I’d be quite happy being ruled by a benevolent wise council of elders.
That could work. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gang_of_Four
The idea of a consumption tax to change consumer behaviour is not new. I do find it strange that when I have suggested removing GST form certain common items I get told how impossible that is by many on this platform because we have such a "simple" tax system and that must be "a good thing". Only our "simple" tax system is extraordinarily unfair on the least well off sections of our society. Thanks Rogernomics.
The obvious policy approach, assuming we are agreed there is a consumption issue, is to tax the undesired consumption whilst at the same time compensating those most impacted by that consumption tax with additional income.
In NZ the latter could be achieved by increasing Working for Families payments, child allowances and benefits. That way people can decide to use the "additional" income to purchase different sources of energy...or not.
This is basic economics. Paid for out of the tax collected. Not every new tax has to be a net gain for the exchequer.
Finally, my understanding of the "sugar" problem is that it is more of a "sugar + salt" problem and our fizzy drink and fast food providers have been cynically upping the amounts of both, knowing full well they are killing us, to make us want to eat and drink more of their produce. Just like the tobacco companies.
If they do anything to lower shareholder value, they can be taken to court by the shareholders.
Really? As a shareholder, director and manager I will call bullshit on this and similar claims. Companies create and destroy shareholder value every day. Nobody would take an executive position anywhere if this insanity prevailed.
But...it does reinforce an observation of the comments on this thread. The depth of learned helplessness is quite astounding. We can do stuff, even in NZ and it doesn't require international agreements or even local law changes, though those would be nice.
I have three ideas:
1. Ensure the government procurement rule around allowing economic impact assessment is fully enabled. Make sure the +tive economic impact of local business is fully recognised.
2. Have a public enquiry and get big pharma, Apple, Google, Amazon and Microsoft up on the stand.
3. Change some laws.
Tax is a complex and emotional thing and as a business it can feel very debilitating and overwhelming. But regardless of your position of who should pay it and how much they should pay, local companies tend to employ local people who pay local taxes. Use them.
Thanks for the article Rob. I did think Labour's response was a bit tepid. The whole "let's wait for the OECD to sort it out" is, frankly, nuts.
I don't know about the oil sector. The pharma sector drives me nuts (see also TPP and IP and monopolies). Yay we beat up on the banks and they now pay fair taxes. I *do* know a lot about the digital / IT sector.
Matt Nippart and John Campbell have done a great job. But they are reporting on company returns available in NZ. The figures they quote are still massively understating the issue and the anti-competitive situation local (anywhere in the world) businesses face.
The vast majority of NZ $s going to Microsoft, Google, Amazon and all are simply not reported in NZ. When any ministry pays for Google Apps the money doesn't touch the sides. It goes straight overseas. Same for all sites that use Google Analytics, Ad words and so on. Ditto for AWS (by the way, you *do* know our health data is being shipped to AWS, right?). Between them both companies employ less than 2 handfuls of people here.
The point is not whether NZ should use these products and businesses but how to value and reflect the economic impact of that use. The government, which controls over 30% of our GDP, is in the box seat to make this evaluation whenever the make a purchase.
So, if we want to see behavioural change, across the business community, we need to ask our own government to look seriously at the economic impact of how they spend.
As David Farrar and others on other blogs were always very fond of saying..."it's our money".
Have a great break Russell. And thanks for everything.
Looking back at the launch of *this* incarnation of your site (9 years ago), I see it worked on a Nokia 770. Which made me very happy at the time :-)
Is what CS was asking / paying for is not illegal?
I was in Toronto a couple of days before the election. Tactical voting played a big part in the end result. Once the NDP downwards shift started it accelerated very quickly due to this phenomenon.
The Conservatives did find their "wedge" issue. Something to do with veils I think. A last minute election rally where Harper sought out the company of former Toronto crack smoking drug dealing mayor - Ford, was surely a final nail in his coffin.
Also, the Canadian election system sucks.
the drug companies got very little
You think? What news on patent extensions and linkages and other extending rules on non-biotech drugs. Seems to me the focus on biotech is a bait and switch. Hope I'm wrong.
TPMs are a bastard for consumers and tech companies alike. More on that here:
The ratcheting up of IP protectionism locks in nasty regimes forever. We should be reducing copyright and patent terms and decriminalising consumer infringement. The situation now is that we are all breaking the law according to some corporate somewhere in the world.
For me the real story is Ashcroft using his money to try and pervert politics...What is his influence outside the UK? And other than "a senior job", what demands does he make in return for that largesse?
Or we won’t sign up.
Really? Can we hear that from the leader or foreign affairs spokesperson?
Also, the style of negotiation you describe [BATNA] is shit. Whilst I don't disagree that unions have delivered some good outcomes most people now accept that successful negation for sustainable outcomes is a collaborative effort from all sides.