Extremism and intelligence: NZ should not be shortsighted about the benefits of Five Eyes

As New Zealand grapples with the enormities of the Christchurch terrorist attack and their implications for the country’s diverse social fabric, security and law and order, some issues are paramount.

High on the list is the importance to NZ of the Five-Eyes intelligence network, no matter what some the government’s coalition partners might think.   Five-Eyes has been forwarding significantly important information in recent months. Without it, NZ would be bereft.

For example, the presence of a noxious NZ Islamist in Iraq has been monitored carefully over several months, extending to the ​presence there of other New Zealanders, not extremists,  working in various nursing and assistance roles ​in precarious situations.

None of this important information could be provided to the prime minister without Five-Eyes. Continue reading “Extremism and intelligence: NZ should not be shortsighted about the benefits of Five Eyes”

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”

Sir Michael is being paid well while he takes his tax report for a spin

So  how  is  the  debate   on  a   comprehensive  capital  gains tax  going?

Not   well,  some would  say,  particularly  if  you have to pay  more than a  $1000 a  day  for  a   PR   snow job.

Questioned  in  Parliament   why  the  government  is  paying  Sir  Michael  Cullen more than $1000 a day of taxpayer funds to engage in political debate for four months after the Tax Working Group has been disbanded, including two months after the government will have announced its own position,  Finance  Minister  Grant Robertson explained the contract had been extended “because it’s necessary to respond to all of the misrepresentation and lies about the report”. Continue reading “Sir Michael is being paid well while he takes his tax report for a spin”

Capital gains tax: hear what Peters (as PM) has to say about something NZ First opposes

Anticipating the release of the Tax Working Group’s report, Point of Order on Tuesday said the  question  of a capital gains tax being endorsed by the government is whether   the concept can be sold to  NZ  First.  Its leader,  Winston Peters,  in the past  has been  vocal in  his  opposition to a  broad-based  capital  gains tax.

Early yesterday, a few hours ahead of the report’s release, the NZ Herald echoed our thinking.

Whatever Sir Michael Cullen recommends in his final Tax Working Group report today may be off the table if Labour can’t get New Zealand First and Winston Peters’ support for it.

Peters has made it clear in the past he is not a fan of a capital gains tax.

Just before the 2017 election, he told TVNZ’s Q&A that a capital gains tax was “off the table.”

“The two factors are – it doesn’t work and the second thing is there is no fairness if you haven’t got capital losses as well.” Continue reading “Capital gains tax: hear what Peters (as PM) has to say about something NZ First opposes”

Statutory requirement for Chinese companies to spy helps explain NZ’s policy shift

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”

China and NZ foreign policy: Peters knows choices must be made

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”

Cash contributions for Maori projects are no secret – but what about the constitutional changes?

Just a few days before Waitangi Day the government announced it has earmarked several million more dollars for Maori projects.   During Waitangi Day commemorations it may express its willingness to give iwi leaders a greater say in governance, too (but without providing critical details).

Empowering iwi leaders in the name of “partnership” is a matter with profound constitutional implications, of course.  But when Point of Order raised questions last September about the government’s co-governance agenda and the constitutional  impacts on all Kiwi citizens, we received no answers.

The cash component of the government’s generosity is not so secret.  Some of it was included in announcements made by the PM and the Minister of Handouts two days ago at Otamatea Marae. Continue reading “Cash contributions for Maori projects are no secret – but what about the constitutional changes?”