Economy

It’s only the idealistic young who believe child poverty can be eradicated

Youth are idealistic and easily manipulated but sage old heads are not.

Of course it’s a government’s job to ensure that its citizens do not live in poverty. But what if that government is completely dysfunctional? What if the politicians and government officials are only concerned with getting rich themselves?

Take Angola, for instance. Officially the country falls in the mid-range of the world ranking of richest and poorest countries, but the country’s wealth only makes its way into the hands of a small percentage of the population. About 40% of Angolese citizens still live in extreme poverty.

The Correspondent


We can’t say Ardern does not have concern for our poor because she does. But putting aside her genuine concern, and her inability to fully deliver on any of her promises to date, her latest promise will fail because of the parents who refuse to look after their children. The drug and alcohol addicts, the lazy, the uncaring and the cold-hearted breeders who see each new offspring as a gateway to more government funding will always be a problem.

A friend at the WINZ office recently overheard a woman asking for additional hardship funding. The WINZ officer asked why she wasn’t managing on the $1,100 a week government handout she received for her brood of kids. The WINZ employee did not hesitate to tell the woman that earning that amount of money in full time employment would be difficult; but her remonstration fell on deaf ears.

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Jacinda still wants a Google tax

Jacinda Ardern Taxes meme

She couldn’t make capital gains tax work. She has promised no personal tax increases during this term. She has announced a massive spending programme and is facing the likelihood of falling surpluses – not that she will ever admit it. So what is a poor girl to do? Answer: hit those evil, rich multinationals. No one in New Zealand will care. Everyone thinks they don’t pay enough tax anyway, so there will be no consequences either way.

Yes, “Make the big guys pay their fair share” is a popular slogan, heard over and over again at election times. We heard it in Australia. We hear it here. We hear it every time someone is trying to win power. Yet somehow, nothing ever changes. Why is that?

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New Zealand’s banking boss scaring off Australia’s Big Four

Adrian Orr. Picture / Dean Purcell

It’s common for defenders of the Rudd Labor government to claim that “Rudd saved us from the GFC”. While there’s no doubt that Rudd’s initial fiscal stimulus package helped pump the Australian economy, the strongest factor in Australia’s ability to weather the banking crisis was that prudential regulation was so much more effective.

New Zealand’s Reserve Bank governor Adrian Orr is proposing to go one better, supposedly to not just earthquake, but tsunami-proof New Zealand’s financial system. But Australia’s “big four” banks, which dominate the Kiwi financial industry, are worried.

If New Zealand’s all-powerful regulator Adrian Orr has his way, the big four will be passing the hat around for the next five years to raise an extra $NZ25billion ($23.5bn) in capital.

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How the world views our ‘ Wellbeing budget’

NZ is increasingly being viewed as a bit of a joke.

I gave up on A Newspaper as a news source long before there were viable alternatives as readily available as they are today. We moved to a rural delivery address and our newspaper arrived with the rural postie. This meant that it wasn’t opened until the evening and, as my wife correctly opined, what’s the point? So the subscription was cancelled and I began using RSS feeds.

Later I found it was easier to use news sources’ Twitter feeds and then to collate them using Flipboard on my iPad. Over the years I have built up a very eclectic repository of sources; Breitbart and Buzzfeed, The Telegraph and The Guardian, Golf Digest and Cricinfo and so on and so on. I think it is important to include the Buzzfeeds and Guardians of the world in order to try and live outside an echo chamber of similar opinion and also for amusement – Buzzfeed is so facile it beggars belief.

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Where is National’s alternative budget?

Below is what National should be drumming home. The current taxation levels need to be adjusted. The working class poor are paying for the indolent. Where is National’s alternative budget? The opposition should be making hay while the sun shines and attacking this budget for all that they are worth. It seems that Amy Adams was too busy grandstanding over the budget leak to do an alternative budget. Perhaps she’s out of her depth; but, to be fair, some car park puddles are deeper than others.

[…] A number of commentators have said New Zealand’s top tax bracket not only is applied at too low a level, but low and middle-income earners are being taxed too much.

[…] This Government talks a lot about fairness. Is it fair individual taxpayers are carrying the tax burden for the nation?


For contrast, look across the ditch. Australia’s top rate, of 45 per cent, is applied to earnings over $180,000 a year. Maybe it really is the lucky country.

[…] people earning over $70,000 pay 63 per cent of all income tax.

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‘Nothing in the budget for me’ says mother of 9

Yes, we are going to have fun with this one.

Today’s wellbeing budget announcement means little for Manurewa mother of nine, Memory Brown.

Ahead of today’s opening of the Government’s books, Ms Brown was hoping there would be a bit more money for her to buy food, clothing and furniture for her family.

“The budget we live off with my nine children, we can’t even afford to eat after we pay our rent,” she said as she gathered with others outside the local Work and Income office this morning.


Speaking to 1 NEWS following the 2pm Budget announcement, Ms Brown said her family would not be much better off with just an extra $10 in the bank each week.
“It’s something but it’ll get us an extra two milk and a couple of breads every week or maybe for the day,” she said.
“I have 12 people in my household and two milks go like nothing, it goes within maybe five hours,” she said.
To get by each week she says she would need at least an extra $100-$150.
“We spend at least $10 just on milk daily, that’s just giving the kids breakfast before they go to school and cup of teas or milos for the kids’ bottles at night. It’s very expensive to live and you don’t even get that on the benefit,” she says. 
Ms Brown says she had to visit Work and Income today for help with food and petrol, because there “wasn’t enough left over this week to put food on the table.”

TVNZ.


This was the expectation of the Wellbeing Budget: that beneficiaries might get another $100 per week. The Greens have fuelled this expectation and now a raft of beneficiaries are disappointed.

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Whaleoil Wellbeing budget poll

Brand Ardern is about changing perception not reality

Photoshopped image credit: Pixy

ACT leader David Seymour has summed up PM Jacinda Ardern as someone whose Bachelor of Communication Studies degree taught her to change people’s perception of reality rather than reality itself

It is hard to disagree with him given that she led Labour to victory on the exact same policies that Andrew Little was able to gain no traction whatsoever on. In effect, she successfully sold ice to Eskimos when the previous salesperson Little kept getting soundly rejected.

[…] Thursday’s “Wellbeing Budget” will represent little more than stardust over substance.

Ardern is one of the best marketers in world politics, but she is also one of the biggest policy lightweights. She doesn’t care about policy beyond its capacity to further Brand Ardern.

[…] The “Wellbeing Budget” is just spin designed to hide the fact the Government doesn’t know how to raise our living standards or competently deliver core public services. The two are connected, as we’ll see.

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A classic welfare-spending, rail-worshipping, Michael Cullen-style budget.

Joe Ascroft
Economist
New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union

Our team has just returned from the Beehive, where we attended the media and analysts’ lock-up event for the government’s new “Wellbeing Budget”. This year’s Budget was accompanied by some level of turmoil, with leaks, alleged hacks, and a (very brief) police investigation all entering the headlines throughout the week.

We’ve had two and a half hours to file through the fiscal documents and spending announcements. We now want to give you an insider’s look, before the spin on the 6pm news.

Our overall impression of this Budget is, glossy marketing aside, it is a classic welfare-spending, rail-worshipping, Michael Cullen-style budget.

You can read Jordan’s headline media statement here.

The government is holding up its big spend on mental health services as evidence of a fresh new “wellbeing” approach, but the figures tell a different story. The government is spending almost three times as much on rail ($2.14 billion / $1,175 per household) – including KiwiRail, regional rail and the Auckland City Rail Link – than on direct mental health spending ($823 million / $452 per household).

The “wellbeing” focus appears to be nothing more than a communications strategy from the government. Budget 2019 is indistinguishable from any other normal Labour Budget, with more money for welfare recipients and no room for tax relief.

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The Wellbeing Budget

Well, it has arrived. The world’s first Wellbeing Budget. The groundbreaking budget format that was supposed to have the world sit up and take notice. I am reeling with the uniqueness and diversity of it all.

No, I’m not. I’m completely underwhelmed.

First, the basics.

  • $1.9 billion for mental health, over 4 years
  • $1.2 billion for new schools and classrooms, over 10 years
  • $1 billion to Kiwirail, and an additional $405 million for Auckland’s City Rail Loop
  • $1.1 billion in additional funding over 4 years for children leaving state care
  • $535 million over 4 years to index benefits to wage increases
  • $266 million over 4 years to replace school donations
  • $197 million for Housing First to provide 1044 more units
  • $229m for a sustainable land use package to invest in projects for farmers to use land better and clean up waterways.
  • Also $33.5m into two new climate change research initiatives
  • $168 million for gun buyback
  • $80 million extra over four years for Whanau Ora
  • $300m fund for business start-ups to draw on (from existing funding) 

Despite all the hype, this looks like a fairly normal budget to me. The government is relying on a surplus of $3.5 billion for the current financial year but then assumes the surplus will fall considerably, to $1.4 billion in the 2020 year.

There are a few areas of concern. Firstly, the amount for gun buybacks looks grossly underestimated to me. Nobody really knows what the numbers are, but they are likely to be much higher than this. If you bear in mind that the illegal weapons are expected to be handed in sooner rather than later, it is reasonable to assume that the full amount is being covered in this budget. I suggest $168 million will not be nearly enough.

Schools will still be allowed to collect donations from parents, so this is just a little bit of extra education funding. This is not a new policy, but is actually an election promise by Labour now being carried out. Watch out though. Most parents will not be willing to pay donations once it is clear that the government is funding them, and $266 million is not a lot for that either.

$1 billion to Kiwirail is a drop in a bucket. It sounds like a lot, and if the intention is to get freight off the roads and onto rail, then good on them, but it won’t be enough. Kiwirail has always been a big hole to throw money into. Even $1 billion will not plug that hole.

$197 million to provide 1044 more units for homeless people doesn’t sound like a lot, but even if the numbers are accurate (as of today), all the same problems still exist… no land, the cost and time involved in obtaining permits and the issues around finding tradespeople to do the work. Ask Phil Twyford. He understands this very well.

I am really opposed to index linking benefits to wages. As the economy slows, it may not make much difference, but we should not be encouraging people to sit on the dole. This policy does exactly that, and with guaranteed increases in the minimum wage through to 2021, beneficiaries are guaranteed pay increases as well. It is madness.

The talk all through the budget presentation was about ‘wellbeing’ but really this is a typical socialist budget. It ignores taxpayers and provides extra support to those who do nothing. There is nothing unusual and nothing special about it.

Notably, there is no wellbeing for teachers or midwives, and no wellbeing for superannuitants either… not even free health funding for seniors, which is a promise that Winston made at the last election too.

All in all, there is little or nothing in the ‘wellbeing’ budget for most New Zealanders.

So the Wellbeing Budget is just another slogan. Like ‘9 years of neglect’ or “Let’s Do This’.

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