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News Worthy - 28 July 2006

News Worthy

28 July 2006 - No. 81

The growing graffiti and tagging problem in Auckland

In a survey which I conducted of every household in the Epsom electorate last month, graffiti was identified by a substantial number of correspondents as a major concern in our district. That is despite the committed efforts of the Auckland City Council and the team led by Graffiti Prevention Officer Rob Shields.

As part of the programme a database has been established to record tags and link them to offenders.

The primary responsibility for preventing tagging lies with the community and its determination by community response to stamp out tagging. That means community vigilance, active reporting and cleanup. The reality is however that only the council has the resources to deal with the problem.

I do not favour restrictions on the sale of spray paint. That said in the local community, shop keepers should refuse to sell spray paint to known or suspected taggers. Retailers have the right to choose whether they will make a sale or not.

Currently taggers can face criminal prosecution on charges such as wilful damage. I would like to see taggers face civil action in the courts for the costs of the damage they do and the cleanup. The Disputes Tribunal has a money jurisdiction of $7,500.

Graffiti and tagging clean ups, repairs and prevention programmes cost Auckland ratepayers about $6 million a year.

Taggers would think twice about tagging if they knew they would be faced with having to pay for their tagging damage and cleanup.

Government’s Business Tax Review released

The Government on Tuesday released the long awaited Business Tax Review. In a review of the changes KPMG noted that the Ministers of Finance and Revenue at the end of last year said that they envisaged:

“Some very bold measures emerging (from the Review). It will not be a matter of tinkering with the tax rules”

In no way are the changes “bold” measures.

The range of proposals are:

· Drop the company tax rate from 33% to 30%

· Introduce targeted tax credits for research and development, export market development and skills improvement

· Defer losses from significant upfront expenditure

· Allow a deduction for blackhole expenditure, including loss on sale of buildings

· Increase depreciation loading on new assets

· Decrease depreciation loading on new assets

· Align 20% depreciation loading for new and second-hand assets

· Increase the low value asset write-off threshold from $500 to $1,000

· Deal with assets with a low depreciated value

· Increase the threshold for taxpayers allowed to file an annual FBT return.

On the one issue of greatest interest, the company tax rate change, although costed at a significant $540 million, simply aligns the company tax rate with Australia’s. This leaves Australia room to move ahead once more especially when corporate rates across the globe are trending down.

The reduction in the company rate widens the gap between the top personal rate (39%) and the company tax rate.

This mismatch seriously undermines the value of the company tax rate reduction. Many New Zealanders operate through a non-company structure, such as trusts, partnerships and the self-employed.

As KPMG notes, the gap between a 30% company tax rate and the top marginal (39%) and trust tax (33%) rates will provide a clear signal to operate a business through a company.

The name suppression scandal continues

The courts seem determined to continue to grant name suppression in undeserving cases. The examples include:

The interim suppression on 22 June 2006 of a 36 year old unemployed man from Pukekohe charged with rape, sexual violation, assault with intent to rape, threatening to kill, kidnapping, aggravated robbery and injuring with intent. The accused allegedly subjected a woman to horrific attacks over a prolonged period in her Pukekohe home in the previous week.

Curiously we know more about the victim than we do about the accused.

The interim name suppression granted on 25 July 2006 of the alleged murderer of teacher Lois Dear who was murdered in her Tokoroa classroom on 16 July 2006

A recent High Court decision on 23 June 2006 to grant permanent name suppression of a prisoner sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of imprisonment of 15 years on a charge of murder. The decision was allegedly justified on the basis of the effect of name publication on the four children of the prisoner and the deceased.

A competition for the literati

National Party philosophy is well reflected in the following quotation

“You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.

You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage-payer.

You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than you earn.

You cannot build character and courage by taking away a man's initiative and independence.

You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.”

Who is the author of the above words?. The fifth correct answer wins a dinner at Bellamys.

Auckland infrastructure dinner - Wednesday 9 August 2006 at 5.30pm

The dinner is the second in a series on Auckland’s infrastructure with guest speaker Don Huse - Chief Executive Officer of Auckland International Airport Limited.

Venue: Remuera Bowling Club - 6 Market Rd Remuera

Cost: $40 in advance - $45 at the door (cash bar open)

Tickets: Elizabeth - Ph: (09) 623 2598 or by .

email - richard.worthmp@xtra.co.nz

Political Quote of the Week

"One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors" - Plato - Greek Philosopher and the most famous of Socrates' pupils

Richard Worth


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