Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Things To Do

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  • Neil Smart,

    with respect to Deborah do we need advice from Australia or even from Kiwis living in Australia?

    That was gratuitous, Neil.

    Ok so I apologise and withdraw. My point was that Australia has one of the worst tax system in the world. I do not think we should try to copy their GST regime. I have heard such silliness proposed since this particular election year nonsense started.

    Since Nov 2006 • 71 posts Report Reply

  • Terence W,

    doh. I started writing my comment when no comments had been posted, then got called out of my lunch break for an impromptu meeting. So, by the time it was posted, everyone had already said everything...

    Sorry for the repetition.

    YesWeCanberra • Since Mar 2008 • 41 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    Thanks, Neil. And yes, I agree about the Australian tax system.

    New Lynn • Since Nov 2006 • 1447 posts Report Reply

  • Grant McDougall,

    I like GST and think we should keep it. It's an excellent indirect tax. Yes, it does suck that food prices are going up. But a lot of the revenue gained via GST is going back into the gov'ts education / health / education / welfare spending which is there to support those on lower incomes.
    What goes around comes around.

    Dunedin • Since Dec 2006 • 760 posts Report Reply

  • Julian Melville,

    Just don't do what Australia does, I was over there when the GST was introduced and it's a complete shemozzle.

    Cooked chicken (whole)? No GST. Cooked chicken in pieces? GST. Bread? No GST. Sweet bread with icing on top? GST. Argh!

    Auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 200 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Withers,

    Leave the GST alone. It's nice and simple as it is. Creating exceptions to it will only encourage fraud and black markets and other compliance dodges and lurks....not to mention the additional cost for law-abiding merchants (which ends up in the goods). How can you remove the GST completely anyway? If everyone UP TO the retailer is paying it and claiming it, the retailer still ends up with the GST cost from their suppliers included in their costs....even if it isn't added on top of the final price.

    As for the cost of food, we went out to the fruit and veggie market on Mokoia Road the other day and bought a trolly-load of stuff for $66. Veggies and fruit are much cheaper than meat or packaged / processed foods. A 10kg or 20kg bag of rice, even now, is a massive amount of food for what you pay for it. It will feed you for months.

    We have 300kgs of homekill (ours) steer in the freezer that cost us $750 all up....for the equivalent of $3000 worth of supermarket meat...and ours is organic. The beast was mine, the land wasn't sprayed or chemically fertilised. That's roughly $2.50 / kg. It will last us a year. Then we get another one. There are ways to buy good food VERY cheap and they usually involve getting it raw and fresh and, where meat is concerned, investing a little time and thought into it. The price you pay in the supermarket is the price of either ignorance, laziness or both. How much time would you invest to save $2000? Few of us have tim so valuable this this wouldn't be worthwhile.

    How can we ever hope to be a "knowledge economy" if we're all passive supermarket/chain store/logo-driven sheeple who moan about the cost of everything but don't think for 5 seconds about we might do it ourselves better and much cheaper?

    Do you know anyone with a few acres in the rural areas around Auckland your town? Might you be able to pay them to graze your $300 steer or raise your $60 bobby calf for a year or so? Or offer to share half with them if you buy the animal? Find a registered homekill butcher who will do things the way you like them done? You could cut your meat bill in half or more. Sure it takes a bit of planning.

    Pigs gestate for 3 months, 3 weeks and 3 days. They take 6 months to reach freezer weight. Kune kunes take a year. The meat is great...and you feed them leftovers and table scraps from yourself and your neighbours. Good...and cheap. You know hwat it ate and where it came from.

    Yes, you have to buy a 700 litre freezer. Even if you buy it new, you save the cost of that (and more) with your first beast.

    I've done these things. I'm amazed more people don't.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 312 posts Report Reply

  • Shep Cheyenne,

    Whishart is a horrid little cretin, but as with many lies he bases them on some 'truths'.

    I'm of the opinion all cops of the 80s & early 90s are at least guilty of complicity in various acts of 'corruption'.

    We need their experience and guidence for those coming through. I believe there has been a change in culture and behaviour. There is a sense of, 'That was then & this is now'. Redemtion is something I believe all people are capable of and even this institution.

    So we're left with working in the reality of an imperfect world & big crimes should be addressed and the trivia Wishart ties himself up in be let go, as we would for anyone else.

    Since Oct 2007 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • michael freeman,


    hamilton • Since Apr 2008 • 2 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    Whatever way you slice it, child poverty is not fixable by fiddling the edges of the tax system. Poverty for those on a benefit is due to the fact that benefits are to low to merely eat and be clothed adequately, let alone participate in civil - and digital - society. Child poverty is as high as it because Labour is unwilling to buy into the fight with the entrenched new right establishment that any attempt at reversing the benefit cuts of the 1990's would signal.

    Labour has accepted the status quo and in doing so Labour accepted structural poverty as part of the New Zealand landscape. In the low wage economy the new right ideologues constructed in the 1990's there emerged the new (for New Zealand) phenomena of both the poor and the working poor. Labour has done its best, but only way within the confines of the ideological straightjacket of Ruthenasia it could any sort of program to low income New Zealanders was to accept the new Victorianism and divide the poor into deserving (the working poor) and the undeserving (beneficiaries). By doing this, Labour was able to deliver Working For Families. The fact that this policy is widely dispised by the right shows how much the debate is still framed by the new right.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2217 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    I hope people can follow my argument above, I never have time to proof read.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2217 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    There's another approach that's used in the US - food stamps - these are in essence $ valued vouchers that can be spent as money in supermarkets but only on food - if you want to address at least the food side of child-poverty they're a way to target benefits more finely

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2623 posts Report Reply

  • LegBreak,

    Just out of interest Russell B

    Why are you giving Wishart the oxygen of publicity?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1162 posts Report Reply

  • Terence W,

    I'm amazed more people don't.

    I'm not.

    YesWeCanberra • Since Mar 2008 • 41 posts Report Reply

  • linger,

    Terence: why not?
    are you arguing --
    (a) most people are too stupid to work these things out for themselves?
    (b) most people don't ever save enough disposable capital to initiate such a system (e.g. the bulk freezer is not affordable without getting a loan, which kind of defeats the whole "saving money" point), so that the more likely solution would be a short-term one of "buying less meat this week and waiting for a special".

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1944 posts Report Reply

  • linger,

    Which is to say, Steve's post is an excellent demonstration of how the rich can end up paying less GST in the long run -- they are better able to afford ways of cutting costs.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1944 posts Report Reply

  • Terence W,


    Essentially (b) noting that those people least able to afford meat will also be those least able to purchase bulk freezers and the like. And least able to afford the time involved (which also involves a considerable amount of research time to find out how to get it all done).

    By and large, I suspect that markets for meat in New Zealand come close enough to perfect competition for the price we pay in the supermarket to approximate the opportunity and other costs involved in DIY - for most people

    I'm not saying Steve's suggestion is a bad one mind you. Just that it doesn't surprise me that more people don't follow his advice. For the majority it ain't so easy to make the savings worth it.

    Back to work.

    YesWeCanberra • Since Mar 2008 • 41 posts Report Reply

  • James Littlewood*,

    Deborah you're right: fair's not always fair. The rich should pay more tax than the poor. Or rather, the poor are - by definition - obviously more deserving of tax relief than the rich.

    But while removing GST on some foods is clearly even more regressive than blanket GST, it may nevertheless make desirable foods more accessible to - well - everyone than they are now.

    'Cept of course for - as Michael and others suggest - the whole thing's completely unworkable and just ain't gonna hapn.

    Bagged lettuce
    Bagged lettuce with dressing sachet

    Auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 410 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    There's another approach that's used in the US - food stamps

    So let's hoist these perceptions up the flagpole and see what happens.

    People are only poor because they waste their money on pokie macines and fags. Let's give em food stamps.

    If you earn enough you can afford an accountant and pay no tax and claim your GST back.

    A simple catch all tax system is cheaper and less open to abuse.

    There is such a thing as a poverty trap.

    The smarter you work the more you are worth.

    The harder you work the more valuable you are.

    Ian Wishart and D4J are in lurve.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Mikaere Curtis,

    I'm in the Leave GST Alone crowd. Addressing poverty is not going achieved by complicating the consumption tax system.

    I like the Greens' tax policy of no tax on the first $5000 of income. The lower your income, the more you would benefit. And everyone gets a tax cut, which is not the case if we simply lower the top tax rate from 39% to 33%.

    Tamaki Makaurau • Since Nov 2006 • 528 posts Report Reply

  • Shep Cheyenne,

    It seems Family First have been less than honest in their Smacking Petition.


    Since Oct 2007 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    I like the Greens' tax policy of no tax on the first $5000 of income. The lower your income, the more you would benefit.

    I could not aggree more. It should also be linked to CPI. This could also act as a curb against inflation by leaving more money in the system when most needed.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    If you earn enough you can afford an accountant and pay no tax and claim your GST back.

    According to Treasury the 14% of the country who earn in the top tax bracket pay 53% of all the tax. The top 1% alone pay 16% of the total tax take for the nation.

    Someone should tell all those rich people they can just 'hire an accountant' and not pay anything.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • Don Christie,

    Oh god. This thread is depressing for the lack of comprehension over something that used to be very well understood by most people.

    There are reasonable economic reasons for having GST but please let's not pretend that fairness is one of them. GST hits the poorest hardest. to claim otherwise was the Friedman tosh I was referring to.

    There are certain necessities of life that take up more of your income if you are poorer. 12.5% is quite a premium to be paying on these necessities.

    As for the simplicity argument, I agree, the Aussie tax system stinks but that is for reasons other than GST. Removing GST from food would be relatively simple. All the accounting systems I have worked with have multiple GST levels anyhow (at the very least zero and 12.5%).

    Finally, as an employer, I would like to address this issue before anyone gets the wrong idea:

    Plus, Jo earns more because he owns a company (probably an over-capp'd LAQC), so writes his beer off as a bogus business expense, paying no GST at all.

    Yes, but the chances are fringe benefit tax will apply and that is higher than GST. No free liquid lunches here.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1645 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    It seems Family First have been less than honest in their Smacking Petition.


    Not to mention they've just played their censorship card too:

    Scoop: Violent Video Game Should Be Banned

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5446 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Hosking,

    Yes, but the chances are fringe benefit tax will apply and that is higher than GST. No free liquid lunches here.

    And, as an expense, you can only claim 50% of entertainment costs against tax.

    Not only that, IRD is particularly beady about entertainment expenses. If you get audited, they'll really give these the once-over. So most self employed have learned not to push this one too far.

    When GST was introduced the less-well off were supposed to have been compensated by a boost in family support. This was the internal political trade-off within the Labour caucus.

    The boost was not small - an additional two-thirds increase on what they were already getting. (the average figure was $312 and it went to $520 - these are 1986 figures, remember).

    How much of this is still embedded in WFF and other support packages I don't know. I don't think there was a further adjustment when Caygill took GST to 12.5% in 1989.

    And as Craig has pointed out, the less well off without families have been continually told, in effect, to go and screw thems...ummm, someone.

    South Roseneath • Since Nov 2006 • 830 posts Report Reply

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