OnPoint by Keith Ng

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OnPoint: Fiscal Responsibility is the New Black

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  • bmk,

    What I don't get with the fresh fruit and veg policy is why frozen vegetables aren't also going to be exempt. Because frozen vegetables are just as healthy, if not more so. And people on a low income can often barely afford fresh vegetables and so largely consist on frozen vegetables. If anything the GST exemption on fruit and vegetables will mostly benefit the middle-class.

    Since Jun 2010 • 324 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to bmk,

    it would seem simple enough to make the criteria: no added ingredients. If the frozen stuff has no preservatives, etc, it would count.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16838 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to bmk,

    And people on a low income can often barely afford fresh vegetable

    If people would just get used to buying what is in season, it is not expensive. Plus there is plenty of food we grow all year so not that hard to find it. Ok, so watermelon in winter, not so much but plenty otherwise.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6341 posts Report Reply

  • bmk, in reply to Sacha,

    it would seem simple enough to make the criteria: no added ingredients. If the frozen stuff has no preservatives, etc, it would count.

    Yeah that would make sense and be good policy, but that isn't what they have proposed.

    Since Jun 2010 • 324 posts Report Reply

  • bmk, in reply to Sofie Bribiesca,

    If people would just get used to buying what is in season, it is not expensive

    Does lettuce have a season? Because I have been loathe to buy that for a long-time now at $4 a lettuce. Not that you can buy frozen lettuce anyway. But frozen mixed veges have long been a healthy, cheap staple for many families and should be included in any GST exemption.

    Since Jun 2010 • 324 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to bmk,

    Hydroponically-grown lettuce doesnt have a season: I buy it with a cheerful heart here, because
    a)it is relatively-locallygrown (about 40 k away) &
    b) I *like* lettuce! Aside from cress, it's the only salad-green we can get year round...
    Yeah, it'd be really great to grow your own but, in a place like Big O, you're a hiding to nothing with the number of beings happy to eat everything in your
    lovingly built-up home-composted plots. Greenhouses? Never been able to afford a proper one, and the cheap kind have dramatic mould problems...

    PS: we pay between $3.50 & $4.50 a lettuce = vastly cheaper and much fresher than the bagged stuff...

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to bmk,

    But frozen mixed veges have long been a healthy, cheap staple for many families and should be included in any GST exemption.

    Totally agreed on this point. Especially peas, corn kernels, carrots and green beans.
    (I tend to buy the individual packs thereof...)

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to bmk,

    I get the mesculen which is about $2.00 worth if you get it from the bulk bin in the bagged salad area. It is $19 a kilo but it weighs nothing and a handful or 2 makes for a tasty cheap salad. balsamic vinegar and teaspoon of olive oil, tasty. I bought at the supermarket the other day a selection of mesculen plants for $3 and within the 10 days my pot has grown a salad for 2. It grows really fast and if you pick just as you need it you could achieve salads all year.
    Pretty sure iceberg lettuce is at $2-$3 mark now. See it's coming back into season :)

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6341 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Sofie Bribiesca,

    We dont have supermarkets here Sofie- and buying plants is an option - but growing it inside isnt...

    Nemmind, life is good: about to cook half a home-grown (one of the cuzzies) butternut squash, with a good egg/breadcrumb & onion & sage & garlic stuffing - really delicious hot with home-made chicken gravy (I have 4 wee containers in the deepfreeze) - and the rest will be fine cold apopo-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to bmk,

    that would make sense and be good policy, but that isn't what they have proposed

    how surprising :)

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16838 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Islander,

    mine is growing in a average pot on the deck. What about a widowsill?

    butternut squash, with a good egg/breadcrumb & onion & sage & garlic stuffing

    Oh yummy! I'm thawing prawns for szechuan noodles. numnumnumnum :)

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6341 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Sofie Bribiesca,

    Just added a leetle bluecheese & my last red chilli to the mix - smells gorge-ous!

    Most of my windowsills already have plants - trouble, my house is too cold (one side) or too hot (west side...)

    Howsomever - looks like I'll be um urged* to leave here before the next half-year is out: Otago has some great soils, and I know the growing seasons there-

    *thank you rates & tax peoples. Yeah, I know: it is your job etc.

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Islander,

    That's sad. Ours have jumped too. Auckland has rebates for those on lower incomes, do you have that down your way? Do you want some dryed chillis?

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6341 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Sofie Bribiesca,

    No, to the rates/lower income bit (trouble is, OFR got invaded by very wealthy people in the early part of this century, who built ugly but huge houses, and thus raised the rating levels for all us normal little early resident subhumans...

    very much YES!! (and thanks!) for dried chillis!

    Take good care friends - I think we may be in for a rough kind of ride this coming year - but together we'll weather/ it out-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Nat, in reply to Paul Williams,

    Perhaps, though there's plenty of GST exempt products in Australia and the world still spins.

    Yes, although there was outrage there too when the deal was done. And that was when retailers had more flexibility with their POS systems (as they were implementing GST for the first time). Here it will be have to all be retro-fitted to what is already there.

    Has anyone demonstrated that GST -free fresh food has increased its consumption, in Australia or elsewhere, relative to non-fresh food?

    Sydney • Since Jun 2011 • 47 posts Report Reply

  • tussock,

    Nat, yes, read just such a study at some point when this first came up. Linked from here I recall. If you cut fruit and veg prices (via a refund system, only way to test), you get the same amount spent on groceries on average, but people buy more fruit and veg in the mix.

    Works for real, just like capitalism says it should.

    Since Nov 2006 • 484 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Nat,

    Has anyone demonstrated that GST -free fresh food has increased its consumption, in Australia or elsewhere, relative to non-fresh food?

    The Australian exemption's for food, fresh or otherwise, so their experience isn't likely to provide any useful data. No GST on food was a condition of a deal cut by John Howard with the now-extinct Australian Democrats, who then held the balance of power in the Federal Senate.

    I remember that such frivolities as alcohol and confectionery were excluded. The casualties were the makers of borderline products such as specialty ice cream, whose goodies wound up being classed as lollies, while the big tubs of Streets somehow became GST-free food.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 3597 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    Works for real, just like capitalism says it should.

    People respond to incentives! Fuck Yeah Rational Interest!

    This is exactly why I am so puzzled at the hatred of GST exemption of fruit and veg. According to totally boring neo-classicist economics it is a good idea. Yet many people committed to neo-classicism hate it. Which really, to me, suggests it isn't neo-classicism they are committed to, so much as fucking poor people over.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1389 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    The problem with GST is that it's a regressive tax generally. That can be offset in income taxes.

    I'm not a fan of exemptions generally, if the goal is improving health. In Australia, the idea was to not cause a rise in the cost of food, without suggesting that poor people eat unhealthy when pinched (even though it does seem to be true).

    When I worked in Oz, the project to bring in GST was about the same in size as Y2K - around 30 full timers for a year for a company around 1000 people in size. But they didn't already have GST.

    Pushing for healthier eating is better achieved through education.

    I do also like the idea of communal plots for growing your own, although I'm not really sure how you prevent theft. In the UK these plots are in locked walled compounds. I don't think it would have a huge effect on health for working classes, who would relish working the land after a hard day's work about as much as you'd imagine. But for the underclasses it could be a boon. They're good for community spirit, focal points for social interaction. People do like fresh fruit and veg, particularly when you can see for sure that it's fresh.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8659 posts Report Reply

  • Hans Versluys,

    Our garden provides us all year round with fresh vegetables we like, except potatoes and onions, so why is the GST exemption not proposed for buying seedlings or seeds?

    Auckland • Since Jul 2011 • 29 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to BenWilson,

    Subcity…*

    I’m not a fan of exemptions generally, if the goal is improving health. In Australia, the idea was to not cause a rise in the cost of food…

    …and I wonder if No GST or any Exemption or Refund system would be seen as some kind of subsidy on the farming sector that our soon-to-be-bed-buddies in the TPPA would object to. But, wait, we won’t know what occurred, as all details of any bargaining for the agreement signed will be embargoed for 4 years
    More interesting stuff TPPA here … I’m sure National will sign whatever is put in front of them...
    What is Labour and the Greens current stance on the TPPA?

    *I’m guessing the green contents of a Subway© sub will end up
    having GST on them…

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 5092 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Hans Versluys,

    why is the GST exemption not proposed for buying seedlings or seeds?

    Fair point. See comments above about more actively supporting growing our own than via tax. Gardening tools and supplies like compost or fertilisers are not cheap in more than trifling quantities.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16838 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    subsidy on the farming sector

    that's the ETS, and govt-funded irrigation if/when the Nats get re-elected.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16838 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Sacha,

    Gardening tools and supplies like compost or fertilisers are not cheap in more than trifling quantities.

    'Half a tonne of ammonium nitrate. Would that be for agricultural purposes, or for an improvised explosive device, in which case GST would apply'.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 3597 posts Report Reply

  • Cecelia,

    I'm fiscally illiterate but just heard Cunliffe on Q and A and he sounded damn good.

    Hibiscus Coast • Since Apr 2008 • 523 posts Report Reply

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