Queue here to register your thoughts on a capital gains tax – but not if the queue gets too big

Labour  ministers’  enthusiasm   for a  capital   gains  tax   appears to  be waning  by the day.  Even the PM,  Jacinda  Ardern, no longer  seems to be talking  up  the need to  make the  tax system  “fairer”  by  bringing in  a  comprehensive   CGT.

Revenue  Minister  Stuart   Nash   went so far  as to  say  this  week   “there is  nothing to  consult  on”.

Here  is what he told  Parliament  on Thursday:

Nash: When I said I’m not consulting on a capital gains tax, I’m also not consulting on the 19 measures that the Tax Working Group considers would reduce compliance cost to small to medium enterprises.

Gerry Brownlee: Why not”?

NASH: Because—can I say this again—there have been absolutely no decisions made on this, so why would I formally consult when there’s absolutely nothing to consult on?” Continue reading “Queue here to register your thoughts on a capital gains tax – but not if the queue gets too big”

The Trough Monitor: money for Methven thermal pool and handouts for heritage buildings

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”

Genter stalls on question about NZTA safety campaign costs – so what does this tell us about her performance?

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”.

And:

“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 plug is pulled on Saudi sheep scheme – so what is Murray McCully up to nowadays?

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?”

Studies find exam results turn to pot when students turn to cannabis

Green Party MP Chloe Swarbrick chided the National Party on its drugs policy earlier this year but said she hoped its involvement in public debate was positive.

Her comments followed National announcing deputy leader Paula Bennett’s appointment as the party’s first drug reform spokesperson and Bennett’s thoroughly reasonable insistence that she wanted to know more about the implications of legalising marijuana –

 “I want to know, ‘What does it mean for the illicit drug trade? What does it mean for drug driving? How do we meet our goals of being smoke free if we’re saying it’s okay to have a joint?’ “

 Swarbrick, the Green’s spokesperson on drug reform, said National was portraying themselves as “rational sceptics” but drew a distinction between “constructive criticism and obfuscation which stifles change”.
Continue reading “Studies find exam results turn to pot when students turn to cannabis”

The Trough Monitor: Megan Woods finds more than $11m for dispensing energy favours

Whether congratulations are in order is a moot point, but today a Minister of the Crown triggered the Point of Order  Trough Monitor for the first time this year.

The Minister was Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods, who not only has tapped into several million dollars of taxpayers’ money – she has also brayed about it:

Low emission transport will receive a record boost totalling more than $11 million, Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods announced today.

Continue reading “The Trough Monitor: Megan Woods finds more than $11m for dispensing energy favours”

Why Hipkins should study the formula for a London state school’s remarkable academic success

If Education Minister Chris Hipkins is overcome by an urge to join his cabinet colleagues in overseas travel but doesn’t have a good reason, we suggest he visits a state school in one of London’s poorest boroughs.

Forty-one of this school’s students have been offered a place at Oxford and Cambridge this year.

This rivals the admission rates of some of the top-performing private schools across the UK, according to the BBC

Brampton Manor is a state school in Newham in east London.

Nearly all of the students who received Oxbridge offers are from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds; two-thirds will be the first in their families to attend university.

Half of them are on free school meals.  Continue reading “Why Hipkins should study the formula for a London state school’s remarkable academic success”