Showing posts from August, 2015

Government Up Shit Creek Without A Paddle

Bill English is not a stupid man and his lack of performance as a Finance Minister is not because he lacks ability but due to his ideology and that of his Government. National's economic philosophy is to reduce taxes and regulation and take a back seat as regards driving the economy and allow market forces to rule. The National Government has had seven years to prove that their philosophy will deliver prosperity to all New Zealanders and at least four of them have been on the other side of Great Financial Crisis . It seems that the ideology has failed and the OECD has noted that our country has lost 15.5 percentage points of growth t hrough inequality, the highest in the OECD. One of the first things the Government did was reduce taxes to upper income earners and rather than being fiscally neutral it cost them over a billion a year in lost income . Although the rich in New Zealand have enjoyed increases in their wealth of around 10-20% a year since 2011, English has steadfastl

National's Spindoctors Preparing For Meltdown

The National Party is fortunate that ethics play little part in their governance style. Why tell the truth and be upfront when you can remain in power through misinformation (lies), withholding OIA responses and well prepared spin ? The Prime Minister now has several press secretaries (when previous Prime Ministers just used one) and more is being spent on PR advice or spin doctors under this Government than policy analysis. Things have not gone well over the past week , the $11.5 million non-compensation payment to Mr Al Khalaf has continued to cause problems and Solid Energy's collapse under National's watch is also embarrassing. However, as this Government knows anything can be solved with good spin. There is absolutely no evidence in the documentation that the actions of the previous Labour Government forced National's hand to payout the Saudi businessman, however, repeating it often enough soon has the idea imbedded. After every question relating to the deal,

Social democrats gaining support in the US & UK

Bernie Sanders  and  Jeremy Corbyn  are frightening the hell out of capitalists and mainstream politicians from the left and the right. Corbyn and Sanders were both thought to be too far to the left to ever be considered as potential or popular leaders, but their very similar messages have resonated within their parties to the extent both are leading polls with considerable margins. Neoliberalism and Laissez-faire economics has ruled the world for so long that even parties of the left in OECD countries have felt obliged to adopt and maintain policies that should be outside their philosophies. It is ironic that the phrase "it's the economy, stupid" actually came from a Clinton campaign  as it became ingrained within mainstream parties of the left and the right that people served the economy rather than the other way around. Thatcher ,  Reagan and New Zealand's  Douglas  and Richardson shifted their countries into economies that were tax and regulation light to

Coal Powered Dairy Monolith Falters

The plummeting milk price and the failure of the Fonterra juggernaut has resulted in a nationwide intake of breath followed by a great grumbling "bugger" emanating from our rural heartland. The word was also heard from the depths of Bill English's office as he saw his balanced budget slipping through his fingers. The National Government had begun their first term dreaming of 'sexy coal' and the riches Australia had achieved by digging up their farmland for the fossil fuel that was powering China's industrial revolution. The black gold rush ended before it began, resulting in the $600 million collapse of Solid Energy and a $30 million dollar lignite briquetting plant mothballed . Luckily for the Government a white gold rush overtook what had become a lignitemare and China's thirst for milk seemed unquenchable. The growth in dairy was intense and the investment in dairy conversions and processing capacity grew so fast that regional councils struggled

Drug laws make the convicted the victims

I think that the Green Party's policy on drug law reform makes sense to me, it is all about minimising harm and recognizing that any drug use can have negative effects, whether recreational, prescription, legal or illegal. The principles at the beginning of the policy are: A rational drug policy is important for society as a whole; A drug free lifestyle is the healthiest; Some individuals in society will choose to use alcohol, tobacco, cannabis and other drugs regardless of their legal status: Current Government policies in relation to cannabis, alcohol and other drugs are failing to minimise harm and instead are creating a further set of problems; There are adverse health, social and economic consequences from the use of alcohol, tobacco, cannabis and other drugs for both individuals and society. Dependence on prescription drugs is also a problem; Not all drug use is abusive or problematic. One of the most horrific examples of how our current drug laws are failing

2015 Rich List and Poor List

The NBR Rich List 2015 has just been released, it has the usual black cover, gold title and the first few pages are advertisements for luxury sports cars and the back pages are for luxury real estate in Queenstown and the Bay of Islands. There are 15 newcomers to the Rich List (they have to be each worth at least $50 million), this is up from 13 added last year and 12 in 2013. To quote NBR News Editor who wrote the introduction: "One thing is clear: property stands out as one sector where returns have been almost immeasurable and the absence of a capital gains tax continues to favour investment in this area." Six of the top twenty have property investment as their source of wealth and income. While dairy farming has not fared well with international prices the Chinese demand for farms has kept farm property prices high. I could only find three women listed as individuals in the 2015 Rich List. Our hundred richest New Zealanders, together with our New Zealand b