The Nation – trade

On The Nation (9.30 am Saturday, 10:00 am Sunday):

Patrick Gower talks to Todd McClay MP about what happens next for New Zealand trade now the TPPA’s been Trumped.

Yesterday the Government launched a trade policy onslaught:

PM launches ambitious trade agenda

Prime Minister Bill English has today launched New Zealand’s updated trade strategy, Trade Agenda 2030, and reiterated the Government’s commitment to free trade.

The Prime Minister has also announced the Government’s ambitious goal of having free trade agreements cover 90 per cent of New Zealand’s goods exports by 2030, up from 53 per cent today, as well as investing $91.3 million over four years through Budget 2017 to help achieve this.


McClay is doing a good job of talking knowledgeable and reasonably frank about the prospects of future trade agreements.

Trade Minister Todd McClay says Government still wants to do a trade deal with Russia, even if Vladimir Putin is in power.

Trade Minister Todd McClay on a plane to meet Trump administration “within the month”.

Trade Minister Todd McClay says Saudi Arabia/Gulf states free trade deal will be signed this year.



The Nation – Afghan raids inquiry campaign


On The Nation (9.30 am Saturday, 10:00 am Sunday):

…more on the allegations in Nicky Hager and Jon Stephenson’s book Hit and Run. Should there be an inquiry? Lisa Owen talks to Deborah Manning.

Manning is one of the three lawyers who yesterday called for a Commission of Inquiry or a Royal Commission – see Afghan raids: Evidence of cover-up, lawyers say – and who say they would be representing the residents of the two villages that were hit.

So this is more of a continuation of a campaign (supported by some media) for an inquiry rather than a balanced investigation.

It’s not just about what happened on the night, Manning says, but the planning and what happened after…

Manning says that investigating the raids is stage . A separate issue for further down the track is the alleged cover up.


Do you know who might be held accountability? No.

They should have had both Edgeler and Manning on The Nation interview.

Manning says they will seek a judicial review in a New Zealand court if the Government refuses an inquiry

The Nation – housing, future governing, and overturning homosexual convictions

On The Nation this morning (from Twitter):

Tomorrow, the Great Generation Debate. Millennials say they’re being shut out of the Kiwi Dream of home ownership… but Boomers say the young ones just need to work harder. Ella Henry, Stephen Franks, Morgan Godfery and Jessica Palairet will debate.

I’m alarmed that The Nation is promoting Labour’s ‘Kiwi Dream’ slogan in introducing debate on housing.

Then we’ll hear from Victoria University of Wellington‘s Jonathan Boston about his new book on whether politicians need to start looking past the next election cycle and making policy for the future.

And from Twitter:

The Nation – Little, Morgan and water

On The Nation this morning:

Labour leader Andrew Little on how he’s going to pay for his election year promises, Superannuation, and housing.

And talks to about his new party and its TOP policies.

An interesting comparison – this week Gareth Morgan spoke in Dunedin – in the same venue and to a bit smaller crowd than Andrew Little last month.

See Morgan:  New party would ban fossil fuel subsidies

See Little: Labour’s Dunedin digital plan welcomed

Also covering clean water issues.

Gower starts by bragging “we set the agenda”.

Little says that he will cover the rising cost of Super by raising GDP above Treasury projections.

Little mentions people in physical workers – he is pushed on numbers and he avoids it, just saying it is “large”.

He says they are certainly not going to adopt Peter Dunne’s “mad policy”.

(Peter Dunne has responded “All this shows is Labour’s absolute abhorrence of giving people any individual choice over their retirement – one state to rule them all!”

He’s doing a Key and putting his leadership on the line over keeping the age at 65.

Sticking with Kiwibuild 100,000 houses built over ten years on top of existing increases in building.

Tax thresholds – “let’s have a look at it”.

The policy commitments Labour will make will be able to be funded out of current tax levels and surplus forecasts.

Dissing the Maori Party as “lap dogs of National” again.

Pushed on how far he demoted Nanaia Mahuta and he avoids that several times. So he is told 6 places.

Little was put on the spot a few times but has obviously been practicing his media management and is getting better at diverting and pushing his own points, although he sometimes fluffs around until he works out what to switch to.

“War for water major election issue check out Caitlin McGee’s yarn online” – not sure how much of an election issue water will turn out to be.

We are only up to March and currently have housing, Pike River, Super, immigration and now water as ‘major’ issues.

Gareth Morgan sounded positive at first but then seems to concede that he is an ideas person that wants National and Labour to take on his policies but doesn’t realistically doesn’t expect to get into Parliament and doesn’t really want to be in Parliament. That’s not going to win him votes.

The Nation – English and Trump

The Nation resumes for election year this morning.


Key on tax cuts and family package

John Key was interviewed on The Nation this morning and was asked what he was likely to do next year regarding tax cuts, taking into account things like the cost of the Kaikoura earthquakes.

Newshub summarises in Key: Families first in line for tax cuts

Simply cutting tax rates or lifting the thresholds at which higher rates kick in wouldn’t be “fair to everybody”.

“If you lower the bottom rate, you give it to everybody at the top and it costs a fortune,” he explained.

“Whereas you might be able to do some integrated family package… which delivers fairness to everybody but a bit more meaningful at the lower-income end.”

But changes to income tax brackets haven’t been ruled out. Presently, the top rate of 33 cents in the dollar kicks in at $70,000. As incomes rise, more people find themselves earning enough to start paying the top tax rate.

“People are getting bumped into the top personal rate without doing too much,” says Mr Key.

Asked if beefing up the accommodation supplement was on the cards, particularly in areas where rents have risen sharply, Mr Key said: “That may well be right.”

He hasn’t yet decided whether any changes would come in Budget 2017 or used to woo voters in next year’s election campaign.

They would also play second-fiddle to the Government’s main priorities.

“The Government’s objectives are… One, grow surpluses. Two, repay debt. Thirdly, get debt to 20 percent of GDP – probably not much below that – by 2020,” said Mr Key.

“We’re on track to do all those things. Surpluses are rising, we think we’ll be under 20 percent of GDP. That’s the advice we get from Treasury.”

So it sounds like there may be some modest tax adjustments to address threshold creep but more targeting of low income families and less tax cuts for people with higher incomes.

Are family carers getting a fair deal?

The Nation this morning will talk “to family carers.. three years on from a new law to pay them are they getting a fair deal?”

Andrew Geddis previews this at Pundit in A little something for the weekend …

The Nation this weekend is telling the story of family carers of disabled adult relatives and the pretty shabby way they’ve been treated over the years. And it looks like Sam Lotu-liga just doesn’t want to talk about that. 

Back in 2013, after being told by the Court of Appeal that it was acting unlawfully, the National Government passed the Public Health and Disability Amendment Act 2013.

Its purpose was to provide a statutory basis to allow for the payment of family members who look after their disabled adult relatives.

But it also included a provision that tried to stop anyone who thinks that whatever policy the Government may create under that Act is unlawful from going to court to challenge it.

Geddis details some of the details around the law change.

Furthermore, it’s an issue that is still a live one today. There’s lots of families caring for disabled adult relatives who either aren’t accessing the payments the Government grudgingly made available because the policy doesn’t work very well, or if they are accessing these, are being paid only a minimum wage for work that private providers get in excess of $20 an hour to perform.

And so I’m very glad that Newshub’s The Nation is telling the story of this law and its aftermath this weekend (sneak promo teaser here). It looks like it features Sam Lotu-liga walking out on an interview rather than defend his Government’s actions

Lotu-liga has struggled with difficult issues in his portfolios.

Caring for disabled adult relatives at home is a huge burden, it is relentless and a permanent arrangement.

If anyone deserves decent support from the Government it is the committed families who care for their own. It would be more expensive if the State had to take over and do everything.

Dirty deal in Mt Roskill by-election

The Nation had a debate on the Mt Roskill by-election, but as is common with media they only featured two of the candidates. This is very disappointing favouritism donated to the two biggest parties, one reason why they remain large.

New candidates and new parties are at a major disadvantage as it is due to parties in Parliament abusing their taxpayer funded resources to electioneer.

Paddy Gower introduced the debate as “democracy time” and also mentions dirty deals. Unbalanced exposure is a dirty deal for the candidates they leave out.

The Nation is openly favouring established parties.


Michael Wood says he won’t stand for any other electorate or enter parliament on the list

Parmjeet Parmar says she won’t stand anywhere else if she doesn’t win Mt Roskill

Parmar also said pointed out she stood in Mt Roskill last election.

I tweeted to @TheNation about their dirty deal for the other candidates. They responded:

Seven people standing we just can’t fit everyone in

That’s a poor excuse. It is a dirty deal for the other candidates. Democracy isn’t supposed to be at the media’s convenience.


Andrew Little on The Nation

Labour leader Andrew Little will be interviewed on The Nation this morning, coinciding with Labour’s conference this weekend.

Skills Shortage Levy – for those employers who don’t take on apprentices or train employees.

How much? Little can’t quantify it, but says it shares the cost and shares the risk in different industries.

He says it is not effectively an immigration levy. Pushed on whether it’s a deterrent to immigration he talks around it. He now says it’s not a counter to immigration.

So is it revenue gathering? To be distributed to industries to improve training. But he gives no details.

On to the Mount Roskill by-election: is Little worried? He responds with general campaign waffle.

@TheNationTV3: Little says he’s pleased with the campaign so far in Mt Roskill, and says says he supports companies reporting their gender pay gap, but he won’t commit to a 50/50 cabinet after the 2017 election.

Jackie Blue will also be interviewed about “Should a woman get 86 cents for every dollar a man makes – how is that fair ?”

Blue is challenging political parties to commit to a 50/50 cabinet after the next election.

. says has to bring three more women into cabinet to have gender balance

Legally enforceable quotas for Parliament? Considering it.

Also for enforceable quotas for companies.


The Nation – retirement, mental health

Today on

Can we afford to keep retiring at 65? We talk to and

An affordability problem that National remains in denial of.

Past and future growth of the elderly population

Between 1901 and 1951, the number of New Zealanders aged 65 years and over increased almost six-fold, from 31,000 to 177,000. Over the next 48 years, it grew by another 151 percent to reach 446,000 in 1999. This was much faster than for the rest of the population: for instance the number of children under 15 years and those in the working ages (15-64 years), increased by 54 and 109 percent respectively.

Between 1950-52 and 1995-97, the expectation of life at age 65 years increased by 2.7 years for males and 4.2 years for females, to 15.5 and 19.0 years, respectively (Statistics New Zealand, 1998).

The elderly’s share of New Zealand’s population has trebled from 4 percent in 1901 to over 12 percent in 1999 (see Figure 1).

Graph, Elderly Population.

Latest projections indicate that the population aged 65 years and over is expected to grow by about 100,000 during the current decade, to reach 552,000 by 2011. The pace of increase is projected to pick up after the year 2011, when the large baby boom generation begins to enter this age group. For instance, between 2011 and 2021 the elderly population is projected to grow by about 200,000 and in the following ten years by 230,000.

By 2051, there will be over 1.14 million people aged 65 years and over in New Zealand. This represents an increase of 715,000 or 166 percent over the base (1996) population. They are expected to make up 25.5 percent (or 1 in every 4) of all New Zealanders (4.49 million). At present there are about half as many elderly New Zealanders as children. By 2051, there are projected to be at least 60 percent more elderly than children.

Is our mental health sector in crisis, and is an inquiry needed?

This is a serious issue. Time and resources would be better directed at remedies rather than yet another inquiry. The term crisis is confusing.

If you are personally in crisis:

  1. If this is an emergency phone 111
  2. Or go to your nearest hospital emergency department (ED)
  3. Or phone your local DHB Mental Health Crisis Team (CATT Team) or ring Healthline 0800 611 116

  4. Or if you need to talk to someone else:

Lifeline – 0800 543 354 or (09) 522 2999

Suicide Prevention Helpline – 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOK0)

Youthline – 0800 376 633

Samaritans – 800 726 666

Is Scientology a religion or a rort? We talk to about his new book “Fair Game”.