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.
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.”
John Key, Bill English and Steve Joyce have delivered up a “bludger budget”, delivering more money to non-contributing members of society.
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
Now admittedly Vernon Small looks at the world through pink tinted glasses, but he hits the nail on the head this morning by calling John Key’s tax changes for what they are – a capital gain tax.
When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less.”
Like Humpty Dumpty in Alice in Wonderland it seems our most senior MPs want their words to mean only what they choose them to mean.
With apologies to the egg-man it is straying too far from reality, though, to claim – as both Prime Minister John Key and Labour leader Andrew Little have – that a tax on capital gains is not a capital gains tax (CGT).
Under the current regime we already have a CGT for those in the business of buying and selling houses or shares or whatever. In broad terms it can be avoided if the purchase was for rental or dividend flows, not for capital gains, and you can have that out with Inland Revenue through the courts. Read more »
A government grant for a spa pool on Rotorua’s lakefront is being described as corporate welfare of the worst kind.
Prime Minister John Key announced the $350,000 grant on Wednesday, saying it would help meet the cost of the World Spa complex.
The money is coming from the tourism growth fund.
Spending watchdog the Taxpayers’ Union says the grant will be given to Pukeroa Lakefront Holdings, a commercial arm of Ngati Whakaue.
“This is taxpayer money going to build a spa in Rotorua,” said executive director Jordan Williams.
“That’s not innovation, it’s corporate welfare of the worst kind.”
Free money. The government has a little $8m slush fund that companies in Tourism can apply to have their share of. Here are the list of project that have succeeded in getting no-strings-attached free taxpayers’ money to boost their bottom lines: Read more »
Labour’s troubles have been dissected after the UK election disaster.
But what about the Tories?
Political parties that win often do not have a critical review done to improve. That is certainly the case with National here. No review is currently underway for Northland, and Steve Joyce and John Key have decided that none is really warranted because they are still riding high in the polls.
There is a reticence to change the board. They keep winning, as does the president – and so the board gets older, and more stale. Worse some practices have developed that are now seeing talent driven from the party because they don’t subscribe to the infallibility of the board. Excuses are made for refreshing the board…”it’s election year, don’t rock the boat”, or “we just won no need for change”, leaving a window of only one year to make those changes.
The Conservatives have the same problems cropping up now.
Breitbart looks at this, and it is funny how similar it is to the National party.:
I am as happy as the next conservative that the Party confounded all predictions and achieved the majority that has returned David Cameron for the next 5 years. Business and the stock market understandably breathed a huge sigh of relief.
But it is also clear that something sinister and fundamentally un-conservative has infected the way the Party conducts itself. More than ever before, it is consumed with a nasty, controlling and centralized culture that demands unquestioning conformity. And woe betide those with the temerity not to genuflect in fealty.
The recent attacks on the Bow Group and its chairman Ben Harris-Quinney and the commentator Tim Montgomerie offer an unpleasant example of a much wider malaise. The two men are not cut from the same ideological cloth, but both offer an approach to conservatism that at times differs from the current Conservative Party house view. This appears to make them fair game for ad hominem attack.
The Prime Minister says he had “nothing to do” with an article which named the waitress behind the ponytail-gate saga.
The Green Party has urged John Key to front up with details about his conversations with Rachel Glucina, the New Zealand Herald journalist who wrote the story about waitress Amanda Bailey.
Ms Bailey initially detailed her story in an anonymous article on left-wing political website The Daily Blog, but her identity was revealed in a Herald front-page story the next day.
In a follow-up article on The Daily Blog, Ms Bailey said the Herald journalist, gossip writer Rachel Glucina, initially presented herself as a public relations expert, not a reporter. Ms Glucina and the Herald denied Ms Bailey’s claims.
They says it was a “grubby” piece of journalism and wanted Mr Key’s assurance he had not been involved.
Mr Key says he doesn’t detail his conversations with journalists – but he had “absolutely nothing to do with” the article.
Astounding, isn’t it? The Green Party set up the vacuous accusation, the media ask the question, and before you know it, you have a “Key denies involvement in Ponytail story” as a headline. Read more »
John Key’s new partial CGT proposal is being dismissed by the very people it is supposed to bring into line
Auckland-based financial adviser Becky Bi said her clients, mostly from China, were investing for the long term and buying before prices rise further.
“I don’t think it will affect them at all because either their children will come to New Zealand to study here, and some of them [are] planning to migrate to New Zealand.”
Ms Bi said her clients were often attracted to New Zealand because it was easier to migrate here compared to the United States, Canada, and Australia.
John Shewan of Victoria University’s business school said excluding the family home from the tax changes meant they would not affect rising house prices.
“The real elephant in the room is family homes,” said Mr Shewan, a former chairman of PricewaterhouseCoopers.
“If you wanted to change house prices you should tax all homes including family homes.
“Now, nobody’s going to do that, or they wouldn’t survive as a politician.”
Stepping back a bit it concerns me that Key is now doing a Labour: making up policy on the trot – no detail, no wide party support, and getting shot down by media and public. Worse: by people in the industry that know better. Read more »
John Key reckons his new capital gains tax rules won’t have much of an impact.
New measures to tax capital gains on residential property will help weed out speculators and foreign investors who trade Kiwi homes just to turn a quick buck.
But some commentators are questioning what effect the new tax rules will have on Auckland’s heated property market or how many traders will be “caught in the net”.
Prime Minister John Key announced a raft of new measures yesterday aimed to help curb spiralling house prices and track the number of foreign buyers purchasing Kiwi homes.
From October, anyone selling a residential property that is not their main home within two years of purchasing will face tax on the capital gain.
This morning John Key told Newstalk ZB he wasn’t a fan of a capital gains tax and the new tax rules were not such a tax.
“What we do in New Zealand is have an intentions-based test so if you buy an investment property, then the question is did you intend to rent it or did you intend to buy it and sell it?
“If you intended to buy it and you sell it then you were taxed at the marginal rate.
“What we are now saying is forget about if you buy it and sell it within two years what your intentions were. Your clear intentions were to buy it to make a profit so you have to pay tax on it.”
Mr Key said the new laws would make it easier for IRD to catch residents and foreigners trying to cheat the system. Read more »