The highly anticipated Tax Working Group’s final report, to be unveiled on Thursday, is expected to propose a broad-based capital gains tax, possibly along with an inheritance tax. Policy wonks and commentators typically say the devil will be in the detail (particularly the exemptions, if any).
Both the Labour Party and the Green Party have supported a capital gains tax and few doubted – when the Ardern government named Sir Michael Cullen as head of the Tax Working Group – he would lead the charge in favour of extending whatever forms of taxing capital gains (the brightline test) apply at present into a much more broadly based framework.
Cullen has been a staunch believer that the “rich pricks” don’t pay their fair share of tax and he’s an enthusiast for rebalancing the tax structure. Continue reading “Gunning for the “rich pricks” through tax changes brings the risk of an electoral recoil”
As the debate on China’s sensitivities rolls on, more and compelling information is coming to hand to explain why the Government is recalibrating NZ’s relations with Beijing. In 2017, China enacted a national intelligence law which requires all Chinese companies to “support, provide and cooperate” with the government’s national intelligence work wherever they operate.
Despite the protestations by the likes of Huawei, Chinese trading companies or airlines working in NZ have to comply. This has profoundly shifted the nature of the relationship coming atop a new Chinese regime much more statist than before.
The sheer complexity and enormous ability of the 5G broadband system’s enhanced information reach enable it to hoover-up hitherto encrypted material. The system signals a new phase in the information war. Continue reading “Statutory requirement for Chinese companies to spy helps explain NZ’s policy shift”
National’s Health spokesman, Michael Woodhouse, set out to win media headlines today by portending a ballooning of the combined deficit of New Zealand’s 20 district health boards to about $500 million. He came up with that number on the strength of information from his “sources“.
He said the growth in the deficit was disappointing and recalled Health Minister David Clark’s pledge – when he took office – to bring it under control.
His statement said:
“The deficit for 2018/19 could be more than four times as high as the last year of the previous National Government. The Health Minister said in December 2017 that DHB debt was ‘deeply concerning’ and ‘cannot be allowed to continue’ but it has worsened on his watch.
“More than a year after pledging to rein in the deficits, the DHBs are in a weaker financial position. Eight months into the latest fiscal year Dr Clark has yet to announce the approval of a single annual plan and he has stalled on releasing any financial details for the DHBs.” Continue reading “Alarm is sounded – health boards (we are told) will need another funding transfusion as their deficits rise”
The Point of Order Trough Monitor, which keeps a check on how taxpayers’ money is being invested, spent or given away by the Ardern Government, has been comparatively quiet since the New Year.
It did have a busy patch just before Waitangi Day, as the Government shamelessly pitched our money into projects intended to please Māori voters. These included a $100 million fund to support Māori land development in the regions.
Giveaway Minister Shane Jones set it off again yesterday when he served up a swill for mid-Canterbury. Methven, more specifically.
A few days earlier, Finance Minister Grant Robertson forgot about fiscal constraint by putting on his Arts, Culture and Heritage hat to announce the availability of a trough of money for the owners of heritage buildings. He urged owners to dip in and get their share…
Here are the announcements: Continue reading “The Trough Monitor: money for Methven thermal pool and handouts for heritage buildings”
Julie Anne Genter, Minister of Women and self-appointed minister for culling old white blokes from board rooms, brings performance into considerations when she champions a policy of government intervention to get the gender mix right in the public service workplace.
She has brought the fairness argument into her rhetoric (having more women in leadership “is the right thing to do”) but further asserts
“… diversity helps organisations function more effectively”.
“More women in leadership means better decision making, better organisational resilience and better performance.”
Better performance by what measure?
Point of Order wonders about this in the light of Genter’s performance at Question Time in Parliament yesterday. Continue reading “Genter stalls on question about NZTA safety campaign costs – so what does this tell us about her performance?”
The Green Party’s James Shaw was being something of a smart-arse, surely, when he asked David Parker, Minister for Trade and Export Growth, about what former Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully might be up to these days.
At Question Time in Parliament yesterday, Shaw asked if Parker had seen any media reports “that Murray McCully and Michelle Boag have moved on from the Saudi sheep scandal to establish a blue-green party in Auckland?”
The Speaker smartly put him in his place:
Order! Even if he had, he wouldn’t have any responsibility.
Shaw has been around long enough to know the rules.
The primary question had aimed to delve into the Key Government’s controversial Saudi sheep deal, which the Government has belatedly axed. Continue reading “The plug is pulled on Saudi sheep scheme – so what is Murray McCully up to nowadays?”
The Coalition Government is making solid progress on improving the wellbeing of New Zealanders and the Budget will outline further work, Finance Minister Grant Robertson enthused today.
Responding to the Salvation Army’s State of the Nation report, he said “the scale of the challenge this Government inherited means that we won’t finish our work in one year”.
Well, no. Jacinda Ardern said something similar in the Prime Minister’s statement, presented to Parliament yesterday.
“I have reflected over summer on three things that remain true to me. No matter how much this Government did in the last year—and it was plenty—there is more to do. There is more to do. Even if there’s a summer break, I didn’t stop thinking about that for a moment.”
The things to be done include the development of a wellbeing Budget. Continue reading “The Treaty and partnership are invoked as TPK goes out to promote Māori wellbeing”
Let’s get the China situation into perspective. The halcyon days of recent years are past.
The Key government indulged in the shadow of a benign Beijing penumbra after New Zealand became the first country to recognise China as a conventional economy, acceptable to western norms. NZ was blessed by nomination as a safe destination to the new travel-conscious middle class. Ministers indulged in frequent visits here and there. NZ has became an almost overwhelming beneficiary of inbound Chinese tourism.
Time has moved on. Under its current leader, China launched a vigorous “road and belt” philosophy which – according to MFAT insiders – had two objectives: Continue reading “China and NZ foreign policy: Peters knows choices must be made”
Newshub breathlessly reported this week its latest political poll from Reid Research: “National plunges to its worst result in 12 years”.
The polling showed Labour at 47.5% and National at 41.6%, and according to Newshub political editor Tova O’Brien, the poll for the first time in its history put Labour ahead of National.
In her excitement at finding such a dark day for National’s leader Simon Bridges, she appeared to overlook the Reid Research polling which recorded Labour ahead in election year, and again in 2018.
Still, it wasn’t good news for National. Nor did it give much cheer to NZ First at 2.9%, while Labour’s other coalition supporter, the Greens, slipped to 5.1%. Continue reading “A comforting poll result for Jacinda but let’s see how she scores with China”
A Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment mandarin’s intervention on the issue of the $3 billion Provincial Growth Fund’s job creation raises further questions about public service neutrality and propriety. This follows hard on the heels of the IRD’s constitutional transgressions.
The NZ Herald yesterday yesterday drew attention to the conflict with two observations:
- National’s Paul Goldsmith says only 54 jobs have been created from funded Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) projects so far.
- Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones told Parliament late last year that 9000 jobs had been created.
The Herald proceeded to check out the MBIE website which shows more than 10,000 jobs are expected to be created as a result of Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) announcements made last year.
Seven thousand of these – almost 70 per cent – are estimated to come from just one project: The East Bay of Plenty Regional Development Project Implementation. Continue reading “MBIE’s job numbers raise questions about political neutrality and professional scepticism”