more you often get your company to buy things for you and you avoid the tax.

    • Spectator 7.3

      “the April ones would have been cancelled last December.”

      Citation needed.

      It would perhaps be an interesting exercise for someone to program a tax cut calculator showing earners how much their tax cuts under National would have compared with the tax cuts Labour would have implemented.

  8. Stephen 8

    Households with incomes between $100,000 and $150,000 a year were the least keen on new tax cuts, with 70 per cent opposed.

    So we aren’t desperate for tax cuts after all? Is that pretty surprising news do you think?

    So it’d be worth the government setting up a fund for people to return their tax cuts…wouldn’t it?

  9. Stephen 9

    Cut some, leave the rest in the first term and run up the debt.

    Yeah, seems pretty obvious that they’ll be ‘cutting some’ (they’re doing that now), but seems even more obvious that they’ll be cutting more later, they’re right(ish) wing for god’s sake. Moeny from asset sales could be partially used to pay down debt/pay for infrastructure, who knows?

  10. Pascal's bookie 10

    So it’d be worth the government setting up a fund for people to return their tax cuts wouldn’t it?

    Probably not, people being what they are. It would make about as much difference as the government asking the people that wanted tax cuts to refrain from using the government funded services that they are entitled to. But I guess you know that.

    Touching on this apparent conundrum, your next comment about asset sales and cutting spending is pretty much the ‘starve the beast’ strategy which was put forward in a limited way by Reagan, but more actively/explicitly by Grover Norquist in the States.

    The (apparent) paradox is that citizens like government services but don’t like paying taxes. I say apparent because it isn’t really a paradox at all. It’s just a hierarchy of preferences, most citizens actually are prepared to pay the taxes as long as they get the services, as noted in this poll.

    That’s a problem for those citizens (generally speaking, right wingers) that hate the taxes more than they like the services, because running on cutting government spending gets them into opposition. It being a minority view and all.

    So the right wingers were in a bit of a box. They want to cut taxes, because they hates them, but can’t politically cut the spending needed to do so. They like to think of themselves as fiscally conservative, hating lots of debt and that sort of thing, (because government debt is just more tax, deferred).

    That’s some catch that catch 22.

    The solution they came up with was to promise that services wouldn’t be cut, even though taxes would be. Free money! The trick is to move from the “service cuts party” to the “tax cuts party”. Meanwhile the nasty Lefties get shifted from being the Father Christmas party to the nasty Taxy McTaxtax team.

    Always promise tax cuts, the bigger the better. The solution to any problem is tax cuts, because the cause of most problems is the stifling level of current taxation that is sucking away at our productive bodily fluids. I’m sure you’re familiar with the rhetoric.

    The debt that would build up, (because there isn’t actually enough wastage in the public sector to pay for meaningful tax cuts), would mean that Something Would Have To Be Done.

    The idea such as it was, is that there would come a point that services would have to be cut. That if you have cut taxes enough, then the shock of how much more tax you would need to pay in order to afford the services you want, would be enough to make service cuts the politically viable option.

    As this poll shows though, people actually like government services. Even enough to pay the taxes. Sure, if you offer the tax cuts they’ll take them, but when you get around to the cutting spending part, back you go into opposition and the taxes get put up again.

    Even in the States, where they let the books get into an appalling mess, the people don’t want the services to be cut.

    When you think about it, the starve the beast strategy is just artificially lowering the price (taxes) of government services in the short term. What will that to to demand for government services? What you predict would happen to govt debt (which is just deferred taxes)?

    To me at least, it seems that the strategy is doomed to failure and probably only serves to raise taxes over the long term when we take debt servicing costs into account. If the right wants to cut taxes in the long term, they need to convince people that they don’t really want government services.

    Pretending the people don’t really want the services that much, or that they have been tricked into wanting them, or that tax cuts will pay for themselves is just dishonest, costly, and, well, a fraud excecuted on our children who will be left to pick up the tab.

    But your mileage probably varies, and it’s that what makes for politics.

    • RedLogix 10.1

      PB,

      Usually I admire your work, but that was an outstanding post. You’ve captured precisely the dark heart of the fraud that they have spent decades selling to us. Sadly I think many people bought it; but all us, and most especially our children, will pay be paying for it.

      What most pisses me off, is that we had the chance to do so much better.

  11. Stephen 11

    Thanks for the detailed reply. I’m not going to reply on the same scale though. I just don’t have that much to say.

    That’s a problem for those citizens (generally speaking, right wingers) that hate the taxes more than they like the services, because running on cutting government spending gets them into opposition. It being a minority view and all.

    I don’t think it’s a minority view that there are some things the government should just not bother with (one favoured example being the Families Commission), or that government can do things in a more effective way. One reason to vote government in/out being that they’re doing a bad job managing public money, which is hardly impossible. I don’t think it’s so much that right wingers hate tax (some do, some don’t), but I would hate taxes too if I thought the money they generated was being squandered.

    As this poll shows though, people actually like government services. Even enough to pay the taxes

    I think this simply reflects a certain orthodoxy that is present in NZ, or probably most countries that have a very long history of a large ‘welfare state’. They don’t know anything else, and being ‘educated’ about other possiblities requires a lot of effort on their part – I think a stongly similar parallel is the teaching of capitalist economics in schools. In the same vein, I think a er, ‘country’ like Hong Kong may be highly resistant to higher taxes.

    If the right wants to cut taxes in the long term, they need to convince people that they don’t really want government services.

    As above…

  12. James 12

    You don’t need to borrow to give taxcuts…you cut Government spending on the mass bullshit that gets our money now….racing,the arts,sport,TVNZ,Kiwibank,anything begining with “Childrens’Womens” etc…all things that are either the business of the private sector to fund or no business of the stae to be involved eith in the first place.

    Cutting taxes is easy if you stop State spending…

    • Pascal's bookie 12.1

      Go right ahead, see where that gets you at election time.

      I’m glad you agree that that is the honest order in which to do it though. Cut the spending first, then adjust the tax rates.

    • ripp0 12.2

      James,

      following your rushed comment I couldna help but conclude you to be the very first supply-sider..

      Y’know the litany of a public buck is a private buck mispent so well..

      Proof.. well that’s something else.. like a liquor rating agency 🙂

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    This is a guest post by our friend Darren Davis. It originally appeared on his excellent blog, Adventures in Transitland, which features “musings about public transport and other cool stuff in Aotearoa/ New Zealand and around the globe.” With Te Huia now having funding secure through to 2026, now is ...
    Greater AucklandBy Darren Davis
    4 days ago
  • The methane waka sinks
    In some ways, there may be less than meets the eye to the Government announcement yesterday that the He Waka Eke Noa proposal for farmers to pay for greenhouse gas emissions has been scrapped. The spectre of farmers still having to pay at some point in the future remains. That, ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    4 days ago
  • At a glance – Does positive feedback necessarily mean runaway warming?
    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 ...
    4 days ago
  • Climate Change: Farmers get what they wanted – for now
    Since entering office, National has unravelled practically every climate policy, leaving us with no effective way of reducing emissions or meeting our emissions budgets beyond magical thinking around the ETS. And today they've announced another step: removing agriculture entirely. At present, following the complete failure of he waka eka noa, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Presumed Innocent?
    The blue billionaireDistraction no interactionOr movement outside these glazed over eyesThe new great divideFew fight the tide to be glorifiedBut will he be satisfied?Can we accept this without zoom?The elephant in the roomNot much happens in politics on a Monday. Bugger all in fact. Although yesterday Christopher Luxon found he ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    5 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on our doomed love affair with oil and gas
    What if New Zealand threw a fossil fuel party, and nobody came? On the weekend, Resources Minister Shane Jones sent out the invitations and strung up the balloons, but will anyone really want to invest big time in resuming oil and gas exploration in our corner of the planet? Yes, ...
    WerewolfBy lyndon
    5 days ago
  • Building better housing insights
    This is a guest post by Meredith Dale, senior urban designer and strategist at The Urban Advisory. There’s a saying that goes something like: ‘what you measure is what you value’. An RNZ article last week claimed that Auckland was ‘hurting’ because of a more affordable supply of homes, particularly townhouses ...
    Greater AucklandBy Guest Post
    5 days ago
  • Putin would be proud of them
    A Prime Minister directs his public service to inquire into the actions of the opposition political party which is his harshest critic. Something from Orban's Hungary, or Putin's Russia? No, its happening right here in Aotearoa: Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has announced the Public Service Commission will launch an ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Resources for debunking common solar and wind myths
    This is a repost from a Yale Climate Connections article by SueEllen Campbell published on June 3, 2024. The articles listed can help you tell fact from fiction when it comes to solar and wind energy. Some statements you hear about solar and wind energy are just plain false. ...
    5 days ago
  • Juggernaut
    Politics were going on all around us yesterday, and we barely noticed, rolling along canal paths, eating baguettes. It wasn’t until my mate got to the headlines last night that we learned there had been a dismayingly strong far right result in the EU elections and Macron had called a ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    5 days ago
  • Numbers Game.
    Respect Existence, Or Expect Resistance? There may well have been 50,000 pairs of feet “Marching For Nature” down Auckland’s Queen Street on Saturday afternoon, but the figure that impresses the Coalition Government is the 1,450,000 pairs of Auckland feet that were somewhere else.IN THE ERA OF DRONES and Artificial Intelligence, ...
    5 days ago
  • Media Link: AVFA on post-colonial blowback.
    Selwyn Manning and I discuss varieties of post colonial blowback and the implications its has for the rise of the Global South. Counties discussed include Palestine/Israel, France/New Caledonia, England/India, apartheid/post-apartheid South Africa and post-colonial New Zealand. It is a bit … Continue reading ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    5 days ago
  • Policy by panic
    Back in March, Ombudsman Peter Boshier resigned when he hit the statutory retirement age of 72, leaving the country in the awkward (and legally questionable) position of having him continue as a temporay appointee. It apparently took the entire political system by surprise - as evinced by Labour's dick move ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • PSA: NZ's Richest Company, Zuru, Sucks
    Hi,Today the New Zealand press is breathlessly reporting that the owners of toy company Zuru are officially New Zealand’s wealthiest people: Mat and Nick Mowbray worth an estimated $20 billion between them.While the New Zealand press loses its shit celebrating this Kiwi success story, this is a Webworm reminder that ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    6 days ago
  • Bernard's Dawn Chorus and pick 'n' mix for Monday, June 10
    TL;DR: The six things to note in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy around housing, climate and poverty in the past day to 8:36 pm on Monday, June 10 were:20,000 protested against the Fast-track approval bill on Saturday in Auckland, but PM Christopher Luxon says ‘sorry, but not sorry’ about the need for ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • In Defence of Kāinga Ora
    Given the headlines around the recent findings of the ‘independent’ review of Kāinga Ora by Bill English, you might assume this post will be about social housing, Kāinga Ora’s most prominent role. While that is indeed something that requires defending, I want to talk about the other core purpose of ...
    Greater AucklandBy Connor Sharp
    6 days ago
  • Baby You're A Rich Man
    “How does it feel to beOne of the beautiful peopleNow that you know who you areWhat do you want to beAnd have you traveled very far?Far as the eye can see”Yesterday the ACT party faithful were regaled with craven boasts, sneers, and demands for even more at their annual rally.That ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    6 days ago
  • Stopping a future Labour government from shutting down gas exploration
    A defiant Resources Minister Shane Jones has responded to Saturday’s environmental protests by ending Labour’s offshore oil exploration ban and calling for long-term contracts with any successful explorers. The purpose would be to prevent a future Labour Government from reversing any licence the explorers might hold. Jones sees a precedent ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    6 days ago
  • 2024 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #23
    A listing of 32 news and opinion articles we found interesting and shared on social media during the past week: Sun, June 2, 2024 thru Sat, June 8, 2024. Story of the week Our Story of the Week is Yale Climate Connection's Resources for debunking common solar and wind myths, by ...
    6 days ago
  • Fission by the river
    This is where we ate our lunch last Wednesday. Never mind your châteaux and castles and whatnot, we like to enjoy a baguette in the shadow of a nuclear power plant; a station that puts out more than twice as much as Manapouri using nothing more than tiny atoms to bring ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    7 days ago
  • 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 ...
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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, ...
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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, ...
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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
    1 week 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

  • High Court Judge appointed
    Attorney-General Judith Collins today announced the appointment of Auckland King’s Counsel Gregory Peter Blanchard as a High Court Judge. Justice Blanchard attended the University of Auckland from 1991 to 1995, graduating with an LLB (Honours) and Bachelor of Arts (English). He was a solicitor with the firm that is now Dentons ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Health workforce numbers rise
    Health Minister Dr Shane Reti says new data released today shows encouraging growth in the health workforce, with a continued increase in the numbers of doctors, nurses and midwives joining Health New Zealand. “Frontline healthcare workers are the beating heart of the healthcare system. Increasing and retaining our health workforce ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Government to overhaul firearms laws
    Associate Justice Minister Nicole McKee has today announced a comprehensive programme to reform New Zealand's outdated and complicated firearms laws. “The Arms Act has been in place for over 40 years. It has been amended several times – in a piecemeal, and sometimes rushed way. This has resulted in outdated ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Government delivers landmark specialist schools investment
    The coalition Government is delivering record levels of targeted investment in specialist schools so children with additional needs can thrive. As part of Budget 24, $89 million has been ringfenced to redevelop specialist facilities and increase satellite classrooms for students with high needs. This includes: $63 million in depreciation funding ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Major health and safety consultation begins
    A substantial consultation on work health and safety will begin today with a roadshow across the regions over the coming months, says Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Brooke van Velden.  This the first step to deliver on the commitment to reforming health and safety law and regulations, set out in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Growing the potential of New Zealand’s forestry sector in partnership
    Forestry Minister Todd McClay, today announced the start of the Government’s plan to restore certainty and confidence in the forestry and wood processing sector. “This government will drive investment to unlock the industry’s economic potential for growth,” Mr McClay says. “Forestry’s success is critical to rebuilding New Zealand’s economy, boosting ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government cancels forestry ETS annual service charges for 2023-24
    Annual service charges in the forestry Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) will be cancelled for 2023/24, Forestry Minister Todd McClay says. “The sector has told me the costs imposed on forestry owners by the previous government were excessive and unreasonable and I agree,” Mr McClay says. “They have said that there ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Speech to the LGNZ Infrastructure Symposium
    Introduction Thank you for having me here today and welcome to Wellington, the home of the Hurricanes, the next Super Rugby champions. Infrastructure – the challenge This government has inherited a series of big challenges in infrastructure. I don’t need to tell an audience as smart as this one that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government boosts Agriculture and food trade with China
    Trade and Agriculture Minister Todd McClay and Food Safety Minister Andrew Hoggard welcomed outcomes to boost agricultural and food trade between New Zealand and China. A number of documents were signed today at Government House that will improve the business environment between New Zealand and China, and help reduce barriers, including on infant formula ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • NZ and China launch Services Trade Negotiations
    Trade Minister Todd McClay, and China’s Commerce Minister Wang Wentao, today announced the official launch of Negotiations on Services Trade between the two countries.  “The Government is focused on opening doors for services exporters to grow the New Zealand’s economy,” Mr McClay says.  As part of the 2022 New Zealand-China Free Trade Agreement Upgrade ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Prime Minister Luxon meets with Premier Li
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon met with Chinese Premier Li Qiang at Government House in Wellington today.  “I was pleased to welcome Premier Li to Wellington for his first official visit, which marks 10 years since New Zealand and China established a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership,” Mr Luxon says. “The Premier and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government and business tackling gender pay gap
    The coalition Government is taking action to reduce the gender pay gap in New Zealand through the development of a voluntary calculation tool. “Gender pay gaps have impacted women for decades, which is why we need to continue to drive change in New Zealand,” Acting Minister for Women Louise Upston ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Funding Boost for Rural Support Trusts
    The coalition Government is boosting funding for Rural Support Trusts to provide more help to farmers and growers under pressure, Rural Communities Minister Mark Patterson announced today. “A strong and thriving agricultural sector is crucial to the New Zealand economy and one of the ways to support it is to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Latest data shows size of public service decreasing
    Spending on contractors and consultants continues to fall and the size of the Public Service workforce has started to decrease after years of growth, according to the latest data released today by the Public Service Commission. Workforce data for the quarter from 31 December 23 to 31 March 24 shows ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Speech to the Law Association
    Thank you to the Law Association for inviting me to speak this morning. As a former president under its previous name — the Auckland District Law Society — I take particular satisfaction in seeing this organisation, and its members, in such good heart. As Attorney-General, I am grateful for these ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • 25 years on, NZ reaffirms enduring friendship with Timor Leste
    New Zealand is committed to working closely with Timor-Leste to support its prosperity and resilience, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.   “This year is the 25th anniversary of New Zealand sending peacekeepers to Timor-Leste, who contributed to the country’s stabilisation and ultimately its independence,” Mr Peters says.    “A quarter ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Inquiry requested into rural banking
    Promoting robust competition in the banking sector is vital to rebuilding the economy, Finance Minister Nicola Willis says.  “New Zealanders deserve a banking sector that is as competitive as possible. Banking services play an important role in our communities and in the economy. Kiwis rely on access to lending when ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days 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
    2 days 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
    3 days 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
    3 days 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
    3 days 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
    3 days 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
    4 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
    4 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
    4 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
    4 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
    4 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
    5 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
    5 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
    5 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
    6 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
    7 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
    7 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
    1 week 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
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  • First Home Grant closure exemptions
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