In which Bernard Hickey talks with Listener columnist and political thinker Danyl McLauchlan about PM Chris Hipkins' decision to rule out a wealth or capital gains tax in his political lifetime too
OMG! A majority government CANNOT make change?! WTF?! Doesn’t the PM have the power to put ministers in charge of portfolios and don’t those ministers have the power to sack incompetent bureaucrats? Is a violent uprising actually a preferable option here?
What happened to those people who used the excuse of not knowing what they were doing to siphon millions of dollars away from the mental health frontline and into their mates’ pockets? I’ve lost count of how many people I know who this has ruined personal or professional options. Those who are GUILTY of this should have their power and money taken away from them, causing their mental health suffering. Then they’ll understand who needed that money. I don’t really wish ill on people but I have seen such suffering of INNOCENT people as a direct result of this crime up front and personal.
Matariki greetings, watching the morning ceremonies made me think of an Aotearoa in which we all just came together in aroha and understanding, so thankyou Bernard and Danyl for reminding
me how far we have to go. I am shocked by the information re the power of unelected officials to delay and derail government policies, and the apparent lack of any oversight or action to address it. I guess there are many things to consider, from deliberate delay to embarrass a minister, poor leadership, incompetency, underfunding, understaffing or lack of training. Whatever the reason, this situation has serious consequences for the future of our nation and needs to be exposed and addressed. Danyl has called our attention to a serious flaw in our political and governmental ability to meet future climatic and societal demands.
That’s because the beaurocrats only know how to create process not outcomes. Process means you can’t be held accountable. And the cancer is now permeating business. It’s the American consultant ant and legal system solution. Make sure you can’t be sued or held accountable. Focus on process rather than principle. Procedure rather than outcome.
Personal circumstances pretty much preclude me from accessing audio so I’d be really really grateful if you would make important articles you produce, available in print.
Also, might you illustrate, with a few easy to understand visuals, just how dramatically personal tax payments have changed, over income spread, during the past 40 ? years. Accounting for the old Family Benefits, Govt backed housing loans from State Advances corp and more recently WFF transfers and GST. And, and??
I hold on to hope that the more people who understand how unfair our current tax system really is, compared to previously, the more votes might swing in useful directions for real change in public policy. The alternative is more bad.
True, no wealth tax coming soon, which is a shame, but this could be a good tactic to get swing voters. It's a distraction from the tax policy labour has enacted; 39% income tax, increasing brightline, removal of interest tax deduction on rental property. Not bad going in 6 years. Keep that rate of change up and in 20 years things could be different.
Also, incremental change is more likely to stick around. Big change often gets rolled back by inevitable change in governments.
The ineffectiveness of government agencies to get value for money in implementing policy is a concern. Certainly, incompetence of officials is a potential cause, although one wonders if the contract use of private companies/consultants exacerbates this.
Internal competition, while expensive and lacking example, may help.
While Im all for a wealth tax maybe this whole problem needs to be looked at from a longer perspective and that is what it costs to build a new home. Right now it is about $4000 per square metre = that is about $600k for a 150m2 house (if you are lucky!) plus at least $300k to buy a fully serviced pocket handkerchief section on the outer edge of town - so about $900k all up for a pretty average sort of a home - plus you have to take all the risk of building and then landscape the land and decorate the house and wait the 12 months or so from project commencement to completion. This is still more expensive than buying the average existing home. So comparatively - particularly in housing constrained market - an existing home is still cheap. This should be telling something to everyone whinging about property price inflation - perhaps something else is going on here???
The reality is that we dont so much have property price inflation we have had thirty years of constant wage deflation. The real rate of inflation has over the past several decades far exceeded the "official" rate - ie the propaganda treasury feeds us as they work on turning NZ into a low-wage high-cost economy.
What has been happening to local authority rates more accurately reflects (on the underside!) the real rate of inflation. This is all a result of the ongoing political/ideological choice to run an unproductive population-growth driven economy.
Danyl is photographed in front of books. Standard practice for intellectual men being interviewed. But at least he reads them, evidenced by the general messiness of the busy bookshelf.
Like jigsaw piece slotting satisfyingly into place, great interview/conversation thanks
Bernard. If I understand properly, the whole idea of inability for politicians to do anything fits also Jane Kelsey's work on The Fire Economy. Politics as managerialism also makes heaps of descriptive sense.
Seems like you've come back to the drawing board really getting down to the knub of things. Danyl's idea to support grass level organizations is some thing more people seem to be doing - me too
Apart from the substance, what also annoyed me about Hipkins announcement was the style. "I'm over at this really big NATO leaders meeting where we are talking about the really big issues in the world. And I'm so incredible that I can spout forth my pronouncement on this tiny little tax issue for tiny little NZ. Now pipe down everyone for I have spoken and now I need to meet with Mr Zelensky!".
Danyl has made such a contribution to NZ political thought over the past few years. He’s provided a challenge to insulated urban liberals (like me) who have been unable to hear other viewpoints because of their own righteousness.
Bernard, you have made such a contribution to to progressive economic and financial journalism in NZ by actually understanding economic trade-offs and being critical across political parties. Great to see you together.
Happy Matariki ⭐️
I thought Chris Hipkins knew something. He is an idiot. In trying not to lose votes from wealthy leftish voters he’s lost people like me.
What’s wrong with a fairer tax system?
What’s wrong with wealth redistribution?
Maori wealth got redistributed to the poor from a distant land. How about sharing some of that with the original owners who live in desperate poverty?
Greens and Māori walk the talk. Hipkins can barely talk the talk.
We shouldn’t forget the basic tenets of democracy:
Of the People
By the People
For the People
ALL PEOPLE and not some. That’s what governments are for. If you can’t entertain the thought you shouldn’t be in politics.
Yes, loss aversion, but twice. First by those whose wealth ought to be redistributed and second, by the incumbent government who doesn't want to lose power. So the plan, we export our young and replace them with grateful, obedient immigrants for whom New Zealand is a step up and who won't complain.
A cynicism as dark as the far side of the moon.
And the likely replacement government is worse.