Prime Minister Bill English was interviewed by his daughter Maria live on Facebook this evening.
You can see it here.
Apropos of Maria, she sang the National Anthem a capella at the National Party campaign launch on Sunday.
You can hear her here.
Scobberlotcher – an idle person; someone who avoids work.
Why we need irrigation and water storage – Nathan Guy:
Water is one of New Zealand’s greatest natural and renewable assets. Many New Zealanders probably don’t fully appreciate how it powers our economy through the primary sector, giving us a standard of living many other countries can only envy.
For farmers and growers the importance of water is obvious, especially in the many areas that have suffered through droughts in recent years. You only need to look at Hawke’s Bay where the tap is close to being turned off for new resource consent applications for commercial use.
The impact of climate change is likely to make dry spells even more frequent in the future. This is why irrigation and water storage is so important, and why as a Government we are proud to be a strong supporter and investor. So far we have allocated nearly $280 million towards these schemes around the country. . .
Federated Farmers is disappointed, but not surprised, to learn of three new finds of stock with Mycoplasma bovis.
The affected properties confirmed by the Ministry for Primary Industries today are all linked to Van Leeuwen Group farms where the cattle disease was first identified last month.
“This latest identification is obviously disappointing but it was anticipated as the animals were traced back to the origin of the initial outbreak,” says Federated Farmers biosecurity spokesperson Guy Wigley. . .
Farmers, schools and hapu join forces to save Kaipara Harbour – Lois Williams:
The project is part of a larger campaign to stop silt build-up on the seabed, and reverse the damage caused over the years by deforestation and the failure until recently to fence off cattle from waterways.
The Integrated Kaipara Harbour Management Group, made up of councils, landowners, Crown agencies such as NIWA and iwi, has been working for a decade to protect the harbour, which drains half of Northland.
Its chairman, Willie Wright of Te Uri o Hau, said two million trees had been planted in the massive catchment, stretching from Hokianga to Whangarei down to the Waitakere Ranges. . .
Even Labour doesn’t know it’s tax policy – Rodney Hide:
Starter for 10 – What’s Labour’s tax policy?
Don’t know? Don’t feel bad – neither does Labour. Or it is just not telling.
It has said it will tax water. But Labour isn’t calling it a tax – it’s calling it a “royalty”.
The royalty will apply to commercial consumption, the rate will be “proportionate and fair” and will be set after consultation post-election.
We don’t know what the price of a cabbage, or anything else, will be because we don’t know the rate and exactly what the royalty is to apply to.
What is and isn’t “commercial consumption” also isn’t clear. . .
Inghams Group Limited Australia and New Zealand’s leading integrated poultry producer, has been recognised for its outstanding water management by a global leader in sustainable water use.
Ingham’s Te Aroha primary processing plant is the first New Zealand site to achieve certification from the international Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) and only the seventh site in the world to be certified. . .
Plant milk a ‘threat’ to IQ of unborn children – Sarah-Kate Templeton:
The fashion for alternatives to cow’s milk, such as soya, almond and coconut drinks, is putting women at risk of giving birth to children with low IQs, a professor will warn at a conference next month.
Researchers at Surrey University have found that plant-based milks, which also include oat, rice and hazelnut drinks, have about only 3% of the concentrations of iodine that are in cow’s milk. . .
A leaves school and gets a job. A doesn’t have much in the way of qualifications or experience and the pay reflects that.
B leaves school and goes to university. B isn’t sure why s/he’s there, what to study or what s/he wants to do, mucks around and drops out.
C leaves school and goes to university. C loves to party and does, work suffers, s/he fails and drops out.
D leaves school and goes to university. D studies well enough, graduates and goes overseas.
E leaves school and goes to university. E loves to party but manages to do enough work to get by, graduates and gets a job, parties less, works more and gets well paid.
F leaves school and goes to university. F gets a qualification which doesn’t provide a meal ticket but manages to find a job with average pay.
G leaves school and goes to university. G works hard, gets well qualified, gets a good job and earns well above the average income.
H leaves school and gets a job, works hard, saves hard, decides s/he needs a qualification, goes to university, works hard, graduates and sets up a business which booms.
I could continue through the alphabet with the many and varied scenarios about people who choose to get a tertiary education.
Not one of them would provide a good reason why A should pay more tax to help people who don’t know why they are at university, don’t work and drop out; or do graduate and leave the country, or graduate and earn $1.6 million more on average over their lifetime than those who do not:
That is a huge personal benefit which is why we say that they should contribute something towards the cost of that degree. Not a huge amount – usually $20,000 or so. A great investment for a $1.6 million return.
That is an average of $40,000 more a year for a 40-year working life than someone who doesn’t have a tertiary qualification.
Why should a waitress, truck driver, tradesperson, receptionist or anyone else pay more tax to give even more help to people who will go on to earn so much more?
Fee-free tertiary education is Robin-Hood reversed:
The implementation of a zero fees policy for tertiary education would reach into the pockets of the disadvantaged, to line the wallets of the future’s wealthy, according to a briefing paper just published by the Taxpayers’ Union.
‘Robin Hood Reversed: How Free Tertiary Education Robs Today’s Poor for Tomorrow’s Rich’ assesses the impacts of free tertiary education policies, like that announced today by the Labour Party.
Jordan Williams, Executive Director of the Taxpayers’ Union said, “We found that similar policies overseas have led to job shortages in crucial areas, and poorer quality courses.”
“Contrary to claims that zero tertiary education fees help the poor, in Scottland, which introduced zero fees in the early 2000’s, students from low socio-economic groups were the first to be shut out. This contradicts the political ideology of those who advocate for it, because the policy hampers social mobility, and actually increases barriers to reducing inequality.”
“The costs of such a policy are borne by low and middle-income earners, to help tomorrow’s rich get a free ride.”
The briefing paper, Robin Hood Reversed: How Free Tertiary Education Robs Today’s Poor for Tomorrow’s Rich, is available for download at: www.taxpayers.org.nz/robin_hood_reversed.
• Taxpayers already cover 84 percent of the cost of obtaining a tertiary degree.
• The average household currently pays $2,456 in tax per year to fund tertiary education.
• Fully implemented, Labour’s proposal would increase that cost by $852.57 per year.
• Low and middle-income earners will pay more to subsidise tomorrow’s rich.
• Likely effects of the policy, based on the experience in Scottland with its zero fees policy, include:
o more job shortages in crucial skills-based areas;
o lower quality tertiary education;
o less access to education for students from disadvantaged or low socioeconomic backgrounds; and
o less social mobility and entrenched income inequality.
A better educated population benefits a country, but there is also a considerable personal benefit from an education.
There’s a choice – students can continue to pay a small proportion of the cost of their education while they’re studying or everyone pays more tax forever.
Anyone with the intelligence to get a degree should be able to work out that they, and the country would be better off paying a little more for the few years while they’re studying than a lot more for the many years ahead when they’re working.
Supporters of Labour’s proposed water tax may be changing their minds when they hear the money raised won’t all be spent on cleaning up rivers.
Labour introduced the water tax proposal with the stated aim to ‘restore our rivers and lakes to a truly swimmable state within a generation’. They even called it a ‘Clean Rivers’ announcement. http://www.labour.org.nz/water
They also said the money would be spent cleaning up rivers in the regions where the money would be raised, from irrigators and water bottlers.
But speaking on RadioLive at the weekend, Labour’s spokesperson on Primary Industries Damien O’Connor backtracked. O’Connor said some of the money would be used to introduce a government subsidy on drinking water improvements. He also said some of the money would be transferred between regions.
It was bad enough that people doing everything right were going to pay to clean up after those who aren’t in their own region, but now the money would go out of the local economy to fix up messes in other parts of the country.
Andrew Curtis, CEO of Irrigation New Zealand, said: “Supporters of Labour’s proposed water tax are likely to feel let down by the news that the money won’t all be going on cleaning up rivers, as Labour originally said it would. And we know that many of our members will be dismayed that their hard-earned dollars won’t all be going back to rivers in their region.
‘This is yet another example of Labour chopping and changing it’s mind on the water tax. That’s why we can’t support the tax. There are too many unanswered questions.
“This a proposal that could cost $650 million to $1 billion over the next decade.
Labour doesn’t even have a policy setting out how such a huge amount of money would be spent and it hasn’t done any analysis of the impacts of the tax on the economy, jobs and farmers.’
‘It seems to me that Labour’s latest announcements indicate they see this as another opportunity to introduce a new tax to be spent on whatever the government decides.”
The PREFU showed continuing surpluses. There is no need for new or higher taxes.
Not thought through
Andrew Curtis said the constant changes in direction on the water tax over the last few weeks demonstrated Labour did not have a grasp of the issue and hasn’t thought through the implications.
“When they introduced the policy Labour said the tax would vary depending on the scarcity of water, which they’ve since backtracked on after realising that was too complex. They’ve also backtracked on the cost of the tax after telling us it was 2 cents per 1,000 litres, and then saying they hadn’t decided.
“And now we find out the money won’t be spent within the regions it comes from and some of it won’t even be spent on rivers.”
Labour agrees with Irrigation New Zealand on Auckland
Mr O’Connor acknowledged what Irrigation New Zealand have been saying for a while – that the water tax would not solve poor quality rivers in urban areas like Auckland.
He said Auckland ratepayers would need to fund a rates rise to provide money to fix the region’s rivers. Auckland has the least swimmable rivers in New Zealand with 62% of rivers graded poor for swimming, and no rivers graded as good or excellent.
Andrew Curtis said: “At least Labour has now acknowledged that the water tax won’t fix some of the country’s worst rivers. Aucklanders need to realise this too, and that they are facing a higher rates bill.”
Labour has chopped and changed so much on this, it’s difficult to know what their plan is unless it’s to muddy the waters over exactly what they’ll do, in which case they’re succeeding.
Of all created comforts, God is the lender; you are the borrower, not the owner. – Ernest Rutherford who was born on this day in 1871.