Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Yes we canny

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  • Peter Martin,

    According to John Key, we may have to wait until only four weeks out from the election for a look at National's tax policy

    Indeed and it seems the media ,at least in part, are begining to tire of his apparent inability to be anything like precise. Campbell said he was

    "as slippery as a snake in wet grass"

    last night, Plunket tried to pin that snake down this morning and even the normally calm Ryan sounded somewhat exasperated later on.

    I am not sure the electorate is particularly well served when huge amounts of policy are dumped in the period immediately before an election.

    The elector is even less well served when no policy at all is forthcoming.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 184 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    The two things have struck me most about the whole tax cut palaver. The first has been the generally incredibly high tax cut expectations of the top 20% of income earners. As Michael Cullen mentioned, some New Zealanders (and journalists) seem to have become disconnected from the realities of how most New Zealanders live their lives. Many of those interviewed frankly come across in the media as a spoilt and self absorbed bunch having a big sulk. My dear old mum gets and extra $50 a fortnight and she is thrilled - she doesn't see it as a pathetic three blocks of cheese. My sister with two kids gets an extra $96 or so a fortnight, and she is equally thrilled. I understand that for some that barely covers their takeout coffee budget, but for a lot of New Zealanders its a good dollop of dosh, now.

    Secondly, It is astonishing how the whole debate over relieving the stress on New Zealanders is framed in terms of tax cuts. The Employers Federation must laugh themselves to sleep every night. Since when was it the governments job to effectively subsidise the obstinate and pig-headed determination of employers to keep N.Z. a low-wage economy?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1805 posts Report Reply

  • barnaclebarnes,

    Note to Eden coffee: You should pre-fill the coupon code when you click-through - I didn't see the code on the ad the first time as it was a rotating series of images. And make a special landing page which targets PA readers. I've just put ordering from them in the too hard basket.

    Don't make me think!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 85 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew Smith,

    (for a party allegedly in the clammy grip of the gay mafia, Labour has been very bloody generous to the breeders in the past four years).

    This is just the sort of attiude that makes you and I very different people Russell. Aside from the 'gay mafia' jibe, it urks me when we are supposed to be grateful for someone returning our own money to us! I'm a breeder (5 and finished), and I gladly take Working for Families payments to help out, but it's already my money 'cause the government took it out of my pay packet (I got the figures to prove it...weekly)

    Since Jan 2007 • 150 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    " this will be a hard target to meet, requiring re-prioritisation efforts."

    Oh, you mean ""big arse spending cuts**, Doctor Cullen? I don't find bland euphemism any more admirable than strategic ambiguity. And is "unexpected stimulus" code for "infaltionary"; or are we all going to send our way out of a recession, which I vaguely recall being a very bad thing not so long ago?

    Serious questions, so I'd appreciate a serious answer.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11922 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Martin,

    it urks me when we are supposed to be grateful for someone returning our own money to us!

    Perhaps then Andrew you would be so kind as to suggest a figure that would be appropriate for the Govt to appropriate from folks income.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 184 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    Secondly, It is astonishing how the whole debate over relieving the stress on New Zealanders is framed in terms of tax cuts.

    I think it was 61% of Nzrs who wanted tax cuts but not at the expense of health/education which isn't an overwhelming majority (as some would have you think) so I am happy everyone seems to have got something.I don't know why we are constantly compared to Oz. The population differences are enough for me to know that tax systems can't possibly be the same .

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6106 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew Smith,

    Perhaps then Andrew you would be so kind as to suggest a figure that would be appropriate for the Govt to appropriate from folks income.

    Good question and it would make for a lively debate. But I sense it would come back to philosophical leanings. However, lets start with getting rid of the socialist traversty called Working for Families.

    Since Jan 2007 • 150 posts Report Reply

  • David Haywood,

    Andrew Smith wrote:

    Aside from the 'gay mafia' jibe, it urks me when we are supposed to be grateful for someone returning our own money to us! I'm a breeder (5 and finished), and I gladly take Working for Families payments to help out...

    Quite right, Andrew!

    How much better your world would be if you could keep all of "your money" -- and simply have everybody else subsidize your children's education, your children's health, your parents' superannuation, your use of the roads, and having the police protect you from crims.

    Seriously, you do get services for the tax you pay, Andrew, and I suggest that (with five children) you're getting a massively bigger bang for your tax dollar than most other people.

    However, lets start with getting rid of the socialist traversty called Working for Families.

    I can name half-a-dozen families of my acquaintance whose lives have been dramatically improved by 'Working for Families'. I don't think they'd view it as a travesty.

    Dunsandel • Since Nov 2006 • 983 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    However, lets start with getting rid of the socialist traversty called Working for Families.

    Socialism: a theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole.

    Lively debate should always start with understanding the meaning of words that you use. WFF isn't socialist at all.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6165 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    I think it was 61% of Nzrs who wanted tax cuts but not at the expense of health/education

    Except I always think that's one of those questions that's (intentionally or not) framed to elicit precisely that response. Who is going to tell a complete stranger over the phone "kiddies and sick people can go fuck themselves, show me the money!" even if that's what they really think? I sure don't think there's going to be a single school or hospital reeling under a sudden surge in charitable giving post October 1.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11922 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Seriously, you do get services for the tax you pay, Andrew, and I suggest that (with five children) you're getting a massively bigger bang for your tax dollar than most other people.

    Hear hear.

    I don't mind people saying that they don't like Working for Families. I don't mind people saying they'd rather have a tax cut.

    I mind people taking the money and then calling it a travesty. If it's so bad, don't fill in the form, don't take the money, and then come back and complain about it. You'll at least have some self-respect.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6165 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Except I always think that's one of those questions that's (intentionally or not) framed to elicit precisely that response. Who is going to tell a complete stranger over the phone "kiddies and sick people can go fuck themselves, show me the money!" even if that's what they really think?

    Conversely Craig, there's a pretty strong response to the question "do you want a tax cut?".

    Since Nov 2006 • 6165 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Martin,

    However, lets start with getting rid of the socialist traversty called Working for Families.

    I have a feeling Andrew, that I heard Key inform Ryan just before 10:00 am this morning that this began as a National Party policy.

    You may wish to check. *s*

    It is easy, of course, to criticise and much more difficult to be state what the alternative would be. Let alone the consequences.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 184 posts Report Reply

  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    WFF certainly strikes me as redistribution of capital from the individual to the community; its not classic Marx since it privileges those with families over those without but its still a centrally organized redistribution of wealth. If it ain't socialism (a) what would you call it, and (b) what is?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 901 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    Again, to return to my sister. She cried when she realised for the first time how much extra she would get with working for families. I heard it said on the radio yesterday that a if you are a family with three kids you will have to earn around $57k to pay any tax at all under Labour's fully rolled out scheme.

    As far as I can tell, the only substantive arguments against WFF the right can come up with is 1) A variant of the "all tax is theft" argument, so giving it back via WFF is just returning stolen goods. 2) it creates a poverty trap because it no longer makes sense for mum and dad to work 120 hours a week between them because they can get the same money working 60 hours a week. Some poverty trap. 3) A good old fashioned morality argument that its a sin for state to provide welfare to middle income earners.

    Labour is trying to give money to those who need it most without damaging the core infrastructure of health, education and transport. A lot of people might want to go back to the feckless FPP past where angry turkeys could vote for their children's christmas, but it seems to me that one of the least remarked on aspects of an MMP system might just be coming into play here - long term policy consistancy leading to genuine, planned, generational prosperity.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1805 posts Report Reply

  • Billy Enright,

    The point highlighted in Gordon Campbell's anayisis that I found most disturbing was:

    At the other end of the income scale, the tax advantages to those on low and middle incomes has occurred in a climate of ongoing neglect of beneficiaries. Sure the tax threshold changes will help some of them - but this doesn’t justify the reductions in some key beneficiary areas. The amounts allocated for sickness benefits, widows benefits, unemployment benefits, and most outrageously special circumstances assistance have all been reduced.

    I am yet to see any other coverage of this. Cullen's speech emphasised the fairness of the Labour government. A reduction in benefits at a time seems chronically unfair. Especially when we can be fairly certain of increased unemployment in the short to medium term.
    It's great to see an improvement for pensioners but the neglect of other beneficiaries really seems to buy into the victorian division between the deserving and undeserving poor.
    The media emphasis on individual responses to the budget attests to the triumph of 90's rhetoric. Where is the concept of us all being in this together? It seems such a hopelessly outdated approach in the face of climate change, the end of cheap oil, and growing inequality.

    Since May 2008 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    Labour is trying to give money to those who need it most without damaging the core infrastructure of health, education and transport

    Labour is trying to win the election by targeting middle income swing voters.

    There, fixed it for you.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 901 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    Labour is trying to win the election by targeting middle income swing voters.

    There, fixed it for you.

    Danyl, this same statement could be made of almost every party; this is not insight. Surely the issue is how? How will each party try to best benefit the majority of voters? Labour's tax package does appear t to maximise the benefit for middle income earners and families without reducing funding on health and education...

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2230 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    According to John Key, we may have to wait until only four weeks out from the election for a look at National's tax policy

    That is completely unacceptable. The policy that they seem to happily state is the core of the election and ongoing policy platform and they won't reveal it until then? Absurd, absurd, absurd.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1721 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    WFF certainly strikes me as redistribution of capital from the individual to the community; its not classic Marx since it privileges those with families over those without but its still a centrally organized redistribution of wealth. If it ain't socialism (a) what would you call it, and (b) what is?

    Well it's not the redistribution of capital, it's the redistribution of money. Capital is the means of production - factories, farms etc. Marx wouldn't have supported the argument that money == capital == socialism when moved around.

    Nationalising the railways (or buying them back) - you can argue that's socialism. Taking factories away from the people that own them and putting them in the hands of workers collectives - that's socialism. Benefits - and that's what WFF is, a benefit for low and middle income working families with children - isn't socialism.

    Socialism is a dirty word which gets bandied around a lot to tag onto anything that (typically) right-wingers don't like, just because it's left wing.

    I'd call WFF either a benefit, or income redistribution.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6165 posts Report Reply

  • daleaway,

    My first thought on reading the blog was: is that the Scots "canny" (cagey, shrewd), or the Geordie "canny" (pleasing, fine) that he's using? Quite a different nuance.

    I see Gordon actually says "cannily constructed" which implies a degree of craftiness.

    Since Jul 2007 • 178 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    That is completely unacceptable. The policy that they seem to happily state is the core of the election and ongoing policy platform and they won't reveal it until then? Absurd, absurd, absurd.

    Don't say that too loudly around Craig. He calls it "prudent" for National not to release policy yet. I think he believes that Labour cannot come up with any policy of its own unless National comes up with it first. In fact, that's the only explanation I can think of, because there's no other rational justification for excusing the other half of the big two from having stated almost no substantive policies when the election is, at most, six months away (22 November's the latest date innit?).
    It's excusing a campaign that's run as a popularity contest, not a campaign run on debating policies, because you can't debate something that doesn't exist.

    Interestingly, my younger brother's PolSci class at VUW had Pita Sharples in talking to them yesterday. He said that since National started polling high, he hasn't heard from John at all. Says it all, really, about National's arrogance surrounding working within MMP.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3908 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    That is completely unacceptable. The policy that they seem to happily state is the core of the election and ongoing policy platform and they won't reveal it until then? Absurd, absurd, absurd.

    Well it's only unacceptable if it doesn't work for them. I suspect it'll work for them fine. Perhaps it wasn't your swing vote that they were counting on.

    I suspect they've also learnt a little from last year where they released their student loan policy, and then got absolutely trumped by Labour's policy a few days later.

    There'll be a dateless calendar in McCully's office. It'll have marked on it the 10 or so major policy announcements they'll make in the buildup the election, and they'll be spread out by a few days, because they figure that you get 2-4 days of good press out of a major announcement. They'll probably have their last one 1 - 2 weeks out from the election, and they'll have worked backwards from there.

    Once the election date is announced, they'll drop the dates in and it'll go around their campaign teams in each electorate.

    They can't plan on doing any releases 3 months in advance anyway. The campaign period for the election is a minimum of... 6 weeks? They're not going to put anything major before that, they'll be busy trying to slam Labour in the house.

    Winning Elections 101.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6165 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    My first thought on reading the blog was: is that the Scots "canny" (cagey, shrewd), or the Geordie "canny" (pleasing, fine) that he's using? Quite a different nuance.

    At least it wasn't "cannae", which would mean yet another thing, and not a good thing.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3908 posts Report Reply

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