Joyce nails Robbo on tax

Grant Robertson, when he isn’t speaking disparagingly about people loudly on aircraft, is one of the most smug MPs in the house.

He is very smug, but he simply can’t answer questions honestly. Steve Joyce nailed him in the house yesterday.

It got so bad that the Speaker had to run interference.  

4. Hon STEVEN JOYCE (National) to the Minister of Finance: Is it his intention that from 1 April 2018 an individual on the average wage with no children will pay $1,060 more in personal income tax than they would do from that date under the law as it currently stands?

Hon GRANT ROBERTSON (Minister of Finance): It is my intention that no one, including an individual on the average wage with no children, will be paying more personal income tax on 1 April 2018 than they are today.

Hon Steven Joyce: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. That was a question on notice laid down very clearly, in which I asked the Minister—

Mr SPEAKER: Yes, and I think the Minister will have another go.

Hon Chris Hipkins: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker.

Mr SPEAKER: The member’s not going to dispute my ruling?

Hon Chris Hipkins: The question asks for the Minister’s intention; he gave his intention.

Mr SPEAKER: No, it was his intention on a specific matter with a specific question on notice.

Hon GRANT ROBERTSON: It is my intention that no one, including an individual on the average wage with no children, will be paying more personal income tax on 1 April 2018 than they are today. The Government is going to reverse the previous Government’s proposed tax cuts that have not yet come into force, in order to pay for a fairer, more targeted package that will lift the incomes of many thousands of New Zealanders.

Hon Steven Joyce: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I listened to that answer very clearly and carefully, and it didn’t refer to the law as it currently stands. It referred to a range of other things. It is, however, a specific question that is about the law as it currently stands.

Mr SPEAKER: I think any reasonable member listening to the answer will understand the response.

Jo Luxton: Can the Minister tell the House, under the tax package due to come into force on 1 April, what proportion of the benefits go to the top 10 percent of earners?

Hon GRANT ROBERTSON: The top 10 percent of earners would benefit to the tune of $440 million a year, out of the $2.5 billion package—in percentage terms, nearly 20 percent going to the top 10 percent. This is unfair, and it’s why the Government will reverse those tax cuts and replace them with a fairer package.

Hon Steven Joyce: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I’m sure it hasn’t escaped your notice that the Minister found it much easier to refer to the actual law as it currently stands to the supplementary question than he was able to to the primary question. Could I ask you again—and perhaps I could repeat the primary question—to get him to respond to the law as it currently stands, as he proved able to in his supplementary answer?

Hon Simon Bridges: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I think the point here is, of course, Speaker’s ruling 166—

Mr SPEAKER: Simon Bridges—would the member like the floor? Well, the member will call for a point of order, and he will get recognised.

Hon Simon Bridges: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Speaking to the matter, I think Speaker’s ruling 166/4 is the point here, which makes very clear that “the Speaker will back members absolutely … when [it’s] a primary question that seeks information.” I think the point Mr Joyce makes is absolutely right, that—

Mr SPEAKER: The member will now resume his seat. As the member will be absolutely aware, we are well past that. Actually, all I’m doing now is asking, because we’ve had the primary, we’ve had two attempts at the answer—the second one which I found a satisfactory addressing of the question. We’ve had another supplementary question and an answer. So we’re not going to go back and relitigate the primary again. If Mr Joyce would like to ask another supplementary he can—the Hon Steven Joyce.

Hon Steven Joyce: Mr Speaker, thank you. In light of the answer to that supplementary question, can I ask the Minister again: is it his intention that from 1 April 2018 an individual on the average wage with no children will pay $1,060 more in personal income tax than they would do from that date under the law as it currently stands?

Hon GRANT ROBERTSON: We intend to reverse the tax cuts that are in the law as it currently stands.

Hon Steven Joyce: Can he confirm that 1.2 million people are better off from 1 April next year under the law as it currently stands and was supported by three of the five parties in Parliament—National, the Greens, and New Zealand First—and those people would benefit, and they won’t benefit if the tax changes were reversed?

Hon GRANT ROBERTSON: No.

Hon Steven Joyce: Can he confirm that single people with no children, families with grown-up children, and young couples with no children, starting out, will all be worse off under his proposals for personal taxation?

Hon GRANT ROBERTSON: No, I can’t confirm that. What I can confirm to the member is that on this side of the House we don’t think that he and I should get $1,000 a year extra when there are children growing up in cars and garages.

Hon Steven Joyce: Leaving aside the talking points, does he consider people on the average wage—

Mr SPEAKER: Order! The member will resume his seat. What we’re going to do, and we have had a bit of a discussion about this, is we’re not going to have the prefaces. I’m trying to stop Ministers making gratuitous comments at the beginning of their answers, and I think I’m having quite a lot of success in comparison, but also that’s based on the Opposition doing the same.

Hon Dr Nick Smith: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. My colleague Steven Joyce asked a very specific question about the tax income impacts on people that didn’t have children. The Minister chose not to answer that, and instead to have a cheap shot at the personal circumstances of two members in the House, but did not answer the question.

Mr SPEAKER: Order! The member will resume his seat. The member should know by now what the rules are around questions and addressing them. Is there a further supplementary—Mr Joyce?

Hon Steven Joyce: Does he consider people on the average wage should be paying a marginal tax rate of 30c in the dollar?

Hon GRANT ROBERTSON: People on the average wage will pay no more personal income tax on 1 April than they do today.

Hon Steven Joyce: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I’m sorry to prolong things, but, again, that question I don’t believe was even addressed. I raised the question of whether he thinks people on the average wage should be paying a marginal tax rate of 30c in the dollar and he didn’t respond to that question at all.

Mr SPEAKER: Yes, that is a fair point of order.

Hon GRANT ROBERTSON: People on the average wage will be paying the same effective marginal tax rate on 1 April as they are today. So if the Minister thinks that that’s unfair, it’s unfair under him as it’s unfair under me.

Mr SPEAKER: I will remind you of the fact that Mr Robertson, you are the Minister and he is the member.

Hon Steven Joyce: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I’m sorry but the Minister just repeated the previous answer. You ruled that it was—

Mr SPEAKER: No, the member will resume his seat. The member did much better this time than he did the previous time.

Hon Julie Anne Genter: Tēnā koe, Mr Speaker. Can the Minister confirm that all New Zealanders will be better off if we properly fund infrastructure and public services, unlike the previous Government?

Mr SPEAKER: Right. Any further supplementaries?

Hon Steven Joyce: Can he confirm that his legislation to take $1,060 from 1 April next year off New Zealand workers on the average wage is being dealt with under urgency as closely as possible to Christmas in the vain hope that those workers won’t notice the $1,060 disappearing?

Hon GRANT ROBERTSON: I can’t confirm anything in the member’s question, other than to say that during the election campaign, this issue was covered very, very thoroughly indeed, and New Zealanders will know that from 1 April, they will be paying the same personal income tax they do today but that they’ve got a Government that actually cares about lifting kids out of poverty.

Hon Simon Bridges: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. Speaker’s ruling 179/8—”Replies should be concise, which means not only short in terms of the number of words”—

Mr SPEAKER: The member will now resume his seat. That was a very political question, it was quite long, and it got a response that I thought was medium-length and had about the same degree of politicisation.

Hon GRANT ROBERTSON: Would you like me to carry on?

Mr SPEAKER: I’ve had enough of the member carrying on.

Robertson is clearly out of his depth. He is going to have dial back his arrogance in airports and aircraft though, because one day someone is going to record his abusive and childish taunts. Having Mallard run interference shows how desperate the government is to make it through to the recess and Christmas holidays. That way they can get up to speed on their portfolios.

People aren’t fooled by Robbo’s answers.

 

-Parliament

 


THANK YOU for being a subscriber. Because of you Whaleoil is going from strength to strength. It is a little known fact that Whaleoil subscribers are better in bed, good looking and highly intelligent. Sometimes all at once! Please Click Here Now to subscribe to an ad-free Whaleoil.

22%