How much to change whole Ministry?

December 12, 2017

The Taxpayers’ Union says government name calling doesn’t help vulnerable kids.

The Taxpayers’ Union is slamming the Government for wasting $418,000 of taxpayers’ money, meant to help the country’s most vulnerable kids, on a ‘rebranding’ of the Ministry of Vulnerable Children to Oranga Tamariki.

“This is a shameful waste of money and precisely the sort of Wellington nonsense which gets up the nose of taxpayers,” says Jordan Williams, Executive Director of the Taxpayers’ Union.

“No one resents paying taxes to help those most in need, but wasting nearly half a million dollars of money earmarked for helping vulnerable kids on marketing experts, logo designers, and sign writers, is disgraceful.”

Changing the name might widen the scope of the Ministry. If it does it will take the focus off those who need help.

If it doesn’t then it’s a name change for change’s sake and an expensive one at that.

If it costs $480,000 to change the name, It will be eye-wateringly more to change not just the name of the Ministry for Primary Industries but create, set up and staff the separate ministries which will replace it.

It’s little wonder the Minister, Damien O’Connor, is refusing to disclose just how much it will cost.


Tax Freedom Day

June 2, 2015

Today is Tax Freedom Day:

Today marks the first working day New Zealanders stop working for the Government and take home what they earn. According to the OECD, New Zealand’s government outlays as a percentage of GDP is 41.4% this year, making the 2015 ‘Tax Freedom Day’ fall on Queens Birthday Monday. Last year Tax Freedom Day was four days later, on 4 June.

Taxpayers’ Union Spokesman, Ben Craven, says:

“Today is the day where taxpayers begin working for themselves rather than working to support the burden of Government.”

“While 2015 Tax Freedom Day for New Zealand is earlier than it was in 2014, total Government outlays as a percentage of GDP remain higher than the OECD average.”

“Despite the positive trend, there is still a long way to go before this Government returns to the earlier Tax Freedom Days enjoyed under the last Labour Government. We should be aiming to have paid off all of our taxes by April, not having to slave away for politicians into June.”

“While the Government is doing a reasonable job of managing the books, the growth of local government spending appears to be squandering most of the efforts to trim back the tax burden.”

OECD data on government outlays as a percentage of GDP can be found here (Annex Table 25). . .

Four days earlier than last year – we’re going in the right direction but need to keep moving that way and moving faster.


CGT death duty in drag

September 4, 2014

Larry Williams interviewed David Cunliffe on Labour’s capital gains tax yesterday and established that it will be complicated and arbitrary.

One example of that is managed funds.

KiwiSaver managed funds will be exempt but anyone owning exactly the same shares in a managed fund will be taxed.

The Taxpayers’ Union highlights another aspect that Labour has not – a CGT will be a death duty in drag:

Responding to confirmation that under Labour’s capital gains tax policy children would have to pay the tax if they sold a family home after both parents have passed, Ben Craven, Spokesman for the Taxpayers’ Union, says:

“Labour’s capital gains tax is looking more and more like a death duty in drag. The vast majority of estates are liquidated, even where the family home is in a trust to the children.”

“The last time death duty existed in New Zealand was 1992. It appears that Labour are looking to reintroduce it but under another name with far more complexity. When children lose their parents they should be encouraged to put the inheritance to good use. Instead, Labour’s policy would whack them with a tax bill.”

“If Mr Cunliffe’s comments to media are correct, his policy will create a cruel tax incentive to quickly sell the family home while parents are still on their death beds. Mr Cunliffe’s statements to the media must be mistaken, or Labour really haven’t thought this one through.”

The tax won’t be levied if the house is sold in 30 days but few estates are settled and houses sold that quickly.

CGT wouldn’t be imposed if a family member lives in the house but that doesn’t happen very often.

When it does, unless it’s an only child, it’s usual for only one beneficiary to buy the shares of other family members and those gains would be taxed.

 


Bribe-O-Meter update

September 1, 2014

The Taxpayers’ Union has updated its Bribe-O-Meter to include four of the wee parties:

The Taxpayers’ Union have added the Green, ACT, United Future and Conservative Parties to the ‘Bribe-O-Meter’ hosted at taxpayers.org.nz.  Excluding ACT and New Zealand First, the total election ‘bribes’ – that is new spending not already in the budget covering the next parliamentary term, equals $12.7 billion, or $7,486 per household.

Jordan Williams, Executive Director of the Taxpayers’ Union, says, “The Bribe-O-Meter is enabling Kiwis to judge for themselves the various bribes this election. With the addition of the minor parties voters can assess which political parties are offering taxpayers value for money.”

“As of the end of last week, National’s election promises add up to $329 per household. The equivalent figure for Labour is $2,776, the Greens $2,893, United Future $1,253, and the Conservatives $236. ACT is in the negative, committing to cut spending by $6,876 per household.”

A lack of detail in New Zealand First’s policy documents has made it impossible for the Union’s independent expert, Dr Michael Dunn, to calculate credible figures for the Party’s inclusion in the Bribe-O-Meter.  Public and private requests to New Zealand First have, to date, not resulted in amelioration. 

If someone who used to do social policy costing for IRD can’t figure out NZ First’s costs, the problem is with the party and its policies.

Mr Williams says, “While National, Labour, the Greens, Conservatives, ACT, and United Future have provided the Union with sufficient policy and financial material to estimate the cost of their election manifestos, New Zealand First apparently just doesn’t have the information for our expert. It appears that Mr Peters makes promises to all and sundry, but no one at his office is adding up the cost.”

“We are delighted that in the last week, parties have come to us to test our expert’s assumptions and the Bribe-O-Meter’s methodology. On the basis of new information that parties have provided we’ve updated our figures and are able to provide more transparency to the voting public on precisely what parties are promising.” . .

The Bribe-O-Meter is here.

bribeometer

 

This puts the lie to claims by Labour and the Green Party that they will be fiscally responsible.

National’s promises amount to a total of $558 billion which is  $328.81 a household.

Labour’s total is $4,707 billion – $2,775.68 per household.

Green Party’s total is the highest – at $4.707 $4.906 billion, a cost of $2,893.03 a household.

The Act Party would reduce costs by $11,660 billion – a reduction of $6,875.60 per household.

United Future’s total is $2.124 billion –  $1,252.51 per household.

The Conservative Party’s total costs amount to $$0.400 billion – $235.88 a household.

NZ Firsts costs are a like its leaders utterings – whatever he thinks it is.

Labour and Green Party policies are already at 7482.68 billion.

That doesn’t take account of the cost NZ First and Internet Mana would require for their support.

Nor does it take into count the added costs of higher taxes, higher interest rates, higher inflation, more welfare and a stalled economy.


Bribe-O-Meter

August 13, 2014

The Taxpayers’ Union has launched an election campaign  Bribe-o-meter:

As political parties announce their policies in the weeks leading up to the General Election, we’ll be crunching the numbers and showing you just how much all the promises cost.

This week we’re launching with the total cost of the policies announced by the two main parties, up to Monday 11 August 2014.

And the results are:

National Party’s total cost of announced promises: $2,770.37 per New Zealand household (or $4.698 billion)

Labour Party’s total cost of announced promises: $4,081.85 per New Zealand household (or $6.922 billion) . . .

The Taxpayers’ Union has commissioned Dr Michael Dunn of Economic and Fiscal Consulting Ltd to independently calculate the data for the Bribe-o-meter. Michael is politically independent and has extensive experience in the field of economics, including as a Manager within IRD’s Forecasting and Analysis unit for 12 years. . .

The Bribe-o-meter compiles the political promises of each of the main political parties and places them within the major spending portfolios.

It assumes that the government elected on 20 September will last for a full three-year term and oversee Budgets 2015/2016 to 2017/2018.  Policies announced that do not come into effect during the next Parliament will not be included in the figures.

Our analysis includes spending pledges announced between 2011 and now. Given that the purpose of the Bribe-o-meter is to track spending pledges announced by politicians, it does not model the effect of tax cuts or tax increases and the effect they have on households.

Tax credits and rebates have been considered as constituting new spending.

Our cost tables do not include the provisions for future budget spending that have been made by each party.  For the next three budgets (2015, 2016 and 2017) National propose additional spending of $9.1 billion, and Labour $6.9 billion.  In addition, Labour plan to contribute $3.9 billion to the NZSF over the 3 year period.. . .

The quantity of money spent is only one factor, the quality of the spend – where and how effective it is –  is more important.

Spending is only one side of the ledger.

The other side – revenue the government gets in from taxpayers, user-pays and other charges – and the impact of policies on economic growth and the tax take are also important.

Though as a general rule of thumb, when it comes to government spending, less is often more and almost always better.


Politics Daily

June 7, 2014

John Key in the Pacific

Claire Trevett @ NZ Herald – Key’s Pacific visit an election entrée

John Banks

Brook Sabin – PM to consider refusing Banks’ vote

Cameron Slater @ Whale Oil – Don Brash on John Banks

Liz Banas @ RadioNZ – Power Play

Fran O’Sullivan @ NZ Herald – Act needs to move on and Banks needs to do the decent thing

Tracy Watkins @ Stuff – Farcical options for Banks

Scott Yorke @ Imperator Fish – Move along please, sir.

IMP

Matthew Beveridge – The Internet Party candidates on Twitter

Internet Party – Internet Party candidate shortlist

Ian Apperley – Mana and Internet Party unholy alliance is an insult to all NZ ICT workers

Election

David Farrar @ Kiwiblog – Labour candidate seeking a poor person

Taxpayers’ Union – Election funding for satire no joke

Abbie Napier @ The Press – Electoral commission grant to ‘fun’ political party criticised

David Farrar @ Kiwiblog – Broadcasting allocations

John Armstrong @ NZ Herald – Right-left jockeying real news of the week

Verity Johnson @ NZ Herald – Make politics sexy

Other

Pattrick Smellie @ NBR – TPP to live on in other acronyms even if it fails: Groser

Inventory 2 @ Keeping Stock – Sledge of the day 7 June 2014

Dominion Post – Today in politics: Saturday, June 7

Cameron Slater @ Whale Oil – Can you name the politician?

Cameron Slater @ Whale Oil – A bit of a history lesson

Matthew Beveridge – Twitter Stats : 6 June


Tax Freedom Day

June 4, 2014

Happy Tax Freedom Day:

Congratulations New Zealand, as at 10.04am today you are working for yourself. However, the fact the Government accounts for all the money earned until today means it is unlikely New Zealanders will be celebrating. The government has effectively sucked up all of our earnings for the first 154 days of the year.

OECD figures put the current burden of government in New Zealand as 42.2% of GDP. This is larger than the 30% recently quoted by Finance Minister Bill English because it also takes into account crown entities, such as SOEs as well as local government.

At 42.2% this year, the burden of government is even larger than when National took office in 2008. While core government expenditure has gone down, the wider crown portfolio and particularly local government has exploded.

We need to aspire to countries like South Korea, Switzerland and Australia. Tax Freedom day this year fell on 21 April in South Korea, 2 May in Switzerland and 11 May in Australia.

Tax Freedom Day is a day for New Zealanders to consider the egregious amount of tax foisted upon us by successive governments. Tax should be used to deliver the key functions of government in the most efficient way possible.

We should be aiming to start working for ourselves in April, not still working for politicians in June. The only way to do that is to reduce the high tax burden on New Zealanders.

We want to keep working to make sure next year’s Tax Freedom Day is earlier. Help us do it, by joining, or supporting, the Taxpayers’ Union.

This is something to keep in mind when voting.

All of the parties on the left have policies for more and higher taxes.


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