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Politics in Full Sentences - 11 October 2019

The Podcast

Last night Politics in Full Sentences hosted Ani O’Brien from Speak Up for Women. Speak Up for Women was formed by feminists worried about an amendment to the Births, Deaths, and Marriages Registration Bill that would allow a person to change their legal gender by simply signing a declaration. They were concerned it would prevent women from excluding men from changing rooms, bathrooms, shelters, women’s prisons, and any other women-only space. You can watch the podcast on Facebook here, or subscribe to listen here.

A Free Speech Issue

Whether you agree with the transgender movement or the more traditional feminist view advanced by O’Brien, it shouldn’t be a forbidden discussion. The pressure, blackmail, and outright nastiness that has been visited on Speak Up for Women is nastier than anything else in New Zealand politics since the Springbok tour. People’s homes have been tagged for taking a position. Massey University has been heavied for planning to host a discussion of the issue. An interesting take out is that free speech is a pan political issue. O’Brien says in the podcast that she is a (former) lifetime Green voter alienated by the party’s censorious culture on this issue.

Rural Revolt

Rural folks are slow to anger but when they get going they’re slow to cool off. Things are at boiling point. The Government’s various attacks on the highly leveraged sector are already leading to large public meetings in the country. We predict that the 50 Shades of Green Rally at Parliament on Tuesday will take the Wellington set by surprise.

We Are Not Surprised

The failures of Fonterra, the Government’s hardline water policy (that doesn’t seem to apply to urban water pollution) the Zero Carbon Bill, the firearms legislation, and the general anti-business sentiment of the Government is creating a perfect storm for the rural sector. Rural suicide rates are the harrowing flashpoint for the sector. ACT predicts rural politics will be a factor in next year’s election.

Nearly $2 in Every $5

The Government’s tax take for the year to 30 June 2019 was up $6.2 billon on the previous year. Taking revenue for crown owned entities, nearly 40 per cent of all economic output in New Zealand was absorbed by Government last year. There is a story about a golden goose that applies here. New Zealand’s private sector won’t keep its momentum when so much of what is produced is absorbed by Government activity.

Where Did The Increase Come From?

Despite what some say, little of it was due to new taxes. Petrol taxes didn’t really bite. They increased four per cent compared with eight per cent of other taxes. The real problem is increased work saving and investment pushing people into higher tax brackets. One solution is to adjust the tax brackets. Another is to get rid of them altogether with a flat tax.

Never Been More Possible

On the new figures ACT’s Flat Personal and Company Income Tax would reduce revenues by about $10 billion. Given a $5 billion dollar surplus, we could reduce spending by another $5 billion of corporate and middle class welfare to achieve the simplest, fairest, most competitive tax system in the world with a balanced budget. Instead we have a Government that consistently chooses to tax and transfer.

Kiwirail Farce

The widely reported $7.5 billion dollar surplus was boosted to the tune of $2.6 billion by changing the value of Kiwirail. How? Instead of valuing Kiwirail according to what people might pay to use it. The value now reflects replacement cost minus depreciation. It is now valued based on what it would cost to replace it, even if nobody wants to use it. We are not making this up.

Another Treasury Leak

The Treasury has accidentally put sensitive data online when it shouldn’t have, again. One take out is that the Government certainly shouldn’t try to make a list of where every firearm in the country is held, as proposed in the firearm legislation currently being debated. Unless it thinks criminals need more help getting firearms illegally.

Poetic Justice

If you buy an electric vehicle you get about $20,000 in hidden subsidy. That’s the fuel excise tax and ETS levies you don’t pay, and there is no Road User Charge regime for electric vehicles. In spite of that, people are not buying them in any significant numbers. One takeout is that electric vehicles are not a cost effective way to reduce carbon emissions. We can only marvel at the irony that the Government has found the same thing, abandoning its targets to convert Government vehicles to electric.

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