While the Brits brace for Christmas without turkeys, NZ leads APEC initiative on food security

Not enough turkeys for Christmas?

Calamity.

Not in this country (so far as we know), but in Britain, where the British Poultry Council is pressing the UK Government to deal with the culinary consequences of shortages of workers resulting from the UK’s departure from the European Union.

The British food industry faces huge disruptions that have forced leading restaurants – including Nando’s and KFC – to reduce their service or to close.

Poultry producers have warned that serious staff shortages caused by Brexit could mean there are not enough turkeys to go round this Christmas.

Supermarkets have also been struggling to fill shelves amid a serious shortage of HGV drivers that is affecting areas such as milk deliveries.

But a Canadian farming newspaper has drawn attention to a much more critical issue: famine is looming as developing countries struggle to control the spread of the Covid-19 virus with unpredictable and limited vaccines.

About 41 million people are at risk of starving to death in 2021. Continue reading “While the Brits brace for Christmas without turkeys, NZ leads APEC initiative on food security”

How our present and future needs have been balanced – by lumbering each household with $95,000 in govt debt

As  all   the  lobby group  shouting  fades in  the  wake of the  budget,   how    is  the  real  verdict  shaping  up ?

If  from the  Labour  camp,  you’d  say it was  a   financial  triumph,  balanced  but  with a  bold  vision.  And,  as Sir  Michael Cullen asserted,  there  is   “a  real degree of  bravery”  in the benefit  increases.

According  to Sir  Michael,  Finance  Minister  Grant  Robertson

” .. has  done  a  superb  job   in writing a  budget  which  balances  present  and  future  needs,  begins  to  address our  social inequities and  provides a  solid  foundation for  future  sustainable  growth”.

For  Sir Michael,  this  is  just the  beginning:  he  sees this  as the  first  part of a trilogy  of  budgets.  Roll  on  the other  two!

On the  other  side  of the fence, the   drumbeat was  a   bit   more  discordant.  The praise  certainly was  not  quite  so  fulsome. Continue reading “How our present and future needs have been balanced – by lumbering each household with $95,000 in govt debt”

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”

Gunning for the “rich pricks” through tax changes brings the risk of an electoral recoil

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”

The taxing task of making a capital idea less toxic to voters

The Labour-led  Government   wants  a   capital  gains tax — why else   would  it have a  Tax Working Group spending  months studying  how to  frame  it?

The problem for Finance Minister  Grant Robertson is  that it could be politically  toxic,  as   David Cunliffe  found when he  campaigned on it.  So  he’s  now  seeking a  final  recommendation  from the  TWG  which makes  taxing  capital gains politically  acceptable — at least to a majority of voters.

It will take all  the political  cunning  of the old master,  Sir Michael Cullen, to come up  with the  answer Robertson needs. Continue reading “The taxing task of making a capital idea less toxic to voters”

Capital gains: the taxing task of balancing economic and political considerations

 So  will  Sir Michael Cullen’s  Tax Working Group in its interim report due out soon  propose  the government  implements  a  capital gains tax?

When  the  TWG  was set up most people  believed  its main purpose  was to  design  a  broad-based capital  gains  tax,   not  just to capture  a new source of revenue  but  to  make the tax system  fairer and reduce  inequalities.

But a report in Stuff   this week  speculated the  TWG has  stopped short of recommending a broad-based capital gains tax. Continue reading “Capital gains: the taxing task of balancing economic and political considerations”