Treaty settlements, environmental management and the insidious march from co-management to co-governance

We can’t be sure, here at Point of Order, about when “co-governance” was first introduced to this country’s political vocabulary.  For some time before ministers were talking about co-governance, they had been talking about co-management.

There’s a difference. A big difference, when it comes to constitutional arrangements within public authorities.

According to one distinction we uncovered, “governance” is the strategic task of setting the organisation’s goals, direction, limitations and accountability frameworks. “Management” is the allocation of resources and overseeing the day-to-day operations of the organisation.

The first mention of co-governance we could find on the Beehive website – which records all ministerial statements and speeches and statements since 1993 – was made by John Luxton in May 1997.  As Associate Minister of International Trade, addressing guests at a meat industry function, he talked about the meat industry’s movement into the next millennium.

He said the development of co-governance principles under CER were among the government priorities he mentioned.

Obviously that had nothing to do with the Treaty of Waitangi, although someone is bound to pop up and insist everything that happens in this country is Treaty-related.

The first mention of co-governance in the context of Crown-iwi relations was made by Christopher Finlayson, Minister of Treaty of Waitangi Settlements, in 2009, according to our search of the Beehive website.  He also shifted the parameters of Treaty-related expectations.  Continue reading “Treaty settlements, environmental management and the insidious march from co-management to co-governance”

David Seymour’s Herculean challenges: getting 14 MPs into Parliament (really?) and flattening the tax rate

A Flat Tax: The Good, the Bad and Why It Probably Won’t Happen was the headline on an article published in Money Talks News – pitched at an American audience – in 2014.

Act leader David Seymour, who included a flat tax among the policies he unveiled at the weekend, should take note.  Even if he was to get 14 MPs into Parliament (anyone putting money on that very, very long shot?), all the other Parliamentarian will vote to stick with a progressive income tax system.

But that’s no reason for a debate to be stifled.

The article in Money Talks News took the complex US Federal tax code into considerations (the code comprised 73,954 pages in 2013 and included seven tax rates, four standard deductions and at least a dozen tax credits for individuals. Then there were exemptions, itemised deductions and the special tax rules.

Why not eliminate all those hoops and simply tax everyone using the same percentage?

The answer was that it depends on who you ask. Continue reading “David Seymour’s Herculean challenges: getting 14 MPs into Parliament (really?) and flattening the tax rate”