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Free Press -ACT’s regular bulletin

Free Press

ACT’s regular bulletin

Some Numbers
The Baby Moko case is so evil and grotesque it will lead to much soul searching about child abuse and neglect in general. Every year approximately 60,000 babies are born in New Zealand, 12,000 to a parent on a benefit. There is something very wrong when a substantial proportion of New Zealanders think you needn’t have a job to provide for children.

ACT’s Solution? Children First
Lindsay Mitchell gave an excellent speech at ACT’s conference this year. She argued that income management, where benefits are paid as rent, electricity and food cards, had been a success for teenaged beneficiaries. She argued that the same should be done for anyone who has a child while on a benefit. We’re not taking anything away from the children, on the contrary we’re trying to make sure the kid gets the benefit of the benefit.

Tax Numbers
Sometimes the press get it completely wrong. This article on how much tax New Zealanders pay at different income levels was placed at the bottom of the Stuff website by editors but topped the ‘most-read’ section all day. It tells us that three per cent of income earners pay 24 per cent of all income tax while 40 per cent receive more in cash benefits than they pay in tax.

What About Indirect Taxes?
But wait, those 40 per cent also pay GST and petrol and tobacco and alcohol excise taxes. Yes they do, but so do all taxpayers. Indirect taxes make up about a third of all taxes, with income taxes on business and personal income making up the other two thirds. Could it be that many low income earners are net taxpayers once indirect taxes are considered?

But What About Non-cash Benefits?
Of course education, health, police, roads, conservation and so on are all non cash benefits. They cost far more than the revenues that come from indirect taxes. Indirect taxes do not make low income earners net taxpayers.

What About Lifecycle Effects?
A better objection is that more people are net taxpayers over their lifetime. For instance a University Student puts a very high demand on the taxpayer but pays little tax, as does a typical super annuitant except with healthcare instead of education. Free Press is not aware of a high quality study of net tax paid over a lifetime under the current scheme.

The Wash
Next time you hear Labour, the Greens, the unions, or some taxpayer funded talking head complain that we live in some sort of hardened careless hyper-capitalist wasteland, just remember we live in a country where three per cent of taxpayers pay a quarter of all income tax, and where 40 per cent receive more tax credits than they pay in tax, and where services received easily outweigh GST and other indirect taxes.

Of course we had to mention it but Free Press does not claim any special insight into the Brexit. If we knew things that the other hordes of commentators have not already said, we promise we’d tell you. We are generally in favour of the Brexit because we hate any large unelected bureaucracy, but we worry that this is the start of a general grumpiness about foreigners –not just in Britain- that could be dangerous.

If Goods Don’t Cross Borders
Frederic Bastiat said that if goods don’t cross borders, soldiers will. The Victorian era of free trade was largely peaceful but WWI was preceded by an anti-trade era. Nations put up trade barriers again during the Great Depression and we all know what happened after that. It is no coincidence that the past forty years of comparative peace have been a period of free trade.

27 vs 60 per cent
The hope comes from younger people. 60 per cent of over 65s voted for Brexit, vs only 27 per cent of 18-24s. It may be that the kids are naïve, or perhaps just more open minded about foreigners. What is clear is that the generations are divided.

The millennial generations are larger (more numerous per cohort) than the boomers, they’re just not all voting yet. As they mature they will start winning contests on questions as fundamental as the Brexit. Issues such as superannuation will be key battlegrounds in New Zealand.

People who recently turned 18 or gained permanent residency can vote in this year’s council elections. Friday 12 August is the latest date for enrolment and even Australians without Permanent Residency (so long as they've been here for 12+ months) can vote. If you or someone you know doesn't receive an enrolment pack by July 4, then they're not enrolled but they can shortcut the process by enrolling online here: http://www.elections.org.nz/voters/enrol-check-or-update-now/how-enrol

We’ve Been Thinking
Free Press may have solved one of Auckland’s most urgent problems, the need to unite behind a single centre-right mayoral candidate. The current three way is dividing not only votes but all important political oxygen. Small wonder the Mt Roskill Labour Electorate Committee are in raptures about replacing Phil Goff with their first new MP in 35 years.

Free Press is offering to host an all-or-nothing gladiatorial primary for the centre-right. If they don’t choose one from among themselves they’re all doomed anyway. We thought about giving them maces to knock each other off a beam but that’s not democracy. Instead, enrolled supporters would vote using a special phone app, whaddayareckon?

We understand to be a Catholic method of birth control.


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