UBI: Addressing Inequality

Written By: - Date published: 2:15 pm, January 22nd, 2014 - 35 comments
Categories: benefits, Economy, tax, welfare - Tags: ,

Flip (now at FlipNZ) has been continuing his investigations into a universal basic income (also UBI) by looking at the impacts on income and tax to see how we could use a UBI to create a greater income equality. He has allowed us to reprint the post

Income equality is one measure that can be used to indicate the equality of a society. I have analysed the 2011 income distribution and show how a UBI (Universal Basic Income) can create greater income equality. The details of the UBI and its benefits are detailed in other places. Quite a lot of discussion has occurred regarding the benefits and pro’s and con’s of it as well.

2011 Income Distribution

In the graph below the red line would be what the income distribution would be, when 50% of the income earning population received 50% of the income, 10% received 10% etc. In other words, if the income was evenly distributed among the population.

The blue line represents the actual NZ distribution of income in 2011.

The stepper the blue curve and the less area under the curve the more uneven the distribution of income. The closer it moves to the red line or the greater the area under the curve the more even the distribution of income. The steeper the curve the more income is earned by less of the population and less even the income distribution. By measuring the area under the blue line and subtracting it from the area under the red line you get a measure of inequality. (The area shaded in red). An index if you like.

Table of % of Population earning less than the income band per annum.

% of Population  Approx Income Band
 20%  $11k
 40%  $19k
 50% $25k
 60%  $34k
 80% $54k
 95% $93K

2011 Income

UBI Income Distribution

Applying a UBI of $9080 and a flat tax rate of 33% the curve looks like this. This has been selected based on analysis done by Perce Harpham and details can be found here. Alternatives schemes can be selected and various options are possible. This spreadsheet enables the experimenting with different levels of UBI and assumptions. Further comments are here.

UBI Income

Other Scenarios and Comparisons

The table below offers a comparison of other scenarios. The closer the Equality Index % is to 100% the more even the income distribution.

The 2007 scenario shows historically what the equality index was.

The 25K scenario is what would happen if the first $25K of income was tax free.

The UBI scenario gives people a UBI of $9,080 tax free and sets the tax rate at 33%.

The Flat scenario is what would happen if all income was charged at 33%.

Note the change in government tax income and the equality % change between the different scenarios.

The 25K and  UBI scenarios alter the government funding so would need to recover that by other means assuming no loss of government service.

For the UBI an asset tax is proposed to fund it and savings would result from the simplified system. There would be less bureaucracy in the administration and management of benefits.

Equality Index Income ($m) Tax ($m) Tax take change from 2011 ($m) UBI Cost ($m) Government Income Change from 2011
2007 52.37% 106,085.50 25,192.10 1,039.60 1,039.60
2011 53.00% 121,153.40 24,152.50 0.00 0.00
25K 57.21% 107,525.15 13,628.25 (10,524.25) (10,524.25)
UBI 64.69% 112,441.12 39,980.62 15,828.12 31,268.34 (15,440.22)
Flat 53.00% 81,172.78 39,980.62 15,828.12 15,828.12

From the graph below it can be seen that the 25K tax free scenario reduces inequality a little and benefits middle to high income earners more than low income earners. The UBI has a much more significant effect spreading the benefits more evenly among the population.

Scenario

For more details on the UBI scheme refer to this post.

Some actual real thought has gone into this UBI proposal. It is practical, simple and would actually work. It includes thoughts on the impact and how it would be paid for and actually removes complexity from the system unlike the fiddles by previous governments. I have not explained all the details but they can be found in the links. There are still some issues to resolve and it is impossible to assess all the impacts but nothing exists that amounts to a show stopper. The consequence of increasing the UBI is that it will increase the taxation level but the proposed amount is a start and can be sold politically and allows for further adjustments in the future once the benefits begin to accrue.

If a party sees inequality and its consequential social issues as a major issue and I think lots of people do, then here is something practical that can be done to address it with some real benefits and would improve the quality of life for most New Zealanders.

35 comments on “UBI: Addressing Inequality ”

  1. Draco T Bastard 1

    It includes thoughts on the impact and how it would be paid for and actually removes complexity from the system unlike the fiddles by previous governments.

    IMO, the simplicity of the UBI and the fact that it will reduce complexity overall is one of its biggest selling points. Why? Because the present highly complex system can be used to hide rorts and other inefficiencies.

    The consequence of increasing the UBI is that it will increase the taxation level but the proposed amount is a start and can be sold politically and allows for further adjustments in the future once the benefits begin to accrue.

    Actually, having the UBI start out as a full replacement of the pension is a major selling point because that major demographic bulge referred to as the Baby Boomers don’t want to live on less than what they’re getting now and the UBI will be replacing the pension. It doesn’t work otherwise.

    If a party sees inequality and its consequential social issues as a major issue and I think lots of people do, then here is something practical that can be done to address it with some real benefits and would improve the quality of life for most New Zealanders.

    QFT

    Now if there was a major NZ political party that expounded such principles.

    • Flip 1.1

      “Actually, having the UBI start out as a full replacement of the pension is a major selling point ….

      I agree as there is no good reason for making the super different to the UBI for adults and would bring it into the UBI. One reason might be that they are unable to get work which is not true in some cases. If they had opportunity, been responsible during their working life and had reasonable luck then they will have sufficient resources to supplement a UBI.

      The UBI Perce proposed includes at making the pension tax free and setting it at the married couple rate for all then taxing extra income and assets.

      One would need to see how this worked as the SS separates superannuation out.

      • KJT 1.1.1

        My starting point for an adult UBI would be the present super married rate. About $14000 after tax.

        Then set the flat tax rate at a level which pays for it.

        Though I would like to see more of a move away from income taxes towards financial transaction taxes, land/wealth taxes and resource use taxes.

      • KJT 1.1.2

        My starting point for an adult UBI would be the present super married rate. About $14000 after tax.

        Then set the flat tax rate at a level which pays for it.

        Though I would like to see more of a move away from income taxes towards financial transaction taxes, land/wealth taxes and resource use taxes.

        The most pressing need at the moment, however, is child poverty.
        Making a UBI (universal family benefit) for children the place to start.

        • Flip 1.1.2.1

          You want to keep the tax rate the same for all income to avoid dodges. Up it too far and it will cause companies to go overseas and discourage them coming here losing jobs etc. So it is a balance.

          I’ve worked out the necessary asset tax just on the housing stock value in NZ and it is about 0.65% which is $3,250pa on a $500K house. There may be other assets that can be taxed but not so easily.

          Obviously tax rates can be adjusted and tax can be got from elsewhere but it still has to be sold politically. I think there is still work to be down on what the sweet spot is.

          Arguably a target could be set that says we want 66% equality of income in NZ and the UBI and tax rates could be adjusted to achieve that?

          “Though I would like to see more of a move away from income taxes towards financial transaction taxes, land/wealth taxes and resource use taxes.”

          Agree but I have not figured out how to do that yet without a bunch of fish hooks. THe only straight forward one is on rateable properties.

          But just quickly the risk to a transaction tax is the loss of capital/jobs and a lowering of the exchange rate and overseas investment. Not a bad thing at the moment providing you got it right but very open to government fiddling.

  2. A Political Party that promised to tax the capital gains on property and assets plus a financial transaction tax, to pay for a universal living UBI, would get elected by a landslide.
    In fact in the Shaky Isles, that’s the sort of landslide we badly need.

  3. McFlock 3

    oh wow, I just got a stats hard-on.

    Um – I’m gonna have to think on it for a few days, and it still thinks “flat tax”, but in five minutes it’s gone a long way to persuading me.

    • Flip 3.1

      Flat tax without a UBI increases inequality as it increases the effective tax on everyone except the richest. The benefit of flat tax is it reduces scope for tax dodging and simplifies things.

      • McFlock 3.1.1

        Ok on the dodging re: rebates and the multitudes of exemptions, but I’ve never understood why say 0% to $10k, 25% on 10k to $30k, 33% on 30k to $50k, and 40% on >$50k is terribly more complicated to figure out than a flat tax.

        • Flip 3.1.1.1

          I’m guessing you mean as it is currently done where each portion of the income is charged different rate.
          What is your effective tax rate? It is none of the numbers you just mentioned. It differs for every different salary.

          30K actually pays 16.67% tax as the first 10K is tax free 20K at 25%
          50K pays 23.2% as 10K is tax free 20K is at 25% and 20K at 33%
          100K pays 31.6% as 10K is tax free 20K is at 25% and 20K at 33% and 50K at 40%

          • McFlock 3.1.1.1.1

            pretty much, with the obvious proviso that my figures were not carefully calculated, but merely illustrative examples created ex derrière 🙂

            The point is that calculating a progressive tax from a known income is just as easy as calculating a flat tax. And as you point out, the effective rate for poor people is lower than the effective rate for the wealthy – so the ubi can actually be lower, as less of it is returned straight back to the govt.

            • Flip 3.1.1.1.1.1

              You could leave the current tax structure in place but it’ll leave a bigger hole to fill from somewhere else.

              Upping the tax rate at the top end is one answer and I’ve already listed the risk of doing that.

              • McFlock

                what, tax dodging?

                Half of ’em would do it anyway. All of them would think twice if punishments for white collar crime were proportional to, say, the few occurrence of welfare fraud that occur in real life.

  4. Lanthanide 4

    So just remember that IRD are re-doing their computer system and it’s expected to last until 2016 or something like that.

    I saw an article on stuff a couple of months ago talking about it and how it effectively acts as a break on politicians wanting to propose much in the way of tax law changes because the existing system simply won’t be able to cope with the changes. I went looking for this article the other day but unfortunately couldn’t find it.

    So it seems like we won’t be able to have a UBI in the near-term, even supposing there was a government that thought it had the political capital to implement it.

    • Flip 4.2

      I had a look at the IRD transformation project EOI on the governments GETS system last year. The analysis was very much based on assumptions about the current system. In some ways it was poor analysis. It also cost a fortune and went to an overseas organisation. The following is summary of the list of issues sent to the Minister.

      Issues
      • No plan (available or visible?) in place to deliver the transformation
      • A failure to decompose the work properly has led to an excessively large project with poorly understood requirements that are specified such that they are excluding NZ organisations.
      • It is a project that is vital for improving NZ’s ICT capability and capacity and will provide real value to NZ which will be lost if it goes to a single organisation or multi-national.
      • No measures of success in the TOM. It is aspirational but nothing exists about how it is going to be known that the aspirations are meet.
      • There is an assumption that previous success in a different environment is an indicator of ability to do the work in NZ. This can be false.
      • No evidence is visible that allows for change over the duration of this project.
      • A commercial vendor supplying this project has no incentive to share expertise, or divest itself of dependency by the IR and by extension the NZ government and people. There is a serious risk of vendor lock-in from the way this project is being approached.
      • There is an assumption that professional services require large scale.
      • A desire to outsource functions without evident risk analysis and mitigation.

      “So it seems like we won’t be able to have a UBI in the near-term, even supposing there was a government that thought it had the political capital to implement it.”

      It could well gain political capital to the party promoting it providing it is done well.

  5. weka 5

    Just went to Flip’s blog, and also KJT’s linked in the RSS feed. Dudes, seriously, white text on dark backgrounds is hard for many humans to read. Please make this really important work more accessible.

    http://blog.tatham.oddie.com.au/2008/10/13/why-light-text-on-dark-background-is-a-bad-idea/

    http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2005/07/code-colorizing-and-readability.html

    /aside

    • Flip 5.1

      Thanks for the advice. I quiet liked it (no accounting for some tastes :-)). I’ll look at some others.

      • karol 5.1.1

        It can depend on people’s eyesight.

        I quite like dark backgrounds and lighter text.

      • weka 5.1.2

        I’ve been meaning to do some research on this. From the quick google I did, I think there are varying issues. The bit about half the human population have astigmatism that makes white text on black harder to read was interesting, but there are also issues for the elderly, and people with visual and cognitive disorders. I’m surprised that IT and webculture hasn’t produced much easily accessible work on this yet. And what is available to web designers will be different to what is available to people using platforms like wordpress.

        Grey on black is apparently easier to read if you really want to go with black, but I think overall the reverse is easier still. Re karol’s point, you can also de-brighten the background when you have black text on white too, so there isn’t so much glare.

        Just seen you’ve updated your blog. It’s definitely easier for me to read. I think that theme is using a kind of mottled pink tinge rather than bright white for the background too.

        thanks! 🙂

        • Tim 5.1.2.1

          Just as an aside …
          I think you’re suggesting an issue of conrast.
          Interestingly I used to have 20/20 until a series of heart attacks – one quite nasty.
          Result: long sightedness.
          (Also used to be able to multi-task readily – not no more).
          I heard that for those on certain medications such as blood thinners it can be an issue – which seems plausible sicnce forgetting to take the damn stuff results in improved vision for me.

        • KJT 5.1.2.2

          Just changed mine. See if it works better?

          Interestingly, I made it white on blue after sort of a poll I did with various people, on the colours they found both attractive and easy to read.

  6. Colonial Viper 6

    Good work. The UBI/flat tax rate system also has the added advantage that, finally, ordinary voters will be able to understand how it is all supposed to work and why indeed it is fairer and will lead to far better outcomes for the vast majority.

    That simplicity means far more effective public scrutiny of any future modification proposals, with concomitant ease in identifying rorts and BS that politicians might try to introduce over time.

  7. tricledrown 7

    CV to stop the right from undermining UBI or the dole.
    The govt could guarantee all beneficiaries 20hrs a week for an extra $100 and WFF more than the dole get rid of all abatements including secondary tax,There are more partime jobs than ever why should those on the lowest incomes pay the highest taxes.
    This would end the poverty trap that is caused by abatements.
    given in the future their will be less work as robots technology and overseas cheap manufacturing do that work.
    this will also lift self esteem and upward mobility.
    UBI is very expensive and can have unintended consequences like funding gangs and criminals.
    +as we have seen in the past the right always undo universal benefits.

    • Colonial Viper 7.1

      Yep. Echoes the ‘jobs guarantee’ idea and the ‘full employment policy for 25’s and under’ that has been mentioned previously.

      The UBI in itself is a revolutionary idea, but its true power comes as part of a total package of initiatives which makes superb sense as a whole.

      It also fucks the Tories, greatly limiting what they could do with the system in future.

    • KJT 7.2

      Actually the right have struggled to remove universal benefits. Just ask Key about super.

      Removing the universal family benefit was not very popular at the time.

      Neither are the present sneaky cuts to health spending. (When the media bother to tell us about them).

      They, and Labour, are trying to remove super by stealth.

  8. aerobubble 8

    I would not vote for Labour if they introduced a flat tax policy. For the most part lower and middle income kiwis are overtaxed, yes, yes, some say they also pay no tax but that misses the obvious problem that in the present market they aren’t getting fair wages. The goal is to provide as many citizens with their value, how is a shrinking share of growth supposed to be an even better outcome?

    A flat tax rolled into the debate is just dumb, and should have been laughed out since its also obvious that a UBI is about the tail end, not about the top end and how its the top end having to give up their growing unfair share of the nations wealth. Which it should be because its not in their interests for the pool of wealth to keep contracting into the hands of a global elite, they don’t want it.

    Recently I have been listen to how putting herd back on savanna increases greenery, how having birds on fish farms increases fish numbers, how putting wolves back into a National Park meant the depth and breath of the park boomed. Funny how having enough predators does that, I mean why wouldn’t it, that the plants would not maintain them unless they get something much better out of it (churn of the system).

    So that’s where the debate should start, on the tail. What does the tail get out of all these predators? Oh, yeah we can just suck up the idea of trickle down, but damn it nobody can fathom the idea of burden up, that for predators to exist the base must get much more than it would of had the predators not been there.

    Now of course, would we have the population we have now without capitalism, no. But of course individual wealthy capitalists aren’t owed for that, we all maintain capitalism. No. The correct way of looking at it is about access and use of resources. Does everyone have access to grow, to learn, to take risks. And if the system crushes them, then harms the economy, if the cream is taken and exploitation is increased.

    So a UBI debate starts with the idea that instead of a unemployed person being paid to not work, they are paid whether they are working or not. Now how does that harm taxes? If people who already are being paid benefits now increase with the introduction of a UBI their productivity rises.

    So its simply unbelievable that there is any need to compensate the wealthy, unless you are a dipshit. A flat tax is a totally different beast that involves discussion of how inefficient it is to have a wealth class that cannot loss their wealth and so has no incentive to innovate. Take copyright, how is it that copyright holders, not creators who are dead, keeping it help innovation? It doesn’t, it does the opposite, instead of adapting to the new reality of information transfer, they block the new economic ecology.

    Now okay, lets say we do need to pay for a UBI, how about having a inverted lottery, the more wealth you have the more tickets you have to hold, and the winner gets their wealth cut by 10%
    (the religious would have no problem with this). Now the lottery will only be called when the measure of inequality is high, the higher the inequity, the more lotteries are held a year.
    The incentive therefore would be to cut back on the help the rich get rich policies of Key.
    And nobody can say its unfair, because even the tramp on the streets with a dollar would be hit if they won, losing 10c. It would teach everyone to save some but not too much (save to cover the lottery and have money to cover expenses, and not to much as they’d lose more!!).

    • Colonial Viper 8.1

      It doesn’t make much sense to look at major initiatives in isolation. A UBI (or alternatively a negative tax rate bracket for low incomes) plus a higher flat tax rate at all other income levels works fine.

      It greatly simplifies the administration of both the taxation system and the benefits system. Working in tandem, it creates a highly progressive taxation system, but in another format.

      Overall, the wealthy will get net taxed at a similar rate to that of today, but with less chance of avoidance and gaming the system.

      What’s not to like?

  9. Flip 9

    “So a UBI debate starts with the idea that instead of a unemployed person being paid to not work, they are paid whether they are working or not.”

    Actually it starts with everyone getting an income regardless of your employment status. It would be set at a level that provided a basic living. Hence the title.

    Everybody who earns income pays more tax but it is offset by the UBI to lesser or greater extent. Everybody gets more income if you are earning. Cannot see how that is not an improvement. What is more the equality gap is reduced.

    “So its simply unbelievable that there is any need to compensate the wealthy,…”
    The scheme would not “compensate the wealthy” as it includes an asset tax to fund the shortfall from income tax. Most wealthy people have assets that would qualify.

    As I said further up you could leave the tax structure as is but the hole in government revenue would get a whole lot bigger. It does that when you up the UBI to $14K as well. I’m working on showing the funding model but it will hurt single people on a benefit. A couple will be better off.

    I wouldn’t die in a ditch over the flat rate but you still have to fund the UBI. You will die in a hole politically if you cannot show how to fund it without trashing everybody’s standard of living.

    The lottery idea is interesting but do not think it would fly. Happy to look at other options that will be seen as reasonable. That is the majority of the electorate can be persuaded.

  10. blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 10

    Hmm not sure whether I got this link from The Standard or not – but are people aware that Perce Harpham is doing a lecture on UBI in Wellington?

    DATE: Friday, 31 January
    VENUE: Rutherford House, Lecture Theatre 3, Institute for Governance and Policy Studies, Victoria University of Wellington
    TIME: 12:30pm – 1:30pm

    I would love to hear about it if anyone is going and could report back here on The Standard 🙂

    …will put this link on open mike too…

    http://binews.org/2014/01/wellington-new-zealand-reducing-inequality-through-universal-basic-income

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    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. Were scientists caught falsifying data in the ...
    2 days ago
  • What Happened to David D'Amato's Millions?
    Today’s podcast episode is for paying Webworm members — and is a conversation seven years in the making. Let me explain.Hi,As I hit “send” on this newsletter, I’m about to play my 2016 documentary Tickled to a theatre full of about 400 Webworm readers in Auckland, New Zealand.And with Tickled ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    2 days ago
  • Voting as a multi-order process of choice.
    Recent elections around the world got me to thinking about voting. At a broad level, voting involves processes and choices. Embedded in both are the logics that go into “sincere” versus “tactical” voting. “Sincere” voting is usually a matter of preferred … Continue reading ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    2 days ago
  • Women in Space.
    Count downThree twoI wonderIf I'll ever see you againI'm 'bout to take offI'm leaving youBut maybeI'll see you around somewhere some placeI just need some spaceA brief reminder that if you’re a Gold Card holder you can subscribe to Nick’s Kōrero for 20% off. You’re also welcome to use this ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    3 days ago
  • Bernard’s Saturday Soliloquy for the week to July 13
    Auckland waterfront, July. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: My top six things to note around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the week to July 13 are:The National-ACT-NZ First Coalition Government watered down vehicle emissions standards this week, compounding the climate emissions damage from an increasingly ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    3 days ago
  • Dems need to ask the right question about Biden as his age now defines the campaign
    Midway through the news conference that many American political commentators had built up as critical to Joe Biden’s re-election chances, the US president said European leaders are not asking him not to run for a second term, “they’re saying you gotta win”.The problem for Biden and his advisors is that ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    3 days ago
  • Govt flounders while ocean temps soar
    TL;DR : Here’s the top six items of climate news for Aotearoa-NZ this week, as selected by Bernard Hickey and The Kākā’s climate correspondent Cathrine Dyer, most of which they discussin the video above. According to experts, the rate of ocean surface warming around New Zealand is “outstripping the global ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    3 days ago
  • Learning From Brexit
    Whether Britain leaving the European Union was right or wrong, good or bad is for the Brits to decide. But there are lessons about international trade to be learned from Brexit, especially as it is very unusual for an economy to break so completely from its major training partner.In Econ101 ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    3 days ago
  • Bernard’s Chorus for Friday, July 12
    TL;DR: My top six things to note around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day or so on the morning of Friday, July 12 are: Read more ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • Hot Damn! It's The Soggy Bottom Boys!
    Good morning lovely people, and welcome to another weekly review. One which saw the our Prime Minister in Washington, running around with all the decorum of Augustus Gloop with a golden ticket, seeking photo opportunities with anyone willing to shake his hand.Image: G News.He had his technique down to overcome ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    4 days ago
  • When an independent expert / advisory group is anything but ..
    OPINION: Yesterday, 1News reported that the Government's "independent" advisory group had recommended Kiwirail offload its ferries to another entity.Except this wasn't entirely new news at all, besides that it came formally from Nicola Willis’s advisory team.TVNZ is under significant cost pressure, and earlier this year, after expressing strong discontent with ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    4 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Pick 'n' Mix for Friday, July 12
    Photo by Alexander Schimmeck on UnsplashTL;DR: My pick of the top six links elsewhere around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day or so to 9:00 am on Friday, July 12 are:Scoop: Ministerial group advises KiwiRail no longer run Cook Strait ferries 1News’ Julia RodenNews: ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • Weekly Roundup 12-July-2024
    Kia ora and welcome to another Friday roundup, in which we pull together some of the links and stories that caught our eye this week. Feel free to add more in the comments! The week in Greater Auckland On Monday, Scott delivered a delicious disquisition on donut cities, ...
    Greater AucklandBy Greater Auckland
    4 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Journal of Record for Friday, July 12
    Photo by Dominik Scythe on UnsplashTL;DR: The top six announcements, rulings, reports, surveys, statistics and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the day to 6:00 am on Friday, July 11 are:Climate: Transport Minister Simeon Brown said in a release the Government's plan to reverse New ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • The Hoon around the week to July 12
    TL;DR: The podcast above of the weekly ‘hoon’ webinar for paying subscribers features co-hosts and talking with:The Kākā’s climate correspondent talking about the National-ACT-NZ First Government’s climate strategy ‘pamphlet’, its watering down of Clean Car Standards and its general lack of coherence;University of Otago Foreign Relations Professor ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • Casey Costello strikes again
    Summary: A track record of deception is becoming evident in the Government’s Coalition alliance. Ministers across all parties have been found to either lie without contrite, and/or act unlawfully and unreasonably. The rails are coming off quicker than a marshmallow induced fantasy train ride as the conductors throw caution to ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    4 days ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #28 2024
    Open access notables Antarctic Bottom Water Warming, Freshening, and Contraction in the Eastern Bellingshausen Basin, Johnson et al., Geophysical Research Letters Cold winds blowing over polynyas (areas of ice-free water) on the Antarctic continental shelf create sea ice, forming very cold and somewhat salty, hence very dense, waters. These dense ...
    4 days ago
  • We're back! Join us for the weekly Hoon on YouTube Live
    Photo by Mathias Elle on UnsplashWe’re back after a three-week mid-winter break. I needed a rest, but back into it. We’re still with the ‘new’ day of the week (Thursday rather than Friday) when we have our ‘hoon’ webinar with paying subscribers to The Kākā for an hour at 5 ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • Climate Change: National’s gas fantasy
    Yesterday the government released the advice on its proposal to repeal the offshore fossil gas exploration ban, including a Climate Implications of Policy Assessment statement, Cabinet paper, and Regulatory Impact Statement. I spent some time looking at these last night, and the short version is that the government's plan is ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • A criminal minister
    RNZ reports that cancer minister Casey Costello has been reprimanded and forced to apologise by the Ombudsman for acting "contrary to law" in her handling of an OIA request: Associate Health Minister Casey Costello has been severely reprimanded by the Chief Ombudsman and forced to apologise for trying to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on Luxon in the NATO pressure cooker
    New Zealand is one of six countries invited as onlookers to this week’s NATO summit in Washington. As such, PM Christopher Luxon will be made aware of the pressure on the 32 NATO member states (a) to increase their Defence spending (b) to become less militarily dependent on the US ...
    WerewolfBy lyndon
    5 days ago
  • Bernard’s Dawn Chorus for Thursday July 11
    TL;DR: My top six things to note around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day or so on the morning of July 11 are:Climate: Climate Change Minister Simon Watts issued the National-ACT-NZ First Coalition Government’s climate strategy yesterday, including a three-page document with five bullet ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    5 days ago
  • By George! Splendid streets take shape down south
    The revitalisation of Auckland city centre, especially around Wynyard Quarter, Te Komititanga, and Queen Street, is top of mind for Greater Auckland readers – but other cities around Aotearoa New Zealandare installing people-friendly streets. This guest post by Jessica de Heij, who grew up in the Netherlands and is an ...
    Greater AucklandBy Guest Post
    5 days ago
  • Bernard's Pick 'n' Mix for Thursday, July 11
    TL;DR: My pick of the top six links elsewhere around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day or so to 7:30 am on July 11 are:Scoop: NZ First Minister acted 'contrary to law’. Casey Costello has been severely reprimanded by the Chief Ombudsman and forced ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    5 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Journal of Record for Thursday, July 11
    TL;DR: The top six announcements, rulings, reports, surveys, statistics and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the day to 6:00 am on Thursday, July 11 are:Economy: Te Pūtea Matua The Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) announced its Monetary Policy Committee decided to hold the ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    5 days ago
  • Farmers’ revenge meets Green resistance
    If there was one issue that united farmers in opposition to the Labour Government, it was the battle of the waterways between farmers and Environment Minister David Parker. Parker won the first round with his 2020 National Policy Standard on Freshwater Management (NPSFM) which imposed tough new standards on waterways ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    5 days ago
  • Personal Reflections: 10th July
    Please note: This is a personal reflection and does not refer to politics. These entries are not sent to subscribers.Text within this block will maintain its original spacing when publishedHubris and Pride Out of the fire and into the frying pan? Swimming with the big sharks Tonight, I am excited. ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    5 days ago
  • Oh Vienna
    Nothing can warm your heart like the sight of your daughter stepping off a train. Mary-Margaret arrived on Saturday to ride with us to Vienna.You know your way around a bike? the guy at the hire shop asks her. Yep. She’s ridden them on rail trails, Auckland’s mean streets, commutes ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    5 days ago
  • Geoffrey Miller: New Zealand forges deeper ties with NATO
    Christopher Luxon is finding his foreign policy feet. Now eight months into the job, New Zealand’s Prime Minister is in Washington DC this week to attend the NATO summit. It is the third year in a row that Wellington has been invited to the annual gathering of the North Atlantic ...
    Democracy ProjectBy Geoffrey Miller
    5 days ago
  • Climate Change: National’s carbon capture fantasy
    As the climate crisis has grown worse, the tactics of the polluting industries have shifted. From denying climate change, they then moved on to pushing "carbon capture" - dumping their emissions underground rather than in the atmosphere. It's a PR scam, intended to prolong the life of the industry we ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Harsh Truths.
    The Way We Were: An indelible mark was left upon a whole generation of New Zealanders by the Great Depression and World War II; an impression that not only permitted men and women of all classes and races to perceive the need to work together for the common good, but also ...
    5 days ago
  • Explainer: Simeon Brown's CCUS Announcement
    Sources for the data and research:Peter Milne: Time’s up on Gorgon’s five years of carbon storage failureSimon Holmes a Court: "Does best CCS power station in world provide model for Australia?" Chris Vanderstock: "The truth about Carbon Capture and Storage"   "Sunk Costs": documenting CCS's failure to meet every, single, target, ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    6 days ago
  • The Kiwirail Interislander saga continues
    This morning, 1 News is reporting that the cancellation of the i-Rex ferries has so far cost taxpayers $484 million.That's almost half a billion dollars. That could probably fund thousands of new doctors, maybe complete a few hospital rebuilds, or how about money for our experienced police so they don’t ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    6 days ago
  • Bernard’s Chorus for Wednesday, July 10
    As foreshadowed in legislation passed quietly under urgency just before Christmas, the Transport Minister has personally watered down standards for car imports in a way expected to add millions of tonnes to our climate emissions Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: My top six things to note around housing, climate ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • Christopher Luxon's business acumen
    It’s April, and the relatively new Prime Minister of New Zealand is on his first overseas mission to South East Asia.Christopher Luxon walks into the room. A warm smile on his face. A hand extended to his counterpart.“We are open for business,” he says confidently. “New Zealand is under new ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    6 days ago
  • Meet New Zealand's Russell Brand?
    Hi,There is an all too common story within the guru community, and we see it play out again and again. The end is nearly always the same — a trail of victims and confusion left in the guru’s wake.As seen in the recent case of Russell Brand, the guru simply ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    6 days ago
  • Why is the Government flooring it on unsafe speeds?
    Feedback closes midnight Thursday 11 July, on the draft speed-setting rule. See our previous post on the subject for details, and guidance on having your say. Among other things, it proposes to raise speeds in cities back up to a universal 50km/h (with no option of 30km/h), and will restrict safe ...
    Greater AucklandBy Greater Auckland
    6 days ago
  • American Boy
    Take me on a trip, I'd like to go some dayTake me to New York, I'd love to see LAI really want to come kick it with youYou'll be my American boy…Love letters straight from the heart. Hmm, I think that’s a different tune, but that’s where we’ll begin. With ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    6 days ago
  • Bernard's Pick 'n' Mix for Wednesday, July 10
    Photo by Jannis Brandt on UnsplashTL;DR: My pick of the top six links elsewhere around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day or so to 7:00 am are:Investigation: Benefitting from the misery of others. Over 40% of emergency housing funding went to a concentrated group ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Journal of Record for Wednesday, July 10
    Photo by Mr Cup / Fabien Barral on UnsplashTL;DR: The top six announcements, reports and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the day to 6:30 am on Wednesday, July 10 are:Climate: Minister for Transport Simeon Brown announced changes to the Clean Car Importer Standard that ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • How rural families are saving thousands with electric vehicles
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Daisy Simmons (Photo credit: Automotive Rhythms / CC BY-NC 2.0) Some people thought Juliana Dockery and her husband Sean were being impractical when they bought an electric vehicle in 2022. Why? Like one in five Americans, they live in a rural area ...
    6 days ago
  • Love to complete it all
    Photo credit: Rob DickinsonThis is my wish for you: Comfort on difficult days, smiles when sadness intrudes, rainbows to follow the clouds, laughter to kiss your lips, sunsets to warm your heart, hugs when spirits sag, beauty for your eyes to see, friendships to brighten your being, faith so that ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    6 days ago
  • Climate Change: What’s left of the Emissions Reduction Plan?
    In 2019, Parliament, in a supposed bipartisan consensus, passed the Zero Carbon Act. The Act established long-term emissions reduction targets, and a cycle of five-yearly budgets and emissions reduction plans to meet them, with monitoring by the independent Climate Change Commission. In theory this was meant to ensure that the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • The President They Have Got.
    “This cannot be real life!” Confronted with the choice of recommitting themselves to the myth of Joe Biden, or believing the evidence of their own eyes, those Americans not already committed to Donald Trump will reach out instinctively for the President they wish they had – blind to the President they ...
    6 days ago
  • Has Progressivism Peaked?
    Let’s Go Crazy! AOC (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) rarks-up the voters of New York’s 16th Congressional District.HAVE WE MOVED past peak progressivism? Across the planet, there are signs that the surge of support for left-wing causes and personalities, exemplified by the election of the democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (AOC) to the US House ...
    6 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Dawn Chorus for July 9
    TL;DR: The top six things I’ve noted around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day are:Labour may be looking at signing up for an Irish style 33% inheritance tax instead of or as well as a capital gains tax;Sam Stubbs has proposed the Government sell ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    7 days ago
  • Mr Luxon goes to Washington.
    Once fastened servile now your getting sharpMoving oh so swiftly with such disarmI pulled the covers over him shoulda' pulled the alarmTurned to my nemesis a fool no fucking godTuesday morning usually provides something to write about with a regular round of interviews for the Prime Minister across Newshub, TVNZ, ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    7 days ago
  • Kiwirail at Councils Transport & Infrastructure Committee
    Last week at the Council’s Transport and Infrastructure Committee, Kiwirail gave an update about the state of the network and the work they’re doing to get it ready for the opening of the City Rail Link. There were a few aspects that stood out to me so I’ve pulled them ...
    Greater AucklandBy Greater Auckland
    7 days ago
  • Bernard's Pick 'n' Mix for Tuesday, July 9
    Photo by City Church Christchurch on UnsplashTL;DR: The top six links elsewhere I’ve spotted around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day to 8:00 am are:Scoop: Waipareira Trust political donations probe referred to Charities Registration Board NZ Herald-$$$’s Matt NippertScoop: Migrant whistleblowers speak out after ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    7 days ago
  • What’s next after Supreme Court curbs regulatory power: More focus on laws’ wording, less on the...
    This article by Robin Kundis Craig, Professor of Law, University of Kansas is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article. Federal Chevron deference is dead. On June 28, 2024, in a 6-3 vote, the Supreme Court overturned the 40-year-old legal tenet that when a federal ...
    7 days ago
  • The folly of retreat in the face of defeat
    Note: This is a long readPolitical discourse on social media taught me that bad faith operators and tactics are not only prevalent, they are widespread and effective.Thanks for reading Mountain Tui! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.Their objectives are much narrower than one might imagine.The ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    7 days ago
  • The Parent Zone
    Hi,I am about to wing my way back to New Zealand for the Webworm popup this Saturday in Auckland — can’t wait to see some of you there! In the meantime, I highly recommend the latest pet thread over on the Webworm app. All I’ll say is that readers here ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    7 days ago
  • Tuesday: The Kākā’s Journal of Record for July 9
    Photo by Alex Zaj on UnsplashTL;DR: The top six announcements, speeches, news conferences reports and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the day to 6:00 am on Tuesday, July 9 are:Politics: Full news conference: 'Please resign', Chloe Swarbrick tells Darleen Tana RNZ VideoPaper: Increasing speed ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    7 days ago
  • Breaking up is so hard to do
    The fundamental weakness of the waka jumping legislation is once again on display, as the Greens seem reluctant to trigger it to remove Darleen Tana from Parliament altogether. Tana has been suspended from the Greens Caucus while it had barrister Rachel Burt investigate allegations that she had been involved in ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    1 week ago

  • NZ, Korea strengthen relationship
    New Zealand and the Republic of Korea continue to strengthen their relationship, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.   “New Zealand and Korea have a long history – from New Zealand soldiers fighting in the Korean War, through to our strong cooperation today as partners supporting the international rules-based order.    ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 hours ago
  • Investing for future growth in tourism and hospitality
    The Government is moving forward with recommendations from the Tourism Data Leadership Group, beginning with establishing a Tourism Data Partnership Fund says Tourism and Hospitality Minister Matt Doocey. “The Tourism Data Partnership Fund is funded through the International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy (IVL) and will provide up to $400,000 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    16 hours ago
  • Trade Minister to attend G7 meeting in Italy
    Trade Minister Todd McClay will attend the Group of Seven (G7) Trade Ministers meeting in Reggio Calabria, Italy next week. This is the first time New Zealand has been invited to join the event, which will be attended by some of the world’s largest economies and many of New Zealand’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Ministers reveal consequences for unruly Kāinga Ora tenants
    Ministers are pleased to see Kāinga Ora taking a stronger approach to managing unruly, threatening or abusive tenants, Housing Minister Chris Bishop and Associate Housing Minister Tama Potaka say.    “For far too long, a small number of Kāinga Ora tenants have ridden roughshod over their neighbours because, under Kāinga ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Prime Minister wraps up US visit in California
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has finished a successful four-day visit to the United States with meetings in California on his final day focusing on innovation and investment.  “It has been fantastic to be in San Francisco today seeing first-hand the deepening links between New Zealand and California. “New Zealand company, EV Maritime, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Prime Minister leads Indo-Pacific Four at NATO
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon today chaired a meeting of the Indo-Pacific Four (IP4) countries – Australia, Japan, the Republic of Korea and New Zealand. The IP4 met in the context of NATO’s Summit in Washington DC hosted by President Biden. “Prosperity is only possible with security,” Mr Luxon says. “We need ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • District Court judges appointed
    Attorney-General Hon Judith Collins today announced the appointment of three new District Court Judges.   The appointees, who will take up their roles in July and August at the Manukau, Rotorua and Invercargill courts, are:   Matthew Nathan Judge Nathan was admitted to bar in New Zealand in 2021, having previously been ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Urgent review into Wairoa flood response begins
    Environment Minister, Penny Simmonds today announced the terms of reference for a rapid review into the Wairoa flood response. “The Wairoa community has raised significant concerns about the management of the Wairoa River bar and the impact this had on flooding of properties in the district,” says Ms Simmonds. “The Government ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • NZDF’s Red Sea deployment extended
    New Zealand has extended its contribution to the US-led coalition working to uphold maritime security in the Red Sea, Defence Minister Judith Collins and Foreign Minister Winston Peters announced today. “The decision to extend this deployment is reflective of the continued need to partner and act in line with New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Government provides support to tackle tax debt and compliance
    New compliance funding in Budget 2024 will ensure Inland Revenue is better equipped to catch individuals who are evading their tax obligations, Revenue Minister Simon Watts says. “New Zealand’s tax debt had risen to almost $7.4 billion by the end of May, an increase of more than 50 per cent since 2022. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Taking action to reduce road cones
    The Coalition Government is taking action to reduce expenditure on road cones and temporary traffic management (TTM) while maintaining the safety of workers and road users, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.  Rolling out a new risk-based approach to TTM that will reduce the number of road cones on our roads.  ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Celebrating 100 years of progress
    Te Arawa Lakes Trust centenary celebrations mark a significant milestone for all the important work done for the lakes, the iwi and for the Bay of Plenty region, says Māori Crown Relations: Te Arawhiti and Māori Development Minister Tama Potaka. The minister spoke at a commemorative event acknowledging 100 years ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Foreign Minister to travel to Korea and Japan
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters will travel to the Republic of Korea and Japan next week.    “New Zealand enjoys warm and enduring relationships with both Korea and Japan. Our relationships with these crucial partners is important for New Zealand’s ongoing prosperity and security,” says Mr Peters.    While in the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Huge opportunity for educators and students as charter school applications open
    Associate Education Minister David Seymour says today is another important step towards establishing charter schools, with the application process officially opening.  “There has already been significant interest from groups and individuals interested in opening new charter schools or converting existing state schools to charter schools,” says Mr Seymour. “There is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Decreasing gas reserves data highlights need to reverse oil and gas exploration ban
    MBIE’s annual Petroleum Reserves report detailing a 20 per cent reduction in New Zealand’s natural gas reserves shows the need to reverse the oil and gas exploration ban, Energy Minister Simeon Brown says.“Figures released by MBIE show that there has been a 20 per cent reduction in New Zealand’s natural ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Providers of military assistance to Russia targeted in new sanctions
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has announced further sanctions as part of the Government’s ongoing response to Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine.    “Russia’s continued illegal war of aggression against Ukraine is a direct and shocking assault on the rules-based order. Our latest round of sanctions targets Russians involved in that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • OECD report shows New Zealand is a red tape state
    Minister for Regulation David Seymour says that the OECD Product Market Regulation Indicators (PMRI) released this morning shows why New Zealanders sorely need regulatory reform. “This shocker result should end any and all doubt that the Government must go to war on red tape and regulation,” says Mr Seymour.  “The ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Government unveils five-point climate strategy
    The coalition Government is proud to announce the launch of its Climate Strategy, a comprehensive and ambitious plan aimed at reducing the impacts of climate change and preparing for its future effects, Climate Change Minister Simon Watts says. “The Strategy is built on five core pillars and underscores the Government’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • National Bowel Screening Programme reaches 2 million life-saving screening kits
    The National Bowel Screening Programme has reached a significant milestone, with two million home bowel screening kits distributed across the country, Health Minister Dr Shane Reti announced today.   “This programme, which began in 2017, has detected 2,495 cancers as of June 2024. A third of these were at an early ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Granny flats popular with all ages
    More than 1,300 people have submitted on the recent proposal to make it easier to build granny flats, RMA Reform Minister Chris Bishop and Building and Construction Minister Chris Penk say. “The strong response shows how popular the proposal is and how hungry the public is for common sense changes to make ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • $25 million boost for conservation
    Toitū te taiao – our environment endures!  New Zealanders will get to enjoy more of our country’s natural beauty including at Cathedral Cove – Mautohe thanks to a $25 million boost for conservation, Conservation Minister Tama Potaka announced today.  “Te taiao (our environment) is critical for the country’s present and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • New Zealand increases support for Ukraine
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and Foreign Minister Winston Peters have announced a further $16 million of support for Ukraine, as it defends itself against Russia’s illegal invasion. The announcement of further support for Ukraine comes as Prime Minister Luxon attends the NATO Leaders’ Summit in Washington DC. “New Zealand will provide an additional ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Country Kindy to remain open
    Associate Education Minister David Seymour says that Country Kindy in Manawatu will be able to remain open, after being granted a stay from the Ministry of Education for 12 weeks. “When I heard of the decision made last week to shut down Country Kindy I was immediately concerned and asked ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government lifts Indonesian trade cooperation
    New export arrangements signed today by New Zealand and Indonesia will boost two-way trade, Trade and Agriculture Minister Todd McClay says. Mr McClay and Dr Sahat Manaor Panggabean, Chairman of the Indonesia Quarantine Authority (IQA), signed an updated cooperation arrangement between New Zealand and Indonesia in Auckland today. “The cooperation arrangement paves the way for New Zealand and Indonesia to boost our $3 billion two-way trade and further ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Carbon capture framework to reduce emissions
    A Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) framework has been released by the Coalition Government for consultation, providing an opportunity for industry to reduce net CO2 emissions from gas use and production, Energy Minister Simeon Brown says. “Our Government is committed to reducing red tape and removing barriers to drive investment ...
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    6 days ago
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