The PPTA and the Green Party are united in their criticism of online schools

What a coincidence, yesterday the Green party put out a press release on Voxy about online schools and only seven minutes later the PPTA did one as well.

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Clearly, neither the Green party nor the PPTA supports online schools. Here is a brief summary of the points each group made in their press release.

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Business backs TPPA, but Media party calls them lobbyists


Business in New Zealand is backing the TPPA, but the Media Party insists on calling them lobbyists. They don’t, of course, give any such labels to Marxist protestor Jane Kelsey and her band of fellow travellers.

But business spokespeople? Well, they are lobbyists…and, as such, you can safely ignore what they have to say. Such are the manipulations of the Media Party.

Business and industry group leaders have lent their support to the Trans Pacific Partnership free trade agreement in an open letter to Prime Minister John Key.

The agreement, which is to be signed in Auckland on Thursday, is aimed at liberalising trade and investment between 12 Pacific-rim countries – New Zealand, Australia, Brunei, Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam.

Proponents say TPP will give New Zealand better access to globally significant markets to build on the $28 billion worth of goods and services exported to member countries in 2014.

The letter has been signed by a diverse group from Beef and Lamb’s Scott Champion, NZ Winegrowers NZ’s Philip Gregan through to the NZ Forest Owners Association’s Paul Nicholls, and several business councils.

“Our major trade interests – meat, horticulture, wine, seafood, forest products, dairy and manufactured goods – will all benefit from the reduction and/or elimination of tariffs and non-tariff barriers especially in markets like Japan, the United States, Canada, Mexico and Peru,” the letter said. It would be “inconceivable” to not be part of the agreement, the groups said.

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New Zealand Migrant women want to grow their business

Immigration should be about giving a man a fishing rod not a fish. Cotton Seed is doing exactly that and by doing so is helping not only the Migrant women become contributing members of Kiwi society, they are also helping Kiwi Society, as employed people with a future make happier citizens who are more likely to assimilate successfully.

I wish their venture every success and look forward to buying something from them in the future.

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More good news: Business confidence keeps growing

Despite claims (and prayers) from the opposition to the contrary the economy is still running along nicely.

Business confidence has risen for the third month in a row, with New Zealand’s largest bank saying it was “pretty clear” the economy has picked up pace.

A week out from a finely balanced review of the official cash rate (OCR), ANZ chief economist Cameron Bagrie has urged the Reserve Bank not to “waste a bullet” by cutting interest rates before Christmas.

The latest ANZ business outlook survey found that a net 14 per cent of businesses expect the economy to improve in the coming year, the third increase in a row from July’s six year low.

Business figures who took part in the survey were even more confident about the performance of their own companies, with a net 32 per cent optimistic of improvement.

Bagrie, who for months has been more upbeat than his counterparts at the other major banks, said that while some of the boost was likely to reflect a move into summer, the survey showed it was “pretty clear” that economic growth was gathering pace.   Read more »


There is discrimination and then there are those who refuse to do the job


I do not support discrimination. As an employee I expect to be selected because I have the best skill set for the job. My sex and race should have nothing to do with my selection. There are of course some exceptions to that as if I am pregnant and the job involves working with chemicals a sensible employer would not select me for my protection and would explain that to me. Also if the job was for a male clothes model obviously as a female I am not suited to the position. The same applies to my race. If I am an actor and the role is for an African American I am not suitable for the job obviously.

When it comes to religion the same common sense should apply but unfortunately groups with deep pockets like CAIR have been giving employers a very hard time. Employers should not be punished for expecting their employees to do their job.

If I am hired to lift heavy packages all day I cannot refuse because I am a woman and they are too heavy.If I cannot lift them then I am unsuitable for the job. If I am a Christian and think prostitution is morally wrong then I am obviously not suitable to be a receptionist in a massage parlour. This is clearly common sense yet Muslim employees are taking their employers to court on a regular basis because they don’t want to do aspects of their job or to adhere to work safety standards that are a requirement of the position.

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IRD bribery & fraud scandal: A Special Investigation, Ctd


by Stephen Cook

INLAND REVENUE is officially investigating the actions of those implicated in a messy bribery scandal currently threatening the integrity of the New Zealand taxation system.

Top-level discussions were held in Auckland yesterday between senior IRD investigators and a number of complainants over the alleged criminal conduct of those involved in what appears to be an elaborate plot to defraud taxpayers out of millions of dollars.

But more importantly, at stake is the integrity of the taxation system and the right of all taxpayers to have their liability determined “fairly, impartially and according to law”.

If IRD were to ignore the allegations, it could open itself up to potentially billions of dollars worth of claims from aggrieved taxpayers wanting the same preferential treatment enjoyed by the company at the centre of the latest scandal.

The company had tax liabilities of close to $300,000 but successfully negotiated a final settlement of $30,000.  Read more »


Corruption, bribes and two IRD officials – A Special Investigation

by Stephen Cook

CORRUPTION ALLEGATIONS have been levelled against two rogue Inland Revenue staff involved in investigating the tax affairs of an Auckland company at the centre of a messy bribery scandal.

The department is refusing to confirm or deny claims the two forensic investigators were part of an elaborate plot to defraud the taxman out of nearly $200,000.

The bribery allegations form part of the murky backdrop to a complex web of betrayal and deception implicating liquidators, an Auckland lawyer, the two IRD staff along with another man, who for legal reasons cannot be named.

Whaleoil understands complaints have now been filed with the Police, IRD and the Law Society over the actions of various parties involved in the scandal.

An IRD spokesman said due to taxpayer secrecy provisions in the Tax Administration Act it was unable to comment “on matters relating to the tax affairs of individuals, organisations or businesses”.

Even in cases involving Inland Revenue and high-profile customers, the department could not comment on a customer’s affairs, the spokesperson said.

The comments do nothing to shed any light on claims two staff conspired with an Auckland man posing as a lawyer to rip off the tax department to the tune of almost $200,000.    Read more »

PAYE for business, an idea worth exploring

Todd McClay has announced he is looking at the possibility of PAYE for business.

Long awaited tax modernisation proposals were unveiled today by Revenue Minister Todd McClay.

A form of business PAYE, along with greater use of withholding taxes to deal with fringe benefits, interest and other investment income has been flagged.

The government is also looking at reversing the move, made in 1998, to allow most New Zealanders to no longer file tax returns.

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Where are the small business owners?

Labour has announced the make up of what they call their “Future of Work Commission“.

Most Kiwis work in small business, or own one. Yet they are not represented in the future of work commission.

Labour’s Finance spokesperson and Chair of the Future of Work Commission Grant Robertson has announced the membership of the External Reference Group which will guide the Commission’s work over the next two years.

“The External Reference Group brings a wide range of knowledge and experience to this important project. We have people from business, union, academic and community backgrounds, all of whom bring specialist skills that will provide expertise to ensure the Commission meets its goals.

“We have deliberately cast a wide net to get people who will challenge us. We want to be clear that each person who has agreed to be on the reference group is doing so because they believe in the importance of the issues the Commission is considering. Their involvement should not be construed as indicating any political preference by them or their organisation.”   Read more »

The problem with ‘ethical investing’

Yet again the Green party is lecturing us on ‘ethical investing’.

Can anyone see a problem with that?

The Green Party has called for the New Zealand Superannuation Fund to quit its investments in companies producing fossil fuel.

The fund’s chief executive, Adrian Orr, said it took the issue of climate change seriously and expected its exposure to fossil fuels to fall over time, and investment in renewables to rise.

“But a simple divestment call? The world is just not that straightforward,” he said.

The fund, set up by the previous Labour Government to partially pre-fund future New Zealand Superannuation payments, had $676 million invested in companies directly involved in fossil fuel production as of last June. That represented about 2 per cent of the fund’s assets.

Greens co-leader Russel Norman, in a paper released yesterday, makes an ethical case for not investing in companies whose activities are literally fuelling potentially catastrophic climate change.

He also points to a financial risk of stranded assets, citing analysis by the International Energy Agency and other bodies that the world’s coal, oil and gas companies already have in their proven reserves at least three times as much carbon as can be burned without exceeding the internationally agreed target of limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius.   Read more »