Word of the day

June 7, 2013

Exscind – to cut out or off; excise; extirpate.


1 Law 4 All party launched

June 7, 2013

A new political party, 1 Law 4 All, has been launched.

The party wants all New Zealanders to be treated equally at law and in government funding, regardless of race.

1Law 4 All has evolved from a steering committee of concerned citizens who see no end to the government’s granting ever more superior rights, and special funding to part-Maoris, based on their race. The steering committee is made up of previous financial and active members of ACT, Green, Labour, Libertarianz, National and other parties. For the next three months, the 1 Law 4 All party will be concentrating on a membership drive. The leadership team will be announced later, and the Party expects to take List votes from both National and Labour. . .

Single issue parties don’t usually do very well but this issue will resonate.

However, I think the party most likely to lose voters to it is New Zealand First.

The party website is here.

It’s policies are:

  1. Strip from legislation all references to the Treaty of Waitangi and its recently invented “principles”. [read more]
  2. Abolish all race based seats and positions in central and local government. [read more]
  3. Abolish the Waitangi Tribunal. [read more]
  4. Ensure that no individual or group has preferment in legislation or funding on grounds of ethnicity. [read more]
  5. Ensure that there is no constitutional change without the support of three quarters of those voting in a referendum. [read more]
  6. End the official state promotion and enforcement of divisive bi-culturalism. [read more]
  7. Repeal the current foreshore and seabed legislation. [read more]
  8. Withdraw New Zealand from the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. [read more]

It doesn’t yet have a leader and I could find no names on the site.

 


Rural round-up

June 7, 2013

Skills with people and equity keys – Sue O’Dowd:

A young Hawera farming couple who have just bought their first dairy farm are proud to have reached their goal, even though neither of them grew up on a farm.

Thirteen years ago Bryce Savage, 30, landed his first job on a Manaia dairy farm. He and wife Amanda, 29, have since followed the tried and true method of variable order sharemilking and 50:50 sharemilking to put them in a position to buy their own farm.

Last week they took ownership of a 74 hectare dairy farm at Pukengahu, near Stratford, buying it from Bryce’s uncle and aunt, Ross and Stephanie Tong, who told them early last season it was for sale. . .

Vineyards to form grape waste company:

Eight Marlborough wine companies are working on finding new uses for the large amounts of grape waste left over after wine making.

Each year the country’s biggest wine region generates about 40,000 tonnes of grape marc, the skins, seeds and other residue left over after grapes are pressed.

With the support of Marlborough District Council, the wineries are proposing to form a company, Grape Marc Ltd.

Spokesman Eric Hughes of Brancott Estate says it will explore more profitable ways of disposing of the grape waste which at the moment, mostly ends up as basic compost or stock feed. . .

Farmers urged to build up humus levels in the soil:

Farmers are being told they can play a vital role in slowing warming of the planet by protecting and building up the humus in their soil.

The head of an Australian-based company that sells biological farming products describes humus as the soil’s glue, and a vital storage system for carbon, minerals and water.

Humus is a layer of organic material in the soil produced by the decay of plant and animal material.

Nutritech Solutions chief executive Graeme Sait says 150 years of intensive, extractive agriculture has led to a loss of two thirds of the world’s humus, and the massive loss of the carbon that humus stores into the atmosphere. . .

100 years of shorthorn cows:

It is 100 years on for the Milking Shorthorn Society and the cows get the thumbs up for their longevity and ease of care from the 50 people at the national conference.

It is being held in Palmerston North after starting with a meeting at the Railway Hotel in Main St in July 1913.

About 40 people went to see David and Johanna Wood’s milking shorthorns at their Hiwinui farm. . .

Lucerne lifts mood and profit – Andrew Swallow:

DRYLAND SHEEP and beef farmers Gundy and Lisa Anderson have a new spring in their step, and it’s largely thanks to one crop: lucerne.

As they earlier this month relayed to a CRT-organised field day on their farm, Bog Roy Station,  Omarama, four or five years ago they “were doing a fair bit of soul searching.”

“We were going backwards, spending a 100 days every winter feeding everything. We were even feeding cows a bit,” Gundy told the crowd.

They were also embroiled in tenure review and “haemorrhaging” money on an irrigation consent renewal, spending too much time in Christchurch lobbying bureaucrats and talking to lawyers. . .

Alliance extends rowing sponsorship:

Alliance Group has joined forces with Rowing NZ in a new sponsorship that will see the Pure South export brand associated with the New Zealand Rowing team in New Zealand and around the world.

The sponsorship builds on Alliance’s involvement at a lower level with rowing in 2012 which included Alliance’s supply of red meat to the New Zealand rowing team as they prepared for the Olympic regatta in England, and an association with Southland rowers Nathan Cohen and Storm Uru. . .

Foresters Head to Taranaki

Forestry professionals will head to the centre of dairy farming country at the end of this month to attend the NZ Institute of Forestry’s annual conference. Entitled “The Place of Forests in Collaborative Land Use Decisions”, the conference will be of interest to a broad cross section of rural land users, regulators and conservationists and is also the time when the forestry profession recognises its achievers including new Fellows, Forester of the Year and various scholarships awarded through the NZ Institute of Forestry Foundation. .

While containing less than 1% of the nation’s productive plantation forest, Taranaki is nevertheless unique in the way land use decision making to balance the multiple use interests of the mountain, the intensive dairying ring plain and the eastern hill country is managed.  . .


Friday’s answers

June 7, 2013

Thursday’s questions were:

1. “Who said: The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.?

2. What are lares and penates?

3. It’s biens in French, beni in Italian, bienes in Spanish and rawa or taputapu
in Maori, what is it in English?

4. What the name for a dealer in household items such as oil, soap, paint, and groceries and/or who deals in supplies and equipment for ships and boats?

5. If you could pick any material item regardless of cost for your home what would it be?

Points for answers:

Andrei got four – allowing his answer to #5 because he’s right although it doesn’t answer the question I asked.

PDM got two and sympathy for the cold.

Grant got four and a smile for showing consideration to his elders.

Answers follow the break:

Read the rest of this entry »


Tom Sharpe 1928 – 2013

June 7, 2013

English author Tom Sharpe has died.

The BBC has an obituary here.


Harvesting water funds NZ’s aspirations

June 7, 2013

The importance of primary produce to the economy has been reinforced by  a report on public sector financial sustainability.

New Zealand is essentially an economy driven by the ability to “harvest water” through milk, agricultural and forest production yet kiwis expect the social and political structures of a developed country, according to research funded by the Auditor-General.

Dependence on primary produce is usually characteristic of developing economies. But our natural advantages combined with farming and fishing expertise have helped to fund a first world economy.

The report ‘Public sector financial sustainability’ sets out the factors that differentiate New Zealand from other OECD countries – a mixed bag of positives and negatives. The research was prepared by former Assistant Auditor-General Bruce Anderson.

The positives include high quality and availability of natural, renewable resources, helped by the world’s fourth-largest exclusive economic zone, water availability and protected land, grasslands and forests. That resource capacity, though, will halve in the next 40 years based on current trends, the report says. 

Good government, strong fiscal governance and low public debt are also cited. New Zealand’s public sector “is not expensive by any standards” and even though net public debt has risen from 10 percent of gross domestic product to 25 percent now, which includes earthquake costs, it is “still a modest level by international standards.”

Kiwis also feel good about themselves. New Zealand rates highly for tolerance, interpersonal trust and life satisfaction, the report says. That’s just as well because the country probably needs that “social capital” to offset the negatives faced by the economy.

Those include increasing income inequality – with New Zealand one of the least equal in terms of market income in the OECD from one of the most equal 30 years ago, the report says. The country also shows disturbing social trends including high youth suicide, teen fertility and unemployment.

Private debt is also high. New Zealanders as a whole have spent more than they earned in all but four of the last 55 years based on balance of payment figures, the report says, citing the NZ Institute of Economic Research. The household debt to income ratio rose to 140 percent from 100 percent between 2000 and 2012, it said, citing the Reserve Bank.

As a remote island at the bottom of the world, New Zealand has been turning in a mediocre economic performance, the report says.

“Despite some useful enablers such as good education and ease of doing business, private sector productivity improvements have remained modest during the last 50 years,” it says.

“Our economy is largely based on the ability to ‘harvest water’ through milk, forestry and other agricultural products,” it says. “We remain a resource-based, or emerging, economy and have not translated favourable commodity prices into investment in better-value additions through, for example, processing raw products.”

Although New Zealand “looks a lot like a developing economy, our social and political structures and expectations are clearly those of a developed country,” the report says.

“Public sector financial sustainability is at least partly dependent on building a better match between our economy and our social and economic features,” it says.

The Auditor-General’s office said it had released the report to stimulate debate and the work would feed into one of its 2013 work programme themes ‘Our future needs – is the public sector ready?’

“We need to sustain the services publicly expected, withstand shocks, and keep public confidence,” the office said. “Public engagement about our future financial sustainability and the factors that influence it can help the public sector better prepare and shape itself for future needs.”

If we want first world goods and services we need first world incomes and have to be prepared to earn them.

We are good at primary production, we need to be better in lots of other areas to generate the economic growth and jobs that will flow from that.

 


OECD doesn’t back LabourGreen CGT

June 7, 2013

New Zealand’s economic policies have been endorsed by the OECD.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has confirmed New Zealand’s macroeconomic policies strike the right balance between supporting the recovery and ensuring sustainable medium-term growth, Finance Minister Bill English says.

In its Economic Survey of New Zealand for 2013, the OECD also notes the economy is gaining momentum, with post-earthquake reconstruction in Canterbury, and business investment and household spending gathering pace.

“The OECD confirms the Government’s economic plan is on the right track,” Mr English says. “In particular, it notes our work in improving productivity to support long-term growth, it confirms the banking system is in good shape and well supervised, and it supports our focus on getting back to surplus and reducing debt.

“It concludes that reducing government debt will establish a favourable starting position for confronting longer-term cost pressures from an ageing population. It will also tend to raise national saving rates and reduce New Zealand’s external vulnerabilities.

“This is a welcome endorsement of the Government’s economic programme from the OECD, coming just a few weeks after the International Monetary Fund also confirmed we have struck an appropriate balance with our programme.”

Mr English agrees with the OECD’s assessment that New Zealand’s high private debt levels, large external imbalances and an over-valued exchange rate are among the main risks to growth.

“That’s why the Government is taking a number of steps, such as through the Business Growth Agenda and the internationally-focused growth package in the Budget, to help businesses and exporters become more competitive and to sell more to the world.

“While the OECD’s modelling predicts relatively small growth impacts from achieving some of the specific Business Growth targets, taken as a package evidence suggests they could make a material difference to productivity and incomes,” Mr English says.

The OECD notes that New Zealand policymakers are increasingly attuned to social equity and welfare issues.

It says welfare reforms are attempting to reduce long-run benefit dependency by emphasising education and training for at-risk youth, placing more conditions on beneficiaries and requiring stronger accountability from public and private providers.

“I’m pleased with the OECD’s positive assessment of the main elements of the youth package within our welfare reforms, and other recent changes to increase educational achievement and reduce youth unemployment.

“We will carefully monitor progress to ensure we further improve the participation of young people in education and training.”

One area the OECD report differs from the government’s policies is a Capital Gains Tax.

Mr English says the Government does not agree with the OECD about the need for a comprehensive capital gains tax applying to all assets, including the family home.

“Two comprehensive, expert reviews of New Zealand’s tax system – the 2001 Tax Review and the 2009 Tax Working Group – did not recommend a widespread capital gains tax of the sort the OECD recommends.

“The Government significantly tightened the tax rules around property investment in Budget 2010, which is expected to raise an additional $3 billion in tax revenue over four years.

Labour and the Green Party policy is for a CPT and they’ve seized on the OECD report as vindication of their stance.

However, that conveniently overlooks the report’s recommendation that a CTG covers the family home and replaces other taxes.

The LabourGreen version would exclude the family home and those parties wouldn’t reduce other taxes.

Labour lost the argument over this in parliament on Wednesday:

Hon David Parker: Why does he continue to refuse to adopt a capital gains tax excluding the family home when it is clear it would reduce inequality, it is clear it would take the pressure off house prices, and it is clear some people would pay their fair share of tax, and, at the same time, it would improve the economy?

Hon BILL ENGLISH: If a capital gains tax had all those magical powers, then you would not see a whole lot of developed country economies on their knees because of excessive housing markets. We have not implemented it, for a couple of reasons. One is that we believe the other tax measures we have taken, which are collecting $3 billion in tax revenue over 4 years, are more effective, and, secondly, we believe that changing the planning laws to allow more supply of houses will have a much bigger impact on fixing wealth inequality than a capital gains tax.

Rt Hon John Key: Has he seen any reports about a period of time between 1999 and 2008 when there was a substantial increase in the housing market in New Zealand and when there was a major amount of work done, to extent that half of the work of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet was about the housing market, and, by the way, was there a recommendation for a capital gains tax that was adopted in that period of time?

Hon BILL ENGLISH: It is funny you should mention that. Some of the things the last Labour Government did were sensible. In 2001 it commissioned a tax review—a comprehensive review of New Zealand’s tax system. That review concluded that a capital gains tax that exempted the family home would not be effective. Faced with the fastest-rising housing market in New Zealand’s history through the mid-2000s, the previous Labour Government, in which most of the Opposition’s current front bench served, did not implement a capital gains tax. . . 

Hon David Parker: Is the truth of the matter not that Mr English and his colleagues stopped the Savings Working Group and others looking at a capital gains tax by putting it out of their ambit, and is it not the reality that National’s refusal to introduce a capital gains tax is because it does not suit the vested interests of its backers?

Hon BILL ENGLISH: Well, with, I think, 47 percent of New Zealanders voting for the National Government in the last election, we are very pleased to represent a very broad range of backers—in fact, a much broader range of New Zealanders than the Opposition Labour Party, which claims to represent everybody. No, the reason we have not implemented a capital gains tax is that when you exempt most of the housing market, it becomes a tax purely on successful, profitable businesses, and that would be bad for growth. We are addressing the problem of rising house prices by addressing the real issue of the lack of supply, particularly in Auckland.

How typical – LabourGreen have a policy which wouldn’t address Auckland’s housing affordability and would be a tax on successful, profitable businesses which would be bad for growth.

Offsetting Behaviour also argues against a CGT:

 

 

 

 

 


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