Universal Income Revisited

Written By: - Date published: 11:44 pm, February 28th, 2011 - 96 comments
Categories: tax - Tags:

The tax system we currently have is a relic of the pre-IT age. In the days of manual clerk-handled accounts, it was impractical to reconcile tax accounts more than once a year. The introduction of PAYE in 1958 was welcomed as it eliminated the need for ordinary people to find the cash for a large tax bill at the end of the tax years. It effectively transferred the annual responsibility for paying the tax from the taxpayer, to the payroll dept of his/her employer on a weekly/fortnighly/monthly basis and greatly smoothed the cash flow for both taxpayer and govt.

The advent of IT technology meant that tax could be paid at any interval you wanted; daily even. But the big opportunity missed by almost everyone… tax could not only be paid… but could be equally received with the exact same facility. Receiving tax is a novel concept to many people.. it’s can be thought of as ‘negative tax’.

Such a negative tax paid on a regular basis is usually termed “Universal Basic Income” (UBI). It’s an idea with a long and respectable history and numerous variants, but for the purposes of this article I’ll go with a simple model.

1. Every adult over the age of 18yrs has one single tax linked bank account, into which IRD pays $200 pw… or $10,000 pa. Over the age of 65 the amount is raised to be equal to superannuation around $300 pw. This is the ‘negative tax’ component.

2. All income is taxed at a single flat rate… say 40%. This is the ‘positive tax’ component.

3. All first-tier individual benefits such as the dole and superannuation are eliminated.

4. There would remain a range of smaller and targeted secondary benefits such as sickness/disability/accommodation etc that would be administered by the department most directly responsible for that social function. (eg the sickness/disability benefit is logically a function of Health)

(For a more sophisticated analysis I’d direct readers to this country’s one it’s most stalwart proponents of UBI …Keith Rankin. )

At $25k income total tax = (25,000 * 0.4) – 10,000 = 0. Total nett tax rate = 0/25 = 0%

At $40k income total tax = (40,000 * 0.4) – 10,000 = 4,000. Total nett tax rate = 4/40 = 10%

At $60k income total tax = (60,000 * 0.4) – 10,000 = 14,000. Total nett tax rate = 14/60 = 23%

At $80k income total tax = (80,000 * 0.4) – 10,000 = 22,000. Total nett tax rate = 22/80 = 27.5%

At $100k income total tax = (100,000 * 0.4) – 10,000 = 30,000. Total nett tax rate = 30/100 = 30%

At $200k income total tax = (200,000 * 0.4) – 10,000 = 70,000. Total nett tax rate = 70/200 = 35%

In other words total nett tax starts at zero for those earning $25k and asymptopically approaches the flat tax rate of 40% for those on very high incomes.

Looking at the immediate and practical merits of this reform, first and most fundamental is that it treats ALL citizens exactly the same, everyone receives exactly the same UBI and every dollar earned, whether it’s the first dollar earned by an apprentice, or a bank executive’s ten millionth, it’s taxed at the same flat rate. While at the same time the overall nett tax paid as income increases remains progressive. But the best thing about UBI is what it gets rid of:

1. Eliminates all benefit abatements and high marginal tax rates are inherent in the current system whenever you have any form of targeted benefit or tax rebate.

2. Eliminates all the ‘poverty traps’ that people encounter especially when transitioning from welfare to work.

3. Eliminates the soul-crushing complexity and costs associated with administering social welfare.

4. Eliminates the distortions created when IRD assesses individual’s for tax liability, while WINZ assesses households for benefit eligibility. (In NZ only 35% of people who loose their job qualify for the dole because their partner income is too high, while all earners pay tax regardless of their partner’s)

5. Eliminates the argument for income splitting and empower’s non-earning partners in a household, providing them an income stream of their own..acknowledging the value of their otherwise invisible contribution to society.

6. Eliminates the incentive to game the tax system by manipulating personal income into a lower tax bracket and the distortions this creates.

7. Eliminates ‘fiscal creep’ caused by inflation pushing people into higher tax brackets.

8. Eliminates the needless stigma and shame many associate with being ‘on a benefit’, by the simple fact of providing a living income for everyone.

Perhaps the most deplorable feature of our current system is that it’s just so inefficient which creates all manner of opportunities for both politician’s and taxpayers to game it. By contrast UBI as I’ve outlined it here is simple and almost impossible to game. In any given tax year the Minister of Finance has only two numbers to announce… the UBI income and the flat tax rate. The political and social implications of changing these numbers would be direct and difficult to spin.

Again I have to emphasis the version I’ve presented is not complete. There is plenty of room to debate the numbers I’ve used for this example. With roughly 3m adults in this country the UBI at $10k pa adds up to $30b pa. With the average income at $45k over roughly 2 m wage and salary earners the 40% flat tax rate adds up to $38b… so the numbers do potentially add up. I would suggest the rest of govt expenditure could be funded from existing GST and Company Tax and a widened tax base…especially a Financial Transfer Tax (FTT) and a moderate CGT.

Is UBI too radical to implement? Not necessarily. The efficient flat rate income tax aspect appeals to right wingers while the nett progressive overall rate satisfies the left’s call for social justice.It would be relatively simple to include a universal ‘child benefit’ in the same mechanism, eliminating the need for WFF. The remaining benefit normally targetted at households the accomodation supplement which could perhaps be better administered by a somewhat expanded Housing NZ. Ultimately the entire WINZ organisation costing close to $1b pa in administration costs alone, could be dismantled. As vital as it’s work has been, few would mourn it’s passing.

The Greens long supported the idea, (but seem to have soft-pedalled it in recent times), while Gareth Morgan prominently pushed the UBI idea when he dissented from the Tax Working Group he served as a member of a year ago. It is not an obscure nor innately ‘left-field’ proposal. As every year passes the failings of the current system become more apparent, the more attractive UBI becomes as a sound alternative. Whether it was National or Labour who adopted this reform (and either are capable of doing so) nothing could more clearly signal to the electorate a determination to make a genuine break with the past.

Nothing shows so clearly the character of a society and its civilisation as does the fiscal policy it adopts.

Åsa Gunnarsson, Senior Lecturer in Tax Law, University of Umeå, Sweden; quoting Joseph Schumpeter.

96 comments on “Universal Income Revisited ”

  1. weka 1

    Nice.

    Presumably there would be supplementary benefits to replace DA and TAS/SpB? There are others too. Who would administer those?

    WINZ now consider the main part of their brief is to ‘help’ people find work. I can’t see that changing.

    Also, given the nature of politics, what would you see the potential skewings that could happen under National or Labour?

  2. Colonial Viper 2

    Love your work RL.

    BTW spellcheck “asymptotically”. [Thanks…fixed. RL]

    As for any revenue numbers which do not quite add up, the Government could just, ahem, fund the bank accounts with freshly minted NZ Government credit. This has the added benefit of reducing the hold of interest bank credit on our money supply.

    • RedLogix 2.1

      I understand this, but realistically it’s not likely to happen in any immediately foreseeable future.

      I first saw this idea over a decade ago, and in all that time I’ve never seen any fatal objection to implementing it. Many senior politicians (Dr Cullen for instance) have been aware of it, if not persuaded that the electorate was ready for it.

      In the form I’m outlining… it’s doable.

      • Vicky32 2.1.1

        It sounds brilliant, really, but I can’t see it ever happening! I know absolutely nothing about tax/economics etc. but it makes sense to me.

  3. Draco T Bastard 3

    1. Every adult over the age of 18yrs has one single tax linked bank account, into which IRD pays $200 pw… or $10,000 pa. Over the age of 65 the amount is raised to be equal to superannuation around $300 pw.

    Why the ageism and why the complication of a “universal ‘child benefit’”? Everyone needs close to the same minimum amount to live on and the Universal Income is supposed to be that minimum so, to remove any silly complications, just give the same amount to everyone.

    Also, $10k/year isn’t enough as you don’t have enough to do anything (talking about starting a small business or going to work). It pays the rent and food and that’s about it. IMO, the amount should be ~$20k

    With the average income at $45k over roughly 2 m wage and salary earners the 40% flat tax rate adds up to $38b… so the numbers do potentially add up.

    The numbers can always be made to work it’s more a question of if they’re palatable 😛

    IMO, the flat rate should be set at 50% (or, a maximum of 50%) with the rest made up from CGT, FTT and a consumption tax on luxury items (ie, true consumption items rather than necessities like food). The 50% is partly from the fact that I think the UI should be higher than $10k so you need more “income” and partly from the fact that no one is going to settle for having more than half their income going in tax.

    Another aspect of the UI in regards to taxes is that everyone would have to be treated as a business which would mean business expenses would also be available to everyone. This is good in that it brings everyone (individuals and businesses) under the same rules but it would mean that those business expenses would have to be more clearly defined else everything would quickly become a business expense. This would also mean that accounting software would have to be available through the IRD.

    In any given tax year the Minister of Finance has only two numbers to announce… the UBI income and the flat tax rate.

    Actually, the finance minister should still be announcing the budget and the UBI and flat tax rate would be set by the RBNZ in relation to the budget. Probably reset every quarter so as to maintain a balanced budget. Done in association with the printing of money removed from private banks and given over to the RBNZ (printed at 0% interest of course) as well it would help bring our economy back under our control.

    The advent of IT technology meant that tax could be paid at any interval you wanted; daily even.

    Actually, IMO, the big advantage of IT and the UI is that the taxes could be done in real time if we moved to a cashless society (it’s happening anyway) and all financial transactions went through the IRDs computers.

    • Colonial Viper 3.1

      Need real notes and coins to provide a resiliency back up in the system.

      Think post earthquake for instance.

      • Draco T Bastard 3.1.1

        Not really. Smart cards can remember the transaction even if the telecomms is down. If power goes down then it may be a little more complicated but people can always use an UPS.

        After a disaster like an earthquake people in that region shouldn’t be paying for stuff anyway. It should be allocated/rationed so as to stop price gouging and to ensure that resources are going where they need to go.

        • Colonial Viper 3.1.1.1

          Not that I can’t see the advantages of a real time system, but still really iffy about it. Misuse, hacking, inappropriate accessing of information, use by unfriendly forces, or system failure could become a very big problem. The big banks will do their darndest to have it privatised into their hands over time.

          Whole commercial areas go down when the EFTPOS falls over for an hour, I can’t help thinking that this is yet another interlinking dependency therefore it is more likely to add systemic fragility not reduce it.

          • Draco T Bastard 3.1.1.1.1

            It’s coming no matter what we do so we’ll just have to deal with shortcomings.

            The big banks will do their darndest to have it privatised into their hands over time.

            They’ve already done that – the banks already control the economy. My suggestion is to take it back off them because if we make a system mandatory it can’t be left to the private sector as it will allow them to charge excessive rents.

            Whole commercial areas go down when the EFTPOS falls over for an hour,

            That’s probably because there’s more and more people who just don’t carry cash.

      • Vicky32 3.1.2

        Also such things as buses, the lawnmower man etc. Could never do without cash, sorry, I have tried!
        Deb

    • RedLogix 3.2

      Why the ageism and why the complication of a “universal ‘child benefit’”?

      An interesting question.

      The UBI system implicitly anticipates that a lot more people of working age would find part-time, short-term casual or low-level self-employment to supplement their UBI. At present such enterprise is fiercely punished with absurdly high abatement rates. Most of it’s proponents accept that the UBI couldn’t be practically set at such level that living on it alone would be ‘comfortable.’ for an extended period…. that there would remain a reasonable incentive to supplement it with other income.

      (On the other hand the UBI might enable small collectives/cluster households to thrive more or less indefinitely if a number of people were able pool their individual UBI’s and operate more efficiently than a one or two person household could.)

      Secondary benefits such as Sickness and disability benefits would have also dissappeared. In this case I would suggest that the supplementary support needed for these people could be best administered by the Health system, specifically a function of a somewhat expanded DHB’s, and delivered as part of primary health care.

      But once at retirement age the opportunity to supplement the UBI diminishes rapidly and $10k pa is simply not enough for people to live on into their 80’s or even 90’s. Even with Gold Card the $300 pw Super at present is still pretty minimal. UBI is not a magic wand.. it doesn’t directly solve all the problems of an ageing population, and insufficient personal or national savings.

      The idea of a ‘universal child allowance’ aligns with conventional thinking that children are neither fully wards of the state, nor fully the chattel’s of their parent’s. Most people accept some realistic middle ground between the two… which we currently reflect in the tax system with WFF.

      But otherwise DtB … as usual the rest of your thoughts are right in the game. Thanks.

      • uroskin 3.2.1

        Re the universal child benefit. Why not assign everyone in NZ from birth with UBI linked to age, i.e. in your first year you get $10pw, when you’re 19 you get $190pw. This would eliminate the need for WFF, allow children to amass a fund (if their parents don’t charge them for living in their household) for study or business investment later. At the other end of the age scale, Kiwisaver should be able to cover shortfalls for aged people on $200 UBI. The concept of pensioners can be abolished then too.

      • Draco T Bastard 3.2.2

        The UBI system implicitly anticipates that a lot more people of working age would find part-time, short-term casual or low-level self-employment to supplement their UBI.

        I’m aware of that but I’m of the opinion that the level that you’ve set will actually prevent them from doing so as it won’t cover the added expenses the same way that the UE doesn’t now. It certainly isn’t high enough for them to start their own small home business which I think is something that the UI should support as it would encourage innovation within the community.

        But once at retirement age the opportunity to supplement the UBI diminishes rapidly and $10k pa is simply not enough for people to live on into their 80′s or even 90′s.

        For some but not all, I’ve met plenty of people in their 70 and 80s that are still working, and the level I’ve suggested would more than cover the living expenses for those that choose not to add to their income.

        The idea of a ‘universal child allowance’ aligns with conventional thinking that children are neither fully wards of the state, nor fully the chattel’s of their parent’s.

        Just have them on the UBI as well but have it paid to their parents until they reach majority. This would effectively prevent any children living in poverty. Admittedly, you’d probably want to make it less than the full UBI. I’d also like to see some of it given to the children some years before they leave school so that they can be effectively taught budgeting skills.

        • RedLogix 3.2.2.1

          It certainly isn’t high enough for them to start their own small home business which I think is something that the UI should support as it would encourage innovation within the community.

          This kind of support, beyond basic living needs, is best addressed by the most relevant govt dept. Everyone still gets the UBI, but:

          Sick or disabled with extra needs over and above the UBI? Then your local primary health care provider is funded to help meet YOUR specific needs.

          Need help with the rent? Then Housing NZ either finds you a state house, or funds you into a private rental.

          Need help starting a business? The Dept of Commerce has various entities specifically funded to help develop and support small business.

          Need more qualifications? The Education system would manage the funding to support you through the required courses.

          And so on. Similar examples could be developed for virtually every govt dept that has an explicitly social function.

          Just have them on the UBI as well but have it paid to their parents until they reach majority.

          Yes that is exactly what I had in mind.. I just failed to make it clear.

  4. weka 4

    Also, $10k/year isn’t enough as you don’t have enough to do anything (talking about starting a small business or going to work). It pays the rent and food and that’s about it. IMO, the amount should be ~$20k

    I thought it was $10,000 each and the rest made up in supplementaries to $25,000.

    • RedLogix 4.1

      If you earn no other income… then the UBI at $10k pa would be your sole income. (Other than a Housing NZ managed accomodation allowance.) Agreed… not all that flash.

      But the point is that the every dollar you earn you get to keep 60cents… at present someone on a benefit is lucky to keep 20cents (after the first $80 pw).

      The crucial point to get is that if you are earning less than $25k pa (which is a little less than a full-time minimum wage) your fixed UBI ‘negative tax income” is still greater than any PAYE that you pay. Essentially you could think of UBI as a universal benefit of $10k pa that is abated at 40cents in the dollar.

      Which is a lot better than the 80cents in the dollar (or more) that current beneficiaries face.

      The Fig 2 on Keith Rankin’s graph that I linked to shows this visually.

  5. Just Me 5

    Red Logix, Do you know if any country implemented this type of solution? and if so what their experience has been?

    • RedLogix 5.1

      Much of South America has programs in place that can be loosely categorised as UBI systems.

      Brazil has an on going legislative program in place that is being progressively implemented. It’s not the same as the more ‘pure’ version I’ve outlined above… but the idea of a ‘guaranteed liveable income’ is embedded at it’s core.

      Curiously Alaska is another surprising example.

      • Lanthanide 5.1.1

        One could then say that it is only “poorer countries” that have implemented UBI then. I don’t have a problem if NZ followed the same path, I mean it is the most logical tax system to implement, but I think there would be some objection about essentially throwing our lot in with the ‘poor countries’, as well as talks of communism (Key called WFF communism in a National Radio interview in January (after he said that “basically National invented it” back in the 90’s)).

        I guess the bigwigs at the top who implement the policies don’t like it, because it severely curtails their scope for cheating.

        • Colonial Viper 5.1.1.1

          Hmmmm speaking of throwing our lot in with the poorer countries, are we talking about the same Key who has just launched a global relief appeal for Uganda and Haiti? Ummmm I mean, New Zealand?

  6. crashcart 6

    I like the sound of it I only have one concern. I wonder how long it would take employers to start lowering the wages they pay workers to compensate for the extra they are getting in UBI. Business owners would quickly work out that if they pay someone who was on 40K 30K they essentially still have the same buying power but the employer now has an extra 10K per worker that he can either invest in his business (good) or funnel back to himself (bad). The idea of this of course is what may make it palatable to the right, although I can already hear the cry “you are turning all hard work Kiwi’s into beneficiaries”.

    • toad 6.1

      Given that no-one would be work-tested under threat of loss of their subsistence income any more, it would actually strengthen the bargaining power of workers. Currently workers who take industrial action can’t get the dole. But they would continue to get the UBI while on strike, which would mean employers would not be able to starve them into submission.

      • just saying 6.1.1

        Yes industrial relations would be a whole different ball game if there were no people lving permanently on ‘struggle-street’.

        • Colonial Viper 6.1.1.1

          This is what employers hated in the 1970’s. Workers who were fucked off with high handed BS from a bad employer would literally walk down the street and get another job, that same afternoon.

          Can’t have that now can we.

  7. Peter 7

    This looks interesting, thanks for sharing your ideas. Is this the sort of thinking that Labour should be promoting? They need to make an impact and lead the agenda. National have come up with their Welfare ideas. What will Labour do to demonstrate leadership and innovative thinking that makes sense and wins wide support?

    • Lanthanide 7.1

      I think Labour has already painted themselves into a corner with their 5k free taxband for this upcoming election. They could have another shot at it in 2014 though, regardless of the outcome of this election.

      If they win this election it would give them a much stronger platform to work from as well – they could set up the infamous “working groups” in early 2012 to look at the issue, and publicly announce that they’re getting Gareth Morgan to head it.

      • First off, thanks RL for this… it’s a cogent outline even I can get my head around.

        But I wonder whether:

        Every adult over the age of 18yrs has one single tax linked bank account, into which IRD pays $200 pw

        isn’t less efficient than Labour’s (and Australia’s) policy of simply having a portion of income free of any tax, be it benefit, superannuation, investment, wages or whatever.

        “First $X tax free” is a single transaction; from source to recipient. A UBI (while I applaud its aims) seems to involve several. From source to recipient and from source to IRD; then from IRD to recipient.

        Has anyone done any work round the relative efficiencies?

        Of course it’s entirely possible I’ve missed something glaringly obvious, in which case, be kind 😛

        • RedLogix 7.1.1.1

          Thanks Rex. Yes you did kick my ass into gear.

          There are many variants on the UBI idea, but I’d consider the ‘tax free bracket’ a sort of partial half-way house towards a true UBI.

          Crucially while a tax-free bracket has merits, it doesn’t bring with it the inherent efficiency of a flat marginal tax rate for all income. Most of the advantages of a UBI are missing.

          Yes the UBI does involve two transactions as against one… which is one reason why in the old days of manual clerk driven accounts such a system could never have been contemplated. But with fully automated banking systems, money can be transferred as often as you like at almost zero cost.

          With IT technology, once a system it is established, the costs of running it are usually relatively modest.

          • Rex Widerstrom 7.1.1.1.1

            Good point, though not one I’m sure the IRD would agree with. In my experience their attitude seems to be that we’re all on the fiddle (unless we’re a wage earner who no longer needs to file a return and lets them decide what we pay) and they need buildings full of “compliance” officers to check and double check every transaction (and then go back seven years and disallow them) 8-/

            Then if we instituted a financial transactions tax on all that money moving round, we could afford to do lots of other good stuff too (including perhaps lower other taxes, at least after we’ve rebuilt Christchurch, put some other infrastructure in place, etc)… but that’s another post.

  8. Rob 8

    It seems to me a 40% flat tax rate would be unlikely to cover the cost of current expenditure on services + the universal income, universal income is actually really quite expensive. The largest income tax source for us is sort of the middle/upper middle bracket who would be paying less than they are now to fund a much more expensive scheme. Would FTT be enough to cover it? Or would we have to raise GST again to pay for it? With this also being aware National would still probably promise tax cuts at some point within a decade of this scheme being announced.

    The further danger is the benefits stigma. The benefits stigma was not a naturally occurring event. It was a strategy to make blue collar workers vote right by pitching them against each other and making them think they worked hard to support the lazier of them. Yes it would be eliminated by getting rid of the benefits system but might National/ACT then merely begin attacking people who live only on the universal income? What is to stop them simply coming into power, changing it back to an unemployment benefit system and then keeping the flat tax at a lower rate.

    It is a good scheme but would need some serious consideration I think. We have to plan not only for the left in government but also the right following it.

    • Colonial Viper 8.1

      Regulations and policies are certainly poor tools to change peoples values, as you have implied Rob. To do that one needs societal change and a change in messaging and debate throughout communities, *gasp* social engineering: from the grassroots up and from the top down.

    • just saying 8.2

      I do think much of the stigma and perceived free-loading, not to mention the systems and procedures, would be likely to remain or recur, where a significant proportion of people still have to go begging cup in hand to plead their case for supplementary income to live on, and for necessary services. There would be too much temptation for things to gradually slide back to the way they were. (with plenty of prompting from vested interests, who, by the way would not take this lying down…)

      I can’t see how this could work unless the basic rate was set at the super rate, and supplementaries were formulaic and non-discretionary. A certain level (ie high) of public services would need to be guaranteed. But of course many people would build jobs around their provision too.

  9. TightyRighty 9

    All the things UBI gets rid off, so does a flat tax rate. Where a UBI falls down, it has disincentives to work harder and earn more. You really would rather everyone be poor than everyone be wealthier. Typical socialist bollocks. Hell, your own logic is wrong. 1 and 6 are easily proved wrong by your own maths. Except if the IRD controls your income (shudder). Also tax avoidance is a moral obligation, only poor people complain about gaming the system, ironically while trying to burn the candle at the other end.

    • Colonial Viper 9.1

      it has disincentives to work harder and earn more. You really would rather everyone be poor than everyone be wealthier.

      Except we figured out your game already mate. The majority of people are working harder and for longer hours than 30 years ago – and are poorer now. Families need two incomes to get by and working only 40 hours in a week is a luxury.

      So newsflash – doing even more of the same shit for less money is not the way to get ahead in this world. Which by the way, the moneyed elite already know full well.

      Also tax avoidance is a moral obligation, only poor people complain about gaming the system,

      And do you know why that is? Because it is obvious to all that those wealthy who do not pay their taxes are the same ones who continue to take the most from society and who continue to cut social services to those who need it.

    • Rosy 9.2

      “Also tax avoidance is a moral obligation, only poor people complain about gaming the system”
      People who game the system really bug me. My other half earns enough to consider restructuring his affairs (and is often advised to do so) to avoid tax and but considers it ethical as a citizen and a as person who uses services paid for by taxpayer to pay his share. I admire that. A lot.

    • Draco T Bastard 9.3

      Where a UBI falls down, it has disincentives to work harder and earn more.

      Actually, it’s got more incentive to work than the present benefit system as you don’t lose the UBI when you go to work so you’ll always be better off working.

      Except if the IRD controls your income

      The IRD would no more control your income than it does now – it would just record it as it does now.

      Also tax avoidance is a moral obligation,

      TR showing his psychopathy by stating that stealing from everyone else is a moral obligation.

      • Colonial Viper 9.3.1

        It’s a moral obligation if you are a Toff.

        But then again, Toff’s tend to believe that a different set of rules in life should apply to them, compared to the working class and the underclass.

        • felix 9.3.1.1

          “It’s a moral obligation if you are a Toff.”

          Or a troll. I don’t think TR believes half of the shit he writes.

  10. nadis 10

    What a UBI looks a lot like is a less efficient form of a high tax free threshold.

    I haven’t fully thought through the implications but the first thing that strikes me is the same type of problem that farm subsidies created – the present value of the subsidy just gets capitalised into land prices. Likewise with our tax system which tends to favour property investment – the subsidy gets capitalised into house prices.

    I think there’d be a similar effect which would be negative on low paid workers – the UB would get get capitalised but subtracted from wages.

    Personally I question the signal it sends – that an adult doesn’t have to work for their income. I’m quite happy to see essential services provided by the state (health, education) but just don’t see why it is efficient to create a whole new class of people who rely permanently on the state for some or all of their income. Easy to argue from a politics angle but I suspect harder from a rational economics basis.

    • aj 10.1

      ” harder from a rational economics basis”

      How about from a humanitarian basis? or do we just let the sick, disabled, unemployable and unemployed and their children starve?

      Anti spam ‘fun’ – and people reckon it knows what we are typing?

      • Colonial Viper 10.1.1

        The word “rational” as used in the field of economics, is bullshit. People, agents and organisations do not believe in ways which are rational at all, except from a very limited point of view.

        These same economists have created a system where you need to work 45-55 hours per week just to stay afloat.

        In the 1970’s full employment and rising wages/productivity were such that people were seriously talking about 20 hour work weeks.

        The only “rational” thing about this is from the point of view of the wealth holders who have expanded their holdings based on more people working harder for less.

      • The Baron 10.1.2

        Of course not. We are talking about UI as an alternative to traditional welfare. The only person who has thrown in “nothing” as an option is you. Stop fighting your emotive shadow battles and engage the argument.

        I struggle to see how anyone can reasonably argue that there isn’t damage to incentives when you provide people with a no-obligation income. A UI is likely to be less strenuous in terms of obligations than the current system – so all other things being equal, you would expect more people not to bother looking for employment based topups.

        Conversely, the incentives to get more are greater because the abatements are far more reasonable than under the current welfare system. Maybe this would balance out the above – maybe not. That’s why I’d love a bit more thinking about this and policy development from someone, anyone…

        Though I assure you though that the answer is neither “all beneficiaries wanna work” OR “all beneficiaries are lazy bludgers”. If your policy prescription relies on either form of crass generalisation then your either a useless blind ideolog or a bit dim.

        • Colonial Viper 10.1.2.1

          I struggle to see how anyone can reasonably argue that there isn’t damage to incentives when you provide people with a no-obligation income.

          The point is to damage incentives to work 50+ hour weeks. That’s a good thing for society. We need to be pushing for the 4 day/30 hour work week to become a practical reality.

          That’s good for family life, good for work life balance, good for people re-engaging with their communities and with politics ( 🙂 )

          Also employment is going to have to be designed to be more intrinsically rewarding, interesting and enjoyable, quite apart from the money aspects. Staff will have to be treated better (and I am not talking in terms of pay, but in terms of working conditions and working relationships).

          Oh yeah, time for the move to 5 weeks annual leave a year.

        • RedLogix 10.1.2.2

          @TB

          Yes there are two possible forces at work here, the disincentive to work provided by a guaranteed income and the incentive to work created by an efficient, clean flat tax rate.

          My belief is that at any practical and affordable level, the UBI is likely to be too low to live on ‘comfortably’ for most people. (Sure there will always be some who happily get by on very little, and more power to them… but by and large I’m not too stressed out over their choices.) For most capable and productive folk there will remain a reasonable incentive to earn a more income.

          Most people do choose to work when worthwhile, suitable jobs are available. The fact numbers on the Unemployment Benefit dropped to such very low levels during the boom times in 2007/8 is strongly supportive of this.

          • The Baron 10.1.2.2.1

            Yeah that’s why the level debate becomes so important. I think most people would agree that it needs to be sufficient, but not luxurious. Of course there will always be those that can make some form of luxury from not much – I’m not too worried about them either.

            But this is why the debate about where you would set this UI so vital. I agree that if it is at that sort of level, most people will be inclined to work, particularly with the incentives increased through the effective abatement change. But hell, can you imagine how tricky that debate would be? What are we trying to fix with the UI:

            – Ensuring that everyone has enough to subsist on?
            – Reducing child poverty?
            – Ensuring full participation in society?

            Depending on your answer to that, you end up with completely different UI amounts – or at least as far as I see it. And completely different UI amounts mean completely different incentives to go out and top that up.

            I’d still stick to a set percentage of the average wage myself – about say 40%.

    • RedLogix 10.2

      Personally I question the signal it sends – that an adult doesn’t have to work for their income.

      Well actually we already have a lot of such people who either cannot work, or cannot find work. Besides why the Calvinistic insistence on work? What’s wrong with being able to relax, fish, tramp, have fun with the kids, fuck all afternoon? After all it’s what wealthy people aspire to… on what ‘moral’ grounds are you objecting to having plenty of leisure time?

      In pre-agricultural hunter-gatherer societies, most adults lived long, healthy lives with less than 10-20hrs ‘work’ per week. What’s ‘better’ about a society that forces most people to work 2-3 times longer than that… for far less reward?

      On a more practical level it’s my contention that relatively few people would be content to live on the UBI alone. With a flat-tax rate (and no absurdly high benefit abatement rate) they have exactly the same incentive to earn a little extra cash as does every other tax-payer.

      but just don’t see why it is efficient to create a whole new class of people who rely permanently on the state for some or all of their income.

      It’s not a ‘new class of people’… it’s everyone. The distinction vanishes.

      • Lanthanide 10.2.1

        “It’s not a ‘new class of people’… it’s everyone. The distinction vanishes.”

        It would actually make labour a lot more mobile and flexible, which is something the righties are telling us is important for business. This gives people much more of an option of taking a risk and quitting the job they’ve been at for 7 years and finding a new one, or starting their own business.

        It also significantly lessens the impact of the 90-day fire at will legislation, because those workers that are taken on as a trial will have something automatic to fall back on.

    • Draco T Bastard 10.3

      Ah, I see, you think forcing people to live in poverty is rational.

      • The Baron 10.3.1

        And you think banning the importation of tropical fruits is rational.

        People in glass houses…?

        How about you try not being such an arrogant c*ck for about 2 minutes and see if you get a more positive response.

        • Colonial Viper 10.3.1.1

          And you think banning the importation of tropical fruits is rational.

          Won’t have to do any banning Baron.

          The Hubbert curve will do all the work.

          In 10 years time the only people eating Californian oranges and Ecuadorian mangoes are going to be the Mubaraks and the Saddam Husseins of the world who can afford it.

          How about you try not being such an arrogant c*ck for about 2 minutes

          DTB didn’t resort to name calling mate, you did.

        • Draco T Bastard 10.3.1.2

          And you think banning the importation of tropical fruits is rational.

          Can you point me to where I said that? I seem to recall using bananas as an example of something that could still be traded after Peak Oil as we just can’t grow them here but, because of the added costs, they would become a luxury item.

          • The Baron 10.3.1.2.1

            You know how to Google pal – you clearly know everything else. So you go find it.

            Worst case scenario is that I’ve misrepresented you about as badly as you misrepresented nadis. Would that make you feel better?

            • Draco T Bastard 10.3.1.2.1.1

              You’ve misrepresented me and I haven’t misrepresented nadis.

              Personally I question the signal it sends – that an adult doesn’t have to work for their income. I’m quite happy to see essential services provided by the state (health, education) but just don’t see why it is efficient to create a whole new class of people who rely permanently on the state for some or all of their income. Easy to argue from a politics angle but I suspect harder from a rational economics basis.

              There is no other way that that paragraph can be interpreted other than that he wants to force people into poverty as some form of inducement to work. Which is what the WWG has pretty much recommended and National have said they will put into policy.

              • The Baron

                I’m not nadis – I can’t comment on what he or she intended.

                But I don’t follow your supposedly irrefutable conclusion. I see a comment purely about how this will change incentives – which it almost certainly will. Instead of explaining how you disagree, you just leap into your standard shrill assessment of someone being stupider than you, or call them on being a partisan hack.

                I don’t really understand why you turn up here. Most people come to discuss – whereas you seem to see it as an opportunity to show off about how brilliant you are, and how much you know already. I’m a bit tired of it, so I’ve decided to turn it around on you.

                • RedLogix

                  I see a comment purely about how this will change incentives – which it almost certainly will.

                  Which it almost certainly will not hurt.

                  The present system effectively has a guaranteed basic income… it’s called social welfare. Now it’s subject to endlessly complex and pointless rules… but since the First Labour Govt there has been a social safety net for more or less everyone who needed it… in one form or another.

                  And the evidence is that when there are worthwhile and suitable jobs available… people happily transition off welfare and into work… even when the abatement rates are punishingly high and it almost makes no rational economic sense for them to do so.

                  But as we all know, the existing system is over-complex and inefficient. No-one likes it. I’m arguing that the UBI alternative retains both an adequate social safety net (like we have already) but with a far simpler and more efficient incentive to find paying work or generate income.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  I’m a bit tired of it, so I’ve decided to turn it around on you.

                  And which you failed to do because you misrepresented what I said.

  11. Bill 11

    Sounds like an emminently sensible idea.

    But, as Toad points out (8:50 am), the bargaining power of workers would increase. And that’s not a good thing. What with NZ’s export orientated growth model, the mechanisms for driving down wages (necessary for the so-called competition between international business elites) would be lost.

    The divide and rule strategy applied to the unemployed and lower paid workers would be lost. Also, not a good thing.

    The gaming of the present system that profits the wealthy more than most would be lost. Not a good thing.

    The potential for an emergent culture of work/life balance where a majority, or sizable minority of people chose to work a lot less and live a lot more would disempower economic elites… and maybe even encourage some strange ideas among people about what they could usefully do with all that spare time (strange ideas such as taking back control over aspects of their community life etc…12 people on 10k p/a using the guaranteed $120 000 to establish intentional communities and experiment with and develop robust democratic alternatives to atomised nuclear family life and market competition?) Not a good thing.

  12. The Baron 12

    I’m in love with this idea, though indeed the devil is in the detail. And forgive me a fanboi moment, but I would point out that Roger Douglas was also a proponent of these ideas too during the 4th Labour Govt (one of the things Lange called time on perhaps). So the idea certainly has merit regardless of where in the political spectrum you fit.

    Some devils in the detail though:

    1. Can you have a “one-size fits all” UI? You’ve already proposed exceptions for the elderly, for kids etc etc… all of this is adding up to complexity that you’ll still need a MSD to calculate. In other words, don’t get too excited about savings.

    2. Where oh where do you set the level for UI? I suggest a similar approach to super – i.e. a certain proportion of the average wage.

    3. And the really tricky bit… what percentage. I’d like to think that everyone here recognises that the UI needs to be sufficient for someone to live on – food, housing and reasonable expenses. But it also needs to be at such a level that people give up on striving to earn more so that they contribute at the top as well. These incentives really matter too.

    I’d love to see a party actually develop some detail around this that works those three issues through.

    • Colonial Viper 12.1

      It’s been though discussion about the UI that I’ve come to understand how harsh the existing benefit abatement regimes are. They really seem to totally pile it on against people who would like to get back into the workforce and supplement their very minimal benefits with the most commonly available type of jobs – low wage/part time.

      • The Baron 12.1.1

        Same as secondary taxes, which I’ve never quite got either. I like how this proposal effectively deals with abatements.

        • Colonial Viper 12.1.1.1

          We have a semblance of agreement Baron, nice 🙂

          • The Baron 12.1.1.1.1

            Yes, well I guess we’re both behaving ourselves for a change.

            • lprent 12.1.1.1.1.1

              To tell the truth I don’t notice you guys squabbling much. Regardless of the acrimony, it isn’t close to my moderating behavior thresholds because at least you’re squabbling about something.

          • Rex Widerstrom 12.1.1.1.2

            Actually it’s little wonder you two agree when, as the Baron points out above and I warned RedLogix yesterday, Roger Douglas would give this post the thumbs up.

            It’s logical, workable, and benefits everyone (albeit that there’s a few wrinkles that some people think need ironing out… I agree with TightyRighty, for instance, that having the IRD involved is… worrying. They’re not about giving money out, they’re about getting it in. But that’s just detail).

            It’s been round for aeons. It has across-the-political-divide support. So why has it not only never been implemented but also (aside from Labour’s aborted intent in 1984) never been policy?

            If it’s about not wanting to increase the bargaining power of workers as Toad and Bill suggest above (and it’s certainly a viable theory) and about allowing the continued gaming of the system by a small elite as Bill suggests (and there’s certainly plenty of evidence this is an effect of the present system, which gives credence to the idea that it’s also a cause) then it raises some worriesome questions about who’s been running our country for the past 25 or so years.

            • RedLogix 12.1.1.1.2.1

              Roger Douglas would give this post the thumbs up.

              Yes I know that. For several years back in the early 80’s, under Roger Douglas I think, NZ did have a flat income tax of 25%.

              Unfortunately Douglas implemented only half the deal… the flat tax. We didn’t get the UI to go with it. I don’t know the history of why not. Typical of the man… not all of his ideas were completely wrong, but his arse about face chaotic implementation of them was. I recall an interview with the man about a decade ago when in more restrained terms he more or less admitted as much.

              then it raises some worriesome questions about who’s been running our country for the past 25 or so years.

              Oh indeed it does.

            • Draco T Bastard 12.1.1.1.2.2

              …then it raises some worriesome questions about who’s been running our country for the past 250 or so years.

              FIFY

              Capitalism has been around a long time and the capitalists wrote the rules – especially at the beginning.

              • See this is why we can never completely agree 😛

                When I hear “capitalist” I think of the guy who maybe learned a trade then, when he’d mastered it, remortgaged his house, maybe borrowed a bit from his obnoxious brother-in-law, and started his own business.

                Now he’s doing well, has maybe three branches, pays his workers a reasonable rate and is deservedly a “rich prick”.

                You, I think, hear “multinational oligarch”. I hear that too, but I think it’s important to draw a distinction. Capitalism in its “pure” form versus the way the game is played by the big names in the field is akin to… religious belief versus the Catholic Church. It’s not the principle that’s the problem, it’s the application.

                Just as we can’t judge every believer (or even every priest – look at, say, Jim Consedine) based on the actions of a few Popes and a few hundred Cardinals, surely we can’t judge every small business owner on the actions of BP, Telecom et al?

                • Colonial Viper

                  The guy who remortagaged his house to play the game is, usually unbeknownst to him, usually the one being played.

                  Witness all the foreclosures and hard asset grabs in the US by the banks.

                  Mr Negative-Gearing-Here-to-Make-a-Buck property man (and small business man) has been in the game all of ten minutes. These banking institutions have centuries of know how playing the game and defining the rules. And choosing the refs.

                  Agree we can’t judge small business owners by the actions of the big corporates – but in the same breath I would say National the “natural party of business” is actually only the natural party of Big Corporate Business. They are not friends to the small business owner, they consider those guys just more grist for the mill.

                  • Mr Negative-Gearing-Here-to-Make-a-Buck property man (and small business man)

                    Whoa, that’s just the lack of distinction I’m talking about. Negative gearing a property is just sitting on your arse contributing nothing and gaming the tax system while benefiting from the big banks’ even bigger gaming on property, as you’ve described. The usual aim is not to have to work and let tax breaks and rents provide an income. Sometimes those types do lose, but I have little if any sympathy for them.

                    Small businessman is a different kettle of cash. He’s borrowed to invest – in his belief in himself, in jobs for other NZers, and often in making something that raises our GDP and sometimes even our balance of payments. The aim there is usually at least partly a desire to prove oneself, gain security, make a contribution (and yes, to make money, but in a productive way). If (when) he gets screwed by the banks, he has my sympathy (and help, such as I can offer).

                    Other than that distinction though, agree with you entirely, including re National. A centrist party that went out of its way to back the real capitalists – the investors, not the speculators – would find a ready market methinks.

                • RedLogix

                  then it raises some worriesome questions about who’s been running our country for the past 25 or so years.

                  In a credit based economy there are in fact three actors; workers, business owners and financiers. Unfortunately the term capitalist is rather ambiguous; some people think of business owners in one context, in another context they are thinking of the bankers…. or both.

                  Historically we were encouraged to think of the business owners as the ‘enemy’ of the working people, their interests directly in conflict. But I suggest that the events of the last decade should have shown most of us have that all along it was the financiers and bankers who were the real enemy of both workers and business owners.

                  I posted on this theme last year here.

                  • Rosy

                    Hence 3 economic models – socialism, capitalism and financial feudalism. Capitalism and socialism have morphed at the boundaries to create some very successful economies that value their people as citizens, not simply as economic units. But financial feudalism still runs amok, screwing up economies, businesses and workers to line the pockets of gamblers in the financial sectors of banking and global corporations. We’re all in debt to the banks and politicians run their countries by bowing and scraping to big business needs, allowing enormous tax concessions and subsidising employment costs so the serfs can have a living wage – even if it means ruining homegrown businesses.

                  • Missed that one at the time. Anyone else who did – well worth a read.

                    Wow… that plunging blue line (in the graph accompanying the story) should make even DtB shed a tear for the capitalists 😀

                    But seriously, with returns like that you can see why the likes of John Key don’t go to the trouble, risk, hard work and regulatory red tape of setting up a business and becoming a “real” capitalist, but instead head straight to a profession that makes money out of money.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    In that graph the capitalists are actually the entrepreneurs and the bankers are the capitalists. As I intimated below, it’s a case of using the wrong words.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  I just go by the dictionary definition.

                  capitalist
                  entrepreneur

                  A capitalist is almost never an entrepreneur and vice versa. Entrepreneurs tend to take a lot of risks and so end up barely breaking even. Capitalists, on the other hand, almost never take risks and accumulate wealth.

    • erentz 12.2

      “Where oh where do you set the level for UI? I suggest a similar approach to super – i.e. a certain proportion of the average wage.”

      What about doing what we do with CPI. Identify the basic living necessities, create an index of them, and make it a percentage of this, enough to keep someone above the absolute poverty line, but not so much that they aren’t encouraged to find additional income through work. That way it reflects a real basic cost of living, not some nice round number, or percentage of incomes that may not reflect real living costs.

      • The Baron 12.2.1

        Agree, but not as simple as you outline. The cost of basic living expenses differs greatly between regions, so its very difficult to get a bead on “real living costs”. For this reason I go towards the super model – it seems to work (well, apart from the fact that it will bankrupt us).

        Unless you have different UIs depending where you live? Again, more administrative complexity. Methinks a UI ain’t a silver bullet of simplification (though the other bits still hold up well).

  13. mikesh 13

    This proposal might increase the likelihood that one partner to a marriage could remain at home in the role of housewife or house husband. Could be good for child rearing.

  14. fermionic_interference 14

    I think the biggest necessity of UI is that you can live on at more than just a subsistence level, because from as much of it as I understand everybody wants to work. People inherently like to do and be valued, productive and produce something for their efforts.
    So if we provide a livable UI that allows work where and when we need to then we are also inviting a higher paid workforce and more control to the workers if a job is poorly paid with poor conditions and an unpleasant boss, then this job would have to change it’s MO, either the Boss would need to provide better conditions and a more pleasant demeanor in which case people may work for them for a while until they tire of it and take a break, or the boss would need to pay more otherwise they’d go out of business (this being the mobile work force the right loves, rather than the current model of stick it out in this hell hole or you are held down by a metal object with a beveled inclined plane).

    Just a quick Q to other readers:
    How about clarifying the reasons you work, try the options below:

    I; you have to,
    II; you want to,
    III; that’s just the way it is,
    IV; it’s the only way to support a family,
    V; other, if so please define.

    now if you take a second and really evaluate your motives
    what do you find?
    Is it a mix of I, IV & II?
    How about this theory
    We attempt to chose a field of work in which we enjoy ourselves and are fulfilled by the work we do and the work we do allows us to provide food, clothing, shelter and entertainment for ourselves and our families.

    So what happens when you change the game such as with the UI that you can now choose to WORK when, where and for how long you want to at something you find fulfilling (and in such as my case that makes a difference to society) and know that you will still be able to provide security for yourself and your family.

    from the options above where do you think you would then describe/place yourself?

    One major problem I have found with this idea is that we are such a small country and the size of our market place means that without tariffs or some such equivalent in place as our economy transitioned we would be inundated by cheap product from outside markets, which we would then have a major impact on our trade equation and we would be back incurring a trade deficit as well as harming our homegrown industry because as the transition happens wages will increase due to people only working where and when they need to so bosses will have to pay more or do the work themselves therefore cost of NZ products would increase. With a National Govt in we wont be adding tarrifs back into the equation especially with all the FTA’s being bandied about lately which seems to leave us at a disadvantage in this endeavour.

    • Vicky32 14.1

      “Just a quick Q to other readers:
      How about clarifying the reasons you work, try the options below:

      II; you want to,

      now if you take a second and really evaluate your motives
      what do you find?
      Is it a mix of I, IV & II?
      How about this theory
      We attempt to chose a field of work in which we enjoy ourselves and are fulfilled by the work we do and the work we do allows us to provide food, clothing, shelter and entertainment for ourselves and our families.”
      I work whenever I can, even though with the present system it gets me into a power of trouble with WINZ and currently Housing New Zealand. (I can presently not get permanent work, only casual… I’d be one of the people happily working if I only could.)

      • RedLogix 14.1.1

        If it’s any encouragement to you… I dreamed up my first version of a UBI back in 2001 when I came to be aware of the circumstances of an acquaintance in exactly your position. (On the DPB I’m presuming… correct me if I’m wrong.)

        What struck me was exactly as you say, how very motivated she was to return to the workforce; while at the same time the system threw all these insane, pointless and counterproductive obstacles in her path.

        Thinking about the humiliation and frustration of her position one night the simple outlines of this UBI idea came to me. Subsequently of course I found that it was not an original idea; it had been around for yonks … but of the many merits of the scheme I’ve always felt that the elimination of this poverty trap for single parents to be the most worthwhile.

        • lprent 14.1.1.1

          What struck me was exactly as you say, how very motivated she was to return to the workforce; while at the same time the system threw all these insane, pointless and counterproductive obstacles in her path.

          That was always my impression watching my sister coping with two kids under the age of 4 when her marriage broke up and she went on the DPB in the early 90’s. All of the impediments came from the government side. She was working a very very limited budget in money and time to bring up her kids, while also upgrade her work prospects when she would have the time to go back to work. The government services that were meant to help her just got in the way all of the time mostly by getting her to do meaningless activities to satisfy the prejudices of the Minister at the time.

          Every person I have seen on the DPB has had the same experience. The only difference is how much of a moron the minister was about wasting peoples time. It was a lot less hassle in the 00’s (mostly from hangover employees of WINZ) and a lot more people were able to get off the DPB earlier as a consequence.

  15. burt 15

    Excellent post RedLogix. Great plan.

    • RedLogix 15.1

      burt.

      I’ll accept that in good grace…. thanks. And of course it’s by no means my idea… it’s been around for a very long time and others have done a great deal of much deeper work on it.

      • burt 15.1.1

        RedLogix

        Do take it in good grace, just the other day I tried to invoke discussion on exactly this subject but of course the messenger is more important than the message when engaging with partisans.

        see:
        http://thestandard.org.nz/tax-policy-for-economic-stimulus-and-growth/#comment-302466
        &
        http://thestandard.org.nz/tax-policy-for-economic-stimulus-and-growth/#comment-302535

        • RedLogix 15.1.1.1

          Fair enough.

          Personally I could envisage either National or Labour implementing this reform. Well National could if it was not quite such a creature of narrow employer and wealthy tax-dodging interests… and Labour might if it was not quite so captured by the sheer weight of it’s own history.

          If only Key had the balls to have convened a truly independent Tax Working Group.. and given Gareth Morgan some leadership clout. It wouldn’t take all that much for this to gain some real public traction, if a handful of credible public voices put some weight behind it.

          • Rex Widerstrom 15.1.1.1.1

            if a handful of credible public voices put some weight behind it

            Ahem, what am I, chopped liver? 😛 Nah just kidding, but the debate here today has been exemplary… and the congruence of views between people normally diametrically opposed, remarkable.

            This post (and again, kudos to RedLogix for it) is itself an advertisement for the robustness and potential acceptability of the idea.

            It’s not mine, so I won’t steal the thunder (and anyway, I have other ideas I want to promote) but if I were aiming to create some interest round it I’d start with the political / financial commentariat (whether or not they agree is moot… the idea is to get it mentioned in the MSM), try and get some of the more cerebral interviewers interested (Beatson is an obvious one… and…. err… well there’s always RNZ) and so on.

            The MSM love doing lazy “reporting” of what’s said on blogs. Use their indolence to your own ends!! (I should be stroking a cat and wearing a monocle right now, I feel).

            • RedLogix 15.1.1.1.1.1

              t’s not mine, so I won’t steal the thunder

              Actually I’d be delighted if you’d take it off my hands…

        • lprent 15.1.1.2

          Or for the simpler reason of the way you presented it? I for one tend to just ignore people who shift the debate into a retrospective partisan look at the way they viewed Clark and Cullen. If you notice the way that RL framed this debate, he largely avoided retrospectively crawling through history except where it was relevant and just looked at the arguments for and against the proposal.

          Perhaps there is another lesson you could draw from this other than the one you prefer to believe. But I’m not sure you can resist trying to rewrite history with more bullshit..

          But as soon as you bring Clark and Cullen into a discussion about future tax policies, I just completely lose interest because it always winds off into a turgid meaningless discussion about what you thought 5 or ten years ago.

          I suspect most of the regulars here do that automatic dissociation as well.

          • burt 15.1.1.2.1

            lprent

            I didn’t present it – I invited a myopic partisan to discuss it.

            BTW: Are you still in hospital lprent or are you just testing your blood pressure threshold going OTT at me ?

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  • Tobacco First

    Save some money, get rich and old, bring it back to Tobacco Road.Bring that dynamite and a crane, blow it up, start all over again.Roll up. Roll up. Or tailor made, if you prefer...Whether you’re selling ciggies, digging for gold, catching dolphins in your nets, or encouraging folks to flutter ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    2 days ago
  • Trump’s Adopted Son.

    Waiting In The Wings: For truly, if Trump is America’s un-assassinated Caesar, then J.D. Vance is America’s Octavian, the Republic’s youthful undertaker – and its first Emperor.DONALD TRUMP’S SELECTION of James D. Vance as his running-mate bodes ill for the American republic. A fervent supporter of Viktor Orban, the “illiberal” prime ...
    2 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Journal of Record for Friday, July 19

    TL;DR: As of 6:00 am on Friday, July 19, the top six announcements, speeches, reports and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day are:The PSA announced the Employment Relations Authority (ERA) had ruled in the PSA’s favour in its case against the Ministry ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    2 days ago
  • The Hoon around the week to July 19

    TL;DR: The podcast above of the weekly ‘hoon’ webinar for paying subscribers last night features co-hosts and talking with:The Kākā’s climate correspondent talking about the National-ACT-NZ First Government’s release of its first Emissions Reduction Plan;University of Otago Foreign Relations Professor and special guest Dr Karin von ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    2 days ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #29 2024

    Open access notables Improving global temperature datasets to better account for non-uniform warming, Calvert, Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society: To better account for spatial non-uniform trends in warming, a new GITD [global instrumental temperature dataset] was created that used maximum likelihood estimation (MLE) to combine the land surface ...
    2 days ago
  • We're back again! Join us for the weekly Hoon on YouTube Live

    Photo by Gabriel Crismariu on UnsplashWe’re back again after our mid-winter break. 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 pm.Jump on this link on YouTube Livestream for ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    2 days ago
  • Gut Reactions.

    Trump Writes His Own Story: Would the “mainstream” media even try to reflect the horrified reaction of the MAGA crowd to the pop-pop-pop of the would-be assassin’s rifle, and Trump going down? Could it even grasp the sheer elation of the rally-goers seeing their champion rise up and punch the air, still alive, ...
    2 days ago
  • Dodging Bullets.

    Fight! Fight! Fight! Had the assassin’s bullet found its mark and killed Donald Trump, America’s descent into widespread and murderous violence – possibly spiralling-down into civil war – would have been immediate and quite possibly irreparable. The American Republic, upon whose survival liberty and democracy continue to depend, is certainly not ...
    2 days ago
  • 'Corruption First' Strikes Again

    There comes a point in all our lives when we must stop to say, “Enough is enough. We know what’s happening. We are not as stupid or as ignorant as you believe us to be. And making policies that kill or harm our people is not acceptable, Ministers.”Plausible deniability has ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    2 days ago
  • The Kākā's Chorus for Thursday, July 18

    TL;DR: The top six things I’ve noted around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy today are:The inside stories of KiwiRail’s iRex debacle, Westport’s perma-delayed flood scheme and Christchurch’s post-quake sewer rebuild, which assumed no population growth, show just how deeply sceptical senior officials in Treasury, the Ministry of ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    3 days ago
  • What's that Jack Black?

    Ah-rah, deeSoo-guh-goo-gee-goo-geeGoo-guh fli-goo gee-gooGuh fli-goo, ga-goo-buh-deeOoh, guh-goo-beeOoh-guh-guh-bee-guh-guh-beeFli-goo gee-gooA-fliguh woo-wa mama Lucifer!I’m about ready to move on, how about you?Not from the shooting, that’s bad and we definitely shouldn’t have that. But the rehabilitation of Donald J Trump? The deification of Saint Donald? As the Great Unifier?Gimme a bucket.https://yellowscene.com/2024/04/07/trump-as-jesus/Just to re-iterate, ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    3 days ago
  • June 2024: Earth’s 13th-consecutive warmest month on record

    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Jeff Masters and Bob Henson June 2024 was Earth’s warmest June since global record-keeping began in 1850 and was the planet’s 13th consecutive warmest month on record, NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information, or NCEI, reported July 12. As opposed to being focused in ...
    3 days ago
  • Connecting the dots and filling the gaps in our bike network

    This is a guest post by Shaun Baker on the importance of filling the gaps in our cycling networks. It originally appeared on his blog Multimodal Adventures, and is re-posted here with kind permission. In our towns and cities in Aotearoa New Zealand, there are areas in our cycling networks ...
    Greater AucklandBy Guest Post
    3 days ago
  • Webworm Down Under Photos!

    Hi,I wanted to share a few thoughts and photos from the Webworm popup and Tickled screening we held in Auckland, New Zealand last weekend.In short — it was a blast. I mean, I had a blast and I hope any of you that came also had a blast.An old friend ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    3 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Pick 'n' Mix for Thursday, July 18

    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 6:30 am on Thursday, July 18 are:News: Christchurch's sewer systems block further housing developments RNZ’s Niva ChittockAnalysis: Interislander: Treasury, MoT officials' mistrust of KiwiRail led ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    3 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Journal of Record for Thursday, July 18

    TL;DR: As of 6:00 am on Thursday, July 18, the top six announcements, speeches, reports and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day are:Verbatim: Climate Change Minister Simon Watts held a news conference in Auckland to release the Government’s Emissions Reduction Plan, including ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    3 days ago
  • The politics of managed retreat

    Climate change deniers are now challenging the Government over a key climate change adaptation policy. That begs the question of whether New Zealand First will then support Government moves to implement processes to deal with a managed retreat for properties in danger of flooding because of sea level rise and ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    3 days ago
  • Some changes are coming

    Warm welcome again to those who are here. The Mountain Tui substack was officially started on the 2nd of July. I wrote about what led me here on this post. Since then, it’s been a learning to navigate the platform, get to meet those in the community, and basically be ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    3 days ago
  • About fucking time

    The US Supreme Court has been rogue for years, with openly corrupt judges making the law up as they go to suit themselves, their billionaire buyers, and the Republican Party. But now, in the wake of them granting a licence for tyranny, President Biden is actually going to try and ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Climate Change: False accounting and wishful thinking

    National released their draft 2026-2030 Emissions Reduction Plan today. The plan is required under the Zero Carbon Act, and must set out policies and strategies to meet the relevant emissions budget. Having cancelled all Labour's actually effective climate change policies and crashed the carbon price, National was always going to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • The Enemies Of Sunshine And Space.

    Our Houses? The Urban Density debate is a horrible combination of intergenerational avarice and envy, fuelled by the grim certainty that none of the generations coming up after them will ever have it as good as the Boomers. To say that this situation rankles among those born after 1965 is to ...
    3 days ago
  • Still the 5 Eyes Achilles Heel?

    The National Cyber Security Centre (NZSC), a unit in the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) dedicated to cyber-security, has released a Review of its response to the 2021 email hacking of NZ members of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC, … Continue reading ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    3 days ago
  • Britain's Devastating Electoral Slip.

    Slip-Sliding Away: Labour may now enjoy a dominant position in Britain’s political landscape, but only by virtue of not being swallowed by it.THE BRITISH LABOUR PARTY’S “landslide victory” is nothing of the sort. As most people understand the term, a landslide election victory is one in which the incumbent government, or ...
    3 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on why right wingers think all governments (including their own) are incompetent

    Since open denial of climate change is no longer a viable political option, denial now comes in disguise. The release this week of the coalition government’s ‘draft emissions reductions plan” shows that the Luxon government is refusing to see the need to cut emissions at source. Instead, it proposes to ...
    WerewolfBy lyndon
    3 days ago
  • The Kākā's Chorus for Wednesday, July 17

    TL;DR: The top six things I’ve noted around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy this morning are:Chris Penk is set to roll back building standards for insulation that had only just been put in place, and which had been estimated to save 40% from power costs, after builders ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • Open Letter to Pharmac

    All this talk of getting oldIt's getting me down, my loveLike a cat in a bag, waiting to drownThis time I'm coming downAnd I hope you're thinking of meAs you lay down on your sideNow the drugs don't workThey just make you worse but I know I'll see your face ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    4 days ago
  • A blanket of misinformation

    Two old sayings have been on my mind lately. The first is: “The pen is mightier than the sword”, describing the power of language and communication to help or to harm. The other, which captures the speed with which falsehoods can become ingrained and hard to undo, is: “A lie can ...
    Greater AucklandBy Connor Sharp
    4 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Pick 'n' Mix for Wednesday, July 17

    TL;DR: My pick of the top six links elsewhere around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day to 7:00 am on Wednesday, July 17 are:Scoop: Government considers rolling back home insulation standards RNZ’s Eloise GibsonNews: Government plans tree-planting frenzy as report shows NZ no longer ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Journal of Record for Wednesday, July 17

    TL;DR: As of 6:00 am on Wednesday, July 17 , the top six announcements, speeches, reports and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day were:Simon Watts released the Government’s draft Emissions Reduction Plan (ERP), which included proposed changes to the Emissions Trading Scheme ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • “Shhhh” – National's 3 Waters is loaded with higher costs and lays a path to ...

    This is a long, possibly technical, but very, very important read. I encourage you to take the time and spread your awareness.IntroductionIn 2022, then Labour Party Prime Minister Jacinda Adern expended significant political capital to protect New Zealand’s water assets from privatisation. She lost that battle, and Labour and the ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    4 days ago
  • Plugging a video channel: Dr Gilbz

    Dr. Ella Gilbert is a climate scientist and presenter with a PhD in Antarctic climate change, working at the British Antarctic Survey (BAS). Her background is in atmospheric sciences and she's especially interested in the physical mechanisms of climate change, clouds, and almost anything polar. She is passionate about communicating climate ...
    4 days ago
  • Some “scrutiny” again

    Back in 2022, in its Open Government Partnership National Action Plan, the government promised to strengthen scrutiny of Official Information Act exemption clauses in legislation. Since then they've run a secret "consultation" on how to do that, with their preferred outcome being that agencies will consult the Ministry of Justice ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Crashing New Zealand's health system is not the way to prosperity, Prime Minister

    Another day, and yet another piece of bad news for New Zealand’s health system. Reports have come out that General Practitioners (GP) may have to close doors, or increase patient fees to survive. The so-called ‘capitation’ funding review, which supports GP practices to survive, is under way, and primary care ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    4 days ago
  • Closer Than You Think: Ageing Boomers, Laurie & Les, Talk Politics.

    Redefining Our Terms: “When an angry majority is demanding change, defending the status-quo is an extremist position.”“WHAT’S THIS?”, asked Laurie, eyeing suspiciously the two glasses of red wine deposited in front of him.“A nice drop of red. I thought you’d be keen to celebrate the French Far-Right’s victory with the ...
    5 days ago
  • Come on Darleen.

    Good morning all, time for a return to things domestic. After elections in the UK and France, Luxon gatecrashing Nato, and the attempted shooting of Trump, it’s probably about time we re-focus on local politics.Unless of course you’re Christopher Luxon and you’re so exhausted from all your schmoozing in Washington ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    5 days ago
  • How the Northwest was lost and may be won

    This is a guest post by Darren Davis. It originally appeared on his excellent blog, Adventures in Transitland, which we encourage you to check out. It is shared by kind permission. The Northwest has always been Auckland’s public transport Cinderella, rarely invited to the public funding ball. How did ...
    Greater AucklandBy Guest Post
    5 days ago
  • The Kākā's Chorus for Tuesday July 16

    Luxon has told a Financial Times’ correspondent he would openly call out China’s spying in future and does not fear economic retaliation from Aotearoa’s largest trading partner.File Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The top six things I’ve noted around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy on Tuesday, ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    5 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Pick 'n' Mix for Tuesday, July 16

    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 6:00 am on Tuesday, July 16 are:PM Christopher Luxon has given a very hawkish interview to the Financial Times-$$$ correspondent in Washington, Demetri Sevastopulu, saying ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    5 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Journal of Record for Tuesday, July 16

    Photo by Ryunosuke Kikuno on UnsplashTL;DR: The top six announcements, speeches, reports and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day to 6:00 am are:BNZ released its Performance of Services Index for June, finding that services sector is at its lowest level of activity ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    5 days ago
  • The second crisis; assumption was the mother

    Late on the night of July 16, 1984, while four National Cabinet Ministers were meeting in the Beehive office of Deputy Prime Minister Jim McLay, plotting the ultimate downfall of outgoing Prime Minister Sir Robert Muldoon, another crisis was building up in another part of the capital. The United States ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    5 days ago
  • Can we air condition our way out of extreme heat?

    This is a re-post from The Climate Brink by Andrew Dessler Air conditioning was initially a symbol of comfort and wealth, enjoyed by the wealthy in theaters and upscale homes. Over time, as technology advanced and costs decreased, air conditioning became more accessible to the general public. With global warming, though, ...
    5 days ago
  • Review: The Zimiamvian Trilogy, by E.R. Eddison (1935-1958)

    I have reviewed some fairly obscure stuff on this blog. Nineteenth century New Zealand speculative fiction. Forgotten Tolkien adaptations. George MacDonald and William Morris. Last month I took a look at The Worm Ouroboros (1922), by E.R. Eddison, which while not strictly obscure, is also not overly inviting to many ...
    5 days ago
  • Media Link: AVFA on the Trump assassination attempt.

    In this episode of “A View from Afar” Selwyn Manning and I discuss the attempt on Donald Trump’s life and its implications for the US elections. The political darkness grows. ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    5 days ago
  • Law & Order: National Party 1, Police 0, Public -1

    What happened?Media is reporting that police have lost in their pay dispute with the Coalition Government.Some of you might remember that the police rejected Labour’s previous offer in September, 2023, possibly looking forward to be taken care of by the self-touted ‘Party of Law and Order’ - National.If you look ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    5 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on the Trump shooting and a potential hike in fees for visiting the doctor

    Having watched Donald Trump systematically exploit social grievances, urge people not to accept his election loss and incite his followers to violent insurrection… it is a bit hard to swallow the media descriptions over the past 24 hours of Trump being a “victim” of violence. More like a case of ...
    WerewolfBy lyndon
    6 days ago
  • The Kākā's Chorus for Monday July 15

    The exploitation of workers on the national fibre broadband rollout highlights once again the dark underbelly of our ‘churn and burn’ economy. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The top six things I’ve noted around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy today are:An extraordinary Steve Kilgallon investigation into ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Pick 'n' Mix for Monday, July 15

    Photo by Jessica Loaiza on UnsplashTL;DR: My pick of the top six links elsewhere around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last three days to 9:00 am on Monday, July 15 are:Investigation: Immigration NZ refused to prosecute an alleged exploiter despite a mountain of evidence - ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • City Centre Rebuild: How Soon Is Now?

    Patrick Reynolds is deputy chair of the City Centre Advisory Panel and a director of Greater Auckland There is ongoing angst about construction disruption in the city centre. And fair enough: it’s very tough, CRL and other construction has been going on for a very long time. Like the pandemic, ...
    Greater AucklandBy Patrick Reynolds
    6 days ago
  • Peril, dismay, resolution

    This afternoon we rolled into Budapest to bring to a close our ride across Europe. We did 144 km yesterday, severe heat messages coming in from the weather app as we bounced along unformed Hungarian back roads and a road strip strewn with fallen trees from an overnight tornado. Somewhere ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    6 days ago
  • Bullet the Blue Sky

    In the locust windComes a rattle and humJacob wrestled the angelAnd the angel was overcomeYou plant a demon seedYou raise a flower of fireWe see them burnin' crossesSee the flames, higher and higherBullet the blue skyBullet the blue skyThe indelible images, the soundtrack of America. Guns, assassinations, where-were-you-when moments attached ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    6 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Journal of Record for Monday, July 15

    TL;DR: The top six announcements, rulings, reports, surveys, statistics and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the three days to 6:00 am on Monday, July 23 are:University of Auckland researcher Ryan Greenaway-McGrevy published an analysis of the impact of Auckland's 2016 zoning reforms.BNZ's latest Performance ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • The Kākā’s diary for the week to July 23 and beyond

    TL;DR: The six key events to watch in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy in the week to July 23 include:PM Christopher Luxon has returned from a trip to the United States and may hold a post-Cabinet news conference at 4:00 pm today.The BusinessNZ-BNZ PSI survey results for June will be released this ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • Was The Assassination Attempt Fake?

    Hi,It’s in incredible photo, and we’re going to be talking about it for a long time:Trump, triumphantly raising his hand in the air after being shot. Photo credit: Evan VucciYou can watch what happened on YouTube in real time, as a 20-year-old from Pennsylvania lets off a series of gunshots ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    6 days ago
  • 40 years ago, inside the crisis that made modern NZ

    It had rained all day in Auckland, and the Metro Theatre in Mangere was steamed up inside as more and more people arrived to celebrate what had once seemed impossible. Sir Robert Muldoon had lost the 1984 election. “Piggy” Muldoon was no more. Such was the desire to get rid ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    6 days ago
  • 2024 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #28

    A listing of 34 news and opinion articles we found interesting and shared on social media during the past week: Sun, July 7, 2024 thru Sat, July 13, 2024. Story of the week It's still early summer in the Northern Hemisphere. The season comes as our first year of 1.5°C warming ...
    6 days ago
  • Unsurprising, but Trump shooting creates opportunity for a surprising response

    I can’t say I’m shocked. As the US news networks offer rolling coverage dissecting the detail of today’s shooting at a Donald Trump rally in Butler, Pennsylvania, and we hear eye-witnesses trying to make sense of their trauma, the most common word being used is shock. And shocking it is. ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    6 days ago
  • Escalation in the States as Trump is shot and his allies capitalize on the moment

    Snapshot summary of the shooting in the States belowAnd a time to remember what Abraham Lincoln once said of the United States of America:We find ourselves in the peaceful possession of the fairest portion of the earth, as regards extent of territory, fertility of soil, and salubrity of climate. We ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    6 days ago
  • Bernie Sanders: Joe Biden for President

    I will do all that I can to see that President Biden is re-elected. Why? Despite my disagreements with him on particular issues, he has been the most effective president in the modern history of our country and is the strongest candidate to defeat Donald Trump — a demagogue and ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    7 days ago
  • Questions from God

    Have you invited God into your online life? Do you have answers for his questions? Did I just assume God’s pronouns?Before this goes any further, or gets too blasphemous, a word of explanation. When I say “God”, I don’t meant your god(s), if you have one/them. The God I speak ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    7 days ago
  • The politics of money and influence

    Did you know: Four days ago, the CEO of Warner Bros Discovery (WBD), David Zaslav, opined that he didn’t really care who won the US Presidential election, so long as they were M&A and business friendly. Please share my Substack so I can continue my work. Thank you and happy ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    7 days ago
  • Auckland & Transport Minister Simeon Brown's insanity

    Excuse me, but I just don’t feel like being polite today. What is going on with Simeon Brown? I mean, really? After spending valuable Ministerial time, focus, and government resources to overturn tailored speed limits in school and high fatality zones that *checks notes* reduces the risk of deaths and ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    1 week ago
  • Were scientists caught falsifying data in the hacked emails incident dubbed 'climategate'?

    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 ...
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week ago

  • Oceans and Fisheries Minister to Solomons

    Oceans and Fisheries Minister Shane Jones is travelling to the Solomon Islands tomorrow for meetings with his counterparts from around the Pacific supporting collective management of the region’s fisheries. The 23rd Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Committee and the 5th Regional Fisheries Ministers’ Meeting in Honiara from 23 to 26 July ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    10 hours ago
  • Government launches Military Style Academy Pilot

    The Government today launched the Military Style Academy Pilot at Te Au rere a te Tonga Youth Justice residence in Palmerston North, an important part of the Government’s plan to crackdown on youth crime and getting youth offenders back on track, Minister for Children, Karen Chhour said today. “On the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    11 hours ago
  • Nine priority bridge replacements to get underway

    The Government has welcomed news the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) has begun work to replace nine priority bridges across the country to ensure our state highway network remains resilient, reliable, and efficient for road users, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.“Increasing productivity and economic growth is a key priority for the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    15 hours ago
  • Update on global IT outage

    Acting Prime Minister David Seymour has been in contact throughout the evening with senior officials who have coordinated a whole of government response to the global IT outage and can provide an update. The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet has designated the National Emergency Management Agency as the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • New Zealand, Japan renew Pacific partnership

    New Zealand and Japan will continue to step up their shared engagement with the Pacific, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.    “New Zealand and Japan have a strong, shared interest in a free, open and stable Pacific Islands region,” Mr Peters says.    “We are pleased to be finding more ways ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • New infrastructure energises BOP forestry towns

    New developments in the heart of North Island forestry country will reinvigorate their communities and boost economic development, Regional Development Minister Shane Jones says. Mr Jones visited Kaingaroa and Kawerau in Bay of Plenty today to open a landmark community centre in the former and a new connecting road in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • 'Pacific Futures'

    President Adeang, fellow Ministers, honourable Diet Member Horii, Ambassadors, distinguished guests.    Minasama, konnichiwa, and good afternoon, everyone.    Distinguished guests, it’s a pleasure to be here with you today to talk about New Zealand’s foreign policy reset, the reasons for it, the values that underpin it, and how it ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Delivering 24 hour pothole repairs

    Kiwis and freight operators will benefit from the Coalition Government delivering on its commitment to introduce targets that will ensure a greater number of potholes on our state highways are identified and fixed within 24 hours, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.  “Increasing productivity to help rebuild our economy is a key ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Peer Support Specialists rolled out in hospitals

    Five hospitals have been selected to trial a new mental health and addiction peer support service in their emergency departments as part of the Government’s commitment to increase access to mental health and addiction support for New Zealanders, says Mental Health Minister Matt Doocey.  “Peer Support Specialists in EDs will ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Consultation opens for the Emissions Reduction Plan

    The Government’s draft Emissions Reduction Plan shows we can stay within the limits of the first two emissions budgets while growing the economy, Climate Change Minister Simon Watts says. “This draft Emissions Reduction Plan shows that with effective climate change policies we can both grow the economy and deliver our ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Benefit stats highlight need for welfare reset

    The coalition Government is providing extra support for job seekers to ensure as many Kiwis as possible are in work or preparing for work, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston says. “While today’s quarterly data showing a rise in the number of people on Jobseeker benefits has been long ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • School attendance continues to increase

    Provisional school attendance data for Term 2 2024 released today has shown more students are back in class compared to last year, with 53.1 per cent of students regularly attending, compared with 47 per cent in Term 2 2023, Associate Education Minister David Seymour says. “The Government has prioritised student ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • $22.7m of West Coast resilience projects underway

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