Cullen to be paid $1k a day for ongoing media work on tax recommendations

I think it’s unusual for the chairman of a Government working group to continue promoting recommendations and defending the Government’s position via media after delivery of their report. I hope it’s more unusual to be paid $1000 a day to do it.

Stuff: Sir Michael Cullen debates impact of tax reform on farmers, without the politics

Sir Michael Cullen has continued his public statements on the impact of capital gains tax, although his tone has softened considerably.

On Wednesday the Tax Working Group chairman released a lengthy statement on the impact the proposals of the Tax Working Group would have on farms.

It came two days after the former Labour MP and minister of finance questioned statements made by the National Party about the possible impact on KiwiSaver.

Cullen did not say why he issued the latest statement, instead claiming he had “responded to a request to comment on recent claims about the effect on farmers”.

This week it emerged that while the Tax Working Group has disbanded, Cullen has had his contract extended by the Government.

Cabinet papers show Cullen was to be paid $1062 a day in his role as chairman of the TWG.

“We extended his appointment as the chair of the TWG to 30 June because we were aware there would be extended public discussion on the report, and this has played out,” Finance Minister Grant Robertson said in a statement.

That will be close to $100,000 over three months.  Where is Ardern’s so-called fairness in this?

If Ardern and Robertson aren’t capable of explaining and defending the working group recommendations then perhaps they should be paying Cullen out of their salaries.

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39 Comments

  1. Gezza

     /  6th March 2019

    Fark – nice work if you can get it.

    • Gezza

       /  6th March 2019

      Is he required to refund the customer if any of his advice proves wrong?

      • Duker

         /  7th March 2019

        If his advice proves wrong? You mean like the Meth contamination ‘advice’- how much did that cost the taxpayer, $10s of millions.

        And lets not forget Treasury advice , which even Key once dismissed as ‘garbage’

        • Gezza

           /  7th March 2019

          Oh no, as I recall Key’s principal science adviser prof Gluckman came out with advice that it was worthless. It’s just a shame that for some reason he delivered that afvice after National was no longer the government & Sir John had moved on to the traditional lucrative sinecures out of Parliament & get a tin star from from his mate across The Ditch for rolling over & letting them tickle his tummy whenever asked.

          Treasury are only ever expected to forecast based on continually updating information.

          • Blazer

             /  7th March 2019

            Nationals acolytes ,including ex M.P Mike Sabin,were making so much $ out of the ‘meth industry’..Gluckman knew not to be a turkey and vote for…

            • Corky

               /  7th March 2019

              You have proof of this, Blazer?

            • High Flying Duck

               /  7th March 2019

              The advice was genuinely independent. It was being questioned by the drug foundation and some others, but the experts at Ministry of health stuck to their guns.

            • Blazer

               /  7th March 2019

              Bennett stuck to her guns …you mean…and McKENZIE AT HNZ.

  2. Corky

     /  6th March 2019

    Talking of rich pricks, Sir Michael…

    The last time I can remember such lush taxpayer funding was when Kara Puketapu produced a 17 page report for $47.000 if I remember correctly.

    • Blazer

       /  7th March 2019

      Auckland council ordered a report on stadiums(I think)at a cost of just under $1million ;)..which recommended…another report.

  3. oldlaker

     /  6th March 2019

    It’s astonishing that the PM and her Finance Minister appear not to be on top of the report’s recommendations. Over the weekend, Ardern was still implying on Q&A that a CGT would help young people buy houses, which the TWG itself said was unlikely. This is a huge gift to Simon Bridges…

    • Gezza

       /  7th March 2019

      Ardern’s bizarre answers to Q2 supplementaries yesterday were an embarrassment & Robertson’s & Peter’s immediately out of order questions to try & distract from that only added to the impression she has barely the foggiest idea of what’s in the report & no idea of the implications of the recommendations.

  4. Blazer

     /  7th March 2019

    that’s a very cheap rate when you consider it in perspective.

    National doled out $600 a day to sit on the flag committee.

    Mai Chen and her ilk book out $1000 AN HOUR!

    • Gezza

       /  7th March 2019

      That seems inaccurate. As far as I can make out from Robertson & Ardern’s responses to questions in parliament and from the media, they still haven’t got a tax plan yet & that is their answer to the questions.

      • High Flying Duck

         /  7th March 2019

        If by “tax plan” you really mean “clue” then I agree with you.

        • Blazer

           /  7th March 2019

          who is Nationals go to guy on tax matters?

  5. Alan Wilkinson

     /  7th March 2019

    I suspect National thinks it is money well spent, ha ha.

  6. David

     /  7th March 2019

    Cullen is detested widely so this is great..for Natuonal.
    Robert on and Ardern look like they are hiding..another National win.
    100k on top of what he was already paid..Labour should pay this out of their own coffers.
    This has made my day.

  7. Finbaar Rustle

     /  7th March 2019

    Sir Michael Cullen is loved throughout out NZ as New Zealand’s greatest financial wizard.
    $1000 /24 hour day = $41 per hour.
    The $41 per hour he is being paid is money well spent.
    The National party supporters are whining moaning and grizzling
    because they are so used to having their blue noses in the trough.
    Torries are always so angry and full of hate.
    Its what they do best.
    Suck it up national.
    Find yourselves another trough 🙂

    • Gezza

       /  7th March 2019

      Seems to me there’s no end of noses in the trough whichever government is in power.

      • Duker

         /  7th March 2019

        You mean this one –
        Cullen Fund , $9 bill in now worth $40 bill plus , oh and NZs biggest taxpayer .

        • Gezza

           /  7th March 2019

          No, I mean all the werkingruppen & hired guns all our governments bring in to tell them what they want to hear, justify what they intend to do anyway, or produce voluminous reports from reviews that are promised to secure voting blocks but that are really just destined for shelving a year or two post-election. Where Labour are weaker than National is that a lot of theirs seem to have been established to do the work Ministers ought to be able to but can’t because they haven’t an effing clue about the areas they’re responsible for.

          • Kitty Catkin

             /  7th March 2019

            I can never believe that anyone thinks that MPs are in it for the money. This is naive and ignorant, to say the least.

            Almost all could do better outside the Beehive, fewer hours, much less stress, better pay. The Minister we knew who routinely did 17 hour days was unlikely to be atypical. The one who said that he wanted to be free from 4.30 pm on what were laughingly called his holidays wasn’t likely to be this either. I have travelled with a Minister who was driven because his phone was going virtually non-stop all the way.

            The old saying about Labour MPs having a pay rise when they’re elected and National ones having a pay cut probably still applies to a large extent.

        • Pink David

           /  7th March 2019

          “$9 bill in now worth $40 bill plus ”

          Shouldn’t the capital gains tax on that be $10bn. The Cullen Fund is clearly avoiding tax.

  8. The Consultant

     /  7th March 2019

    Smart move from the government.

    First, it enables them to have someone who actually knows what he’s talking about on matters of tax and economics, rather than the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, who appear to be clueless.

    Second, it provides a hate shield for the COL. Cullen can take the slings and arrows and enable Jacinda to keep her shiny, happy people facade.

    Sure, the whole trougher thing might be a black eye for the COL, but given that we’re used to people troughing the system it won’t amount to much, and it’s certainly a negative that is outweighed by the positives listed above.

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  7th March 2019

      The more Cullen talks about his grand plan the more certain the whole lot will be ditched.

      • Gezza

         /  7th March 2019

        Reminds me of that quote from Benjamin Franklin’s letter in 1789 that “Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”