Opinion: John Pagani asks do people vote against their interest because they prefer to keep ahead of their neighbour than make everyone better off?

Opinion: John Pagani asks do people vote against their interest because they prefer to keep ahead of their neighbour than make everyone better off?

By John Pagani*

Why do so many people vote against their class interest when it comes to tax?

As the Economist wrote this week,

Economists have usually explained poor people’s counter-intuitive disdain for something that might make them better off by invoking income mobility. Joe the Plumber might not be making enough to be affected by proposed hikes in tax rates on those making more than $250,000 a year, they argue, but he hopes some day to be one of them. This theory explains some cross-country differences, but it would also predict increased support for redistribution as income inequality widens. Yet the opposite has happened in America, Britain and other rich countries where inequality has risen over the past 30 years.

The other explanation one comes across quite often in the lefty parties is that they vote on non-economic issues. Right wing parties are skilled at exploiting social wedge issues. So, for example, the strongest Republican vote in the US is down the banks of the Mississippi, the area of the greatest social deprivation, but also the area with the highest racial contrast in voting patterns.

Now the Economist has a new theory.

Instead of opposing redistribution because people expect to make it to the top of the economic ladder, the authors of the new paper argue that people don’t like to be at the bottom. One paradoxical consequence of this “last-place aversion” is that some poor people may be vociferously opposed to the kinds of policies that would actually raise their own income a bit but that might also push those who are poorer than them into comparable or higher positions. The authors ran a series of experiments where students were randomly allotted sums of money, separated by $1, and informed about the “income distribution” that resulted. They were then given another $2, which they could give either to the person directly above or below them in the distribution.

In keeping with the notion of “last-place aversion”, the people who were a spot away from the bottom were the most likely to give the money to the person above them: rewarding the “rich” but ensuring that someone remained poorer than themselves. Those not at risk of becoming the poorest did not seem to mind falling a notch in the distribution of income nearly as much. This idea is backed up by survey data from America collected by Pew, a polling company: those who earned just a bit more than the minimum wage were the most resistant to increasing it.

Poverty may be miserable. But being able to feel a bit better-off than someone else makes it a bit more bearable.

I am sure this is right. All the voter research I've ever done shows National voters are much more class conscious. To express it in an extreme form: National voters would rather be poor but better off than their neighbour, than rich but no richer than their neighbour. That's why New Zealand is a low income country with vast inequality. It's what we keep voting for.

Other points to record from that article:

America’s top federal income-tax rate of 35% is lower than in many other advanced economies (although most Americans also pay state taxes).

Ahem. They also have a capital gains tax.

[C]ountries that are more ethnically or racially homogeneous are more comfortable with the state seeking to mitigate inequality by transferring some resources from richer to poorer people through the fiscal system.

This is almost certainly important in explaining voting behaviour in New Zealand.


*John Pagani is an independent political consultant and writer who has worked as an adviser to Labour Leader Phil Goff. He writes his own blog at Posterous.

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I have just checked poor John's blog.  Nobody loves him as is evidenced by the fact that he seems not to draw any comments to his own utterances.  Maybe he should change his blog name from Posterous Preposterous.



Or I delete most comments because they're not very interesting.

Censorship anybody??

Pagani : Typical arrogance of the lefties ! ... if someone dares to oppose their views , the comments are deemed "  not very interesting " , and they are wiped , expunged from the record .

.... Helen Clark must have thought the world of you  !

But this is Hickeysville , and as Bernard hasn't officially come out of the closet , and admitted membership of the NZ Labour Party , you won't be deleting us lot , as is your wont .

 Roger, just between us two - I think  far worse then typical arrogance of the lefties is intolerance, stubbornness and corruption of capitalistic swine’s - often seen rummage through the landscape of capital markets.

Gosh Walter...you have a bad case of capitalitus...!

The left and right are like konkers on a string they meet at the North and South points of a compass with a bang, pivoting around the centre, but are at their furtherest and do least harm when at East and West.

Once one has too much power then they clash and there is a backlash and it starts all over again, just like konkers.


Taking out offensive drivel is perfectly OK IMHO.

Remember its not compulsory to go there.



Pity we cant do that to your "independent" opinion pieces.

You can, dont come here....censor your eyes.

easy eh?


I like reading what you write Steven, thats why I come here :-)

.. second that ! ..... I like a good laugh ...


....me too.. I'm a masochist....


Bernard Hickey is the man for you then , he's a saddest .

I think it is interesting and the Economst is excellent

good to draw our attention to it


Maybe a lot of blue collar, lower income hard working people, and students actually still beleive that hard work, personal skill development and long-term life planning deserves to be rewarded.  And that Labour's method of enslaving people through unearned handouts (while grudgingly appreciated by recipients) is not really what they want to believe in.

Bernard : Can we have Matthew Hooton , or someone else from the " right " to balance things out  ?

.... it's getting tiresome being subjected to  John Pagani's left-wing articles ..........

Is interest.co.nz aligned to the left ..... not  sitting slap bang evenly in the middle ?

Dr Brash?  Courtesy of the wonderful Missee Odgers....


We've had Cactus Kate and Roger Kerr on occasion. But you're right. We're working on getting someone from the 'right'.



Please get Roger Douglas in for a chat sometime.

Bernard - Don Brash please. Re a 1996 speech of his cited here:


and arguing against a Tobin Tax, "Far from reducing exchange rate volatility, a tax on foreign exchange transactions would very likely increase it." Could you ask him:

1) What range order of volatility he was thinking of? Pips, 10's of pips, percents or many cents? Noting that real economy traders might be quite happy with lower orders of short time period volatility if higher orders of long time period volatility could be reduced.

2) With speculative capital flows reduced, would it be more or less likely that UIP theory would better hold for NZ and what advantages would he expect to flow from such change?

3) Was he serious about varying fuel excise duty as a complement to OCR variation to help control inflation while having less impact on the exchange rate? If so will it be part of the Act Party manifesto? Re. slide 13, here:


Cheers, Les.


 Bernard - I cannot believe you responding to such a nonsense (capitalistic BS), but often remain silent, when someone make valuable comments and poses interesting questions.

Gummy, is a master-chef of words (propagandist), but in correlation,  they often are not more then just rhetoric and don’t make much sense. I think he’s getting old, bashing and swinging, but without much of ideas of it’s own.


Got your lederhosen in a twist , Kunzie , because Bernard  responded  to me , and not to you ?

.......... take it like a man , Walter , chin up , be tough , stoic ..... mature !

Nyah nyah nyah ...... the big head wrote to me , not to you , suck on that ....... aha ha de ha haaaaaa !!!

..see Bernard - I told you !

I gave you a " thumbsy up " , Walter , just to let you know that I bear no grudge , nor hard feelings ..... we are like brothers , you & I ......

.... except that you Cain't and I'm Abel to  elicit  a response from the gaffer !

...but "Broather" - I don't want to...there are enough stupid ones.

Bernard ...I'm sure the good Doctor would be up for it.....I mean if your gonna go right you might as well go right..right......right?

Lets face it he'll be looking for forum opportunities and when he's done over at Z- pier...he could pop on up for a go on the chair with John Pagani.

Fair enough to all. We do need to get Don in for a double shot.

And Winston...



..and don't forget Helen - she is a first class lady and has much more to offer then Gummy's daily  rethorical tittle- tattle.

... and to balance out Helen Clark's piece , we'll have an article from her complete opposite , someone male , successful in private enterprise , entertaining & knowledgeable , charismatic .........

Bob Jones !

.. oh I wish , I really do . That'd be a coup , for you , Bernard .

You have Roger "ACT" Kerr already, dont be greedy.


... he's hardly from the right , is he ... Rogie is a very well spoken , articulate gentleman , from the centre of politics ...... as is Don Brash , and Bob Jones  . Good , commonsense fellows . 

Absolutely  centrist in their excellent opinions .

 Absolutely  centrist in their excellent opinions ....impressive Roger - I'm impressed !!

I only miss Helen Clark on your list.

Gummy, do you have a copy of Bob Jones’ excellent book on “The Achievements Of The Third Labour Government”? I think he wrote it back in the late 70s early 80s. Apparently it was the easiest book he ever wrote. It contained 125 blank pages.

I thought he could update it with the achievements of the Fifth Labour Govt. It shouldn't be too difficult. All he'd need to do is add an extra 250 blank pages to it.

DB : In all fairness to the 5'th & filthiest Labour Government they left us alot :

A 50 % expansion in the number of civil servants and a 50 % increase in government expenditures , in just 9 years , at a time when the economy grew at just 1 % per year ............ that is a bloody amazing achievement . Not a good one of course . But frigging amazing , all the same .

.... I think that Sir Bob would have some choice things to say about the Clark / Cullen administration , if you pressed him on the issue ........

Mr Pagani - are you saying NZ is or isn't racially homogenous? (your last highlighted comment). Compared to many European nations NZ is actually fairly racially homogenous - compared to Japan, (for example) considerably less so. I have the sneaking feeling you are trying to make the comment fit your narrative - but I am not entirely sure (because the article is so poorly written)  what point you are trying to make in the first place.

Bernard - by all means lets get more voices from the left on here (we hear plenty of noise from the right as it is), but lets at least get folk who can at least sustain a cohesive thought process.

He's saying NZ isn't that racially homogenous. I can't say I really think of NZ as European, although they make up the majority with 69%.  People are more willing to be equal with people who look like them and have the same customs, if not, then bleed them for what you can - espeicially if you already have the power. The increasing wealth divide can be correlated with the increase in non-white culture. I reckon there would be less resistance to increasing the minimum wage if most of those on it were white

Yes I imagined that was the point he was trying to get after (however badly). In contrast I would view NZ as being relatively racially homogenous - that "Europen' clade is actually nearer 75% (it was the change in the potential census answers from 2001-2006 and the addition of 'New Zealander' which dropped the figure rapidly from 80% - see http://www.stats.govt.nz/Census/2006CensusHomePage/QuickStats/quickstats...). Given Maori make up another 15% and you have 2 racial groups making up something over 90% of the population. That to me is a pretty homogenous population.

and given Maori are generally 50% European or more ...

More garbage from the failed Labour strategist....if BH is paying for this twaddle it will be all the more funny...

 "That's why New Zealand is a low income country with vast inequality"....err no...it isn't. But like all those infected by a religious virus, Pagani is now trapped in his own maze and frightened to come out.

Socialists have this silly idea that humans will be better off if they were all equal..that equality is some sort of utopian destination....and worse...they think they should have the absolute right to determine that this is the future for everyone....with the Paganis running the show of course.


Let's play the ball not the man.

John is simply citing an article from The Economist, which can hardly be accused of being full of a bunch of communists.



This is NZ, the easy option is to play the man, except when it comes to Rugby and we play the ball.

"Socialists in NZ  have this silly idea that humans will be better off if everyone was equal".... to other New Zealanders maybe.  Not sure they would want New Zealanders to be equal to all other humans.  Are they signing up to to spread wealth equally to all humans eg starving Africans etc? Now that might be "fair" but a bit of a drop in living standards for poor New Zealanders.

A very confused piece. John is having difficulty understanding why people don't vote the same way as him.

Hint: people would vote for a socialist party in unison if they all wanted to be equally poor.



Hoping you gets comment of the day........ John

Yup , thumbsy up from me too , he was absolutely  spot  on  .

Politics is a team sport. Winning is everything. GOOOOOOOOO TEAM!

Old Russian joke.

Ivan comes home to find Svetlana crying.

'What's the matter?'

'The cow is dead.'

Ivan marches to the back of the house, and comes back with a rifle and heads towards the front door.

'Are you going to kill yourself?' asks Svetlana

'No, I'm going to kill the neighbours cow.'

haha. Made my morning!

In NZ, Ivan would have come home to find his wife being milked by Bill English.



Love It JK..

I hope you don't delete this John ...due to lack of interest...but I think many of the lower income people I come into contact with although not that politically aware.....do reflect a general consensus that Labour is not a viable option....or more to the point a worthy contender....and so feel the Nats will stroll to an election virtually unopposed even in an MMP environment.

Now that appears to be more of a defeatist position....apathy.....in percieving a fait accompli.

 I believe that is much more a reflection on the promotional side to sell Phill as a contender whether or not the policies stack up.

Aside from a number of situations "the public" believe he mismanaged, he also has appeared to be someone slow to sieze opportunities to gain some ground...or perhaps too cautious to risk any damage (through error) to what little profile he takes into the upcoming election.

Like it or not ,in the wider public perception not much has changed since Muldoon's reign...it's still about the cult of personality over policy...Winnie himself even getting one vote for credibility is proof of that.......or the fact that Muldoon could sell shit ideas with an air of invincibility.

He (Phill) I believed has one option left apart from a miracle blunder by the Nats...and that is to come out swinging...show some teeth......he has little to lose...really!

That said ...Im not 100% in the know who manages his PR profile but I would have fired their ass long ago.

P.S..........I have never voted for Helen...but there appears to be a gaping chasm in the cult post her departure.

Don't spose it might have been Pagani BigC...?

OOOPS.....you see Wolly, I have not even bothered to go that far...as Phill's so non threatening.

Deep down beneath his socialist skin, Phil is probably a good bloke who cares about others. His trouble is, he is leading a bunch of hasbeens who really should have left with Clark and Cullen. There is no likely replacement for Phil. Cunliffe is Labour's version of Brash....! That leaves some git named Little who isn't even an mp but if he gets in his problem has Union power stamped all over it. Dragging Labour to the left is no pathway to the pigtrough in the Beehive.

They are stuffed by their own failed policies and 9 years of uselessness.

You are right on the money, C. But it may be that Phil Goff really doesn't get economics, so has no hope of winning the debate even if he does come out swinging.

too true..! JK...but that never stopped Winnie wanting the Finance portfolio now did it..?

Haha! Difference is Phil probably knows he doesn't get it.

While true, I dont think he (Phil)  has charisma.....did HC really? she never struck me as so....but then Ive never voted based on looks etc. Ive looked for substance....

"Swinging"  I think they have, hence suggesting CGT, GST off fruit and veg, hence not selling SOE's (own goal by the Nat's that one)....yet still Labour dont seem to have much traction....

Maybe its more than lack of charisma?  its lack of trust....anyone with more than 1/2 a brain can see the property market is overblown plus various other problems and labour did nothing to deal with it for 9 years, end result we are a mess...What else did Labour not do? any chance of them controlling the unions if they get in? none I'd suggest.....

JK has a cult following?  really? a sleezy banker? god help us then.


Helen did have a lot of charisma. She was really good at playing the role that she did. It wasn't the role of an infinitely friendly good neighbor like John is picking. But it did get her a lot of respect

I think a lot people found her intimidating Benwave ...much like Muldoon....interpreted as a strength ......and her demise was similar.

I don't know that a lot of people wanted Key... so much as they no longer wanted Helen.

One thing you may not have noticed about her was that she appeared not to have been grooming a successor.......suggesting she had no thought of losing...? or could not see beyond herself...?

"... much like Muldoon...Interpreted as strength... and her demise was similar."  But she wasn't  pissed like Muldoon when she announced her final election date.

too true Plebian...!nor did she dance on  the tables...her indulgence was much more covert.

Probably right Steven...but then most people who come here want substance...what they get is another thing altogether.....if you go back and look at the spike post the Letterman appearance by Key, you will see he not only jumped considerabley in the polls  but put it in the minds of  a broad cross section  of people ..that somehow he'd put us on the map.

I asked a lot of people at the time if they usually watched Letterman...they said no....but most of them chose to record that episode...I guess not to miss the light shinning on us briefly.......he (Key) reaped the reward of that sentiment.

Now we know that's just piffle.....but he knows it was extremely effective as a tatic...tourism or not.

Like it or not Steven ..this world is heavily influenced by media .....hype...smother.....pounce.

"Now that appears to be more of a defeatist position....apathy.....in percieving a fait accompli."

How so? Why vote for a party if you aren't cofident they will make a difference?

Voters are faced with no viable choices right now.

National is gleefully leading the country into ruin, even as they line their own pockets along the way. Labour offer nothing better. The other parties? What other parties? Only the Greens are worth considering, but not for long.

It's a case of damned if you do and damned if you don't.

It's not when they do..vote Malarkey...it's when they don't..

If I recall correctly when the voter turnout is at it's largest...the highest probability of a change in Govt.exists

Mate how does that work? Do you reckon they should flip a coin and vote? And is there any point changing a govt if the new one is no better than the one before? Take a look at the last election --- everyone piled in to get Clark out ( and that's what it was, get Clark out not Labour! ) and stuck us with this bloody bunch of rip off merchants. So to me voting did us no good that time because we couldn't win either way!


Don't knock them LB...you can make money trading options....give it a go.

Luky B  You appear not to have read my post above...I agree it's the options...and if the option was more favourable..... you get greater voter turnout....as history has shown.

Conversely you can get huge turnouts when  a sitting administration outlives it's welcome...for a myriad of reasons ...not just policy.....

The King is dead...long live the King.

I agree that our options are pretty bad... particularly if you have a more centrist view. What I'd really like is for Paul Callaghan to throw his towel into the ring. I'd vote for him!


Stop posting drivel malarkey.."leading the country into ruin"...seriously that really is utter crap.

Whatever govt we got post Clark, whether socialist or not, that govt was facing some major trouble and you bloodywell know it....had we been suffering under Clark, you would have seen Cullen doing much the same as English is doing, only the timeline to get out of the shite would have stretched into the distant future.

If you have any ideas that would be a better way to manage this mess...say so....tell us all....we are waiting malarkey.

Ah yes, I forgot: as you've often screamed at us, you "don't play favourites when it comes to politics".

Instead you just condemn Labour 100% of the time, while defending National the other 100% of the time.

Wolly is so fair and balanced.

Thought that would be about all you had to say malarkey....not one idea of your own. Tell us how YOU would solve the employment problem. Or the fiscal deficit problem. Please malarkey....we await your solutions.

"Thought that would be about all you had to say malarkey...not one idea of your own."

Actually it was entirely my own idea.

"Tell us how YOU would solve the employment problem. Or the fiscal deficit problem."

We weren't discussing those issues. We were talking about the reasons why people vote or don't vote they way they do, as the case may be.

"Please malarkey....we await your solutions."

But haven't you been telling us all this time that your beloved John Key and National have all the right answers?


Well...actually no malarkey..."all this time" I have been giving JK as much stick as he deserves, especially for allowing BE and AB to debase the currency..and for being too slow to wake up to the worldwide financial chaos caused by idiot pollies and thieving bankers...and for wearing Helen's old benefit rags for so long....and for bailing out his financial mates at SCF...and for saying Gerry did good when Gerry gave that blag Shipley heaps too much to do bugger all in chch.

In all fairness to Wolly , he lets rip at everything and everyone ..... well , not at Marketoracle , of course .

... but you lefties should be feeling very pleased with yourselves , after 9 years of Labour expanding government and the welfare state , and 3 years of National supporting those policies come hell or high water .

Labour are the " Reds " ...  National has shaken off it's  "Blue "  heritage , and cuddled up with the left of centre politics .

....  It is somewhat ironic that National have become Labour-lite , the " Pinks "

Your tag-team efforts - dare I say "solidarity" - are mildly amusing, in a "quick, pass me a bucket, I'm gonna puke!" kind of way. Mostly because they're so feeble.

Wolly and yourself do nothing but attack Labour - and rightly so in many instances - while engaging in physiologically wondrous gymnastics in your attempts to defend National from criticism, even when it's deserved. Especially when it's deserved.

Malarkey: If you trawl back through Wolly's posts you will find they usually refer to a particular policy, or person, or event, rarely the party .. and of course you have always had the right to offer a rebuttal / contradiction of each of his specific points. Some of his posts over recent months have been a summary point of what he has said before. You are assumed to have read them and can of course refer back to them.  

Malarkey ...I feel I have been fair and objective above in my initial post....

Do you think Phill Goff's P.R. team have done a credible job...

Do you think Phill himself has been proactive enough in seeking media opportunities....

Do you think phill himself should have realized by now ...whatever the strategy was it certainly wasn't working....

And is that not an indictment on him as Leader in itself.

I'm calling your bluff Wol. My policies:


Tobin tax on all financial transactions . Capital gains tax too.

Company directors who lose other people’s money lose their own shirts.

Govt can slowly increase money supply  to build national infrastructure, and provide training for young people.

MP’s to wear shirts emblazoned with their sponsors. MP’s salary only increases at rate of inflation. Review number of MP’s

Anybody receiving bailout money is barred from any directorship

Organ donor cards replaced with opt-out cards.

Right to die legislation.

Norwegian-style oil revenue policy 

MP’s stay in Halls of Residence style accomodation near parliament.  All existing travel perks for former MP’s are canned.

Private health companies that use state trained staff, doctors, nurses, clinicians, etc. should pay a levy worth 25% of the staff pay to the state to reimburse them for the training costs and help with training in the future.

To introduce a prohibition of deception act that makes it illegal for MPs to knowingly lie. Election manifestos are legally binding.

Anybody convicted for fraud should be forced to dress as pirates in whatever job they get in the future.

To include a 'none of the above' box on the ballot paper and that vote to be counted as a cast vote.

3 strikes law for white collar crime as well as violent crime.

Increase taxes on cigarettes, alcohol, and the very wealthy (IRD have right to tear open any trusts)

Prisoners have to do work ie making numberplates or stab-vests etc

One year on dole starts with 3 months work / training

PPP’s but with tight conditions on Private partners

Intermediate schools go for 4 years then kids go to either an academic school, or a “trade” school


Now lets hear yours Wol. What are your ideas?


 Fair enuff...

Tobin tax on all financial transactions .That's a tax on top of gst because gst is a tax on payments for g&s and is therefore a FT.! It's a tax with no scope of identifying the consequences in any way. A jump to see how deep the muddy water is!

Capital gains tax too. We already have this if not in name..the 15% Labour new tax would mean a 'shifting of the deck chairs' and in Labour's hands it would mean a deeper hole.

Company directors who lose other people’s money lose their own shirts. Who would then want to be a director! Better the criminal justice system be seriously upgraded and the punnishments set to match those handed out in the USA.

Govt can slowly increase money supply  to build national infrastructure, and provide training for young people. No it cannot as this would amount to slowly increasing the debasement of the currency..exactly what is going on now and it is theft by govt from savers. The infrastructure can be built from savings if govt and local govt stop the bloody splurging waste and dependence on credit. Yes it would take longer but it would not carry debt and debasement.

MP’s to wear shirts emblazoned with their sponsors.Great idea 

MP’s salary only increases at rate of inflation. Cut the number back to 60 and cut the salaries to be on a par with those in the teaching/nursing sector 

Anybody receiving bailout money is barred from any directorship. Define bailout money

Organ donor cards replaced with opt-out cards.who gives a shite

Right to die legislation. ditto

Norwegian-style oil revenue policy. Great idea but impossible to get the sods in the Beehive to accept it.

MP’s stay in Halls of Residence style accomodation near parliament.  All existing travel perks for former MP’s are canned. Fabulous idea and not a chance in hell of it happening. Anyway, imagine the trouble caused by all those labour 'men' roaming about the corridors at night!

Private health companies that use state trained staff, doctors, nurses, clinicians, etc. should pay a levy worth 25% of the staff pay to the state to reimburse them for the training costs and help with training in the future. They would close down and the full cost of care would hit the taxpayers..bad idea.

To introduce a prohibition of deception act that makes it illegal for MPs to knowingly lie. Election manifestos are legally binding. Nice concept ,impossible to get the sods to pass the laws that would bash them over the head for being liars and setting out to buy votes.

Anybody convicted for fraud should be forced to dress as pirates in whatever job they get in the future.NO, that would reward them as Pirates always get paid to stop being naughty.

To include a 'none of the above' box on the ballot paper and that vote to be counted as a cast vote. To what end...better to have the option to vote against one candidate, if not for any one of them!

3 strikes law for white collar crime as well as violent crime. Agreed. But can you afford the jails!

Increase taxes on cigarettes, alcohol, Gets to be pointless as people learn to grow and make their own fags and booze. and the very wealthy (IRD have right to tear open any trusts) Dumb idea as it leads to the Cuban economic decay with the flight of the wealth and those capable of generating it. They will bugger orf.

Prisoners have to do work ie making numberplates or stab-vests etc..Sounds great but costs heaps and takes jobs away from non criminals...better to force them to learn skills..reduce sentence as skills increase!

One year on dole starts with 3 months work / training. again this would cost heaps...who pays for the training...better to reduce the cost of youth labour to firms prepared to take on youth and train them.

PPP’s but with tight conditions on Private partners. No, the private sector will by its very nature rort the state. Either all private or not.

Intermediate schools go for 4 years then kids go to either an academic school, or a “trade” school....NO....as a teacher it was bloody obvious to me the pupils learn at different ages at different speeds...Somebody named Albert E. had that very problem 100 years ago...think about it

Chuckle. I think you nailed it there Malarkey.

Um... no I think Wolly has been known to trash National as well....he's probably really Winston Peter's in uh drag....


John you state

.........Ahem. They also have a capital gains tax 

I refer you to the economist (since you are quoting from it) 23rd July.

Texas is thriving. It is already the second most-populous state after California and is growing fast. Newcomers are attracted by the absence of state income and capital-gains taxes 



John:  No state capital gains tax.  They still have a Federal capital gains tax, as does the rest of the developed world (except NZ of course).


"The Capital gains tax of Texas is levied on any profit obtained from the sale of investment properties and real estate. It is a federal tax and regulated by the Internal Revenue Services"

Don't mislead please.

Cheers to all. 

Fair enough.

But I hate these general sweeping statements that other countries have a Capital Gains Tax  therefore so should we. Within the US (which is such a huge economy) there are variations. The economist article shows that lack of a CGT is an advantage to growth within that (large US) economy.

In NZ I have also heard the Green Party quoting Poland as an example of a country with a CGT, but in Poland you get a 3% annual depreciation on any property (which recognises that values go down). so their CGT is actually based on recovering any over depreciation.

I am not anti CGT, but I just dislike the lack of clarity in the arguments for it




Agree, I can't recall reading any real argument for the CGT. "The rest of the developed world has it" - Yeah good one!

WE CAN'T PAY BACK THE NATIONAL DEBT, EVER! putting a CGT in place is not going to make any difference to the outcome, god there some people who just do not understand how it all hangs together. It's all about squeezing the last drop of blood out of people until they die.Perhaps Iain Parker can explain it all again, his slide show didnt have enough bright block colours in it.

Bill will not balance the books, it's not possible while on the current course, the global debt situation is going to further get worse, and until the primary bond dealers/holders are told to stick it up their ars@ as a start the global situation is going to take us down with it sooner or later, so Wolly ,Malarky is partly correct, because JK/BE are currently in charge and are doing ,and will do what they have been told, you just cant accept that can you! Still they are only fullfilling the agreements that Muldoon signed the country into as finance minister eh, and which Douglas & Richardson continued with, join the dots FFS!

Those who simply think their responsibility begins & ends with a vote every three years, just don't bother because you are part of the problem if that all you are prepared to do. Wakey wakey time ...Maybe people think its fun to be screwed & lied to every day!

VL - Great list, won't happen though, can't think why.


Lloyd:  how is taxing people for something that is currently totally untaxed to the massive degree of 15% "squeezing the last drop of blood out of people until they die"?  15% tax on a previously untaxed income class is hardly that onerous. 

I guess because people are used to getting their income tax-free makes it seem so much more painful.  Those who have 30% taken from their pay every week before they see it take it for granted more. 

I note that there are a lot of Tea-Party type arguers that then move straight onto generalised complaints about the state of the world or how tax money is spent inefficiently. 

Thus moving swiftly away from how the costs of essential services can be spread equitably around the income-earning population

Cheers to all.


Philly....you need to step back and look at the forest...look at what you are suggesting... "15% tax on a previously untaxed income class".....ask yourself ...WHERE would that 15% come from!.....it's not cash in the mattress Philly

Wolly:  I am happy to respond, but am afraid that your comment is a little incoherent.

I am talking about a monetary return from sale of an asset. 

Not "cash in the mattress" whatever that means. 

What are you talking about?

Thanks for replying


Maybe one of the answers to John's question lies in the response of the Teachers Union in this article. Maybe some "poor' people have worked out this sort of attitude isn't the right way



The problem with right-wing economics is that they encourage greed and corruption. The problem with left-wing economics is that they encourage laziness and corruption.

In fact, the real problem is people: People are greedy, lazy and corrupt.

Left-wing economics appears to make more sense simply because it usually mandates a little more environmental and social conscience by attempting to reduce cost transferance.

Bravo! Succinct and to the point.

You can simplify it further.

Leisure is simply a kind of good - it's something that people value and are prepared to pay for.  As such, laziness is just one form of greed.  And corruption is not separate either - it's one of the things that results from greed (in that it seems unlikely that anyone would indulge in corruption for its own sake, or with a view to making themselves worse off).

Greed - or, to put it more nicely, the desire to make things better for oneself and one's family - is as fundamental to human nature as gravity is to physics.   Like gravity, it's something that you simply have to recognise as fact, much as you might dislike some of its effects and wish it were otherwise.

I therefore reach the opposite conclusion as to right-wing vs.left-wing. It seems to me to make far more sense to work with a force of nature than to try to regulate against it  


Im not so sure on the left significantly being better when you compare apples with apples.. The problem is degree I suspect....ie I think that when you look at the right and its distance/degree from centre and then look at the left as an equal distance/degree the opposite way from centee there is litle difference except detail.  Both want to exploit resources for the gain of their respective constituants and will take no prisioners if challenged/curtailed.  Classic example is AGW....the rabid right and the loony left both deride the science in equal vemonous amounts IMHO....you cant really tell them apart....interestingly I think both sets of wackos are equally stupid, blinkered and fanatical.



Here's another reason why some 'poor' folk vote National:

 "Labour leader Phil Goff has rubbished suggestions his deputy Annette King may step down and that he recently asked his front bench whether he should do the same. In an article published on election prediction website iPredict…" herald

Phil's being 100% honest....the suggestion was the whole front bench step down...and he asked them if they would like to be in his shoes come December...!

One paradoxical consequence of this “last-place aversion” is that some poor people may be vociferously opposed to the kinds of policies that would actually raise their own income a bit but that might also push those who are poorer than them into comparable or higher positions.


I don't think they see the worst place as poorer but as a different class all together as in:

The information provided by Ms Bennett's office shows Ms Fuller receives $715 net a week and Ms Johnston $554. Both are getting the allowance for pre-degree study. Ms Fuller gets $28 a week. She also got the allowance from 2004 to 2006, and in 2006-07 was given $9560 under an Enterprise Allowance to start a cleaning business. She said yesterday this had since closed because she had ongoing illness problems.


The left have long lost touch with the working class (aka the red necks).  Foreshore and seabed  anyone?

The economist article is meaningless and unsupported speculation.

Just another case of someone purporting to speak on behalf, and put words in the mouth of, other people.

There it is Parky...the answer to all your dreams...well the money ones anyway..". forced to borrow".....

Imagine a country where nobody and I mean not one living person, borrows a penny but where everyone saves to have what cash they need to buy stuff.....and where the govt never begins a project or makes a payment promise without having the funds in the vault to pay for it.

That would be something to argue for Parky.

Lower paid workers live where people on the dole play stereos into the early hours of the morning and liberal rules re noise control and policing mean they get away with it (and to rub it in rental owned by one of Helen Clarkes entreprenurial Chinese immigrants.... extra rooms in the garden- it's what they do in the beloved Garden City).