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The test

Written By: - Date published: 8:40 am, October 8th, 2008 - 83 comments
Categories: election 2008, labour, national, tax - Tags:

After building a political career that has consisted of little more than calling for tax cuts and attacking those that were delivered, John Key will finally present his party’s tax cut package today. Already, they have had to reduce its size but they will still make it the central part of their mystical economic platform that is meant to stop emigration, lift us out of recession, prevent junior doctors’ strikes, and make our whites whiter. The supposed transformative powers of larger tax cuts underpins and defines National’s ‘time for a change’ message. So, they better deliver something that can make a difference

As a guide to what to expect, let’s take one element of National’s promises- reducing emigration via tax cuts. I find it hard to believe that anyone’s decision to emigrate to Australia or not is tipped by less than $2000. So, say, National could reduce emigration significantly by offering tax cuts, I think it’s fair to say that would need to offer more than $40 a week to most Kiwis above Labour’s tax cuts (which National dismissed as the block of cheese tax cuts). If they don’t pony up, their wailing that Kiwis are emigrating because of Labour’s tax policies will be revealed as completely hollow. As will their promise of transformative tax cuts.

Before the announcement, it is opportune to look again at the distribution of income as well who benefits and how much from the Government’s cuts:

[Update: Just saw this in the Herald: “The $50 reduction [for a worker on the average fulltime wage] won’t be reached until until April 2011, and will include the tax cuts Labour introduced on October 1.” Now, Labour’s cuts have already delivered $16 increasing to $32 by 2011 for the average worker. So, National will be offering just $6 a week than Labour each year to 2011. $6? All this over $6?]

83 comments on “The test”

  1. I have to say, having just remade those graphs, I’m even more impressed with the elegance of Laobur’s cuts. Look how the biggest % impact of the cuts goes to the greatest number of taxpayers. They actually make our tax system more progressive by taking most % off the lowest incomes.

    As Keith Ng showed in a post, the tax cuts above $46K will, by 2011, have accounted for fiscal drag since 1999, and everyone earning less than that will have a larger tax cut on top of that.

    As of last Wednesday, 800,000 tax payers are paying only 12% income tax, and about 2.4 million pay less than 20%.

  2. Tane 2

    SP, let’s not kid ourselves. Labour’s tax cuts were a sop to the political reality that they’d lost the argument on tax. And they’re now looking increasingly unaffordable.

  3. Tane, I was never cheerleading tax cuts (although I do see the justification in adjusting for inflation, its happened in the past too), but they were always going to happen and I think they’re well designed.

  4. insider 4

    If it’s only $6 then why get upset about it and claim it is reckless?

  5. insider. If it’s just $6, it makes a joke of Key’s entire political career. Talk about failing to meet expectations.

    Anyone care to propose a food-related nickname for National’s cuts? The ‘where’s the beef?’ cuts, maybe?

  6. Tane 6

    Six dollars? Hell, that doesn’t even buy a big mac combo these days.

  7. and, insider, anything will still require more borrowing or cuts to Kiwisaver.. you might be happy for our country to take on more debt or undermine our savings while the financial markets are in turmoil for the sake of $6 a week but I’m not.

  8. Go The Right 8

    Most people I believe want a change of Government anyway tax cut or not. Doesnt matter whether it $6 or $18 .

    I thought Helen Clark was very brave to say who wants a change of Government in New Zealand for $18
    Most people want to see her go for nothing

  9. Matthew Pilott 9

    I have to say I’m genuinely interested in hearing where National’s head’s at. All this panning of New Zealand over the last nine years, so this seems to present itself ads the moment where they give their vision of what went ‘wrong’ as they see it, and what they’d do to correct it.

    If tax cuts aren’t a panacea now, they never were, which, of course, makes much of National’s 9-year diatribe about tax cuts nothing more than cynical political bullshit. We already knew that though, that much is obvious to anyone with more than a remote passing interest in politics and economics; I’m interested to see what they’re really thinking, behind the facade.

    I wonder if National will be honest enough to let their intentions out, even slightly. I seriously doubt it, but if there was ever a time to say “here’s the plan, you might not like it but we’re facing some tough times” then this is it.

    I just think National are too far into their cynical electioneering to come forward with this much honesty.

  10. All this over $6?

    The brighter future.. riiiight!

    And to think as I travelled the highway and saw these billboards y’day I wondered whether the message related to someone’s dislike of low-energy light bulbs..

  11. Tony Norriss 11

    Well, Labour can’t criticize National anymore for “borrowing” for tax cuts. Labour’s own tax cut policies will be funded out of deficit, and so effectively borrowed.

    The only reason that National is having to restrict its tax cut program is that Labour has so severely rooted the economy that there is little other option.

    Also, you don’t seem to take into account the NPV of the tax cuts. By bringing forward the tax cut program, people get the cash into their hands much earlier. The fact that they have had a whole year of tax cuts they wouldn’t otherwise have had adds up to quite a lot.

    [the question is should we let National borrow more or cut programmes like kiwisaver. tim, one part of national’s tax cuts will come in on year ahead of the rest of labour’s. Tax cuts are budgeted on a permanent basis, so the difference of one year in part of the implementation is triffling in terms of NPV. SP]

  12. vto 12

    The people need as much of their money in their pockets as possible at this time. Tax cuts are the right thing.

  13. Ianmac 13

    Is it true that Mr Key is going to alter the employer input into the Kiwisaver in order to find enough for his promised taxcut? “We will keep Kiwisaver unchanged!” Bill/John said

  14. higherstandard 14

    Ianmac

    Indeed – bit like the finance ministers comments that we weren’t going to be overly effected by the global economic situation at the beginning of the year.

    Times change – both of the two major parties need to make some hard decisions – have either of them got the gumption to make them before the election (I very much doubt it) after the election (we’ll have to wait and see).

  15. Tim Ellis 15

    As I see it, the fundamental difference on tax is that Labour doesn’t believe in tax cuts and is only offering them because National won the argument on tax and were forced into it, whereas National does believe that reducing tax in the long-term is an important economic tool.

    Labour have only delivered the first round of tax cuts. Can they be trusted to carry them out? Cullen cancelled the 2005 tax cuts after the 2005 election, when they were much more affordable than they are now. Given his antipathy towards cutting tax in the first place, the international financial crisis sounds like a perfect excuse to cancel them after the election.

  16. DeeDub 16

    vto:

    “The people need as much of their money in their pockets as possible at this time. Tax cuts are the right thing.”

    Well, they’ll need a lot more than what’s on offer in tax cuts if the Nats get in. Road tolls, unrestricted doctors fees, minimum wage erosion to inflation… just to name a few things they’ll be doing that they’re actually prepared to admit to!

  17. Vanilla Eis 17

    Tim: Labours tax cuts are written into law. Remember that bit? Where Cullen tabled the legislation so that everyone knew that he couldn’t go back on it? Oh, and the bit where National voted for it – under protest – when they’d been threatening to veto it?

    “Oh yeah…” you say.

    Personally, I’d rather Labour scrapped the cuts they have planned and used the money to keep the deficit under control. The fact that National are willing to blast Labour for letting it blow out but are willing to reduce govt revenue even further shows how little they actually believe the words spewing out of their own mouths. It’s just an attack line, they don’t give two shits if the deficit is growing.

    Now, repeat after the rest of the front-bench: “GIVE ME THE MONAY!”

  18. Tim Ellis 18

    Tim: Labours tax cuts are written into law. Remember that bit? Where Cullen tabled the legislation so that everyone knew that he couldn’t go back on it?

    Vanilla, I don’t see the difference between whether a tax cut is legislated for, or not. Michael Cullen promised a tax reduction in the 2005 budget. He cancelled that plan after the 2005 election. I don’t see legislating for a tax cut as making them any more certain, given the speed at which government can legislate when it wants to do so. Cullen could easily say, after the election: “When we legislated those tax cuts, we didn’t realise the extent of the international financial crisis. The government can’t afford them now, so we are legislating to undo the proposed tax cuts.”

    Labour has a record of not delivering on announced tax cuts. Cullen has been lukewarm about lowering tax throughout the last nine years. I don’t trust him to deliver the tax cuts, legislated for or not.

  19. Pascal's bookie 19

    What does ‘believe in tax cuts’ mean?

    Is it more Laffer curve stuff, or what?

    It sounds like there is some theory that tax cuts are some sort of panacea to any problem, regardless of what level tax rates are at, or how the govt books look.

    Surely whether you believe tax cuts are appropriate depends on circumstances, but the way it’s phrased, and I hear that phrasing a lot (Bill English used it yesterday), makes it sound like tax cuts are a general principle rather than a specific tool.

    I suspect it’s Norquist derived govt drowning in bathtub rhetoric.

    In any case it’s slopppy thinking.

  20. randal 20

    tough titty tim ellis…I suppose that you are a rugged individual who doesnt need the help of any government anyway for a FEW EXTRA BUCKS. Or perhaps you are a tinpot tory mortgaged to the hilt. who knows. The fact of the matter is that John Keys can promise anything he likes and after the election he doesnt have to deliver. Thats why this election is a matter of trust and not bankers trust either.

  21. Vanilla Eis 21

    Labour has a record of not delivering on announced tax cuts. Cullen has been lukewarm about lowering tax throughout the last nine years. I don’t trust him to deliver the tax cuts, legislated for or not.

    No they don’t. They reneged once, in 2005. They’ve also paid out once, in October 2008. That’s not a record of “not delievering” – that’s hardly enough for a record at all. In fact, by my count it’s 1-1. Care to draw any conclusions from such a short history? Oh wait, you already have…

  22. Akdnut 22

    Vanilla “Labours tax cuts are written into law. Remember that bit? Where Cullen tabled the legislation so that everyone knew that he couldn’t go back on it?”

    Tim “Labour has a record of not delivering on announced tax cuts.”

    National has a policy of adopting left wing policies and going back on what they say as well or have you conveniently forgotten keys many flip flops or the Nat govts promises of the 1990s

  23. r0b 23

    The only reason that National is having to restrict its tax cut program is that Labour has so severely rooted the economy that there is little other option.

    Tony Norriss knows that this is a lie, but he’s bound to keep repeating it. See here for quotes from Treasury and the Governor of the Reserve Bank on how robustly our economy is positioned to weather the current international crisis.

    And from Armstrong in The Herald today:

    The ugly numbers are down to international circumstances. They are not the finance minister’s fault. But the update is so full of bad news that National is punting it will hang around Cullen’s neck through this campaign like the albatross around the neck of the Ancient Mariner.

    So expect plenty more nonsense about the economy from the ill informed or manipulative.

  24. Steve 25

    Akdnut: I wouldn’t say so much that the Nat’s have a policy of adopting measures introduced by the left, it’s more a case of saying whatever they need to, to whoever they are talking to (often contradicting due to differences in audiences) in order to get into office. Once in office though we know who they look after and it sure is not those on the lower rungs of the economic ladder

  25. Akdnut 26

    At the very least there will be a vote on labour going back on this law which the Nats will have a say.

    Whereas on a promise this dosn’ need to happen.

  26. Tim Ellis 27

    PB,

    That is an interesting debate. As I see it, the Right believes that governments should only tax what is required to pay for necessary expenditure. The Left believe that governments should raise as much tax as the public will accept, for redistribution.

    National believes that New Zealanders are paying too much tax. Labour doesn’t believe New Zealanders are paying too much tax. Whether you are actually committed to tax cuts is dependent on how you view the government’s tax take.

    randal, if you want to debate rationally then I’m happy to engage with you. But you’ll have to climb out of the sandpit first.

  27. Akdnut 28

    lol well put SP

  28. higherstandard 29

    r0b

    Correct r0b

    Much as the good economic times during the last many years were not due to the Labour government – the real test of economic competence for any government is how you deal with global downturns, inheriting an economy that’s in a state of collapse or dealing with a regional crisis.

  29. Tim Ellis 30

    Akdnut, that’s like saying National had a say on the ETS and the EFA. It is nonsense. If you are the Government then you have the majority of Parliament behind you. You can legislate for what you like. If the Government decides that the next round of tax cuts are unaffordable, they will simply legislate them out of existence, just as they legislated them into existence. It is not a complex step. Labour doesn’t have to consult with National to achieve it. They don’t have to have National’s permission.

    Vanilla, I understand your point, but Labour has had the opportunity for nine years to cut tax, with large fiscal surpluses. The one time they promised it, in 2005, they cancelled the promise after the election, saying it wasn’t a priority. We are now supposed to believe that the post-October tax cuts will be a priority for Labour, when the government books are in the position they are in, after Labour has said for the last year that National will have to borrow for tax cuts?

  30. Pascal's bookie 31

    haha, thanks Tim. Do you wonder why I call you a sophist? 😉

    I’ll reply tonight, when I’ve got enough time.

  31. randal 32

    why tax cuts? The tories have been bludgeoning the NZLP for three terms with an american invention that has no relevance. Everything is done on the cheap here and the all the boobies are continually crying out for more (cheap stuff) but they dont wazn to pay for it. If you want more money go somewhere else. Dont stay in New Zealand moaning and shilling for a right wing consp[iracy.

  32. Akdnut 33

    Tim I agree thats the reality of majority vote & MMP but under MMP if they minor parties in coalition are against it coupled with Nats votes there is a real chance of it not happening unlike going back on JUST A PROMISE

  33. Tim Ellis 34

    Akdnut, can we take from what you are saying that promises only have legitimacy if they are legislated for?

    Minor parties in MMP coalitions can’t vote against the government on confidence and supply. Minor parties simply can’t vote against the government’s budget. Legislation could easily be included in the next budget removing the tax cuts.

  34. Vanilla Eis 35

    Tim: Why on earth do you think they’ve had 9 years to cut tax? They campaigned in ’99 on a tax INCREASE. I don’t remember anything in ’02 about a tax cut from Labour – English made a lot of noise about them (much like now) and was crushed in the election. In ’05 they promised a grand total of about 70 cents a week, and were rightly ridiculed, so they cancelled those ones, which they were further ridiculed for.

    Again – They’ve promised twice, and cancelled once. That’s not a “history”.

  35. r0b 36

    Much as the good economic times during the last many years were not due to the Labour government

    Recalling, as you well know HS, that our economy has grown faster than relevant others during this time, and we have also been retiring acres of Muldoon era debt.

    the real test of economic competence for any government is how you deal with global downturns, inheriting an economy that’s in a state of collapse or dealing with a regional crisis.

    Well soon we will get to see how whomever is in government deals with that. But as usual it’s largely down to the preparation, and I refer you again to quotes from Treasury and the Governor of the Reserve Bank on how robustly our economy is positioned to weather the current international crisis. When we come out of the other side of this in reasonable shape (whomever is in government at the time) it will be largely due to Cullen’s careful management.

  36. r0b 37

    Again – They’ve promised twice, and cancelled once. That’s not a “history’.

    On the same criteria National has a history of voting against business tax cuts.

  37. lprent 38

    TE:

    As I see it, the fundamental difference on tax is that Labour doesn’t believe in tax cuts and is only offering them because National won the argument on tax and were forced into it, whereas National does believe that reducing tax in the long-term is an important economic tool.

    I’d agree that the left generally doesn’t believe that tax cuts do much for an economy like ours. At muldoon (where my nominal top rate was over 45%) levels it was worth while because it incentivised widespread avoidance. But at the current low rates of taxation, then the brackets should be moved to compensate for fiscal drag.

    But I have yet to see anyone prove to me that cutting tax in real terms further does ANYTHING for the economy as a whole. IMO: It is just a religious mantra chanted in unison by the right to justify feathering their pockets. I have yet to see any evidence of it going into investment in businesses in any country (business tax cuts often do, personal income ones usually don’t) – again that just seems to be an article of faith for some.

    What I have seen is that tax cuts will usually reduce the effective investment into required public infrastructure. This causes major economic problems further down the line when the economy hits those limits in skills, roads, comms, legal structures etc. But the right are definitely think short-term and prefer to have consumption now rather than ensuring everyone’s future. This probably arises because they have this remarkable ability to ignore the positive effect of those same investments by previous generations on their current circumstances. This usually expresses itself in the myth of the self-made man.

    You do a real tax cut (ie not just adjusting for drag) when you have the country at low levels of government debt, no upcoming major problems, and where you have funded your forward liabilities. We we have the first one done last year – for the first time in my working life. The latter two aren’t.

    Obviously there are going to be problems coming in from our trading partners for the next few years as well as cost increases in materials and borrowing. That is a major economic problem. We can stimulate the local economy for a time. However personal tax cuts are an incredibly imprecise way of doing that. It is far better to spend in appropiate areas of the economy, for instance getting our transport systems ready for higher energy costs.

    We have partially pre-funded the super hole. Partially done the investment in infrastructure that stopped dead in the 1970’s and only resumed recently. Partially brought our training systems to the point where they start training for the citizens we will need in 30 years. There is more to do.

    So tell me again – what is the expected benefit of personal tax-cuts now to NZ in 30 years? Some mythical and unproven productivity gains? Or investment in things we know will assist our economy?

  38. Daveski 39

    There is a clear difference between Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum.

    Labour has foregone tax cuts to increase govt expenditure, which is supported by all the graphs SP provides.

    National supports a smaller footprint for government and hence lower taxes. In this light, it is possible to have tax cuts in the current climate although clearly that will be at the cost of some governement spending.

    Cullen’s believed this with his almost petulant refusal to consider tax cuts until forced to and the way in which he withdrew the chewing gum taxes.

    It should also be noted that the intention of the envy tax (the 39% tax on the rich pricks) was to caputure just the top 5% of earners. Through stealth, this now captures closer to 20% of earners.

  39. Daveski 40

    Strangely (for me), I kind of agree with LP – we have a reasonable tax structure even allowing for the rich prick tax.

    Having said that, Labour is IMO being rightfully punished when it refused to adjust the thresholds given the favourable economic conditions we experienced.

  40. insider: upset about $6..

    Because that is then, and NOW is NOW.. hey taxcutters use scythes and no shilly shallying.. scything away even in the face of fiscal responsibility.. Looks to me like we truly have here a riiight aka labor-lite..

    upset..? try again..huh

  41. vto 42

    come on folks the left is correct. we are merely serfs of the state and our daily toil is actually theirs for taking and using. when will you learn?

  42. Bill 43

    The Labour tax cuts equate to precisely zero, nada, zilch $0 extra in pocket for people on a benefit.

    That is, no increase in net benefit now. No increase next time. And no increase the next time.

    How many people on a benefit are feeling really fucked off about now? What’s the deal? Let them eat cake?

    Where’s the fucking cheese!?

  43. rave 44

    The point of the Key tax cuts is to ensure that National gets elected so that it can use the taxes of the majority of middle income earners to pay for the massive nationalisation of the losses of the filthy rich entrepreneurs while they get their second wind and begin privatising everything again.

  44. Quoth the Raven 45

    come on folks the right is correct. we are merely serfs of the rich and our daily toil is actually theirs for taking and using. when will you learn? fixed it for you vto.

  45. vto 46

    ha ha qtr well done.

    But seriously, the appearance to me from watching especially Cullen these last 9 years is that his attitude is that people’s incomes are his and that he should decide how much is enough for people. He has made more than enough comments along thiese lines.

    The government comes first and the people second (which is obviously backwards).

    And, the government is rich and the people are poor (also backwards).

  46. ghostwhowalks 47

    So nationals extra $6 pw will amount to ( in their words) half a block of cheese???

  47. gobsmacked 48

    National are betting on the media being fixated on the headline figure (“it’s FIFTY! … er … minus a bit … eventually … and only including the cuts already locked in …), and not bothering with the detail on cuts to Kiwisaver etc.

    Unfortunately, they’re probably right.

  48. Strings 49

    I see you are predicting a total exodus of population over the next 80,000 years! Any logic behind this?

  49. Matthew Pilott 50

    GobSmacked – it’s $47, and yes that’s all the headline is.

    Top rate cut to 38%

    No employer credit for kiwisaver – but it can be negotiated out of your salary instead

    No R & D tax credit

    Remember all those idiot tories who said WfF is a welfare system? Turns out the nats liked making all NZ families beneficaries with WfF so much that they have decided to extend it to people without WfF – $10 credit to people who don’t qualify for any state assistance.

    I kinda want to find every comment that said WfF was a benefit now, and mock the bastards.

    No ideas whatsoever on helping the economy along, apart from tax cuts. Visionless, spinelss lot the lot of them.

  50. gobsmacked 51

    “Key presented the tax cuts as part of an economic recovery programme National has worked out to bring New Zealand through the international credit crisis.” (TVNZ)

    Sure. And me sitting here clicking a mouse is a calorie-burning fitness programme.

  51. Strings 52

    >
    >>That is, no increase in net benefit now. No increase next time. And no increase the next time. How many people on a benefit are feeling really fucked off about now? What’s the deal? Let them eat cake?
    >

    Let me see if I’ve got this right. Someone on a COL-indexed benefit, who therefore doesn’t pay any tax, is complaining that they are not getting additional benefit from a tax reduction! Wow!!!!!

    ISn’t the base point here a debate on what the function of Government is?

    In my view, government is like a master insurance that everyone has to join. It should provide the basic platform of our society, and no more. This means that a health system, an education system, a law and order system, a defense system and a ‘we won’t let you die of starvation’ system should be in place that we all pay for, irrespective of the extent to which we use it in any ‘premium year’. This means I don’t mind paying towards the education system today, even though my yojngest child is in their mid 20s and not gaining any benefit from it. I haven’t used a doctor or medical service this year, but I’m happy to pay my premium. Etc..

    ANything that doesn’t fit this ‘paying on a communal basis for the things we couldn’t afford for ourselves, but that we ALL need’ should be funded by those who wish to benefit from it, in my opinion. Hence, I want lower taxes and more personal choice. What’s wrong with that?

  52. Pascal's bookie 53

    “No ideas whatsoever on helping the economy along, apart from tax cuts. ”

    Matt, just believe.

  53. vto 54

    MP, WfF is a benefit. Funny how the top rate was put up to 39% because ‘they could afford it’ according to this govt, yet a mere few years later those same rich pricks could not, according to this govt, afford to adequately look after their families and needed govt assistance.

    ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

    p.s. one of those hector dolphins washed up on our beach last week. Don’t know what it died of – no obvious injuries.

  54. toms 55

    WOW! National’s big gun is Labour’s tax cuts plus a block of cheese!

    And they’ll gut Kiwisaver to pay for it all.

  55. Bill 56

    So labour put through ‘block of cheese’ tax cuts which (somehow) excludes those on a main benefit.

    And wff is obviously predicated on people being in work.

    With a recession/depression in the offing and treasury predicting unemployment to go to 5% (based on old data and probably optimistic given current global conditions), a hell of a lot of lower income people qualifying for wff are suddenly not going to qualify any more due to being unemployed.

    That would be bad enough for poverty rates, those parents and their children. But the oncoming situation has been exacerbated by the now increased disparity between those in work and out of work because the tax cuts do not lead to any increase on benefit levels.

    While most people might not care to notice at present due to high employment rates, the fact is that unemployment is about to increase. Odds are it will increase more in the low skill/wage sectors where a lot of borderline wff recipients are employed.

    And the drop they are heading for is that much steeper and deeper due to the slight of hand employed in the tax package. What’s Labour’s stand on childhood poverty and poverty in it’s more general sense again?

    Did anyone on this blog realise that increasing the lower threshold from 9.5k to 14k and dropping the tax rate from 15% to 12.5% on the threshold was going to further immiserate the poorest in society in comparative terms?

    Anybody in the know care to explain what the fuck?

  56. Matthew Pilott 57

    VTO, if WfF (which is getting your OWN tax back) is a benefit (as opposed to a real benefit, not an imaginary ‘I’m a National supporter and I’m struggling to make a point’ benefit, but one whereby you are given money that is not taken from your own taxes) then all National are doing is extending that so every middle-class New Zealander is a beneficary, not just those with families.

    Ambitious, huh?

    What is your problem with 39% and WfF lot ablation rate? I know you’re not thick, so I’ll assume you forgot to think about it, vto! Raise tax rate to 39%. Offer WfF for Families, so those with children can get assistance rasisng them. In a few cases (i.e. fewer than 100 families over $100,000 qualify, and the cost is bugger-all at that stage anyway) people will pay top tax rate and get WfF – this is so the ablation rate isn’t excessively punitive for those earning more.

    Would you rather it cut off at $60,000 but you only got an extra 2 cents for every dollar you earned between $30,000 and $60,000? That’s the only way to stop higher income earners getting it. So I gather you think that people should have no incentive to work harder. It’s like you’ve become what the dim right thinks the left is all about…

  57. Tim Ellis 58

    Remember all those idiot tories who said WfF is a welfare system? Turns out the nats liked making all NZ families beneficaries with WfF so much that they have decided to extend it to people without WfF – $10 credit to people who don’t qualify for any state assistance.

    That is an interesting feature, Matt. As I read it, the $10 tax credit to non-families effectively abolishes the preferential tax credit treatment of families (which is the definition of welfare), to provide universal cover to non-families as well.

    My view is that the big difference between National’s tax policy ($47 a week) and Labour’s tax policy ($?) per week is that National is committed to delivering lower taxes, and has a record of willingly reducing tax, whereas Labour has spent the last nine years rejecting the opportunity to lower taxes, reversed its commitment to cut tax in 2005, and can’t be trusted to deliver the next round of tax cuts after the election.

    National has credibility on cutting tax. Labour doesn’t.

  58. Matthew Pilott 59

    Bill, I’d start by checking whether a tax cut would affect those on beneficaries. I think you’ll find that it does, though I can’t think of a source to back that up off the top of my head.

    Have you actually checked that?

  59. Pascal's bookie 60

    National has credibility on cutting tax.

    So does George Bush.

  60. Tim Ellis 61

    Weak, PB. That’s like saying George Bush has committed troops to Iraq and so has Helen Clark. Not very relevant to the discussion, is it?

    [lprent: You know better than that.

    There is a hell of a difference between putting in troops for combat in a invasion and putting engineers (from the army) in to fix infrastructure at the behest of the UN. That has got to be the silliest comment I’ve seen you make.

    On the basis you’re using I’d have been invading Fiji in the 1970’s when I went there on exercise as a army medic. That Singapore is still under colonial rule because a number of nations keep troops stationed there (including us I think). That the troops we put into the Solomons were there to shoot locals.

    Perhaps you’d like to extend it to the police as well – the slow expansion of NZ law over the globe.]

  61. lprent 62

    Daveski:

    Labour is IMO being rightfully punished when it refused to adjust the thresholds given the favourable economic conditions we experienced.

    Yeah and the sooner we get some automatic or semi-automatic system in place to move tax thresholds the happier I’ll be. The idea of calling tax threshold movement largely to compensate for inflation a “taxcut” is stupid.

    On the other hand, the labour-led government has managed use that tax revenue wisely to:-

    1. drop our level of government debt down massively (mainly incurred by a national government and its inability to change with world economic changes).

    2. started doing the infrastructural investment that got stalled in the 1970’s (due to that debt, and because Muldoon didn’t like Auckland voting against him)

    3. started to fulfill its obligations to future generations with the Cullen fund and Kiwisaver (ie make National’s bloody silly “National Superannuation” more substainable).

    The governments (of the last three terms) use of those extra government revenues has been worth the cost. It means that we are no longer lunging from fiscal crisis to fiscal crisis in a grotesque boom and bust cycle. In fact we are probably one of the best placed world wide to weather the current global storm, despite having a wide-open economy. It was incredibly frustrating in the early 90’s watching the world economy booming and ours tanking because some morons on the right lost their economic marbles and played “the sky is falling”.

    Now the wide-boys of the right are going to do their usual mantra and screw the economy and the gains again. Well I suppose that the meaning of “conservative” is that they fail to learn from past mistakes.

  62. Matthew Pilott 63

    Tim, National voted against the business tax cut didn’t they? I’d say, if I was going to look it in such simplistic terms as ‘do they want to deliver tax cuts’, that National are no better than Labour. They weren’t all that keen on voting for the latest lot either.

    If you want to take a more insightful assessment, you’d look at what the parties want to do – National have said they are committed to delivering ongoing tax cuts, and given that there is only so much waste you can cut than National must be committed to selling state assets, and cutting and privatising what are currently public services such as health, education, defence, law and order, prisons, insurance, roads and other infrastructure and so on.

    Otherwise you can’t have ongoing tax cuts, and they are lying.

    Why the “?” for Labour’s cuts? There’s a handy tax cut calculator if you can’t figure it out…

    Labour is committed to maintaining a level of tax that allows for maningful public provision, while (under the current Finance Minister) has a keyensian outlook that allows for tax cuts in viable circumstances.

    I also think you’re going to lose credibility talking about it if you keep omitting the fact that Labour was voted in on a promise of raising taxes, and National received their worst ever result with a platform of tax cuts in 2002, and still couldn’t win in 2005 with the same.

    And yes, National are making bebeficaries a universal thing, unless you can realise (unlike vto et al) that WfF is not a benefit, but a credit.

  63. Bill 64

    Matthew.

    Yup, I checked and then double checked…first through WINZ then a ben advocacy centre. Main benefits are remaining static.

  64. Pascal's bookie 65

    Weak, PB. That’s like saying George Bush has committed troops to Iraq and so has Helen Clark. Not very relevant to the discussion, is it?

    No Tim. It’s not like that, that’s weak and changing the subject.

    Bush, like National has a record of cutting taxes. Because he ‘believes in them’.

    Other things that Bush has done are not relevant, I agree, but so what?

  65. gobsmacked 66

    Great line from the Dim-Post, and probably all too true:

    “I suspect that the National parties $10/week to middle income earners is there because when they did the numbers one last time at 3 AM this morning someone figured out that there’s a big ol’ demographic of voters that lose more on the Kiwisaver state and employee credit reductions than they make on the tax cuts.”

    Seriously, a ten dollar rebate, cash in hand? That’s so retro. Why not just stand on the street handing out the notes?

    I’d love to see the principled argument for this (as opposed to including it in a tax cut, which has a logic whether you agree with it or not). Anyone care to provide one?

  66. Tim Ellis 67

    If you want to take a more insightful assessment, you’d look at what the parties want to do – National have said they are committed to delivering ongoing tax cuts, and given that there is only so much waste you can cut than National must be committed to selling state assets, and cutting and privatising what are currently public services such as health, education, defence, law and order, prisons, insurance, roads and other infrastructure and so on.

    I disagree Matthew. The projections of fiscal deficits in the out years have some quite basic assumptions built into them, particularly around economic growth. Their accuracy becomes increasingly questionable the further down the line. A two percent rise in economic growth per year would see the deficit disappear very quickly, with large fiscal surpluses again.

    Long term economic growth is very difficult to forecast. In 1999 you would have been hard-pressed to find a commentator who would predict the degree of economic growth New Zealand has had in the last nine years. Surpluses rose to massive levels during this Labour government because of record international commodity prices and a stable international trading environment.

    We know what Labour has done from the proceeds of economic growth over the last decade: they have prioritised social spending over cutting tax. It is also reasonably safe to say that National’s record and present commitments demonstrate that when given the choice, they will lower tax rather than increase social spending.

    Otherwise you can’t have ongoing tax cuts, and they are lying.

    You most certainly can have ongoing tax cuts without increasing debt, and by maintaining social services spending, if there is increased growth in the economy.

    Why the “?’ for Labour’s cuts? There’s a handy tax cut calculator if you can’t figure it out

    Yes, and I should have referred to the calculator, but I was in a hurry to make my point and I was too lazy to look it up. It wasn’t intended to be derogatory, but I couldn’t remember off the top of my head what Labour’s proposed reduction was, didn’t want to put in an inaccurate figure, and don’t believe that Labour will deliver on it anyway.

  67. Tim Ellis 68

    Gobsomacked said:

    I’d love to see the principled argument for this (as opposed to including it in a tax cut, which has a logic whether you agree with it or not). Anyone care to provide one?

    Yes, it seems that this move is to mute the bias towards families that working for families has. It provides all working people on lower incomes a subsidy, rather than just those who choose to have children.

  68. Tim Ellis 69

    LP said:

    [lprent: You know better than that.

    There is a hell of a difference between putting in troops for combat in a invasion and putting engineers (from the army) in to fix infrastructure at the behest of the UN. That has got to be the silliest comment I’ve seen you make. […]

    For goodness sakes, LP. Have a sense of irony. I was responding to PB’s invalid and pointless comparison with another invalid and pointless comparison.

    [lprent: Remember that I’m reading the comments backwards when I’m in ‘moderation’ mode – so probably didn’t see pascals. I noticed yours because as an ex-soldier I notice most comments about the military.]

  69. randal 70

    well how about this. better to have a big block of cheese now than maybe, just maybe two blocks of cheeze in 2011. John “the big cheeze” Keys is turning out to be a bit of a wag, hohohohoho

  70. Pascal's bookie 71

    At least you could tell me why it’s invalid Tim. Bush believes in Tax cuts, just like National. That’s why he delivered them.

    Never mind other things Bush has done. I’m interested in this tax cut belief business.

  71. Tim Ellis 72

    PB, for the simple reason that Bush instituted large tax cuts in tandem with uncontrolled spending. The US federal budget has been in deficit for all but 4 of the last 40 years.

    National inherited many years of budget deficits and increasing government debt in 1990. They dramatically reduced public debt during their time in office–so much so that Helen Clark criticised National for reducing debt so quickly. While reducing debt, they managed to lower tax. They demonstrated that with prudent fiscal management, you can reduce debt and lower taxes, if you make them a priority, even at a time of modest economic growth.

    This Labour government has reduced debt, and increased social spending, at a time of strong economic growth. Those have been Labour’s priorities. Cutting tax hasn’t been a priority.

    National is now saying that its priorities will be cutting tax, keeping debt at a stable level, and reducing tax. It is probable that National won’t increase social spending at the same rate that Labour has over the last nine years. The much more valid comparison is with Australia, which has maintained similar fiscal priorities over the last decade.

    If economic growth improves, it is likely that National will lower debt and reduce taxes further.

    All I have said is that cutting tax hasn’t been a fiscal priority for this Labour Government over the last nine years, and there aren’t any signs of any real enthusiasm for making it a priority. That’s what makes me believe that when it comes to the crunch, and the options are on the table, National will choose to lower tax while Labour will choose not to do so.

  72. Pascal's bookie 73

    Tim, thanks.

    You’re right about US deficits over the last 40 years. What surpluses they ran were by governments that didn’t ‘believe in tax cuts’.

    National in the 90’s slashed social spending and deepened recessions so much that NZ missed out on what other nations called the Clinton Boom.

    More later.

  73. Matthew Pilott 74

    You most certainly can have ongoing tax cuts without increasing debt, and by maintaining social services spending, if there is increased growth in the economy.

    Well those tax cuts would account for inflation, for sure, but growth has and always will be cyclical – cutting taxes to spend part of a surplus will result in a deficit eventually.

    Look, what I said in my previous para wasn’t meant to be contoversial in any way. National believes in tax cuts, and that is because they’d like to sell all assets and privatise everything they could. Less government, personal choice – that’s what those fancy lines really mean. If you don’t agree, then you’re supporting the wrong party or know less about them that I.

    …Labour…have prioritised social spending over cutting tax.

    That’s if you ignore reducing debt to very low levels (which is looking better and better in hindsight), WfF which was, in reality, a targeted tax cut and kiwisaver.

    I do agree with you in general about cutting tax – National is more likely to do so, and do so no matter what the cost. At present, National is more likely to plough ahead and cut tax because it is popular, but a very very bad idea. Labour would be more likely to have the guts to do what’s right (sorry, Rodney) and pull the pin.

    Given National’s 9-year plan to reduce the debate down to the level of “Do you want more money?” as opposed to presenting a rationale behind tax cuts, we’re unlikely to see Labour back down either, unfortunately.

  74. Pascal's bookie 75

    And FTR, observations are either true or false. Only arguments can be invalid. You assumed I was making some argument that I was not making. You castigate others for doing that.

    I merely made an observation that made you uncomfortable, that you havn’t yet denied the truth of.

    Namely, that Bush cut taxes because he believes in tax cuts.

  75. higherstandard 76

    PB

    An interesting article on the Clinton boom.

    http://www.iht.com/articles/2000/02/18/think.2.t_2.php

    “Of course such assertions — like so many in economics — can be influenced by politics. People to the right of center are more likely to date the expansion to Mr. Reagan’s time and attribute it to his policies. Those on the left are most reluctant to accept that.”

    Sounds vaguely familiar somehow.

  76. Tim Ellis 77

    Matthew said:

    Given National’s 9-year plan to reduce the debate down to the level of “Do you want more money?’ as opposed to presenting a rationale behind tax cuts, we’re unlikely to see Labour back down either, unfortunately.

    Oh, come on MP. Labour aren’t victims here, any more than National are the victims of the Labour Party spending many years shrieking about social service cuts, or as you’ve done here, claim that National is hell-bent on selling state assets.

    National also reduced debt by very significant degrees during the 1990s, which also appears to have been a very good idea in hindsight. National managed to do this during only modest economic growth, and with the Asian economic crisis. Labour hasn’t had to face any tough economic policy choices until now.

    I think it is fair to say that there is reasonable public consensus on some broad economic issues: long-term, high public debt is undesirable; the state should maintain its core public services; the state should own its existing core state assets.

    At the margins of these assumptions are whether existing social services should be extended or remain constant; whether short-term debt increases should be extended to fund necessary infrastructure and/or smooth fiscal conditions over the medium term; and whether tax reductions are a priority ahead of extending social services.

    In my view it really is only at those margins that National and Labour are having the debate. As much as both political parties like to demonise each other to score political capital, they aren’t challenging the underlying assumptions about the mix of social services provided by the State.

  77. r0b 78

    In my view it really is only at those margins that National and Labour are having the debate.

    Largely true, but the devil is in the details. Labour’s tax cuts favour low earners, National’s favour high earners. Labour’s employment policies are better for workers, National’s for employers. These differences in emphasis have a huge impact on the lives of the majority of ordinary working people.

  78. Pascal's bookie 79

    Well it’s interesting that Tim is now downplaying the differences between N and L. The difference I am interested in is the one that I heard English talking about yesterday, and that others have mentioned and alluded to here. This ‘believing in tax cuts’ thing.

    I apologise if this sounds like the dreaded semantics, but semantics is simply the study of meaning, and I’m still interested in why people choose to phrase tax policy this way.

    I’m going to quote Tim here a lot so all the quotes are from him.

    Here’s what grabbed my interest, because I also heard the phrasing from English, which makes me think it’s not accidental, but is actually conveying some semantic content:

    As I see it, the fundamental difference on tax is that Labour doesn’t believe in tax cuts and is only offering them because National won the argument on tax and were forced into it, whereas National does believe that reducing tax in the long-term is an important economic tool.

    So there’s the phrase, interestingly tax cuts here are also correctly described as a tool, but tax raising is not. We are not told to what end this tool should be put.
    So I asked what ‘believing in tax cuts’ means, and he replied thus:

    That is an interesting debate. As I see it, the Right believes that governments should only tax what is required to pay for necessary expenditure. The Left believe that governments should raise as much tax as the public will accept, for redistribution.

    National believes that New Zealanders are paying too much tax. Labour doesn’t believe New Zealanders are paying too much tax. Whether you are actually committed to tax cuts is dependent on how you view the government’s tax take.

    I was glad he found it interesting, but disappointed by the lack of any explanation. Tim’s explanation of the right’s position is meaningless. Both Ghengis Kahn and the Dalai Lama could claim to be opposed to unnecessary violence. What matters is ‘what do they mean by necessary’.

    His description of the left is just as silly. Cullen has cut business tax, and has paid back mountains of debt. What is interesting though, is that it gives us an idea about what is meant by unnecessary spending in terms of his statement about the right.

    Something that he develops further, when talking about the 90’s National government:

    They demonstrated that with prudent fiscal management, you can reduce debt and lower taxes, if you make them a priority, even at a time of modest economic growth.

    No one could be opposed to prudent fiscal management of course. But he doesn’t say what that meant in context of that government. Prudence is slashing social spending and selling assets. That was how they able to afford tax cuts and pay off debt. It is fairly uncontroversial that this prudence caused real hardship, and slowed economic growth by removing spending power from the most vulnerable, live week to week. There were also health costs associated with overcrowding that directly stemmed form market rents. This is the meaning hidden behind the unnecessary spending phrase. That useless redistribution that was so prudently cut.

    So what have we learned about what ‘believing in tax cuts’ means?

    All I have said is that cutting tax hasn’t been a fiscal priority for this Labour Government over the last nine years, and there aren’t any signs of any real enthusiasm for making it a priority. That’s what makes me believe that when it comes to the crunch, and the options are on the table, National will choose to lower tax while Labour will choose not to do so.

    Again this is empty. ‘Believing in tax cuts’ just means ‘will cut tax because they prioritise it’. Ok. Tax cuts are a goal, an end of fiscal policy. Understood.

    Tax cuts are a tool of fiscal management. Not an outcome of it. Treating ‘cuts’ as a belief, rules out raising taxes as a tool of fiscal policy. This is exactly the philosophy of the modern GOP, which is why their government books are in such a crappy state. By ‘believing in tax cuts’ they have forced themselves to put two wars on the credit card, along with the current bailouts. There were even a bunch of House Goppers whose response to the crisis was to call for Capital Gains Tax Cuts. It’s a dangerous piece of rhetoric. As friedman was os fond of saying, Ideas matter. Which is why I brought up Bush. They ‘believe in tax cuts’.

    Given that Key has ruled out 90’s style ‘prudence’, his belief in tax cuts as a goal of fiscal policy means I simply don’t believe him about deficit blowouts. Today’s grandstanding included.

  79. You just don’t geddit PB – you gotta believe! or it just ain’t right…

  80. Pascal's bookie 81

    Sorry about the messed up formatting, the second TE quote should only be 2 para’s’

  81. Pascal's bookie 82

    Drop kick me Supply side jeebus, through the Laffer curve of life.

  82. Bill 83

    Merely FYI Matthew.

    UB, DPB, IB and SB are all taxed. However…

    “If you get a benefit other than New Zealand Superannuation or Veteran’s Pension, and you don’t have dependent children, the amount you get paid (the net amount) doesn’t change on 1 October.”

    http://www.workandincome.govt.nz/about-work-and-income/news/2008/october-2008-changes.html

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    Since the lockdown began, we've all suddenly been reminded who the actually essential workers in our society are: not the people at the top who pay themselves the big bucks and rort the perks, but the people at the bottom they screw over and squeeze: cleaners, warehouse staff, truck drivers ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Hard News: MUSIC: Lockdown Grooves
    Kia ora! As I've watched nearly all my remaining work vanish over the past couple of days, it has occured to me that one good way to keep me away from arguing with fools on Twitter all the time (in the knowledge that all we're really doing is processing our ...
    5 days ago
  • A place of greater safety?
    Aotearoa New Zealand has committed to trying to extirpate the virus that causes COVID-19 from its shores. To do that, as a society we’ve moved to “Level 4”. That means adapting to unprecedented restrictions on our personal freedoms, particularly to our rights to move freely and associate with friends and ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    5 days ago
  • The police and public trust
    When the Prime Minister declared a state of emergency last week, she handed the police powers to enforce it. And almost immediately, we started hearing about heavy-handed, arbitrary "enforcement" by police who (at best) cared more about order than law, or (more likely) had no idea what the rules were ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 4
    . . Lock Down: Day 4 – A photo essay with observations . March 29: Usual wake up routine as RNZ snaps on my radio-clock. Jim Mora’s voice slowly enters my conciousness; there’s talk of a second wave of covid19 taking hold in South Korea; the week in Parliament – ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    5 days ago
  • COVID-19 vs New Zealand
    Yesterday, New Zealand recorded its first Covid-19 related death on the West Coast. Unfortunately this is unlikely to be the only fatality, with the virus now being found in every region of the country.However despite the significant danger, people are still unfortunately breaching lockdown rules.There’s really only one main very ...
    5 days ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #13
    Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Review... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week... Story of the Week... ‘Misinformation kills’: The link between coronavirus conspiracies and climate denial   Grist / Rob Kim / Stringer / CSA Images  Scientific ...
    5 days ago
  • Rāhui day 4
    The kids did surprisingly well today – meltdown count was about 3, and mostly fairly short ones. (And a fourth while I was writing.) Game-wise I had a go at Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark. It’s a fairly standard RPG with turn-based combat and what they call a “mature storyline” (it ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    5 days ago
  • Letter to a friend
    by Don Franks Hi David, Nice hearing from you, I’m glad to hear you’re getting by okay in these grim times. You asked how’s it going for us back here in New Zealand. You would have heard that the whole country is locked down and with breaks for exercise and ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    6 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 3
    . . Lock Down: Day 3 – A photo essay with observations . March 28: First day of the first weekend in Lock Down. It feels like it’s been weeks since only Level 3 was declared last Tuesday, only four days ago. Woke up this morning to RNZ; coffee; toast, ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    6 days ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #13
    A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Mar 22, 2020 through Sat, Mar 28, 2020 Articles Linked to on Facebook Sun, Mar 22, 2020 In Just 10 Years, Warming Has Increased the Odds of Disasters by Chelsea Harvey, ...
    6 days ago
  • Rāhui day 3
    I’m here in lockdown with my flatmate and her two girls (6 and 2) and it. is. a time. They’re usually really active so to start with the only boardgame in the house is the copy of Guess Who that the 6 year old got for her birthday. Flatmate commented ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    6 days ago
  • A test of civil society.
    The CV-19 (COVID) pandemic has seen the imposition of a government ordered national quarantine and the promulgation of a series of measures designed to spread the burden of pain and soften the economic blow on the most strategically important and most vulnerable sectors of society. The national narrative is framed ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    7 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 2
    . . Lock Down: Day 2 – A photo essay with observations . March 27 – Day 2 of our Strange New World. The Park and Ride near my suburb, usually filled with hundreds of vehicles, had just… four; . . Another drive into Wellington City on a highway nearly ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    7 days ago
  • How Do You Feel? What Do You Think?
    Fortune's Children: Under extraordinary pressure, the leader of the Government and the leader of the Opposition will each show us what they are made of. Have they been blessed with intelligence, grace, wit, poise, toughness, empathy and humour – and in what measure? More importantly, to what extent have they ...
    7 days ago
  • Landlords are NOT an essential service
    If you’ve ever had the misfortune of having to rent a property on the open market in New Zealand, which is one of the most expensive in the entire world, you’ll likely be keenly aware of just how arrogant and entitled landlords and their real estate agents can be.Unfortunately for ...
    1 week ago
  • A “new Society” post-COVID19 will definitely emerge. The question is: on what path?
    Society-wise, aside from the specific morbidity shall we say of the medically-oriented aspects of this COVID-19 crisis, what is unfolding before the world is in more than one way an instructive study of humanity and reactions to a high intensity, high stress environment in real time. Friends, we are at ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    1 week ago
  • Raise the Bar: Everything you need to know about the wage subsidy
    Right now low waged and insecure workers are feeling the economic brunt of the looming #Covid19 Recession. In response legal advocate Toby Cooper* and hospitality and worker’s rights advocate Chloe Ann-King, are putting together a series of legal blogs about your employment rights: In this legal blog we outline some ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    1 week ago
  • The massacre of prisoners in Modelo jail, Bogota, March 21
    by Equipo Jurídico Pueblos and Gearóid Ó Loingsigh (25/03/2020) An escape plan in question On the night of March 21st and the early morning of the 22nd, the forces of the Colombian state stormed into the Modelo prison in Bogotá, murdering 23 prisoners and injuring 83, in response to the ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • We are not America
    When the government banned semi-automatic weapons in response to a terrorist atrocity, gun-nuts were outraged. Mired in toxic American gun culture, they thought owning weapons whose sole purpose was killing people was some sort of "constitutional right", a necessity for "defending themselves" against the government. Now, the Court of Appeal ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • When will we know the lockdown is working?
    Just before midnight on Wednesday March 25, Aotearoa New Zealand entered a countrywide alert level four lockdown. For at least the next four weeks, everyone who isn’t an essential worker is confined to their bubble. We are doing this to stop the explosive growth in people contracting and dying from ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    1 week ago
  • Lock Down: Day 1
    . . Lock Down: Day 1 – A photo essay with observations . Day one of the Level 4 nationwide lock-down (or, DefCon 4 as I sometimes cheekily call it) started at 11.59PM on 25 March. For a moment, most of the nation held it’s collective breath. In that brief ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • A Compelling Recollection.
    Broad, Sunlit Uplands: How those words fired my young imagination! Or, perhaps, it is more accurate to say: how those words fused, in my young mind, with the image printed on every packet of Fielder’s Cornflour. Always fascinated by history, especially modern history, I cannot hear Churchill’s wonderfully evocative words, even ...
    1 week ago
  • The Warehouse – where everyone gets a virus
    . . 24 March 2020 9.46AM Number of covid19 cases in Aotearoa New Zealand: 102 . As of 11.59 on Thursday, most of New Zealand will go into “lock down”. People will be expected not to travel to work; not to socialise; and to stay home. I will not be ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • Aggressive action to address climate change could save the world $145 trillion
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections A respected research group, Project Drawdown, finds that deploying solutions consistent with meeting the Paris climate targets would cost tens of trillions of dollars globally. But crucially, those outlays would also yield long-term savings many times larger than the up-front costs. The new 2020 Drawdown ...
    1 week ago
  • After the Pandemic
    It will pass. What happens next? Not immediately, but longer term. There are many opinions, fewer certainties. Will it “change everything!” as many confidently, and contradictorily predict? In this post I look at how foresight can help bound some of the uncertainties so you can more objectively consider the future. ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    1 week ago
  • Coronavirus – Cuba shows the way
    We’ve been meaning t write something on Cuba and the coronavirus but have just discovered a very good article on the subject in the US left publication Jacobin.  The article looks at how Cuba, a poor country but one where capitalism has been done away with, is leading the way ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Using privacy law to prevent the death penalty
    In 2018, El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey - two British citizens who had purportedly been stripped of their citizenship by the British government - were captured while fighting for Isis in Syria. The British government then conspired to hand them over to the US, and agreed to provide evidence ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • It’s Time For Disaster Socialism.
    Transformers: The disaster of the Great Depression was transformed into a new and fairer society by the democratic socialism of the First Labour Government. The disaster of the Covid-19 Pandemic offers a similar transformative possibility to the Labour-NZ First-Green Government. Seize the time, Jacinda! You will never have a better ...
    1 week ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #12, 2020
    Tamper with The System? Well, we already are. But there's a difference between accidentally trickling sand into a precision gearbox versus formulating a plan to alter it on the fly with improvements in mind. One action is more or less innocently unscrupulous, the other amenable to earning an easy ...
    1 week ago
  • Avoidable hospitalisations: Helping our health system get through COVID-19
    Associate Prof George Thomson, Louise Delany, Prof Nick Wilson While it is possible that New Zealand can use intense public health controls to eradicate COVID-19 from the country – we must also plan for other scenarios where thousands of New Zealanders are sick – including many urgently hospitalised.1 Better resilience ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • Raise the Bar: 10 questions to ask your employer proposing redundancy
    Kia ora my name is Chloe Ann-King* and I am the founder of Raise the Bar, a campaign and non-profit that gives free legal aid, advocacy and tautoko to hospitality workers in Aotearoa. Right now all over our country hospo workers are being fired at will, having shifts cut or being ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    1 week ago
  • An equitable way to support business
    The Herald reports that the government is planning to lend billions of dollars to large businesses to keep them operating during the pandemic. As with mortgage relief, this is necessary: we need companies to stay in business, to reduce the economic damage and help things get restarted again when this ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Hard News: Together Alone
    We're about to do something unprecedented as a nation. We hope that by taking this extraordinary action before a single life in New Zealand has been lost to the deadly novel virus we will save tens of thousands of lives. Our  lives. We'll do it together, in households, in isolation ...
    1 week ago
  • Why timing is everything: ‘A time to refrain from embracing’ starts today
    “There is a time for everything,    and a season for every activity under the heavens.”So writes the author of Ecclesiastes, a book in the Old Testament that’s counted as a ‘wisdom’ book and written as if by an unnamed king of Jerusalem. But who would have thought there would be a time ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    1 week ago
  • Dealing with the Covid-19 Tsunami.
    I was surprised when the prime minister described the Economic Response to Covid-19 package as the ‘largest peacetime government spend in New Zealand's history’. Reflecting – checking through history – I realised that the term ‘spend’ was crucial and the package had no income tax cuts. Even so, it has ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    1 week ago

  • Further measures to support businesses
    The Government will be introducing legislation to make changes to the Companies Act to help companies facing insolvency due to COVID-19 to remain viable and keep New Zealanders in jobs. The temporary changes include: Giving directors of companies facing significant liquidity problems because of COVID-19 a ‘safe harbour’ from insolvency ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    17 hours ago
  • Govt’s COVID plan, economic strength recognised
    The Government’s plan to cushion the blow of COVID-19 by supporting incomes, jobs and businesses, and position the economy to recover has been backed by another international report. International credit rating agency Moody’s today reaffirmed its highest Aaa credit rating on New Zealand, saying the economy is expected to remain ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    21 hours ago
  • Funding certainty for sports through COVID-19
    National sports organisations have been given certainty of funding to ensure they can remain viable through the COVID-19 pandemic, Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson announced today. “The global spread of COVID-19 has had a significant impact on sport and recreation in New Zealand, including the cancellation or postponement of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Butchers now allowed to process pork
    Changes have been made to allow butchers to process pork, only for supply to supermarkets or other processors or retailers that are open, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has announced. “We carefully weighed the risk of allowing butchers to open their shops for retail customers, but the risk of spreading COVID-19 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Essential workers leave scheme established
    Essential workers who take leave from work to comply with public health guidance are being supported with a leave scheme to ensure they will continue to receive income, say the Minister of Workplace Relations and Safety Iain Lees-Galloway and Minister for Social Development, Carmel Sepuloni. A number of essential businesses ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Govt WhatsApp helps share COVID-19 information
    A Government WhatsApp channel has been launched to help make information more easily accessible and shareable in the fight against COVID-19. Govt.NZ, which is free to use on any mobile device, will carry information and news for the public, businesses, healthcare providers, not for profits and local government. It can ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Managed departure plan for stranded foreign nationals enables safe, orderly exit
    The Government has announced a plan to enable the safe, orderly exit of tens of thousands of stranded foreign nationals from New Zealand during the current COVID-19 Alert Level 4 restrictions, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Winston Peters has said. “When we moved into lockdown a week ago, the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government delivers COVID-19 support to GPs and Pharmacies
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says the Government is delivering on its commitment to support general practice doctors and nurses, and pharmacies on the front-line of our fight against COVID-19. "For us to overcome COVID-19, we need community health services such as general practice and community pharmacy to step up ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Susan Thomas the new Chief High Court Judge
    Justice Susan Thomas has been appointed Chief High Court Judge, Attorney-General David Parker announced today.  She replaces Justice Geoffrey Venning who has resigned from the position.   David Parker paid tribute to Justice Venning, who he said had stewarded the High Court very capably over the last five years.   “On behalf ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Business Finance Guarantee – applications open
    Businesses can start applying to their banks for loans under the Business Finance Guarantee Scheme set up to support the New Zealand economy during the COVID-19 pandemic. “We’re moving quickly to protect New Zealand businesses, jobs and the economy during this unprecedented global economic shock,” Finance Minister Grant Robertson said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Work starts on ways to fast-track consents to boost recovery from Covid-19 downturn
    Work is underway looking at measures to speed up consents for development and infrastructure projects during the recovery from COVID 19, to provide jobs and stimulate our economy.  Environment Minister David Parker said the COVID-19 pandemic is a serious global crisis that will have a wide ranging and lasting impact ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Advance payments to support contractors
    Advance payments will be made to transport construction industry contractors to retain the workforce and ensure it is ready to quickly gear up to build projects which will be vital to New Zealand’s COVID-19 economic recovery, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. He said keeping the workforce required to build ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government seeks infrastructure projects
    The Government has tasked a group of industry leaders to seek out infrastructure projects that are ready to start as soon as the construction industry returns to normal to reduce the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford and Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones say. The Infrastructure ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Health system scaled up to prepare for COVID-19
    Work to scale up the health system in preparation for COVID-19 was today outlined by Health Minister David Clark, as he reported back to the new Epidemic Response Committee. “We are well placed to contain the spread of COVID-19. We have taken early and decisive action at our borders, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Essential media COVID-19 guidelines refined
    The Government is refining its COVID-19 essential business guidance to include the distribution of news publications for communities which are hard to reach. The Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media, Kris Faafoi, said the move was in recognition of the importance for New Zealanders who might be harder to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Supermarkets able to open on Easter Sunday
    The Government is ensuring supermarkets can open on Easter Sunday so we can buy groceries, but stay closed on Good Friday allowing workers to take a break. This provides a balanced approach and ensures we avoid large queues that two days closure may cause. “Supermarkets will be able to open ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New Zealand defence personnel conclude mission at Taji
    Following the successful conclusion of the Building Partner Capacity (BPC) mission at Taji, New Zealand defence personnel are returning to New Zealand from Iraq, in accordance with the Cabinet decision made in June 2019, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today. “New Zealand is very ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • State of National Emergency extended
    The State of National Emergency to help stop the spread of COVID-19 has been extended for a further seven days, Minister of Civil Defence Peeni Henare said. The initial declaration on March 25 lasted seven days and can be extended as many times as necessary. “Since we went into isolation ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Strong Govt books support ‘go hard, go early’ response
    New Zealand’s ability to go hard and go early in the fight against COVID-19 has been underpinned by strong Government finances and the growing economy heading into this global pandemic, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. The Treasury today released the Crown financial statements for the eight months to the end ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Christchurch Hospital Hagley ICU to open to support COVID-19 response
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says 36 new intensive care beds at Christchurch Hospital’s new Hagley building are being fast tracked so they are available for treatment of COVID-19 patients.   The Ministry of Health is working with contractor CPB and Canterbury DHB to enable access to the hospital’s ICU, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Government supports Air NZ freight flights
    The Government has fast-tracked up to $1 million to help Air New Zealand move urgent freight to and from New Zealand, with the first flight to Shanghai leaving tonight, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. Phil Twyford says it’s crucial that trade in vital goods such as medical supplies and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Tariff concessions on COVID-19 related products
    New Zealand will temporarily remove tariffs on all medical and hygiene imports needed for the COVID-19 response. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker and Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi said today that the New Zealand Customs Service will apply tariff concessions to all diagnostic reagents and testing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Clarification of modification to wage subsidy scheme
    Minister of Finance Grant Robertson has clarified that the changes to the wage subsidy scheme announced yesterday mean that employers should be passing on the full subsidy to workers, except in the case where the person’s normal income is less than the level of the subsidy. “We still want employers ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Face masks flowing to DHBs
    Medical face masks from the national reserve supply are now being distributed to District Health Boards, while at the same time local production is being ramped up. Yesterday more than 640,000 masks were sent to DHBS – that is an immediate two week supply, with more to follow in coming ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • COVID-19: Further steps to protect New Zealanders’ jobs
    The Government has made modifications to the wage subsidy scheme to ensure people don’t lose their jobs during the national lockdown. These changes will soften the impact of COVID-19 on workers, families and businesses, and position them to exit the lockdown and look to recovery, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Tax relief for Mycoplasma Bovis farmers
    Farmers whose herds were culled in response to the outbreak of Mycoplasma bovis will be able to minimise the tax treatment of their income in some circumstances. Revenue Minister Stuart Nash says Cabinet has agreed to change the law. It means farmers may be eligible to spread their income over ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • $27 million for NGOs and community groups to continue providing essential services
    A $27 million dollar package, effective immediately, is being provided to social sector services and community groups to ensure they can continue to provide essential support to communities as we stay at home as a nation to stop the spread of COVID-19, Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni announced. “At ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Statement on guilty plea of March 15 terrorist
    “The guilty plea today will provide some relief to the many people whose lives were shattered by what happened on March 15,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. “These guilty pleas and conviction bring accountability for what happened and also save the families who lost loved ones, those who were injured, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • COVID-19 updates
    The Prime Minister is holding daily press conferences to update New Zealanders on the Government's response to COVID-19. Links to videos and transcripts of these updates below. These transcripts also include All of Government press conferences led by Director Ministry of Health's Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield. 25 March: Live update from the Prime ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Police numbers break through 10,000 mark
    Frontline Police numbers have broken through the 10,000 mark for the first time in history as officers step forward to keep the community safe during the COVID19 lockdown. “Two Police graduations in Auckland and Wellington in the past week have been conducted in unprecedented circumstances,” Police Minister Stuart Nash said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Urgent tax measures for economic recovery
    Urgent legislation has been passed to support the package of economic and social measures needed to recover from the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. “The COVID-19 Response (Taxation and Social Assistance Urgent Measures) Bill will cushion New Zealanders from the worst economic impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Revenue Minister ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Further support for farmers and growers as drought persists
    From tomorrow, Government support for farmers and growers affected by drought will be expanded and extended across the country, with access to Rural Assistance Payments (RAPS) available throughout the North Island, parts of the South Island and the Chatham Islands, Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni announced. “These challenging conditions have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • COVID-19: Temporary changes to Education Act
    Parliament has passed amendments to legislation that give the Secretary of Education stronger powers to act in the fight to limit the spread of COVID-19, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “They are part of a suite of changes passed under the COVID-19 Response (Urgent Management Measures) Legislation Bill,” Chris ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar join NZ and Singapore in committing to keeping supply a...
    Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar have joined forces with New Zealand and Singapore by committing to keep supply chains open and remove any existing trade restrictive measures on essential goods, especially medical supplies, in the face of the Covid-19 crisis.  Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker today welcomed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • COVID-19: Rent increase freeze and more protection for tenants
    Immediate freeze on rent increases Tenancies will not be terminated during the lock-down period, unless the parties agree, or in limited circumstances Tenants who had previously given notice can stay in their if they need to stay in the tenancy during the lock-down period Tenants will still be able to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Working together to protect businesses and workers
    As New Zealand unites to lock-down in the fight against COVID-19, the Finance Minister is urging all businesses and workers to stay connected over the next four weeks. “We understand the extreme pressure many businesses are under right now. I know most business owners think of their workers as family ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • State of National Emergency declared to fight COVID-19
    A State of National Emergency has been declared across the country as the Government pulls out all the stops to curtail the spread of COVID-19. “Today we put in place our country’s second ever State of National Emergency as we fight a global pandemic, save New Zealanders’ lives and prevent ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister’s statement on State of National Emergency and Epidemic Notice
    Mr Speaker I wish to make a Ministerial Statement under Standing Order 347 in relation to the recent declaration of a State of National Emergency. Having considered the advice of the Director Civil Defence Emergency Management, the Minister of Civil Defence declared a State of National Emergency for the whole of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Deadline for domestic travel extended
    People needing to travel on domestic flights, trains and Cook Strait ferries to get home before the country moves into level 4 lock-down tomorrow night will be able to continue using the passenger services until midnight on Friday, Transport Minister Phil Twyford said today. Domestic passenger services, particularly ferries, have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Mortgage holiday and business finance support schemes to cushion COVID impacts
    The Government, retail banks and the Reserve Bank are today announcing a major financial support package for home owners and businesses affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19. The package will include a six month principal and interest payment holiday for mortgage holders and SME customers whose incomes have been ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago