Word of the day


Sequacity – a following or disposition to follow; a slavish following of another person’s opinions without any questioning at all.

Sowell says


Rural round-up


What NZ can learn (is Greenpeace listening?) from Sri Lanka’s blundering to combat climate change by going organic – Point of Order:

Sri Lanka is in the grip of its worst economic crisis in decades, facing depleted petrol reserves, food shortages and a chronic lack of medical supplies.

More than a month of mainly peaceful protests against the government’s handling of the economy turned deadly last week when supporters of the former prime minister stormed an anti-government protest site in the commercial capital Colombo.

For New Zealanders, the troubles being experienced by Sri Lanka’s 22 million people might trigger humanitarian concerns but – at first blush – have little to teach us about good policy.

Kiwis therefore may shrug  off Sri Lanka’s plight as the consequence of incompetence by the governing Rajapaksa brothers, one of whom has resigned as prime minister, the other whose job as president is under threat. . . 

No lessons in shaming and bullying farmers – Kathryn Wright :

Somewhere, beneath the hyperbole, there had to be a human.

Usually, in all disagreements and misunderstandings there are two factors at play – the issues and how the issues are being dealt with.

And in the very pertinent issue of our environment and how some environmental activists are presenting some southern farms, it is most certainly the latter. 

No one is disputing that the health of our land and water holds great importance, well, certainly not anyone that I know.  . . 

Angry farmers take carbon forestry protest to Stuart Nash’s doorstep – Tom Kitchin:

A group of angry East Coast farmers descended on Napier today to protest against carbon forestry, which they say is destroying their towns.

They left placards plastered on the steps of local MP Stuart Nash’s office, who is also the forestry minister.

Sophie Stoddart is a 14-year-old from Pōrangahau, at the southern end of Hawke’s Bay.

With the enemy – a pine needle in hand – she spoke passionately, saying carbon forestry could easily ruin her small town. . . 

Labour constraints see New Zealand apple and pear season estimate drop 12% on pre-season estimate :

New Zealand Apples and Pears (NZAPI), the industry organisation representing the country’s pipfruit growers, today released a crop re-forecast that predicts a decrease of 12% on the organisation’s pre-season estimate.

In January this year, the 2022 apple and pear crop was predicted to reach the equivalent of 23.2 million export boxes (Tray Carton Equivalents, or TCEs, as they’re known in the industry), destined for customers in more than 80 countries. That forecast has now been adjusted to be approximately 20.3 million boxes, representing an estimated reduction in export earnings of $105 million.

NZAPI CEO Terry Meikle says a perfect storm of adverse weather events in key growing regions and major labour shortages during the heart of the harvest combined to result in growers not being able maximise their crops.

“While our crop may be down by around 12% on initial estimates, it is a testament to the resilience and capability of our grower community that we are still likely to make the most from such an incredibly challenging harvest. . . 

Sarah Dobson wins 2022 Pukekohe Young Grower competition :

Sarah Dobson, a 25-year-old environment and sustainability technician at A.S. Wilcox, has won the 2022 Pukekohe Young Grower competition.

The competition tested the four contestant’s vegetable and fruit growing knowledge as well as the skills needed to be a successful grower. Contestants completed modules in marketing, compliance, pests and disease identification, safe tractor driving, health and safety, soil and fertilisers, irrigation and quality control.

‘I was so rapt when they called my name to say that I had won, I couldn’t believe it,’ says Sarah. ‘I wasn’t expecting to win as it was such a tight competition; all the other competitors were really strong.’

‘I really want to say a huge thanks to the team at A.S. Wilcox. I was quite nervous before the competition, but I did lots of preparation with help from my colleagues. Everyone there has been so supportive in helping me prepare. . . 



Ammoniated straw incorporation improves wheat production and soil fertility:

An international team of researchers, including from The University of Western Australia’s Institute of Agriculture, have determined that ammoniated straw incorporation (ASI) treatment significantly improves wheat crop production and soil fertility.

ASI is a process by which ammonia is added to stubbles/straw, which degrades the lignin and enhances nutrients for it to be more easily broken down by soil microbes.

The research, published in the journal Field Crops Research and led by Northwest A&F University in China, investigated the responses of soil properties, wheat yield and yield stability of wheat to ammoniated and conventional straw incorporation in the China’s Loess Plateau.

The three treatments applied in the study were straw (the control), conventional straw incorporation (CSI), and ASI. . . 

Thatcher thinks


Bad timing for bad tax


Just a day after announcing they’ll let people earning less than $70,000 keep $27 a week more of their own money temporarily, Labour pushed legislation that will take much more off all of us permanently.

The Government is using dirty tactics as it pushes through enabling legislation to increase PAYE revenue by 10% under the cover of yesterday’s Budget, says the New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union in response to the Income Insurance Scheme (Enabling Development) Bill.

Union spokesman Jordan Williams says, “This is a tax branded ‘insurance’ by spin doctors to try and make it palatable. They are polishing a stinker. The ‘premium’ is not risk-based or reflective of individual circumstances. It is in practice a massive extension of PAYE, increasing revenue from the PAYE system by 10%.”

“The audacity of the timing cannot be understated. Labour is pushing it through first reading in a special Friday session of Parliament, less than 24 hours after a massive Budget that taxpayers, the media, and the Opposition are still busy digesting. This is cynical politics – Labour is playing dirty to push through a tax it knows will not stand up to public scrutiny.”

“Even worse, the Government is pushing this new tax as the costs of living spikes. The tax on workers will reduce take-home pay by up to $1,820 a year – far more than the temporary cost of living handouts announced yesterday. The additional tax on employers will in practice be passed on to workers, or translate to higher prices adding fuel to the inflation fire.”

“‘Unemployment insurance’ might be the name the PM’s media advisers have come up with, but Kiwis are smart enough to see right through it. It’s a nasty tax on employment, at the worst possible time. It’s also a recipe for rorting: family businesses will manufacture redundancies to take advantage of the generous handouts; and people on salaries as high as $131,000 will take six month sabbaticals between jobs, on 80 percent pay, courtesy of tax-paying workers.” 

Just one day later, Saturday, was tax freedom day and it came 10 days later than last year.

. . . Baker Tilly Staples Rodway has calculated New Zealanders will pay 10 days’ worth of taxes more in 2022 than they did last year, largely because of last year’s reintroduction of the 39 percent top tax rate.

It says the tax increase works out at 15 percent more than last year and brings tax freedom day back to where it was in the early 2000s.

Another significant concern is “bracket creep”, where an individual receives an increase in their salary, pushing them into a new higher tax bracket on their marginal earnings.

“The effects of bracket creep are becoming more obvious as more Kiwis receive pay rises,” Baker Tilly Staples Rodway tax director Mike Rudd said.

“That’s having flow-on effects such as Working for Families payments essentially being paid directly back to the government after tax.” . . . 

That’s two working weeks’ of tax paid before subtracting even more for the insurance scheme, the merits of which are questioned by many accountants:

. . . Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand said about half of its members supported the scheme as it could help people in sectors where redundancies were not offered and give people who had lost their job more time to find another role that matched their skills.

But members also had major concerns about the proposed timeframe, its cost, its effects on low-income families and the potential for the system to be gamed, he said.

“Many of our 31,000 Kiwi members have significant reservations about whether the scheme should go ahead, regardless of whether they support the policy rationale in principle,” CA ANZ New Zealand country head Peter Vial said.

Accountants had also been unable to review any of the detailed data and modelling for the scheme, or how it would be funded, Vial said.

“That’s a pretty concerning lack of transparency for a scheme that will impose significant costs on all New Zealand employers and employees – and considerable cost to the public purse. . . 

Vial said it would be “ambitious” to try and have the scheme up and running by the end of 2023 and suggested it would take a couple of years to develop the program to work out details, such as how it would work for low-income employees who would be least able to afford the levies.

“If the government does introduce a scheme, it needs to be as fair and efficient as possible, and economically viable, and must be careful that the proposal does not act as a disincentive for people to go back to work.”

Vial said there were alternatives that could be considered, such as expanding the scope of the Accident Compensation Act to include insurance cover for health events and disabilities that people away from work, as well as implementing an Australian-styled system which would provide minimum redundancy entitlements. . . 

We’re already paying more tax through bracket creep and inflation’s impact on GST. The flawed, compulsory insurance scheme will take even more from us.

It’s doubtful there’s ever a good time to impose a new tax on people.

Doing it now when the economic impacts of Covid and inflation are overstretching so many budgets for households, businesses and charities, would be bad enough. Doing it for a scheme that is unfair on people on lower incomes and so open to rorts is even worse.

This is bad timing for a bad tax that demonstrates yet again how out of touch the government is with how difficult finances are already for so many.

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