Bill English

Bill’s tax cuts are back. Roll on up for an election spending spree

Bill English is back to talking about tax cuts…just in time for a nice long roll up to the 2017 election.

First up he dismisses talk of a recession.

Falling dairy prices are not as disastrous for the economy as they seem and the country is not heading for a recession, Finance Minister Bill English says.

Mr English told TVNZ’s Q+A this morning that the dairy industry was “probably a smaller part of [the economy] than most people think”.

“I think we’ve got to keep the dairy industry in perspective,” he said.

“It’s about 5 to 6 per cent of the whole economy. It’s only 20 per cent of our exports. The other 80 per cent will be starting to enjoy the benefits of the lower exchange rate, and the lower exchange rate will help cushion the impact on dairy of their lower prices.”

When asked by TVNZ’s Simon Dallow whether he agreed with Steven Bayliss of BNZ that New Zealand had a “recipe” for recession on its hands, with low dairy prices coupled with a potential drought and falling Christchurch house prices, Mr English said he thought the prediction was overstated.   Read more »

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Explaining is losing, Paula

The Government’s social housing policy is lurching from one PR disaster to the next.

While I get what the aim of the policy is, it just seems to be sloppy.

Government says its proposal to lease some state houses instead of selling them does not mean one of its biggest policies has failed.

Social Housing Paula Bennett said today that leasing some of the state houses was always a part of Government’s plan, and it was not a response to a lack of interest from community housing providers.

“We’re looking at everything at the moment,” she told reporters. “This is part of a discovery process as we look at community housing providers – what works best for the tenants and how we can increase their involvement in social housing.  Read more »

After vast amounts of expensive public consultation on alternative funding tools, this is what Len Brown got from the Crown

After vast amounts of expensive public consultation on alternative funding tools, like motorway tolls, this is what Len Brown got from the Crown

Letter From Hon Simon Bridges and Hon Bill English to Len Brown

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Bill might get his surplus after all

The opposition might have to choke on their words…and so might I…it is starting to look like Bill might get his surplus after all.

The Budget track is continuing to hold out the prospect of a surplus this year despite the Government officially postponing the prospect until at least 2015/16.

The Crown accounts for the 10 months to the end of April showed a $1 billion turnaround on Budget night predictions, with a surplus before gains and losses (Obegal) of $448 million against an expected deficit of $555m.

Treasury said total Crown expenses were $77.7b for the 10 month period and total Crown revenues were $78.5b.

“Given the size of the Crown’s operations, the Obegal is subject to some fluctuation from month to month,” they said.

Core Crown tax revenue of $55b was 0.8 per cent, or $437m, ahead of forecast while higher than expected tax revenue largely related to corporate tax ($190m) and GST ($141m).   Read more »

Scum List Mp says he will vote for pain and suffering

Bill English has declared he will vote against any euthanasia bill put before the parliament. no debate, no reading the legislation, he is just going to let his Catholic dogma dictate how he will vote.

Finance Minister Bill English says he’ll vote against any legislation allowing euthanasia in New Zealand.

The death of Wellington lawyer Lecretia Seales from natural causes on Friday just hours after her family were advised the High Court had not ruled in her favour in an attempt to choose when she could die has prompted calls for law reform.

Prime Minister John Key said any moves by parliament on the issue would be a conscience vote and the best mechanism would be a private members’ bill.

“In the past, I have personally voted for euthanasia, as I do have some sympathy for that argument,” he said.

His deputy, Mr English, a Catholic, said today he would vote against any law change.

“The law says that if the doctor helps them die that would be breaking the law and that’s what the judgment said pretty clearly,” Mr English said on TVNZ‘s Q&A programme.

Mr English, whose wife is a GP, said he personally did not believe the law needed to change.

“My personal view is that the law is where it should be,” he said.  Read more »

Investment bonds that pay if social targets are met

The Government announcement that it plans to develop Social Impact Bonds is yet another indication that the Bill English – led reform of the social sector is both more radical than many might have expected and also gathering pace.

The bonds which will be sold to private investors will have their return partially determined by whether or not agreed social targets have been achieved.

Mr English said in a statement that they would become another tool in the Government’s social investment approach that is aiming to improve the lives and prospects of the most vulnerable New Zealanders.

“The Government is focused on achieving better results for individuals and families in highest need,” Finance Minister Bill English says.

“Where we succeed, there are opportunities to help people fulfil their potential, a chance to break inter-generational cycles of dependency and, in the long term, potential savings for taxpayers.

“So social bonds are a consistent fit with our wider social investment approach which aims to better understand both the drivers and risks of social dysfunction and where we can have the greatest impact in improving people’s lives.”

“This is encouraging but there is a lot of work to do to embed the focus on results, rather than simply counting the money the Government spends,” Mr English said.

The bonds were first introduced in the United Kingdom and have already been piloted here by the Ministry of Health with a programme which began at the beginning of last year. Read more »

No new taxes, except the two that aren’t. And then we don’t know where the money goes. No, it’s not Labour launching policy

Partial transcript from The Nation:

When political editor Patrick Gower talked with Finance Minister Bill English yesterday, he began by asking if National had misled voters.

Bill English: No, we didn’t. The airport levy is a user charge. And across government, we have user charges for all sorts of things. We’ve been changing, for instance, the charge on passports. I don’t think anyone would suggest that that’s a new tax. And in this case, we’ve got demand at the border – lots more people turning up. It’s a problem of success. We’ve got biosecurity risks, and so we’ve taken the opportunity to shift the cost from the taxpayer to the user.

Patrick Gower: So it’s a charge at the airport, so every cent of that will go back to airport security. Is that what you’re saying? Every cent of that, just like a passport charge, because that’s what a charge is?

Well, that’s yet to be seen just exactly where it all goes, but the users are certainly going— Read more »

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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