Wellingtonians lament paying too much for a subsidised public transport

Auckland will be happy to send Len Brown and the Auckland Council down next year to help with a gold plated transport system that is almost fully subsidised by people not using it.

The call for cheaper public transport fares across the Wellington region is growing louder?as new figures reveal some commuters have had to swallow price hikes of more than 50 per cent over the past decade.

Figures complied by the Green Party show the average bus and train fare has risen by more than 30 per cent since 2006.

Even when adjusted for inflation fares have still gone up across the board, with the hardest hit being passengers who cross between one and five zones ? the equivalent of a trip between Wellington and Lower Hutt or Porirua.

Public transport advocates have described the situation in Wellington city as “crazy” and pointed out that driving is actually cheaper than taking the bus into the CBD from the outer suburbs like Johnsonville, Karori and Island Bay. ?? Read more »

Key rules out hand out for Silver Fern Farms today. What about tomorrow?

John Key won’t give a hand out for Silver Fern Farms.

Prime Minister John Key has ruled out a hand-out from the Government for Silver Fern Farms to head off a rumoured Chinese investor.

The meat processing co-operative needs a $100 million cash injection, and a Chinese investor is rumoured to want a 50 percent share.

Mr Key unequivocally says there will be no taxpayer bailout.

“It would be up to whoever was acquiring it to make the case, and to convince the shareholders of Silver Fern Farms,” he says. “It’s not really a matter for the Government.” Read more »

EU needs to go on a subsidy diet. 47% of the entire EU budget spent on farming subsidies

Farmers, especially French farmers are having a big sook over subsidies

French farmers are on the brink of open revolt.

Driving their tractors and hay balers, thousands converged on Paris this month, shutting down the city in protest at the lack of support they have received to soften the blow of falling food prices and lower cost imports.

The demonstration was the culmination of months of protests. In panicked response the French government has provided some emergency aid.

French farmers are among the most productive and the most belligerent in the European Union but they are nevertheless being crucified by the fastest drop in global agricultural commodities prices recorded in seven years. This has been caused by a slump in demand from China, Europe?s diplomatic war with Russia and the biggest fundamental problem of all: the European Union itself. ?? Read more »

Georgia pulls the plug on electric cars

Subsidies create poor behaviour, and are evil as they invariably don’t work.

Eventually the government that gave you the subsidy takes away the subsidy and people return to market driven forces for their decisions.

Georgia has one of the highest ownership rates of electric cars…because of subsidies…and those subsidies are no longer tenable.

A generous state tax break has helped make Georgia the number two?state for electric vehicles, and made Atlanta the top?market for the compact Nissan Leaf. Both the Leaf and the higher-end Tesla sedans are now common sights in and around metro Atlanta, where more than 10,500 are registered.

But this year, Georgia lawmakers needed to raise nearly $1 billion to patch up crumbling roads, highways, and bridges. So they are pulling the plug on that $5,000 tax credit ??a move budget analysts say will?contribute $66 million to the state’s coffers?in 2016 and nearly $190 million by 2020.

But it gets worse for electric vehicle (EV) boosters. Legislators are?adding a $200-a-year annual fee for owners to offset the loss of gasoline taxes that drivers would?otherwise pay to maintain roads.

Anything a government can give you, they can take away too. People bought the cars, not for valid economic reasons, but because they scored a $5000 tax credit. Read more »

Typical socialists, they always want a subsidy

Why do socialists always think subsidies are a solution?

Keeping the Capital Connection running could cost ratepayers less than previously thought.

An internal Ministry of Transport memo released under the Official Information Act casts doubt on the amount of public money needed to keep the commuter service between Palmerston North and Wellington going.

KiwiRail has said it will cease running the train from July this year and has no plan in place for a replacement service.

For the Capital Connection to continue, the two regional councils – Horizons and Greater Wellington – need to convince the New Zealand Transport Agency to shift the Connection to a Wellington Metro service, which would mean it could receive a subsidy from the two councils and NZTA.

The Ministry of Transport report estimates the cost of the subsidy needed at about $250,000 per annum.

[…] ? ? Read more »

Labour finds some bludgers it doesn’t want to give more money to

Labour usually think they can win power by giving away more of other peoples money.

They try to out bid National to win votes. Usually chucking mountains of cash and any bludgers who simply puts their hand out.

This election they have come up with a slightly different approach.

They are making irrigators pay for their own schemes rather than making the rest of us pay for them like the socialists in the National Party want us to do.

?There are also changes proposed to the funding of new irrigation schemes. Labour proposes withdrawing taxpayer support for new schemes and will instead recycle the funds raised by the charge on freshwater into that support.

Read more »

If welfare and whingeing were a competi?tion 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 competi?tion 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.

Read more »

Budget over, cue the whingers, here come the teacher unions

What is it with teacher unions and people involved in education?

They constantly have their hands out and when more money, in this case $857 million extra, is spent in their area of the economy they are whining like unpaid hookers that it wasn’t enough.

Early Childhood Council chief executive Peter Reynolds attacked the subsidy increases as a deliberate deception that will push-up charges for parents and reduce quality.

Salaries were a big cost to centres, and the subsidy related to that had increased by less than 1 per cent, Mr Reynolds said, which was below inflation and “another funding cut in drag”.

Ms Parata rejected that, and said ECE care was 33 per cent more affordable as a proportion of household income than 2007. Government spending on the sector had almost doubled since 2007/08.

“Parents can see from the Budget that the Government has allocated over $155 million [extra ECE funding]. That is a significant chunk of change over the next four years.”? Read more »

Green solar scam is a “dishonest subsidy”

The Green party launched their now thoroughly discredited solar power plan on the weekend.

It involved ‘loans’ in order to buy and retro-fit your house with solar power. It is a bizarre policy that will directly undermine their support for the joint Green/Labour power policy, but that isn;t the worst aspect of the whole scam scheme.

Jamie Whyte, the new Act leader, explains.

?The Greens? Energy Policy announced today shows how dangerous they are to the New Zealand economy,” says ACT Party Leader-Elect Jamie Whyte.

?Cheap loans for solar panels are actually a dishonest subsidy.? The subsidy is hidden in the terms of the loan.? More honest would be to simply subsidise the panels, but in that harsh light people would see the policy for what it is – an election bribe ultimately funded by the taxpayer.

?Policies of subsidising biofuels have failed around the world – economically and ?environmentally. There is no reason to think that subsidising solar panels will be any more successful.? Read more »

Delingpole on the liberal-left’s weasel words

James Delingpole does not tolerate fools and especially detests the liberal-left, especially when they hijack the language.

Not so long ago ? and indeed for the first five hundred and fifty odd years of its recorded usage ? a subsidy was something quite clearly understood by everyone to mean a cash incentive.

Here, for example, is the online?Merriam-Webster definition:

Money that is paid usually by a government to keep the price of a product or service low or to help a business or organization to continue to function

Here is the one from my Chambers dictionary:

Aid in the form of money; a grant of public money in aid of some enterprise, industry etc; or to support or keep down the price of a commodity, or from one state to another.

This is certainly the sense in which I have always understood the word. I would suspect the same is true for most of you. So I would argue that there is something slippery and disingenuous about that claim above that there is no “internationally agreed definition of what constitutes energy subsidy.” Yes there is. Everyone ? every normal, reasonably well-educated, English-speaking person, at any rate ? would know instantly what constitutes “subsidy”, regardless of whether or not the word “energy” is put in front of it. It means a cash incentive.

What it definitely doesn’t mean is a tax reduction. Why doesn’t it mean this? Well, let’s examine the logic for a moment. Suppose I were to mug you in the street and steal, say, ?100 from you. But then, in a fit of generosity, I decided to hand you back a tenner so you could get a cab home. Could that tenner be reasonably described as a “gift” or a “donation”? Well, yes, I suppose at an enormous stretch, it could just about. “Dono” means “I give” in Latin, so, yes, when I give you back that “tenner” it could be construed as a gift or a donation.

But only by someone lacking in any kind of moral responsibility, or intellectual consistency, or understanding of sense, context and nuance. No sensitive user of the English language would ever employ the word “gift” or “donation” in such a perverted way. ? Read more »