Bill English

Tax relief coming hints Key

Tax relief is coming as John Key hinted to mike Hosking:

The Prime Minister was also asked by Hosking about the possibility of tax cuts, after the Crown accounts for the year to June showed a surplus of $1.8 billion – higher than the $668 million forecast in the May Budget.

Finance Minister Bill English said that meant the Government was in a position to make choices such as whether to go ahead with tax cuts, but also said there were other priorities such as paying down debt.

This morning, Key said there were families that missed out on tax credits but did not earn enough to “feel that they are actually going forward fast enough”.

However, he said there didn’t seem to be a “massive cry” from the public for tax cuts, compared to 2005-07.

“But it will get louder over time as those surpluses rise.”

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At Tax Cut Club, we don’t talk about Tax Cuts

Bill English has proved to be a very able Finance Minister. He has delivered up another surplus, and one so large that it looks like tax cuts are on the agenda for election year.

Finance Minister Bill English has a rather dour public persona but the release of the annual Crown accounts usually also delivers English’s annual joke.

In 2015 – when English recorded his first ever surplus – he joked the $414 million was so small it was visible only “if you look carefully and hold your glasses a bit further out from your face”.

This time round it was a riff on the same theme – the healthier figure of $1.8 billion was so big even the more elderly, visually challenged members of the media could see it. He even named one unwitting soul.

That surplus also signalled National might go ahead with a further round of tax cuts.

That is more likely to be as part of its 2017 campaign promises rather than in the 2017 Budget.

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Why do the taxpayers own farms?

I’m waiting for the howls of outrage from the Labour party over the performance of Landcorp.

Landcorp has recorded a net profit after tax of $11.5 million, largely thanks to a $7.4m profit on land sales.

The state-owned enterprise, which Finance Minister Bill English earlier this year described as a “poor investment” although the Government had no intention to sell it off, reported a net operating loss of $9.4m on revenue of $209m for the year ended June 30, 2016.

For the second year in a row it will not pay a dividend to the Government.

Landcorp chief executive Steven Carden said the result reflected higher livestock valuations, a $7.4m profit on land sales,and lower milk revenue. Milk revenue had dropped $12.9m as the payout fell to its lowest level for 10 years.

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Finance Minister cautions Auckland first home buyers: Don’t


It’s remarkable to have a Finance Minister give such an overt warning to the market.

Bill English is cautioning first-home buyers about committing themselves in the current Auckland market, saying if they are patient, prices might fall soon.

He also indicated that if the Auckland Council does not accept a Unitary Plan that allows supply to meet demand, the Government could force it to do so by law.

The Finance Minister said there were risks in taking out a mortgage right now that stretched a two-income household. Read more »

Bill English cold-shoulders commissioner about 1cm-a-year sea level threat


Environment Commissioner Jan Wright’s long-running quest to get Finance Minister Bill English to set up a working group on rising sea levels appears to be getting nowhere.

So far he has apparently not even replied to any of her proposals for a meeting to discuss her request.

Last November he described her warnings on rising sea levels as “speculative” and said there were still many uncertainties about the potential impacts of rising oceans.

But Dr Wright is getting some support for her request that the Government take the issue seriously.

She told the Finance and Expenditure Select Committee yesterday that she had had supportive talks with the Bank of New Zealand the Insurance Council of New Zealand. Read more »

National does not involve itself in local body politics, except for Bill English and nepotism [UPDATED]

Bill English's sister in law

Bill English’s sister in law

Finance Minister Bill English has made a rare intervention in Wellington local body politics backing his sister in law for Mayor.

But he says he has done so because he believes she is the best candidate.

However in doing that he has ignored one other candidate with long National Party connections and another who is being backed by the Wellington Chamber of Commerce.

Speaking to a fundraiser last week for Jo Coughlan, who is married to the Minister’s brother, former Federated Farmers CEO, Connor English, the Minister said he wasn’t supporting her because  they were related.

“It’s because I think that she’s the best candidate for a city that needs this kind of candidate; someone who understands growth; someone who understands communities and someone who understands families.”

But even so, that such a senior member of the Cabinet has publicly endorsed a Mayoral candidate goes against National Party practice.

And against the express orders of John Key and party whips.

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Bill vetoed, out comes the nasty

There is something unbecoming about parliament’s biggest loser, Sue Moroney, moaning like a hooker who hasn’t been paid after her bill was vetoed.

The Labour MP whose bill extending paid parental leave has been vetoed by the government is disputing its claims about the costs.

Finance Minister Bill English said extending the leave from 18 to 26 weeks would cost taxpayers $278 million a year.

“In the context of the Budget, the government made some decisions about extending paid parental leave and this would be significant extra cost which doesn’t fit within the Budget,” said Mr English.

But Sue Moroney said official advice from the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment puts the annual cost at $122m, and she was challenging Mr English’s use of the financial veto.

“It’s not the first time that Bill English has been caught out exaggerating the figures for extending paid parental leave to 26 weeks and either he has issued the financial vetoes with incorrect information or he’s deliberately misleading the New Zealand public on the issue.”   Read more »

Are Debt-to-income restrictions on mortgages vote winners? Of course they’re not

Are Debt-to-income restrictions on mortgages vote winners?

Of course they’re not, and what’s the bet Farrar has been polling and focus grouping this.

Debt-to-income restrictions on mortgages are a long way off, even if the Reserve Bank decides it wants to introduce them, Parliament has been told.

Finance Minister Bill English was questioned about the restrictions today, after confirming last week that the Government and the Reserve Bank were discussing them.

“The Reserve Bank has yet to investigate whether the tool is workable, then it’s got to decide whether it wants to include it in the memorandum of understanding [with the Government], then it has to go out and consult everybody and work out how to apply it,” Mr English said.

Labour’s finance spokesman, Grant Robertson, asked Mr English about the potential impact of debt-to-income restrictions on first home buyers, but the minister said he wasn’t going to speculate on an issue the bank had just started working on.   Read more »

The inevitable veto: Bill will not allow Labour to sabotage his budget


Labour’s 26 weeks paid parental leave Bill looks destined to fail, with the Finance Minister confirming the Government will use its financial veto.

MP Sue Moroney’s Bill narrowly passed its second reading in the House last month 61-60, with the help of Peter Dunne, and will go to committee stage this week.

But it won’t go further than a third reading. Read more »

Harman on the budget

Richard Harman is one of the best political pundits out there. His Politik website is a must read.

He analyses the budget in a much more comprehensive manner than every other commentator.

Three things stand out from yesterday’s Budget:

  • Next year’s Budget will be very different
  • English is serious when he says smaller government is better government.
  • We are now getting the bill for the record immigration.

The big surpluses coming down the track, as Bill English says, means the Government has choices in how it can spend money in the years ahead.

And that means it can back Labour into a political corner during election year.

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