NZ

John, Bill and Steve deliver the “bludgers budget”

John Key, Bill English and Steve Joyce have delivered up a “bludger budget”, delivering more money to non-contributing members of society.

Even David Farrar is having to choke back his disgust.

While I expected the Government to spend a small amount of money on helping low income families, never did I think they would be announcing the first real increase in benefit rates in 43 years as part of an almost $800 million child poverty package.

It will be almost impossible for Labour and Greens to credibly attack this Budget, because it looks a lot like the sort of Budget they would deliver.  I’m impressed with the politics of it, but not impressed with the economics.

The main initiative is the child poverty package. The details are:

  • $25 a week net benefit increase for families with children – 1st increase since 1972. An 8.3% increase in the base benefit rate for most on welfare.
  • To counter against any incentive to remain on welfare due to higher benefit levels, work testing for sole parents to start when youngest child is three, down from five
  • Work testing obligation increases from 15 to 20 hours a week
  • 110,000 beneficiary families with 190,000 children get a net extra $23 a week
  • WFF increases for working families earning under $36,350 a year by $12.50 a week, up to $24.50 a week for very low income
  • Families on WFF who earn over $88,000 a year get a bit less from WFF as abatement rate increases from 21.25c to 22.5c
  • WFF changes benefit 200,000 families and 380,000 children
  • 4,000 very low income working families get a net extra $24.50 a week
  • 50,000 low income working families get a net extra $21.50 a week
  • 150,000 other families get up to $21.50 a week
  • Childcare subsidies for low income families up from $4 to $5 an hour. Families eligible for up to 50 hours a week so worth up to $50 a week.
  • Cost of package $790 million over four years and then $240 million a year

Read more »

Campbell’s Dead, let the leftwing wailing commence

Campbell Live is dead.

Mediaworks announced this afternoon that they are canning the show, and John campbell has voluntarily left. Perhaps his legal negotiations didn’t go as well as was touted.

John Campbell will no longer host TV3’s current affairs show, MediaWorks has announced.

MediaWorks will be launching a new current affairs show in the 7pm timeslot on Mondays to Thursdays on TV3.

TV3 News quoted group head of news Mark Jennings saying Campbell was asked to co-host the show but he had instead decided to leave the company.

“John has decided he wants to take a break from the job and we respect his decision,” Jennings said.

MediaWorks staff were told of the news on Thursday.

Read more »

Farrar finally recognises the intellectual paucity at the NZ Herald

Arts, fitness, and travel blogger David Farrar gives the anonymous editorial writer at the Herald a good kick in the balls after their stupid editorial had this to say:

It has long been an anomaly that benefits for the young are raised annually by the rate of inflation while superannuitants have their pensions pegged to increases in wages, or inflation if it is greater.

Wages in recent years have increased at a rate above low inflation, causing benefits to lag the general rise in living standards enjoyed by wage earners and the retired. The cost of indexing working age benefits to wages might be considerable but it seems only fair that it should be done. If fiscally possible, it should be accompanied by a catch-up adjustment to benefit rates over the next few years.

Farrar responds:

This may be the stupidest and most financially illiterate editorial of the year.   Read more »

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Vernon Small knows a capital gains tax when he sees one

Now admittedly Vernon Small looks at the world through pink tinted glasses, but he hits the nail on the head this morning by calling John Key’s tax changes for what they are – a capital gain tax.

When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less.”

Like Humpty Dumpty in Alice in Wonderland it seems our most senior MPs want their words to mean only what they choose them to mean.

With apologies to the egg-man it is straying too far from reality, though, to claim – as both Prime Minister John Key and Labour leader Andrew Little have – that a tax on capital gains is not a capital gains tax (CGT).

Under the current regime we already have a CGT for those in the business of buying and selling houses or shares or whatever. In broad terms it can be avoided if the purchase was for rental or dividend flows, not for capital gains, and you can have that out with Inland Revenue through the courts.    Read more »

John Key’s government addicted to corporate welfare

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A government grant for a spa pool on Rotorua’s lakefront is being described as corporate welfare of the worst kind.

Prime Minister John Key announced the $350,000 grant on Wednesday, saying it would help meet the cost of the World Spa complex.

The money is coming from the tourism growth fund.

Spending watchdog the Taxpayers’ Union says the grant will be given to Pukeroa Lakefront Holdings, a commercial arm of Ngati Whakaue.

“This is taxpayer money going to build a spa in Rotorua,” said executive director Jordan Williams.

“That’s not innovation, it’s corporate welfare of the worst kind.”

Free money.  The government has  a little $8m slush fund that companies in Tourism can apply to have their share of.   Here are the list of project that have succeeded in getting no-strings-attached free taxpayers’ money to boost their bottom lines:   Read more »

#dirtypolitics wowsers now hate entrepreneurs

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Here comes the cry-babies once again wishing everyone would be tucked into their beds by 6.30pm with a hot cup of milo.

And if you happen to disagree with their view, you’re labelled part of the #Dirtypolitics Chaos & Mayhem crew. Read more »

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PPTA President Loves Education that brings Systemic Failure of the Poor

Angela-Roberts

In a “my job is tough please cry me a river” article PPTA President Angela Roberts closes by stating:

Public education is important for a nation. We have a great system in New Zealand and these challenges come about so we can improve our great curriculum.

So she is happy with:

– many decile 1 & 2 schools getting Year 13 UE pass rates of less than 20% while decile 9 & 10 are almost uniformly above 60%.

– ongoing gaps for Maori and Pasifika compared to the rest of the New Zealand population.   Read more »

Unacknowledged time bomb: Our dissatisfaction with local government

Polling of some 3000 members of the public and businesses scores local government poorly on three core measures of competence, says Local Government New Zealand.

The sector’s national body says the Colmar-Brunton poll gives the sector a score of 29 out of a possible 100 for performance, local leadership, and communication and interaction.

The average score for performance, which covered factors such as value for money, financial management and ability to manage community affairs, came in at 28 per cent. Local leadership scores averaged 26 per cent.

“The results aren’t that flash,” said LGNZ chairman Lawrence Yule, although the results were consistent with similar polling in Britain and Australia.

LGNZ would be introducing “a significant programme over coming months to drive positive change”.

I think LGNZ should consider this a wake-up call.   Councils are seriously mismanaging funds – denying money for library services but setting up Maori boards and LGBT advisory panels against the wishes of the rate payers. Read more »

Unelected Maori standover merchants bag $80 million from ratbag council

How does it feel Aucklanders?

After ratbag councillors stiffed you with a rates rate of almost 10%, now you wake up and listen to the wireless and find out that the same ratbag council has just chucked $80 million of your rates money at the ratbag standover merchants who have banned us from driving up Mount Eden.

Auckland’s Maunga Authority says iwi are making progress in protecting their taonga – the city’s tihi (summit) – after receiving a large funding boost.

The authority was established eight months ago, and its kaupapa is to protect the 14 Tūpuna Maunga affiliated with the 13 iwi in the rohe.

Auckland Council has allocated nearly $80 million to the Tūpuna Maunga o Tāmaki Makaurau Authority for the next 10 years.   Read more »

Not the sort of support you’d really want

Len Brown has stated he supports John Banks…and understands what he went through.

Auckland Mayor Len Brown has come out in support of his former political rival John Banks, saying he understands what he’s been through.

Former ACT MP and Auckland Mayor John Banks’ three-year court battle over allegations of knowingly filing a false electoral return ended on Tuesday with an aquittal ordered by the Court of Appeal.

Banks has likened the case against him to a “jihad”.

Brown, who found himself at the centre of a media maelstrom in 2013 when it emerged he had an extramarital affair, would not be drawn on suggestions Banks could again stand for the Auckland mayoralty.

But he expressed sympathy with what Banks had endured.    Read more »