Getting round the flight tax

November 26, 2008

The British government’s plan to tax people flying out of Britain, with the rate rising for the distance and class (ie first class to New Zealand costs more than cattle class to anywhere else) could well have unintended consequences.

People could take a short haul flight to Euorpe and pay a lower tax then take the long haul flight from there  or travel by sea or train to Europe and escape the tax altogether.

It wouldn’t be as convenient as flying direct but providing there was no concern about conencting with the onward flight the money saved could make it worth while.

Another consequence could be a reduction in tourists travelling to Britain because they don’t want to have to pay more to leave again.


Ouch!

November 26, 2008

haka


Key’s debut solid

November 26, 2008

The ODT reckons John Key’s debut on the world stage was solid.

John Key’s entry on to the world stage at the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation summit in Lima, Peru, has been a solid beginning for the new prime minister, pitched at the right level for a debutant leader.

He was forthright in his views, and reportedly pragmatic rather than flashy in his speeches and presentations. . .

. . . In this display of tough talking, Mr Key signalled that he was intent on establishing a presence internationally as a straight-shooter, but he also took advantage of the occasion to distance himself from his former associations with the banking and finance sectors. Reporters covering the trip also saw another side of Mr Key: at times he “gushed” and at others appeared “gauche”, thus living up to his role as the new kid on the Asia-Pacific block.

But he was, as he has shown several times since winning the election a little more than two weeks ago, refreshingly candid.

There were signs of humility, too, in his preparations: he sought out Helen Clark for a briefing, and appeared grateful.

“She was genuinely good and so knowledgeable about these things. Her personal assessments were highly accurate. Generally I said to [leaders] that I had spoken to Helen Clark before I left and she passed on her warm regards. She is well thought of,” he told the media.

And while he spoke warmly of the achievements of the summit, he was also cautious about timeframes for turning the world crisis around, describing the 18 months, belatedly inserted in the final communique at the behest of Peruvian President Alan Garcia, as “aspirational”.

It was a carefully chosen word, showing that Mr Key is learning fast. . .

. . . New Zealand is more than most dependent on free trade and access to markets, so it was critically important that Mr Key attended the forum.

It is also a healthy sign of a maturing democracy that he was able to leave the country a day after being sworn in as prime minister with advice from his predecessor in his briefcase – no small achievement and one for which both Mr Key and Miss Clark are to be commended.

It is a sign of the maturity not only of our democracy, but of the politicians that they can put aside partisan differences for the good of the country. 

A peaceful hand over of power and a willingness of an outgoing leader to give advice and an incoming one to accept it doesn’t happen everywhere. It is something for which we can be grateful and should not take it for granted.


Sth Korea accepting US beef againg

November 26, 2008

South Korean retailers are planning to stock beef from the USA again for the first time after sales stopped five years ago because of fears of mad cow disease.


If you go down to the woods today

November 26, 2008

Someone did go down to the woods today and got a big surprise when she saw a piano sitting there, looking as if it had recently been played.

The report doesn’t mention if there were any signs of picnicing teddy bears.


It must be bad

November 25, 2008

 

It’s a sign things really are bad when the crisis forces the Russians to cut back on vodka.


What’s wrong with the RMA?

November 25, 2008

 

The RMA is supposed to protect the environment but it’s used to stifle competition:

Supermarket giant Progressive Enterprises is appealing an Environment Court decision to allow rival Foodstuffs to open a supermarket on Auckland’s North Shore.

I know nothing about the merits of Foodstuffs’ case but it appears the opposition has nothing to do with the environment and we had a similar problem, on a much smaller scale, with a consent application.

We wanted to take water from the Kakanui River. Our application was for a B water right which meant we could only pump water from the river when it was at high flows and we’d have to stop before any other irrigators so would have no impact on their takes.

We tried to go non-notified and got sign-off from DOC, Fish & Game and the local Iwi. This is obviously quite rare because one of the Regional Council staff suggested we frame the letters. However, existing irrigators opposed the application so we had to notify it and then the Kakanui Ratepayers and Residents Association opposed us too.

We went to a hearing, were granted consent,  but the KRRA appealed it.

Two years, and at least $20,000 later in direct costs plus more in lost income when we had to dry cows off early because we ran out of water for irrigation, their lawyer finally told them they didn’t have a case and they gave up.


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