Bill English

Feral Barbarians at the gates

You’ve probably already heard:  there was a bit of a riot at SkyCity today.  Quite absurdly, Paul Henry, who wasn’t actually involved in the protest nor what was being protested against, walks up for a spot of lunch and becomes the focal point for the deep hatred these ferals have for people who actually work hard and have some money.

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National supports dead beat dads, gives left wing media commentators a budget bonus

Who would ever have thought that National would be seen to be supporting dead beat dads?

It seems incongruous but that is what John Key, Bill English and Steve Joyce have done with their bludgers budget: they have given dead beat dads a write off of their penalty payments.

At least two left wing media commentators will be ecstatic about those changes in the budget.

Prime Minister John Key says he hopes that plans to write off $1.7 billion in penalty payments on parents who missed child support payments will encourage those who have moved overseas to start paying child support again.

Revenue Minister Todd McClay said the overly punitive system had resulted in “paralysing” debts for some parents which meant they had given up trying to pay and thousands had gone overseas.

About 120,000 people had child support debt which totalled $3.2 billion – about half of which was owed by people now living overseas. Only $700 million of the total was in child support while the rest was interest and penalty fees for late payments.

Mr Key said it was the responsibility of liable parents to make child support payments. “They have a legal obligation to pay for their kids and they have a moral obligation to pay for their kids, and they should be doing it.”

However, the Government had to take a pragmatic approach and recognise that many were simply failing or could not afford to meet those obligations.

“We need to breathe the hope into those 120,000 families and individuals who see a hopeless position.

“What we are saying to those people is to come back, start making the principal payments to those low-income families that you owe it to, and we will forgive the interest and we will forgive the penalties.”

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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

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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 »

Big housing announcement today?

Richard Harman writes about a supposed big housing announcement later today from the Prime Minister.

It seems there are rumours floating around Wellington and they have come to the ears of Harman.

Speculation is mounting tonight that the Prime Minister is about to announce a major move on Auckland housing.

He is set to deliver the keynote address at the Lower North Island National Party regional Conference on Sunday and it is thought he will make the announcement there.

No details are confirmed at this stage.

But on Wednesday, Reserve Bank Governor, Graeme Wheeler told Parliament’s Finance and Expenditure Committee there were three options — a capital gains tax, stamp duties or “addressing” the tax deductibility of interest payments by property investors.

Mr Key will not announce a capital gains tax.

He in particular, but most in National’s caucus as well, are ardently opposed to the idea.

Stamp duty on property transactions is payable in all Australian states except Queensland.    Read more »

Bill English has given up on the surplus

Bill was hanging on to obscene levels of wealth in the ACC accounts just to make the books look better, but he must have finally realised it makes no difference.

The Government is signalling across the board cuts to ACC levies including a big drop in the motor vehicle levy that could see it fall to $120 a year next year.

ACC Minister Nikki Kaye said levy cuts would amount to about $375 million in 2016/17 and $120m in 2017/18.

“These indicative levy cuts represent a total saving for New Zealanders of around $500m, and will be spread across the motor vehicle, work and earners accounts,” Kaye said.

The move comes after criticism of the Government for not cutting as far last year as officials had recommended.

Kaye said the cuts in the upcoming Budget were based on current financial projections and a funding direction which saw all the accounts heading towards a solvency band of between 100 and 110 per cent . Read more »

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National sprinkle a little more budget pixie dust

More New Zealanders will get elective surgery after the Government pledged an extra $48 million of funding.

Prime Minister John Key and Health Minister Dr Jonathan Coleman made the pre-Budget announcement at Porirua’s Kenepuru Hospital.

The new spending in this year’s Budget is to ensure National meets its long-running target of having about 4000 more elective surgical operations carried out each year.

“This funding boost will mean that even more New Zealanders can benefit from elective surgery,” Dr Coleman said.

“We want to maintain the momentum and continue to deliver year-on-year increases in elective surgery.”

Another $50 million will be spent over three years to support extra orthopaedic and general surgeries, and to create early intervention orthopaedic teams. Read more »

Phil Twyford and Labour working with Auckland Council to stiff National’s affordable housing policy

Phil Twyford was busy on Red Radio this morning with a pseudo soft talking rhetoric about how hard it is for Auckland Council to build infrastructure and calling for the Government to pay up for the pipes and roads and public transport to service it.

There have been rumours about the traps that Labour is running thick with Auckland Council, especially Penny Hulse, to stiff the housing accord and to get the initiative to fail.

And one doesn’t need to wear a tin-foil hat to theorise a conspiracy to work complicitly together. Labour don’t want National to be successful and poo poo anything National comes up with (including things they might have done themselves). And the Auckland Council is desperate to thwart the greenfield expansion of the CBD because it undermines their goals to build a compact city.

Plus they are all pinko mates. So of course they will work together.  Read more »

Dumber than a Bag of Hammers

Joe Trinder from Mana keeps on showing us why he and his party are desperately stupid.

The Tamaki redevelopment company is broken up into three shareholders Auckland council, Bill English and Nick Smith.  Both English and Smith own 29.5% of the shares while Auckland council own 41%.

On the companies office website the shareholders for The Tamaki redevelopment company limited click here

Is this a blatant attempt by government ministers  to enrich themselves by selling off state owned assets for personal gain?

How utterly stupid can you get.  Read more »

None at all? Key goes soft on sorting out public service

John Key seems to have lost his smiling assassin reputation, going all squeamish on addressing costs int eh public service as tax revenues fall.

Prime Minister John Key is pledging no cuts to public services in Bill English’s seventh Budget, despite low interest rates and falling prices carving billions from the Crown’s coffers over the next four years.

On May 21 Finance Minister English will release the Budget, which is expected to show National failing to hit its often repeated target of reaching surplus this year.

Although Key has not given up on reaching surplus when the final accounts for 2014/15 are released, he appeared to announce details of Treasury’s forecasts for this month’s Budget showing a squeeze on the tax take.

“The very factors that are helping households and businesses get ahead are making aspects of the Government’s finances more challenging,” Key told reporters at his weekly post Cabinet press conference on Monday.

“A combination of low inflation, low interest rates and lower dairy prices is slowing growth in government revenue.”

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