An Open Invitation to form a Political Party with Principles - Gareth Morgan

Since the announced closure of TOP there has been a flood of comment, gossip, hypotheses and even advice on how to resurrect that party. Almost all of that 3rd party conjecture is blissfully unaware of what the purpose of that political party actually was. I don’t expect clarification to have any impact on the acuity of the political gossip columnists and purveyors of fake news, but setting the record straight (once again) might at least enlighten some as to the agenda

Read more
Add your reaction Share

Political Point Scoring

It seems Winston Peters has not taken long to get comfortable in his new role as Acting Prime Minister. His recent comments aiming to get housing affordability down to 5 times the living wage certainly speaks of a man not just looking to occupy his seat in a caretaker capacity, but rather shape it with his own identity. Obviously housing affordability must improve, but to claim such a target is achievable “before not too long” is simply absurd. The median house price across the country is currently $562,000, or 13 times the living wage, and much higher in our main centres. To achieve his proposed level of affordability the living wage would need to more than double to over $40 p/h. Considering minimum wage hikes up to $20 p/h are predicted to cost around 30,000 jobs by 2020, it’s not unreasonable to question our ability to cope with such an increase. Sure, he’s not saying these changes will happen immediately, but something will have to drastically change in order to drive such wage increases. Nothing in the Government’s current policy suite comes remotely close to achieving this.

Read more
5 reactions Share

Canada To Legalise

Hats off to the Canadian Government for following an evidence-based approach to Cannabis reform. Yesterday they passed a landmark law that will legalise the recreational use of cannabis nationwide and will provide a regulated market for its sale and supply. Cannabis use is a health issue and the Canadian Government will treat it as such, rather than relying on their criminal justice system which simply exacerbates the issue, as we have seen in New Zealand. 

Read more
2 reactions Share

What to do with Water Bottlers

I would imagine the reaction of most New Zealanders would be pretty similar if you said it’s a good idea to allow overseas companies to bottle and sell our fresh water, and that they shouldn’t have to pay for it.

Read more
4 reactions Share

Who's paying for pollution?

Dairy farming in New Zealand is synonymous with environmental degradation. A lot of the time, the criticism farmers receive is warranted considering the sheer scale of the industry and the impact it has on our environment. However, they are not the only ones who should shoulder the blame. In terms of water quality, the worst damage is often concentrated in urban areas, far away from the pastures that support our biggest export industry. It’s a problem that exists across the board, and it is the tax payer who ends up fronting the bill for the environmental damage resulting from production. It’s now forestry’s turn to put the spot light over this massive gap that exists in our environmental regulation.

Read more
1 reaction Share

Cracks Beginning To Appear For Kiwibuild.

When the Kiwibuild program was first announced we wrote that there was a chance it may simply crowd out private sector building.  We were not alone in harbouring this doubt as various industry commentators have shared similar views. It appears this, along with other concerns such as the lack of capacity, cost blow outs and affordability problems, have led quietly to a change of scope. The official documentation now states Kiwibuild will “facilitate the delivery” of the planned 100,000 homes, rather than “build”. It may seem minor, and arguing about semantics is never very productive, but it does further expose Labour’s flagship policy to criticism. Analysis from economic modeling firm Infometrics showed that the policy could see as few as 9,200 additional properties added to the dwelling stock over the next four years, representing less than one-third of the program that is penciled in for that period.

Read more
3 reactions Share

Promising more, spending less

The health system was the big winner from the recent Budget announcement which saw a much needed increase in capital funding. This was one area that had been starved by the previous government’s insistence to pay down debt and as a result was left drastically underfunded. It’s symptomatic of the infrastructure crisis we face across the country, where public transport, schools, and housing services are teetering on the brink. Even so, Treasury’s 2018 Investment Statement estimated that DHBs required $14 billion of spending over the next 10 years; the $850 million allocated to capital spending in this budget is a start, but it falls well short of requirements.

Read more
2 reactions Share

Petulance & Policy Paralysis

One can only hope Sir John was out hitting golf balls and Mr. English stomping round in the mud. Such was the embarrassing nature of Simon Bridges’ speech on budget day, the former leaders would have been shocked to see the extent the leadership capabilities of their former party had fallen. Bridges was supported of course by a cast of sneering MP’s just as culpable in behavior that would not be tolerated in a primary school class room.  While the Prime Minister, relentlessly positive as always, managed to retain the moral high ground, in the most part, the scenes of red and blue in their trenches jeering across the room left no surprise as to why the faith and engagement in our democracy is dwindling.

Read more
2 reactions Share

Spending Our Way Out Of Trouble

The recent funding model proposed for the new Auckland rail developments, along with last week’s budget announcement shows the impacts of the Budget Responsibility Rules committed to by Labour before the election.  

Read more
3 reactions Share

Weak Analyses Plus Political Bias: Failure Inevitable for the Tax Working Group?

The TWG has been set an impossible mission – improve the tax regime, make it more efficient and fair, but don’t recommend any changes to the tax treatment of owner occupied housing. And another – make the tax system fairer but don’t deal with the interface between tax rates and welfare (which is just negative tax after all).

Read more
5 reactions Share