Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: What the people want to hear

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  • Raymond A Francis,

    Tom
    I don't often agree with you (in fact never)
    But your post above should be carved in stone ( after being brought down from the mountain top) and installed in the news rooms of all the media
    Well done

    45' South • Since Nov 2006 • 576 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    When either party announces tax cuts, why does no journalist ever ask them what service cuts they plan to introduce as a result?

    To be fair, Daleaway, the question does get asked. And both Cullen and English will put a pat of butter in their mouths, tell you that you can have massive tax cuts without cutting government spending as opposed to massively increasing it (which is only inflationary when those other bastards do it, BTW) then pull it out again. Great party trick, but this bear of little brain isn't convinced.

    I guess the comeback is that a dirty market fundamentalist would say that, wouldn't I? I'd squee my pants with glee if every penny of tax cuts was equalled by a penny of spending cuts, but that would require treating voters to something a little more thoughtful than Prononomics.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • FletcherB,

    basically $250 a month to someone on the average wage ain't going to happen.

    Working For Families gives me double that for having 2 kids, and I'm right in the middle of that "average income"......

    Obviously, more people will qualify for a tax cut than qualify for WFF.... but lots of people do have kids.... and WFF is "affordable" at least according to Labour.... They seem to be in the same order of magnitude, if not ball-park?


    P.S. off topic, but related..... to those who claim Labour "bought" the 2005 election with WFF.... National's pre-election tax-cut calculator website was promising MORE than WFF for people in my position. How can you have "bought" something with the lower bid?

    West Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 887 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    I don't know why everyone's putting such emphasis on a throwaway line by Key. He probably just hadn't done the numbers, and was making shit up. He needs to make a mental note not to use actual numbers when making feel-good lolly promises. Instead of saying "the average worker" he should have said "a lot of workers". Or even better "the average worker in this room".

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10647 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    Fletcher, you've brought up (another!) good question I haven't seen addressed. Those of us with families have already had our tax cuts, effectively. With 5 kids, I already pay very little tax.
    Are we to get a tax cut on top of WFF? That would probably mean, for me, paying no tax- AND getting a WFF 'top-up'- as a welfare subsidy, if you like.
    I think one thing the Nats are probably factoring in is not giving people back more in a tax cut than they are already paying in tax. That means changes, at the least, to WFF.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2098 posts Report Reply

  • simon g,

    Instead of saying "the average worker" he should have said "a lot of workers". Or even better "the average worker in this room".

    Actually, it's "hard-working taxpayers".

    It's not clear how they stop the lazy ones getting the same deal.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1326 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I don't know why everyone's putting such emphasis on a throwaway line by Key. He probably just hadn't done the numbers, and was making shit up.

    Of course. It's not any kind of scandal, just an example of his tendency to, as you say "make shit up". But it's notable in the sense that he's the annointed Prime Minister.

    He needs to make a mental note not to use actual numbers when making feel-good lolly promises.

    Quite.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22763 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Those of us with families have already had our tax cuts...

    Those of us with families who work. It's a quiet little niggle, but the very poorest families got absolutely nothing out of WFF.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    BTW, I've received an email about how one newsroom weighed up the apparent tax promise and didn't write the story. I'll see if I can post it here.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22763 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    That means changes, at the least, to WFF.

    It strikes me that National have often made negative noises about WFF - I wouldn't be that surprised if they promised significant tax cuts in place of it to "give everyone a fair go" etc etc...

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1727 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Actually, it's "hard-working taxpayers".

    Even better. That could be anyone.

    But it's notable in the sense that he's the annointed Prime Minister.

    Yes I guess NZers have come to expect leaders who know what they're talking about. They also seem to be 'over' them.

    I don't think there's any real strategy that will work for Labour. But the strategy they most assuredly should run for the good of the country will be to keep working on good policy and demanding the same from National. This year will actually be one where good governance is vital.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10647 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    don't think there's any real strategy that will work for Labour. But the strategy they most assuredly should run for the good of the country will be to keep working on good policy and demanding the same from National. This year will actually be one where good governance is vital.

    I think there's something in that.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22763 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    Emma- point taken.
    It's a niggle alright. Labour significantly 'benefitted' fiscally from Ms Richardson, and depite all the political capital they also took from it, never quite got around to putting the benefits back up.
    The Nat's figures probably look a lot more affordable, if you factor in scrapping WFF. Just wish they'd tell us...

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2098 posts Report Reply

  • Christopher Worthington,

    For point of comparison, National's income tax structure from last election (15% to 12,500; 19% to 50,000; 33% to 100,000; 39% to 100,000+) would cost $2.6bn if implemented today. On the average wage ($46,000) this would be $150/month.

    Labour's already hinted at $1.5bn for its tax cut package, I think most people would be surprised if that number wasn't higher by the election (as was the case with WFF), the most recent fiscal accounts had a lot of headroom built into the debt track.

    It seems safe to assume National will offer larger tax cuts than Labour, in which case I find a $3-4bn package believable, especially if spread over three years.

    So I actually find it plausible that the Nat package will be in the region of what Key's "throwaway" remarks implied.

    Since Jan 2008 • 25 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Are we to get a tax cut on top of WFF?

    Who's "we", kemosabe? I'd respectfully suggest to any PA reader who is that outraged by the notion of receiving a personal tax cut and WFF can either 1) cut the IRD a cheque (as far as I'm aware they can't make you take it), or, 2) not claim WFF benefits in the first place.

    And to be perfectly blunt, I'm more than a little tired of the media/political assumption that if you don't -- or can't -- have children its wine and roses all the way. If only... God knows I'm not looking forward to growing old without the prospect of guilt tripping the kiddies into picking up the slack.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    Nice post Christopher but I just want to point out one thing: a reduction in the tax take can't be "spread" over years, although it can be phased in over a few years. The cost is the difference in annual take under the old regime compared to the new.

    As such, I would think a $3-4b package is pretty steep, even if it's phased in to get us there. The reduced tax take would need to see some pretty big cuts in government provided services...

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1727 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    So I actually find it plausible that the Nat package will be in the region of what Key's "throwaway" remarks implied.

    Fair enough. The discussion has been worthwhile and welcome, though. Carry on.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22763 posts Report Reply

  • A S,

    As such, I would think a $3-4b package is pretty steep, even if it's phased in to get us there. The reduced tax take would need to see some pretty big cuts in government provided services...

    There is also an important distinction between government spending and actual government services delivered that gets glossed over a lot. There isn't any particular reason why government spending couldn't be reduced to some degree without any change to service delivery levels.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2007 • 269 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    Craig, I'm not "outraged". Just would like to know what is proposed. How is that bad? I'd be surprsed if we went from (small-scale) tax-payer to beneficiary under National, but not astonished!
    And to be imperfectly blunt- jeebus peanuts, I'm not assuming any such thing about the childless. Any more than I'm assuming any of ours will "pick up the slack." Perhaps you can run some seminars on guilt-tripping for heathens!

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2098 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    Oh- by "we" I meant "my family". Imprecise, unclear, obfuscatory, even- to be sure.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2098 posts Report Reply

  • dc_red,

    My understanding is that $46k is the average full-time salary.

    The term "average wage" presumably (properly?) refers to the mean income of everyone who earns at least a buck a year ... and would be a hell of a lot lower than $46k?

    Which would go a long way to explaining why, as I/S established, around half of all earners pay less than $3600pa in tax?

    Oil Patch, Alberta • Since Nov 2006 • 706 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    And to be perfectly blunt, I'm more than a little tired of the media/political assumption that if you don't -- or can't -- have children its wine and roses all the way.

    To me the assumption is that having children is very costly and also worthwhile. Both of which are true in my experience. I agree that it might feel that you are undervalued if you don't have them, but there is no doubting that, other things being equal, having children costs a lot. I definitely had a lot more spare cash for wine and roses before.

    But strangely, I also had a lot less money, because I was a lot less disciplined, because I didn't have to be.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10647 posts Report Reply

  • Christopher Worthington,

    Gareth you are correct that the total cost is what's important, at least in terms of choosing between alternatives. But the spread is certainly important in judging how feasible implementing the package will be. As I noted in an earlier post, the individual tax take is projected to increase by $5.2bn over the next three years. A significant portion of a $3bn tax cut package over a three year period would simply address the fact that average tax rates climb over time if thresholds are not adjusted. To look at it the other way, over a three year period there is around $6bn of unallocated spending to allocate, which I suspect would be enough to fund the tax cut if other spending increases were held to inflation + demographic growth.

    Since Jan 2008 • 25 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    Indeed Christopher - If the tax take is forecast in three years time to be $5.2billion more than it is today (surprised it's that high) then not taking in $3b of that money (i.e. tax cut) is not necessarily that big a deal. I'm not convinced that central Government needs a lot more money per person than they currently receive to deliver on services.

    There's a broader argument about should the Government increase the levels of welfare and state-provided services as general income levels rise vs should they be a net that simply ensures a minimum level of wellbeing for all citizens. Of course as general incomes rise, the concept of "minimum level of wellbeing" tends to rise with it...

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1727 posts Report Reply

  • InternationalObserver,

    should the Government increase the levels of welfare and state-provided services as general income levels rise vs should they be a net that simply ensures a minimum level of wellbeing for all citizens.

    Hence the lobbying for Herceptin to be funded for a full year. Will the squeaky wheel get the oil? My dad got prostrate cancer; so I could argue more money needs to be spent on mens health. But I won't, because there can be no winners when you start arguing who should get the health dollar.

    Since Jun 2007 • 909 posts Report Reply

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