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National promises to spend up to NZ$210 mln to extend UFB to extra 5% of population; Key and Cunliffe debate CGT; Rawshark's latest Whaledump

National promises to spend up to NZ$210 mln to extend UFB to extra 5% of population; Key and Cunliffe debate CGT; Rawshark's latest Whaledump

By Bernard Hickey

With just over a fortnight to go until the September 20 election, here's my daily round-up of political news on Thursday September 4, including National's promise to spend up to NZ$210 million from its Future Investment Fund to extend its Ultra Fast Broadband rollout to 80% of the population from 75% previously planned.

"Having completed nearly 40 per cent of the build to more than half a million houses and businesses, we believe it is time to extend UFB to a further 200,000 New Zealanders.  This extension of the project will cost between NZ$152 and NZ$210 million and it will be funded from the Future Investment Fund," National's Communications and Information Technology Minister Amy Adams said in announcing National's ICT policy.

Adams said the additional towns to be covered would decided after a competitive bid process taking into account the costs, strength of demand and other assistance from local governments.

“However, based on the methodology used for the original roll-out, this could see a number of towns be strong contenders for inclusion in the UFB extension, including: Te Puke, Motueka, Morrinsville, Kerikeri, Huntly, Thames, Matamata, Ōtaki, Kawerau, Waitara, Kaitaia, Dannevirke, Alexandra, Stratford, Whitianga, Cromwell, Taumarunui, Picton, Foxton, Kaikohe, Marton, Te Kuiti, Katikati, Temuka, Waihi, Waipukurau, Warkworth, Carterton, Dargaville, Opotiki, Snells Beach, Te Aroha, Wairoa, Paeroa and Westport," Adams asid.

“Today’s announcement follows on from our announcement last month that National will contribute a further NZ$150 million to extend the Rural Broadband Initiative, which improves broadband coverage in more sparsely populated rural areas. These two announcements will mean almost every New Zealander will be able to access fast, more reliable internet services," she said.

This would bring the Governments investments in broadband to almost NZ$2 billion.


Labour ICT spokeswoman Clare Curran described the policy as "blatant pork-barrelling."

"National’s polling clearly indicates regional New Zealand has lost patience with the current abysmal connectivity and is scrambling to patch over the cracks," she said.

CGT clash

Labour Leader David Cunliffe appeared to back away from comments yesterday that family homes would have to be sold within a month of the death of parents to avoid having its Capital Gains Tax apply.

He said the specifics of the policy would be decided by an expert panel after the formation of a government.

"We are happy to take expert advice on that," Cunliffe was quoted as saying on the campaign trail.

Key attacked Cunliffe's lack of certainty on the policy.

"It's a complete and utter mess. They've had the policy for four years. In the last 36 hours David Cunliffe has made a number of either mistakes or he's been unable to answer some really basic questions about the family home," he said.

Finance Minister Bill English also targeted Labour's Capital Gains Tax.

"The more David Cunliffe tries to explain his complicated capital gains tax, the more he ties himself in knots and confuses New Zealanders," English said pointing to Cunliffe's comments that it would start applying a month after the death of the last remaining parent.

"In other words, he would force families to rush through the sale of their parents’ family home at a distressing time in their lives, or penalise them with a new tax," English said.

Tax cuts irresponsible?

Labour and the Greens attacked Labour National's plans for tax cuts, given the latest news of further falls in dairy prices. They also contrasted their own release of fiscal plans targeting surprluses while the Government had yet to release its own plan.

"Falling dairy prices are putting National’s first surplus in doubt, so any talk of tax cuts now is irresponsible and nothing more than a cynical bid to buy their way back into Government," Green Co-Leader Russel Norman said.

"We released our full fiscals a month before the election, costing our election priorities, and demonstrating how we will run stronger surpluses than National and pay down debt faster. Leaving a significant tax cut announcement like this to just days before the general election highlights what a last-minute cynical gamble National is taking," Norman said.

I'll update this regularly through the day.

Fresh Whaledump

Meanwhile, the hacker known as Rawshark released fresh email and other messages taken from Cameron Slater's accounts to show Slater's connections with Judith Collins, Auckland PR man Carrick Graham, Wellington Lawyer Jordan Williams and former National MP Katherine Rich, who is now the head of the Food and Grocery Council.

The selected emails released by Rawshark confirm claims made in Nicky Hager's 'Dirty Politics' book that Slater was paid to publish posts attacking the opponents of Food and Grocery Council.

Much of the language revealed in the exchanges is just too distressing to republish.

Rawshark had to open a new Twitter account after Twitter shut down his first one.

(Corrected Labour to National above. (Thanks Gummy))

See all my previous election diaries here.

See the index for's special election policy comparison pages here.

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" Labour and the Greens attacked Labours plans for tax cuts ???? "
Labour are very confused aren't they , with their Death Duty by Stealth CGT ... seriously boof-heads to not figger it out , having had 4 years to work on the CGT policy ...
... aren't the Gnats planning tax cuts too , Bernard ....
Hey  , it's not really tax cuts is it , it's more correct to say that they won't thieve quite as much of your hard earned monies ...

Thanks Gummy. My bad. Corrected now.

OK Since it's Friday Joke day.....I have to share this one.
Comliffe, Com Greens and Com Dotty Mana meet to help Comliffe understand CGT.
Comliffe..... I'm all confused and don't know how it is going to work.
Com Greens...well that is easy compadre Comliffe....we set the rate at 20% and then knock the houses down.....we then rebuild in carbon free mud bricks and hemp.
No No No says Com Dotty.....we said 30% CGT and turn the house into an internet cafe downloading pirated data.

So the abbreviation CGT doesn't stand for Cunliffe's Grand Theft ?
.... it's just a Com raid upon your wallet ...
Whew ... I was Com cerned over nuttin' ....

No Kiwi in his right mind would vote to pay more tax , and those who do are like turkeys voting for Christmas

The Green financial wizards, high on the possibility of taxing rich pricks, have based their revenue projections on assumptions that were shaky to begin with and are looking decidedly more so by the day.
It would be nice to see some coherent, reasoned argument from them about the following possibilities:

  • Currency wilts:  adding pure FX changes to all imports and thus costs and thus inflation
  • Minimum wage rises have 'unexpected' side-effects such as blowing out National Super and other average-wage-based benefits
  • Collection percentages are far less than projected
  • Collection timing is years later than projected
  • John Galt emerges:  producers scale back activities to net-taxable = zero
  • Exporters (Dairy, Meat, Wool) wilt under the combined effect of Minumum Wage, tighter regulation, increased marginal tax rates, new labour market rigidities (e.g. 90-day), stronger union stroppiness, new taxes (carbon, water), higher fees for said regulation and compliance, and none of this is offset by FX gains
  • Raised expectations from the electorate which demand that Gubmint Gotta Do Somefink which inevitably involves more redistribution.

Because, as any business knows, it's the Bad Times ya gots to plan for - the good times look after themselves.

If the Greens ever get  formulate economic policy , all our children will be living in poverty .
Then what ?
Maybe they will be happy .
Even the middle class is struggling , right now we have Working For Families tax credits which subsiises the middle class , and its a load of nonsense

Josie went shooting with Cam, Peter got funding from BT and Jordie's firm charged thousands and thousands only to get beat by a crook :-). Alledgedly, of course! As Miranda's Mum would say .... such fun!

Considering it takes up to 1 month for the Probate before any assets in the Will can be distributed the children of deceased parents won't have any choice but to pay Capital Gains Tax on their parents family home.

Big deal.
How much capital gain will there be in one month? Even in Auckland at 12% annual it would be 1% = $1050 on a $700k property. Logically valuation for probate would be used anyway.

Wrong Basil Brush , you clearly dont understand that CGT is only payable on realisation of the gain , and the "base price "  plus a whole host of adjustments would need to be made to arrive at the amount payable  .
CGT implemenation is one of the most complicated things we will ever see in tax reform here

Can take a lot longer than just 1 month to get probate.
The CGT tax is just so complex that Labour hasn't yet got it all finalised. So I can't see how anyone can vote on a policy where you don't know the full specifications of it. There will be lots of different circumstances, where the family home may incur . What is even the definition of a family home. What happens if the parents split and they both live in their own houses and the kids live 50% in each.

Which current or former National party members aren't paying fatboy Slater to smear people they don't like?, surely more of them been paying him for smears than haven't been.
What a sad dishonest bunch of people the National party and associates have become.

Have you read the equally nasty left wing blogs Phithy ? Interesting that Cunliffe didn't argue with Key's statement to him in the last debate that up to four people in Cunliffe's office actually wrote articles for those, Labour don't even have to pay the bloggers to be nasty, they just do it themselves.

Grant are you seriously comparing someone that rights an article on a left wing blog with what National and their associates have been getting up to? 
If you are if think you aren't really reading what has been going on very carefully at all.
We're talking about an abuse of power here, inside information that only a government could know being regularily passed onto Slater, meanwhile the tobacco industry, food industry, alcohol industry and who knows who else, all paying Slater to smear people.
Not forgetting Hotchkin paying him to smear the head of the SFO.
You really are joking if you think this is in any way similar to something writing a few articles on a left wing blog site.

Personally I don't give a damn about what a private individual does, a blogger, whether left or right - if he's doing anything illegal he should and will go down. There are some unproved allegations about Collins but if proven she's gone. And what's Hotchins got to do with do with National? Frankly I'm not alone, most are sick of it as the polls today again show  - your association of Hotchins, Slater and National in a posting just shows why people are tiring of it as creditability disappears.

What's Hotchins got to do with National?
SFO is investigating Hotchins
Hotchins pays Slater to smear SFO
Collins supplies Slater with info for his smears

Where did you get that assumption from ?  

I like all my social circle of freinds have become tired and bored with the Nicky Slater and the dirt nonsense ,its old news , its already had far too much BS media covver , and  I dont even read those articles anymore .

So Boatman are you sayin John Key should not have accepted Judith Collins resignation? Because it was all nonsense. Is that what you and your circle of friends talk about?
I tell my friends and colleagues that I have never experienced an election like this one. Never has a Minister of the government resigned during an election campaign. I tell my friends that the wheels on this government's bus are falling off.

No worries
Nationals propaganda spin machine was in full flight today

You lot just don't learn do you:
"...weeks out from the election National’s popularity has soared after the dumping of justice minister Judith Collins, putting John Key on course for a thumping victory on the evidence of a new
The furore over Nick Hager’s book Dirty Politics, and the drip feed of hacked emails between key players on the Right, seems to have damaged Labour despite Key’s hand being forced over Collins..."
The public are sick of hearing about it, don't believe half of it and/or don't care.  Problem for Labour is that when they do finally get back to talking about policy theirs is full of holes. 

"“Today’s announcement follows on from our announcement last month that National will contribute a further NZ$150 million " ... of YOUR taxpayer money.....   why  do they always seem to forget to add that bit...

Cunliffe was too slow on his feet re the house in trust issue...... he could have answered..
'you mean the million dollar family homes of the broke finance company directors, or do you mean the home in trust to avoid residential care tests, or the ones in trust to avoid creditors...or do you mean the certain politician who was using the home in trust scenario to get extra accomodation allowances Wellington'?
People who use trusts are hypyocritical....when it suits them it is not their property...when it doesn't work for them, such as when it might get taxed by a CGT, then they want it to be their asset after-all.  Oppurtunity lost Mr Cunliffe.
That aside, CGT, like the gst exempt for veges, is a dumb tax - dumb because it doesn't do what it is supposedly intended to do. 

So of your options above, about why people put houses in trusts, which is the one why David Cunliffe himself has a house in a trust?
You know...  the million dollar St Heliers pad that he lives in but owns in a trust.... would I know? Maybe John Key could ask him at the next debate. 

St Heliers? he wouldn't lower himself to St Heliers or even Johnny's Parnell.
Only Herne Bay is good enough.

Not sure why Cunnliffe would need "Expert Advice"....
Giving a family only 1 mth to sell the family house before CGT  applies.....  seems mean spirited and lacking in common sense......  its stupid.
One can just see Real Estate agents vulturing around the death notices in the paper...
Surely he can see that....    A little bit of common sense... alittle bit of heart ..and he should have said... " of course , 1 mth is silly "..

Oh so true , RE agents reading the NZ Herald Death Notices and then harassing the family to sell, sell, sell .
What a load of crap .

Hi Bernard, are you planning to make an analysis of the main parties' economic plans? The bits and bobs you get from the debates (eg on the economic impact of foreign land ownership) are too superficial to get a clear idea of what is on offer.
I read on the Treasury website that total crown expenses in the year to June 2014 are $92.2b (an estimate from the first 11 months), and GDP is $230b. That makes government expenses 40% of GDP. It seems to me that is still well below the OECD average, which typically ranges from 45-48% (although fluctuating due to the GFC). As well we are still running deficits (not to mention current account deficits) and National are talking about a tax cut. I would really like to hear how you see the impact of the main parties' policies.

Labour and the Greens fiscal plans targeting surpluses obviously hasn't considered that before anything can be taxed business has to generate the income first.  So what they're effectively saying is that they will squeeze ALL taxpayers even more regardless of whether the tax payer can afford it or not.
CGT is a actually a tax on tax and (you can add another) on tax.....firstly many of their policies are inflationary (i.e.minimum wage increases and others as outlined by Waymad above)....and inflation is nothing more than a tax on money. After they have created this inflation they then want to further tax it via CGT....this is called double dipping !!
.....I would liken the use of such methods of tax extraction from the populace to the indirect way in which GST is a double dip on taxable income.

CGT will simply destroy any and all the little bit of wealth in New Zealand's middle class.
In the long run , it will make us all dependant on the state , which will in turn lead to even higher taxes
Its founded around resentment of those that have sacrficied and saved to build up some assets .

I take that there is no middle class in Australia..

... he lives in Brunswick , in Melbourne ... with his wife Dottie ...

and called her Sheila.. his favourie is VB 

I see the debate has descended into the emotional, again.
Firstly - an NZ herald editorial recently pointed out that it demand for investment properties which is driving the market. This means you, Boatman, amongst others.
There is a small group of people who are currently making a lot of money our these type of properties, the gin isn't taxed, so of course others want to jump on the band wagon. This is not a good thing - that's secondly. A tax to halt this kind of speculative investment which is damaging to the overall economy, IS a good thing.
This little bit of wealth you're talking about, isn't really wealth....selling houses to eachother does not an economy make, that's thirdly
And fourthly, sacrifice. Really? One wonder what has been sacrificed. Foregone, yes, maybe. But sacrificed? I doubt it.
Definition of sacrifice: "the act of giving up something that you want to keep especially in order to get or do something else or to help someone".
"keep" being the important word here. In order for something to be a sacrifice, one has to have it first, and then give up. Unwillingly.
I hope we weren't talkig about the ritual offerings of small animals.

People will eventually get sick of dirty, petty politics.  Looked at the way Labor party did their last election campaign in Australia (Federal and State elections).  It was all about personal attacks, mud slinging and not much about improving the country.  And the result?  Labout lost 90% of their seats in QLD, they lost the Federal election to Abbott.  In fact they lost power in all states except one.

Maybe Dirty Politics and the leaks were purposely orchestrated by National to cut off the extreme right, & generally cause a great confusion,  block attention on the opposition policy - then they emerge unscathed.   Brilliant, if risky, strategy.   

Here's a brief statement just out from the PM;
Prime Minister John Key today announced the establishment of a Government Inquiry into allegations regarding Hon Judith Collins and a former Director of the Serious Fraud Office, Adam Feeley.
“I have determined that a full and proper Government Inquiry with full powers of inquiry under the Inquiries Act 2013 is the most appropriate course of action.”
Former High Court Judge Hon Lester Chisholm will conduct the inquiry.
Mr Chisholm is a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his services to the Judiciary and was a member of the New Zealand Law Practitioners’ Disciplinary Tribunal.
Mr Chisholm was also recently the chair of the Board of Inquiry with the Ruataniwha dam and irrigation scheme.
The Inquiry will be established by notice in the Gazette no later than 11 September 2014.
The Terms of Reference require the findings of the inquiry to be reported to the Prime Minister no later than 28 November 2014.

Does anyone else think it is inappropriate that the accused get to determine what they are charged with and who will trial them?
P.S I am the Brendon with a don not the one with a dan.

Will the enquiry-hearing be held in public or behind closed doors ?

Brendon - yes.
two otherguys - closed doors.

Voting for a party thats wants to implelment a Capital Gains Tax , is like a Turkey voting for Christmas .

.... never gonna happen , Turkey's voting for Christmas ... they're 99.8 % Islamists in that country ....

St Nicholas (a bishop - the Dutch father Xmas) was from Turkey I believe...

... at the time of his life the town was Myra , and a part of Greece .... nowadays Turkeys have jurisdiction over that spot ....Memre ..

Only if you are a property gambler, which well, yes I can see the resemblence.
For the rest of the ppl who'd like to own their own home but cant as they are pushed out by the gamblers they could well vote Labour.

How can voters actually have confidence in the Lefts complete lack of preparation. Where’s the  hard work, voluntary or not, from the lefts support community? Hager’s book and sources now look more like a smoke screen to mask a total lack of policy, strategy, and  accurate budgeting.

As an example - the Capital gain policy is just a mess,  “We will employ a bunch of academics work out the details”….yeah right. Why haven’t the academics and specialists who would be lined up for these jobs donatie their time,  they have only had 3 years to help get this worked out?

Kiwis deserve detailed policy with accurate maths backing it up. Policy + policy + maths equals a budget, and thus  tax  take requirement. Id could accept more tax if I thought it would get to the coal face based on a believable policy plan/budget. The prospect of   higher tax to line the pocket of socialist academic policy advisors in A1 office space in Welly having a lengthy talk fest… give that a miss.

The devil’s in believable detail. Please give us some.

They are prepared (as well as Nats are anyway), you just dont want to look or expect to be spoon fed, or are trying to put the left down by the look of it.
The CGT isnt a mess, I suppose you are refering to the JK point, at best He caught DC out on not knowing a minor aspect of the proposal that is already covered.
In terms of detail, its simple a Govn sets the policy/proposal, or what they want to achieve and then lets the specialists set out the detail(s) and legal terms to achive that policy in legislation. It gets reviewed and changed in select ommittee after readings so input is taken on.
The so called call for detail is just a mis-direction, on your part IMHO. It is simple, there is enough deail there for kiwis to decide if its acceptable or not to tax un-taxed profit.
But I suspect Mr "averageman" that you are already long decided on your vote and are not open to real, open discusion?

National and John Key are making the most of their defending the status quo policy.
It is always harder to come up with something new and explain it to everyone's 100% satisfaction. Given the number of new policies that Labour has bravely come up with. KiwiBuild, the changes to Kiwisaver plus the tax changes it was inevitable that some flaws would be exposed. This is what democracy does and the flaws can fixed before implementation.
What is depressing is the way John Key and some media spin the narrative in a 'gotcha' politics way.
It is interesting that National is focusing on CGT which is the least radical (and effective) of there policy differences.
What strategic policy choices does Labour have. Should they pretend everything is going swimmingly like John Key says and therefore only promote minor differences, say slightly higher taxes and spending?
Should they offer the same policies as National so the public have no democratic choice?

How does this CGT thing work in regards to the value of the property, do we have to pay for a registered valuation whilst dealing with funeral arrangements, what if I live in Timbucktoo and the prices have dropped, will I get a tax rebate. The whole CGT on a deceased relatives estate is a gastly policy, shame on Labour.

Common, you can only fit so many lines on back of a empty weetbix box.. that's pretty good effort for Labour

Is that right what I've heard that the IRD have effectively said that Cuncliffe lied when he told the media that Labour had consulted with the IRD over the CGT - I can't  see it reported anywhere, and surely it's only the right that lies (and the left just doesn't know the details of  its key policies).?