News Worthy - 7 April 2006
7 April 2006 - No. 68
Welfare for Families
On 1 April the Government implemented its "Working for Families" scheme.
Working for Families is a tax credit system where eligible people apply to the Inland Revenue Department and receive a certain amount of their tax back based on their income and number of children.
It is estimated that the package will mean that 350,000 families will receive the family tax credit in 2006.
The reality is that Working for Families will not help lower-income families. The scheme has been expanded to cover middle and upper income earners. Families with incomes as high as $142,000 will be eligible.
Low-income earners without children at home still miss out and receive no tax relief.
The issues around climate change are complex and confusing. A credible school of thought persists in the view that the earth's climate has always been subject to natural variation which is nothing to do with man's activities - see for example the comments of Lord Lawson in the Spectator of 11 March 2006. He notes that during the period of the Roman Empire for example the Romans were able to produce drinkable wine in the north of England.
More recently, during the 17th and early 18th centuries, there was what has become known as the little ice age, when the Thames was regularly frozen over in winter, and substantial ice fairs held on the frozen river became a popular attraction.
The cost of meeting New Zealand's liability on greenhouse gas emissions is heading towards a billion dollars.
Under the Kyoto Protocol, New Zealand is committed to reducing emissions but will not meet its target and is set to buy so-called carbon credits from countries, which exceed theirs.
The last estimate of the cost was $562 million but the average price of credits has since doubled meaning New Zealand could be paying over a billion dollars or more.
Less than a year ago, it was thought that New Zealand would make money on emissions trading but it was revealed in June that this was a miscalculation and New Zealand would not meet its target for reducing emissions.
The most recent figure of $560 million was based on emission units costing 8 dollars.
However Treasury figures presented to a select committee recently said the average price of credits had doubled and currently ranges between 9 and 25 dollars a unit.
Sources say a median figure of $16 a unit is realistic, meaning New Zealand could now be paying over a billion dollars or more.
Treasury will report to the Government on the cost of Kyoto credits in May.
National's position is clear and
can be summarised in the following bullet points:
* The balance of scientific evidence supports anthropogenic climate change but significant uncertainties remain
* New Zealand should move in line with our major trading partners, as climate change is a global, not a local, issue
* A tradable emissions permit system is favoured over a carbon tax regime but only when emission limits are widely agreed
* New Zealand should seek to join Asia-Pacific Partnership for Clean Development
* More should be invested in R & D in respect of animal emissions
No Birdy Avair Saw Any Wing To Eagle It
Significant issues swirl around defence with rumours that the military have overspent in the current fiscal period. Conflicting views about the upgrading of our existing aircraft and in particular the Boeing 757 aircraft and the vintage C130 Hercules figure in the discussion.
Our aging 2 plane 757 fleet, ex charter airline, is to be upgraded to a cargo/passenger/vip convertible. The budget for this is $100 to $200 million dollars. The plane only cost approximately $US 11 million.
Some critics argue that we should lease the C17 medium lift aircraft, a plane made by Boeing for the US Air force. It has stunning performance - short take off and will stop in 1300m when fully loaded. It will carry vehicles, trucks and helicopters, and can carry about 150 passengers. It holds 13 world performance records and has an excellent service history in Iraq.
Boeing's production line for the C17 is winding down under USAF budget pressure. The company wants to keep production going; it has leased 4 aircraft to the RAF, and is negotiating the possible lease with the Australian Government of further aircraft.
The argument is that if we lease say two aircrafts; our capability within our "sphere of influence" would be greatly enhanced. Moreover the air forces in Australia and NZ will have a clear strategic fit.
Who knows maybe such moves would presage an ANZAC Squadron.
Political Quote of the Week
"The news and truth are not the same thing." - Walter Lippmann- American political writer