Robb on Little: “You always know when someone is going places”.

Retiring Parliamentary staffer Shona Robb says that she thought from day one that Andrew Little would be “going places” and looks forward to seeing him in “the big role” in 2017.

Stuff reports – MPs’ long serving staffer retires after four decades:

After 39 years, six prime ministers and hundreds of MPs, Shona Robb has called time on her career. And as Parliament’s longest serving staffer clocked off for the last time yesterday, her silver wrist-watch stopped.

She started work in the Opposition typing pool in September 1976 – before Parliamentary Service was established and construction of the Beehive was finished. MPs Todd Barclay, David Seymour, Jacinda Ardern, Nikki Kaye, Julie Anne Genter and Simon Bridges were yet to be born.

Working for MPs for 39 years is a huge achievement.

Robb makes some interesting comments about Andrew Little – see the video from 1:12

But the last few years working with Andrew has been pretty special indeed, and you always know when someone is going places, and I think I knew from day one.

So I’m really backing this man and I hope that, you know, in 2017 he’s going to take the big role. So we’ll be there to see you do that.

There’s also some interesting visuals involving Grant Robertson while Rob was saying that.


Well done Shona for a long career in Parliament. We’ll see in a couple of years if Little gets the big role as she anticipates.

Jacinda Ardern, career politician

Jacinda Ardern appears to be a politician with ambitions, but what drives her? Is she in the right party? She’s long been associated with the Labour Party but her website profile wouldn’t look out of place in the Green Party.

Personal Statement

Jacinda Ardern

A bit about Jacinda ardern

Politics is not an easy place to be – but I believe New Zealand has the potential to be even better than it is, and Parliament is one place where I can help make that happen

When I was pretty young I lived in a small town called Murupara, a place that was forgotten during the economic reforms of the 1980s, and which lost its main source of employment when the forestry industry was privatised. I saw then the level of poverty that exists in some parts of our country; I saw the impact of a lack of work and hope, and what happens when we don’t invest in our kids.

That’s why I’m in politics.

I believe in an Auckland and a New Zealand that owns its future, and its assets, that is smart and grows the economy by investing in Research and Development and clean technology, has a world class public transport system that we can be proud of, invests in children, and is genuinely a world leader on environmental issues.

And why do I want to strive for all of this on behalf of Auckland Central? That’s easy – because it’s my home; one I know we can make even better than it already is.

To me that’s vague waffle and immensely underwhelming.

Her background (according to her):

My experience

One of the most frequent questions I get asked is “what did you do before this?”

Like many Kiwis, I was getting experience overseas. I worked as an Assistant Director in the Department for Business and Enterprise in London, trying to improve the way they regulated small businesses. I also worked on a review of Policing in England and Wales.

I lived in New York, making meatballs at a soup kitchen, and before that, I was at home in New Zealand, working for Helen Clark.

For many years I was also the President of an international political organisation with consultative status with the United Nations – it took me around the world from Beirut to Geneva, but also taught me how to manage an international Board – and that home was where I wanted to be.

International political experience and working for Helen Clark. Outside of politics there seems to be little or nothing.

Wikipedia has more details:

Born 26 July 1980 so she is now 35.

Ardern grew up in Morrinsville and Murupara, where her father, Ross Ardern, worked as a policeman. She attended Waikato University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications. She joined the Labour Party at a young age, and became a senior figure in the Young Labour Party.

After graduating from Waikato University, she spent time working in the offices of Phil Goff and of Helen Clark as a researcher.

She didn’t mention Phil Goff in ‘My Experience’.

She later spent time in London, working as a senior policy advisor. In early 2008 she won election as the President of the International Union of Socialist Youth.

Her Labour party profile has more detail on her UK experience:

Before entering Parliament Jacinda worked for two and a half years for the Better Regulation Executive in the UK Cabinet Office. Her role as an Associate Director was to improve the way that local authorities, in particular, interfaced with business. She was also seconded to the Home Office to assist with a review of policing in England and Wales.

That means she must have gone to the UK at about the start of 2006. She would have left school about 1997-98, so that gives her about eight years to get her University degree and work for Goff and Clark.


After a high placement on Labour’s party list for the 2008 election (her ranking at number 20 virtually guaranteed a seat in Parliament) Ardern returned from London to campaign full-time. She also became the Party’s candidate for the Waikato electorate. Ardern was unsuccessful in the electorate vote, but was elected as a List MP.

That’s a high list placement for someone who has been overseas, but she obviously had good contacts back in New Zealand. It looks like it could be a planned career path.

She came a distant second in Waikato in a strongly National leaning electorate, getting about 23% for her personal and Labour’s party vote – in 2011 the Labour candidate got a lower personal (18.4%) and party (16.44%) vote.

Soon after the 2008 election defeat Phil Goff replaced Helen Clark as leader and he appointed Ardern as Labour’s spokesperson for Youth Affairs and as associate spokesperson for Justice (Youth Affairs), outside the 28 top ranked MPs (along with Grant Robertson, Chris Hipkins, Kelvin Davis, Iain Lees-Galloway, Carmel Sepuloni and Phil Twyford).

Ardern was elevated to 13 on Labour’s 2011 list, the head of the newbies. Here are those MPs still in Parliament:

13. Jacinda Ardern
14. Grant Robertson
15. Andrew Little
16. Shane Jones
17. Su’a William Sio
23. Kelvin Davis
24. Carmel Sepuloni
27. Stuart Nash
28. Clare Curran
30. Chris Hipkins
31. David Shearer
33. Phil Twyford
37. Iain Lees-Galloway
41. Kris Faafoi
45. Rino Tirikatene
47. Megan Woods
49. David Clark

Ardern had moved to Auckland Central, which was held by Labour’s Judith Tizard comfortably until she lost to Nicki Kay in 2008. In a close contest Ardern lost to Nicki  Kaye in 2011 but she retained her place in Parliament via the list.

Phil Goff resigned after the 2011 loss and David Shearer was elevated into the Labour leadership. And he elevated Ardern to Labour’s front bench at number four, spokesperson for Social Development, Children, Associate Arts Culture and Heritage.

Then in September 2013 Shearer resigned and David Cunliffe became Labour’s leader. His reshuffle dropped Ardern back to six, spokesperson for Children, Police, Corrections, Arts, Culture and Heritage.

Ardern was placed at five on Labour’s 2011 list due to Shane Jones dropping out of contention. She had another close tussle with Kaye in Auckland Central, losing by 600 votes – but that was likely to be more to do with strategic Green voting. In the all important party vote Labour got just 21.67%

So how has that trended in Auckland Central?

  • 1996 – 37.14% (party vote, Judith Tizard MP)
  • 1999 – 41.50%
  • 2002 – 44.1%
  • 2005 – 45.24%
  • 2008 – 34.55% (Kaye won the seat off her with National getting 40.08%
  • 2011 – 25.11%
  • 2014 – 21.67%

Auckland has been also strongly contested by Greens, Nandor Tanczos since 1999 followed by Denise Roche since 2008.

But the declining Labour Party vote doesn’t look pretty.

After the 2014 defeat David Cunliffe sort of resigned, triggering another leadership contest. Grant Robertson promoted a joint ticket with Ardern as his deputy. Two centre city career politician candidates. They lost out to the inexperienced union backed Andrew Little. Robertson had also lost to Cunliffe.

While Little has placed Robertson at number three on the front bench and given him the challenging Finance responsibility Ardern has slid down to nine, with Twyford, Hipkins, Sepuloni and Davis all leapfrogging her.

Her current party profile:

Jacinda Ardern

Labour List MP in Auckland Central

Spokesperson for Justice, Children, Small Business and Arts, Culture & Heritage

Jacinda’a passion for social justice led her to the Labour Party at just 17 years old. She was elected to Parliament in 2008. Jacinda ran in the 2011 election as Labour’s candidate for Auckland Central, halving the incumbents’ majority down to approximately 700 votes.

Press releases from Ardern on Labour’s website show a fairly low level of activity.

Posts on her own website also show a low level of activity too.

She’s more active on her Facebook page, perhaps that suits her target constituency more.

If Andrew Little decided to step down what would Ardern’s chances be if she stood for the leadership?

She would presumably have mixed support from Labour’s caucus.

She doesn’t seem to have much support at The Standard where she doesn’t often rate a mention. After this weeks Herald promo of her leadership chances –  Labour’s support recovers to 30s – got no similar promotion.

Colonial Viper:

Jacinda is a run of the mill MP. Parliamentary staffer to Labour MP; been one of the 2% for a long time now, Grant faction and seen successive Labour defeats while in caucus.

Jenny Kirk:

I, too, have been wondering re the promotion of Jacinda Ardern – a very sneaky move to use her to undermine Andrew Little.

They are both active in Labour.

And it’s hard to see strong support from the unions for Ardern or Ardern/Robertson.

If she did succeed due to ‘last remaining cab on the rank’ and become Labour leader will voters see past her lightweight feel-good look-good self promotions and wonder where the substance is?

Ardern is a career politician. I see little sign of her being any more than that yet.

Perhaps she is targetting a leadership bid should Labour lose again in 2017, and has her sights set on the 2020 election. She’ll still only be forty then.

If she wants something other tha polituics in her CV she has time to take a break from Parliament for a couple of terms and get some real life experience, not political position by friendly appointment but proving she can get an understanding about real life and real people outside the bubble vacuum left by Helen Clark.

That would allow her to return via Labouir’s list in 2023 and perhaps contest the 2026 election leading Labour with something of substance behind her.

Otherwise it looks like her career is destined to be an ineffectual career in New Zealand followed by an appointment to the UN.

Ardern one of favoured Little replacements

Jacinda Ardern is one of the more favoured relacements should Andrew Little step down from the Labour leadership, but NZ Herald talks her up more than us justified in Jacinda Ardern’s star still rising.

They have publisghed two poll resuo\lts:

Preferred Prime Minister

John Key 63.7 (down 0.9)
Andrew Little 13.3 (down 0.6)
Winston Peters 11.6 (down 0.4)
Jacinda Ardern 3.9 (up 3.4)
Helen Clark 2.6 (up 1.6)
Metiria Turei 0.9 (up 0.6)
James Shaw 0.6 (up 0.6)

Ardern has jumped up there but she’s not far ahead of the margin of error for Helen Clark.

Q: If Andrew Little were to step down as Labour leader during this term, who do you think would his best replacements as Opposition leader?

Annette King 21.8
Jacinda Ardern 20.1
Grant Robertson 18.0
Phil Twyford 4.0
None of the above 10.5
Don’t know/ refused 25.7

That doesn’t look good for Labour.

King is one of their most respected MPs, was deputy leader under Phill Goff, is currently deputy leader, and has been stand in leader during last year’s leadership contest, but she can hardly be seen seriously as a leader of the future.

That Ardern and Grant Robertson come close behind with over a third (36.2%) ‘none’ or ‘don’t know/refused’ might suggest Little’s leadership is secure but it doesn’t look great for alternatives.

Ardern has shown no sign of being ready to step up to lreadership type responsibilites and Robertson is a multiple failure in leadership contests.

The poll of 750 eligible voters was conducted between August 14 – 24.

Labour leader lament

Labour’s leadership has been lame since Helen Clark stood down.

Clark was a determined and strong leader, backed by a strong Head of Staff (H2), and supported by a very capable deputy in Michael Cullen.

Who can remember who the current deputy leader of Labour is?

Phil Goff was only ever a placeholder leader. He lasted a term, campaigning earnestly in 2011, but failed to inspire against the odds – National’s previous Governments has all last three or four terms.

Goff was replaced by an unlikely gamble, David Shearer. Shearer offered something fresh and new, something Labour badly needed, but was soon hobbled by a stale and old management team. He had strong international credentials but still doesn’t look like leadership material.

Next David Cunliffe’s ambitions were given a chance despite not havig majority support of the Labour caucus. He tried hard in the 2014 election – too hard at times – and fell hard but reluctantly after defeat.

Next up was Andrew Little, another relatively inexperienced punt. He started with some promise last year, but this year has looked out of his depth. He wasn’t helped by Winston Peters out manouvering Labour in the Northland by-election, but since the has looked listless on a listing Labour ship.

Little’s opportunity was to be a refreshingly frank ‘cut the crap’ leader. But like Shearer he seems to have been taken over by the committee and he looks lost and lacking in confidence and conviction.

By now you would think that someone in Labour would realise that after four leaders had failed to fire there could be a common problem, the way the party operates around it’s leadership.

National’s election advertising showed Labour, Greens and Internet/Mana rowing in different directions in a dinghy. Labour are doing that on their own.

To rescue his situation Little needs to take control and lead. That would probably require major personal and management changes.

And he needs to do this quickly. Winston Peters is topping in in ‘preferred leader’ polls, and Labour just dropped back to 27% in the latest Roy Morgan poll, down 5%.

Unfortunately if Little fails to lead Labolur’s options look bleak.

Jacinda Ardern topped the recent Sate of the Boardroom assessment of Labour MPs but she looks to be nowhere near ready to lead.

Grant Robertson has failed in two leadership attempts already. He might think it could be third time lucky but he has failed to inspire inside Labour so it’s hard to see him wowing the voters.

David Parker has dabbled but has never threatened to rise to the top as a serious contender.

Goff, Shearer and Cunliffe have already failed.

King, Cosgrove, Mallard, Dyson and probably O’Connor should make way for new talent, if such a thing can be located in Labour circles.

Who else is there? No one stands out as a potential leader to me.

Except perhaps for Chris Hipkins, if he can get out of the shadow of senior mentors. Can the caucus kid become a leader? Does he have that ambition? Does he have sufficient support within Labour?

So Little may get more time before they panic.

Can he break free of the tired old party shackles? No sign of it yet, but one can hope.

Green and NZ First growth is probably limited, so our Parliament and our democracy desperately needs a strong Opposition at least, and needs some sign that there is a party capable of running the country. Currently Labour look like they can barely run their noses.

“Labour is the party of economic competence”

Anthony Robins makes a case at The Standard that Labour is the party of economic competence.

The old myth that National are good managers of the economy should now be well dead and buried. By any realistic assessment of the records of the last two governments, Labour is the party of economic competence.

Labour: 9 surplus budgets, paid down net government debt to zero, established the Cullen fund, KiwiSaver, KiwiBank and emissions trading scheme, low unemployment, negotiated a successful free trade agreement with China, and so on.

National: 7 deficit budgets (so far), ran up record government debt, sold productive assets, made significant losses by cutting Cullen fund contributions, gutted the emissions scheme, got taken for a ride by Hollywood, Sky City and Rio Tinto, higher unemployment, is negotiating a disastrous TPP, and more.

There’s some valid points there, but also some questionable ones. And some significant omissions, for example Kiwirail, and the fact that the New Zealand economy was heading into difficult times while Labour was still in Government, having committed the country and the incoming National Government to significant increased spending.

There’s certainly things National can be criticised for, but “made significant losses by cutting Cullen fund contributions” is nonsense, and the Hollywood deal can be credited in part for improving tourism which is one of the countriy’s biggest earners now.

Labour needs to highlight the issue of economic competence next election (with any luck the media will do their job too and fairly present the facts). It is supposed to be a core National strength, but any clothes that emperor ever had are long gone now. National is vulnerable.

Robins looks back to the Labour Government led by Helen Clark and Michael Cullen. They were voted out in 2008, seven years ago.

National aren’t judged on the Bolger Government, or the Muidoon Government.

Of course National is vulnerable, especially if the economic situation worsens or doesn’t improve much.

But Bill English is widely seen as a very sound Minister of Finance who has managed the economy through very difficult times. If he remains then National may still look economically reliable. If not it National will have to look like they have got a comparable replacement.

Sure “Labour needs to highlight the issue of economic competence” – but Andrew Little and Grant Robertson have to do quite a lot of convincing yet about perceptions of their economic competence. If they are still leader and Finance Spokesperson at the election.

And absent any poll recovery miracle Labour still have to grapple with how economically competent Labour+Greens looks, or Labour+Greens+NZFirst looks.

They’ve got plenty of time. It’s two years until we head into the next election campaign.

But they’ve had plenty of time. It’s nearly seven years and four leader/finance spokesperson combinations since Labour lost power.

Before Labour is seen as ‘the party of economic competence’ they need to be seen as a party that can competently manage itself.

Flag Referendums Bill passed

The New Zealand Flag Referendums Bill passed it’s third reading in Parliament yesterday. Radio NZ reports:

Parliament passes law to change flag

Legislation clearing the way for referenda on changing the nation’s flag has passed its third and final reading in Parliament.

The bill was passed by 63 votes to 59 with the support of National, United Future, ACT and the Maori Party.

The first part of the referendum is expected to be held later this year, when voters will pick their favourite of four proposed flag designs.

As we know the process to seek and select alternate flag designs is well under way, with the top forty designs now chosen.

I find it odd that the legislation enabling this has only just passed. There has already been considerable effort and expenditure.

It was interesting to watch the twelve speeches in Parliament on this Bill.

Government speakers promoted the process, but more notably Opposition speakers spoke against the flag change process but didn’t look convinced by their own arguments, especially Trevor Mallard, Grant Robertson and Russel Norman.

Bill English (National):

This Bill will give New Zealanders the opportunity for the first time ever to vote on the flag that represents them and their country.

Trevor Mallard (Labour):

I’m an old fashioned Parliamentarian and I think the role of the Prime Minister is to stand up in this Parliament and to state his views.I waited through the first reading of this legislation. I waited through the second reading of this legislation. I waited through the committee stages for John Key to get on his feet and to give his views.

He went on to complain about the lack of Key’s contribution to the debate – but kept calling it Key’s ‘vanity project’. There’s not only a contradiction on that, there’s also a huge contradiction in Mallard’s and Labour’s pro-change but anti this change stance.

And Andrew Little did not appear to speak on Labour’s contradictory stance.

Alfred Ngaro (National):

It’s disappointing to see that a member…to see that he’s come to a point where he knows and he’s agreed, in fact at select committee he agrees with the changing of the flag. He told us that. It’s in Hansard.

He said that changing the flag is the right thing to do, yet today in this house, to the open public of New Zealand he’s only opposing it out of spite.

Grant Robertson (Labour):

I’m one of the members of the Labour party who thinks that there is a place for a new flag for New Zealand.

But I’m equally a member of the New Zealand public who’s angry with John Key for turning a process…I, along with a lot of other New Zealanders am angry with John Key that a discussion about this, a discussion about out national identity, has become a vanity project for him, and there’s absolutely no doubt that that’s what’s happened.

Ironically as Mr Mallard says, the vanity doesn’t extend to coming to parliament to actually talk about the flag change.

They are trying to argue two opposites at the same time, Unconvincingly.

Labour are intent on trying to depict it as a John key vanity project – but Robertson did not look or sound angry. His argument sounded contrived and insincere.

Russel Norman:

This Bill is of course a classic form over substance Bill. So the form of course is actual pattern on the flag…so it’s really about some people saying they want to change the pattern.

But a flag, the reason why the pattern matters is that it actually refers to a deeper substance, and the deeper substance that it refers to is the constitutional arrangements of the country, ah that’s the thing that really matters.

Norman gave a subdued fairly passionless speech. He wanted to change much more than the flag – he wants to change the constitution along with it.

However the Greens have also campaigned against the flag change as not the right time to put any resources into changing anything while there are ‘more pressing matters’. To be consistent they would not want constitutional changes to be addressed until there are zero hungry children and zero damp houses in New Zealand. That’s never.

Marama Fox (Maori Party):

I think this is an important discussion, and it’s important because I absolutely agree with a lot of the objections about why we’re doing this, but actually I absolutely agree that I’d like to see a change in the flag, and I’d like to see a change in the flag because I’d like to see something that does symbolise our duality of nationhood.

Should we be spending this amount of money on doing it? I’d like to think not.

Should we have put a constitutional change first before we put a flag change in? Absolutely agree with that.

Constitutional change would be much more complex, would take much longer and would be much more expensive than the flag change process.

The Maori Party voted for the Bill.

Links to the all the speeches:

New Zealand Flag Referendums Bill – Third reading – Part 1 Bill English
New Zealand Flag Referendums Bill – Third reading – Part 2 Trevor Mallard
New Zealand Flag Referendums Bill – Third reading – Part 3 Alfred Ngaro
New Zealand Flag Referendums Bill – Third reading – Part 4 Grant Robertson
New Zealand Flag Referendums Bill – Third reading – Part 5 Jacqui Dean
New Zealand Flag Referendums Bill – Third reading – Part 6 Kennedy Graham
New Zealand Flag Referendums Bill – Third reading – Part 8 Jono Naylor
New Zealand Flag Referendums Bill – Third reading – Part 9 Russel Norman
New Zealand Flag Referendums Bill – Third reading – Part 10 Marama Fox
New Zealand Flag Referendums Bill – Third reading – Part 11 Chris Bishop
New Zealand Flag Referendums Bill – Third reading – Part 12 Jenny Salesa
New Zealand Flag Referendums Bill – Third reading – Part 13 Nanaia Mahuta
New Zealand Flag Referendums Bill – Third reading – Part 14 Joanne Hayes, Lindsay Tisch, Tim Macindoe

Labour diversion #1 – provisional tax policy propasal

Labour launched Andrew Little’s first policy yesterday to try to help businesses pay tax – but it’s a policy that other parties (National, Greens, ACT) have already promoted.

Was Labour that the Government had announced implemetation of an almost identical policy earlier this year and had already had public consultation on it?

Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson announced Labour’s first policy since Little became leader on Twitter at the same time as Little was announcing it in a speech.

Andrew Little addressing the Hutt Chamber of Commerce. Announcing new proposal to make life easier for small business

Embedded image permalink

Labour proposing Flexible Tax for Business. Optional system to manage provisional tax when it works for them.

Planned change to business tax is Little’s first policy as Labour leader

Little has been leader since November 2014, eight months ago.

Under Labour’s proposal business will have option to pay tax through regular instalments at a rate they can adjust.

Discussion document on Labour’s flexible tax for business available
Email your feedback to

Little’s media release on it:

Labour is launching a new proposal to give businesses more flexibility and control over when they pay their tax, Opposition Leader Andrew Little announced today.

“Today I am launching a discussion document to give businesses the option of paying their income tax through a system similar to PAYE called Flexible Tax for Business.

“Business people know their business better than the IRD so Labour wants to let business owners tailor their tax payments to fit their cash flows.

“Small businesses frequently tell me one of their biggest bugbears is how difficult it is to pay provisional tax.

“Under the current system they are forced to guess their annual income and pay tax in three large instalments throughout the year. If they guess wrong, they can be faced with a big bill at the end of the year which can push a small business to the wall.

“Under Labour’s proposal, businesses will have the option of choosing to pay their tax through regular instalments at a rate they can adjust. This means businesses can align their payments to suit their circumstances.

“To further help our businesses get ahead, our proposal scraps harsh late penalties for provisional tax, and raises the level at which provisional tax kicks in from $2500 to $5000.

“Flexible Tax for Business is about giving our businesses more control over how they pay tax.  That’s how we will help them do well, grow and create jobs.

“From here, we will be sending out the discussion document for feedback from business owners around the country on how we can improve the proposal before we take it into the 2017 election,” says Andrew Little.

To read Andrew’s speech click here.

To view Labour’s discussion document click here.

This all sounds quite good. It also sounds quite familiar.

As Steven Joyce quickly pointed out:

Labour re-announces Government announcement

Acting Minister of Finance Steven Joyce has congratulated Labour Party Leader Andrew Little on finally announcing his first “new” policy after eight months in the job, although unfortunately for Labour it’s a cut and paste of a previous Government announcement.

“Labour announced today it was launching a discussion document on changes to provisional tax for businesses. However it seems to have overlooked that the Government launched its own discussion document containing almost identical proposals back in March,” says Mr Joyce. “These in turn were based on National Party policy at the last election.”

The Government has already consulted on proposed changes to provisional tax including a business PAYE, changes to use-of-money interest and penalties, increased use of tax pooling and the use of tax accounts. A Green Paper was launched on 31 March this year and submissions closed on 29 May.

“Feedback on the Green Paper’s suggestions has generally been supportive, and provisional tax was the part most commented on. As we’ve said previously, the changes will require new technology to be implemented, which will be developed as part of the IRD’s Business Transformation project,” says Mr Joyce.

“Quite why Labour has started its own consultation is beyond me.

“Submissions are now closed but the Government would be happy to accept a late submission from the Labour Party in support of the proposal,” Mr Joyce says. “We also appreciate its implied endorsement of the Business Transformation process that will make these policy changes possible.”

A link to  the March announcement can be found HERE.

A link to the Government’s Green Paper, Making Tax Simpler, can be found HERE.

A link to the National Party’s 2014 election policy on this issue can be found HERE.

Same for ACT Party@actparty  Here’s our statement, from May, on scrapping provisional tax:

Scrap provisional tax? Yep

The provisional tax system should be scrapped, says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“Having to estimate volatile incomes is unfair on taxpayers, especially given the penalties that occur if you get it wrong.

“I am pleased to see the government recognise that the use of technology allows provisional tax to be managed much more like PAYE – calculated as you earn income.

“The Government is seeking views on whether provisional tax estimations should be scrapped in favour of simply paying tax as you actually earn it.

“I urge businesses and individuals to take up the invitation by the Government to submit on this issue.”

Go to to have your say.

  • Discussion on Better Digital Services – closes 15 May
  • Discussion on the plan for the Tax Administration – closes 29 May
 Same for Rod Drury:

IRD already working through changes to Provisional Tax for small biz. Cloud Accounting software can bring this to life quickly

Same for NZGreenParty@NZGreenParty Greens support simplifying tax for small business: Now that the four biggest parties in Parliament agree on:

Greens support simplifying tax for small business

Now that the four biggest parties in Parliament agree on the way forward, it’s time for the Government to get on with simplifying provisional tax for small businesses, the Green Party said today.

“The Green Party has been talking about simplifying provisional tax for small businesses, like Labour suggested today, since before the 2011 election,” Green Party Co-leader James Shaw said.

“Anyone who talks to small business operators knows how annoying and difficult the current guesswork-based provisional tax system can be. Moving to a simpler, pay-as-you-go model would make life so much easier for small businesses and free up their time to focus on growing jobs and revenue.

“Labour’s announcement follows similar recent comments by NZ First, and Steven Joyce says the Government and IRD are open to ideas around simplifying provisional tax for small businesses. Even Act seems to agree with what is clearly now the mainstream consensus.

“Now that there’s political consensus about helping small businesses by simplifying the provisional tax system, the Government needs to get on with making the change,” said Mr Shaw.

It doesn’t sound like Labour are at the consensus stage yet, they have launched ‘a proposal’ and ‘a discussion document’ for consultation.

Was Labour unaware this was already policy shared by most other parties? Were they unaware the Government had already announced it and have already had a consultation process on it?

Was this thought through by Labour or was it thrown together to try and take the spotlight off their ham fisted approach to data analysis and targeting of Chines property buyers?

Anthony Robins’ mistruth about Key lying

Grant Robertson’s breach of privilege complaint against John Key has quickly descended into inaccurate counter claims about inaccurate claims.

Anthony Robins descends into farce in his post Key descends into farce. He accuses Key of lying:

So Key has been caught out in another lie to Parliament, how does he respond?

A spokesman for Key said he stood by his statement.

But Robins appears to be caught up in some mistruthing himself.

What the IRD said was:

it would lead to “lower numbers of KiwiSaver members (particularly among the self-employed and children)”.

I haven’t seen any evidence of Inland Revenue saying anything directly on this, and no evidence of them saying anything to Key.

Robins quotes what was stated in a Treasury report (who consulted Inland Revenue). It is not a quote from Inland Revenue.

Hide: “Never been a successful privilege claim of misleading the House”

Rodney Hide, in response to a post on Grant Robertson’s breach of privilege complaint against John Key, says:

To the best of my knowledge in the history of the Westminster system there has never been a successful privilege claim of misleading the House in any commonwealth jurisdiction.

The test is not whether an answer is untrue but whether is it knowingly untrue.

So a Minister can be mistaken or confused and say next to anything. And they do.

That’s as I understand it. It’s the complaint itself that is the counter hit not its success as a breach of privilege.

Robertson’s Breach of privilege complaint against Key has obvious flaws in it so so Key may easily be able to claim what he said was not “knowingly untrue” – Robertson doesn’t come close to proving the contrary.

Perhaps he didn’t bother trying and doesn’t care. Key’s rhetoric in Parliament looked like a stunt, and Robertson’s breach of privilege complaint looks little more than a “counter hit” stunt.

More confusion between Treasury and Inland Revenue

In his Breach of Privilege complaint to be laid against PM Grant Robertson has claimed Key has misled Parliament, saying “Inland Revenue told John Key” and “Inland Revenue actually said” – but there’s no evidence of what Inland Revenue told Key despite confusion connections being made by Robertson and The Standard.

Robertson’s press release linked to a Treasury report:


As I show in Breach of privilege complaint against Key this doesn’t show any specific Inland Revenue statement, it just says that Treasury consulted with IRD for their report.

However Greg Presland at The Standard quotes in Another #Keyfib about Kiwisaver:

Yesterday’s Treasury dump of papers included the advice from the IRD to the Government about Kiwisaver.  The IRD paper included this advice on the likely effects to Kiwisaver providers:

Lower numbers of KiwiSaver members (particularly among the self-employed and children) and therefore lower revenues from fees and/or a greater number of dormant accounts (if affected individuals stop contributing)”.

Can anyone reconcile these statements?  I have tried to but I cannot stretch the language sufficiently.

That’s word for word the same as from the Treasury statement, but Presland links to an Inland Revenue publication. That’s a virtual replication of the Treasury Impact Statement but can give the impression it’s a statement from IRD.

I say “virtual replication” but it’s not identical. I haven’t checked right through but the first paragraphs differ:

Treasury version:

1. This regulatory impact statement has been prepared by the Treasury in close consultation with Inland Revenue.

IRD version:

1. This regulatory impact statement has been prepared by the Treasury in consultation with Inland Revenue.

But regardless of how close the consultation was there is no clear statement directly from Inland Revenue.

Roberston has claimed:

“Budget documents released yesterday show the Inland Revenue told John Key the exact opposite of what he told Parliament.“Inland Revenue actually said the impact of scrapping the kickstart on KiwiSaver providers would be a ‘lower numbers of KiwiSaver members (particularly among the self-employed and children)’.

The Treasury statement does not show what Inland Revenue told Key, nor does it show that they actually said anything at all to him.


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