OnPoint by Keith Ng

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OnPoint: Taskforce 2025: A Space Odyssey

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  • B Jones,

    Dr Brash said on the radio yesterday that it wasn't a partisan thing, and one of the other members of the panel was a former finance minister and Deputy Leader of the Labour Party under Helen Clark (or words to that effect) - it took ages of boggling at the thought of Michael Cullen abolishing the super fund that I realised he meant David Caygill. And sure enough, on the telly pictures, there he was.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 976 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    but why? What are the structural reasons for that?

    Or the question could be: what are the cultural reasons?
    *When I say culture, I don't mean Kapa haka, by the way.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4414 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    And what's the value of a neolib cheerleader? Business roundtabler Roger Kerr on RNZ this morning has clearly not learned a thing from his existence on the planet.

    Never a plutonium-powered DeLorean when you need one, so it can be set on a one-way trip.

    I have an idea: if we want to catch up with Australia, why don't we start by looking at what they are actually doing? They don't have low taxes, low government spending, or minimal regulation. Nor have they slashed spending on health and education.

    And they've had less of an issue with abusive monopolies, even if you count Telstra.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5433 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    It's hard to avoid the conclusion that this is a big fat patsy, generating outrage so that whatever the Tax Working Group report suggests will look moderate and sensible by comparison.

    That was my conclusion as well Keith. I was reminded of the 1994 Todd Taskforce on tertiary education funding which presented two models - one big bad suck most of the government money out, and a second not so bad leech a heap of money out slowly.

    One option gets the headlines, the other gets implemented, fees jump from $1500 to $3000 over the next five years.

    All we need now is the government to release option B.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    So why don't local employers pay more for skilled labour? Everybody knows that you get paid more elsewhere -- but why? What are the structural reasons for that?

    It seems largely to have been an issue since Black Monday and the bankruptcy of DFC. Much of the investment in NZ since then has gone into property speculation, which has been glaringly overlooked by the Brash Report. I suppose turkeys don't vote for their own Thanksgiving.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5433 posts Report Reply

  • dc_red,

    @Sacha

    "...if you let rich folk pay less tax they will invest the bounty in productive enterprise rather than german cars, italian marble and coastal real estate."

    If I was to enjoy a tax break of Brahsian proportions, I would pretty much follow option B.

    Pay down mortgage.
    Buy nice car.
    Re-do kitchen.

    Assuming I had any money left for such frivolity after paying for privatized social services, of course.

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

  • Steve Barnes,

    Dear Moderators: Stewie Griffin has hacked Ranapia's profile.
    Oh. hang on, that was ages ago.
    ;-)

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Assuming I had any money left for such frivolity after paying for privatized social services, of course.

    I think the idea is that you won't. But it'll be better for you.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22839 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Chapman,

    Rod Oram talking to Kathryn Ryan, after utterly rubbishing the report and Don Brash's attitude in preparing it, made the withering observation that went something along the lines of "I think the great triumph of this report is that it will convince New Zealanders of the pointlessness of the exercise."

    Wellington • Since Nov 2008 • 135 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Dear Moderators: Stewie Griffin has hacked Ranapia's profile.
    Oh. hang on, that was ages ago.

    Steve: If I make any gratuitously irrelevant dick cracks about someone's personal life, then try and excuse myself by pulling out Ian Wishart's default excuse for his panty-sniffing prickery, please call me out on it. It will be richly deserved.

    I expect that kind of crap from the usual suspects over at Kiwibog or The Sub-Standard. Around here? The bar's a little higher, and Sacha contributes a lot to that.

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

  • Russell Brown,

    More Oram on Nine to Noon: the report is "absolutely devoid of any analysis of what's gone on in the New Zealand economy or the world economy in the last 20 years."

    This thing really is shaping up as a waste of public money.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22839 posts Report Reply

  • Mikaere Curtis,

    My favourite recommendation is that to increase wages to catch up with Australia, we need to reduce the minimum wage.

    Seriously, WTF ?

    Apparently this Task Force was a sop to ACT as part of their support agreement (hence the pre-load with ACT ideologues), so I'm not overly concerned that it represents a stalking horse as such, just more BRT/ACT propaganda, this time paid for by the tax payer.

    To me, the real risks of the National government lie more in the feral nature of their ministers, and their overall policy vacuum, than in some kind of coherent hidden agenda.

    Smith's ACC botching, McCully's MFAT derailment, Brownlee's Schedule 4 mining, Tolley's National Standards, Collins anti-boy racer authoritarianism etc - these all seem to be individual ministers given free rein.

    The ETS, OTOH, reads much more like an orchestrated attempt to transfer wealth to - as I/S puts it - National's cronies.

    Tamaki Makaurau • Since Nov 2006 • 528 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    My favourite recommendation is that to increase wages to catch up with Australia, we need to reduce the minimum wage

    Well, if there are a lot of very rich and very poor people, the average wage could still catch up, right? I guarantee they're talking mean, not median, when they say average. Let alone mode.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • Andre,

    I don't think that the task force trust non-business-owners with money... they may use it non-productively. Deregulation is the cause of the biggest financial meltdown since the 30's and yet we're still being advised by these morons to cast away the safety nets. High levels of social welfare are an indicator of an enlightened society willing to look after the least well-off. Imagine how much better our economic figures would look if we just left the unducated poor to starve and die...

    New Zealand • Since May 2009 • 368 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    Imagine how much better our economic figures would look if we just left the unducated poor to starve and die...

    Or leave them to get angry and close the wealth gap with AK47s.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5433 posts Report Reply

  • Tony Parker,

    And it seems pretty clear that they're spoiling for a fight over pay with the teachers next year. Joy.

    Please....my holidays are coming up shortly. Don't spoil them for me by having to think about next year. It could be a shitstorm.

    Napier • Since Nov 2008 • 232 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    Please....my holidays are coming up shortly. Don't spoil them for me by having to think about next year. It could be a shitstorm.

    Sorry. The person with whom I share my house is in the same boat.

    Or leave them to get angry and close the wealth gap with AK47s.

    Well, there's that theory that welfare provisions are deliberately miserly, but carefully arranged by the powers-that-be so that they aren't miserly *enough* to cause armed revolution... it's a fine line to walk!

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Well, there's that theory that welfare provisions are deliberately miserly, but carefully arranged by the powers-that-be so that they aren't miserly *enough* to cause armed revolution... it's a fine line to walk!

    Of course, you need to starve the poor into submission, because they're little better than animals who will smack their bitches up, do some P and break out the AK-47s...

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

  • steven crawford,

    This thing really is shaping up as a waste of public money.

    I'd call it public money inappropriately spent, on achieving dubious objectives. But money well spent, if you want to the appeal to a large chunk of the half sozzled electorate.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4414 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    Well, there's that theory that welfare provisions are deliberately miserly, but carefully arranged by the powers-that-be so that they aren't miserly *enough* to cause armed revolution... it's a fine line to walk!

    There are many groups of people around the world, that are economically repressed to the point of starvation, and they don't break out the AK-47s... its more often than not, the people that oppress them have the guns. The reasons for keeping beneficiaries heads above water, is probably more about an altruism, I wouldn't like to see lost.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4414 posts Report Reply

  • andin,

    Hi Geoff

    I will be at the do on Friday night, staying over for The Civic tour on Saturday.

    Hope your still around when I get there, I'll be late 10.30ish I hope.
    Keeping myself off the starvation/gun wielding revolutionary line.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1890 posts Report Reply

  • Ana Simkiss,

    The GFD really has changed everything, it's very discouraging to see the same Chicago School Douglas/Richardson/BRT approach trotted out. Again.

    Slightly OT but if any of you have not yet read Paul Krugman's takedown of the true believers of the Chicago School, then may I recommend you take the time: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/06/magazine/06Economic-t.html

    Freemans Bay • Since Nov 2006 • 141 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Proposals no less radical but much more thoughtful from Gareth Morgan:

    - Comprehensive Capital Tax (land included)
    - A NZ$10,000 guaranteed minimum income to replace all benefits
    - Flat income tax of 25% on personal and company earnings
    - Revenue neutral

    The benefit proposal won't work as proposed -- I doubt Morgan understands what the system does -- but the guaranteed minimum income idea is interesting.

    It's not hard to see problems with it, but unlike the Brash report, it does seek to address real problems with the tax system and the economy rather than slashing and burning on principle.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22839 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    I have an idea: if we want to catch up with Australia, why don't we start by looking at what they are actually doing? They don't have low taxes, low government spending, or minimal regulation. Nor have they slashed spending on health and education.

    Indeed. Their funding for Commonwealth (of Australia) students is generous. I'm thankful that as a research student I'm considered to be in that category.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    Perhaps it's the rooting-for-the-underdog in me, but I will put up a couple of defences of some points in the Brash report:
    - Taking spending as a %-of-GDP back to 2005 levels is not that an awful idea. Although I still don't get how it would let us have tax rates so much under those of 2005?
    - The 20% top tax rate (not flat, top) is one of two options they say would be possible at that level of spending. The other is the Scandinavian model of a dual income tax rate, whereby we keep income tax as is (which must have hurt Brash to sign) and slash capital income (profits, dividends, interest although strangely not realised capital gain). There is a whole lot of merit in that given our problems with capital accumulation and they just proposed a Swedish tax system.
    - Removing the layers of complexity in the tax rates (incl the complexity inherent in WFF) would remove an entire industry of tax avoidance. (Note that I don't mean removing the intended outcomes of WFF but perhaps the mechanism that so complicates marginal tax rates and returns).

    Most of the rest is bat-shittery but those points aren't THAT awful.

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

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