Stuart Nash has been remiss in staying silent about IRD’s political transgressions

Whether two examples of Inland Revenue’s follies amount to an “ongoing failure”to stay out of politics is open to argument.  But the Taxpayers’ Union is to be commended for drawing attention to IRD’s specific constitutional obligation not to enter politics and demanding that Revenue Minister Stuart Nash act immediately to restore the integrity and neutrality of his agency.

The demand follows IRD’s admitting it was wrong to ask for New Zealanders’ political persuasions in a survey they have been carrying out for the Government on the eve of the release of a crucial tax reform report.

The department has been researching the public’s views on globalisation and fairness in the tax system.

Among the survey questions, respondents were asked where they sit on the political spectrum.  This raised the issue of whether taxpayers are funding sensitive political polling.

And as Stuff now tells us: Continue reading “Stuart Nash has been remiss in staying silent about IRD’s political transgressions”

The Trough Monitor – Jones shells out big-time on mussels (among other things)

The Point of Order Trough Monitor had a frenetic morning,  as three press statements from the Beehive alerted us to Shane Jones dipping yet again into the Provincial Growth Fund. He got a grip on $25 million and tossed it at the Bay of Plenty.

The great bulk of it – up to $19,850,000 – is pitched at projects to develop “a sustainable mussel farming operation in Ōpōtiki”.

Jones, the country’s beneficent Regional Economic Development Minister, mentioned the Maori god of the sea while trying to explain his generosity.  Taxpayers money, it seems, is being put to the dubious purpose of appeasing or mollifying the creatures of Maori mythology.

But as a reassuring reminder he indeed is operating in the 21st century, Jones also declared an intention to improve “connectivity” in the Eastern Bay of Plenty. This seems to have something to do with information technology: the press statement contains jargon such as RBI2 and MBSF.
Continue reading “The Trough Monitor – Jones shells out big-time on mussels (among other things)”

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”

How Nash differs from Trump in discarding official advice

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Advice?  I’ll tell you where to stick your advice…

Police Minister Stuart Nash is in good company when he ignores official advice. Correction.  He is in high-ranking company.  Whether it is good company is a matter of opinion.

The high-ranking company we speak of is that of  President Donald Trump, a bloke with a huge contempt for advice and a strong belief in his own omnipotence.

*  During the recent eclipse – and unlike millions of Americans – “he went against the much-repeated and often-emphasised advice of NASA, ophthalmologists and moms everywhere and looked at the sun without glasses”.  He perhaps believed it would be the sun that would be blinded by his gaze. Continue reading “How Nash differs from Trump in discarding official advice”