Greens release costed manifesto; National touts economic plan; Labour tackled on water tax by RNZ and Peters; Harawira calls for MANA-Maori alliance to be power broker; Auckland fuel crisis update; The Block's Auckland house price mirror

Greens release costed manifesto; National touts economic plan; Labour tackled on water tax by RNZ and Peters; Harawira calls for MANA-Maori alliance to be power broker; Auckland fuel crisis update; The Block's Auckland house price mirror

By Alex Tarrant

The Green Party has released a costed policy manifesto, highlighting the costs of already-announced policies and potential new revenue streams including from a capital gains tax (ex-family home) and a new 40% income tax rate.

Meanwhile, National has set out its economic plan, drawing together a set of already-announced policies including its families income package, a promise to repay government debt further below 20% of GDP, and a warning that a Labour-Greens government would be a big change in direction.

Jacinda Ardern spent Tuesday morning defending Labour's water tax, continuing to run the line that farmers should pay for water use but that other commercial water users like Coke won't be covered because they "already pay". This is wrong - Coke pays a commercial rate for water delivery, not for the actual stuff itself; and farmers also already pay for water delivery costs - yes, some are subsidised and Labour wants to get rid of the Irrigation Fund, which in itself would even up the playing field.

Ardern is in Wellington today to talk about healthcare and to meet students, representing Labour's desire to keep the talk this week centred on health, education and housing. National Health spokesman Jonathan Coleman's Tuesday morning interview on RNZ about prostate cancer treatment delays in the Southern DHB provides the rationale for trying to keep the focus on this topic.

Bill English is continuing National's tour of the regions, in Blenheim today to talk tractors and food production.

Winston Peters is taking aim at Labour over the water tax issue, saying on Three's AM Show that a vote for NZ First is a vote against the water tax. He also used the opportunity to take aim at the Maori Party, which is hanging in there as a possible alternative Kingmaker, or at least a second-Kingmaker (ie National and Labour might be requiring both NZ First and the Maori Party to be in the tent together to be able to form a government, on some polls). Reports indicate he got a pretty frosty reception from a largely-National-leaning crowd in Morrinsville yesterday.

The MANA Party has sought to remind everyone that Hone Harawira is still around, and running in Te Tai Tokerau. It sent out a PR calling for Maoridom to allow the MANA-Maori Party alliance to be the key broker for building a government.

Auckland's fuel crisis could be make or break for the National-led government, the Herald opines this morning, as reports now start to emerge of fuel shortages at Auckland petrol stations. Z Energy has said it was prioritising delivery of 91 octane petrol over 95, meaning four stations in the city had run out of 95 yesterday. "There may be a few more today but all grades of fuel are being trucked into the city and there is no cause for concern," the company said. About 90% of vehicles can run on 91, Z reminded people.

Flights continue to be cancelled (including mine to Auckland on Wednesday before the final TVNZ leaders' debate - found another way up, though). Air NZ sent a note to its customers last night saying, "this issue is beyond Air New Zealand’s control and we are extremely disappointed that this key infrastructure failure is now impacting on our operations..."

Refining NZ says the pipeline fix is on track and they are expecting to be able to deliver jet fuel into Wiri from Marsden Point down the line sometime between the 24th and 26th of September. A further 30 hours will be needed to allow the fuel to settle, recertification and transport to Auckland Airport itself.

Leaky homes are back in the headlines. RNZ has been running a series of reports this week on Aucklanders still facing great financial hardship from the crisis. Reportedly, Nick Smith has said he'll look at extending a government loan package for remediation work - we've asked for clarification on this.

Despite all of the above, most of the nation's attention still seems to be focussed on the result of a reality TV show which indicates the Auckland housing market has flattened (Bill English is happy). I have to say, I didn't watch it as I can't stand The Block or pretty much anything else aired on weekday evening free-to-air TV in this country. Having said that, who do you think should have won? And do the prices paid really tell us anything?

Paying for your Greens

The Greens' fiscal plan included a nod to the party's Budget Responsibility Rules that they would aim to reduce net government debt to 20% of GDP by 2021 and run surpluses when in government.

James Shaw was tackled on this during a leaders' interview on RNZ last Friday, with it put to him that the Greens and Labour would be running a tighter ship than 'neo-liberal' champions Roger Douglas and Ruth Richardson. Shaw's response was that those were different economic times. It was an interesting exchange, following on from former PM Jim Bolger's comment earlier this year that the neo-liberal project had failed in New Zealand. 

It has also begun to be picked up that the Greens would push for implementation of a capital gains tax (ex-family home) during the first term of a Labour-led government. You can read his comments on that in our interview with him last week. Capital gains tax, and "a proper price on emissions" are the two big revenue policies Shaw would like to push during a first term.

The Greens' costed manifesto release is below. Infometrics did the work for them, based on costings provided by the Greens.

We have provided a fully costed plan to deliver on our bold goals that we have committed to for New Zealand’s future.

Voters have every right to be sceptical about the hope and inspiration their political leaders sell them at election time.

The goals of our plan are:

To make New Zealand a world leader in the global fight against climate change.

To restore and replenish our forests, our birds and our rivers.

To end poverty and create an inclusive Aotearoa.

Goals for a Green government

The Green Party in government will:

Deliver on our election priorities — cleaning up our rivers, ending child poverty, and tackling climate change — while running sustainable operating surpluses over the economic cycle;

Reduce debt to responsible levels, taking core Crown debt to below 20 percent of GDP by 2021;

Raise a new tax on capital gains, excluding the family home.

Use the current fiscal headroom to restore health and education funding and run a $600 million annual operating allowance;

Restart payments to the New Zealand Superannuation Fund immediately.

The press release is below:

The Green Party today published its fully costed policy manifesto along with an independent analysis of its fiscal implications.

The independent fiscal analysis, by economics consultancy Infometrics using Treasury data, shows that in government the Greens will be able to deliver real action on climate change, cleaner rivers, and significant poverty reductions while running surpluses and paying down debt, as per the party’s Budget Responsibility Rules.

“This fiscal plan ties together everything we’ve promised this year and provides the substance that makes the Green Party’s promises 100 percent credible,” said Green Party Co-leader James Shaw.

“Our three priorities during this election campaign have been climate change action, ending poverty, and cleaning up our rivers, and the plan I released today lays out in detail how we will achieve those goals in government.

“In government, the Greens can be trusted to know what we want to do, how we will do it, and how we will pay for it.

“Think of this as a solid business case for where New Zealand should be heading, and an independently audited plan to get us there.

“The operating allowances and significant surpluses forecast under our plan will provide plenty of elbow room to meet new challenges as they arise.

“All political parties should submit their policy manifestos to independent economists to be costed, as the Greens and Labour have done, which is why we’ve proposed an official Policy Costings Unit that would do exactly that,” said Mr Shaw.

National's economic plan

On Monday, Steven Joyce brought together a series of announcements to outline National's economic plan for the next three years:

National has released its five point plan for the New Zealand economy and our tax system, designed to deliver sustained economic success and help families and businesses get ahead, Finance spokesperson Steven Joyce says.

“Under National New Zealand will have a stronger economy that works with Kiwi businesses and not against them, so we all succeed,” Mr Joyce says. "We’re focused on increasing the rewards from work by reducing taxes so that families keep more of what they earn.

“A stronger economy will allow National to invest in better public services and build more infrastructure while growing family incomes at the same time.”

The five point plan is as follows:

1. Build surpluses and pay down debt - National will reduce net debt to around 20 per cent of GDP in 2020 and to between 10 and 15 per cent of GDP by 2025. Now is not the time to increase debt as other parties are planning, we should be saving for the next rainy day.

2. Raise family incomes - our Family Incomes Package means 1.3 million families are better off by an average of $1350 a year from 1 April 2018. National will introduce a second Family Incomes Package in 2020, subject to economic conditions at the time.

3. Invest in public services and infrastructure - National will commit to the budget allowances laid out in the Pre-election Fiscal Update and invest in new schools and hospitals, cheaper doctor’s visits, and transport and broadband projects throughout New Zealand. Our social investment programme will help vulnerable New Zealanders change their lives.

4. Keep simplifying taxes - we’ll roll out real time provisional and terminal tax for all businesses, and we will overhaul tax settings on multi-national companies to ensure everyone pays their fair share.

5. Support business confidence – we will maintain our broad-based tax system which is fair to all businesses. We will not introduce new taxes as the opposition parties propose nor will we increase uncertainty and slow the economy with long discussions about new capital gains taxes on small businesses or farms.

“This five point plan will provide a strong and growing economy that keeps delivering for New Zealanders," Mr Joyce says. "It will encourage investment, grow jobs, and strengthen the Government accounts so we can invest more in our future.”

Mr Joyce noted there are big differences in the economic policies being offered by Parliament’s main parties in this election.

“Labour and the Greens in particular propose a major change in economic direction,” Mr Joyce says. "It is not just in tax, but also in their plan to increase spending, increase debt, make big changes to industrial relations and trade policies, and their big migration changes.

“The Labour Party leadership have acknowledged the strength of the New Zealand economy. They need to explain why such major changes in policy are needed or justified.

"National’s policies and the hard work of New Zealanders are together delivering one of the best performing economies in the world since the Global Financial Crisis. Our five point plan will keep that going and growing.”

National’s five point plan can be found at

MANA-Maori alliance

We haven't paid much attention to Hone Harawira's MANA Party this campaign - although we did note a few months ago that Harawira winning Te Tai Tokerau over Kelvin Davis would effectively help allow for a Labour-led government. Now that Davis has become the only existing Labour Maori MP to be put on the party's list, it will be interesting to see whether Harawira's call for a 'two-for-one' deal in the electorate will be listened to by voters there.

Remember, the Maori Party is not standing in the seat to give Harawira a better chance. In exchange, MANA is asking its supporters to back the Maori Party candidates in the other six Maori electorates. It might be working in Te Tai Hauauru, with the Maori Party candidate in front of the Labour incumbent. Te Ururoa Flavel also looks safe in Waiariki.

Read the release from MANA below:

The kawenata between the MANA Movement and the Māori Party in February this year showed political maturity by signalling their willingness to put their 2011 differences aside to work together for the good of MĀORIDOM.  Tukuroirangi Morgan effortlessly wove together both organisations for the sake of Kotahitanga and the survival of the two near like minded rōpū. The shared tikanga and responsibilities to Māori people are more binding than the positions that set them apart.

It is important to note that John Key’s manoeuvre to bring onside three minor parties to ensure a majority government was a clever move in the MMP environment.  This will be a minimum requirement for future governments to take on board- a kaupapa Māori relationship. Yes , major parties could listen to their own Māori MPs- but history shows they don’t otherwise the Foreshore and Seabed Act would never have gone ahead. Yes, we also accept the heartfelt apologies of all former Māori Labour MPs who voted for the FSSB.

It has also been interesting in the debates, how National, Act and United Future have quoted kaupapa Māori gains as “theirs.“ 

Both MANA & Māori present an opportunity to create a bigger Māori bloc in the parliamentary arena in the upcoming election.  The outcome of September 23rd will determine the future of the relationship between MANA and Māori.

The big question – is Māoridom ready to see MANA - Māori as the key brokers for building a government?  Most commentators always default to the 2 big players. But actually the smaller friends network are able to cobble together partnerships to influence political direction.

The Takutai Moana – foreshore and seabed debacle is about to be replayed in the Wai domain.  The same arguments from 2004, are being echoed in the debate “who owns the water?” National says “no one “ owns the water, Labour says “everyone “owns the water, MANA – Māori say “Māori” own the water. Watch this space.

This election has been incredibly tough on Māori MPs.  Hone Harawira, has built an admirable campaign from scratch and with nil resources from outside parliament. The Ture Whenua amendment campaign created angst in the Māori psyche and admirably with relief it was lifted by Te Ururoa but it will have cost some votes.

Under Andrew Little, the first Māori MP in Labour’s line at number 16 was lawyer Willow Jean Prime. Labour’s Māori Campaign Manager Willie Jackson was able to secure Kelvin Davis to number 2 on the list, to appease some public ill feeling about the demotion of their Māori MPs.   Let’s hope it is not a temporary move just to get through the elections.

Metiria Turei a very popular Māori woman leader was ousted by media trial following an admission she flatted with friends while on the benefit.  The boys were ok, both Bill English and Winston Peters reimbursing the overpayments, one challenging court action on a snitch. Mika from TOP would have been the best advocate in parliament for fighting youth suicide but unfortunately some internal selection panel relegated him 10th.

Regardless of the outcome between the major parties this Saturday MANA- Māori will need to consider their ongoing relationship with each other, their succession plans, the role and input of youth and women, a constant and relevant media arm to inform Māoridom of the gains as well as networking with other Māori and awesome MPs in mainstream parties.

MANA-Māori movement must be listening to the people all the time.  Multi levels of poverty cause all kinds of grief in our communities. Reo and Tikanga Māori will heal some of the disconnectedness our people suffer. Solutions from the people have greater momentum than those imposed from bureaucracy.   Continue the dialogues. 

However you still have to ask, why do Māori default to the big parties?

Why do political commentators suggest MANA- Māori is an appendage to Labour or National? Worse, why do we Māori swallow the rhetoric?

At the end of the day, we will have to weigh up the short and long term outcomes.

We welcome your comments below. If you are not already registered, please register to comment.

Remember we welcome robust, respectful and insightful debate. We don't welcome abusive or defamatory comments and will de-register those repeatedly making such comments. Our current comment policy is here.



Please - everyone in NZ watch these videos from Al Jazeera - our investigative reporters are hopeless (or worse)

Thanks Smalltown for the Al Jazeera link 'Polluted Paradise - People and Power' -a two part series showing the difference between the 100% Pure image which we sell to an international audience and reality of our rivers and lakes. It is an indictment on NZ's media -that a foreign entity is the only media institution which is telling the water story of NZ in such depth. Lots of information about the Tukituki river in the Hawkes Bay in Part 1. In Part 2 -Canterbury and Nick Smith are more closely examined.


Also recommended, the recently released documentary, Seven Rivers Walking,, which looks at the Canterbury river system. Trailer:

The irresponsible exploitation and degradation of the New Zealand environment and our waterways has to stop.

Too much of our GDP equals Gross Domestic Pollution.

All laudable initiatives. However meeting the goals - largely - of the dairy industry (the industry I've been reliably told has sway in Wellington second only to that of China) the National govt and MPI have a goal of doubling primary industry exports in real terms from $32 billion in June 2012 to $64 billion by 2025. As MPI states the case, to achieve this, New Zealand's primary industries must grow at a rate of 5.5% a year through to 2025. How? Substantially via dairying expansion and intensification.

We're seeing the results of this strategy pretty clearly in Canterbury, where the helpful government commissioners at Ecan have, in a few short years, presided over truly astonishing environmental degradation caused by wildly irresponsible extraction and irrigation in totally unsuitable lands. Irrigation plans as environmentally reckless as these are in place for many other regions. Sure there are activities attempting to mitigate these effects. But the strategy, now supported by interests many of which are not domiciled in NZ, rolls on. It's high time for a rethink. As a businessman who cares as much as anyone for this country, our society and environment, I conclude we need to change the government.

I agree. And I cannot understand why any government would put programs in place to support an industry that, if we believe the rhetoric from Federated Farmers, is unprofitable and cannot afford to pay for its basic inputs.

If this argument being advanced about farmer/irrigators not being able to afford one of the basic inputs to their business model is true, let's get into and expand profitable land use/agriculture, then! I assume that is the point of the Greens agricultural business transition policies.

workingman, Nathan Guy refers to increasing value not volume. The wording changed some time ago.
"Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy says there is a limit to further dairy intensification in New Zealand and growing exports in the future will depend more on increasing the value of products rather than the volume."

Yeah, one of the National government's first 'big ideas' turned out to be just plain stupid, so they've changed the wording.

It's still laughable. That export growth target for primary industries, no matter whether you are adding value or volume - just wasn't a realistic (or even sensible) goal. Total pie in the sky.

And how are they going on this "big idea" regarding export growth - read it and weep;

Thanks, CO. I did get this - the directive is now to increase value. It might be remarked that the greatest proportion of our primary industries are simply not structured to achieve this. We, with others, have discussed this issue - seemingly intractable in our small, intelligent, resourceful nation - previously.

But the directive is nonetheless interesting in a kind of think-big, command-economy fashion. Indeed it may be that this collectivist-command approach to things is a substantial part of our problem. The psychology of it is, to my mind, somewhat strange in a small nation and economy in the 21st century.

Landcare Trust is a great example of diverse viewpoints coming together to agree on environmental initiatives. It celebrates it's 20th Anniversary this year. It was originally started by farmers but as the trustee reps show it now includes a diverse range of environmental groups:
Landcare Trust trustees:
Richard Thompson (Chair): Ecologic Foundation.
Bryce Johnson: Fish & Game New Zealand.
Owen Cox: Federated Mountain Clubs of New Zealand.
Ian Mackenzie: Federated Farmers of New Zealand.
Jon Wenham: Royal Forest & Bird Society of New Zealand.
Fiona Gower: Rural Women New Zealand.
George Matthews: Federation of Maori Authorities.

The balance in the post is to show that despite what some commentators here would have you believe there are good things happening both on a community and individual farm scale.

Beef and Lamb, FAR, Deer NZ, DairyNZ are funded mainly by levies from their sector farmers and receive some additional funds for research from govt.
Living Water is a 50/50 DOC/Fonterra initiative.
Ballance Awards a mix of agricultural businesses, industry-good organisations, Regional Councils and Central Government.

Govt also funds TeamNZ, rugby etc so your point is? Taxpayers contribute funds to a diverse range of people/groups.

Thanks Smalltown, an excellent piece of investigative journalism and a must watch for every kiwi who cares for the country.

A friend of mine just did the party vote - one tick for National and the other for Labour.

This is a fair and balanced voting practice.

Or a self cancelling, pointless exercise.

Only one tick matters - the party vote.


As I do sometimes I woke up realising an important point.

NZ will be a more divided country if National wins and a less divided country if Labour wins.

National have doubled down on protecting farm owners from paying to clean up their pollution. If National are elected town and country divisions will deepen. Nick Smith will continue -as will his statute where he assumes the position.

Canterbury's regional council will still be half appointed by English, Smith and Joyce. The cost of cleaning waterways will fall on the taxpayers -as farm owners will not be paying -most taxpayers live in towns and cities and they already have large bills to clean up their waterways -through their rates. Not fully committing to cleaning up waterways will create lasting bitterness.

Under Labour farmers will find that they have less to fear than they have been led to believe.

The greatest change will be to regions which have been undertaking the most land-use changes. The areas that have made industrial scale irrigation changes to iconic NZ environments -such as Canterbury braided river valleys and the Mackenzie High country. These areas will have a tool -a water tax and its revenue receipts to use to mitigate the harmful effects of land use changes -rivers and streams will be 100% fenced off, riparian strips will be planted, scientists will be employed to monitor and advise on the best courses of action. These mitigation efforts will be able to be done on an industrial scale because that is what is needed to keep up with such large scale changes. This will allow rivers and lakes to live up to their iconic status. Ultimately, making this strong environmental commitment will heal the divisions between town and country.

The other way that National is increasing the divisions in the country is Steven Joyce and Bill English's use of big lies to dominate (bully) the media news cycle. If National wins the election -then the turning point will be seen as when Steven Joyce countered the Jacinda effect with the big lie that their was an $11.7bn hole in Labour's budget plans.

I doubt there has ever been a NZ Finance Minister who has had a lower believability rating than Steven Joyce. How does Steven and Bill think they can lead a united country when 50% of people do not believe what they are saying.

But Steven and Bill do not care, they are completely unapologetic about using the big lie, for them the tactic worked. The big lie derailed Jacinda from talking positively about change and made her defend for several media cycles lies and accusations about taxation and spending. This was a Trump-like tactic from Joyce and if it successfully wins the election for National, the tactic will be redeployed again in the future -when needed. Politicians are like that -they are whores to whatever works.

I don't buy the argument that it was Jacinda fault that she was attacked in this way because she put tax on the table (and then took it off again) -with the Tax Working Group proposal. Although Labour should be willing to defend all its positions, flip-flopping is not good and is not the way to counter bullies. But Steven and Bill could have made their points about Labour's tax and spending plans without telling the 'big lie'. Responsibility for telling the 'big lie' is all theirs. This blaming Jacinda for what National did is victimisation and what bully's say (it's not my fault, they made me do it, because they did....).

Continued use of 'big lies' could well lead to US/Trump-like divisions coming to NZ, as reasoned debate about how to move forward together will not happen.

In summary a positive Jacinda led government will reduce divisions in NZ. A negative Steven and Bill run government will double down on divisions.

P.S I also think Jacinda will heal divisions for generation rent, for the homeless and for the low to middle waged workers who are not benefiting from Bill English's economy.

Divide & conquer - that was sir Chon Kee's modus operandi. In general most of this seems right but a few points

- the pollution isn't farmers alone - it ultimately belongs to all consumers ... we all leverage the environment to prop up our lifestyle to an unsustainable level. The direct link to the townies is just not so obvious. The division is partly because townies increasingly dont see their link/footprint back to the envt. Food, Oil, stuff to consume just magically appears in town!

- it is not a matter of just "cleaning up" rivers like its an event. The subtlety here which farmers are bleating about in a round about way is its DEFLATIONARY impact ... its essentially asking to lower incomes/intensity (when their debt structure is already in place) . In an economy with deflationary pressure everywhere this is no simple "event". The flow on effects are big.

Eg we could focus on the "degradation of our air through vehicle use" and decide to tax every vehicle $5 per km to help plant some trees..... the effect is very deflationary. People will drive less, have less to spend on other things etc... which is great for the envt, very bad for the economy and wages ...

Frankly Brendon, a long-winded political statement full of exaggerated opinion and not even worthy of a response frankly from those of us that aren't Jacintarites

It is a more accurate description than your usual excuses for our current failed crop of leaders Grant A


You, like the Labour party, appear to believe rivers in Canterbury and the Mackenzie have the worst quality , hence those southern farmers being levied most of the water tax to be used to build roads and give to Maori, with an as yet undefined portion applied to cleaning up of waterways. My understanding is that apart from a few lowland Canterbury plains streams and lake TeWaihora, the SI has lower levels of water pollution than the NI, with the worst province being Northland. Sounds like you have information that proves otherwise so could you please share.

Ask any non bias local in Canterbury if the rivers were in better shape 20 years ago.
Its not hard to see we've trashed them.

My point is Labour thinks Canterbury is the worst offender which is why farmers there should be hit the hardest. Clearly there has been water degradation but other areas are far worse so why is Labour singling out the Cantabs ? what has Jacinda got against rural Canterbury ?

Irrigation is leading the large scale changes. True I am not sure if Canterbury or Central Otago are the overall worst environmentally affected areas. But they are certainly the areas whose environments are changing the quickest and this gives some urgency to the needed response.

Going from subsidising irrigation and removing democratic and legal obstacles to irrigation to taxing irrigation and giving funding to fix the harmful effects of irrigation is a good thing.

I think Jacinda is for not against Canterbury and the High Country. These areas are more important to the country than running them for the benefit of a few dairy farm owners. They are important to our clean green image, they are important to tourism our biggest exporter. Canterbury and the High Country is important to our identity.

As a country we need to have higher aspirations than being just a low value commodity exporter. This is an important issue for us all.

P.S It is interesting the Federated Farmers did not call for a mass rally in an industrially irrigated province like Canterbury where the water tax will have its greatest effect. Like all bullies they run on fear but at heart they are wimps.

Here's a graphic of all the irrigation schemes across NZ;

Note: this is only the formerly owned Government schemes. Any number of new privately owned ones not shown, including that in Canterbury (a run of river scheme) recently consented by the Commissioners installed at ECan.

revising history

Pollution of Lakes in the South Island

Didymo, Rock Snot, Lake Snot

yeah the didymo in the Waitaki at times is unbelievable - knee deep - easily transferred by birds now so its impossible to stop the spread.

Yes, with a problem like that - and we're directing millions in R&D at our universities to find a way to make cow belching/farting less noxious. So many other biosecurity risks that we have all but given up on (i.e., undaria).

NZ is part of a Global research project in to ag GHG emissions.

Kate i don't know that we have given up on other water biosecurity risks as being SO blinkered to water quality being on determined by nutrients that we took our eye off the ball. Now that Lake snow/snot has been found to be introduced are we going to see increased border protocols for off shore fishermen/women coming in here.
Interesting comment that despite this lake snow, the water quality is still very good - so long as you like swimming in a lake that is likely to see you come out covered in slime and Wanaka residents regularly have to replace water filers because the algae block them up - what a great vision for tourist visitors to have of 100% clean,green NZ.

Yes, that's the global research alliance that NZ sponsored as an initiative that I am talking about. Total misallocation of monies which we could have directed to biosecurity risks. The way to reduce our methane emissions is to 'grow' fewer ruminants - to transition to more sustainable agriculture/produce/crops. It's a no brainer - there is no future in being the world's largest exporter of dairy products.

I haven't given up - successive governments have - and the National government have been particularly bad with respect to slashing DOC budgets.

The PCE reported on it years and years ago (in 2000, that's 17 years ago) - and guess what? Things have got so, so much worse and New Zealand remains "Under Seige";

I completely agree with you - it's appalling we've let these problems get so out of hand.

So would you agree, the half a billion dollars sunk into the various irrigation funds ought to have been devoted to ridding our waterways of the invasive pests? And just think - had we made that choice with the half a billion dollars - we'd also have less agricultural intensification and fewer water quality problems.

Win -win.

It's all a matter of priorities and the National government's priorities have not been with our environment. For goodness sake, they ran a smear campaign criticising Labour's tax policies - one of which is a tourism visitor levy.

See what I mean?

"Under Labour farmers will find that they have less to fear than they have been led to believe." You aren't a farmer Brendon. Rose coloured glasses come to mind. Taking $100m out of rural communities is going to have a major effect on small urban rural communities.

You are only thinking from an urban perspective - which is your right. From a rural perspective the divide between rural and urban under Labour will only get bigger.

Catchment groups are healing the divide between urban and rural at community level and Jacinda and Labour are going to drive a bulldozer through them in their quest to refuse to acknowledge what is actually happening out there. The Green Party recognises the value of these groups and policy is to put $17m in to the Landcare trust for catchment groups - co-ordination etc. Note Catchment groups have ALL stakeholders involved.

'as farm owners will not be paying' - spoken from a true position of ignorance. Dairy farmers have - in the last 10years - invested $1billion dollars of cash into environmental initiatives - technology/riparian fencing/planting/upgrading effluent systems. DairyNZ - $10m every year has been spent on environmental stewardship and farmer support programmes covering research, development, and farmer extension.
Then there is all the funding that other sector groups are spending - beef and lamb, deer NZ, HorticultureNZ, FAR etc.

I expect Jacinda to get rolled before her term is out by her own side. She is not a team player.

Casual observer. Most urbanites have only a vague idea about how much work and money has gone into waterway restoration in rural areas. And continues to. Nor the stringent rules in place for effluent leachate. It is downright dishonest of Labour to imply that imposing tax will somehow magically fix legacy pollution issues. Restoration is a multi decade process.

Nor the stringent rules in place for effluent leachate.

But enforcement of those rules is a real problem/failure;

This is just plain and simply unacceptable. Effectively, 75% of these farmers are breaking the law - these breaches cumulatively across the country have a real environmental cost - one that would far exceed the cost of benefit fraud annually across the country.

Environmental Compliance is our "Last Line of Defence", as per the title of this publication;

Why do we have such a bad scorecard in this regard? Because in not collecting enough revenue (be it via rates or taxes) we simply cannot afford to do a good job of it.

This problem in the Waikato is that EW have never enforced the rule about ponds being lined. EW has to accept some responsibilty for the current situation. If EW can't prove a pond is leaking then it is debatable whether you can claim that '75% of these farmers are breaking the law' - I understood that there is an element of proof required before a person is guilty. EW have a mechanism available to them should they wish to use it to have farms checked for leaks - a Pond Drop Test. There are also pond monitors available now. Some Councils insist on these being done where there is not a Leak Detection System in place. If I was a farmer in the Waikato I would be using one of the aforementioned options to prove if my pond was leaking or not. But I'm not a farmer in the Waikato....

Compare EW to Environment Southland

Environment Southland compliance staff found that many seriously non-compliant farms could have been identified earlier through indicators present at previous inspections.

Yes, great initiative, but it supports my point. We are nominating regulators and handing out environmental awards because finally these regulators are doing the job we've been paying them to do for years and years.

I don't deny in some catchments/methods we are getting better.

But just because we are starting at such a low point - making improvements doesn't give me cause for celebration - optimism, yes - jubilation no. Optimism is good though - and we need much, much more of it. That's where Fed Farmers negative campaigning just seems counter-productive or ill-advised, as I said earlier.

As I read it, the responsibility lies with the landowner to prove to EW that their system is not leaking - otherwise it is considered to have a degree of non-compliance. I think the reason for that is that it is expected that the landowner monitors their own system routinely, and when leakage is found, they take remedial action.

Sort of like tyres - you replace them when worn, not when it is the next WoF is due.

Best system for leak detection is a Leak Detection System as the others have a degree of error rate/reliability on weather. Down our way regional council tells me that all new ponds built in the last few years now have an LDS. They can't be retrofitted. Councils need to encourage these via their Water and Land plans, trouble is most planners have no idea what you are talking about.

Not at all like tyres Kate regional council have to be notified and then abatement notice is issued. Self notification isn't a guarantee against prosecution. One thing that irks some farmers is that urban councils and some industries can legally pollute e.g. if a stormwater/sewage system overflows due to heavy rain it is usually legal, if a farmers pond overflows due to heavy rain they usually end up with an infringement notice.

What I mean with the tyre analogy, is that the owner of a vehicle is responsible for maintaining it - and it is in his/her interests to maintain it - regardless of the regulatory system which enforces such maintenance via a WoF system.

I am sure the 25% of farmers in Waikato who were fully compliant do just that - i.e., monitor routinely and take remedial action immediately they discover a problem/leak.

But, yes, I understand the process associated with RMA compliance - what I'm saying is, that is the last line of defence. The first line is farmers/landowners doing the right thing and being compliant all of the time.

But you raise a question about effluent systems, are you saying that, in the absence of an LDS being installed, a landowner/farmer has no way to know whether their own pond is non-compliant? (aside from when the RC compliance officer turns up and does the monitoring?)

Yes, I agree, we need more planners trained and educated in these things. I've read that many plans with extremely poorly crafted/worded rules. It's a symptom of the structure in most councils - where your operational planners work in different departments and under different reporting lines than your policy planners.

"The first line is farmers/landowners doing the right thing and being compliant all of the time."

This from an engineering perspective. Given these things are subject to weather events, to what standard should they be engineered? Do we aim for a once in a 50 year rainfall event? What about once in 500 years?

As an example, we have the technical ability to build a house that can survive earthquake events that are statistically not likely to happen in that buildings lifetime. But must eventually happen in *some* buildings lifetime.

But should we not consider the diminishing return of any 100% design goal against natural events?

What is the benefit to society as a group of high specification housing nobody can afford?

Isn't disaster design much the same for other infrastructure?

Exactly right, Ralph. There's a delicious example in the Earthquake Eng space, here:

Designing to a 100% standard is simply bad economics for most smaller/low-use structures. It wastes resources, in order to guard against very low-effect or time-sparse outcomes, which could have been put to alternative uses.

But planners and regulators rarely think this way. But of course. Their economic and statistical background could generally be inscribed on a match with a sharpie....

The engineering design standard on farm should be the same as off farm - that presently is 1-100 year rainfall event. Although that said, a recent initiative on the Hutt River is for a 1-200 year event - and it was put out to a public (on line and in person) vote with all the different costings presented to the public. The urban population went for the higher cost, high protection, longer-life project;

Perhaps the same kind of wider public consultation exercise should similarly be put with respect to buildings, housing etc. regulations. If Stuff can do the kind of polls they do and get tens of thousands of NZers voting in a single day - surely it is time more government agencies took up this kind of collaborative decision-making/participatory democracy.

Farm effluent systems are all about the number of days storage and that depends entirely on the irrigation system/process you have. In Southland you have to have your system designed by a qualified engineer. This is the standard that regional councils use for effluent pond construction:

PS, yes I agree with you. Urban sewerage systems get discharge consents that allow for overflow during flood events. I don't agree with that either - and a great deal of money is beginning to be spent in upgrading those to resolve those issues before such time as their consents expire - because they won't get those 'exemptions' into the future.

One of those other groups funding the clean up is the dear ol taxpayer.

Here's just one example -

All a drop in a stinky river - cost could be $15bn.

If the billshitter loses this one he will be rolled by Sunday. It all started with Double Dipton then got a lot, lot, lot worse with the Todd, Glenys and billshitter threesome.

Anyone know when the police and the legal system will make a decision on Todd, Murray and Jian Yang, I heard Xmas 2020 was what they were thinking.

So you are against DoC buying up land on the margins of conservation estate to enable better management of water quality in that conservation estate?

The second report refers to "We are saying these are the costs of cleaning up water to drinking standard.." So Mike Joy writing a report that has no relevance. But I guess he got govt funding for it. Even waterways in our national parks have health warnings for giardia.


Thanks Smalltown -so it is National Party policy for the taxpayer to pay to clean up after farmers to the tune of $100m. Not the true beneficiary -the farm owner. What gives farm owners this sense of entitlement?

I also dispute the claim that Labour's plan will remove money from the rural economy -the tax will be spent in the rural catchment concerned to clean up waterways. It is a transfer from farm owners to the people who will ensure waterways are cleaned up.

I have worked in the rural area of Canterbury -providing mental health support to GPs. I met very wealthy farmers who had benefit from dairy conversions -much of that wealth was being spent on overseas trips etc. While at the bottom of the rural community -individuals who used to enjoy fishing and hunting have had these activities severely compromised. It has aso impacted on tourism -affecting activities like fly fishing tourism.

Brendon, that $100m fund is the Freshwater Improvement Fund. It had is first tranche of grants approved recently - $44m - including $6.5m for sewage reticulation at Lake Tarawera, Rotorua.
More than 100 rivers and lakes have been targeted in the first round of publicly funded clean-up projects for polluted waterways
North Island: $27.8m, 23 projects.
South Island: $15.6m, 8 projects.
Nationwide: $750,000, 2 projects.
Applicants have to match the govt grant at a minimum $ for $ causing Nick Smith to comment "It will enable about 100 rivers and lakes across New Zealand to be improved. Of that funding of $44m, we'll actually get an investment of $142m across the country," he said.

David Parker - "The revenue from the fees would mainly go to regional councils to be used to clean up the country's waterways, and some would go to Maoridom to meet Treaty settlements."
Revenue generated from Labour's controversial water levy, touted as a way to clean up polluted waterways, could be used to fund local projects such as roading.

I met very wealthy farmers who had benefit from dairy conversions -much of that wealth was being spent on overseas trips etc. So your are an advocate of politics of envy, and therefore broad brush all farmers as being the same. Farmers have a higher rate of suicide than youth, and given your profession, it is interesting that you appear to condone politics of envy.

Trout v native fish - The biggest risk to Otago's non-migratory galaxiids was introduced trout. Species such as the Eldon and dusky could not co-exist with them, yet trout invasion continued, he said.

So your are an advocate of politics of envy, and therefore broad brush all farmers as being the same. Farmers have a higher rate of suicide than youth, and given your profession, it is interesting that you appear to condone politics of envy.

I never get this phrase "politics of envy" - it sort of implies that all of those arguing for a healthy environment are poor and all large landowners in rural areas are rich. My experience says this is an absolute falsehood.

So, how about just dropping this politics of envy argument. Same goes for this 'rural - urban divide'. Both these notions seem to be promoted by the farming community - and it just seems to me to be a 'cut your nose off to spite your face' way to go.

Kate the best definition I have come across is The phrase “politics of envy” is used to describe a political debate about weath redistribution that has been framed in emotional terms. In other words, trying to use envy as a political tool to influence voters.
Brendon stated "I met very wealthy farmers who had benefit from dairy conversions -much of that wealth was being spent on overseas trips etc."

Interesting website here on envy:

rural - urban divide is not promoted by the farming community - there are numerous links you can find where it is been used by the media. But am happy to use Brendon's phrase in his comment 11.53 above 'town and country division'. It is real Kate, that is one reason why we encourage urban based groups to come on to our farm. Often it comes about because of a lack of understanding/knowledge (can be from both sides).

I'm not questioning what its definition is, I'm saying it is a strawman argument.

Brendon's statement is simply the provision of anecdotal evidence in support of the point he is taking. No need to counter it with a derogatory label such as "politics of envy".

What you are saying about 'rural urban divide' is that many urban dwellers lack knowledge and understanding about farm processes and farm management - which is a different thing to understanding about water quality. New Zealanders generally, and that includes many farmers, have had very little knowledge about water quality until just recently. Now that we have that knowledge, New Zealanders want action.

They wanted Government to take up all of the recommendations of the Land and Water Forum.

But the National Government did not.

It cheery-picked and it fudged - simple as that. And that is not good enough.

And that is the message that collectively New Zealanders are sending to both local and national elected member aspirants.

We appreciate that progress has and is being made in terms of our knowledge. Now let's act on that knowledge. And so, political aspirants put forward their proposals and we vote on them.

But the point is - what most New Zealanders cannot understand is the scaremongering campaign by a small fraction of the farming community who want to halt/stall that action. Such a position to me is futile. Federated Farmers, I would imagine are losing rather than gaining membership based on their very odd (and I might say, silly) campaigns.

We will have to agree to disagree Kate on the ' Now that we have that knowledge, New Zealanders want action.' NZers have knowledge - yeah, maybe, at what level. The only change that matters is the change made at catchment level and I disagree that 'we have that knowledge'. There is no one size fits all in water quality. Catchment based solutions is the one thing that National and the Greens actually agree on! Not sure that they realise that though. ;-)

Water quality is far more complex than just nutrients and I don't agree that the average urban person does have enough knowledge on water quality and what impacts it and what mitigations work and what doesn't - like Labour and their 'we will do riparian planting' all the while feigning ignorance that 97% of dairy farms have riparian fencing already and riparian planting depends on what the issue is; ignorant or choosing to ignore that riparian fencing has some limitations on flood plains, braided rivers etc. I have seen many comments on this site that say 'reduce cow numbers'. In order for them to talk about farm system changes they need to understand farming systems and the impacts of various changes. If one counters it with "to what?" you receive a blank stare - they have no idea. There are rivers that have particular 'trouble spots' but I am unaware of any river through pastoral land cannot be swum in anywhere along it's length due to quality issues.

Urban NZ has had knowledge of its impact on waterways for some years but chooses to ignore the fact that majority of people live in urban areas and have the most polluted waterways in the country. Some of these urban centres are on coasts and have significant effect on estuaries and their biodiversity. So it was somewhat heartening to see Phil Goff acknowledge the slurry pit that Auckland beaches become at times:
...70 sites along the western isthmus area - from the CBD to Pt Chevalier and Te Atatu - where waste water was disgorged into streams and the coast between 25 and 60 times a year at each site, Goff said.
"That is a huge problem. It's a not a new problem, but time we dealt with it."
While the current water monitoring system was compliant with New Zealand national standards set in 2003, these were not "fit for purpose", Goff said."

Ignore the small fraction Kate, concentrate on the majority fraction. :-)

Urban NZ has had knowledge of its impact on waterways for some years but chooses to ignore the fact that majority of people live in urban areas and have the most polluted waterways in the country.

I've seen you mention this statistic before. Has there been a study that quantified this? It could be the case where water clarity (sediment run off) is concerned but I'm not sure about water quality. If the case, it would mean (I assume) that the greatest urban pollution sources would be stormwater run off and sewerage plant malfunctions/overflow.

Your comments on here are the only time I've heard that claim about urban vs rural water quality made. So any links would be great and I'll read them for sure.

Te Awa Kairangi/Hutt River is the urban catchment that I am most familiar with. Highly urbanised along its length but it has relatively good water quality (as compared to other urban rivers, e.g., Manawatu) as it has a very low level of agri-business in the catchment. It does suffer from algae blooms during low flow, but that's not "pollution" per se.

Hence any study would be of interest. It's an area I really need to get up to speed on.

PS I know the Christchurch urban rivers are a shambles at the moment but I suspect a lot of that relates to EQ issues/problems and the tremendous level of urban development in the wake.

Eugenie Sage agreed it was at a Candidate meeting. ;-)
No it was in a 2017 report 'Our freshwater 2017'.
Nitrate-nitrogen concentration was 18 times higher in the urban land-cover class, and
10 times higher in the pastoral class compared with the native class for the period 2009–13.
We classify sites by land cover: pastoral, urban, exotic forest, and native.
Dissolved reactive phosphorus concentration was 3 times higher in the urban class and
2.5 times higher in the pastoral class compared with the native class (2009–13)
E.coli concentration was 22 times higher in the urban land-cover class and 9.5 times higher
in the pastoral class compared with the native class (2009–13).

An interesting statement is: "More than 99 percent of total river length was estimated not to have nitrate-nitrogen concentrations high enough to affect the growth of multiple sensitive freshwater species for
the period 2009–13."

Thanks! Will read.

CO - Is that the Freshwater Fund that Smitty is tapping for a dam - wait for it - for irrigation - wait for it - in his electorate - that wait for it - they don' t want?

Halleluah. Oh the optics.

Kiwis so dumb lah!

The water tax is not the politics of envy -it is users pays. The people who cause the pollution should pay to clean it. Urban areas should do it with better storm-water and sewerage schemes -paid from rates. Rural areas should do it -though schemes to better manage the leaching of phosphate and nitrogen etc -paid for by water tax.

The big industrial irrigators I have met can afford it -that was my point about expensive overseas trips etc.

Also on the issue of suicides in rural areas -many of those are farm workers -it is not just farm owners. But yes rural suicide is a serious issue -which requires amongst other things a fully functional health system -not tax cuts.

Gee Brendon only wealthy farmers take overseas holidays - many of those Canty fishing and gaming types have also been taking holidays, many on the back of their agri related incomes.

Alex, are you sure about this: Coke pays a commercial rate for water delivery, not for the actual stuff itself?

I don't know where their manufacturing plants are but the question is whether or not they are subject to volumetric charging?

Many LAs use volumetric charging for reticulated water - and therefore the policy setting is a user-pays one (which is the point made by the OECD in respect of what NZ should be doing in the rural sector as well).

This volumetric (user-pays) approach contrasts to LAs that charge a fixed rate for reticulated water services, regardless the volume of water used by the ratepayer.

PS. Water delivery (i.e., connection services) are normally an upfront cost when connecting to either the urban reticulation service or a rural irrigation scheme. Not to be confused with the volume of water consumed once connected.

How can LAs charge for actual water when they don't own it?

In the same way as irrigators charge for it.

Irrigators don't charge for water. They charge a per hectare rate to cover infrastructure. Our irrigation charge has nothing to do with how much water we use - it is tied to the hectares we are irrigating with a (edit) per ha minimum charge.

So if I understand you right, the scheme you are in is a volumetric charge on a per hectare minima? Did you also have upfront costs in order to initially connect to/join the scheme?

My understanding of the Waitangi Tribunal findings in this regard, is that this type of water use too is in the opinion of the tribunal a confiscation of / breach of the Treaty of Waitangi. So, it's not as if the question of ownership is moot in the case of irrigation, simply because the charging regime for extraction/use is labelled as an infrastructure charge.

In other words, the ownership question relates across the board - regardless of semantics. At least that is my understanding.

Not a volumetric charge Kate a per hectare charge. e.g. if I have 10ha and the charge is $100/ha then I pay $1000 per year irrespective of usage of water. No charge to connect to the scheme as shares are transferrred on ownership of land - the right goes with the land - as it one of the old mining water rights of which there are scores here in Otago.

So when you say minimum per ha charge, the same minimum is always charged regardless of land use or soil type?

I really appreciate that you are taking such a great deal of time in helping me understand more!

PS so the shares are the upfront change (I assume in payment of the capital/infrastructure costs).

So a big thanks in this regard!!!!

The minimum charge is for 10ha. There are a mix of high/hill country farms, vineyards, orchards and lifestyle blocks. We all pay the same per ha charge regardless of use, topography etc. The scheme we are involved with, use border dyke irrigation/pivots and orchard/vineyard type irrigation, so the costs go towards maintaining water channels, and motors, power to run the motors, meeting any regional council policies e.g. telemetry of water meter readings to council etc.

If you refer to that map you linked to you will see that the references are to hectares not litres. Not sure how the shares came about as we just sign a share transfer form - no money changes hands. Mining water rights are approx 90years old and are set to expire in 2021 so there may be some changes in the wind for these old schemes, especially as ORC have a policy of use it, or lose it - which I don't disagree with given the importance of water in the drier Otago areas.

As I said in an earlier post Kate, sometimes it is the lack of knowledge in our water/environment debates that is an issue in discussions. We form our opinions based on what we read/hear. We don't know what we don't know sometimes until we are challenged with another point of view or or information. ;-)

Understood. Thanks. Fancy the mining water rights being in place for 90 years without change. Your scheme has thus been in place since 1931. But that is most certainly the way we did things in those days. And I agree, use it or lose it hasn't been a good economic premise in any of the resource management considerations I've been involved with. I think I recall Nick Smith threatening to apply it with respect to SHAs - development in many cases is a bit more nuanced and complicated.

Greens cannot be taken seriously on any economic policy position with the stigma of the endorsement of benefit fraud hanging over them. While they are out of government they can say "its okay to steal from them", if they were in government how would they suddenly change their position to "don't steal from us".

I would rather someone fess up in an attempt to rectify an appalling benefit system, than shut up and pretend all is well.

The Nats had 9 years and plenty of public goodwill (in the beginning) but have reformed the benefit system zilch. And you focus on the Greens! Deflection strategy from a nat apologist..

In fairness to the Nats, they've actually clamped down pretty hard on beneficiaries. Punitively, even.
That's where the Pullya Benefit moniker came from, along with all the talk of John and Paula pulling the ladder out from others after they climbed up it. (Paula even got her first house via a Housing Corp loan, to boot.) Most of the benefit budget is now given out via the pension, not in benefits based on need.

On the other hand, the're significantly increasing Working for Families (subsidising low wages for companies) and the Accommodation Supplement (subsidising property investors) because they have not admitted the existence of nor started to progress action on the housing crisis.


I'm not talking about clamping down, I'm talking suitability of a system designed in 1964 to work in 2017.

These beneficiaries are behaving exactly how the system incentives's them to behalf. The behavior is rational i.e need a house, have a kid because you got to the top of the list. Don't want to be work tested, then get a sickness benefit. Don't want to be asset tested..form a trust. Want your kid to get student allowance - become a farmer. Try and get ahead and your benefit is abated to the point you work for a few cents extra.

The fault lies with the designers - being those we vote in.

Good points there, yeah.

We'd indeed be much better off 1) eliminating a reasonable amount of those benefits and subsidies and 2) fixing housing. The two will go hand in hand over time, really. (e.g. we won't need WFF and AS)

Can you elaborate one what is wrong with the Greens economic policies?

@Ocelot - I don't care to listen to the Greens economic policies. Since they condone benefit fraud how can they possibly be responsible (co-)custodians of the nation's finances? Greens can't be trusted.

So did you read them before that came to light? I am guessing not, so I am also guessing that you just plain do not want to.

Two minute read, because I too am always wary of the self righteous.

Increased direct tax by way of a CGT.
Increase business compliance costs for business (eg. equal pay monitoring).
Increased cost of business in things like increased sick days.
Increased petrol costs for everyone (infrastructure fund).

Under these policies alone every bodies cost of living will increase. Things like petrol costs will hit the poorest proportionally more.

The stigma of benefit fraud is not hanging over "them" only one person is involved

OK, so let's take an evidence-based approach to this given your concern regarding the Public Finances - do I feel more outraged by Ms Turei and her $50,000 benefit fraud while she was studying and raising her family, or do I feel more outraged by the failure of large companies to pay a reasonable amount of tax and contribute to our society?

Linked here by others already but no harm in it again -

People enjoy harping on about "layabouts and loafers" but how about "corporate welfare"?

A basic calculation shows that *if* the Multi National Company specified in the link paid 30% tax, then that is the equivalent of ~16,000 Turei's defrauding $50k each. I know where I would focus my outrage....

The optics

Crown Irrigation Fund == $450 million
Government Irrigation Acceleration Fund

Government Fresh Start for Fresh Water Clean Up Fund == $100 million

If what the below article says is true....

Than it is good that national is loosing. Vote For Change

"National will introduce a second Family Incomes Package in 2020, subject to economic conditions at the time."
But Bill English's promise to raise another 50000 kids out of poverty is based on this package.
Either he has promised to do it (and gained much favourable coverage out of it ), or he didn't.
Politicans could promise the earth , if they can get away with adding "if the economic conditions are favourable to it ".

Health in Focus

Here's Nationals Chris Bishop (prev in cigarette industry) chewing gum and laughing at the topic of suicide at a recent candidate debate "showing how arrogant and obnoxious he is". Even finds time to check his phone and see what his mate Todds up to in London. Guess he just wanted to be somewhere else......

Put him together with Dr Death Coleman and you can see why health is in crisis.

Cmon Kiwis - you can't be that stupid really?

La la la.

"We'll take more money from those people who earn more than they need and spend it really well. We will implement really good policies and you will all live happily ever after"

Eats Whittackers....

"What I mean is we will take more money from anyone who earns more than we do and pay ourselves more, thus reducing inequality. We will dream up new policies that don't work and waste your money on them so it looks like we are really dynamic and useful"


"We will keep doing what we have been doing and house prices will magically get more affordable, the mechanism is too complicated for you to understand but think yourself lucky we've got new people bringing their money to New Zealand so you've got a job."

Politicians, eh.

There are a number of things that the current government has let run down, looks to me that people are now dying because of underfunding in the health system. You probably heard of the baby that died as the caesarian booked for it was delayed for an emergency one in Waikato. Some DHBs seem to be at break point. Health is probably the worst but the rest are struggling as well. Imagine that we may have no more Lifeline and Youthline because the govt has farmed it out, rolled it into something somewhat less relevant.
We are going to either let these services run down further or we are going to have to pay for them, paying for them will cost, and that cost will have to come from taxation.