National may have steadied the ship this past week with its tax attacks on Labour; Alex Tarrant reviews the polls, potential coalitions and what we've seen on the campaign trail the last few days

By Alex Tarrant

Are the attacks on Labour working for National?

Tuesday night’s Newshub Reid Research poll threw another curve-ball into the campaign with nine days of campaigning to go.

National’s reading of 47%, to Labour’s 37% was certainly out of kilter with previous polls giving the momentum and relative strength to Labour – last week’s 1 News Colmar Brunton had them above National at 43% to 39%.

The two main parties say that the real scenario is somewhere in-between – that they’re neck and neck just over 40%. Radio NZ’s poll of polls – which includes the two private UMR (Labour’s pollsters) and Curia (National’s pollsters) weighted in alongside the main public polls - has National just ahead on 41.3% to Labour’s 40.5%.

That’s the best reading we’ve got at the moment. But a key factor could give more credence to the Reid Research poll over the Colmar one; Reid’s poll had an undecided contingent of just 3.9% to the earlier Colmar’s 10%. This might worry Labour more than National.

National has stuck doggedly to a key attack line. You might call it an attax line. “Technology not taxes,” was the latest instalment from Bill English and Nathan Guy earlier this week when at a horticulture farm in the Horowhenua.

The ability for National to keep wheeling out these lines is Labour’s own fault. At risk of sounding like a broken record, I’ll try keep explanation of this to a couple of pars:

Andrew Little promised a Tax Working Group to look at how to better ensure fairness of taxation across income, assets and wealth. Any recommendations that Labour decided it liked would be part of an Election 2020 policy manifesto. He also promised to extend National’s bright line test (a capital gains tax on all residential property sales excluding family homes) from two to five years.

Jacinda Ardern took over and said she might instead implement recommendations before 2020, arguing there’s a precedent here because that’s what National did in 2009/10. The argument for doing this has centred on: ‘If the group recommends something that will help fix the housing crisis, then I don’t want to just sit on it until after 2020’.

As we’ve pointed out before, this isn’t the best argument. Labour has already set out its stall in terms of housing affordability: Extension of the Bright Line Test for non-owner-occupied property, a ban on foreign buyers not resident here and KiwiBuild. That’s quite enough for getting on with during a first term in government.

We know from my interview with Grant Robertson, published Tuesday, that changing tax settings for savings as a way of levelling up the playing field with property rather than a CGT or imputed rents, isn’t high up on the agenda. So, the only thing this Working Group might be able to recommend is land tax on land not with a ‘family home’ on top of it.

Striving for revenue-neutrality, Labour would have to soften the blow of a land tax (even if not on the family land) by promising to reduce income tax by a relative amount to show this isn’t just a revenue-grab. Yet Ardern is not out there ahead of the election telling people this is a possibility. Why not do so and at least try and get some of the detractors back on side whilst being able to argue that you’re being ‘even more transparent than before’?

At the same time, Bill English is trotting out his response to the accusation that, ‘this is exactly what you did and we’re being more transparent by at least saying we’ll set up a working group’. He says that times were different then; National even cancelled its Election 2008 tax cut promise due to the Financial Crisis. In its place, it set up a Tax Working Group. Recommendations for changing the tax system were (presented as) revenue-neutral - it was then able to lower income tax and the company tax rates by raising GST.

The gap left by Labour has left National able to talk about inheritance and wealth taxes. What if grandma dies, mum and her sisters sell her house to pay for the grandkids’ education, and Labour taxes the sale? That’s Christmas come early for any campaign manager. Steven Joyce on Wednesday released National’s latest campaign ad, dubbed “let’s tax this.” Ardern had to move to rule out an inheritance tax Tuesday morning.

It’s a pretty simple message from Joyce: “New Zealand currently has a broad-based fair tax system. We simply don’t need to impose a Capital Gains Tax, Land Tax, Regional Fuel Tax, extra Income Tax, Water Tax or an Inheritance Tax. We also don’t need to bring farming into an ETS when no other farmers worldwide are included.”

It's a campaign ad. It doesn't have to deal with the fact that Labour has said it wants the Working Group to first review tax settings before it takes on any agenda. It doesn't have to deal with what Labour has ruled in or out - it's merely saying we don't want these things - regardless of whether they're being offered up or not.

This puts Labour on the back foot in that it’s having to be the respondent to all of this, making it look like they’re creating policy (or exemptions) on the hoof in response to these attax: ‘We would make exemptions for family homes and land under CGT and land taxes (and inheritance tax), we’ve promised not to raise income tax, regional fuel taxes would pay for new infrastructure, water royalties would help clean our rivers’.

That National’s polling may have stopped dropping and might even be back on the way up, indicates Joyce’s message is getting traction.

“Technology not taxes”

National is trying hard to grab the mantle over tax, linking it with everything from fresh water to regional development to small business. English is spending a lot of time in the provinces, shoring up the rural vote which might have been at risk of heading to New Zealand First. This week, Primary Industries spokesman Nathan Guy has featured prominently – taking over from Health spokesman Jonathan Coleman being the main person by English’s side as National traversed health policy the previous couple of weeks.

On Monday, it was “technology not taxes,” as Guy set out an argument that farmers and growers can take better care of waterways through use of better technology regarding water use and soil moisture levels.

On Tuesday, it was a plan for regional New Zealand: “working with regional communities to grow jobs and incomes and tackle challenges, rather than imposing new taxes which will stall the economy and punish hardworking New Zealanders.” Joyce has already rolled out the ‘plumbers selling their business will be whacked with a CGT’ line.

Later this week we’re expecting Guy and English to set out National’s stall over agricultural policy as the final call to the rural vote to not even think about changing sides – whether to New Zealand First or Labour. This will give English the final week to focus on the urban and semi-urban votes with Nikki Kaye, Nicola Willis and Amy Adams behind him, all the while talking about tax vs a plan without new taxes.

If the tide did turn last week, or at least stop going out, then English still has the reaction to National’s first home buyer deposit subsidy announcement on Sunday (and another housing announcement expected later today as well) to feed through fully into the polls. Whether these serve to enhance the perception that the housing affordability crisis is National’s fault and could have been fixed sooner, versus the view that ‘oh that’s nice they’re trying to do something about it’, will be interesting to see from the next 1 News Colmar Brunton poll on Thursday.

Potential coalitions

From all indications, it’s likely to show Labour and National neck and neck (although I should probably give up on picking poll results). Keep an eye out for whether the undecided vote drops from 10%, and whether Labour still has choices when it comes to coalition governments – the last Colmar poll showed combinations with NZ First, or the Greens+Maori were open for Labour, while National wouldn’t have been able to form government with NZ First alone.

A lot has been written this week about which way Labour might opt to go, if it does have that choice. One report suggested senior Labour caucus members were warming to the NZF-only option. I believe some of the older caucus does lean this way – particularly those in favour of ‘unconventional’ monetary policy changes and such like (Grant Robertson’s plan is quite conventional when compared to some of Labour’s previous musings on using KiwiSaver for monetary policy purposes and targeting nominal GDP rather than the CPI).

But this contrasts with Ardern’s stance and that of some of the younger urban faction, which believes a combination involving the Greens would be the easiest way to go. How can you argue generational change when you’ve got Winston Peters and perhaps Ron Mark standing behind you?

Could we see a post-election split within the Labour caucus over the choice? This would be rather ironic, given everyone’s focussed on how long it will take Winston to make up his mind. Don’t rule out that internal discussions within Labour could be the drag instead.

This opens the possibility that Ardern seeks to get everyone in the tent somehow – offers Peters a cushy job and finds something to distract Ron Mark and Tracy Martin with (Associate Defence and Associate Education, respectively?), while also keeping James Shaw, Julie-Anne Genter and Marama Davidson happy.

If Peters refuses, then ‘ok, well that’s your legacy opportunity gone, mate’. Watch him slouch back into the negotiation room. For all those most worried about the Peters effect on the currency and interest rates post-election (as opposed to the Labour effect or Greens effect), such a scenario (Labour having choice) would reduce risk as he’d be more likely to have to accept a title rather than a portfolio and any actions would most likely be cosmetic.

For Peters, it’s paramount Labour doesn’t have the Greens+Maori option, and that National has to turn to him rather than also having the Maori+ACT option. If the two major parties keep rising then he’s got less influence over those phone calls on 24 September.

The Greens, too, are on a knife-edge. Theirs is an interesting situation. If they miss out – say by getting 4.9% - then each major could govern alone with just over 47%. There should be a percent or two of ‘other’ wasted vote – TOP, Conservatives, Mana and the stragglers – meaning about 46.5% could do it. Slightly lower for both majors and the Maori Party could be the alternative Kingmaker to Peters – something we’ve been talking about on this forum for a while now.

If the Greens miss out and the Maori Party can’t get Labour over the line, then National might end up as the party with two choices (as it could have had last time except Key had ruled out working with Peters, something English hasn’t done). Its two current support partners look like getting an electorate seat each (the Maori Party might get two), and there’s still a slight chance each gets a list MP in as well.

All that this tells us is that it’s neck-and-neck. The election is anyone’s. A slight cough right now could change the direction any way. The polls appear to be cementing the view that we’ve got a drag race between the two majors, at the expense of the minor parties, but throwing open a realm of possibilities.

It also means that your vote will count, or that of your kids, neighbours etc. Enrol. Encourage them to enrol. Review the policies and party lists. Follow the coverage. This may well be the most talked-about election for a long, long time.

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

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101 Comments

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A few rough points from the new housing documentary:

The roots of today’s housing crisis go back to the 80s when Lange’s Labour govt. introduced neoliberalism to NZ and private banks took over the mortgage lending market and unleashed a flood of foreign money on to the NZ market.

• Our tax system and mindset favour property investment over other investment forms.

• More recently, foreign buyers, mostly from China (but also from other countries - e.g. Australia, US), are likely having a significant influence in pushing up prices. Circumstantial evidence of this: They’ve definitely had a strong influence in Hong Kong, Vancouver and Sydney, which is why in those locations there are now policies in place to stem the flow (e.g. stamp duty). After those cities, Auckland is fourth on the list of Chinese property investors’ preferred investment destinations.

• Of all the aforementioned countries, NZ is doing the least (read: nothing) to restrict foreign property investment.

• Hundreds of multi millionaires have gained NZ citizenship under the investor category but this has done more harm than good to the country because instead of investing in companies and creating jobs these people tend to prefer passive investments, i.e. property investment, and end up driving up property prices further. Other countries have addressed this problem by tightening up the rules around the types of investment, but not NZ.

• In NZ, every 1 percent of population increase pushes up house prices by between 2 and 10 percent, depending on who you talk to.

• The NZ government is not collecting meaningful foreign ownership information, so we don’t know how big the problem is.

• Building more houses won’t address the problem if ordinary people can’t afford to buy them.

• There are a number of innovative social housing/long-term rental schemes in other countries that could work quite well in NZ, but there needs to be a will to implement them.

Pity the young Kiwis who follow after the most entitled and selfish of generations encompassing most of the current investor voters.

It’s a pretty simple message from Joyce: “New Zealand currently has a broad-based fair tax system. We simply don’t need to impose a Capital Gains Tax, Land Tax, Regional Fuel Tax, extra Income Tax, Water Tax or an Inheritance Tax."

If some forms of asset appreciation (FIF) are taxed and others aren't (CGT and land tax), it's not "fair" then, is it? Wouldn't it be fairer to reduce PAYE tax rates so people receive more income from their own efforts?

And by "broad-based fair tax system", I mean we have a broad base of workers whose wages we confiscate so that speculators may enjoy their wealth gains tax free.

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Gotta keep NZ's non-productive sector going! It's not like we need more IPOs, tech startups or investment in NZ businesses or anything.

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Once everybody owns 3 or 4 houses, no one in NZ will need to work again. Happy days.

Whilst I am no fan of 'speculation' as an investment class, speculation often exists because of government policy mistakes.

I think you mean because of government policy intentions. Mistakes, no.

Perhaps unintended consequences would be a better phrase.

Intentions are usually altruistic I feel, but poorly executed in the real world results department. Hence my choice of 'mistake', not of intention, but of actual result.

National are actually standing on income tax cuts ( albeit only to compensate bracket creep ) ; Labor on the other hand rule this out ( thus "confiscating" more of the wages than National would ).

Wouldn't it be fairer to reduce PAYE tax rates so people receive more income from their own efforts?

In my opinion, yes, fairer. And there is the added benefit of 'reversing out' the tax transfers that would no longer be required.

" Pity the young Kiwis who follow after the most entitled and selfish of generations ...etc "
What a silly statement Rick !... that young generation are our KIDS and those selfish most entitled generation are their PARENTS and Family members ... so stop digging and waging an intergenerational stupid war to suit any personal feelings ... this kind of CRAP has further destructive implications on society long after this stupid election is over ...

What you are saying is BS , maybe you knew that already! .. but it would be a disaster if you didn't ....

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So what are you doing to make the world a better place for the next generations?

I am NOT waging a war for starters ..!! because that is STUPID .. try telling your Kids to hate you because you have worked hard and made more money than them ..and see how that feels ...!

Nice political answer. Now please answer the original question.

that was not a political answer ...

I am doing what it takes to get my next generation to survive these turbulent times and carve their way with help as needed.. If everyone does his bit the world will be fine ... I certainly hope that our taxes are put to good work in helping others ....something I wish I had more control on... over and above, the country has no shortage of Charities and they would appreciate your donations ...

Will NZ be a safer place by becoming Carbon neutral in so many years time or would that save us from the effects of Universal Climate Change ( if ever) made by others ( we do live on the same planet and same climate) ??
or is it just feel good sentiments that we are after ?? ...

I certainly dont think so ...

EB, I don't want intergenerational war. It helps no-one. It will affect me adversely.

But I think it's going to get worse, and I think much of it will come down to the housing crisis and the attitude of the older generations who received affordable housing due to the policies of NZ's governments of the 20th century and the hard work of earlier generations, and who have profited massively through the housing crisis, and denying, doing nothing about and even perpetuating the housing crisis.

Choosing to do nothing about the housing crisis is choosing to throw open the door to intergenerational war.

No one is asking for a free house (another misrepresentation common on this site), but they are asking for affordable housing to be a priority in policy as it was in New Zealand for most of the 20th century.

Ok, so do you agree though that it we should do our best for it not to become worse and cap this kind of rhetoric that could send the wrong signals to our youth who are not yet as wise and experienced as we are?

No one will give away free houses, and it really annoys me that people think that this issue will be solved by changing Gov in the next 3-5 years - both parties are going to do the same albeit one could be more efficient than the other - the difference would be few months or a year at the most ....and how well it is managed.

You say " Choosing to do nothing about the housing crisis is choosing to throw open the door to intergenerational war." ... why are you assuming that in the first place?? who said that National has chosen to do nothing about it ?? ... there is a lot that is being done ...
there are tons of houses being built everywhere ... maybe less of the lower cost type ( and that is mostly ACC fault - because Hamilton has done a much better job and there are heaps of affordable houses there) ... there are subdivisions being opened .. and there is new supply in the pipeline ....

I cannot see any possibility of the generic slogans and solutions which Labour are throwing around the housing issue to be any better or effective if they are in Gov ... Any knee-jerk action like land tax or reducing losses claimed by prop investors will not bring prices down to the level that some people have been made to believe ( you might ask, why not or how do we know ?) - that acts against gravity - it will take time to see the results of these actions and the economy and that market will be dented - they will have more issues and fights on their hands than just house prices .

However, sooner or later the housing issue will be moderated .. BUT we have to be careful not to spread the hatred and intergenerational conflict which could stay around long after these stupid politicians are replace with the youth of today .. and that is what we DON'T want to happen to us ... I hope you agree.

Thanks for the good comment Eco Bird.

Re intergenerational war...my worry about this is what I've seen from young Kiwis, reflected here too, that:

Many on this site insist that young Kiwis cannot afford houses because they're lazy and spendthrifts (despite evidence they're saving at a higher rate than your generations did). "Smashed avocado and flat whites!"

Others seem to go saying that the benefits that older generations received from society through their parents' paying of higher taxes - including affordable housing fostered through government policies, free or low cost education - have no place in society today and say somewhat ironically (given what they received) that young people should "stand on their own two feet" and be financially independent (while starting life with a big student debt).

But then others insist that the wages of young Kiwis be clipped and handed to their elders when they turn 65, seemingly the only socialism that's not evil and a genuine entitlement. "Own two feet" no longer applies then.

Others are saying that the elders should be allowed to make hundreds of thousands of dollars tax free but that young people should accept that the money they make in wages should bear the brunt of the tax load. And politicians and their voters insist young Kiwis should compete with Third World labour for wages and foreign multi-millionaires for houses. And this is fair, apparently.

Some seem to suggest that housing policies to aid affordability are equivalent to "free houses" and scorn young Kiwis' asking for such policies as have been used in NZ's past.

And people expect young Kiwis to just accept this and be fine with it...somehow. Just knuckle down and be grateful and don't ask for what the older generations received.

I think we are dreaming if we think young Kiwis will continue to be happy with what is being asked of them.

I may be fine, and my family may be fine, but I'll absolutely understand young Kiwis if they choose to get angry over this rather than just accepting it. I won't blame them.

I don't care which party gets into government this or any other term in my lifetime, so long as they work to make New Zealand a better place not only for investors but also for the young and upcoming generations of Kiwis. If you've lived years in a number of Third World countries you realise just how great New Zealand is and just how hard we need to work to preserve what we have.

Let me be clear, I do not say owning a house has ever been easy or that older folk haven't worked damn hard for what they have. But in NZ's history we recognised that owning a house is very difficult, and that's exactly why our earlier governments worked so hard to foster affordability - across most of the 20th century. The idea was that a home should be within reach of someone who is prepared to work hard, and that's a good part of why we achieved a high rate of home ownership by the 1980s.

I'm reminded of a quote from Douglas Murray on the philosophy of the great conservative Edmund Burke:

...that a culture, a society is not simply about us here now, but it is a deal between the dead, the living and those yet to be born. And that you cannot break that pact, and that what you have inherited you do not have the right to give away, any more than you have the right to destroy future generations of your own family or future generations yet unborn, it is a very central pact of civilisation, that deal, between the dead, the living and the yet to be born.

If you give it up and say it doesn't matter if the next generations' society resembles Mogadishu more than Stockholm, then you are breaking that pact.

thanks and Agreed with most and I am aware of these reasons and arguments too ... I have two young adults myself and we have this conversation almost daily ....they agree that most of this stuff is being blown out of proportion and exploited by some ... they both carry 40-60K student loans too and know how hard it is etc...! but they have a plan and working on it ....

We also know that most if not all of the wealth that was made by the boomers will seep into the next generation - we don't take anything with us when we are gone !

Look, this issue is extremely complicated - Certainly the blame game and counter arguments make it worse ... I would just say that allowing ourselves to be exploited by the Poly's in an election year is wrong ...we should be better than that ..and Douglas Murray is absolutely correct ... We should avoid the escalation of such a dangerous enferno ..

All that you mentioned above are added reasons why we should be careful in exacerbating a problem that has No easy answer. Cool heads need to be put together to solve them taking into account the collective benefit of all ....

BTW, I have lived in 3rd world countries and know what we are NOT missing :)

Let us not assume that anyone is giving up, as life goes on ...unlike Mogadishu, our major difference is our democracy and freedom of speech and debate and the rule by the will of the majority - People old and young will eventually decide who they believe would be fit to change the status quo ... if they are wrong, then we wait another 3 to prove it to them, if they were right ... then GREAT ...

Cheers mate - really enjoyable conversation when we get down to the nitty-gritty and see we both have a real passion for our country and what we hand to the next generations, eh.

I agree it's a complicated situation and is going to take some time to resolve. The one thing I look for, really, is willingness to take the problem on and at least make a start. I'm deeply troubled by National denying there's a problem, and I wish they would acknowledge the issue as they did in opposition and just say "Hey, guys, there's a mess and it's going to take some sorting out, and this is the plan and this is how long it's going to take us as a country".

I've lost my trust in them that I had when I voted them in.

I also worry that children not born into as fortunate situation as you've created for your own via your hard work, won't have the opportunity to realistically aspire to a good future in NZ. I worry about us creating intergenerational poverty that is a hallmark of Third World societies. That's another big drive for me, coming back from such societies. It concerns me when I see those who wish to ever escalate property prices and import more and more labourers and millionaires against which young Kiwis will have to compete...It's great for those who are already in, but where does it end for young Kiwis?

I suspect as I'm a serial underdog supporter I'll probably back the kids if there must be an intergenerational war. I may have jumped to their defence on occasion here, just maybe. But I'd much rather it doesn't get to that.

Rick - unfortunately the damage is done. The world took a decision to allow credit to fund the growth train starting way back in the 70's (when it was starting to stagger)... more and more deregulation and credit ... ie borrowing from the (bigger) future. The bigger necessitates a ever higher toll on resources.
As a result population, consumption and pollution soared while we tapped every resource known.
Those things arent turned round easily or were one offs resources ... but the debt load remains and expects the future to be bigger ... so that the promises in place hold.
We are in overshoot.

Eco Bird, I am genuinely interested to know why you think voting for National is in the best interests of your children.

Thanks Kiwimm .... Because , In my own opinion and assessment and you are entitled to yours, They are the lesser of two evils - National is the Devil that you know ... and is clearer about what it is doing, listens to people and business and works with them.

look, the difference between the N and L policies is practically going to be very slim .. day after day, labour will not be able to pull monkeys out of thin air and they will be many impediments in their way ...( starting from accepting the 70000 immigrants a year - etc).. they will piss many people off by putting up taxes etc... atypical labour solution !!
But, their current team is unbelievably weak and flimsy, their so called Tax policies are vague, and some promises are unplanned and unpriced properly, including their fiscal plan ... simply put, they made themselves look very suspicious and they are refusing to come clean.

National has been complacent because of Labour's weakness .. It will have its wings and nails clipped if they get elected again, I think they will seriously look at improving current situation as they are promising ( which most people are trying to make us all believe that they won't) ...especially if they are forced to go with WP to form the next Gov... AND because of the surge of Labour's support ( which reflects people's disapproval) which will be a serious threat for them ... I believe that they are a more prudent manager of the economy, better manage and prioritise spending and will keep a balance between instant needs for housing, social issues, and the overall advancement of the country ....

It could be a fine line ...but I still feel that they would do a better job in correcting what they and OTHERS have done to the housing market.

In fairness, We also need to remember the external influences shaping the last 5 years on everyone worldwide - some of our problems are imposed on us and that is not so much under the control of the Government of the day ... e.g. We could have had a different debate if the earthquakes didn't happen ... or the world didn't print so much money ...

Thanks for your honest reply. I used to be of the same opinion but my patience for National has worn thin. To me, they have painted themselves into the growth at all costs corner and refuse to acknowledge their mistakes.The most grating of these are the denial of the housing crisis and the tertiary education/immigration rort.

I agree with what you said... but for me the denial thing is a political gimmick used now to entrap a ruling Gov ...how would an admission to a problem serve if you didnt have enough tools to control it in time ... and yes they sort of neglected some important social issues too ...I think immigration became an addiction of a good thing, they should have capped it gradually before it got out of hand - but you can equally blame the bureaucrats who run the engine rooms of the country and the councils like ACC who did most of the damage in the last 5 - 8 years.

As I said ... There are no angels in an election .. I just seem to pick the Devil that I know on the day, just like I picked Clark and Cullen for the previous 9 years and changed my mind when they gone funny ..:)

I think the millstone they've hung around their own neck is the fact they campaigned on the "housing crisis" and have then themselves been denying any crisis exists.

Then they've said high prices are a good problem to have, houses have never been more affordable, they don't want prices to come down etc.

They've lost a lot of people's trust on the housing crisis. People don't believe they're going to take it seriously...rather, they suspect they're only go to try to perpetuate it.

" The most grating of these are the denial of the housing crisis and the tertiary education/immigration rort."

Plus calling our young druggies, that grates on me as well.

Oh hell yeah. Especially when their own statistics show that to be a lie, yet they keep on repeating it.

National have a one seat majority at the moment in parliament. They have not been able to pass certain bills because they can't get coalition parties support. Last election was as close as it gets for them. I failed to see any change in their behaviour because of it. You're dreaming if you think a leopard will change its spots if we give them another go..

By the way, how did National "listen to people" when they kicked out the democratically elected ECAN board?

Kiwimm. You should have said the next generation other than Eco birds family. Get it right man

No one is waging a war Eco; merely pointing out National's failures after 9 years in government and how things are looking worse for us Gen Yers and Gen Zs now because of them.

Well Great, then the language should match the intentions ... Gen Y,Z need to be patient as things can and will be repaired ... any other statement or magic wands to solve this issue is false and it will take time ..... forget about politics, todays' clowns will be gone one day - bitter sentiments won't !! ...and we have to be careful that we maintain a coherent society .

I agree with you Eco Bird. So we need to see that National actually give a toss about the next generation coming through - via policy, via actions. If they don't, then the younger generation (those that don't want to leave or kill themselves) will rise up against the system. Imagine in 20 years when the majority of boomers have died off (and become politically insignificant) if the younger generation decided to cut off your pension because of the way you're treating them now? It's up to you and your generation to set the example and at the moment you're behaving like a bunch of narcissistic, self centred, jerks if I may. Its not a good example, it's incredibly poor...where are the role models? If BE is it, and the example is scaremongering and avoiding he real issues, then your generation is a bit of a let down...

I am all for "broad-base low tax" system. However, there are things that aren't being taxed which could be. Land would seem the most obvious - as we used to do in NZ. It seems National is promising the status quo (for better or worse) and Labour is really only promising a few tweaks which may or may not improve things.

Interesting bit about the Reid having a lower level of undecided - I wonder if it means the numbers are relative fixed now? We need another poll with similar numbers to confirm a trend.

I see no reason to vote for National after watching "Who Owns NZ Now?" on TV3 last night. It was heart-breaking to see so many homeless people living in car-parks and it takes 11.4 times an experienced teacher's pay to buy a house with an average price in Auckland. Please do the right thing people and vote accordingly!!

So what are you saying DGZ? .... are you saying that Labour will have an answer ? .. or just having an emotional episode?

I don't know. I haven't made up my mind yet. The only thing I like so far is Green's policy of planting 1.2 billion trees around the country.

It's a good policy - very akin to ideas put forward in this research;

http://pureadvantage.org/news/2016/04/22/our-forest-future/

By these folks;

http://pureadvantage.org/who-we-are/

Like you care DGZ? In your view they probably want to live like that. Like your insane comments about John Campbell's story on hungry kids in South Auckland schools. You claimed that " school children don't eat packed lunches." That might be the case for the kids you quoted at Epsom Grammar School, who can take the fifty bucks their landlord parents raised on their tenants last week and buy a smorgasbord of yummies at the tuck shop... But not those kids, there is no money, it goes on putting a roof over their head by hard working parents. These are real people man, real Kiwi kids who aren't eating.
Surely at some stage you have to see the connection?

I think that was Zachary, or are you trolling for a bite. I discussed the John Campbell story with my wife last night (Decile 1A school employee) and she confirmed again that none of their children go without food, partly because private donors regularly donate. I asked why they don't present a positive view to counterbalance the stories and she said that there is no upside in it. When all is good you concentrate on other things rather than telling the world.

Indeed, And that is exactly what a friend of mine commented on the issue last night .... stories has to be miserable to touch people 's hearts ... emotional blackmail i call it !!

get off your miserable arse and go and have a look at what's out there... rather than spouting your made up 'facts'...

Whatever dude! Your wife is the only one in the country telling the truth ay? Kids aren't hungry? well I have worked in those communities, I have seen it with my own eyes, regardless what your musses says .And they do present the positive stories, like the ones where the National government won't help hungry kids, but the Mongrel Mob does... that will make their recruiting easier...
You are a dreadful man... but you can improve that.. get off your arse and actually go and have a look at what is actually happening out there, rather than just trolling about stuff you know nothing about... volunteer, do something useful...

Also Zac and DGZ are the same person, duh!

Simply relating what I was told by the person I trust most in this world. Sorry it doesn't fit your view of the World.

It's not a "world view." It's fact! If you chose to go and look, you will see it. But it's so true, there are none so blind as those who will not see. For shame!

Yes blue meanie. It's the same rubbish you hear about they've been to a hospital and everything great. You need to look in the right places. Depending if you really want to see

Gots to be keepin' little darkie kids subjugated and eternally grateful to they white masters, can't be having them with enough to do for themselves now.

I dont get that.

So poor children dont go hungry because private donors sponsor food. That tells me people need to sponsor food because people are going hungry.

Thats nuts, of course people are starving. Why are people living in garages and cars. These people cant afford food either. Just because someone can bring some food to lunch doesnt mean they are getting everything at home and in the weekends.

DGZ. Have you seen god

I see no reason to vote for National after watching "Who Owns NZ Now?" on TV3 last night. It was heart-breaking to see so many homeless people living in car-parks and it takes 11.4 times an experienced teacher's pay to buy a house with an average price in Auckland. Please do the right thing people and vote accordingly!!

OK, so you've decided you're going to side with the "commies" now. Is this a troll or can Mike Hosking still tempt you back to the flock?

The commies? You mean the National MP who was a card carrying member of the Chinese communist party? I am confused..

A cursory look a Bill English's figures on what a farmer will be paying in water tax.
Bill and his National team have quoted upwards of $50k.
So doing some basic maths here are the facts.
At 01 cent per 1000 litres it will cost $1 (one dollar) for 100000 (one hundred thousand litres.)
100 000 multiply by 50 000 = 5 000 000 000 that's Five Billion litres of water a year.
Now let's put that in something you can actually imagine.
An Olympic pool takes 2.5 million litres to fill. That's 2000 Olympic pools a year. That's 5.5 Olympic pools a day used by just one 50k taxed farmer.
So if you had 200 farmers using the same amount of water a year, they will be using the equivalent amount of water in the Waitamata Harbour right now.
Now, tell me that is an acceptable amount of freshwater!
I call Bill English's claims 'alternative truth' and makes his claims outright lies or an even more disturbing a dreadful indictment on our farmers use of water in New Zealand.

And? what has such basic arithmetic and waitemata harbour got to do with the price of fish? 5million cubic meters is a 0.002% drop in the bucket from the roughly 300billion cubic meters that fall yearly on NZ. 1square km in fiordland gets twice that much rain in a year. On average the Rakaia dumps that much water in the sea (with zero benefit to anyone but a few fish-torturers) in about 6 hours. Or to use your example about 2% of what falls on Waitemata harbour every year. There is only about 1-2000x that amount used for all farm irrigation in NZ.

Do you have a better use for it that will create more jobs and tax revenue for NZ and (you-know) help improve the economy and people's lives outside of your urban bubble? Perhaps a better alternative to replace the 10's of billions of dollars and tens of thousands of jobs that agriculture contributes to NZ? Or was your post just about your all-important feelings and deep connection to Gaia? or simply pride in remembering how to use a calculator?

My brilliance with a calculator exposes truth when the powers-that-be tell outright lies... it makes me like a nerd super-hero for good,using basic maths. I'm going to wear a red cape with a pie sign...
But in all seriousness, It's called context! It shows scaremongering and lies from our PM, or are you telling me farmers actually use that amount of water? I used simple maths to expose his alternative truth. Stuff you, as a National at any cost supporter should be a wee bit concerned about, but I guess it shows how narrow minded you are about what honesty actually is. And the fact you are so blinded by your fervour for all things National, you've lost perspective man.
I like farmers, I think they do a great job, I have farmer friends. I am concerned about pollution in our rivers and lakes though and unlike you, I don't believe in personal gain at all costs. Including at the cost of our children's future. I pay for water, only fair they do the same.
Explain what National has done to create more jobs? What have they done to improve the lives of Kiwis? I am paying more and getting less and I am on a good salary. For nine years they have sat on their arses and done nothing. I'll get onto this later, but even the corrupt South African government has built bridges and roads. They've freed up land to build large poor and rich housing suburbs. That's South Africa... how are you beloved National better than that?
Inequality has increased exponentially over the last 9 years in New Zealand. You know that, even though you will swill you cardonney tonight and call everyone who has fallen behind lazy, you know in your heart it has increased beyond the acceptable...

Inequity may have increased but so has the baseline. People get paid more on benefits (exponentially ) they have a better quality of life, things are cheaper now due to internet and reduction in global tariffs, there has never been a better time than now to be alive than 2017, either on the dole or working

Am rolling my eyes at your comment. No need to do further exercise today, chur for that :)

Yep dont worry that lettuce is $3.50 and bread is $3 I can get a sony playstation on the internet really cheap. Life is cool....

Clueless, utterly clueless

Ps bro. Now we have a Chinese intelligence operative as a National MP. Think that through... most countries in the world would call that treason. But not our Bill... if it wasn't so serious you'd consider it a joke!
He couldn't get a security clearance to serve as a Private in the NZ Army, but is exposed to all NZ security and secrets as an MP... the mind boggles.

Housing documentary that pulls no punches. https://www.stuff.co.nz/life-style/homed/latest/96755666

My youngest son could have produced that documentary with his Google cut and paste research abilities and he wouldn't have had to feature inane interviews from around the World. It added zero to the debate like his last effort on education. He's lucky someone at NZ on air funds him, because no one else would based on his historic efforts.

Who's noticed that there some 'good stuff' tip-toeing onto the property market recently? I'd expected that the "Nope! I refuse to sell until prices improve..." stage would go on into late next year. But Lo and Behold, some non-rubbish properties ( and not just Honest John's, one. Although I notice he kept part of it back! I hope he likes the 3 blocks of double-unit 'improvements' that might get built on the bit he's flicked on, when they pull down the weather board bit he sold, and put up some new units next door!) are actually being quietly listed. What could that possibly mean?

I must confess to be a little surprised that electorate appears to be waking up to what it was doing in giving a 20% lift to labour simply because they jiggled around their top 3 a few weeks back seemingly without doing anything more significant to their policy platform. The initial move spoke volumes about how ill-informed and superficial vast numbers of voters must be, but thankfully now appears to be a transient effect as word spreads within social circles of what Labour's policies really entail.

For all that Labour are being rightly punished over their taxation policy furtiveness and clientalist targeting of small minority of voters in productive sector (those pesky counter-revolutionary Kulaks who need to be re-educated and stripped of their possessions), they really deserve even more stick for their time-warp industrial relations policy that strives to take us back to the bad-old-days to pay off Labour's union masters. Guess it is just too complex an issue for media to tackle - or maybe that is still to be sprung on them next week.

I think there is a large subset of (mostly younger) people wanting a change for a future that gives them hope.

then they should all read labour's industrial relations policy and look at some documentaries on life in 70's NZ and UK under the yoke of the unions to see what the opposite of hope looks like.

and weigh this up against National's proven performance in open-door immigration and increasing inequality through housing policies

Hey Kiwimm. Don't you just love the fact some of us have been commenting and posting for four and more years. Suddenly, just before an election, strongly opinionated National Party supporters, suddenly punch in with sudden vociferous pro national opinion. No give or take, just blaring National propaganda and half truths. The military call this psyops. It's an attempt to sway opinion in a directed fashion.
So how is this for a theory. National have a trained PLA intelligence operative in their ranks (am sure you've read about it), who claims to have only ever taught intelligence operators, never operated himself, mind you ... see where I'm going with this? Could it be, National are learning from the best? Am not accusing, just questioning. It's a theory, like trickle down ecconomics.

Ok, so turns out the National Party policy announcement at Fletcher Building today is a Corrections policy announcement, not a house building one:

Suitable, low-risk prisoners will be eligible for earlier release if they successfully complete training and treatment plans and have a low risk of reoffending, National Party Corrections spokesperson Louise Upston says.

“Rehabilitation programmes work, so we want more prisoners to complete them. They help prisoners prepare for life outside prison, give them skills to get a job, and help stop reoffending,” Ms Upston says.

“National will introduce the Positive Pathways programme to incentivise more prisoners to complete personalised rehabilitation and training programmes, improving their chances of remaining crime-free when they are released to further reduce crime and improve public safety.

“We will also invest an extra $48 million in rehabilitation and reintegration programmes over the next four years to deliver another 6000 places. That’s on top of National’s major investment in rehabilitation, which has seen the number of offenders in training or treatment programmes almost triple since 2008.

“We know these programmes work. Since 2011, we’ve reduced the number of people reoffending by 26 per cent – that’s 38,000 fewer victims of crime.”

Under Positive Pathways, prisoners whose sentences are two years or less and who successfully complete their training and treatment plan will be eligible for release 10 per cent earlier than under current settings.

Prisoners serving more than two years will get an individualised training and treatment plan from Corrections and will receive early feedback from the Parole Board on this plan to better prepare them for when they become eligible for parole. Successful completion of that programme will trigger an earlier parole hearing – early release is not guaranteed and minimum non-parole periods will remain unchanged.

Only prisoners with a low risk of reoffending will be eligible for an earlier release, and Judges will also have the discretion to exclude offenders at sentencing.

“We are not making sentences shorter. Instead prisoners can serve a greater portion of their sentence in the community, subject to appropriate monitoring. They will be subject to immediate recall to prison if they breach their conditions or reoffend,” Ms Upston says.

“The requirements for early release will be set by Corrections in training and treatment plans that are tailored to each individual prisoner. In addition to industry, treatment and learning programmes, community and family-focused programmes can also be included in an individual prisoner’s plan.

“Part of the new investment in rehabilitation will also be targeted at more support for prisoners when they leave jail to stop them from returning.

“Public safety will always remain National’s bottom line – but in many cases public safety is enhanced by undertaking rehabilitation and reintegration programmes, and controlled release into the community,” Ms Upston says.

Great opportunity to train prisoners skill sets to build affordable housing, then put it into practice while they serve their sentences. Also, an excellent way to integrate people back into society.

Labour are saying "we'll leave it to the experts after the election" simply because they know their tax policy will scare the heck out of the voting public if their intentions became known.

What other reason would they have for not stating their tax policy when every other party has been quite transparent?

So the voting public has a simple choice, you vote for one of the other parties knowing their detailed tax policy or you vote for Labour and the unknown.

It is normal politics never to start any inquiry that you don't already know the outcome of.

The approved approach, as I understand it, is to set such terms of reference as to ensure the outcome you want before any inquiry even convenes. The true inquiry part is the setting of the terms of reference.

But this is true for all types of government, maybe best described as "best practice".

CGT is off the table until the 2020 election. The taxes they will implement this term are spelt out. Feel free to vote them in now then vote them out again in 2020.

"CGT is off the table until the 2020 election." - reference on Labor website please.
Or is this just something you invented - in other words lies and misinformation ?

She told reporters she had spoken to her deputy Kelvin Davis and set him straight on Labour’s intention to introduce a possible capital gains tax without taking it to the electorate in 2020.

https://www.newsroom.co.nz/2017/09/01/45581/election-2017-live-dissectin...

The only thing they will do on this prior to 2020 is have the tax working group investigate it

You are funny .. it was him who mistakenly said they would take it to the next election ; she set him straight that they will just "listen to the experts" and introduce it without waiting for for 2020 election.
Not fooling anyone mate ..

And from this illustrious website:

Labour Party leader Jacinda Ardern is not ruling out introducing a capital gains tax (CGT) on rental/investment properties or second homes next term, saying Labour will listen to what their planned tax working group says on the issue sometime before 2020. Labour will not take a CGT to the electorate this time around though, she said.

http://www.interest.co.nz/property/89327/labour-leader-ardern-maintains-...

An article you commented on several times.

Next term means 2017-2020 in the context of the article of course ; you clearly cannot read. Both references you posted support the exact opposite of your claim " CGT is off the table until 2020 election".

even if you believe that, National could easily run on a campaign to remove CGT in 2020 if it is such a vote winner

So you admit your claim was simply made up ; at least this much is clear.

Hey bro. How'd you feel about a Chinese operative as National MP. Your hysteria about socialism with labour, is trumped by a fully fledged Communist PLA intelligence operative in the National Party. Lekker one China... .

Hey bro - how would you feel about staying on the topic ?

Mate, she hasn't committed to anything yet and all this is old news .... we all are waiting in the anticipation of the next shoe to drop !

So far Grant was saying yesterday, it is still murky!!...watch this video
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=1192...

Alex, re this thought, So, the only thing this Working Group might be able to recommend is land tax on land not with a ‘family home’ on top of it.

Isn't quite right. They could recommend a land tax on unimproved land only - and only where that land is within an urban residential zone, and only within city/district council catchments where residential housing has exceeded (say) a 4:1 median price/median HI ratio.

In other words, a very narrowly defined land bank land tax.

Well, that's what I'd do anyway if land banking was found to be a real 'thing' in our most unaffordable markets. Councils themselves could likely introduce a targeted rate under the LGA that would achieve a similar incentive to develop - which makes me wonder whether or not land banking is a real 'thing'.

Hi Kate - sure, good point. My understanding of them 'ruling out the land under the family home' is that it would be the whole plot - ie I've got a 400sqm plot but a 90sqm home - the whole 400 won't attract land tax because it's the 'family land'. I'll check in with them on that though.

This again just highlights to me though the problem of not going into this election with a comprehensive tax policy (which I personally would have liked to see) but then saying they might change settings before the next election. This was never going to work in our political climate, given the attack lines the past two elections from National.

It sounds like they're now thinking of releasing a terms of reference for the Group before the election - which would be welcome, but this will still keep the heat on them over it.

Cheers

Thanks for the response, Alex. I figured they'd release a TOR.

PS I think you might misunderstand me in terms of a targeted rate/tax on "unimproved land". Nothing to do with the balance of land in a title/parcel that is 'green space', or has no structure on it - as per your example.

What I mean is a land parcel (a registered title) with no built structures on it. So to make it work (i.e., to keep your land banker from putting up a shed on a 20 ha site as a means to avoid the tax) you would need to put parameters around that definition of "unimproved" land and it would likely be represented as the value of any improvements / the area of the land - a threshold, that if not met, attracts the tax.

Cheers. Right you are. That would certainly be a way to start off with such a tax and I imagine it would appeal to Labour (a tax on undeveloped/vacant land could certainly be something they could have announced ahead of this election). It would encourage that land to then be improved - housing put on it.

But I still wonder about exemption of the 'family section' (my understanding now is that Labour means the whole family section excluded) as this would not provide an incentive to densify, which is something that should be encouraged in Auckland.

But yes you're right - a way into such a policy which actually they shouldn't be scared of politically - can actually link your suggestion to adressing housing affordability and building rates.

Cheers

This is the problem with not releasing a comprehensive TOR or policy detail. My zoning allows 40% site coverage but only has 30% actual coverage, because I swapped house coverage for non permeable area. Would they tax me if I didn't build a bigger house? What if my property could be subdivided but I hadn't done that?

See my response to that below. Simple answer - no (not if I was writing the policy anyway!)

Great, Alex, glad you got it. Yes, it does incentivise land owners to develop, or sell (if one cannot raise the capital to develop). But it also gives land owners the option of holding and paying the tax, if they wish to speculate on capital gains. And given you'd only be implementing the tax in urban areas where housing shortages have forced up prices to above whatever your minimum acceptable median multiple is - you don't 'hit' vacant land owners in less critical markets.

Regard your comment on densification - only my opinion - but my preference for inner city densification is not the 800m2 section subdivided in two or three. The beneficial development regarding densification to me is on much larger plots (i.e., a number of combined titles) where a unit title, multi story complex is built (with larger courtyards/green shared spaces than are afforded when subdividing a single section).

So, no I wouldn't want to incentivise (by way of tax) that low-end, single section type of densification.

Are these new taxes planned by Labour tax neutral, or are they trying to increase tax revenue ?

Hi Andrewj, hope all's well.

I'm told it's not for a "revenue gathering exercise". Rather, an "issue of fairness" is what they're focussed on. And because it's about fairness across income, wealth and assets, that indicates to me anything on the latter two would see corresponding cuts in the former/existing taxes.

Cheers

PS we've started talking about planting a few grapes (on the unimproved part of our section...) just for a bit of fun and perhaps to hold the bank together a bit. What did you used to have? Merlot?

Thanks Alex, I all for changing the way we tax. Happy to pay 20k land tax if it helps correct poor allocation of resources.

Grapes are interesting, cheap wine in Europe has really improved. I had an interesting talk to a wine agent in the UK who told me he always buys the cheapest wine when at a restaurant ,as it's usually the best. Also Chinese wine for sale in Tesco, bit worried about whats in it, I should have tried some.
Friends in Europe are getting super sensitive to whats in their food, when I talked growth regulators in grain crops, desiccants on potatoes end of season etc, they were not surprised but even more determined to buy local and organic if an option.
Russia is becoming a bit of a monster in the grain world, interesting to see where they end up, quality looks excellent.

https://www.topcropmanager.com/cereals/plant-growth-regulators-for-wheat...

http://cropwatch.unl.edu/potato/dessication_chemical

Back in the early nineties I used to buy local red at $3.95 a bottle. So it certainly was cheap. That was about the best you could say about it.

I heard grapes were a lot of work so planted just two for eating and put in fruit trees and bees instead.

National id doing everything to shift focus from their failure of Homelessness, Health, House, Education.......

Labour has to and should start highlighting nationals failure instead of responding to bark.....

It's not an Attack if it is a re-statement of fact

Jacinda on tax:

Let's screw this.

lol,

So, what is the correct way to analyse and vote ?
Vote for the right electoral candidate, whichever party he/she belongs to who will do good for that electorate and then vote for that party which you like, be it National or Labour or NZ First or Greens ?
What will be the impact of that on the composition of the Parliament and the possible ruling government ?
The poll results, do they talk about the Party vote or the Electoral vote ?
I am confused really...

I'm disgusted of what Kiwis have turned into.