Duncan Garner calls for a non-racist tobacco tax increase of 50%

Duncan Garner pulls no punches in dealing with the stupid suggestion that tobacco taxes are racist.

What a load of garbage that the tax on tobacco is racist.

Researcher Marewa Glover says the latest rounds of tax hikes are discriminatory because the tax hits Maori the hardest as they are traditionally low income and they too often smoke.

What a pile of ‘academic gobbledygook.’ Does that also make GST racist? GST at 15 percent on all goods and services hits poor Maori communities the hardest too. So do petrol taxes. So do the taxes on the first $20,000 of income.

Who really supports this ‘discrimination and racist’ line anyway?

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Taxing taxes

John Key

ACT remind us that National are slowly edging backwards on a fairly solid election promise.

No New Taxes?
National campaigned on no new taxes and will soon have introduced three. It begs the question, why vote for a National party that introduces new taxes like a Labour Government on heat?

Tourist Tax
The tourism industry is furious about the $25 arrival fee applied to visitors. It was sold as a user charge but the Government has never shown how it covers cost created by the user. That’s a tax. Read more »


I have a great new idea to stop road fatalities

Make cars too expensive to buy and use.   No, seriously.  That’s the approach we use for smoking, so why not for cars and other things we want to socially engineer to be too expensive for most to use?

From 1 January 2016, the price of cigarettes will increase by 10 percent, the fourth and final scheduled annual increase.

The government has yet to announce whether it will commit to further annual price increases, but has said it wants to make the country to be smoke-free by 2025.

End Smoking NZ chairwoman Marewa Glover not only wants the increase to continue, she wants the government to raise it.

“I found with our studies people tend to have a budget. So they might say their budget is $15 for tobacco, a day and then they just make it work. They’ll buy loose tobacco, they’ll shift from the manufactured tobacco packets to loose tobacco and start rolling their own, to make it go further.”

“They try and reduce down the number of cigarettes per day. They try and stay within their budget and what helps them by also shifting to a cheaper brand,” she said.

Dr Glover said a 20 percent increase would make smoking unobtainable for more people.

“A lot of people have a price, what we call a break point and if it gets to that then they go ”oh no, that’s it, I can’t do this anymore, I have to quit’, and they will make a serious attempt.”

But, Dr Marewa Glover isn’t stupid.  She knows that if you make something too expensive, or you effectively ban it, people will try to find a way around it somehow.   Read more »

Robyn Toomath throws in the towel and the toys out of the cot


Will this set a chain reaction in motion?

Today we find out long time obesity activist Robyn Toomath from the Fight Obesity Epidemic has thrown in the towel, but not before first chucking her toys out of the cot.

Her comments are priceless.

“Clearly I’ve made no progress. There’s not a single thing that comes to mind other than the district health boards are going to provide a healthy food environment for their staff,” she said.

If there was only a “we” in that statement other obesity troughers could well be asked to seriously look at their positions as well and their achievements.   Read more »


Trougher thinks we need more taxes


Over the weekend The Nation ran a story by Torben Akel about whether we needed more taxes to live longer.

While most would say ‘Yeah Right’, sadly there’s one person out there who seems to spend all day arguing the need for more taxes to save us from ourselves.

To regular readers the name of Nick Wilson will be familiar. He’s an old trougher from Otago University’s Department of Troughers in Wellington. The last time he was in the media he was banging on about his ‘new’ research looking at google street view images of smokefree signs on hospital doors.

Nick Wilson was also slammed by the Taxpayers’ Union for claiming a salt tax would reap $450 million. Wilson didn’t seem fazed by the research that showed a salt tax would result in a 2,500% increase in the price of salt for Kiwi consumers.    Read more »


National softening public up for a new tax: GST on Internet purchases

Whichever way you twist this, it is something you’ll have to pay that you’re not paying now.  

Changes to online GST could be in the works with a discussion document set to be released and Prime Minister John Key is in favour of it.

Revenue Minister Todd McClay put the idea before Cabinet today, and Mr Key said while no decision had been reached yet, the document would discuss adding GST to online services such as iTunes and for importing goods.

Currently, Kiwis buying things online don’t have to pay GST on purchases under $400, which is the second-highest in the OECD.

It isn’t included on imported digital products such as music and films.

The Australian government, which has a threshold of AU$1000 for imported goods, is looking at reducing it to AU$20 or possibly lower. It has already introduced a 10 percent digital services GST which was announced in this year’s Budget.   Read more »

Len Brown escalates the war against cars

Len Brown is desperate for more loot to spend, and so he is sending out his storm-troopers to rape our pockets even more.

Auckland Transport is hiking up its day rates at three inner-city parking buildings.

The daily rate at the Downtown, Civic and Victoria Street buildings will jump from 17 to $24. The hourly rate is unchanged.

But Jo Holmes from the Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance says there’s no reason for the hike.

“We’re being forced to have massively increased parking charges,” she says. “It’s just this value for money over and over again that we’re not getting from our rates.”

The buildings account for more than 3700 of the CBD’s carparks.

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Len will be getting sticky knickers over the proposed Auckland Investor Levy

Len Brown will be getting sticky knickers over a Treasury proposal for an Auckland housing tax.

Treasury has proposed charging Auckland landlords an annual tax of 1 per cent of the value of their investments to combat rising house prices, to be paid directly to Auckland Council.

The proposed Auckland Investment Levy would have charged owners a fee on the capital value of rental properties in New Zealand’s largest city, where prices are rising much faster than other parts of the country.

The report from April 24 was released on Thursday by Treasury as part of a major release of Budget documents.

The documents appear to lend support to speculation that new taxes on property were hastily prepared in response to growing concern over Auckland house prices and foreign ownership, with officials saying they had only a “very short timeframe” available to respond and provide advice.

Budget 2015 was announced by Finance Minister Bill English less than a month later, on May 21.

Treasury said the most effective policy changes were likely to be regional, as concerns about property prices were centred on Auckland.

The justification for a temporary, Auckland-specific change was an attempt to target property investors in Auckland, rather than the national market.

An increase in the tax imposed on housing “should be limited to the region experiencing rapid house price appreciation. That is Auckland,” the report said.

The Auckland Investor Levy would be a levy on the capital value of rental properties in Auckland, which “would have the advantage of having a consistent impact irrespective of how rental properties were financed.”

It was proposed at a level of 1 per cent as a temporary measure to reduce demand from investors.

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Should we get a break down of what our taxes pay for?

Rodney Hide nearly managed to get it past parliament but for a veto from the government of the day.

Today he explores once again the proposal that the government fully inform us as to where our taxes actually go, in a highly personalised manner.

The biggest commotion I caused in Parliament was having the numbers to pass a requirement that every year the Minister of Finance write to each taxpayer advising them of the tax paid on their behalf and thanking them for their contribution.

Bill Birch used the government’s financial veto to squash my amendment, arguing the cost of postage was exorbitant.

Officials later conceded the concern was a taxpayers’ revolt.

Councils teeter on the edge of a ratepayers’ revolt each and every budget. Central government doesn’t. That’s because central government collects PAYE before workers even see their wages and buries GST into the price of everything.

The fuss over rates is a good thing. It keeps councils on their toes.  We need the same opportunity to know what central government costs.

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Now they’re fighting the dictionary?


My good friend John Key reckons he is honouring his election pledge about no new taxes.

When is a tax not a tax? When the Prime Minister says so.

John Key has denied going back on his word by introducing a “border clearance levy”, which will sting travellers with $22 in arrival and departure taxes.

Key deflected questions on the matter from reporters following his annual post-Budget speech.

Asked what the difference was between a tax and a levy, he replied “many”, and when pressed, to “Google it”.   Read more »