Word of the day

August 12, 2011

Pandiculation – the act of stretching and yawning.


August 12, 2011

The combination of sport and numbers isn’t a good one for me and that was reflected in 4/10 – all of which were guesses –  in the Herald’s sports quiz.



August 12, 2011

A must-do-better 5/10 in the Herald’s changing world quiz.

Friday’s answers

August 12, 2011

Thursday’s questions were:

1. Who said: The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessing; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries”?

2. What is Allium sativum?

3. Where in mianland New Zealand is Mount Domet?

4. It’s herbe in French, erba  in Italian,  hierba in Spanish and taru in Maori, what is it in English?

5. Ra was the Egyptian god of what?

Points for answers:

James earned his quietly happy with four.

Rob and Andrei both got four definite and a near enough is good enough for # 3 which wins them an electronic chocolate cake each.

Adam got four (with credit for honesty).

David got two and a bonus for having been to or close to #3.

George got two – although I’ll award a thrid if you can prove there’s another Domet near Karamea. (I found one in the Chathams but not another in mainland NZ – or the Mainland.

Answers follow the break:

Read the rest of this entry »

Labour doesn’t understand own CGT proposal

August 12, 2011

Does Labour understand it’s own capital gains tax proposal?

Trans Tasman says they don’t:

In a press statement issued August 3, Labour’s finance spokesman David Cunliffe stated categorically “KiwiSaver funds will not incur capital gains tax on their share investments under Labour’s policy proposals. KiwiSaver funds which invest in shares are already taxed as portfolio investments entities (PIEs) at the PIE rate of 28%, or as widely-held superannuation funds taxed at 30%.”

Revenue spokesman Stuart Nash added “in neither case would the KiwiSaver fund attract additional capital gains tax,as tax is already paid on a trading basis.”

Trans Tasman says that’s incorrect:

One of the big attractions of KiwiSaver funds is they do NOT pay tax on share _trading gains.
Based on a written response from Cunliffe to the Shareholders’ Association on July 20, in circumstances where currently no tax is payable on capital gains, the 15% CGT would apply under Labour’s proposal. So KiwiSaver funds would suffer CGT on share trading gains, which are currently exempt from CGT, at the rate of 15%. And where Labour says PIEs are taxed at 28%, the maximum rate, they are actually taxed at the rate of the investor, which could be lower than 28%, ie at 10.5%, or 17.5%. Widely-held superannuation funds are taxed at 28%, not the 30% rate, as Cunliffe contended.

One of the reasons simple tax rules are better is that they are easier, and less expensive to administer and more difficult to avoid.

If Labour’s CTG is so complex it’s own MPs don’t understand it, how will the IRD, accountants, lawyers and individual taxpayers get on?

MPs can agree when it matters

August 12, 2011

Our parliamentary system tends to be adversorial and we see a lot more of MPs at odds than in agreement.

However, yesterday there was unaninimity on two important pieces of legislation.

The first was the Electoral (Administration) Amendment Bill (No 2) 

The Bill, introduced by Justice Minister Simon Power,  establishes a new Electoral Commission, which will be a one-stop shop for electoral matters.

“I’m pleased that the Government’s electoral law reform programme, including the rewrite of controversial electoral finance laws, has attracted the wide support of Parliament,” Mr Power said.

“Such cross-party support will help to ensure New Zealand’s electoral laws are enduring.”

Unlike the Electoral Finance Act which was driven by ideology, caused division and was dumped when the government changed, this one is driven by common sense, has cross party support and so will endure.

The second piece of legislation which passed unanimously was the  Child and Family Protection Bill.

This was also introduced by the Justice Minister and is to protect child victims of family violence. It:

• Clarifies that when a protected person dies, their children will remain protected. This will avoid any legal confusion at a time when a grieving family is already under stress.
• Makes it clear that protecting children from all forms of violence – a principle of the Care of Children Act 2004 – includes protection from psychological abuse and direct and indirect abuse.
• Ensures that a child of a protection-order applicant will continue to be protected if they live at home past the age of 17.
• Ensures a focus on the best interests of the child by giving parents an opportunity to review care and contact arrangements soon after a temporary protection order is made.
• Avoids any opportunity for a lapse between a temporary order and a final protection order coming into effect which could have resulted in a victim having no protection.
• Makes it easier to obtain protection for children at risk of unlawful removal from New Zealand.
• Creates a new offence in the Adoption Act 1955 for improper inducement of consent to an adoption, punishable by up to seven years’ imprisonment. This enables New Zealand to ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, and ensures New Zealand is meeting its international obligations to protect children from economic and sexual exploitation.

This is very different from electoral reform but it is also too important for political posturing.

If only there was similar agreement on what caused the  3,867 domestic violence cases in the Family Court which each involved at least one child in the 2009/10 year and how to solve them.

News or views?

August 12, 2011

The headline says: PM about to take stick to welfare system.

The story says:

The welfare system will be the subject of Prime Minister John Key’s speech to the National Party conference this weekend and that means solo-parents, sickness and invalid beneficiaries could get hit.

If you read on you get some balance:

Picking up a benefit is part of life for many people whether they like it or not.

There is always been some kind of queue and Mr Key says it is time it was shortened.

“I think you judge a society by the way it looks after it’s sick and it’s vulnerable. But you also judge a society by how many dependent people you create and I think as a country we are creating too many dependent people.”

But neither the headline nor the end of the first sentence are news, they’re views. The choice of language makes them opinion rather than fact.

There is another view – that increasing independence is better than fostering dependence, that welfare reform wouldn’t be hitting beneficiaries but helping them and wider society.