Grant Robertson

Don’t miss Question Time on Tuesday – all hell will break loose

The government is in for a fight when parliament sits on Tuesday.

Foreign trusts, the prime minister’s integrity, departmental incompetence and a suspect land deal – it’s all there and Labour and the Greens are locked and loaded.

It all ties back to the Panama Papers, the millions of documents leaked from Mossack Fonseca, the law firm that specialises in setting up foreign trusts.

It was those documents that led Labour’s David Cunliffe to discover the identity of the buyers of Onetai Station in Taranaki.

They were Argentinian brothers Rafael and Federico Grozovsky, operating through a company called Ceol and Muir.

They were Mossack Fonseca clients, which didn’t mean they’d been involved in anything illegal but inevitably raised suspicions.

The Overseas Investment Office, which investigates applications to buy big slices of farmland (1320ha in this case) gave the Grozovsky brothers the green light in 2013.

They bought the station in 2014, and made no secret of it. Local beef farmers were taken on as advisors, they aimed to increase production.

So far so good. Prime Minister John Key says the Mossack Fonseca connection was irrelevant.

There’s no claim or evidence they used a foreign trust to pay for the station and the deal was handled this end by law firm Kensington Swan.

All hot air?  Or is there more?   Read more »

Adjusting the deckchairs on the Titanic

Andrew Little is contemplating a slight re-shuffle.

Labour leader Andrew Little will do a “slight rejig” of his caucus this week after Clayton Cosgrove’s decision not to stand next year, but has ruled out changing key personnel such as finance spokesman Grant Robertson.

Little said he had no plans to replace Robertson or make any significant changes to his line-up after TVNZ Colmar Brunton poll had Labour at just 28 per cent.

“There will be some slight rejigging in the next week or so, but I’m not anticipating any significant changes.” There was speculation former finance spokesman David Parker could get the finance role back, but Little and Parker denied it had come up.   Read more »

Labour’s plan for a UBI would require an extra $10bn in taxes

Labour is discussing a horrendously expensive Universal Basic Income, one which would be paid to every one…including multi-millionaires.

NBR discusses the UBI with economist Susan Guthrie:

A universal minimum income scheme to replace the welfare system would have to be preceded by tax reform and would also need to be phased in over a very long timeframe, economist Susan Guthrie says.

The Labour Party is looking at the concept, which it may adopt as one of its policy planks.

Co-author with Gareth Morgan of a book on the concept, The Big Kahuna, Ms Guthrie, who has previously worked at the Treasury and the Reserve Bank, says such a policy would also need broad agreement across the political spectrum.

“It’s a policy that has to be implemented over at least two decades,” Ms Guthrie says.

Read more »

Has Jacinda read her own Future of Work details?

The Ministry of Justice has announced that they are restructuring positions and making some available positions work-from-home.

Close to 100 government jobs will go as the Ministry of Justice introduces a compulsory work-from-home initiative, prompting concerns the move will snowball across other departments.

The ministry has confirmed a restructure will see 202 management and staff positions disestablished and 111 new positions created, along with fixed term positions as staff move to a “home environment” later this year.

In a statement, collections general manager Bryre​ Patchell​ said about 100 collections registry positions will move from office to home over the next 13 months.​

The restructure, which will mean specialist collections units at courts around New Zealand will close, is thought to be the first of its kind in New Zealand’s public sector.

Read more »

Hit by the here and now

As discussion continue to swirl about the UBI, and Labour finds its next big idea knifed and destroyed through their lack of foresight, Vernon Small explains just how predictable it all was.

Pity is not an emotion you would normally spare for politicians.

But you had to feel sorry for Labour – and in particular its finance spokesman Grant Robertson – for the blitz of critical publicity that greeted a single idea in its “Future of Work” conference.

It was set up to be a future-focused and broad-ranging look at the changing nature of work, the impact of technology on the workplace and how we adjust the law and the welfare system to cope while ensuring greater job security in uncertain times.

But instead the coverage was overwhelmingly focused on the idea of a universal basic income (UBI) including the affordability – or otherwise – of notional schemes proposed by others, or constructed by opponents, and then shot down in a hail of spreadsheets.

Read more »

Larry Williams on the UBI

Larry Williams rips into Labour over their insane UBI policy.

It didn’t take long for Labour’s “universal basic income” idea to be shot to pieces.

Mind you, on the day it was released it took me a couple of minutes to add the numbers up and it was obvious the UBI options were duds.

The Taxpayers Union hired an independent economist to look at the numbers and concluded that it would require a tax rate of over 50 per cent to pay for it.

The study also concluded it could push the New Zealand economy into recession.

Labour’s finance spokesman, Grant Robertson, quickly dismissed the Taxpayers Union findings saying, “We do not regard the Taxpayers’ Union as either credible or independent commentators on this matter or many others.”

Yes, of course you would Grant. The study makes the policy look stupid.

Read more »

Labour’s UBI is ‘barking mad’ says John Key

Hillary Clinton knows what John Key is talking about…Labour’s crazy, expensive, unworkable Universal Basic Income plan.

Saying all adult New Zealanders a “universal basic income” is a “barking mad” idea that would cost more than the country brings in from tax, Prime Minister John Key says.

A Labour conference on “the future of work” is underway in Auckland today. One idea that will be looked at is a limited trial of a “universal basic income-type” system in a town or region.

The co-leader of a global network promoting a universal basic income, British professor Guy Standing, will be a keynote speaker at the conference.

Labour finance spokesman Grant Robertson has said Labour is considering a local version of a scheme developed by economist Gareth Morgan, who proposed paying every adult a basic income of $11,000 a year ($211 a week).

Such a system could replace all existing welfare benefits except for “supplementary transfers for disadvantaged groups”.   Read more »

Labour’s Ten Big Bumper Sticker Slogans

It saps my will that all Grant Robertson, Jacinda Ardern and Vic Crone have come up with are “Ten Big Bumper Sticker Slogans“. You just know that Robbo was in charge of the colours.

Oh and a word cloud…full of corporate weasel words including one of Vic Crone’s favourites…”big data”.

Labour-coporate-weasel-words Read more »

Larry laughs loudly at “Lefty Lunacy!”

Larry Williams laughs loudly at the lunacy of the Labour party and their open musing about a multi-billion dollar bribe to the electorate.

Labour is looking at a scheme that looks close to lunacy – a “universal basic income”.

Every legal resident in New Zealand would be entitled to a basic monthly income – $200 a week or $11,000 a year.

The money has to come from somewhere so it’s the “rich pricks” who already pay the vast bulk of tax that will get hit again. It’s also likely middle New Zealand will also pay higher taxes.

The plan is inherent on an increase in tax.

No surprise that the socialist Green Party is on the same page as Labour.   Read more »

Labour plans to bribe you with your own money

It looks like Labour are planning on bribing you with your own money.

Simon Collins issues a press release on Labour’s behalf…oh wait, it’s a news story (complete with link to Labour party website).

All adult New Zealanders could be given a Government handout of at least $200 a week under a new policy being considered by the Labour Party.

The co-leader of a global network promoting a “universal basic income”, British professor Guy Standing, will be a keynote speaker at a Labour conference on “the future of work” in Auckland next week.

He said yesterday that a system “where every legal resident of New Zealand should be entitled to a modest monthly basic income” would reduce inequality and give some security to people who increasingly have to earn a living from insecure casual and short-term work.

And Labour finance spokesman Grant Robertson said Labour was considering a local version of a scheme developed by economist Gareth Morgan, who proposed paying every adult a basic income of $11,000 a year ($211 a week).

“I’ve spoken to the Morgan Foundation about it. They are continuing to work on the idea,” Mr Robertson said.

Read more »