Monday, May 12, 2008

The Government report card: 'Not Achieved'

Libertarianz party president Craig Milmine welcomed an enthusiastic group of activists and supporters to the election year party conference in Auckland over the weekend.  Here's a lightly edited copy of his welcoming speech:

Good morning

My name is Craig Milmine, president of the Libertarianz Party, and it is my pleasure to welcome you to the 2008 Libertarianz Annual Conference.

I am proud to preside over Libertarianz because it seeks to protect individual rights and works to reduce government interference in all aspects of our lives.   Since I'm a teacher in my professional life, I would like to present this morning an NCEA report card in individual rights for the parliamentary parties, and offer the only sane and rational alternative available: Libertarianz.

Let's look first at the Labour Party's result for 'Helping the Poor: 101,' which will assist in showing you that at this 2008 general election the Libertarianz Party is effectively the only opposition party around.

In an upcoming election where there is no discernable difference between Labour and National, or Labour and anyone else, Libertarianz is the only party that in this election will be offering tax cuts and cuts in government expenditure.  We do not have our heads in the sand and think we can have our sand and eat it too; unlike every other party we understand that cutting taxes means cutting government expenditure. We are the only party that knows that cutting taxes and government expenditure is a good thing, and why.

  • We know that reducing people's dependence on the state promotes independence and cooperation. Living on a state benefit would have to be one of the most soul-destroying and ambition-destroying lifestyles there are. It offers no incentive to improve your lot; it leaves beneficiaries at the mercy of the bureaucracy; and it actively punishes beneficiaries for earning money by imposing an incredibly high marginal tax rate on any earnings you might make.
  • We know that at the same time as having supposedly record low unemployment levels, the Clark Government also has a record high number of people on state benefits. Along with the usual array of benefits, there is Working for Families where families on the government benefit are given an incentive not to work because (once again) the marginal tax rate actively punishes families for earning more money.
  • We know this too: that Labour is determined to have more beneficiaries stuck in poverty with barriers preventing their ascent, because Labour needs a poor class who they they rely upon for votes.

Cutting government expenditure is a fantastic thing and Libertarianz are proud to say it. Cutting government expenditure allows us to cut taxes. Cutting government expenditure allows people to keep their own money in their pocket, or their savings account.  Cutting government expenditure means that government consumes less, while businesses can invest more.  To everybody but Michael Cullen and Bill English, it should be obvious which is more productive.

As a transitional policy, Libertarianz will happily support moves to remove all income tax below $10,000, effectively making this a tax-free threshold for everyone. This will reduce the high marginal tax rate that beneficiaries face when they look for paid employment. This simple act will do more to help Labour’s underclass of poor than anything they have offered up in their eight and a half years of born-to-rule power.

With the value of the surpluses that Labour has been taking, they could have gotten rid of GST altogether. This would have directly helped the poor of New Zealand because the poorest in New Zealand have to spend the highest proportion of the income on GST. I am brought to the conclusion once again that Labour needs the poor to stay poor so that the Labour Party can maintain their block of gratefully miserable beneficiaries.

At a time when low-skilled jobs are being exported overseas, the government has raised the minimum wage –- effectively driving these industries out of the country even faster.  As the market responds to a more expensive labour market, the results are a smaller manufacturing sector, automated supermarket checkouts, low numbers of restaurant serving staff per customer and highly automated factories .

We are seeing all of these in New Zealand but we still have record beneficiary numbers and the largest drop in people in paid employment in 19 years.  These are the people locked out of earning a wage by the government making their labour too expensive. Price fixing of low-skilled labour through minimum-wage laws is causing unemployment, poor service and the flight of New Zealand industries overseas.

If elected Libertarianz will move to reduce or preferably remove minimum wage laws in New Zealand.

So by Labour’s declared standards of “we must help the poor,” Labour themselves are failing abysmally. Only Libertarianz will remove the government barriers that are keeping  New Zealand’s poor poor.

Maybe I’m being a bit harsh on the Labour Party. Perhaps its time to give them some NCEA gradings. Being a secondary school teacher I have to give out the grades of Not Achieved, Achieved, Achievement with Merit, Achievement with Excellence and Not Yet Competent. At this point I must ask you all to stop laughing.

For all the reasons already stated, I’m going to give the Labour Party a Not Achieved for 'Helping the Poor: 101.'

For their grade in 'TAX:101,' you will recall that in 1999 the Labour Party pledged no tax increases for 95% of the population. With over 15% now in the upper income tax bracket -- inflation caused by government expenditure has pushed incomes into higher tax brackets -- while new taxes on petrol, and increased taxes on cigarettes and alcohol have added to this effective tax increase, I think it is fair to give the Labour party a Not Achieved for 'TAX:101.'

Michael Cullen has been promising tax cuts since 2004 – perhaps in this instance we should take him at his word about promised upcoming tax cuts and say that it is Not Yet Competent for 'TAX:102' – however missing the assessment deadline by four years would normally count as a Not Achieved, even under NCEA's low standards.

In 'Economy:101' -- the Labour Party upon taking office promised to turn New Zealand into a knowledge economy and raise our incomes up into the top half of the OECD.  That’s a pretty straight forward Not Achieved.

In 'Education:101' – literacy rates are appalling. Not Achieved.

In 'Health:101' – Not Achieved doesn’t even begin to describe the mess that is the public health system.

In 'Free and Fair Elections:101,' the Labour Party initially did not achieve, but in an unprecedented revision of the course through retrospective legislation, Labour managed to Achieve with Merit in the newly named course of 'Protection of Incumbency:101.'  This course has recently awarded a scholarship to Robert Mugabe, so the Labour Party is in good company. Of course in passing 'Protection of Incumbency:101' they automatically failed to achieve in 'Rule of Law:101' and 'Lack of Corruption:101.'

In fact, looking at Labour’s record of achievement – there are only two things a libertarian can find favour with; these were the passing of the Civil Union legislation and prostitution legalisation. That is all I can find in nine years of rule. On that basis, it is well and truly time for them to go.

But what of the alternatives.

Let’s take a minute to count all the ways that the National Party policies differ from the Labour Party’s.

  • The Labour Party has bought a big train set.  National has pledged not to sell it.
  • National is looking to reintroduce Think Big for telecommunications. Labour is looking to Think Big with Rail.
  • Labour will continue to grow New Zealand’s bloated bureaucracy.  National will keep our bloated bureaucracy as it is.
  • The Labour Party will not charge interest on student loans. The National Party will not charge interests on Student Loans
  • National will bring in tax cuts without any cut in expenditure. Labour will bring in tax cuts without any cut in expenditure.
  • The National Party supported banning Party Pills. The Labour supported banning party pills
  • The Labour and National party will not get rid of the Maori seats
  • Labour and National both supported the prohibition on smacking.
  • Labour will introduce policies to destroy New Zealand’s economy in order to have no actual impact on global warming. National has berated the Labour Party for delaying the introduction of policies that will destroy New Zealand’s economy in order to have no actual impact on global warming.
  • Both National and Labour support the Resource Management Act, which is preventing new, cheap electricity generation. The RMA is now restricting housing development in New Zealand so much that we have some of the most expensive housing in the world as a proportion of income. The mortgage interest payments alone on the average house price in New Zealand is nearly twice New Zealand’s average income. That is without paying any of the principle off. Both Labour and National’s response to this has been a mixture of more rules and regulations about forcing developers to build cheaper housing.
  • The one thing to National’s credit is that they will get rid of the Electoral Finance Act – the largest assault on Free Speech that New Zealand has seen since the Muldoon era of controlling the media. For this National should received an Achieved – which could rise to an Achieved with Excellence if only they would get rid of taxpayer funding of political parties, and remove the law that prevents political parties from spending their own money on election broadcasting.

So, while I will be thrilled to see the Labour Party go because I believe that politicians should be changed as regularly as nappies– and for the same reason -- National offers absolutely no alternative.

What of the other parties?

The report card for the Greens reads as follows (in language that would not be deemed "supportive" enough to go on an actual school report card):

  • 'Legalising Marijuana:101' - the Greens show a general disinterest in this subject – which is a shame because it was the only thing they were good at.
  • 'Transport Efficiency:101' – The Greens opposition to any transport initiative except highly subsidised, often empty, wasteful, carbon dioxide spewing buses and trains indicate that they have no fucking clue about the environment whatsoever.
  • 'Energy Alternatives:101' – The Greens's opposition to electricity generated by hydro, coal, gas, wind or nuclear indicates that for the Green Party, the lights are not on, and there is nobody home.

Moving to New Zealand First:

  • In accepting the 'Baubles of Office:101' Winston has done exceptionally well and he has continued to excel in the course 'Typical Xenophobic Rant Against Anyone Slightly Foreign:101,' managing to just outdo the Maori Party.

In 'Being a Member of the Labour Party without Actually being in the Labour Party:101,' United Future and Jim Anderton’s Progressive Party have done very well this year, andhave excelled in Lapdog:102 and 103. However they will need to maintain this level of achievement in the course of 'Being a Member of the Labour Party Without Actually Being in the Labour Party:101' if they want to be a member of the National Government next year.

Out of the parliamentary parties – that leaves the ACT party. What have they been up to?

When Labour, United Future, the Greens, Jim Anderton and NZ First were rorting the electoral system, Rodney Hide was busy showing off his new body. The leader of the Libertarianz got over showing off his body years ago and (much to the consternation of Dunedin’s letter posters) and has moved on to showing up the government. While Rodney Hide was busy dropping his dance partner on dancing with the stars, Bernard Darnton was dropping off papers in the high court challenging the Labour party’s 2005 election pledge card rort. An action that Bernard would have won, had the government not retrospectively changed the law.

However in doing so, Labour started the electoral slide that they are now experiencing. Labour’s slide continued with the passing of the anti-smack law. Libertarianz were right there in the organisation of opposition to this law. Mitch Lees organised a march on parliament. Where were ACT?

My understanding is that the ACT tax policy is that the total tax take will not rise beyond the level of inflation. This makes ACT the only party in parliament not offering a tax cut!

If any one of these parties offered a consistent message of freedom and rolling back state interference in our lives then we could dismantle Libertarianz right now and join them. However, there is no sign of that happening. Libertarianz has been around 12 years and we are here to stay.

We are effectively the only opposition party. We have been in amongst all of the important political questions of the day from the freedom of speech, free and fair elections, through to providing real solutions to government caused problems such as housing unaffordability and a failing health system.

When we make submissions to parliament, our principles are recognised and the politicians occasionally take heed of what we say. The “nanny state” argument is reported as being a “huge” factor by government insiders in preventing the government from introducing even more draconian legislation than we have already seen.

At the Last election, all of the small parties were squeezed by a close election between National and Labour, and the Libertarianz vote was squeezed by a National leader with visible libertarian leanings.

All that has changed. The National Party is the Labour Party is the National Party is the Labour Party. One party has a lot of teachers, gays and unionists, the other has a lot of farmers and middle class businessmen. The people may be different. The policies are not.  They are statist from top to bottom.

Libertarianz have very different policies. Our policies are radical in that they will get the state out of our lives and allow human ingenuity, ambition and compassion to flourish. We offer an enormously positive and liberating set of policies. In contrast to every other political party we are offering to hand back control of your life – to you.

Libertarianz has developed a number of transitional policies that show how we can reduce government in a step-by-step process – always with the libertarian goalposts in sight. Today we will hear another of the transitional policies being presented.

We have some strong advertising campaigns well into the planning stage. Today we will present Libz.TV and Libz in Print.

This election, Libertarianz will be putting up more candidates than ever before – both in electorates and on the list. Nominations are still open but we already have more people putting their name forward to stand as electorate candidates for Libertarianz than stood in 2005.

Many of these candidates are first-time candidates and we will be hearing from a number of them as well as some experienced ones throughout the day.

We plan to fight this election as serious contenders. Our ideas are interesting, principled and they work. This makes a huge contrast with the other parties. If we can get the necessary publicity and funding -- and our programme for both is already underway -- we can make a realistic go at getting Libz in parliament. Electoral success in New Zealand is not that hard, despite the Electoral Finance Act.

I hope that by the end of today that you will come away with ideas, confidence and networks to enable you spread the freedom message this election.

Well, that completes the report card, so it is now my great pleasure to declare the Libertarianz Conference open for business. . .

You can visit the Libertarianz website now and join up for Election '08.  Go to it!

UPDATE 1:  A video of Craig Milmine's report card for the National Party's performance -- part of what  got you all so excited here -- is now up at the Libz TV site.

Enjoy.

UPDATE 2:   We said earlier in commenting upon this post that

    If we are under some misapprehension [about ACT's tax policy] Rodney can simply stand up in Parliament this afternoon and announce ACT's tax policy is to cut taxes to [?]%.
    He can then announce a long list of freedom related policies, legislation ACT would repeal, spending cuts ACT would manifest and all other measures that [former] ACT supporters desperately want.

And it looks like Rodney and Roger were listening.  Today at lunchtime, Rodney and Roger held a press conference to announce at least the first of the two points above.  Reports Stuff:

    ACT would immediately make the first $10,000 of income tax free, which would give an average wage earner an immediate tax saving of $50.
   
Then it would abolish the 39c "envy rate" and make the whole system as low and flat as possible.
   
ACT will release details of its tax and other policies on Sunday.

Do you see now what honest criticism can do? I look forward now to seeing announced on Sunday the long list of freedom related policies, legislation ACT would repeal, spending cuts ACT would manifest and all other measures that [former] ACT supporters desperately want to see.

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35 Comments:

Blogger libertyscott said...

Ah wish I could've been there.

All good stuff from Craig, trust it went well then.

5/12/2008 09:47:00 am  
Blogger Comrade MOT said...

My understanding is that the ACT tax policy is that the total tax take will not rise beyond the level of inflation. This makes ACT the only party in parliament not offering a tax cut!

This is a most stupid comment, acts policy is to cap spending increaces equal to inflation so that the tax take as a proportion of GDP decreaces. All the other parties wish will increace spending more than inflation as GDP increaces, keeping spending about constant as a proportion of GDP(or small decreace than ACTs in the case of national). Therefore it is an incredibly stupid thing for him to say. Im not saying that makes act libertarian, but you can critisise them on actual policies, not on make believe ones. ACT would clearly deliver the biggest tax cut of all the parties.

5/12/2008 12:32:00 pm  
Blogger Comrade MOT said...

note first para should be in quotations.

Also in brackets should be "(or smaller decreace than ACT's in the case of national)"

5/12/2008 12:35:00 pm  
Anonymous Richard McGrath said...

Comrade mot: On the ACT website I could only find the section entitled A Tax Cut For Every Worker. This does not mention tagging tax take to GDP. It does mention reducing the marginal tax rate to 25% and still taxing earnings below $38k at 15% and that isn a move in the right direction. Libertarianz would make income up to $10k tax free, and tax all income after that at 15% for five years until it was abolished altogether. Libz don't use GDP as a basis for setting tax rates, they use the fact that taxation is extortion and theft and should therefore be discontinued altogether, as a basis for writing its tax policy.

Scott - the conference was a beauty. There are some very impressive people whose involvement in the Libz team will make the race very interesting indeed!

5/12/2008 12:53:00 pm  
Blogger Comrade MOT said...

Im not arguing that ACTs policies are the same as libertarian ones, but they still offer the biggest tax cuts of all parties in parliament, and it is untruthful to suggest that they do not support tax cuts at all.

I believe that the tax policy you found on their website is the one for last election, but It will be along the same lines this year. It will definately involve lowering of the top rate, and sir roger suggested that they may bring in a tax free first so many thousand dollars.

The policy I am refering to I think was a bill rodney tried to intorduce, but any way, it involves keeping tax down, but the speech suggests that it involves no tax cuts at all.
I am not arguing rights and wrongs of it I am arguing the truthfulness of that statement quoted from the conference speech.

5/12/2008 01:10:00 pm  
Blogger Comrade MOT said...

In fact the untruth I am talking about is in italics, does that mean Not PC is lying rather than the speech maker?

5/12/2008 01:38:00 pm  
Blogger PC said...

Comrade, no one at this end is lying. Are you?

As you say, there is no ACT policy on the ACT website (or anywhere else for that matter) -- the policy Richard quoted was from 2005, and since every policy has been reconsidered since then that effectively means there is none.

Rodney Hide's conference speech earlier this year gives the only indication of ACT's intentions for this year -- and when you look at the detail it's not pretty.

The speech, helpfully titled "The Year Ahead" appeared in all its blandness to have been taking policy lessons from John Key -- making one wonder whether Hide's chief wish is to be in a cabinet delivering John Key's policy.

"To get [ACT] MPs elected we need to drive decent policy," says Rodney in his "Year Ahead" speech, "and to announce and campaign on policy that will make a difference to how the country is run." It's now April. Be nice if they actually followed that advice, don't you think?

You can scour the ACT website and the 'Year Ahead' speech looking for those tempting policy treats -- or anything at all -- that, as promised, "will make a difference to how the country is run." You can scour all you like, but you'll come up short.

So all we can go on is what has been announced, which is as Craig summarised.

For a start, Rodney's promised box of policies that "will make a difference to how the country is run" amounts to just three -- those covering "the key areas we have been working on," says Hide, which are "Health, Education and the Economy."

While policy objectives in each one of these three is wrapped in a tasty coating of criticism of the current state of play in each "key" area, there's little of substance to show why Rodney Hide's party is the answer should he ever get into a position where his vote is needed to form a government.

To put it bluntly, despite the narrow focus -- and despite "working on" these keys to "making a difference" for some time (as Rodney boasts) -- there's precious few goodies still to show for it.

After removing the wrapper on Health, for example, we find just this small soft centre:

"What Health desperately needs [says Hide] is greater transparency and accountability. Patients need to know what they're entitled to and what they can expect. Taxpayers need to know what their tax dollars are buying and that they're getting value for money. That alone would be a good first step in a sector where political success is still determined by money spent rather than results achieved."

Sounds like marshmallow to me, I'm afraid, and that's all the policy you're going to hear on one of the three "key" policies on which he's been working. Just those two buzzwords of "transparency" and "accountability."

Buzzwords abound too in the second "key" area, Education. On removing the wrapper on this shy treat we find an even softer centre than before:

"ACT [says Hide] is working on exciting policy in education that will improve vastly the opportunities for young New Zealanders and their families. We can make a big difference in education. And by making a big difference in Education, we can make a big difference to our country's future success."

This is clearly a policy that's big, exciting and different all at the same time (please pause for a moment to recover your breath from cheering), but one looks in vain to find out how, or why it's any one of these. Once again our hunger is unfulfilled, but in the meantime at least there's there's plenty of cliches in the places where real delights should be.

Perhaps all the time spent "working on key areas" has been spent on the chocolate labelled 'Economy'? On that there's much more of a hard centre, and what's said is allright ... as far as it goes ... but as policies these sure do put the "micro" into economic policy.

Hide talks hopefully about his Regulatory Responsibility Bill putting "a bonfire under mindless red-tape" and about ACT's Taxpayers Rights Bill "capping taxes to what they are now" Fond hopes, I suspect. And he talks fondly, once again, about his strangely obnoxious concept of "High Performance Government" -- an idea both frightening and oxymoronic at the same time. Really, when it comes to ACT's tax policy, this is all you've got to go on, and it's just as Craig summarises. Says Hide:

"The way to get some restraint is to give taxpayers a say. That's where ACT's Taxpayer Rights Bill comes in.

ACT's Taxpayers Rights Bill will cap taxes to what they are now. Politicians would not be able to increase taxes just on a whim. They would need first to gain taxpayer support for any increase through a referendum.

There would be no need to cut government expenditure - just to hold it in real terms per capita. That's the goal ACT will set for government. A tax cap will force politicians to budget and to set priorities. That's what ACT means when we say we need, High Performance Government, not fat, bloated government.
"

Hardly exciting, is it? Hardly tax cuts, is it.

He talks, like all politicians do at this time in the election cycle, of the "need to cut red tape" and to "cut taxes to boost the incentive to work and to invest." True enough, but since there's no policy on either (his only policies amount only to how to hold the status quo) and when even Hard Labour are using the same lines as he is, the reawaked Rodney Hide starts to look somewhat like a time-worn Rip van Winkle who's awoken to find that the world has moved on around him, and he hasn't yet caught up.

In the first election in which ACT ran candidates, it talked about slashing taxes and spending to the bone. Now, years later when tax and spending has more than doubled, ACT's current leader just wants to hold the status quo.

Frankly, it's pathetic.

This is a time for radicalism, not soporific soft-soap and the resounding echo of me-tooism.

5/12/2008 01:56:00 pm  
Anonymous Falafulu Fisi said...

PC said...
If we can get the necessary publicity and funding -- and our programme for both is already underway -- we can make a realistic go at getting Libz in parliament.

PC, you might as well organise a group of knowledgeable Libz members to further publicity via blog comments and debates (on other blogs such as DPF and the likes, but not debates here ant Not PC, since the crowd here are the already converts).

Get out there and do what Liberty Scott is doing. I get the feeling that LibertyScott is feeling lonely out there that he is on his own to promote Libz's philosophy's and not many Libz to team up with him out there (ie, Commentaries in other blogs).

Congratulation to LibertyScott that the Herald On Sunday (11th, May, 2008) nominated your blog as The Blog of The Week, with your article on Burma's bullies let their subjects die.

5/12/2008 02:17:00 pm  
Blogger Matt B said...

To be honest, I didn't like it. It's gimicky, I felt it is a bit loose with a few details. Possibly my reading of it was tainted by this comment early on:

We do not have our heads in the sand and think we can have our sand and eat it too

That's one of the silliest things I have ever heard a politician say. If this guy makes an appearance on anyone's political radar, I imagine this is will be very quickly quoted back at him. Repeatedly. I have no idea what he means when he says this, but it sounds awful.

Surely other parties are not offering tax cuts. Are the Greens? Is Anderton? Is Dunne?

5/12/2008 02:32:00 pm  
Blogger Lindsay said...

"Labour’s slide continued with the passing of the anti-smack law. Libertarianz were right there in the organisation of opposition to this law. Mitch Lees organised a march on parliament. Where were ACT?"

ACT MPs joined the anti-smacking march and voted against the legislation.

5/12/2008 02:53:00 pm  
Blogger Blair said...

Oh come on - don't give us that bullshit about ACT. If you want to say that ACT don't go far enough, that's fine, but don't just out-and-out blatantly misrepresent ACT's position. It's not going to get you votes and it makes you look like the pack of prannies you are.

I think everybody knows ACT is the low tax party - they shouldn't have to put out a daily press release on the subject to prove it. Sir Roger Douglas made it quite clear in his conference speech that ACT wants no tax on the first $20K of income and an abolition of the 39c rate. That's $9B right there, so stop wanking and whining that "it's not in Rodney's speeches". It's just dishonest and makes you look like dicks.

5/12/2008 02:58:00 pm  
Blogger PC said...

Speaking about lying and Roger Douglas, what about that one put about earlier this year that Roger was "returning" to a party that in reality he'd never left.

Nothing like a lie to get some media attention.

And here's another lie: "Sir Roger Douglas made it quite clear in his conference speech that ACT wants [blah, blah, blah]"

Apparently, Blair, you were either asleep or hyperventilating at the time Roger was speaking, or you just don't know the difference between policy and a trial balloon.

Here's what Roger said that you either failed to hear at the time, or don't wish to accept:

"Let’s now turn to one example of the policy ACT might put in place if it had the opportunity – a policy which would move education, health, risk insurance (sickness, accident, unemployment), superannuation to a market model. I stress it is but one idea, it is not at this time ACT policy."

To make it easier for you to find, it's on Roger's site (not ACT's), and is above the section headed 'Policy Idea' (not 'ACT Policy').

So to summarise:
** I agree, Blair, that you shouldn't just out-and-out blatantly misrepresent ACT's policy position. If you want to represent the party, then at least be aware of your party's policies (or lack thereof).
** "I think everybody knows ACT is the low tax party," you say? Well, count me and Craig among those who don't know.

No, they shouldn't have to put out a daily press release on the subject to prove it, but they do at least have to put out some policy other than the one that says "More status quo, please."

5/12/2008 03:31:00 pm  
Anonymous ISeeRed said...

Sure, the election result will be dramatically different if the 0.5% that supports ACT dumps ACT for Libertarianz. I say this as an ACT spporter who's realistic about ACT's chances (not good) and very sympathetic to the libertarian position on many issues.

"This is a time for radicalism"

Good luck with that.

5/12/2008 05:11:00 pm  
Blogger Comrade MOT said...

"ACT's Taxpayers Rights Bill will cap taxes to what they are now. Politicians would not be able to increase taxes just on a whim. They would need first to gain taxpayer support for any increase through a referendum."

As This means to cap the tax take, not the tax rate, this means that the amount will decrease as a proportion of GDP as the economy grows, and the tax rate can be immediately dropped.
All other parties favour a greater tax take, and do not support such a cap, they want to spend over the would be cap even if they have a slight rate decreace. The bill also caps tax take but does not prevent a reduction in tax take.

On 10 april, "Tax cut only answer to student debt", heather roy says:

"The only way to resolve the student debt crisis is to cut taxes. The 39 percent tax rate should be abolished immediately and New Zealand should be working towards a much lower and flatter tax regime - only then will New Zealanders have the ability to pay off their loans quickly - and to save to ensure that their children do not end up burdened by such debt in the future," Mrs Roy said.

The point is that the comment "This makes ACT the only party in parliament not offering a tax cut!" is quite incorrect.

Please adress the issue and admit that act is offering tax cuts rather than criticising them (such criticisms may be most valid but do not address my point).

5/12/2008 05:43:00 pm  
Anonymous Hillarack Obush said...

You won't change anything. The people want the political soap opera in wellington and they will pay whatever it takes to keep things going like what they already are. Freedom? No-one thinks they need that stuff because they all think what they have is freedom in a free country already.They are so scared of each other they think they need a great big civil service operated government to keep the other people off of them and off of each other. What they are all going to do is vote for restrictions and rules. That's is their nature to do it like that.

5/12/2008 06:14:00 pm  
Blogger libertyscott said...

If ACT simply adopted what Roger Douglas said in his speech, it WOULD be offering something compelling. In fact I'd get quite enthused about ACT being elected because it would be a decent step forward.

I look forward, seriously, to seeing ACT's 2008 tax policy. It has had three tax policies that I am aware of:
- Abolish income tax
- Flat tax
- 2 rates of income tax.

Frankly ACT, this is your best chance ever of really making a difference - you're in Parliament, have a leader who has a profile, got Sir Roger making a go at it, and National which will sleepwalk to victory so nobody wastes a vote going for you. If you can't be as radical now as you once were, why bother?

5/12/2008 09:29:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a disenchanted ACT member, I agree with LibertyScott. It's time to quit dancing and start boxing.
I do not think NZ can go forward without real leadership and vision.

Libertarians can be as scathing and witty as they like, but you too are likely to be ineffectual. The lumpen masses are going to vote for what they perceive as security. They may well be ignorant of what grinds them down and vote for more of it even if its a change of flavour with Jandal John. Unless Libz and Actoids are prepared to go stump the places they inhabit and get the message of freedom through less government regulation and taxation, we are just passing blog flatulence in the general direction of those that are playing them like a harp.

George

5/12/2008 10:35:00 pm  
Blogger PC said...

George, you speak a lot of sense. ON this a agree with you completely:

"Unless Libz and Actoids are prepared to go stump the places they inhabit and get the message of freedom through less government regulation and taxation, we are just passing blog flatulence in the general direction of those that are playing them like a harp."

Libz and Actoids should get and stump the lumpen places because it's selfishly important to gain more freedom through less government regulation and taxation, and that's the only damn way we're going to get it.

5/12/2008 11:58:00 pm  
Anonymous LGM said...

I doubt the Kiwis are going to vote for substantive change. They are of a socialist culture and savagely jealous of anyone who has better than they or who does better than they.

Jim had it right when he said he'd prefer all should be as poor as everyone else, all stuck in abject suffering, unhappy but equal. He abhored the notion of having everyone better off but unequal, with some individuals being richer than the rest. Oh, the horror! He's a true embodiment of the Kiwi ideal.

Well, what's the answer?

Talk is going nowhere. Nothing much seems to be heading off the impending troubles (certainly not Red John).

Today I'm going to buy a diesel generator. Won't solve anything, but at least, if there are power cuts, this winter I'll be able to keep warm and keep the lights on.

I still don't know how you guys are going to fix this dump.

LGM

5/13/2008 07:27:00 am  
Blogger Comrade MOT said...

"This makes ACT the only party in parliament not offering a tax cut!"

"Labour’s slide continued with the passing of the anti-smack law. Libertarianz were right there in the organisation of opposition to this law. Mitch Lees organised a march on parliament. Where were ACT?"

ACT may be not nearly libertarian enough and the worst party in the world but both the above quotes are quite unfair and suggest untruths.

5/13/2008 09:11:00 am  
Anonymous Elijah Lineberry said...

the above quotes are quite unfair and suggest untruths

Actually, the way the ACT-oids are throwing hissy fits would suggest they tearfully and secretly agree the comments are both 'fair' and 'truthful'.

If we are under some misapprehension Rodney can simply stand up in Parliament this afternoon and announce ACT's tax policy is to cut taxes to [?]%

He can then announce a long list of freedom related policies, legislation ACT would repeal, spending cuts ACT would manifest and all other measures the [former] ACT supporters desperately want.

5/13/2008 09:33:00 am  
Blogger PC said...

Comrade, you said, "both the [below] quotes are quite unfair and suggest untruths."

Yes, yes, you keep saying that, which as we keep pointing out is entirely at odds with the truth.

""This makes ACT the only party in parliament not offering a tax cut!"

Well, see above. The only policy the ACT Party has is to cap taxes at the status quo. This is not a tax cut policy, however you try to spin it.

"Libertarianz were right there in the organisation of opposition to [the anti-smacking] law. Mitch Lees organised a march on parliament. Where were ACT?"

And where were they? In fact, where has the ACT caucus been in opposition to anything for the last three years? Asleep? At the gym? Out dancing?

They certainly haven't been evident in opposition.

When Libz leader Bernard Darnton was suing Helen Clark, where was the ACT caucus?

When Libz member Mitch Lees was organising the anti-smacking march, where was the ACT caucus?

Not at the forefront of opposition, that's for sure.

In fact, leader Rodney Hide suggests he's now given up on being an opposition party, trying to be a "parliamentary party" instead. Which means, to be a softcock party promoting something called "high performance government."

Uuugh!

As Elijah points out above, "If we are under some misapprehension [about all this] Rodney can simply stand up in Parliament this afternoon and announce ACT's tax policy is to cut taxes to [?]%

"He can then announce a long list of freedom related policies, legislation ACT would repeal, spending cuts ACT would manifest and all other measures the [former] ACT supporters desperately want."

But he's not going to, is he.

ACT: supporters of the status quo.

5/13/2008 09:50:00 am  
Anonymous Sus said...

Gee, Craig .. was it something you said? :)

5/13/2008 10:46:00 am  
Blogger Comrade MOT said...

Here:
http://www.act.org.nz/people#act=/search//tax_cuts%3F_must_be_election_year
on acts website, 7 Feb 08 Rodney clearly states that policy is to abolish the 39% rate at the same time as promoting his tax payer rights bill.
-The two are not mutually exclusive.
All other parties would increase govt spending at a rate greater than inflation.

'"The first tax that Dr Cullen should cut is the 39 percent tax rate - an increase that was never necessary to begin with. The fact is that this envy tax serves no purpose, raises money the Government doesn't need and simply serves to punish people trying to get ahead for being successful.

The only real way to get tax cuts is to bring Government spending under control. To date, ACT - with its Taxpayer Rights Bill - is the only Party in Parliament with an actual plan for holding Government spending," Mr Hide said.'

5/13/2008 12:31:00 pm  
Blogger Comrade MOT said...

What did I tell you? It not like tax cuts are a new policy for ACT but you liked to pretend that that was not their current policy

"This makes ACT the only party in parliament not offering a tax cut!"
Which is and always was an untruth, probably not a lie cos you were just too silly to grasp the obvious.

Dispite this anouncement Rodney still supports the taxpayer rights bill that caps tax take(but doesnt prevent reduction).

It is meant to be a policy that will restrict future governments (whether national or Labour) from hiking taxes, and in no way implied that they ACT was the only party not to support tax cuts.

5/13/2008 06:52:00 pm  
Blogger PC said...

Comrade, you're becoming tiresome.

There was no pretence, and no lie. Nor was there policy until today lunchtime, just trial balloons from the likes of Roger Douglas.

The press release you posted does not "clearly state that policy" is anything at all, which I'm sure you're aware. Instead it offers advice to Dr Cullen, and concludes that "ACT - with its Taxpayer Rights Bill - is the only Party in Parliament with an actual plan for holding Government spending."

Which as we've repeatedly said, was not inspiring.

So now, sir, that your luminaries have taken the plunge, may I suggest you lift your own eyes to the bigger picture, and perhaps take note that John Boy's spinelessness has left your party room to get radical. As Liberty Scott points out, this is your great chance.

I invite you to take it.

5/13/2008 07:12:00 pm  
Anonymous Elijah Lineberry said...

In case anyone is surprised...

Rodney Hide did not stand up in Parliament today and announce ACT was committed to tax cuts, spending cuts and the abolition of a large number of laws and regulations.

"Socialism forever" is the ACT battlecry.

5/13/2008 07:20:00 pm  
Anonymous Nik said...

There seem to be some quite ill-informed comments on ACT's tax policy from some apparent ACT supporters.

ACT's tax policy is set out in its "NOT YOUR TYPICAL PARTY" brochure at page 6. It says:

"ACT would start capping taxation at the per person level it is today.
It's easy, add up how much tax the Government takes today, divide it by the number of people in the country and that's it.
ACT would inflation-proof that figure and take population growth into account.
So not a single dollar would be cut from essential services like health care or education."

So ACT is promising tax increase in line with inflation and population increases. Unless they are expecting to drive out even more Kiwis to Australia, that means the total tax take rising faster than the rate of inflation.

Given that they are saying now that the first $10,000 should be tax-free, the total taxation must be intended to be made up elsewhere.

5/13/2008 11:14:00 pm  
Anonymous Elijah Lineberry said...

Thank you, Nik, for proving what we have long suspected...

NOT YOUR TYPICAL PARTY ..indeed, all 'typical' political parties are offering tax cuts.

"So not a single dollar would be cut from essential services like health care or education ..ha ha, so we can expect $25 Billion in unnecessary spending?

So ACT is promising tax increase[s] ...you said it! ha ha

Anyone who believes in tax cuts, spending cuts, freedom, profitmaking can only vote for one party - the Libertarianz

5/14/2008 07:37:00 am  
Blogger Comrade MOT said...

You are becoming tiresome in denial. ACT may not have had a clear policy of exactly what their tax cuts would be but in recomending to cullen to cut the 39c 'envy tax' seems to be a good incidication that they favour tax cuts.

The point is that you have no evidence ACT ever had a policy of no tax cuts which is what you suggested.

As I explained the taxpayer rights bill does not provide such evidence, cos ACT have never been against tax cuts as you implied.

Few other parties in parliment have come out with detail of their tax policies either.

Niks comment is right
"ACT would start capping taxation at the per person level it is today.
It's easy, add up how much tax the Government takes today, divide it by the number of people in the country and that's it.
ACT would inflation-proof that figure and take population growth into account.
So not a single dollar would be cut from essential services like health care or education."

But all other parties would go over that cap. This might make ACT evil, nanny state, un-libertarian, but it doesnt make them against tax cuts.

5/14/2008 09:35:00 am  
Blogger PC said...

Comrade, I'm beginning to think you can't read.

The statement to which you object is "My understanding is that the ACT tax policy is that the total tax take will not rise beyond the level of inflation. This makes ACT the only party in parliament not offering a tax cut!"

Nik has just demonstrated that (until the announcement lunchtime yesterday, with details still to come) that this is precisely the case.

Check your dictionary. A "cap" is not a "cut."

5/14/2008 10:15:00 am  
Anonymous Elijah Lineberry said...

Comrade, I must confess I rather enjoy pulling the pissers of ACT-oids..ha ha!

Personally, I could not give a damn about most economic matters, taking the view that "it all comes out in the wash" and Capitalism will always prevail and it is therefore irrelevant what politicians do.

My personal politics are more focused on 'Freedom'..a Constitution, substantial curbs on Police powers, freedom of speech, renting your house to whomever you want (etc)

5/14/2008 10:33:00 am  
Blogger Comrade MOT said...

"My understanding is that the ACT tax policy is that the total tax take will not rise beyond the level of inflation."

This statement is correct, where I disagree is that It does not warrant the conclusion that you make here:

"...This makes ACT the only party in parliament not offering a tax cut!"

You are right, a cap and a cut are not the same, but from the existence of a cap in tax take you wrongly conclude that their can't be a cut in rate.

This is also a relative issue, If you want to talk about take rather than rate, that is ok, but then you have to realise that all the other parties despite offering small rate cuts will increace the total take.

5/14/2008 12:57:00 pm  
Blogger Comrade MOT said...

http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2008/05/the_cost_of_fiscal_drag.html
this post from kiwi blog, the cost of ficsal drag actually explains that to keep tax constant you have to decreac e the rate as the ecconomy grows. What rodney is talking about is that by Labour not giving rate cuts, they have actually increased tax take in real terms.
There fore to keep tax take constant you have to adjust the rates/thresholds every year and keep them down.

5/14/2008 01:51:00 pm  
Anonymous Sus said...

Hi C-MOT ... before you post again, please note the correct spelling of 'increase' and (oddly enough!) 'decrease'!

Call me old-fashioned Possum, but repeated bad spelling drives me nuts.

Did you, by any chance, start school after 1978? Once upon a time, not so very long ago, 'their', 'there' & 'they're' were not interchangeable ...

:)

5/14/2008 02:18:00 pm  

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