'What I am doing right now is pretty much career suicide for an economist. There’s no going back' - TOP's new leader Geoff Simmons

Geoff Simmons

The Opportunities Party is being revived.

Wellington economist and former TOP co-Deputy Leader, Geoff Simmons, has returned to the party and been named Leader.

Meanwhile Gareth Morgan is set to remain out of the political arena, as the “Chair” of the party’s “Policy Committee”.

Morgan only six weeks ago took aim at New Zealand’s “fat, content and complacent” voters, announcing he’d wind TOP up.

A week later he back-tracked a little, saying he’d be happy to fund a credible successor.

Now, TOP is rearing to go again, with Simmons and 2017 TOP candidates, Olly Wilson and Paddy Plunket, on its new board.

The party is however without some of its key former candidates, including Jenny Condie and Jessica Hammond, who have formed a political action group, Civic, and also intend to contest the 2020 election.

While Morgan will continue bankrolling TOP, the party appears keen to diversify the source of its funding.

Interest.co.nz got in touch with Simmons (who’s travelling through Italy) and put the following questions to him over email:

Gareth Morgan in July said he’d be happy to fund a TOP successor but the leader would be “personally liable to the funder” if they didn’t implement his policies. How do you feel about this?

Evidence based policy is the core of TOP. That is what myself, the new Board and anyone passionate about TOP are all committed to. So I feel liable to our members and myself on this one, as much as to Gareth.

Gareth will be staying on as Chair of our Policy Committee but is not involved in the operational/political side of the party. So I don’t envisage any differences over policy.

From the time Gareth Morgan announced TOP was over until now, has TOP received any funding pledges? If so, what is the value of the funding pledged and the funding received?

The sad fact is that political parties need serious money to be a contender these days, especially if they are starting off outside Parliament. It seems sad for democracy, but there it is.

Gareth has endorsed the new Board and he is still contributing some funding, but we can’t rely on him competely and are looking to raise funding from other sources. Our first port of call is a crowdfunding campaign with members. Now the changes at TOP are public we will be looking for other major donors, so if anyone else out there is interested in getting involved as a funder, please get in touch.

What is your message to the people who voted TOP in the last election who feel let down by the way the party has since fractured?

There were certainly a lot of people who felt passionately about TOP and were disappointed at the prospect of it winding up. It was their reaction which spurred this whole rebirth – so to those people I say thanks for the passion! I am excited about how TOP is evolving now.

How do you intend to rebuild trust in TOP?

I will be spending the rest of the year doing a series of roadshows around the country (no, not in a Parliamentary limo) talking to members and anyone who is interested in the party. I want to hear from them how they want the party to run in the future.

As part of this process I want members to vote for a representative on the Board and to vote for a leader. I will naturally be running for that position.

The good thing with TOP is that we have a blank slate so we can learn from our own mistakes and the mistakes of other parties in how we are set up. I really like what we are doing with the Policy Committee – it is completely divorced from the political side of the party so that it can be protected from political horse-trading.

It wasn’t long ago (December) that you quit the party. What’s changed since then? Why have you returned? How can the public be sure you are seriously in it for the long haul?

I quit as co-Deputy Leader, but I left the door open to returning if the circumstances were right. And I would say right now those circumstances are perfect. I think we have struck the right balance between continuity of what worked for TOP at the last election and some evolution and growth as a party to take us to the next level. It has taken some time for everyone’s thinking to develop to that point we are at now, but looking back I would say that was time well spent.

How can the public know I am serious about the long haul? When Cortez took on the Aztecs, he trashed his ships to make sure his men had no choice but to fight with everything they had. The reason I bring up that story is what I am doing right now is pretty much career suicide for an economist. There’s no going back.

How will TOP be different now that you are Leader?

Honesty is really important to me, so you can count on me to be honest even when it hurts to do so.

Fairness is big for me too, and the current set up just isn’t fair for younger generations. We are looking at the first generation that won’t have as good a life as their parents. They can’t afford a house, yet we expect them to pay the growing NZ Super and health bills and fix the environmental messes they have been left with. When all this causes mental health problems they can’t get help and if they turn to cannabis for some solace they are criminalised. It’s nuts.

Despite the handicaps mentioned above, there is a lot of incredible stuff happening at the moment. The social enterprise scene for example has incredible potential to solve our social and environmental problems, but needs help to grow. I love this sector, because I am passionate about people being free to set their own goals and pursue them, regardless of what they might be.

Will Sean Plunket manage TOP’s media affairs again?

Nope.

Given National needs mates, it might be TOP’s ticket to Parliament in the next election. There isn’t a whole lot of cross-over between the parties’ policies and Gareth Morgan has said he isn’t willing to have TOP’s policies diluted, but will TOP keep the door open to a partnership with National?   

I wouldn’t call either Labour or National “friends”. Both parties themselves have overseen two decades of mediocre economic, social and environmental outcomes as set out in Interest by Kerry McDonald.

As we have seen with NZ First, the key to leverage in negotiations is being willing to work with either Labour or National. Anyone involved in TOP is there to change policy, not tread water in Parliament for the sake of it. So I would reject any deal that would see us become a bolt-on to Labour or National. If you want to catalogue the failure of that strategy look at the achievement list of ACT or the Green Party. We will work with whomever is prepared to implement more of our policies, simple as that.

I would question there not being cross over in policies though. Simon Bridges says he cares about the environment and the economy. According to the OECD TOP’s environmental policies can improve the environment and the economy. You don’t improve the environment and economy by banning things, you change the game to reward the companies that behave well (so they can grow) and punish the dirty ones.

So there is huge crossover there; TOP is definitely in the blue-green space. And if National cared more about the economy than they did about house prices they would implement our tax policy too.

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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117 Comments

As long as they keep the "Tax houses that people have worked for, saved for and now own" policy, they are unelectable.

I would be fine with having my house or land taxed as long as they cut income tax to compensate.

I'm not convinced on UBI. There could be a downward spiral the tax base decreases while the tax burder increased. If you were a worker and your tax rate was raised to 35% while you could get $200/wk for free you'd have to consider working less. The UBI should be enough to live off but not comfortably. Labour are already terrible with their working for families, solo parents benefits and free art degrees so I hope all of that would be scrapped under TOP.

On the flip side, if you are a bludger you will actually get paid for every hour you work so you might consider it. At the moment if you are on a benefit there is very little incentive to try and work a bit because you only end up a few bucks better off.

As a mother of teenagers I thought the idea of starting the UBI with the 18 year old age group was beyond daft.

We are not in need of a UBI now, but we are inching ever closer to it. It will be something we will have to look at some time in the future. Probably best to be getting our heads around it now, before that time arrives.

I think we are pretty close to having what is effectively a UBI for certain cohorts of our population.

I wonder what percentage of the 20-30yo population isn't getting one or more of : WFF, Accomodation supplement, student allowance/loan living costs, or one of the main benefits (Jobseekers, disability, DPB or whatever its current name is).

People don't understand the profound effect WFF has on genetics. You're selecting the worst people and giving them money to breed. Repeat every 16-20 years because they have kids much sooner.

What are these people and the the newly imported chefs going to do in an automated economy? There won't be any burger flipping jobs in 10 years that's for sure.

bilbo,

Your post indicates a chilling lack of empathy for those less fortunate than you. It also indicates that you would like to see a program of eugenics in NZ. Would you like to be in a position to dictate who can an who cannot breed?

That says less about the merits of the policy than it does about your parenting?

How old are you bilbo? We've nearly paid off the mortgage on our first home. Won't be buying any rentals. Unlikely to be upsizing any time soon. If anything, just updating our home. And with less years ahead of me working than I've already worked (and paid tax), I'm not too excited about the trade off of being taxed on deemed value of our home v reduced income tax.

I'd be one of the younger people around here. Basically I'd like to see the govt go after land bankers and rent seekers who sit on good land doing nothing and rip everyone else off. A land tax would need to be phased in over time or only kick in above a certain threshold.

Do you think it's fair that a bunch of lazy aristocrats are able to make millions tax free doing nothing but riding on the back of economic activity in their area? These land banking opportunities are not available to the ordinary person as a lot of capital is needed to buy the large parcels and you've got to be in bed with the council planners to know where the infrastructure is going.

What is your solution?

I agree with your sentiments. I'm just saying I can't get too excited about the prospect of a land/house tax in my position in life. I guess it's inevitable though. The distortion of our demographics will demand that as the bulge moves into non-productive/retirment age, then the burden will have to be shared elsewhere. Well, either that or the productive/working ages will unburden themselves somehow.

I ran the figures of the TOP policy at election time. You would need your house to be worth more than 7x income to be worse off under their policy. And remember that the retired could postpone payment interest-free until sale or death.

Or people like you could simply read policy statements, instead of headlines.
Then there would be no need to scrap such policy.

Going by past experience, though, I guess that would be too much to ask.

I had a pretty good read of their policies before I voted actually. AND I voted for them.

But virtually no one else did.

Sadly many that would have voted for them were put off by the whole wasted vote concept. And yet ACT with 0.5% of teh vote gets a seat, when TOP{ with 5x that doesn't. Not quite as screwed as the US electoral college system, but still far from representative.

The wasted vote concept will be even more marked at the next election. Simmon's stated view that TOP could go either way is not going to wash when that is how we ended up where we are now.

After every election, we all wait breathlessly for Punxsutawney Winston to crawl out of his hole and tell us which party he deigns to be most amenable to his protection racket.

Being non-committal never seems to harm that vampire. Why should TOP play it any different?

I hope you are equally as upset that Colin Craig didn't get a seat in Parliment too. (Getting 4.5% of the vote when the conservatives ran a few years back).

I'm all for lowering the thresh hold. We'd understand what a real MMP is then. Right people still act as if MMP is FPP. (Reference the latest election and the feedback given on social media)

Absolutely agree. Also, their proposal to means test superannuation is vote repellent.

I don't doubt that they are smart economic minds, and many of their policies have good theory behind them. But its a bit like a bunch of eccentric architects getting together, throwing their inhibitions to the wind, and designing a technically brilliant, but aesthetically awful building.

Only to those getting or about to get NZ super
Not everyone is a boomer...

I'm 31. I'm not a boomer, nor am I about to get NZ super. I'd never vote for any party with this policy - It's just a simple matter of fairness.

Fairness? How exactly is it fair to tax your generation into the ground to provide non-means tested welfare payments to those that have plenty?

Policy doesn't have to be fair, just palatable to enough voters. If you have a better idea on how to means test Super and remain in power, then share it with the Politicians. Right now it's a no go.

Well luckily the working voting age population still outnumbers the boomers by a large margin.. so it will in fact come down to the workers voting to lower (or not raise) their tax that achieves it.

If it was that simple change would have happened years ago. With an evenly split voter base we are in for years of inaction as neither faction can afford to lose 3 or more percent of the vote and let the other in. Like turkeys voting for thanksgiving, it hasn't happened yet.

Means testing is about those of the same age being paid the same super at retirement - it is unfair to pay one out more despite the fact that they did not pay in more. The matter of one generation subsidising the superannuation of another is a different issue.

No.. they are not "subsidisng" superannuation.. they are paying 95% of it Apart from the NZ superfund which is worth about 3 years super payments there is no money put aside to fund super.

My point was simply that it is unfair to pay one individual out more than another of the same age despite the fact that they did not pay in more. These other points you're raising (whatever they are) don't seem to be relevant to this.

And your point is irrelevant..

1) nobody paid money in for their superannuation. They paid tax which was used to fund their parents and grandparents generations superannuation amongst everything else.. not their own super.
2) we regularly pay different amounts on a means tested basis for every other welfare benefit.. should we pay the full jobseekers benefit to everybody that is looking for a new job, regardless of if they currently have an income or not?

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The more appropriate analogy would be whether the jobseekers benefit should be withheld from an unemployed jobseeker if they have any savings, not whether they have a current job. My primary issue with means testing is that it puts forward moral hazard issues. Take two people with the same income. One saves for retirement and lives a relatively simple lifestyle in order to do so. The other lives large, with fancy cars, overseas holidays every year, and has no savings. Means testing penalizes the prudent saver and rewards irresponsible spending.

Agree.

This will likely be the only time I agree with you, Wankiwi. This goes to the issue of fairness just as much, if not more, than the matter of how much one has contributed over the course of their working life in comparison to others.

I think that we share far more viewpoints than you think. We also differ on some rather important viewpoints as well. I consider that the second half of your name is just as important as first half. I also would rather discuss data, analyses, and logical thought instead of using name calling and platitudes. That said, I have responded to your misstatement of my login name here in the past with the B**LSH** label to reference you, so maybe I'm not quite as good as I would like to be... I'll own up to that. Will you own up to your deficiencies?

Ok, fair call.

So bring in a UBI and that moral hazard disappears. And no need for cohorts of public servants to administer it.

Which is why a compulsory retirement savings (eg kiwisaver, but compulsory) needs to be introduced and national super phased out. But that doesn't mean in the meantime we should ignore basic financial reality that is a massive budget hole while paying out social welfare benefits (and that is exactly what it is) to people that don't need it.

This is a non-answer.

Kiwisaver isn't compulsory and national super still exists, so...

Your response to Wankiwi's point is essentially "because budget hole". How does this address the fact that means testing penalises those that have saved prudently and rewards those that haven't?

I think you need to acknowledge that means testing is unfair, but you don't care and think it should be done anyway in the interests of equality of outcome.

Means testing is unfair? So we all should be getting WFF, jobseekers benefit etc? So you do support UBI do you?

Or do you mean that means testing is unfair only when it come to superannuation? (but don't look at all the other handouts in the system... they're diffrunt!

Your attempts to change the subject are very telling.

Yes, they are different, which is why means testing should be assessed on a case by case basis.

The unemployment benefit is different to the sickness benefit, which is different to the student benefit, which is different to disability benefit. For starters, unlike the pension, the unemployment benefit is a temporary arrangement and recipients have to actively show that they are trying their upmost to find work. Also unlike the pension, it is a safety net for an unforeseen life event beyond the recipient's control.

Hows about you have a crack at explaining how it is fair that means testing the pension would penalise those that have prudently saved for retirement while benefiting those that have not.

You strike me as the type of SJW that enjoys smelling their own farts.

And yes, I support UBI for those over 65.

And this is the crux of it, no they are not different. They are all social welfare payments that are meant to be in place so those that cannot otherwise make ends met don't end up starving and dying on the streets.

So retirement is a temporary unanticipated life event, like unemployment is for unemployment benefit recipients?

So we all pay in to the NZ unemployment fund, like we all pay into the NZ superannuation fund?

So those on the pension need to actively show that they are looking for an alternative source of income, like those on the unemployment benefit do?

How it is fair that means testing the pension would penalise those that have prudently saved for retirement while benefiting those that have not?

So you don't support UBI for those over 65?

Retirement can be temporary.. I've heard of multiple celebs/public figures "coming out of retirement". But the main point is that superannuation was originally introduced to be the social safety net for those that got too old to work without the means to support themselves.. and it was originally means tested, as it should always have stayed.

https://nzhistory.govt.nz/old-age-pensions-act-passes-into-law

Its original intention or implementation doesn't change the fact that it is fundamentally unfair to means-test the pension.

Do you agree that means testing the pension would penalise those that have prudently saved for retirement while benefiting those that have not? You know the answer is yes, but you don't care because you prioritise equality of outcome over equity.

Do you agree it is fundamentally unfair to means test the unemployment benefit, just because those that were employed saved and had an emergency fund and investments and don't actually need the money, they shouldn't be disadvantaged so long as they are actually still looking for a new job?

Yes, this is unfair, but for different reasons. The pension is not the unemployment benefit. Your refusal to answer the question speaks volumes.

exactly

1. The pension is funded through taxes, as are contributions to the super fund. It is unfair to pay one person more, despite the fact that they have not contributed more.
2. Changing the subject won't help your argument - I'm not going to be dragged into debating the merits of jobseekers, student allowance, accommodation supplement, working for families, or any other such thing.

BTW, I hope you waste your vote on TOP.

Al those other welfare forms are also paid for by general taxation.. so they should not be means tested either according to your logic. Your argument argues with itself :)

I didn't make an argument about those other payments - I specifically said noting about them, and that I wouldn't be dragged into that debate.

I'll add Wankiwi's comment above to the reasons I don't support means-tested superannuation. I'd like to see your response to that.

Yes, i noted that you stuck your head in the sand when confronted with the reality that every other social welfare benefit is means tested, and their is no logical arguement that super shouldn't be.

Yes, I noted that you tried to change the subject when confronted with the reality that means-testing the pension is fundamentally unfair.

I don't have a coherent answer, so let me bring up the unemployment benefit

If means testing one form of social welfare is unfair it follows that means testing another form of social welfare is also unfair. Can't have it both ways son.

..incredibly expensive to means test super and all sorts of loopholes - without even considering how to means test a recent arrivals from a non - cooperative country.

Those with the wealth who might be captured by means testing tend to utilize all sorts of financial tricks to avoid - which means highly skilled staff to investigate - paid for by who?

Means testing would just create another industry similar to the tax avoidance industry. Those that can pay for professionals would avoid the means test.

So better option seems to be to raise age, knowing they will be on for a shorter time.

Superannuants don't pay their way.
They are paid for by the current productive workforce. So, what's the argument for them to receive a universal basic income over anyone else?

If the argument has to be limited to who has paid, then there is no argument for any government funded initiative, including unemployment benefits. It should be a private matter in that case.
The argument for this entitlement is that as a society we should care for people in their retirement. I'd much prefer to help people who are too old to work, than WFF for example.

Turning the housing crisis into a generational blame game will solve nothing. Pulling back on super payments will not bring house prices down for young people.

WFF and other non superannuation transfers are means tested, for a start.

That's the core argument - why give money to those who don't need it.

Refer to Yankiwi's comment just above.
Means testing means disincentivising saving for your own retirement.

the english word "universal" it would replace the OAP so the net cost for this group shouldnt be huge.

By the time you are of superannuation age, we will probably have had to introduce a UBI.

Yes, sound economic policy is anathema to vested interests.

But there is nothing wrong with taxing the crap out of income that people have worked for? Tax has to come from somewhere, why do you think it should be solely from income?
Maybe the large percentage of people who don't own a house (which is growing by the year) may not feel the same as you?

Nope, I'm open to them reducing income tax and taxing capital more, is this what they were going to do?

The policy from the last election was to reduce income tax by a third by raising a tax on capital

Yes, my understanding was PAYE would drop to something like 20% so for 80% of people they would be paying less tax overall as those who pay no or little tax now have to pay some.

Which is an interesting statement as 80% of those same people would pay less NET tax than they do today as the top few % would have to pay, yes shock horror actually pay some tax for once.

I might well go and re-join.

Good to have some more options on the political landscape. If they ditch the policy Davo36 mentions they'd be very electable.

They're very electable right now, if they can gather some good candidates and some money for publicity.

They are a party of change, so abandoning the policies the rentier class are bitching about above are exactly what they need to avoid doing, otherwise they become just another more of the same party.

I actually voted for TOP.

I like them. Especially their environmental policies.

But the taxing houses issue (and a few others e.g. some cat lovers) meant they got 2% of the vote. So I'm angry that my vote was wasted.

Which is why I say they need to give up their academic theories around tax and be more pragmatic.

Which is why I say they need to give up their academic theories around tax and be more pragmatic.

Isn't that the whole idea, though?
To eliminate the pragmatic political approach and design policy based equality and evidence?
Seems weird you would vote for a party that stands for exactly the opposite of what you advocate.

It was the idea, but reading some of their stuff. Their "academic theories" are using some interesting assumptions.

One of the oddest, is that ALL housing is an investment. This may work in economic's but it is not a valid view point in the real world.

Basically they claim fact based policy, but really they are no more "fact" based than any other party.

After all, every politician has an agenda.

It is. You buy a house and "rent" it to yourself.. Thereby increasing your disposable income.

So I should get housing supplements, tax breaks etc... for my dependents - as they are living rent free. Or should I be reporting them to the cops for tax evasion.

Dastardly toddlers, they have been freeloading since birth!

"It is. You buy a house and "rent" it to yourself.. Thereby increasing your disposable income."

That is a fallacy. A home owners disposable income is greatly reduced due to the opportunity cost of having that money tied up in a house vs investment.

A much more socially acceptable approach would be capital gains tax on all forms of capital gains at the point of realization (sale of house, sale of shares etc).

But their disposable income is greatly enhanced by not having to pay rent to someone else(eventauuly, once the mortgage is paid down/inflated away) .

Other than taxation Rent would be the biggest single expense in a persons lifetime if they remained a renter their entire life.

Top's idea of benefit gained through imputed rent. If that's the case, you should be extending the tax to private vehicles too as they are benefiting from not having to pay public transport charges.

You should be more angry about the 5% threshold.

In history, splitting the tax load more equitably between land and workers has been a key part of increasing land and home ownership. You wouldn't have a house in NZ without this in NZ's history. This is...pragmatic.

which makes TOP's differentiator nil. They might as well not exist as they would be "just another party" just like the greens have become.

Hmm TOP and the Nats, I wonder where that takes the idea of a UBI?
Kind of not a natural fit unless one or the other changes it's ideas.

I see National as centre right. Rightly or wrongly, I see TOP as far left given their radical wealth redistribution policies. I don't think it would work.

wrongly.. Current tax policies are wealth redistributing, TOPs policies are just redistributing in a way that they believe and evidence supports will result in a better economy where everybody does well. It might clip the wings of those that are making out by robber barons a bit, but in general everybody will do better.

Quite - accommodation supplement and working for families are more distributive (leftist in BLSH's analysis) and only reward selected groups. The TOP tax policy is actually more to the right as it promotes the market to allocate capital more efficiently (less housing, more business) to drive a more productive economy.

Think you might have your left and rights round the wrong way. If you think of left and right as purely economic (as they should be) then left represents the collective and right represents the individual. Universality is left, targeting is right. You can run your economy completely left or completely right or any mixture of the two along the scale (which is how we get centre left or right). You can add social freedoms or lack thereof to any place along that line. A UBI is very much a left wing concept.

The outcome of a UBI is right-leaning - it reduces government (directly via staff reduction and indirectly by rewarding volunteers), increases personal responsibility (your actions have an undiluted effect on your income), encourages entrepreneurship. Milton Friedman was a big fan.

The difference in support levels for UBI across income source, income level, left and right is not as pronounced as you would think:
http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/netuf/2018/03/07/the-politics-of-universal-basic-...

If it were on the right TOP would accomplish the same effect by completely abolishing all benefits and the associated abatement reigemes. That way actions would have a less diluted effect on incomes, by reducing taxes they could further reduce any disincentive to work as you would keep more of your own income. On the right you don’t tax savings accrued via income that was already taxed.

On the left you tax everything at every opportunity ( including savings made via taxed income ) & pay those who don’t work (UBI). Therefore I would personally define TOP a left leaning. I vote right because I want less taxes of all types and ESPECIALLY want no new types of taxes.

I would vote for fairer taxation that does not distort the playing field. I understand that others may want to keep it tilted their way.

The UBI would reduce government spending by replacing all the existing benefits and the societal costs of the poor. So if you want less overall taxation then that's the way you should go. See the video I posted upstream - it is estimated that a UBI would cost one third of the current cost of poverty in the US.

The US is vastly different from us. Use Singapore as a geographically closer nation with a similar population base ( They have a slight disadvantage in that the entire nation was imporveished by world war 2 whereas we were relatively less affected ). Taxation as a % of GDP is about 30% in Singapore and close to 60% in NZ according to TradingEconomics. I would therefore expect Singapore to be more productive and have a lower cost of poverty relative to us. Their level of redistribution of wealth probably plays the biggest single factor in the relative difference between the levels of poverty in NZ and Singapore.

Taxation distorts the playing field. In undistorted playing field would require the absence of taxation. A fixed dollar amount per person for services rendered by the government would be a fair way to pay for government services. A restaurant does not charge patrons based on their income, it charges a fixed amount for a specific dish.

Yes, but many restaurants exist at different price points. And should we all pay a fixed lump sum for petrol no matter how much we drive?

Those earning more are getting more benefit from the commons so scaling payment is the fairest way.

Dp

That doesn't matter, it is a collective thing, it is left. What I would like to know is where right wingers who are in favour of it imagine where it might come from.
My thoughts are that the necessity for it will come from jobs being replaced by technology, so the money for it will have to come from there. Then will come the question about who owns the technology.

The question is - who are they distributing wealth to?

Having a relatively high salary but no property, I feel pretty thoroughly shafted.

I view them as Alt-Centre rather than Far Left. Their only truly wacky policy is the separate Maori house of parliament with veto rights over government action - but that wouldn't ever have a chance of being implemented.

TOP's separatist policy regarding Maori is yet another reason they are unelectable. Morgan (thankfully no longer in the picture) thinks that Maori own NZ's water for crying out loud.

Maori policy - unelectable
Water policy - unelectable
Superannuation policy - unelectable
Taxation policy - unelectable

This party represents the antithesis what New Zealanders want. I encourage the more loony among you to waste your vote on them. Takes a few votes away from the Greens (yes, I think TOP is most likely to steal votes from the greens).

Unless TOP had an outright majority then these policies will not happen. TOP does not seek 51%+ of the vote. TOP exists to bring best-practice policy (irrespective of its electability) to the debate. Their goal in a MMP environment is to influence the policy of the main party (red or blue) to move towards a better outcome.

Actually "owning the water" I think that this is more of the present legal interpretation and hence why "no one" wants to do legislation to allow water bottling companies to be charged per CuM. Personally I am all for bottling companies to be charged and seeing those charges flow through into the communities who are losing that water.

As a property speculator I am sure you are unhappy with the prospect of paying some tax, my heart bleeds for you.....or maybe not.

far from far left but as a democracy your view is fine with me, if wrong.

Any party /support is welcome for and by National as have no friends in parliment.

How National opinion about TOP has changed lol.

Indeed, I dislike National a lot, but I almost dislike Labour almost as much and hence why I left the Greens and joined TOP. Go with the best deal.

I can't stand The One Percenters, but I do like to see someone else other than the big two provide some sort of competition.

My advice, if they want to get anywhere next election, is that they need to run in some electorates (most likely Wgtn where their support base is the strongest). Their policies are too polarizing to gain the 5% across the board.

They also need to remove the lingering stench that is Morgan. He is still financing it, and given his history, he will not be able to sit quietly on the sidelines while others are in the limelight on the back of his wallet.

I also don't see how it can be anything other than Morgan's Minions, if the leader is personally liable for not following Morgan's instructions.

Great news! I hope Gareth closing his twitter account was part of the deal. I think he was the key thing standing between TOP and 5% last time - lots of people liked their policy but strongly disliked him as leader.

Good luck with wealth distribution, and TOP votes beyond 2% !! and Land Value taxing !!

Unfortunately, in every generation some youngsters think that they have the right to confiscate what their elders / boomers (maybe including their own parents and family ) have achieved -- they might entertain these radical views until they get to that age and discover that they too are vulnerable and need the support of their younger generation when they grow old.

They simply forget who raised them and made it possible for them to learn, stay healthy, housed, and educated -- some idiots think it is the State, but cannot understand that all that was made possible with taxes paid by the older generation !! and can't understand that this cycle continues ...

Today's young have been fed with more selfish thoughts and agendas as the money going round becomes scarce and harder to find while their expenses for the ones who chose to spend large and have it all go through the roof in a cut throat consumerism society.

They also forget that pension systems around the world - which are very similar- have been created as a pool to provide the best solution for taking care of elders by the new offsprings of society.

So a party policy, with such radical themes or clever ways about taxation and redistribution of wealth, equates to official looting of individual property supported by fools who own nothing, do not intend to learn how to do it, and allow themselves to feed their kids on stolen wealth from others. The world has learned a lot from the French revolution !!

Is that what we would like to end up, a society of looters, Slaves, and losers galor ...where no one would look forward to better themselves because we all need to be Equal?

What would the aspiration of the younger generation possibly become? why would they work harder and build wealth when a bunch of looters would skim that off you later.?

Hope we are not heading to a Nation of the Pirates of the Pacific, God Forbid?

But that is just my opinion.

If it weakens the Left's chance of forming the next Government by wasting votes, then I'm all for them.

Eco Bird,

Indeed,the following generations have SO much to be thankful for-seas full of our rubbish,a climate that poses some significant threats globally,diminishing resources,a world awash with debt,rising inequality and so on.

I would like to think that your opinion is shared only by a small minority of self-centred s***s.

The number of people in extreme poverty around the world has been dropping annually since world war 2 if I am not mistaken. The number in famine has also been dropping annually. I believe that I saw these stats or similar in a UNHCR publication some time back.

Self centered would be demanding benefits at levels enough to save 85 African people from dying of hunger per person in NZ on top of accomodation supplements. One maybe life here (odds are family would prevent most from starving) vs 85 in Africa...

Self centered would be claiming rising inequality when record large numbers of people are actually catching up to the middle class. There are way fewer middle class people falling behind the wealthy than there are very poor catching up to the middle.

What a load of absolute revisionist tosh. Compare the world I entered in 1961 then look at what my children born in the late 90s have to look forward to. They stand on our shoulders. Compared to me at the same age mine are better educated, better informed about the World, have better health outlooks, and have fewer financial concerns. They embrace other cultures as friends (including girlfriends) and haven't once sat down at the nightly dinner table and mentioned the Cultural Marxist dogma so beloved of the SJW. Spend some time with children and you'll see our future is in good hands. Compared to NZ in the 1960s they are in utopia. In fact I'm not sure they could cope with old world NZ.

Nup. There are 7 billion of then, going on 9-10 or more in graphic form (they won't get there, of course).

But in 1960, there were 3 billion - simple math tells you there was twice the amount of planet per person, and that there was more of it still unextracted, while there was less pollution.

When they get around to measuring it correctly, they'll be unimpressed. Which, I suggest, means they're not all that informed about the world - a thought reinforced by your 'financial' statement. Most of them that I know are hocked to the eyeballs. It's not 'concerns', it's 'ability to repay' is the problem, again it comes down to being informed.....

They have lived in third world countries in Asia for parts of their lives and know what’s what. Not some cloistered life in NZ. They are generally positive people who I’m proud to say are my children. They will struggle to do as well financially as their parents which is one reason we have limited the size of our family and plan to leave as much to them as possible. One a wider basis our families haven’t replaced themselves. The worlds population explosion didn’t start with us.

Nice comment! We've got one o'seas too - but well aware that he may have to cut and run and maybe fast.

No - the inflection-point was about 1800, we're all just transitory points.

:)

And your solutions are...???

That is exactly what I pointed to - some new generation full of radical ideas and extreme impractical ideals and dreams - we did not pollute the oceans or create inequality, we climbed the ladders available at the time ( still are) to prosper and raise our kids ... the world is what the big power centres made it be - Not NZ ---- and we shouldn't pay for that by ruining ourselves and following some noobs and radical idiots - look at the wise people in Scandinavia for a change !!

If you starve and you had a choice between preserving a bird or a whale or killing it to eat and survive, then the choices are very clear - even idiots would agree !

A well structured asset tax and lower would enhance the tax system and increase inter generational equity. With an eye to my children and future grandchildren I would support such a tax, despite it costing me more than I currently pay.

A well structured asset tax and lower would enhance the tax system and increase inter generational equity. With an eye to my children and future grandchildren I would support such a tax, despite it costing me more than I currently pay.

Really pleased .. that is 2-3 % of loony left vote wasted again. Keep up the good work.