Taxing questions


What wasIRD thinking?

The taxman is researching the public’s views on globalisation and fairness in the tax system. Questions had included where respondents sit on the political spectrum, prompting questions of whether taxpayers are funding sensitive political polling. . .

After days of defending the research, Inland Revenue conceded on Saturday night that it was wrong to ask the political question.

“We should not have included the question about political spectrum,” group head of communications and marketing Andrew Stott said, adding that the department would not include the question in its research.

Inland Revenue was forced to reveal details of the $125,000 research project it is undertaking with polling company Colmar Brunton, after repeatedly playing down its significance. . .

A tweeter who was polled said she was also asked how much she trusts Air New Zealand and Fonterra and if large companies are paying their fair share.

IRD has admitted it was wrong to ask about political affiliation. Are questions about trusting two businesses and whether large companies are paying their fair share any better?

What relevance would that have to IRD’s business? Why would views on these matters matter to it?

IRD should be concentrating on policy and advice and leave politics and spin to the politicians.




Rural round-up


Flavours of childhood – Rebecca Fox:

Growing up in Argentina with Italian family heritage, it is not surprising Pablo Tacchini became a chef. Having just become a Beef + Lamb ambassador chef, he tells Rebecca Fox it has taken a lot of hard work to get to this point.

Weekends were feast times in Pablo Tacchini’s childhood home in Argentina.

He would spend his mornings either in the kitchen making pasta with his grandmother or outside helping his father and grandfather barbecue.

”I grew up with that. Food is very important for me. It was an easy choice to see what I wanted to do.”

While he now lives and works thousands of kilometres from home, it is those flavours and experiences he seeks to replicate. . .

Federated Farmers on clean waterways survey: ‘Throwing rocks at farming all the time is just not helping’ – Eric Frykberg:

Federated Farmers has accused Fish & Game of using leading questions in a survey on clean waterways.

The agency commissioned a survey on public attitudes on protecting rivers and lakes from pollution.

The survey, by the research group Colmar Brunton, said 82 percent of respondents would support mandatory environmental standards for New Zealand’s waterways, enforced by local councils.

But Federated Farmers water spokesperson Chris Allen said the group asked leading questions. . .

$15m cherry project announced

Development of Central Otago’s cherry industry is set to continue with another multimillion-dollar venture announced this week.

Cherry investment firm Hortinvest is seeking expressions of interest from investors for a $15.5million orchard project on an 80ha site at Mt Pisa, near Cromwell.

It was the third cherry investment to be led by Hortinvest within the last two years in Central Otago and was to meet “an unprecedented global demand for premium cherries”, a Hortinvest statement said . . 

Recognising a dairy sector champion: Adrian van Bysterveldt:

The dairy sector is recognising the loss of one of its greatest champions, South Island-based Adrian van Bysterveldt.

Adrian was a passionate advocate and leader for pasture-based farm systems and his work helped shape and influence the direction of dairy farming, particularly in the South Island where he was a dedicated leader.

“Adrian was so passionate about all things dairy and really believed in pasture-based farm systems, he had an incredible enthusiasm for the sector and the people in it,” said Tim Mackle, DairyNZ chief executive. . . 

New way of applying fertiliser has potential to benefit the environment:

A new guide has been released which will assist farmers and the irrigation industry to adopt the use of fertigation – a new way of applying fertiliser which is likely to reduce nitrogen leaching and save labour on farms.

Fertigation allows irrigators to be used to apply liquid fertiliser or liquid soluble fertiliser in small quantities at the same time as water. In New Zealand, most fertiliser currently used is solid and applied through ground spreading or aerial top dressing.

Internationally, fertigation is increasingly being adopted as good environmental practice. . . 

Unmodified quad bikes unsuitable for mustering cattle – Kate Dowler:

UNMODIFIED quad bikes have been ruled unsuitable for mustering cattle, in a landmark recent Queensland court decision.

And farmers are being warned the ruling means they could be held liable over quad bike accidents.

The decision has prompted calls from the National Farmers’ Federation for the safety of the bikes to be improved by manufacturers and for riders to also be held more accountable for their own safety. . . 


Lag effect means no quick fix


A Fish and Game poll shows New Zealanders want more action on water quality:

Pollution of our rivers and lakes is one of New Zealanders’ top two concerns, according to public opinion poll results.
The findings are contained in a Colmar Brunton poll of a thousand people conducted for Fish & Game New Zealand.

The survey asked people how concerned they were about a range of issues, including the cost of living, health system, child poverty and water pollution.

Three quarters – 75 percent – of those surveyed said they were extremely or very concerned about pollution of lakes and rivers. Only five percent said they were not that concerned.

The only issue people were more worried about was the cost of living, with 77 percent saying they were extremely or very concerned. . . 

Fish & Game New Zealand chief executive Martin Taylor says the Colmar Brunton findings show how worried the public is about water pollution.

“These results are consistent with what we saw in the election and show the depth of feeling kiwis have about the loss of what they considered their birth right – clean rivers, lakes and streams,” Martin Taylor says.

“It highlights the urgency with which the government needs to make substantial changes to address the problem,” Mr Taylor says.

“People are fed up by pollution – particular by intensive corporate dairying – which has robbed them of their ability to swim in their favourite rivers and lakes. . .

My favourite lake is Wanaka where there have been no problems for swimmers this summer.

My favourite rivers are the Kakanui and Waitaki, both of which are in dairying areas. There have been no problems in the Waitaki and the high E. coli in a stretch of the Kakanui is caused by seagulls.

Fonterra and Dairy NZ should take note of these results. They show the tens of millions of dollars they’ve spent on slick PR to try and change people’s minds isn’t working,” he says.

Martin Taylor says the state of our polluted waterways is hurting New Zealand’s international image.

Does he not see the irony of saying this in a media release high on emotion and selective in its facts?

“Our clean, green reputation gives us a valuable international marketing advantage, but we have been squandering it.

“Losing our clean, green image means less tourism earnings and lower prices for our sheep and beef exports and other agriculture products. Why should all New Zealand farmers miss out on good returns because of dirty dairying?” he says.

Why should a whole industry be pilloried because of mistakes made in the past? This statement ignores all the work and the money which are being put into remedying those mistakes and ensuring current practices protect and enhance waterways.

Martin Taylor says fixing the problem is not going to be easy.

“This is a major challenge to put right. It’s going to take a lot of hard work and hundreds of millions of dollars to reverse corporate dairy farming’s environmental impact,” he says. . . 

Once again Fish & Game picks on dairying without mentioning the fouling of waterways by water fowl,  didymo which was introduced to New Zealand by fishers, pollution caused by tourists and trampers who urinate and defecate in or near waterways; and the problem of urban water pollution.

There is no dairying near Christchurch’s Avon River which is very polluted nor is there any near Takapuna Beach which was closed to swimmers last week.

The media release also ignores the lag effect which is examined in ‘Lag-effect’ politics and the politicisation of New Zealand farmers: Where to from here?, by Ronlyn Duncan of Lincoln University:

. . In terms of nitrates, the present state of water quality reflects what has occurred in the past and depending on biophysical, geological and management factors, movement into waterways can take decades. Often referred to as the ‘lag-effect’, this means it can take some time before the effects of land use intensification make their way through the groundwater system (Howard-Williams et al., 2010; LAWF, 2010, 2012; PCE, 2012; Sanford and Pope, 2013). Importantly, the same delay applies to improvements in water quality due to better farm practices and the implementation of stricter rules and regulations. Hence, the issue of concern in this paper is that the lag-effect can have potentially unforeseen social and political consequences. . . 

Those social and political consequences include the pillorying of farmers and farming by groups like Fish & Game using selective facts and lots of emotion.

The degradation of water quality is complex.

A lot of the practices doing the damage in urban waterways is still occurring. This could be fixed very quickly if there was the political will to spend the money necessary to deal with waste water and sewerage.

Most of the degradation of rural waterways occurred over a long period of time and in spite of considerable improvements in current farming practices, millions of dollars spent and a lot of on-going work, will take a long time to reverse.

Swingers show need for straggle muster


Some people support a particular party election after election, others change allegiance.

Colmar Brunton’s analysis of vote switching shows the swingers:

We’ve noticed that in the lead up to the election, people are speculating about where political parties are gaining their support from, and losing it to. Political parties who poll regulalry will carry out their own analyses to answer these sorts of questions, but the results are typically kept confidential to those who commission the analyses.

Our pollsters thought it might be interesting to shed some light on this for those who are interested. They pooled all the data from the first five 2014 ONE News Colmar Brunton polls, and compared the ‘2014 average party support result’ with the party people recall voting for in 2011. They wanted to find out if eligible voters have switched to ‘undecided’ or ‘unlikely to vote’, so the analysis includes people who are undecided or who don’t plan to vote. For this reason the party support results are lower than those typically reported by a political poll, and they do not reflect the likely result of an election held at the time of polling. They do, however, help to shed light on where votes are coming from, and going to. The total analysis is based on over 4,500 eligible voters. Results are displayed below. 

vote switch








The net gains and losses aren’t very big but in a close election a very few votes can determine which parties are in government.

This shows why all parties need to do a straggle muster to pick up any of the swingers who can be persuaded to swing back to them.


Someone might miss out on TV debate


Prime Minister John Key and Opposition leader Phil Goff have sensibly agreed that they will debate each other on television but not take part in the circus which will be the minor-party leaders’ debates.

However, the ODT (not online) reports another aspect to this story:

. . . a  multiparty debate would be open to party leaders represented in Parliament, a TVNZ spokeswoman said party leaders not represented in parliament were required to reach a 3% threshold in at least one of the network’s two Colmar Brunton Polls.

The most recent CB poll results were:

National is up to 53% while Labour sheds seven points to 27%. The Greens take some of that vote, bouncing up to 10%, while Act and the Maori Party are both sitting around 3%.

New Zealand First (2.4%) would need to double its support to make it back, and the Mana Party (0.5%) and United Future (0.3%) are barely registering.

Last time I counted 2.4% was under 3%.

But I wouldn’t rule out its leader using this to his advantage, it wouldn’t be the first time he’s pulled the lone warrior against the establishment card.

And the Sun Doesn’t Rise in the East


Helen Clark is refusing to accept the large poll gap between National and Labour.

Prime Minister Helen Clark says three separate polls at the weekend that show Labour trailing National by over 20 percent are “very extreme” and overstate the Opposition’s lead.


A TV One Colmar Brunton poll last night had National on 55 percent with Labour lagging on 29 per cent support.

That followed Saturday’s Fairfax Media poll by AC Nielsen showing National winning 54 percent of the party vote against Labour’s 30 per cent.

The latest Roy Morgan poll also showed a large gap with National’s support up two to 52.5 per cent while Labour dropped 0.5 to 31.5 per cent.

But Miss Clark today refused to accept the size of the gap recorded in the polls, which she said were “very extreme”.

It is usual for poll gaps between  the two major parties to narrow and for the wee parties to get more support nearer to election day so these poll results may not mirror voter support when it counts. But the trend is clear, National and John Key are well ahead of Labour and Clark.

In light of that her real fear should be that softer supporters leave Labour and vote for the wee parties as happened with National in 2002.

Other blogs’ comments on the polls:

The Hive    No Minister    Truth Seeker      Keeping Stock     Inquiring Mind

%d bloggers like this: