Posts tagged John Key


Labour and National – Recent Economic Policy Announcements


Both Labour and National have announced various economic policies for New Zealand over the least few days. (although the media seam more interested in Goff’s hair dye, maybe coz that’s more interesting?)

The mainstream media, and plenty of blogs give plenty of views and in depth commentary, so here’s my back and white take on them both.  Before I start the context needs to be set:

  • NZ (and most of the world) just out of a global recession
  • NZ borrowing $300m a week just to fund current activities
  • Govt expenditure as a % of GDP extremely high (ver 40%) due to massive growth in last 10 years (almost 50%)
  • NZ close to a downgrade from credit rating agencies due to high dept and future borrowing – something needs to be done (downgrade means higher interest rates in NZ – hits everyone).

Richard’s Black and White Summary

The summary Labour: Up to 1st $5,00 tax free Partial sale of selected Govt assets floated, as part of 2011 election policy
Good, bad, other? Stupid.  Aimed at vote catching. Interesting.  Novel.  Courageous even
The good Everyone gets some cash.

Frees up capital for other projects.

Being on selected assets ony , we know what we are voting for.

Means (ultimately) less borrowing.

The bad Not feasible.  It will cost 1.1billion, and even a new top tax will only collect in 30% of that.  The rest is made up with reducing tax evasion, but in fact introducing a new top tax bracket will only make tax avoidance happen more through income shifting.  remember Labour also has a policy of no GST on fruit and veges – costing a further 250 million in lost revenue.  We have to BORROW this!

Some wont like “selling stuff”.

In a perfect world we wouldn’t sell anything some would say, but I think AirNZ is a perfect example of how it can (and does) work well.

Feasibility? It isnt. Very.

Overall rating

(our of 5 stars)

Two stars (only coz some uninformed people will vote for it) Four stars

Black and White Version: Labour still has no vision.  National shows that you can put options to the people to vote on.

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AirNZ – Rob Fyfe has style


Yesterday I was on of my regular domestic flights within New Zealand, and of course flew AirNZ.

A wee surprise was that Rob Fyfe, AirNZ’s CEO was on the flight, no big deal I hear you say, well maybe not, except he pitched in and helped serve the tea/coffe and snacks (yes AirNZ still does this).

A couple of things to comment on here:

  1. He’s VERY down to earth for a CE of a major company.  He clearly was an “extra” (as they had enuf crew) but just did the job of a normal crew member and was very personable.
  2. He has EXCELLENT dress sense, and this wasn’t just coz he was wearing the same brand of jeans as me (True Religion).  He also had a D&G jacket that suited him to a t, and very snazzy shoes :-)
  3. He’s actually a fully trained crew (legitimately). This is done for lots of reasons, but one is that in case of a strike, management can crew aircraft legitimately.  It’s also a very nice touch.

His approachability actuality reminds me of John Key (that’s NZ’s Prime Minister in case any non Kiwis are reading) in a way.  Clearly successful (both personally and financially), has a good sense of humour, and down to earth and approachable.  Speaking of which I am really impressed how John key goes out of his way to say hi to those around him when he gets on a plane.  Very real, very genuine, and very kiwi (this is John Key’s web site here)

Its awesome I live in a country where the PM (and for that matter the CE of our national airline) chat with us common folk, in fact one that goes out of his way to do it (and not just in front of cameras).   I regularly accost, chat to John (I call him John, coz if I called him “J-man” he might look at me funny), at the airport when I see him, I this so he remembers me when I write him letters :-) .  Try getting withing 50m of the President of the US at an airport and I think you might get arrested.  In fact try BEING at the same airport – they normally close the whole city!

Black and White version: New Zealand is an awesome place to live.  AirNZ and NZ also have very approachable and very kiwi CE’s (the PM is kinda the CE of NZ right?)

PS: If you like NZ as much as I do, you can of course join the NZ is the best country in the world FaceBook group – everything has a FaceBook group :-)

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I quit

Govt Minister Resigns – shows integrity (esp in John Key).


Today Hosing Minster Phil Heatley announced his resignation, which was accepted by the PM John Key.

This is in sharp contrast to how the last PM acted when confronted with questionable behaviour from a Minister (which was later found out to be illegal, and meant that the first Government Minister in NZ’s history was convicted of a crime relating to their office.

I actually feel sorry for Phil, as it appears to be relatively light mistakes (and I call them mistakes as opposed to wilful lying).  But I also agree Minister need to be held to a higher accountability than the rest of us, so the right call ultimately.  I think John Key has shown excellent leadership here.  I just hope the media get the story right here.  I view the resignation as positive – showing integrity.  Yes, he was a bit naughty, but he accepted that and resigned.  In the past all we had was cover ups, even though the behaviour was MUCH worse.

Black and White Version: Good to see some integrity back into politics. 

Hat tip: Kiwiblog

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tax the rich

Tax cuts for the rich – it’s true, but it’s also rubbish.


Ever since the new tax plan was announced by John Key yesterday there has been a proliferation of the  the whole the rich are getting the tax cuts message. Even my own post got lots of rather negative comments about this.

It just shows how little journalists understand how tax works (or maybe they do but just want misleading headlines like this one).

Anyway.. I am continually reminded of this parable, which explains it oh so well, and it goes like this:


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Key’s tax changes


OK, let’s cut to the chase.  How well did he (our Prime Minister, John Key) do, and what do I think of each of the changes?

  • GST to 15% (a “we are seriously looking at” should be read “we are gonna do it, but want you to feel like it’s been eased in”):  GOOD1
  • No Capital Gains Tax: GOOD
  • No land tax: MISSED OPPORTUNITY (although also politically safe, and also better for me personally with no land tax).
  • Changes to property tax rules: GOOD (I think.  I will assume they mean removing deprecation etc).
  • Welfare Changes like reapplying for dole every year or so, encouraging part time work on DPB etc: GOOD (if not a tad weak – but politically more palatable).
  • Discussion document exploring minerals on crown conservation land of high wealth/low eco value: GOOD (the riskiest move of all politically, but still good).2
  • Adding in that any funds from the above form a “conservation fund”: EXCELLENT (win-win)
  • New “lets fix the tax system”: Rhetoric sounds fine so far, and I would like to say GOOD, but I just don’t know yet.  Will update in future posts after the budget.
  • Other minor changes (Holidays Act etc): All fine so GOOD I guess.


  1. I think consumption tax (GST) is one of the fairest taxes there is.  It encourages saving (a good thing), taxes even the black market/illegal activities (since when they spend the profits they pay GST), and wealthy spend more, so pay more.  I do understand as a percentage lower income spend more of their income (like almost all of it in many cases), but that’s not a reason not to raise it, that’s something to balance up with other tax changes.
  2. I have to say I am VERY pro sustainability, and believe over consumption is the biggest issues facing the world.  But, unlike this blog the world ISN’T actually black and white, and a blanket ban actually serves no one.  Having discussion around this issue is the right way to start.

Black and White Version: A definite pass here (not with merit though, not yet).

Hattip: Kiwiblog, for the best summary (better than the mainstream media) of the changes. I even agree with most of what he says! :-)

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The PM didnt say that! (about the NZ flag)


The NZ Herald today has the headline Let’s have the silver fern, PM saysUmmmm, no he didn’t!

Even the text (repeated below) in the article makes that clear.  Or even better watch the YouTube clip.

Not withstanding that I have said that I would keep the New Zealand flag [as it is] just simply because there are probably bigger issues to sort of deal with, my personal view is if you had an alternative … I would go with [the silver fern]

One of the better examples of the media making a headline to get attention about a story that isn’t there.  The PM actually thinks “Let’s keep the flag the same for now” – nothing to see here, no story!

On a side note, I happen to think the silver fern is an EXCELLENT idea for the next NZ flag.  I also think now IS the time to change it (or nowISH).  As has been pointed out, the silver fern predates both Pakeha and Maori, and is something both groups can related to, as well as being uniquely Kiwi.

Black and White Version: The silver fern would make an excellent flag (IMHO), but that’s NOT what John Key said.

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