National’s response to PREFU

The National Party’s response to the Pre-election Fiscal Update:


The National Party will commit to implementing a further Family Incomes Package in the next term of government, subject to certain fiscal conditions being met.

“Our strong economy means the Budget 2017 Family Incomes Package will provide a positive boost to after-tax family incomes on 1 April of next year,” Finance Spokesperson Steven Joyce says.

“We are committed to delivering more for New Zealand families in the next term of government, subject to maintaining our strong plan which is allowing New Zealand companies to compete and succeed on the world stage.”

“The best indications from today’s PREFU announcement is that a similar sized Family Incomes Package to the current one would be possible from 2020, unless the economy performs better than expected,” Mr Joyce says.

The first Family Incomes Package will deliver an average of $26 a week to 1.34 million working families from 1 April 2018 through a combination of tax threshold changes, increases in Working for Families tax credits, and increases in the Accommodation Supplement. The Package will also provide an additional $13 a week per couple for 750,000 superannuitants.

Mr Joyce laid out a number of key conditions to be met for a second Family Incomes Package to proceed. These are:

  • Maintaining the Government’s debt targets of reducing net debt to 20 per cent of GDP by 2020 and 10-15 per cent of GDP by 2025
  • Meeting the Government’s spending commitments and forecasts for building infrastructure and improving public services laid out in Budget 2017
  • Funding any Family Incomes Package from cash surpluses and not from additional borrowings

The Pre-election Fiscal Update showed that cash surpluses beyond current and future budget spending commitments would commence from the 2020 financial year.

Mr Joyce says that a second Family Incomes Package would have a similar emphasis to the first package that commences 1 April next year.

“We would want to focus particularly on lifting the incomes of low to middle income families, look to simplify further the tax and transfer system so people can more easily see the link between their work and their earnings, and continue to lift the lower tax thresholds as incomes grow,” Mr Joyce says.

“The average wage is predicted to grow from $58,900 at March 2017 to $65,700 over the next four years. It is very important that we aren’t taxing middle income earners at 30 cents in the dollar. ”

“National has shown it can lift incomes and invest in public services and infrastructure. Under our responsible programme we can continue to do both.”

Mr Joyce said that the ability to have an ongoing conversation about boosting family incomes is only possible because of New Zealand’s strong and growing economy.

“Whether it’s investing in better public services, investing in infrastructure, or boosting family incomes, every budget initiative is only possible because our small and medium-sized businesses operate in an economy that allows them to compete successfully on the world stage.

“It’s crucially important that keep encouraging them to compete and succeed and not weigh them down with poorly thought through new taxes and polices that would stall the economy and stunt growth,” Mr Joyce says.

Election videos – Labour and National

Labour’s new election video is very Ardern orientated, with only brief glimpses of Grant Robertson and Kelvin Davis (who has been quickly relegated to the background) plus plenty of adoring supporters.

89,738 views.

It is mostly ‘visionary’ and is likely to excite and enthral many, but without any details.

National has been promoting themselves like this:

3,444 views.

But they have also been attacking Labour, like this:

26,325 views.

Labour are vulnerable on tax issues, but it is a risk running negative attacks on social media, especially when they contrast so much with the vibrancy and positivity of Labour’s promotions.

The latest ‘pulse’ from Zavy:

ZavyFacebook20170823

 

 

National’s road building policy

National has released their road building policy:

National is committing to the next generation of Roads of National Significance

“Our country is growing and we are committed to building world-class infrastructure to encourage that growth to continue,” Mr Bridges says.

“The original seven Roads of National Significance are now either complete or under construction, improving safety and travel times around the country and supporting New Zealand’s economic growth.

”The time has come for the next generation of nation-building projects so today we are announcing that 10 of the country’s most important routes will form the next generation of Roads of National Significance.”

They are:

  • Wellsford to Whangarei
  • East West Link in Auckland
  • Cambridge to Tirau
  • Piarere to the foot of the Kaimai Range
  • Tauranga to Katikati
  • Napier to Hastings
  • Manawatu Gorge
  • Levin to Sanson
  • Christchurch Northern Motorway
  • Christchurch to Ashburton

“The new roads are expected to cost around $10.5 billion, on top of the estimated $12 billion invested in the initial seven,” Mr Bridges says.

“Like the first tranche, they will be funded from the National Land Transport Fund and the use of Public-Private Partnerships.  The initial funding will come from our record infrastructure investment of $32.5 billion announced in Budget 2017.

“As we have previously said, once the original projects were completed new projects could come on and would be funded by existing revenue sources.

“Strong transport connections are critical for our growing regions and support New Zealand’s economic prosperity, and the Roads of National Significance are an important part of that. They are lead infrastructure projects meaning we are investing now to encourage future economic growth, rather than waiting until the strain on the network becomes a handbrake on progress,” Mr Bridges says.

“The chosen projects are our highest volume roads and they are a sensible and logical extension of the original seven projects. Together they will help provide a strong safe highway network that links our regions effectively with our major cities.

“The completed Roads of National Significance are also our safest, with no road fatalities to date.

“National is committed to building the infrastructure and transport system New Zealand needs to ensure our ongoing economic prosperity is secured,” Mr Bridges says.

–> Read the Roads of National Significance Fact Sheet
–> Read the Roads of National Significance Q&A

UMR – the poll Labour reveals sometimes

Labour have chosen to only reveal their internal polling (done by UMR) sometimes, and with a lack of details, so it is not possible to compare it against other polls properly, and it is difficult to see trends clearly.

They have given some journalists a glimpse of their latest UMR poll. It is indicative of a closing of support between National and Labour, but needs to be viewed with some reservations.

According to NZH:  Labour’s polling closes gap on National

The Labour Party will hold its campaign launch today with its own poll putting it just three points adrift of National – and bringing heartening news for Labour’s potential support partner the Greens.

The Herald has seen the latest poll results from UMR for a poll which ended on August 17.

That had National down three points from the week before to just 40 per cent.

Labour was up one point since the week before to 37 per cent – the same level of support it had in the One News Colmar Brunton poll released this week.

Summary of the results per NZH:

  • National 40% (down from 43)
  • Labour 37% (up from 36)
  • Greens 8% (no change)
  • NZ First 9% (up from 8)

The poll shows less movement among the smaller parties than the Colmar Brunton.

But no details given.

…the UMR poll traditionally has National at a lower level than most public polls.

The UMR poll canvasses 750 voters and has a margin of error of +/- 3.6 per cent.

This UMR poll is one snapshot in a quickly changing political environment.

Labour has obvious cause for renewed optimism, and National should be more concerned than they were last month.

Going by these numbers National would probably be able to form a government with NZ First but Labour would be unlikely too.

National’s adjournment speech

For some reason Prime Minister didn’t lead the adjournment speeches in the final day of the term in Parliament yesterday. Neither did his deputy Paula Bennett. Instead it was the lower ranked Gerry Brownlee who spoke on behalf of National.


ADJOURNMENT

Hon GERRY BROWNLEE (Minister of Foreign Affairs): I move, That the House do now adjourn until Tuesday, 29 August 2017. Before I go too much further, I would like to take a few moments to thank the many people who need to be thanked as this Parliament draws to its conclusion. There is of course the Speaker himself, yourself as Assistant Speaker, and the Hon Trevor Mallard also assisting in that regard. I want to thank also, particularly, Chester Borrows for his contribution in that regard. The many presiding officers—and I want to congratulate the Clerk for his successful transition into that role during this particular parliamentary term and wish him all the best for future Parliaments. I would like to thank those who clean and cater the precinct, those who keep it secure, the drivers, and a range of other attendants who do work to make this Parliament work.

Then there are the teams of people who help us in our electorates, in our ministerial offices, and in our parliamentary offices in order that we are able to do that work that we are required to do on behalf New Zealanders. I want to say to all involved that your efforts are very much appreciated.

What a fascinating 3 weeks we have seen in New Zealand politics—plenty of downs, plenty of downs, and one or two ups, but overall a big question about the confidence and the capability of Opposition parties to be anywhere near Government in this country. There is no doubt, though, we have got to acknowledge, we are seeing the rise of a political star in the new Leader of the Opposition—a star in the sense of being right. I understand that Jacinda Ardern is intelligent, that she is competent, and that by all accounts she is a pleasant person to be around. She is a likable person, but a likable person does not necessary translate into a strong political leader.

As she said yesterday, herself, she has been caught between a rock and hard place. She was talking about being caught between Ayers Rock and New Zealand. But let me make it very clear that the rock she is caught between is in fact her own caucus, her own political colleagues, because apart from the new smiley face, nothing has changed at all—nothing has changed at all.

And then, of course, it is very obvious that the hard place is the great record of the National Government over the last terms of Parliament. Without question, that record has been exceptional, in my opinion, and in the opinion of a large number of people, as this Parliament will learn later this evening. A sustainably growing economy and a low-inflation, low-interest environment, with strong employment and rising wages, is important to all New Zealanders.

The Leader of the Opposition and her party lack the depth that is capable of ensuring that that economic direction continues in the best interests of New Zealand. It is the one area where they do not want to have a discussion. The product of a strong, stable, confident Government is that it is able to serve the communities it represents. So there is the hard place for Labour. It is the place where you get the opportunity to show that you care for New Zealanders by doing things. It is where they get their financial security, where they get their welfare security, where they get their safety security, where they get their health security and their education security, and their general prosperity and opportunity in life. It is from the economy, and that is what Labour does not want to talk about.

I will tell you what. We are going to get a speech shortly, and I will bet the economy does not feature, other than to have a look at it with a bit of a squinted eye, from a bit of a distance, and to simply say: “We could do it better.” It is hard work—it is hard work. Never mind that New Zealand now is the envy of the world when it comes to both social and economic matters. Never mind that, according to Labour, it is of no account that Moody’s advice is that New Zealand will be one of the fastest-growing economies, with a triple A rating in the years ahead.

And then, of course, let us not pay any attention to the fact that we have a service sector responsible for two-thirds of the New Zealand economy that is growing and continuing to provide opportunities and jobs for New Zealanders. The average annual wage, apparently, is not a matter to the Labour Party. It is now around $60,000 and projected to be $65,000 in the next few years. But apparently it is just not true that jobs are growing at a remarkable rate. Apparently the 180,000 New Zealanders who are now in work, who would not have been in work had it not been for these policies, do not matter.

The economy in New Zealand is diversified. We now have tourism bigger than the dairy industry. We have a wine industry that is growing at a massive rate. We have high-tech manufacturing growing at a huge rate, and of course we have so many other areas of the economy that are beginning to emerge as strong performers for New Zealanders.

That is the stuff that is important to New Zealanders. That is what really matters. You can go around all you like, taking as many selfies as you like, as many smiley moments as you like, until it is made clear to New Zealanders that this stuff matters, then it is just “I like that position, but can’t vote for them.”

I do not think Labour can avoid talking about the economy for a lot longer.

Phil Twyford: Don’t they ask you for selfies?

Hon GERRY BROWNLEE: Well, actually they do.

Phil Twyford: Do they?

Hon GERRY BROWNLEE: Yeah, and I always tell them to put on the wide angle lens and then we will both be in it. There is no doubt—[Interruption] I will tell you what. If I turned up to one of your meetings, everyone would think you had a crowd. It would be a novel experience. It would be quite a novel experience for Grant Robertson.

It is without doubt that it was “the rock”—the then finance Minister, and now Prime Minister Bill English—who steadied us through the financial crisis that this Government inherited from the previous Government. People have got short memories, but we will remind them. We were facing decades of deficits when Michael Cullen and his crew left.

We have done a lot, by requiring better value for Government services, by ensuring that we get the best value from the dollars that New Zealanders commit to education, to health, to policing, and to all the range of Government services. We would have done it a lot sooner had we not been having to provide for the catastrophic earthquakes in Christchurch that took some $15 billion out of our economy at that time.

The Labour Party will try to pretend that that sort of economic management is easy. It just happens. Do not worry about how it happens; it just happens. Well, that is not going to be an easy conversation. When Labour members have to explain that their $18.8 billion worth of promises, so far, will be paid for from higher taxes, from higher mortgage rates, and from higher costs on all New Zealand families, simply saying “We can do it better, so just do it with us.”, is not going to work.

The other point I would like to make is the pride with which all National candidates go into this election. They are proud to stand on a record that has very much delivered for New Zealanders. In the Budget earlier this year we were able to announce a $2 billion package for New Zealanders from April of next year—1.3 million New Zealand families will be able to keep more of the money that they earn, or through family support, or through the accommodation supplement. Labour members voted against it and the question is why.

Well, apparently it is because they are going to put together some handpicked bunch of cloth-capped economists who are going to give the Government advice on how to tax all New Zealanders more. What a tax—just one. And now you see them out there saying “Don’t worry about it. We’re going to put more costs on farmers, but it won’t have any effect on food whatsoever.” Well, that is the sort of economics that they are trying to sell to New Zealanders that just will not work.

Then there is the vexed issue of capital gains. I think—

Hon Members: Ha, ha!

Hon GERRY BROWNLEE: Oh, they laugh. They laugh—right? Hard-working New Zealanders who have made a few quid are going to have to pay more under them and they laugh. That is very, very, very sad. I would suggest to Jacinda Ardern that she should today tell the House the terms of reference that she will give to that bunch of left-wing economists to work out the tax system. [Interruption] I do not mind saying that. It is absolutely true.

There should be a great deal more clarity around water tax—a huge amount of more clarity around the water tax. To suddenly say “Oh, when we are in Government we’ll have better information so we’ll know how much we can charge them.” flies in the face of a party in Government who says it will not work. I think that as we go towards the election day, the great call that says “Just do it” will be beaten by a Government—a Government that is delivering and will deliver for New Zealanders.

Recycled campaigning

Party campaign strategies seem to be trying to put as much out as often as possible. They risk driving people away from the election through overkill.

And to fill their sound bite targets parties are resorting to recycling old stuff.

Yesterday the Greens launched their new campaign without Metiria Turei – by ditching their new slogan and going back to their 2014 election slogan.

Today Labour announced a School Leavers’ Toolkit to equip young people for adult life – which was largely a rehash of policy announced in 2015 with a bit of detail added.

Also today National announced details of a $100m social investment mental health package – which had already been announced in the budget in May. They have just added some details.

David Seymour kept banging on about how different Act are to National – Forget boot camp, fix failing schools – and also attacked Labour – Labour’s civics classes: dodgy dodgy dodgy – and NZ First – Winston’s Racist Attack against Sikh’s Freedom of Religion.

The only original announcement was from peter Dunne, but this was not party news, it was as Minister of Internal Affairs –  NZ govt says Australia’s Joyce is NZ citizen.

So far this week the Aussies are beating us hands down for interesting political news.

National’s plan for young serious offenders

National is proposing ways of dealing with youth crime, during the election campaign:

National’s plan for young serious offenders

A re-elected National Government will continue its focus on keeping New Zealanders safe by cracking down on the most serious young offenders and holding negligent parents to account.

“Our youth justice system works well for the vast majority of young offenders and our relentless focus on reducing crime has seen the youth crime rate drop 31 per cent. However there remains a small group of around 150 young people who continue to commit large numbers of serious offences,” National’s Justice Spokesperson Amy Adams says.

“These are young people who have been in and out of Youth Court but have shown no willingness or ability to change their behaviour. We are not prepared to just sit back and allow their victims to keep racking up until they reach adulthood.

“We want New Zealanders to be safe in their homes, at work, and on the streets, so we will introduce a $60 million package over four years that will deal with the most violent and recidivist young offenders more seriously, to reduce reoffending.

Young Serious Offender

“We will introduce a Young Serious Offender (YSO) classification which will see this very small group of the most hardened young offenders dealt with in ways that better reflect the seriousness of their crimes and help ensure fewer people are victimised.

“As a part of this, we will establish a defence-led Junior Training Academy based at the Waiouru Training Camp. Judges will be able to order YSOs who commit serious subsequent offences to attend the Academy for one year. The Academy will support YSOs to address problems like addiction or a lack of literacy and numeracy skills, helping them lead better lives while keeping the public safe.

AKA Boot Camp.

“Those who fail to complete their time at the Academy will serve a commensurate adult sentence of imprisonment instead.”

It is estimated that approximately 50 YSOs per year will be sent to the Junior Training Academy. $30 million over four years has been allocated to fund the YSO scheme.

Other changes under the YSO classification will include tightening bail requirements, increasing the use of electronic monitoring, and removing the ability for these most serious young offenders to be released early from any youth justice custodial sentences.

A new National Government will also take further steps to help prevent less serious young offenders moving along the pathway to more serious crime.

“In many cases, young people who offend have few good role models or are given the freedom to commit crimes. We will make changes to hold their parents to account, including by allowing Police to issue instant infringement notices to parents of children under 14 walking the streets without supervision between 12am and 5am,” Ms Adams says.

“In addition, any breaches of court orders directed at a young person’s parent will be recorded on that parent’s criminal record. A loophole means this is not the case currently.

“We will also introduce a contestable fund of $30 million over four years for community groups to support programmes to reduce offending, because we know local solutions are often the best, and we want to give smaller or rural communities the opportunity to take further action.

“National is proud to be the law and order party, that is committed to keeping New Zealanders safe, supporting victims, and addressing the drivers of crime.”

Youth_Justice__Policy_Document.pdf

This sounds like populist pandering type campaign palaver to me.

NZ First: Dog Whistling About Boot Camps Bit Late for National

Somewhat ironic for NZ First to be accusing others of dog whistling.

Serious youth offenders have been allowed to run amok under National, which is now panicking and pouring $60 million into a boot camp and community groups.

“It’s in a rush to herd them into the army and hide them, but dog whistling now about boot camps won’t save National,” says New Zealand First Leader and Northland MP Rt Hon Winston Peters.

“National created this problem by its lack of resourcing for the police and not recognising that many youth go off the rails at school.

“For many, school is not the best fit.

“New Zealand First would take these youth out of school, before they get into bashing and threatening dairy owners, and give them a chance.

“Our Youth Education Training and Employment scheme would put them into paid training in the Defence Force where they would improve their literacy and numeracy and learn a trade.

Labour Party: National should be tackling causes of poverty, not boot camp

National should be tackling causes of poverty, not boot camp gimmicks

Troubled young people need to know they’ve got a real chance in life, not thrown into pointless boot camps as the National Party is promising to do, says Labour Justice spokesperson Andrew Little.

“Fixing our chronic homelessness problem, sorting out our schools and giving young people meaningful work, like Labour’s Ready for Work policy will do, is the stuff that reduces youth offending.

“National’s policy is simply a desperate headline-grabbing response to a problem the Government has created through their underfunding of Police for nine years.

“Boot camps and infringement notices for parents are simply draconian and counterproductive. They won’t make a difference. They are punishing parents when what we need are new ways of intervening early on with families who have challenging situations.

“”These sorts of programmes don’t work. They just turn young criminals into fit young criminals.

“There are far better ways to tackle youth crime than boot camps, which National knows simply failed to stop youth reoffending. Going to Waiouru for a year doesn’t fix family poverty, poor education and other problems which lead to youth crime.

“We need to tackle the root causes. Under National, poverty and homelessness have risen dramatically. Real wages have fallen. Families are under increasing pressure.

“Labour has a plan to help vulnerable families through our expansion of Working for Families. We will tackle poverty because often that’s what turns young people to crime. Our mental health strategy, which includes placing a nurse in every secondary school, will also help at risk youth.

“Labour will also properly fund Police by recruiting 1000 more officers to keep our communities safe,” says Andrew Little.

Andrew Little? He is now Labour’s spokesperson for Justice.

Tax is likely to be a key election issue

There have been major distractions in politics over the last two weeks, with the fall of Andrew Little followed by the euphoric rise of Jacinda Ardern, plus the self destruction of the Greens which included the end of two MPs and the effective end of Metiria Turei’s political career.

Amongst that earlier this week there were two polls that showed a shrink in support for the greens and NZ First, and the likely return of a head to head battle between National and Labour.

And in a debate on The Nation yesterday between Steven Joyce and Grant Robertson the battle lines were drawn.

Robertson: So, under Labour’s package, every family earning $62,000 or less will be better off than under National’s package. What I don’t want is for Steven and me to get a $1000 tax cut when we’ve got families living in cars and garages, when we’ve got a health system that’s not coping. What we’re saying is we’ll get the money to the families in need, but we’ll get the money that Steven wants to give to us as tax cuts – to wealthy people like us – we’ll get that money, and we’ll make sure it’s invested in public services that have been run down.

Joyce: Well, it’s not actually about me – or about Grant, actually. It’s about those people who are on the median wage who are currently facing a 30-cent-in-the-dollar tax rate, and we have to change that. And the only way we change that is shifting the thresholds. Now, Grant’s allergic to actually reducing taxes and allergic to adjusting thresholds. He’s about increasing taxes.

Labour have pushed the anti-tax cut for rich people since National’s tax cut package was announced in the budget in May.

But it doesn’t just reduce tax or ‘rich people’, it reduces tax for all workers who pay PAYE:

Increases the $14,000 income tax threshold to $22,000, and the $48,000 threshold to $52,000. This provides a tax reduction of $11 a week to people earning $22,000 or more rising to $20 per week for anyone earning $52,000 or more.

https://www.budget.govt.nz/budget/2017/family-incomes-package/index.htm

That’s $1,000 less tax per year for everyone earning over $52,000 (affecting ‘rich people’ of course but also the majority in wage earners).

Of all the polices announced this one directly affects me the most. Labour would scrap it, and that has to be a significant factor in deciding who to vote for.

More on possible tax changes;

Lisa Owen: Capital gains tax — are you ruling it out in the first term absolutely, if you’re in in the first term?

Robertson: We’ve got a tax working group. I can’t pre-empt what they’re going to come back and decide.

Lisa Owen: So you can’t rule it out? Could come in the first term?

Robertson: I can’t pre-empt what that group says, but here’s the important point — right now today we have something called the bright-line test that the National Party brought in. It says that if you sell a house that’s not your family home within two years, you’ll pay tax on it. Steven has a form of capital gains tax.

Lisa Owen: I’ll give you the chance to talk about your policy, Mr Robertson. So a capital gains tax is still on the table? You’re not taking it off?

Robertson: What we’re going to the election with is a commitment that if you sell a property that is not your family home within five years, you’ll be taxed for that.

Robertson clearly avoiding stating a position on a Capital Gains tax, something he has favoured in the past but Little took off the table. It appears to be under consideration again.

Joyce: I think there’s a problem there for the Labour Party, because they’re dodgy on tax. They’re refusing to say about the capital gains, they’ve mentioned a water tax last week, but they won’t tell us how much it is, and then, of course, they’ve got a regional fuel tax they won’t talk about where it goes beyond Auckland.

Expect National to hammer the uncertainty over what additional taxes a Labour government could implement.

Labour are trying to avoid details by deferring to a future tax working group (on CGT) and an ‘expert panel’ (on water taxes).

Lisa Owen: So top tax rate — can you rule out lining yourselves up with the Greens and having 40 cents over 150 grand? Are you going to go for that?

Robertson: No, I don’t think we will be going for that, but what we will do…

Lisa Owen: …but you are not ruling out raising that tax rate.

Robertson: I’m not ruling it in; I’m not ruling it out.

On a water tax:

Lisa Owen: What about your water levy? What’s that going to be?

Robertson: The water levy? Look, what we’ve said there is for every thousand litres of water that’s used in irrigation, perhaps one or two cents.

Lisa Owen: One or two cents. There you go, Mr Joyce. That’s not going to make a huge difference, is it?

Joyce: This is the problem is that he’s not telling.

Robertson: One or two cents, Steven. How big a difference?

Joyce: Well, hang on. Don’t ask me; ask the farmers, because I’ve seen some figures that even at those levels, you’re talking about 50,000 a year per farm. So I think it’s beholden on the Labour Party to actually come a bit more clean on their tax stuff, because they’re being very dodgy.

Robertson: We’ve been completely upfront.

Joyce: You haven’t, actually. So you’ve got a water tax that you won’t tell anybody—

On the Panel discussion on The Nation:

Patrick Gower: I actually think that Grant Robertson probably got in a few more jabs in…however in terms of actual overall damage I think some of the talk about tax there that Steven Joyce, in terms of long term damage beyond the debate, in terms of that capital gains tax is back on the table.

The capital games tax is back baby. Labour were going to go to the next election with that, but that could come in next term.

Lisa Owen: Jane, are they doing themselves a disservice by not putting numbers on stuff now.

Jane Clifton: Absolutely. They’re their own worst enemy. This week alone with the water tax issue, because finally we’ve got a figure for irrigators and wineries and so on of one to two cents, although David Parker said three.

…but yeah, just get your ducks in a row, announce them all, don’t leave room for speculation about $18 cabbages and $70 on a bottle of wine…

The Newshub video cut Gower off at the end, but he pointed out a significant power shift in Labour. When Andrew little took over the leadership in 2014 he put a number of Labour policies on ice, including the CGT.

But with Little dropping to the ranks and Ardern taking over the leadership Gower said that this meant also a significant rise in influence of Robertson – he and Ardern have been close allies for a long time. We are already seeing glimpses of what that may change in Labours tax policies.

Gower followed up on Twitter:

So expect tax to be a prominent issue in the election.

It may have a significant effect on the outcome of the election. Labour will need to be much better prepared for the inevitable attacks from National.

Ardern will need to be well prepared for the leaders’ debates with Bill English. She will likely have a ready response to a ‘show me the money’ type line (Key used that to devastating effect against Phil Goff in 2011), but she is likely to get challenged over and over if she remains vague of what taxes a Labour government may impose or increase.

And tax could also have a significant impact on the outcome of coalition negotiations. Both Labour and National will have to try and find enough partners to support their tax (and spending) plans.

Personally a water tax or a CGT or a fuel tax in Auckland won’t affect me.

But I will be seriously taking into account whether National’s income tax cuts might be reversed or not when I decide who I will vote for.

TRP Adviser 11 August 2017

This week we learned many things.


Bill English is donkey deep in the Todd Barclay affair, Labour have their mojo back and it’s all about me me Metiria.

The revelations that Bill English was texting his former electorate secretary hundreds of times in the lead up to her resignation was bad enough. Now we learn that English unlawfully destroyed the incriminating texts, presumably to avoid public opprobrium.

It seems likely that Winston Peters has some or all of the communications and is going to drip feed them over the next few weeks. He’s going to let English squirm and fret. That’s as it should be, because forcing someone to resign against their will is appalling behaviour.

In the legal trade, that’s known as a constructive dismissal. It’s when someone of power and authority makes life so miserable for an employee that they have no reasonable alternative but to resign.

At least that’s what I hope English was up to with his txt torrent. It’d be truly awful if, as some people have suggested, he was a sex pest. No, that simply can’t be true.


The latest polls have Labour riding high. They’re back up to the giddy heights of the mid thirties, a place that was only a few years ago the death knell for former leaders Shearer and Cunliffe.

There’s a sad irony that a mediocre result is a cause for celebration, but kudos to Andrew Little for allowing this to happen. The Jacinda Affect is real. But will it be sustained? And after the Greens implosion, will the coalition numbers still stack up, even with NZ First’s support?


This has been a chastening week for the Greens. The initial response to Metiria Turei’s admission that she was a benefit fraudster was a leap in support. There was clear public sympathy for her claimed circumstances, but as her story unravelled, that faded fast.

It was political madness to alienate middle class support. The Greens don’t exist without the money and votes of the relatively well off. Trying to rebrand the party as mana with muesli was always going to come at a cost.

The maths simply don’t add up. The beneficiaries Metiria was pitching to are notoriously hard to get enrolled, let alone to get to vote. The gain was always going to be minimal and the potential downside catastrophic.

In short, Meteria Turei’s attempt to be down with the kids has cost her and two other MP’s their jobs. Because they will know struggle to get to double figures, she’s also cost 4 or 5 list candidates seats in parliament as well.

And still she won’t apologise. That’s weird, because she’s going to be doing a lot of apologising in private in the coming weeks. Mainly to the wider family of her child, who she has effectively cast as uncaring and distant.

One last question I haven’t heard asked in the media. Was James Shaw aware of the content of her speech? If he did and was supportive of it, he should also go, because the polling is not their only problem. They’ve effectively given Winston Peters the right to demand they be left out of cabinet if Labour form the next Government.

That’s the real damage me me Metiria has done.

The election is National’s to lose?

General political wisdom claims that elections are for the incumbent to win or lose.

They have a significant advantage in resources and in public recognition because they attract much of the news during a term. But some things even up in an election campaign.

National and Bill English could still plod to victory on the back of their record, especially on the economy. But they are vulnerable on other key issues such as housing, growing concerns about poverty, and health.

They have had to rapidly reassess their campaign after Labour switched leaders, Jacinda Ardern is very different to Andrew Little and Labour’s campaign has been changed and revitalised.

English versus Ardern will be an intriguing contest.

In the past few elections National tended to have low key campaigns with few significant new policies.

Their main point of difference this campaign is their proposed tax cuts, due next April. This could be a powerful difference as Labour’s policies miss the middle voters, while tax cuts target them.

The one policy that will affect me personally the most are the tax cuts.

But against that is National’s stale pale male dominance. And they may have overestimated Paula Bennett’s appeal outside parts of Auckland.

National need to find a way of combating both this and the contrasting youthful energy exuded by Ardern.