Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door


Happy birthday Steven Adler, 45 today.

Showing my age and ignorance of modern music, this was the only song of the choices offered for Guns ‘N’ Roses which I recognised.

Making more without raising taxes


The public sector has a responsibility to spend money wisely but there is only so much fat to cut out before it effects services.

Some governments are happy to get more money by raising taxes. Thankfully, this one is not.

But it does have a third option.

Trans Tasman reports:

Energy and Resources Minister Gerry Brownlee this week received a report detailing the results of a stock-take of the nation’s mineral wealth and it’s expected it will go through Cabinet consideration in the next few weeks. Brownlee will initiate a consultation process on proposed changes to Schedule 4 of the Crown Minerals Act which rules out mining on listed areas of the conservation estate, (except underground mining which does not disturb the land surface) . . .

The idea of doing a stock-take caused an uproar from the dark green corner, acting on the information will be even more controversial.

But not all conservation land is pristine and beautiful. Some of it is weed and pest infested wasteland.

If there is mineral wealth beneath low value conservation land and it can be extracted with minimum impact on the surrounding area the economic and social benefits will outweigh the environmental cost.

More money available for improved health and education services vs a minor impact on low value conservation land? No contest.

Avoiding tax not only preserve of wealthy


A drop in the tax rate doesn’t always mean a drop in the tax take.

 Kiwiblog reminds us that in the 1980s when tax rates dropped the tax take increased. I rememberthen- Finance Minister Ruth Richardson showing a graph which illustrated the same thing happened in the early 1990s.

The inverse is also the case. If tax rates go up the tax take may not increase as expected because people find ways to avoid paying.

The Tax Working Groups said:

. . .  an Inland Revenue sample of 100 of the highest wealth individuals in New Zealand, data indicate that only about half are paying the highest marginal tax rate on their income. These taxpayers are not necessarily doing anything wrong but are merely taking advantage of the opportunities offered by the current system to shelter income from higher rates.

Tax evasion is illegal, avoidance isn’t. When the top tax rate increased to 38% and Working for Families was introduced, lawyers and accountants had a field day with clients looking to minimise their tax liability.

It wasn’t just minimising tax, it was minimising their income so they’d qualify for WfF and this isn’t confined to the wealthy.

A friend has a business in which employees often work a lot of over time. When WfF was introduced he found several of his staff didn’t want paid for all the hours they worked because the reduction in what they got from WfF had the effect of giving them a high marginal tax rate and it wasn’t worth their while.

Some wanted to work the extra hours and be paid cash or in kind so that their earnings could escape the notice of the IRD. That is not avoidance, it’s evasion and our friend declined to abet them.

Not everyone will be that honest.

That’s why rises in tax rates, or measures like WfF which have a similar effect, don’t necessarily result in a corresponding increase in the tax take and might even reduce it.

And cuts in the rate may increase the take because people stop trying to avoid taxes and put their efforts into earning more instead.

January 22 in history


On January 22:

 1506 The first contingent of 150 Swiss Guards arrived at the Vatican.

1521 Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, opened the Diet of Worms.

1561 Sir Francis Bacon, English philosopher, was born.

1771 – Spain ceded Port Egmont in the Falkland Islands to England.
1788 George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron (Lord Byron), English poet, was born.

1824 – Ashantis defeated British forces in the Gold Coast.

 Map of the Ashanti Region within Ghana

1840 The New Zealand Company’s first settler ship, the Aurora, arrived at Petone, marking the official commencement of the settlement that would eventually become Wellington.

 First European settlers arrive in Wellington

  1889 Columbia Phonograph was formed in Washington, D.C.


1899 Leaders of six Australian colonies met in Melbourne to discuss confederation.

1901 Edward VII was proclaimed King after the death of his mother, Queen Victoria.

1905 Bloody Sunday in St. Petersburg, beginning of the 1905 revolution.

1906 SS Valencia ran aground on rocks on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, killing more than 130.

 SS Valencia shipwreck, seen from one of the rescuing ships

1919 Act Zluky was signed, unifying the Ukrainian People’s Republic and the West Ukrainian National Republic.

 Signing of the Act Zluky, on the St. Sophia Square in Kiev.

1924 Ramsay MacDonald became the first Labour Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

1927 First live radio commentary of a football match anywhere in the world, between Arsenal F.C. and Sheffield United at Highbury.

1931 Sir Isaac Isaacs was sworn in as the first Australian-born Governor-General of Australia.

1934 Graham Kerr, British-born, New Zealand chef, was born.

1940 John Hurt, English actor, was born.

1941 British and Commonwealth troops captured Tobruk from Italian forces during Operation Compass.

1946 Iran: Qazi Muhammad declared the independent people’s Republic of Mahabad at Chuwarchira Square in the Kurdish city of Mahabad. He was the new president; Hadschi Baba Scheich was the prime minister.

1946 – Creation of the Central Intelligence Group, forerunner of the Central Intelligence Agency.

1952 The first Jet airliner, the de Havilland Comet, entered service for BOAC.

1957  Israel withdrew from the Sinai Peninsula.

1957 The New York City “Mad Bomber”, George P. Metesky, was arrested and charged with planting more than 30 bombs.

1959 Knox Mine Disaster: Water breaches the River Slope Mine near Pittston City, Pennsylvania in Port Griffith; 12 miners are killed.

1960 Michael Hutchence, Australian singer (INXS), was born.

1962 Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin of Terengganu, Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia, was born.

Yang di-pertuan agong ke-13.PNG

1963 The Elysée treaty of cooperation between France and Germany was signed by Charles de Gaulle and Konrad Adenauer.

1965 Steven Adler, American drummer (Guns N’ Roses), was born.

1968 Apollo 5 lifted off carrying the first Lunar module into space.

 LM1 embr original.jpg

1973  The Supreme Court of the United States delivered its decision in Roe v. Wade, legalizing elective abortion in all fifty states.

1984  The Apple Macintosh, the first consumer computer to popularize the computer mouse and the graphical user interface, was introduced during Super Bowl XVIII with its famous “1984” television commercial.

A beige, boxy computer with a small black and white screen showing a window and desktop with icons. 

1987  Pennsylvania politician R. Budd Dwyer shot and killed himself at a press conference on live national television, leading to debates on boundaries in journalism.

1990 Robert Tappan Morris, Jr. was convicted of releasing the 1988 Internet Computer worm.

 Disk containing the source code for the Morris Worm held at the Boston Museum of Science.

1992 Space Shuttle program: STS-42 Mission – Dr. Roberta Bondar became the first Canadian woman in space.

 Roberta Bondar NASA.jpg

1999 Australian missionary Graham Staines and his two sons were burned alive by radical Hindus while sleeping in their car in Eastern India.

2002 Kmart Corp beccame the largest retailer in United States history to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

2006 Evo Morales was inaugurated as President of Bolivia, becoming the country’s first indigenous president.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.

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