Your pre-budget speech

Written By: - Date published: 7:43 am, May 16th, 2015 - 38 comments
Categories: budget 2015, The Standard - Tags:

We’ve had pre-budget speeches from Andrew Little and from Grant Robertson. Given the diversity of views of The Standard authors and community, the speeches have received mixed reception here.

What’s your speech? What’s the core of what you would propose if you were leader of the opposition? Promises are easy – for extra credit work within the context of the finite resources and significant challenges facing NZ…

38 comments on “Your pre-budget speech”

  1. Ray.Raefrancis@gmail.com 1

    A large scale State Housing push of new houses with training of new builders a la the First Labour Govt
    And a small devaluation

  2. restart kiwi saver contributions
    forget Nat obsession with surplus
    demand side economics
    end corporate welfare
    prosecute cartels and anti competitive practices by corporations
    choke off super profits to foreign banks
    kiwi power
    no more dairy conversions
    carbon credits
    public transport
    stop shitting on teachers
    apologise for dirty politics and lying about the economy
    forget gdp as a measure of economic wellbeing
    neweconomicperspectives.org/2015/04/president-obama-should-apologize-for-labelling-americans-a-murderous-mob.html

  3. Bill 3

    First up…

    Open the debate on economic growth on the basis of the inevitable accompanying increasing C02 emissions growth entails, alongside putting the fcking science on AGW out there in clearly understood terms. (If the horses don’t get scared, the horses are going to burn.)

    Commit to an increase in public service spending and infrastructure spending with a pessimistic eye on 4 degrees C.
    Bring the health service 100% under public ownership…access free and according to need.
    Public ownership and investment in the railways.
    Return of free tertiary education.
    Protect and increase benefit levels while launching a working group on UBI.
    Commit to move all workers from a minimum wage to a living wage in the meantime.
    Hold retirement at 65.
    Increase child care provisions.
    Invest in all aspects of domestic violence.
    Abandon the stupid ‘war on drugs’ and invest the monies saved elsewhere.
    Build houses for rent and take away the right to buy.

    Increase top tax rates and add a top tax rate of 100% above $x. Lower bottom tax rates. Go to war on tax dodgers.

    Launch a working party on a wealth tax.

    A society of fairness and equality with an eye to reality, or balanced books on the broken backs of the poor and vulnerable with eyes wide shut to reality? That’s the only question.

    And before anyone jumps up and down, here’s some food for thought.

    The above is largely and merely a shift in priorities. Most of the above already exists, or is on the cards in Scotland where the government works on the basis of a block grant determined by the spending levels of the austerity addicted South.

    • Colonial Rawshark 3.1

      I think full fees for business and economics schools can stay in place, unless their curriculums reflect the reality and diversity of true economic thought, not just mathematical economic thought.

  4. Craig H 4

    Change SME business income tax to be based on actual income (turnover), not profit. The rates can be lowered (probably quite substantially), but this would eliminate avoidance measures based on manipulating expense levels. NZICA has recommended something similar for SMEs to simplify compliance – assume deductions of 50% of turnover, and tax accordingly.

    Introduce Comprehensive Capital Tax (this and deemed income as above basically eliminate untaxed capital gains without introducing CGT).

    Introduce a Financial Transaction Tax.

    Reduce GST.

    Reduce Income Tax rates, especially at the lower end.

    Reform trust law to minimise their use in tax planning.

    Increase the CPI band to 5% (currently it’s 3%).

    Provide low interest, low deposit business loans for first time business owner-operators – this could be done through ACC investments, NZ Super fund, Kiwibank, Kiwisaver, something similar to the Student Loan scheme, or any combination of these.

    Build a stack of dwellings in Auckland particularly, and elsewhere as required, including any and all infrastructure required to make it work. Sell them at cost to first-home buyers per the Welcome Home Loan scheme, including low or no deposit and low-interest finance as required.

    Centralise/Nationalise electricity generation and the grid into one Crown agency/SOE, and set the wholesale rate at cost, where cost includes replacement/maintenance of generation. Retailers remain separate.

    Extend ACC to include illness and time off for surgery (with some sort of reasonable minimum time off required – this is not meant to replace sick leave) and increase earner levies as required to fund this.

    Reasonable student allowances while studying. Remove student loan repayments and instead forgive student loans over time for people who stay in NZ – thinking 20% per annum, but 10% might see people stay in NZ longer. Interest is still charged for overseas NZers and they still have to make repayments. NZers like their OEs, so ensure that they aren’t punished as long as they return within a set length of time (2-3 years seems reasonable) by allowing an overseas payments holiday, and writing off any interest on return.

    • RedBaronCV 4.1

      Turnover doesn’t work Craig because industries have vastly different costs. Some may make only 3% on sales and large turnovers whilst others make 10-20%.
      And I wouldn’t go near that NZICA proposal. It wasn’t something that membership had sanctioned, reviewed or commentated on before it was published. It’s riddled with flaws and would mainly be used by the well paid to avoid such things as child support and claim quasi welfare benefits such as working for families and student allowances. Actually it may pay to be wary of anything NZICA does. At the moment unknown I suspect to most of it’s members it’s promoting a 4 year fixed term government. Members have very little say in it’s activities and mostly the fees appear to be used to prop up a strong rightist agenda.

      • Craig H 4.1.1

        The self-employed already use tricks to minimise income for various reasons such as tax, student loan repayments, Child Support (entitlement and/or liability), Working for Families entitlement and rates rebates entitlement. (I’ve probably missed something there, but they are the bulk of the options).

        NZICA’s idea had merit IMO, if only because it minimises compliance issues other than evasion and late filing/payment (or not filing/paying at all). It is substantially harder to (legally) manipulate turnover than profits, so compliance becomes more about detection of income manipulation and evasion, and ensuring filing and tax payments, than whether or not the business has declared expenses or kept expense records correctly. If one is particularly worried about it not being accurate, lower the maximum income threshold to which it applies so full returns etc are required above a relatively low threshold (e.g. $250,000).

        As noted, there are vastly different expense profiles in business (supermarkets vs service businesses to give two extremes) but GST already has the ratio option for provisional tax, so we have something already in effect which could be extended (This is one of the proposals in the tax reform material from IRD). Alternatively, BIC (business industry classification) codes give a way to assign a deemed rate of return to different businesses if we want to go down that path instead.

        It might be too hard, unworkable, or overly complex, but it’s worth a look.

        • Colonial Rawshark 4.1.1.1

          Green Party has proposed taxes based on turnover for small businesses before.

          https://home.greens.org.nz/press-releases/green-party-plans-simplify-tax-smes

        • DH 4.1.1.2

          “GST already has the ratio option for provisional tax,”

          That’s got nothing to do with turnover though so you can’t use that as a justification for bringing in a tax on turnover.

          A tax on turnover would suck bigtime.

        • REdBaronCV 4.1.1.3

          The main group who would benefit from the NZICA proposal would be the well paid employee who could turn themselves into a contractor overnight and then pay less tax than when they were on a PAYE salary. Yes there are plenty of tricks already and this would just add to the collection.

          The proposal was so flawed that it included child support as a tax when it quite clearly is not a debt due to the crown but a transfer between parents for a child’s benefit.

          Gst is more than a tax on gross turnover there is also a deduction for gst on expenses incurred . There is also difference between turnover tax and a financial trasnactions tax “tobin taxes”

      • Descendant Of Sssmith 4.1.2

        I’ve been suggesting a tax on turnover for a number of years. GST is a tax on gross before tax and the world hasn’t fallen apart.

        Here’s the advantages that I see:

        1. Every business would pay tax and the same proportion of tax. Every business that utilises NZ would contribute to NZ
        2. It’s a very simple tax calculation and therefore administratively easy
        3. The tax can be collected directly at the point of purchase for all electronic systems and EFTPOS systems could be set up to pay the tax directly to IRD. This would significantly reduce the billions of dollars owing to IRD
        4. Businesses would then only have to do monthly reconciliations and payments to IRD for cash sales
        5. Because of the increased spread of taxation the rate would be low and would reduce tax avoidance
        6. Overseas companies selling to NZer’s such as iTunes would be taxed at same rate
        7. Income from investments, shares and (maybe) capital gains would be taxed at same rate.

        In addition to this there is currently a tax disadvantage to businesses employing people. While me might like to think of it as personal taxation really it’s a cost to the employer. All wages and salaries would at the same time be netted off at current tax rates. This would mean no future taxation at all on wages and salaries. NZS would also be netted off.

        The netting off would reduce wage and salary costs making it more attractive to employ someone and would also allow for the lower paid to immediately have their wages and salaries lifted by increasing the minimum wage to the living wage.

        All benefits would immediately increase to the same rate as NZS. This would both resolve the age discrimination aspects of benefit rates and would reverse both the Ruth Richardson benefit cuts and the Helen Clark discrimination against beneficiaries over those getting NZS. All future increase to rates to be applied to all.

        WFF would go and universal family benefit would return. A simpler, fairer, less discriminatory system.

        Postscript:

        In case it’s not clear GST and other taxes would disappear as well.

        • greywarshark 4.1.2.1

          Ssssmth
          It sounds good. But the politicians haven’t bothered with it so there must be something wrong with this transaction tax. Or they would have fallen over themselves to introduce it. Wouldn’t they?

          • Descendant Of Sssmith 4.1.2.1.1

            In my view it’s the paradigm shift to thinking as taxation as a cost of doing business rather than a cost on profit.

            If you consider than in general the further right you go the less you think you should pay any tax then one should not be surprised there’s not the political will to head in this direction.

            I am more firmly of the view that every business should contribute directly to the costs of this country. Every business benefits from the laws, the infrastructure, the enforcement, and so on.

            Business has for years argued for a simpler tax system. This is pretty simple and easy to understand.

            I’d love to know what the gross (before expenses) value of all the business done in NZ is so I could calculate a rate of taxation that will say equal the current total taxation collection. I’ve asked people at IRD but can only seem to get total taxable ie profit after expenses.

            • Policy Parrot 4.1.2.1.1.1

              You talk about this idea of a transactions tax being introduced into New Zealand, certainly interesting.

              However, I can think of one jurisdiction that should be doing exactly this immediately, i.e. Greece.

              Greece is facing financial ruin due widespread tax avoidance, and come to say it excessive state bureaucracy. Now this is not to say that all problems can be solved by simply slashing spending on government departments.

              It is part of four stage plan to rescue their democracy from the predations of the troika.

              Part 1: Transaction tax of 5c for every $1 spent on all electronic transactions, including inter-personal transactions (i.e. from one account to another). Keep all existing taxes in the meantime, with a view to reform later on the dual grounds of vertical equity and cost-benefit ratio in terms of collectability.

              Part 2: 15c deposit tax per $1 on all cash deposits (deposits up to 50 euros would be exempt). This triple rate is an acknowledgement that many people will try to avoid both existing and the transactions tax by spending with cash. By making cash deposits cost extra, retailers will become less willing to accept it. Retailers would also be allowed to charge “cash handling fee”.

              Part 3: In Greece, the courts will only recognise transactions made in cash/convertible currency. So contracts made or paid by barter are not recognised by the courts and thus have no protection for contracting parties.

              Part 4: Form government departments on the basis of need in terms of their economy, i.e. a state utilities department (water, gas, electricity), state antiquities department, and move away from political appointments to the civil service except strictly in the parliamentary/executive sector.

              These aren’t ideal measures, but would crack down on tax avoidance and promote a level of fairness until a more progressive system could successfully transplanted.

              • Colonial Viper

                those are very high rates of transactions tax and will destroy the bulk of economically available funds within a short series of transactions. People will absolutely minimise payments made and the Greek depression will become far more severe as even more economic activity goes grey and black. And the 0.1% who keep their big bank accounts and their big transactions in Zurich and London will be untouched.

                Essentially, you will be raising funds for the IMF via austerity on the under class, the working class, and the middle class.

                • Policy Parrot

                  I am willing to quibble on the exact rate that would be needed, maybe 5c in the dollar is fact too high, but they do have a crisis.
                  This measure is no way what I would describe as an ideal tax system, (which would take time to bed in) in fact far from it, it is just the only way I can possibly imagine them meeting the revenue requirements of staying within the euro and not betraying the Syriza election promises of stopping privitizations, cutting minimum wages and state pensions etc.

                  Every electronic transaction within Greece would be subject to a tax. So even bringing in funds from overseas would fall under that category. The only way that this could conceivably be avoided is through transactions conducted between accounts mutually held outside the country – which in any case, would be immune even now.

                  Its more about what can be done now, not trying to force what is morally right on those who specialise in finding legal outs.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    a transaction tax reduces a teachers pay and a workers pension deposit the moment it touches the banking system. All in order to pay Deutschebank and the IMF. One could simply just haircut peoples savings accounts and term deposits within Greece.

                    And the top 0.1% with their offshore accounts and New York apartment investments continue to smile.

                    btw I dont think Syriza can deliver on their promises to end austerity AND stay in the Eurozone, given the intransigence of the Troika.

            • Craig H 4.1.2.1.1.2

              Rather than asking IRD, try Stats NZ… GDP for the 2014 calendar year was approx NZ$240 billion (http://stats.govt.nz/browse_for_stats/economic_indicators/GDP/GrossDomesticProduct_HOTPDec14qtr.aspx).

              Of that, $55 billion was investment, so the balance was spending (govt, household, net exports). Since revenue is necessarily a function of spending, you can use that as a reasonable approximation.

              Alternatively, the 2014 budget included GST $17.8 billion, which extrapolates to GST-liable revenue of just under $120 billion.

              • Descendant Of Sssmith

                GDP doesn’t work because costs of production are taken off.

                “The production approach to GDP measures the total value of goods and services produced in New Zealand, after deducting the cost of goods and services used in the production process. This is also known as the value-added approach.

                The expenditure approach to GDP (also known as gross domestic expenditure or GDE) measures the final purchases of goods and services produced in the New Zealand domestic territory. Exports are added to domestic consumption, as they represent goods and services produced in New Zealand, while imports are subtracted. Imports represent goods and services produced by other economies. ”

                GST has the same problem in that it’s a net GST figure eg businesses pay GST on sales less GST on purchases.
                2014 IRD collected 56.2 billion and GST is the biggest source of tax income for IRD.

                Assuming no increase in the amount of tax collected that would give a tax rate on GDP of 23 cents in the $.

                It wouldn’t of course be anywhere near that as you’re taxing before the cost of production comes off.

                The point of the change apart from simple, etc is to spread the taxation cost equally across all businesses.

                I prefer this to a transaction tax cause it doesn’t make any sense to me to tax money moving around within the same company for instance.

                • Craig H

                  Stats NZ probably has or can derive the information, because they produced the IRD benchmarks – http://www.stats.govt.nz/about_us/contact-us/contact-us-form.aspx. IRD does have the information, but it would be an impossibly large task to collate because some information is sent on paper (paper IR10s and accounts provided with returns) and not entered into FIRST.

                  If IRD has provided taxable income, a better question might be total income and expenses put on GST returns for a given year – that should be reasonably straightforward to obtain.

                  Also, NSFW but brilliant anyway: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m2q-Csk-ktc

            • greywarshark 4.1.2.1.1.3

              @ Desc. Ssmith
              Perhaps you could obtain that figure from a thoughtful economist? There are some around. There might be a paper that’s been done that would contain that figure, perhaps late last century. It would still be useful to compare to the then current taxation collection.

  5. AmaKiwi 5

    Mine would be focused and humorous.

    Little: “Being PM is not a vanity project.” Very clever.

    That’s why the MSM quoted from Andrew’s speech, but not Grant’s, which was akin to watching a cow chew her cud.

    • weka 5.1

      Which is probably the pace that the Otago Chamber of Commerce were expecting. It’s fine he didn’t write or say it for the MSM.

  6. Reddelusion 6

    Work for dole corporate tax rate 10pc charter schools get rid of dpb get rid of rma, lower personal tax, bring more competition to state welfare, health and education

    • miravox 6.1

      “if you were leader of the opposition?”.

      ACT is in government.

    • felix 6.2

      Work for dole? So you mean there’s work that needs doing, and people who need money to live?

      Great, we can forget the dole then. Let’s just pay them properly and we’ll call it a job.

    • greywarshark 6.3

      @ Reddelusion
      Give bloggers useful tasks to do if they are participating in serious-thinking blogs and presenting irrational tripe as sensible propositions from a position of self-centred complacency.

  7. Stuart Munro 7

    State asset protection act, anti-corruption and lobbying legislation, immigration controls to reflect housing and employment markets, legal name suppression only at victims’ discretion, capital gains tax on property and share market, foreign purchases of NZ land restricted and discouraged. Reduction of parliament to 80 seats, halving of parliamentary super, appointment of neutral speakers by public nomination for one year non-repeatable terms. Mandatory imprisonment for NZ employers of slave workers. Summary execution of asset thieves.

    • greywarshark 7.1

      Execution of your ideas would certainly set the cat among the pigeons. And you never know, cats seem to have nine lives along with great determination. Note Missy swimming all the way to an island where she has survived. Keep swimming Stuart you might just get there.

      As for asset thieves, we would be better to keep them in a jail farm and let them do some valuable physical work growing vegetables and farming to feed the jail. They could turn their smart minds to doing that efficiently. And get them to do it organically, that would tax their amoral personalities.

  8. Macro 8

    Here’s an idea!
    Let’s sell off what’s left of the state service – to the highest bidder of course. (cream a bit off the top through commission for my mates).
    Create 170,000 new jobs. (Nah! I say that every yeah! Just joking ae 😉 )
    and get the boys to spy on a few people so I can blackmail them out of applying for that plum job I’ve been angling for overseas

  9. Pat 9

    http://www.theguardian.com/business/ng-interactive/2015/apr/29/the-austerity-delusion
    ….as much as I enjoy seeing JK and BE wriggle about the missed surplus and as painful as the EQs in Canty were ,the resulting economic activity is a defacto stimulus programme that is offsetting the commodity slump and saving the govrnments fiscal arse….with that in mind read the above and substitute NZ for UK

  10. Sacha 10

    .. and a pony.
    #voteme

  11. Thinkerr 11

    Major problem I see is only partly that top 10% share of wealth has grown, but just as important is that our economy encourages directing that wealth into speculative investments that don’t grow GDP and don’t grow the job market. It means that money doesn’t ‘trickle down’ like it should.

    Also, as Little or Robertson, or both, said, too much reliance on raw commodities.

    Also, NZ is becoming something like a speculation index on the global market, and that’s bad. Our dollar, and now our land, are starting to seem like cards in an international poker game, IMHO.

    So, I would not have a capital gains tax, but I would put IRD focus on collecting income that resulted from speculative investments that often goes under the radar. Like others have said, a small tax on buying/ selling NZ$ Futures that would equate to a sizeable sum over the year, which would largely come onshore from overseas. Also, tighten rules so that only approved people can buy NZ property (citizens and permanent residents, or maybe a new criteria of living in NZ for x% of the year?).

    I would do like some other countries and use the extra revenue from the above to really resource up the government’s trade facility, so it not only promotes NZ goods (and services) but does research overseas so that it can (free for NZ companies) tell kiwi businesses what to manufacture that people in other countries will buy from us (see http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japan_External_Trade_Organization ). Included in this would be opening some “NZ Stores” in lower-boutique areas of foreign cities, that focused on selling NZ products and the NZ brand. SMEs in NZ could become exporters with only a few cases of wine, which would occupy shelf space next to someone else’s possum clothing, and playing at the back of the shop would be some videos of NZ beach life (in that country’s winter) or snow hi-jinks (in that country’s summer). There would be quality standards, though, so that these stores promoted NZ as a producer of niche-market, high-end stuff. In short, the NZ Store would buy from the local producer and sell offshore, helping small firms that don’t have time or resources to become exporters in their own right. Some would outgrow the NZ Store and that would be encouraged.

    I would also think about some kind of live-in craft/apprenticeship facilities, that taught life-skills as well as trade skills. There’s some farming schools like that, already, and these would be along those lines.

    No, these things wouldn’t necessarily pay their way, of themselves. I think there’s not enough emphasis on the bigger picture, and how doing something over here, that costs you money, can lead to gains over there, possibly later.

    Small, in comparison to the above, but in the budget document I would provide a table or pie-chart that showed where your dollar was spent in the operation of parliament itself. It would dispel a few myths, probably, and encourage greater efficiency.

    I’d also leave the flag debate for another day and use that money elsewhere.

    But, just to show I haven’t become one of those ‘armchair politicians’, I haven’t forgotten George Burns, who said “Too bad that all the people who really know how to run the country are busy driving taxicabs and cutting hair”…

  12. Atiawa 12

    Restoring democracy by reintroducing compulsory unionism would be my first priority.
    Societies lack cohesion and rational decision making when individualism over-rides the common good. Collectivism in the workplace and throughout industry would be a great place to begin the conservation.
    Present day and future issues facing the planet and environment, the world of work, inequality, our increasing longevity and leisure requirements are issues that demand a wider input from us all and imo the work place remains an ideal location for those discussions and solutions to be aired and considered.
    The interests of capital have been well served by the side-lining of a coherent worker response to the greed, power & privilege afforded them by right wing governments.

    • Mike 12.1

      Great – back to the days where there is little incentive to progress. A work place with no ambition and settling for the minimal production. Knowing no matter what you do pay rises will be awarded equally and regardless of merit and promotions will be awarded solely on time. An extremely rigid setup which I would refuse to be part of.

      We are all individuals, why on earth would any ambitious or capable individual want to be restrained by the “collective”.

  13. b waghorn 13

    One of the major problems that big cities and small towns have in common is infrastructure not being up to the job now both problems can be solved buy working out how repopulate rural towns. So a working party would be in my budget to look at what would be needed solve this problem.
    Rolling out a installation programme for solar water heating and grid connected power generation to all state houses and subsidies for landlords and low income earners to do the same.

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