Cracker by Damian Christie


Labour Weekend

You’d think by now Mike Williams would know his stuff. He’s the longest serving Labour Party President, and has been the man at the top during the party’s halcyon years.

But anyone who agrees handing out IRD pamphlets is a good way of winning votes, man… I don’t know what they do to pass those long winter evenings where you come from Mike, but I bet it ain’t reading tax department literature.

A little later, Helen Clark was on the news talking about taking that idea and throwing it off the 9th floor of the Beehive. Did she mean the idea, or Williams? I know I’m a geek, but given how much Williams looks like the Evil Galactic Emperor, it’s hard not to picture that scene from Jedi, when Vader picks the Emperor up, and tosses him into the Death Star’s reactor below…

(Mike Williams, L; Evil Galactic Emperor, R)

Talking about the stymied plan, John Key points out –with no hint of irony– that people would be disgusted if they thought parties were using taxpayer funds for "their own self-promotion and re-election"? Um, isn't that exactly what happens, by law, each year?

I don’t know anyone can really be surprised to hear that some businesses are screwing employees out of pay rises to compensate for the introduction of Kiwisaver. It’s a pretty simple equation really. It’s the same maths that mean rising petrol prices pushes the cost of food up, or the new holiday pay legislation means a flat white on Anzac Day costs $4.20 instead of $3.50. Something’s gotta give, and if it can be avoided, it won’t be the employer’s bottom line.

It is disappointing to learn that some employers are already pushing down wages, especially as there’s a tax credit to offset at least part of their contribution for the first two years. But rest assured, as the employer contribution rises to 4% over the next few years, wages will drop (or at least not rise by as much as they might). Businesses aren’t just going to take a 4% hit on their wage bill because the Government tells them to.

So which are the “large New Zealand companies”? Mallard said on Campbell he won’t name names until he’s had a chat with the CEOs concerned, in case there’s been some oversight, or it’s all the fault of some minion. Which means he’ll never name names, because any CEO worth his/her salt will say “that’s right Trev, there’s clearly been some oversight, and/or it’s all the fault of some minion”. But someone with more time on their hands than me should really keep on top of that one.

(The sometime-libertarian in me does find it ironic the Government is complaining about businesses trying to rip off employees, just because they’re trying to avoid the extra costs the Government has arbitrarily dumped on their lap)

Trevor Mallard says he’ll consider legislating so businesses can’t avoid the contributions in such a manner. Unless he also legislates a compulsory annual wage increase, there’s going to be a fairly major loophole.

Finally, this might have been doing the rounds, but I haven’t seen it anywhere else yet:

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