Joe Hockey

What Will Winston Do?

Winston-Peters-NZH

The outcome of this election has always looked most likely to involve Winston Peters having the balance of power. It still looks that way, although Colin Craig may end up sneaking into parliament which would mean John Key could play the mad off against the bad.

If Colin Craig doesn’t make it into parliament Winston could hold all the cards. He can go with Labour and shaft John Key and the Greens. He could go with National and shaft Labour and the Greens. He’d get a vote of thanks from the country for shafting the Greens whatever way he goes.    Read more »

Aussies unemployment rate soars, and boy are they jealous of NZ

The Aussie unemployment rate has soared and make a mockery of the attempts of the opposition here to paint New Zealand’s economy as a dog.

Unemployment has jumped to the highest level in more than 10 years, following a surprise fall in jobs growth.

The jobless rate rose to a seasonally adjusted 6.4 per cent from 6 per cent in June, its highest point since August 2002.

The economy lost 300 jobs in July: While 14,500 full-time positions were added, 14,800 part-time jobs disappeared.

The participation rate edged 0.1 per cent higher to 64.8 per cent, which does not explain the jump in the headline unemployment rate.

The Australian dollar plunged more than half a cent from around 93.55 US cents down to 92.96 US cents.

It is the first time since 2007 than Australia’s unemployment rate has been higher than the US, which sits at 6.2 per cent.

“There’s no question, this tells us the labour market is weak,” HSBC chief economist Paul Bloxham said.

Read more »

It’s not just our politicians on the bludge

Politicians the world over just cannot help themselves helping themselves to our taxpayer cash, especially when it benefits them directly.

We have seen Paul Foster-Bell, Claudette Hauiti and now David Cunliffe trough it up on travel.

We see the two main parties working out better ways to avail themselves for more entitlements.

Politicians, wherever they are from, become afflicted with entitleitis…they even use the same justifications.

The ”age of entitlement” is over, according to Treasurer Joe Hockey, but politicians continue to spend tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars on flights to sporting events, study tours, recipe collections and children’s books – such as Aliens in Underpants Save the World.

Department of Finance records show rising Liberal Party MP Jamie Briggs claimed almost $11,000 in entitlements over two years for travel to and from sporting events. For most of this period, November 2011 to November 2013, Mr Briggs was chairman of the Coalition’s government waste committee, established to highlight the mismanagement of taxpayer money.

His entitlement claims included:

â–  $2800 last November for him and a family member to travel between Adelaide and Melbourne, where they attended Derby Day in the Emirates marquee.

â–  $1600 last June to travel between Adelaide and Melbourne, where he attended an AFL game as a guest of BHP.

â–  $2300 in December 2012 to travel between Adelaide and Sydney, where he attended the Australian Open as a guest of Golf Australia.

Mr Briggs said: ”Each trip was undertaken within the entitlement rules and publicly declared as required. They included meetings with a range of people related to my work as a federal member of Parliament.”

Read more »

If welfare and whingeing were a competi­tion Australia would be the undisputed champion

This is how Aussies see our budget:

THE Kiwis may consistently flog Australia in rugby, but if welfare and whingeing were a competi­tion we would be the undisputed champion.

Even after Joe Hockey’s tough budget, Australia’s welfare mountain will still dwarf anything across the Tasman.

The culmination of almost two decades of mainly populist budgets, the Abbott government will spend $6200 a person on cash welfare next year, over 25 per cent more than New Zealand’s government will on each of its citizens (converting all amounts to Australian dollars).

Education spending, at $2900 a person, is 10 per cent more generous in Australia but health expenditure is torrential by comparison: Australian state and federal governments will lavish more than $4600 a person to keep Australians alive and healthy, almost 50 per cent more than is spent in New Zealand. No methodological quibble could bridge such stark differences.

The relative splurge extends to hiring, too. Australia’s population of 23.5 million is about 5.2 times New Zealand’s, but as of June last year we had 8.4 times as many public servants: 1.89 million across our state, federal and local governments compared with New Zealand’s 226,000.

If the federal government overnight reduced welfare, health and education spending to New Zealand levels it would be rolling in a $40 billion budget surplus next year rather than wallowing in deficit until 2018 or even later.

Australians’ hysterical reaction to the Coalition’s first budget must bemuse New Zealanders, especially since Treasurer Bill English said last week that he would cut public spending as a share of gross domestic product by more than twice as much as the Abbott government has announced.

In fact, without a minerals boom to line government coffers and despite a huge repair bill from two devastating earthquakes, New Zealand’s budget will be back in surplus by $NZ400 million ($370m) next financial year, rising to $NZ3.5bn by 2018.

English, now in his sixth year as New Zealand’s Treasurer, commendably chose not to emulate the world’s greatest treasurer Wayne Swan and kept a tight leash on public spending before and after the global financial crisis, preferring to cut income taxes and lift consumption tax. The Key government, facing election again later this year, is now reaping the rewards.

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Abbott to slash $10bn off corporate welfare

The corporate bludgers in Australia are about to get a hair cut…a $10 billion hair cut…as Tony Abbott seeks to shave he corporate welfare budget.

CORPORATE welfare will be slashed in a bid to wean the nation off $10 billion in business aid, as the Abbott government fights off fears it will slap new taxes on ­families without forcing others to shoulder some of the budget ­burden.

Taking a knife to industry assistance, the government will send employers the same message it is sending welfare recipients about the need to curb reliance on benefits.

Joe Hockey told The Weekend Australian that his vow to end the “age of entitlement” meant asking business to give up some of the payments and services Canberra had been giving it for years.

The government approaches Tuesday’s budget in a political fight over a tax hike on petrol and a “deficit tax” that leaves Tony ­Abbott increasingly exposed to charges of breaching his election promises.

Bill Shorten said the plan to lift fuel excise was not only a breach of faith with voters but also a hit to ­ordinary families.

“We know two things about Tony Abbott’s petrol tax: it’s a broken promise, and it’s going to put more pressure on the cost of living of all Australians who have to fill up their car every week,” the Opposition Leader said. Read more »

Don’t blame Chinese for house price increases, blame Labour and people like Selwyn Pellett

Our politicians, particularly the more xenophobic of them, like to blame Johnny Foreigner for the rise in house prices.

The same is happening in Australia, with all manner of things like Chinese investors being blamed. The real reason though is somewhat different.

Labour and the Greens claim that restricting foreign investment and applying capital gains taxes will lower prices…and yet the opposite is true in Australia.

Foreign investors are not to blame for rising house prices. The real culprits are the taxing and regulating activities of Australian governments that raise the supply price of new housing.

Despite this, the House of Representatives economics committee is set to inquire into the impact of foreign investment on the Australian housing market at the instigation of Treasurer Joe Hockey.

According to committee chair Kelly O’Dwyer, the inquiry will consider whether the current restrictions on foreign investment in residential real estate serve to increase supply, as is their stated intention, or raise prices.

This is rather like asking whether foreign tourists increase the production of goods and services or raise consumer prices. The answer depends on how flexibly Australian producers can accommodate changes in foreign as well as local demand through increased output.

Australians don’t like bludging car making ratbags

The latest polls in Australia deliver bad news for the unions and for Labour.

It is clear that Australians don’t like bludging car making ratbags.

”The government has started taking some big decisions, some hard decisions, that people notice,” notably to refuse public subsidies to SPC Ardmona and the car manufacturers. ”There’s just more of a consistency to what they are doing and saying and that’s coming from the Treasurer, which he pithily summarised as ‘the end of the age of entitlement’.”

A poll by Essential Media last week found that only 36 per cent of voters approved of continuing government subsidies to the car sector, with 47 per cent opposed.

So it may be that Joe Hockey is the one winning kudos for the government.  Read more »

Labour parties are the same the world over

The headline is scarily similar to what happened here in NZ.

Labour the world over booby traps the economy of their victim countries.

When Joe Hockey was growing up and dreaming of becoming prime minister, he would not have imagined that his dream would lead him to joining a bomb disposal unit. Tomorrow, he will unveil the first bomb he must dismantle and it is almost nuclear in its capacity for destruction.

At 12.30 on Tuesday, Hockey, who has also been the stand-out thespian of the new federal parliament, will unveil the real horror, dysfunction and narcissism of Kevin Rudd’s contribution to Australian political history, disably assisted by Julia Gillard. Hockey will release the mid-year economic and fiscal outlook, known in the trade as MYEFO, which will show a budget deficit much worse than Labor led us to believe, probably close to $50 billion, debt obligations much higher than Labor led us to believe, and unfunded liabilities that are so irresponsibly crushing the government will have to walk away from many of them. The most monumental folly is the National Broadband Network, whose economic rationale was worked out on a piece of paper by Rudd. The scheme subsequently created by former communications minister Stephen Conroy would cost more than $70 billion and never recover its cost of capital. The Abbott government will have to start again.  Read more »

Good onya Joe, he takes “show me the money” literally

I wonder if we could swap Bill English for Joe Hockey.

In one of his first acts as Treasurer, Mr Hockey will instruct the Australian Tax Office to send taxpayers a personalised and itemised receipt thanking them for their tax dollars and detailing where the money was spent.

The receipts will show, in dollar terms, how much of a person’s tax bill was spent on welfare, health, education and other areas.

The level of gross government debt will also be displayed prominently with a break-down per person.

Treasurer Hockey said the receipts, which will be sent at tax time starting next year, would boost transparency and hold government to account.  Read more »

The cheek of some people, especially those bloody boat people!

John Nguygen is causing some problems for the Liberals.

Firstly Joe Hockey thought he was Chinese, when he is in fact Vietnamese.

The Opposition’s treasury spokesman, Joe Hockey, has had to correct himself about the ethnic background of Liberal candidate John Nguyen.

While campaigning in Sydney today, Mr Hockey was asked about candidates from an Asian or Chinese background.

“There are a number of Chinese candidates, including in Victoria, who I was just campaigning with a few days ago in Chisholm, John Nguyen,” he said.

“So we have a number of Chinese candidates right across the country.”

Shortly afterwards, Mr Hockey spoke briefly to his media adviser and then corrected himself about the candidate, who has the common Vietnamese surname Nguyen.  Read more »