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September 20, 2005

National's new Caucus

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A nice photo of the new super-sized Caucus of 49. Now I think I can identify all of them, so here goes. Apologies if any are wrong.

Front Row (l to r): Pansy Wong, Bill English, Tony Ryall, Gerry Brownlee, Don Brash, Simon Power, Nick Smith, Katherine Rich, Lockwood Smith, John Carter

Second Row: Maurice Williamson, Lindsay Tisch, David Carter, Judith Collins, Chris Tremain, Mark Blumsky, Nicky Wagner

Third Row: Shane Ardern, Richard Worth, Paula Bennett, Chris Finlayson, Paul Hutchison, Tim Groser, David Bennett

Fourth Rpw: Colin King, Wayne Mapp, Allan Peachey, Tau Henare, Nathan Guy, Anne Tolley, Chester Borrows, Georgina te Heuheu

Fifth Row: Bob Clarkson, Jo Goodhew, Kate Wilkinson, Jonathan Coleman, Jackie Blue, Sandra Goudie, Craig Foss, Katrina Shanks, John Key, Brian Connell

Back Row: Eric Roy, Chris Auchinvole, Jacqui Dean, John Hayes, Clem Simich, Phil Heatley, Murray McCully

Posted by David P. Farrar at 07:55 PM | Comments (38) | TrackBack

September 12, 2005

Petrol Tax Relief

National has announced further tax relief today - a temporary reduction in the petrol tax by 5c a litre. This will take effect on 1 October 2005 and last until 1 April 2006, when National's tax cuts will take effect.

The $100 million cost, will not be funded by reducing investment into roading, but out of the extra GST which has been collected due to the record high price of petrol. The net fiscal impact will be negligible.

The bottom line is that the Government has stood to gain almost $100 million more in GST over the next six months from the high petrol prices, so rather than invent loopy ways to spend it, National will give it back through reducing the petrol tax.

Filling up a large car now costs almost $100. Of that $100, 42% is made up of government taxes.

Posted by David P. Farrar at 01:29 PM | Comments (33) | TrackBack

September 11, 2005

Diplomatic Postings

The SST is speculating that if National wins that former Labour MPs Graham Kelly and Jonathan Hunt may be recalled from their posts in Ottawa and London respectively, and replaced with former or current National MPs.

Certainly if National win, I expect Hunt will be home by lunchtime!

However the SST has missed another political appointment. Sandra Lee in Niue. And I could think of no-one better to replace her than Jim Bolger :-)

Posted by David P. Farrar at 01:00 PM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

Operation Police Rescue

National has launched Operation Police Rescue. Now personally I think all you need to do is sack George Hawkins and one will be 90% there, but some sensible extra ideas are pledged:

* Boost the police front line with a target of the Australian police-to-population levels. In 2002 these were 230 per 100,000

* Recruit experienced, retired staff to join the 111 communications centres

* ensure all traffic patrols are directed to respond to 111 emergencies.

* Abolish parole for all repeat and violent criminals so police are not continually chasing career criminals and locking them away.

* Scrap quota ticketing for traffic offences so traffic policing to focus on killer roads and killer drivers, not ticket quotas.

* Take DNA from everyone arrested.

* Cut form-filling demands. Recent reports show that on average an officer fills out 14 forms for each domestic lock-up.

* Lower the age of criminal responsibility to 12; move offenders to the Youth Court after two family group conferences; and establish parenting orders to support parents of persistent young offenders to learn skills to deal with their children.

Posted by David P. Farrar at 09:37 AM | Comments (21) | TrackBack

September 09, 2005

Leader's Debate

NZPA has a useful summary of the Leader's Debate last night. I have to admit I didn't want to watch it as I thought Brash would not have had time to get prepared for it, with the Brethren issue having blown up so large in the last two days.

However he did very well, both under the circumstances, and generally. NZPA sums it up as "National leader Don Brash, under siege over the Brethren pamphlet scandal, kept his cool and put in a confident performance on TV One's leaders debate."

Quite a few bloggers have commented the same. Will be interesting to see if it affects the polls much, esp some of the contributions from minor party leaders.

Heh just noticed on Rodney's blog that during an interval when Helen complained to Mark Sainsbury that she hadn't had a fair go, Rodney quipped that she should pop up to the cockpit to complain :-)

Posted by David P. Farrar at 03:38 PM | Comments (22) | TrackBack

September 06, 2005

Another e-mail

Another stolen email has surfaced, this time on One News last night. Incidentially this pretty much confirms they are in the possession of someone very hostile to National (not an insider) and media savvy as they are leaking them over a period of weeks to different media outlets.

What is very amusing is that beloved (and desperate) Helen has categorised Bryan Sinclair's advice to "open up the cheque book as excruciating as this will feel" as "very nasty right-wing politics designed to turn kiwis against each other and buy an election".

You see Bryan is obviously referring to extra spending on various initiatives (you know the sort Helen has been announcing), not tax cuts, because there is no way reducing taxes would cause excruciating pain to Dr Brash - quite the opposite.

So to follow Helen's logic if pledging to spend more money on initiatives is "very nasty right-wing politics", that must make Helen a very, very, very nasty right-wing politician.

Posted by David P. Farrar at 07:19 AM | Comments (49) | TrackBack

$100 million for elective surgery

National has already announced it will target health funding, rather than provide universal subsidies for millionaires to visit their GPs etc.

Now it has announced it will use those savings to spend $100 million on elective surgery.

I certainly think it is a far higher priority that the hospital waiting lists are reduced, than millionaires get subsidised GP visits.

This of course is just another example of what Helen Clark now labels "very nasty right wing politics".

I wonder if there is anything at all that Miss Clark does not label as "very nasty right wing politics"?

Posted by David P. Farrar at 07:03 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

September 05, 2005

Not bad for their first term!

Labour talk all the time about how Clark and Cullen have been in Parliament for 48 years, both being in their eighth terms. They attack Brash as inexperienced, untrustworthy and having a "hidden agenda", something John Armstrong points out is "a line of attack which has been rewarded by his preferred prime minister rating taking a leap upwards".

But it is worth considering this issue. Indeed both Don Brash and John Key are first term MPs. Now your normal first term MP is given a portfolio such as Urban Affairs or Racing and told to just turn up to select committee, never ever agree to go on TV without permission, and just read out the Research Unit speech notes in Parliament. Oh yes and most importantly ask the questions that get assigned to you for question time.

It is amazing that both Brash and Key are fronting for a party which is leading in the polls, despite being in their first terms. I think it is a measure of the extraordinary abilities each MP has that they are very competitive with these 24 year veterans. Could you imagine Clark or Cullen in their first terms even being noticed by Sir Robert Muldoon?

Anyway my thought out loud is that if Brash and Key can do this well in their first terms in Parliament, just think what they'll be able to achieve in their second terms? :-)

Posted by David P. Farrar at 07:47 AM | Comments (14) | TrackBack

September 04, 2005

Campaigning in Rongotai

Spent a few hours on Thursday campaigning in Rongotai with the votemobile bus. Was great fun. I ended up being the navigator as I grew up in the Rongotai electorate and went to school there. We started at Kilbrinie Pak & Save, moved onto the Lyall Bay Warehouse and then out to Miramar shops before going around the bays and descending on the good people of Island Bay.

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A photo of the bus parked at Miramar.

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Dunedin MP Katherine Rich, List Candidate Tim Groser and Rongotai Candidate Nicola Young in Miramar.

Posted by David P. Farrar at 12:16 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 01, 2005

Typos

It's inevitable that if typos get through the checking process, they will turn up in an education policy as happened with National yesterday. Worth noting they were typos rather than actual spelling errors (such as wrong version of principal/principle).

I recall in 2003 I was in charge of producing the education policy discussion document (around a 30 page publication). I was paranoid about even a single mistake in it, and literally checked it around six times myself plus had it reviewed by half a dozen other people around the office. Interestingly each person always finds something that no-one else did.

I actually borrowed from the parliamentary library the NZ style guide for written publications (used to be published by GP Print) and got so anal I was checking whether one should use % or percent or per cent (the latter is preferred), semi-colons vs commas, whether you use ten or 10 etc. We had an external reviewer also and when I commented to her that I had checked it against the NZ style guide, I remember her asking which edition as she then commented she used to be the editor of it. That reassured me that it was going to be pretty bullet-proof and we then had a geeky conversation about obscure grammar conventions.

Posted by David P. Farrar at 07:15 AM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

August 29, 2005

We are all New Zealanders

National spelt out its view of New Zealand today being that the Treaty did not create a partnership but was the launching pad for the creation of one sovereign nation with many peoples.

Specific pledges are:
* Make membership of the Waitanagi Tribunal a full-time, not part-time, job so hearings can be acclerated
* Increase capacity of the Office of Treaty Settlements
* Appointing a number of specialist direct negotiators to work with claimant groups
* Removal of references to the "Principles of the Treaty of Waitangi" from 39 statutes with priority being the RMA and the Local Government Electoral Act
* Review the five specialist Maori agencies

Posted by David P. Farrar at 05:07 PM | Comments (19) | TrackBack

August 28, 2005

Brash on Agenda

Agenda has online the transcript of Don Brash's appearance yesterday. Worth a read for those who missed it.

The most extraordinary part is where the normally very serious Simon Dallow (a much under-used talent) goes for a silly stunt and tries to ambush Don by asking him to pronounce Fepulea’i Ulua’ipou-O-Malo Aiono's name - National's very capable candidate for Manurewa.

Afterwards you see the revenge of the past-presidents with ex Labour President Bob Harvey and ex National President Michelle Boag flay Slimon for the stunt. The highlight is when Michelle then asks Simon if he can pronounce the name.

Extracts:

BOB HARVEY – Former Labour Party President
I actually would have walked, if I was Brash I'd have walked, I'd have said okay that is an absolute trick, it's an absolute capture and I'm not wearing that.

MICHELLE BOAG – Former National Party President
Yeah but nobody could handle that name, I mean I spent five years immersed in Samoan culture and I even speak a bit of the language much more than you do, and it would take me a couple of minutes to figure that out, it would take anyone a couple of minutes to figure that out actually and I thought it was unnecessary.

MICHELLE Can you pronounce it Simon, that’s the issue.

SIMON If you put it in front of me I can pronounce it, but I again had a couple of minutes with it as well.

MICHELLE But you're a newsreader you're trained to break those bits down.

SIMON Well I'm not trained actually, I train myself but that’s by the by.


Oh and once again we had Dr Johansson as a commentator, and hey surprise once again he was negative about Don Brash. I wonder if we should have a competition to see if anyone can ever find him having said something positive about him?

Posted by David P. Farrar at 08:07 AM | Comments (18) | TrackBack

August 25, 2005

Portraying Don Brash

Goodness it has been fascinating to see all the attempts to paint Don Brash as some sort of throwback to the 19th century. His latest crime is declaring he is not a feminist. I'm sorry people but get real - regardless of the technical definition, a guy labelling himself a feminist is just silly. It's the sort of thing Steve Maharey would do.

The left are desperately trying to portray Brash as reactionary. This is an incredibly false portrait of a man who is a genuine market and social liberal. As seen yesterday in response to questions at Grey Power.

Despite an audience very much wanting to hear a conservative message, Brash made very clear he supports civil unions, and the prostitution law reform.

Don's main crime has been to twice take National ahead in the polls, thus making it crucial he is 'taken down'.

Posted by David P. Farrar at 09:40 AM | Comments (80) | TrackBack

Yay!

National has announced it is going to reintroduce discretion for police officers with regard to motorists exceeding the speed limit.

Now this is not some new experiment - this is returning the situation to what it was before George Hawkins got his hands on it. It means a police officer will be able to use his or her discretion whether to merely warn or ticket a motorist. That means they can take account of the conditions such as the road, the weather etc.

This will be very welcome by rank and file police. I know many have been unhappy with being forced into automatic revenue generation, rather than being able to use their experience and discretion to deal with situations.

Posted by David P. Farrar at 08:21 AM | Comments (15) | TrackBack

August 24, 2005

Debt Projections

Keith Ng blogged last night that debt under National would increase by $12.8 billion. Many on the left have copied and linked to the post.

However Keith was wrong, and has done the very decent thing by correcting the record, which is a small increase of only $3.2 billion. Nice thing about blogs.

The lesson for future may be that just because staff are not on hand at 730 pm at night to talk to you, it is worth waiting to talk to them the next morning - especially when not on a daily deadline like a newspaper. Especially after you have been told that John Key has said you are wrong.

Posted by David P. Farrar at 12:10 PM | Comments (14) | TrackBack

Student Loan Calculator

The Dominion Post reports over a million 'hits' within 12 hours for National's tax cuts calculator.

The student loan calculator on National's site under-estimates significantly the benefits for students, as it assumes you will stay on the same income level. My own calculator in excel allows students to set a number of variables to see how much better off they will be with National's package. Your loan has to get to be over $150,000 almost to do better with Labour.

Posted by David P. Farrar at 07:44 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

August 23, 2005

Tax Thresholds

The more I think about the tax thresholds announced by National, the more I like them because they reflect what most NZers would regard as fair. In one sense they are playing catchup to a lack of movement in the last six years.

$50,000 is a pretty fair level at which to be regarded as "comfortable" and I love the idea that people will pay no more than 19% marginal rate for their first $50,000 of income. This will make a huge difference for new employees, those needing to save for a deposit etc.

Likewise moving the top tax rate to only come in at $100,000 also works well. Psychologically that is the level many people aspire to as "well off" and while personally I would like to see the 39% rate disappear in time, if you have to have one that is a good place for it to come in.

Posted by David P. Farrar at 09:10 AM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

August 22, 2005

Labour's average student

Interesting to look at Labour's average student with a starting salary of $38,000 and a loan of $40,000.

Not only would they pay their loan off two years quicker under National, but their nominal (non compounded or inflation adjusted) extra income after it is paid off is over $120,000 over their working life.

Labour's student loan policy will only affect students for a few years - National's will deliver lower taxes for life. And let's be honest it is very obvious that Labour would never ever reduce taxes in future.

The other useful thing with National's policy is students get the benefits of it the moment they are working. With Labour they don't get any change to their disposable income until the loan is paid off.

Posted by David P. Farrar at 04:43 PM | Comments (14) | TrackBack

My own student loan calculator

National's online calculator does the basic comparisons between National and Labour for students. However it doesn't take into account the fact people do not stay on the same salary for life etc.

Therefore I have put together my own calculator in excel. Now do let me know if there is an error in it, but I have tested it and it looks okay. It takes account of both current interest writeoffs, National's tax deduction policy for interest and also tax cuts which can be used as voluntary repayments.

Basically it allows you to plug in five variables (highlighted in bold):

* Your starting/present income
* Loan Principal
* Interest Rate (keep at 7% unless you want to play)
* Annual salary increase (Labour recommends on their calculator this be at least 3%)
* Inflation Rate (Currently 2.8%, long-term should be 1.5%)

Now using the standard Labour example of $40K loan, $38K salary, 3% salary growth and 2.8% inflation the calculator shows 15 years to pay it off under Labour and 13 years under National. Yep that's right pay it off two years earlier and also once paid off you also get all the benefits of future tax savings.

On a $38,000 starting salary you would need a loan balance of over $100,000 to be better oiff with Labour.

The only thing not taken into account, I think, is Labour chewing gum promise to move tax thresholds every three years. It isn't that major and besides I suspect in three years National would be looking at a further round of tax cuts anyway.

Anyway have a play - feedback welcome - and feel free to pass on.

Posted by David P. Farrar at 03:52 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Under $50,000 and maximum 18% tax

If you earn up to $50,000, then under National your effective tax rate will be between 15% and a maximum of 18%. That's great for letting low to middle income workers keep more of their money - rather than forcing them to pay more tax so benefits can be paid to families with children earning over $100,000

And for those who claim the 'rich' will get the most benefit from the tax cuts. Well for those who earn over $100,000 they will go from paying 25.1% of all personal tax to 26.3%. Yes as the biggest taxpayers they get the biggest nominal amount back, but they do not get the biggest percentage - in fact they end up paying a greater share of the tax take.

The income which gets the largest percentage decrease is $50,000 - those on $50,000 will have their tax will reduce by a whopping 20.7%.

Also those on national super will benefit by $560 for a married couple, as the pension is calculated as a percentage of the average after tax wage.

Posted by David P. Farrar at 03:02 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

Tax Calculator

God the site has been crashing under all the visits. Most people will want to go the calculator.

Once the load lessens, I'll blog some more facts and figures.

Posted by David P. Farrar at 02:37 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Tax Calculator

The tax calculator is at http://www.taxcuts.org.nz/.

Go play!

Posted by David P. Farrar at 01:11 PM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

Tax Savings

These are just my quick calculations.

If on $40,000 you'll save $950
On $50,000 you save $2,350
On $70,000 you save $2,950
On $100,000 plus the saving is $4,750

The income bracket which gets the largest percentage decrease is $50,000 - their tax will reduce by a whopping 20.7%.

Also those on national super will benefit by $560 for a married couple, as the pension is calculated as a percentage of the average after tax wage.

Posted by David P. Farrar at 01:02 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

National's Tax Cuts

* The 15% tax rate, which now applies to income below $9,500 will extend to $12,500.
* For income between $12,500 and $50,000, the tax rate will be 19% (down from 21%)
* Income between $50,000 and $100,000 will be taxed at 33%. (threshold increased by $40,000)
* Income above $100,000 will continue to be taxed at 39%.

Also the threshold for abatement of WFF payments will be $30,000 from April 2006, and to keep the effective tax rate on extra income low, the abatement rate will be 20%.

The company tax rate will be reduced to 30% in April 2008.

Posted by David P. Farrar at 12:41 PM | Comments (31) | TrackBack

August 21, 2005

Don's Campaign Launch Speech

Don's full speech is after the link. I'm now heading back to Wellington, hoping to get in around midnight so nothing more until tomorrow.

Don Brash

National Party Leader

21 August 2005

A new government and a new direction

Address to the Official 2005 Campaign Opening, Sky City Convention Centre, Auckland

My fellow New Zealanders.

147 years ago, my great-great-grandfather William Brash came to these shores.

Along with thousands of others, he came because he saw this as a land of opportunity, a place where he and his family could get ahead.

Some, especially those with Maori heritage, will have roots even further in our past, but for all of us, the notion of New Zealand as a land of opportunity features in our reasons for being here.

We owe a huge debt to those who, over many decades, came to this land as pioneers, and laid the foundations of the wonderful country we enjoy today.

I cannot help but ask myself how my great-great- grandfather, and the many thousands of other pioneers who worked so hard, endured such adversity, and took such risks, would feel, were they able to see the direction the country in which they had invested so much hope has taken in recent years.

A country which tolerates nearly 300,000 working-age people being paid a benefit to stay at home, while businesses are crying out for staff.

A country which releases violent criminals to be recycled through the police files and the courts after serving only a third of their sentences, with some of the worst offenders being paid compensation for their hurt feelings.

A country in which meaningful grades and reports have been disappearing from our schools, with large numbers of young people leaving school unable to read or write or count.

A country in which an unhealthy alliance between the extremists and the politically correct has seen the emergence of two different standards of citizenship, depending upon your ethnicity.

A country in which middle income folk are told by their government that they are the new rich, destined to pay 39 cents in tax on the top dollars of their income, plus a further 12½% tax on the money they spend.

A country in which New Zealanders are increasingly trapped by a tax and benefit system which can see those who want to get ahead lose 90 cents in the dollar in tax and benefit abatement as the penalty for trying harder or working smarter.

I ask myself, just what would those rugged, courageous, adventurous folk who founded this land have made of that?

My guess is that they would say we had lost our way.

That it was time for a change of direction.

Time for a change of government.

New Zealand is a great country. A country of wide open spaces, of spectacular mountain ranges, of giant kauri forests, of stunning beaches, harbours and fiords.

We share a heritage and a culture we can be proud of, and which makes us distinctively New Zealanders. You can hear it in our speech and in our music, read it in our novels and our poems, see it in our landscape, our art, and our films, taste it in our food and wine.

This is the country which produced Ed Hillary, Peter Blake, Katherine Mansfield, Ernest Rutherford, Apirana Ngata, Kiri Te Kanawa, and Peter Jackson: talented, strong minded, resourceful people, produced by a rich and beautiful land.

This is a country where we absolutely take it for granted that an election will be held roughly every three years, and that a government will be elected without bloodshed, with the army safely in its barracks.

We have a great country.

So how can it be that in terms of per capita incomes we have now slipped far behind other developed nations we used to regard as our equal, like Australia?

And now even behind countries we used to look down on as under-developed or developing nations, like Singapore.

How can it be that we have a growing stream of bright and energetic New Zealanders leaving for the higher standard of living they can earn abroad?

How can it be that almost a quarter of all New Zealanders with a tertiary qualification now live outside this country – with the frightening certainty that that trend will continue if Labour is re-elected to office?

And how can it be that while the world is so clearly passing New Zealand by, our government has no solutions, no answers?

The Clark Labour Government used to talk of New Zealand gradually climbing its way back into the top half of the ranks of the developed nations.

But now, they do so no more.

The Clark Labour Government used to talk of stopping the brain drain to Australia.

But now, they do so no more.

The Clark Labour Government used to pretend they shared an ambition to see New Zealand surf the Knowledge Wave.

But now they do so no more.

You see, the Clark Labour Government has run out of ideas.

Run out of aspiration, ambition, vision or even hope.

And now they have run out of time.

It has been said that this Clark Labour Government may well go down in history as the luckiest government of all time – given the benefits of the most favourable trading conditions for our key exports for many decades.

Today I bring you good news and bad news on that front.

The good news is that the Clark Labour Government's luck has just run out.

The bad news is that New Zealand's luck is also now running out.

Our economy has slowed quite sharply.

We are reaching the end of the golden weather.

In the six months to March of this year, the economy grew by less than 1%, and almost every forecaster expects the economy to grow at no more than about 3% for as far ahead as anyone can predict.

The golden weather which has enabled the Labour Government to spend on hip hop tours, twilight golf courses and radio sing-along courses has come to an end.

Sadly, the opportunity which could have been taken to set our country on a path to greater prosperity has been squandered.

Ladies and gentlemen: from here on, we New Zealanders are going to have to make our own luck.

From here on, New Zealand will need a government that is capable of making its own luck.

On 17 September, New Zealanders will confront some stark choices.

Two very different policy programmes, driven by two very different sets of values, and two very different styles of politics, will be on offer.

It will be an important choice – indeed, a momentous choice for our country.

Today, as we formally open our official campaign for the 2005 general election, I want to tell you about the sort of country we can be – indeed the sort of country we need to be if we are to send a message to our children and grandchildren that we can offer them a real future here.

First, we must make this a country which rewards and respects those who want to work hard, acquire skills, and get ahead.

That is the reason that the National Party’s tax and welfare policies are so important.

Tomorrow, I will announce the details of a comprehensive set of changes to the current tax rates.

As will have been clear from the announcements made by John Key on Friday, following release of the Treasury’s Pre-Election Fiscal Update, our package will reduce the tax burden by $2.2 billion in year one – the 2006/07 year – rising to $3.9 billion in year three, the 2008/09 year.

For most hard working New Zealanders, that will bring welcome relief.

Between 2000 and 2004, the income tax paid by the average household went up by 24%, almost twice as fast as pre-tax household incomes.

As a result, after tax and inflation, average household incomes didn’t rise at all between 2000 and 2004.

How on earth do we expect people to work harder, to work smarter, to acquire skills, to invest more in growing their businesses if, at the end of it all, they are going to be no better off, because the government has taken the lot?

And if New Zealanders have no incentive to work hard in order to get ahead, how on earth is our country supposed to get ahead?

The programme of tax changes I will announce tomorrow is critical – not just because a few New Zealanders who see the prospect of keeping more of their hard-earned cash might decide to vote for the National Party (although I certainly hope they will), but rather because lower taxes and better incentives are the key to re-igniting the spirit of enterprise required if New Zealand is once again to be a land of opportunity.

Over the past six years, we have seen the growth of a culture of high taxation, waste and bureaucracy. And that bureaucracy is suffocating not just our businesses but also our schools, our homes for the elderly, our hospitals, and our police. It has become all pervasive.

If we are to do better as a nation, we need a culture of enterprise, ambition and aspiration.

At the heart of that culture must be a tax system which offers incentive and reward.

Tomorrow, I promise, you will see a package of taxation policies that will do just that.

One of the simplest changes I will formally announce tomorrow is in the field of tax on secondary employment – right at the very heart of my concern about incentives and reward.

Those who take on a second job today often find their tax being collected at a very high rate, with the onus falling on them to collect a refund many months later.

That in itself is a major disincentive to getting ahead, and often the result is that they end up not getting their refund – indeed, faced with that high tax on secondary employment, they often decide against that extra job!

The New Zealand I hope to lead will be one where we reward, not punish, those who want to get ahead by taking on a second job.

So we will change the way in which tax is collected on secondary employment. We will collect that tax at a rate below 20 cents in the dollar, unless the taxpayer asks, in anticipation of a higher tax obligation, for collection to be at a nominated higher rate.

We will do this because we want to remove every obstacle we can standing in the way of those who want to get ahead, whose efforts will see New Zealand get ahead.

Hand in hand with our tax policy will be our welfare policy.

It should be a matter of great shame to this nation that, at the peak of the economic cycle, we have 300,000 working age New Zealanders on a full time benefit – 110,000 of whom have been on a benefit for at least four years.

The waste of taxpayers’ money – at a cost of $14 million every day – is bad enough.

But the waste of those lives is a human tragedy of enormous proportions.

A National Government is committed to strongly supporting those who, through no fault of their own, are unable to support themselves.

But for those who are unemployed and able to work, we will find work.

Those on the domestic purposes benefit will be expected to be available for part time work when their youngest child goes to school – something that tens of thousands of tax-paying mothers decide to do of their own volition.

And the sickness and invalids benefits will cease to be a place to hide for those who have no legitimate entitlement to taxpayers’ support.

So we are offering a package of sensible and fair taxation and welfare policies that encourage New Zealanders to get ahead, and see their country get ahead.

But the risk to this country lies not just in continuing to slip further behind economically.

New Zealand is also at risk from a growing acceptance, indeed encouragement, of mediocrity in far too many aspects of our national life.

Yes, our best sports people are in the top international league, but too often our children are discouraged from trying hard to win.

Yes, our best educated people are amongst the best educated in the world, but too many of our schools no longer celebrate those who do outstandingly well, no longer give marks, no longer give meaningful grades.

And in the tertiary sector, we have seen scandalous amounts of money wasted on courses of minimal value either to those enrolled or to the wider New Zealand society – with university funding up just 28% over the last five years but spending on low quality community education courses up more than 800%.

These are sure signs of a society that has lost its way, lost its focus, lost its sense of values.

In particular, we have lost our focus on the core public services which people should be entitled to expect from the government they fund with their taxes.

And so the second promise I make to you today is that the next National Government will focus on excellent delivery of the services that New Zealanders expect in return for their tax dollars, because those services are a critical building block in the better performing economy we must have.

And because they are essential to the civilised society which we generally expect.

In no area is that more important than in Education.

I am totally committed to a New Zealand in which every child gets the very best education of which they are capable, one in which their parents will have choices about where and how their children will be educated, and one in which schools have the freedom to operate in the interests of their communities.

That is why the next National Government will take the education sector out of the bureaucratic and union-dominated straightjacket in which it is now trapped.

We will abolish rigid school zoning.

We will improve the quality of teacher training and ensure that good teachers are paid more.

We will remove the cap on the rolls of the integrated schools and restore to the 1999 level the subsidies for independent schools in order to enhance parental choice.

We will fix the NCEA.

When a child falls behind in reading or arithmetic, we will give their parents a voucher to buy the extra tuition they need.

And we will let schools be run by their boards, communities and principals, not by teacher unions, bureaucrats, and heavy-handed Ministers.

There is no point in creating a wealthier, better educated, nation if New Zealanders cannot feel safe in their own homes.

Again, as the Clark Labour Government has been carried away with its hip hop tours and its twilight golf courses, it has lost sight of one of the most important roles of any government: the protection of its citizens.

As will be evident to any New Zealander who has read a newspaper in recent months, the quality of New Zealand policing has been put at risk on Helen Clark’s watch.

And public confidence in the police has also been put at risk.

Let me be very clear about this:

I, Don Brash, will place the protection of New Zealand’s citizens right at the very top of the list of solemn duties of the Prime Minister of this land.

Under a National Government, police resources will be devoted to fighting crime, not to filling in forms or raising revenue by filling speeding ticket quotas.

We will abolish parole for all repeat and violent offenders.

We will change the Proceeds of Crime legislation to enable the police to smash organised criminal gangs.

And we will maintain a DNA data base of all people convicted of a criminal offence to ensure speedier resolution of many offences.

A Don Brash-led Government will get serious about protecting New Zealand’s citizens, and get tough with the small minority of violent anti-social thugs who are currently re-cycled through our courts and through our police files again and again and again.

No single area better illustrates the “spend now, think later” approach of the Clark Labour Government than Health.

If six years ago you had asked me whether it was possible to increase health funding by 50%, and get virtually no more operations, no more services out of the health system, I would have said that would have been a challenge.

But clearly the Clark Labour Government has been equal to that challenge.

Today, they preside over a health system which consumes more dollars and produces less value for money than most of us could ever have believed.

More money will help. But there are problems in our health system that money alone will not fix.

The next National Government is going to be driven not by ideology, not by blind prejudice, but by a simple and unambiguous requirement that we use taxpayers’ money to buy the very best health services for our people, regardless of whether they are delivered by the public or by the private sector.

And we will maintain the levels of funding required to deliver the quality and quantity of healthcare that New Zealanders expect.

There is one other core service funded by New Zealand taxpayers which I want to mention in this context.

The decisions as to who qualifies to become a citizen of our country must sit very high on the hierarchy of responsibilities of the government of our land.

Yet the exercise of that responsibility has been seriously deficient in recent years.

Scandal after scandal has occurred in the Immigration portfolio, to the point where we are almost de-sensitised to the headlines.

A National Government will give the Immigration Service a major, top to bottom, overhaul, and roll the Service into a new Ministry that draws together the functions of the Immigration Service and the Citizenship role of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

A National Government will ensure we treat the task of deciding who gets to be a New Zealander with the seriousness and professionalism it deserves.

The concerns I have alluded to today – about taxation, welfare, education, law and order, immigration, and health – are to the forefront of the National Party’s agenda. They are also to some extent on the agendas of the other parties of the centre-right, and that gives me real confidence in our ability to see these issues addressed by a National-led Government.

Finally today I want to promise New Zealanders a different style of political leadership after 17 September.

Over recent weeks, Helen Clark and her senior Ministers have attempted to make much of my relative lack of Parliamentary experience – even though it is about the same as that enjoyed by Bob Hawke before he became Prime Minister of Australia.

Well I have two things to say about that:

Last time I saw one of those polls measuring public respect for various occupational groups, politicians were giving used car salesmen and mad axe murderers a run for their money somewhere near the bottom of the list!

So I feel no particular anxiety about being excluded from that assessment.

But if my opponents are, by referring to my Parliamentary experience, suggesting that I might, as Prime Minister, do things differently from the incumbent, then my answer is: Absolutely, yes.

If the public of this country accord me the privilege of serving as Prime Minister after September 17, things will be different.

Very, very different.

For a start, if my ministerial limousine is travelling at 160 kilometres an hour, I promise I will notice.

And if I sign a painting, it will be because I painted it.

I promise to end the era of government by smoke and mirrors, and the rule of the Beehive spin merchants.

I promise an end to the creeping, some would say galloping, political correctness which has overrun our ship of state.

And I promise that when something goes wrong, it won’t always have been the officials’ or the driver’s fault.

I promise you a government of mainstream New Zealanders, for mainstream New Zealanders.

I may not have started the debate in this country over the place of the Treaty of Waitangi, but I think it would be fair to say that I did nudge it along a bit.

And if I am elected to the office of Prime Minister, I will use every ounce of energy in my body to see us create a country in which all New Zealanders, regardless of their ethnicity, are treated as equals before the law, and in which the historic Treaty claims are settled with speed, with fairness and with dignity.

My vision is of a country in which we all, regardless of background, regardless of race, can find our own land of opportunity, not through the endless re-interpretation of a document signed in a different time and for a different purpose, but through an understanding that we have a shared future, a common stake in this great land of ours.

If you want the continuation of a politically correct, social engineering, arrogant government, which has done nothing to improve our growth rate or stem the exodus of Kiwis to greener pastures abroad and which believes it can spend your money better than you can, I suggest you don’t vote National.

But if you share our vision of what New Zealand could become – a country with living standards at least equal to those in Australia, where every child gets the very best education of which they are capable, where those who need help from government get it but those who don’t need it stand on their own two feet, where eliminating crime is taken seriously and where every person is equal before the law – then know that the National Party stands ready to deliver the policies to make that future a reality.

On 17 September, I invite all New Zealanders to join us on that journey.

Ends

Posted by David P. Farrar at 02:45 PM | Comments (20) | TrackBack

Concluding part of speech

Over recent weeks, Helen Clark and her senior Ministers have attempted to make much of my relative lack of Parliamentary experience – even though it is about the same as that enjoyed by Bob Hawke before he became Prime Minister of Australia.

Well I have two things to say about that:

Last time I saw one of those polls measuring public respect for various occupational groups, politicians were giving used car salesmen and mad axe murderers a run for their money somewhere near the bottom of the list!

So I feel no particular anxiety about being excluded from that assessment.

But if my opponents are, by referring to my Parliamentary experience, suggesting that I might, as Prime Minister, do things differently from the incumbent, then my answer is: Absolutely, yes. [massive applause]

For a start, if my ministerial limousine is travelling at 160 kilometres an hour, I promise I will notice.

And if I sign a painting, it will be because I painted it.

I promise an end to the creeping, some would say galloping, political correctness which has overrun our ship of state. [probably biggest applause of the speech]

And I promise that when something goes wrong, it won’t always have been the officials’ or the driver’s fault.

If I am elected to the office of Prime Minister, I will use every ounce of energy in my body to see us create a country in which all New Zealanders, regardless of their ethnicity, are treated as equals before the law, and in which the historic Treaty claims are settled with speed, with fairness and with dignity.

My vision is of a country in which we all, regardless of background, regardless of race, can find our own land of opportunity, not through the endless re-interpretation of a document signed in a different time and for a different purpose, but through an understanding that we have a shared future, a common stake in this great land of ours.

If you want the continuation of a politically correct, social engineering, arrogant government, which has done nothing to improve our growth rate or stem the exodus of Kiwis to greener pastures abroad and which believes it can spend your money better than you can, I suggest you don’t vote National.

But if you share our vision of what New Zealand could become – a country with living standards at least equal to those in Australia, where every child gets the very best education of which they are capable, where those who need help from government get it but those who don’t need it stand on their own two feet, where eliminating crime is taken seriously and where every person is equal before the law – then know that the National Party stands ready to deliver the policies to make that future a reality.

On 17 September, I invite all New Zealanders to join us on that journey.

Posted by David P. Farrar at 02:44 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Highlights to date of Don's speech

* The Clark Labour Government has run out of ideas. Run out of aspiration, ambition, vision or even hope. And now they have run out of time.

* Between 2000 and 2004, the income tax paid by the average household went up by 24%, almost twice as fast as pre-tax household incomes.

* One of the simplest changes I will formally announce tomorrow is in the field of tax on secondary employment. The New Zealand I hope to lead will be one where we reward, not punish, those who want to get ahead by taking on a second job. So we will change the way in which tax is collected on secondary employment. We will collect that tax at a rate below 20 cents in the dollar, unless the taxpayer asks, in anticipation of a higher tax obligation, for collection to be at a nominated higher rate.

*When a child falls behind in reading or arithmetic, we will give their parents a voucher to buy the extra tuition they need.

* I, Don Brash, will place the protection of New Zealand’s citizens right at the very top of the list of solemn duties of the Prime Minister of this land. (huge applause for that one)

* We will abolish parole for all repeat and violent offenders.

* We will maintain a DNA data base of all people convicted of a criminal offence

* If six years ago you had asked me whether it was possible to increase health funding by 50%, and get virtually no more operations, no more services out of the health system, I would have said that would have been a challenge. But clearly the Clark Labour Government has been equal to that challenge.

* A National Government will get rid of the Immigration Service as it exists today by rolling it into a new Ministry that draws together the functions of the Immigration Service and the Citizenship role of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

Posted by David P. Farrar at 02:23 PM | Comments (17) | TrackBack

Jim Hopkins

Heh Jim Hopkins is very funny. He has just been waving about DBP's tennis ball and saying he doesn't know where to stick it, but it won't be in a mouth. The audience is pretty young for a National event and no-one seemed too offended - in facts lots of laughs.

Things kick off in ten minutes or so and Don on in around thirty minutes. Those who want to can watch the webcast.

UPDATE: "I'm here because Don was too frugal to afford Judy Bailey. If you had here here for what I'm getting she'd only be able to say "Welcome, Good Day and Good Night"

"We wanted to start with a haka but the Deputy Mayor of Auckland couldn't come"

Slogan for Auckland - "Auckland needs a real dick" and "There is no doubt we have got one".

"Winston Peters is in the room cunningly disguised as one of Saddam's henchmen". "Peter Dunne wasn't allowed in because he wanted to bring his pet worm". "The PM is on her way here and is expected in thirty minutes - her motorcade has just passed Rotorua" :-)

Posted by David P. Farrar at 01:20 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

The hall is filling up

Good God there are a lot of people here. There are around 1,000 seats out and they're almost full already with half an hour to go.

Posted by David P. Farrar at 12:50 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

National's Campaign Launch

Got up to Auckland safely. Was a wonderful drive with beautifully fine weather - will blog some photos later. A lovely ferry crossing to Waiheke Island where we are staying.

Heading back into Auckland CIty in an hour or so to prepare for the launch. The launch will be webcast live. I will try to blog some of it, but not sure about Internet access.

Posted by David P. Farrar at 08:13 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

August 19, 2005

Opening Address

National has puts its opening address online, for those who missed it at 740 pm on One.

If nothing else, I recommend people at least watch the first minute - quite amusing.

Posted by David P. Farrar at 08:28 PM | Comments (31) | TrackBack

$9 billion of tax reduction

National looks set to deliver significant tax relief on Monday, confirming today that the tax cuts over three years will total over $9 billion. The annual reduction from 2008/09 on will be about $3.9 billion.

The forecasts the package was done on, do not include the extra $2.2 billion of revenue revealed in PREFU yesterday.

The reduction in tax will still lead to a healthy OBERAC surplus of 2% of GDP (around $3 billion). And that is after allowing for an extra $1.5 billion a year of new spending.

A small portion of capital expenditure will be funded by debt (as is absolutely normal commercial practice) but the increase in gross debt is less than the $1.7 decrease in net worth if Labour's student loan bribe was implemented.

The 'alternative budget' looks like a very mainstream approach to fiscal management - a 2% of GDP surplus, $1.5 billion a year of new spending and then a reduction in surplus revenue above that level.

Of course people will be keen to see the details of how much particular rates are adjusted by, and how much certain thresholds move. Only three days to go.

Posted by David P. Farrar at 05:28 PM | Comments (18) | TrackBack

August 18, 2005

View the Taxathon Ad

Regardless of the election result I think the creatives on National's campaign team should win some awards for their work to date.

I've been flooded with calls and e-mails from people saying they love the Taxathon TV advertisement. It combines humour and opposition attack together very cleverly.

You can view the ad (plus a more serious one) online at National TV.

I just love the Southpark style characters. The more serious ad is a nice complement to it. The taxathon one serves as a sort of entree for the other ad which delivers the key message.

Promote the link to those who haven't seen it on TV.

Posted by David P. Farrar at 07:10 AM | Comments (33) | TrackBack

August 16, 2005

Tax Policy Announcement

National's tax policy is going to be released in Auckland on Monday (22 August).

There will also be a pre-announcement on Friday of the overall parameters of National's income and expenditure programmes. This will be the day after Treasury releases its pre-election fiscal update.

Posted by David P. Farrar at 02:35 PM | Comments (39) | TrackBack

August 10, 2005

NZ Herald on National's Immigration Policy

Russell and others on the left have been using selective quotes to try and portray National's immigration stance as close to NZ First. I suppose they have to say that.

I recommend people read Don's full speech (credit to Russell who links to it). It is very pro-immigration, but anti some of the current policies. And yes you can be one and not the other. Those arguing that are often the same who argued Don was a racist for his Orewa speech.

The NZ Herald editorial has labelled National's policy as rational and am improvement on Labour's knee-jerk reactions and piecemeal change. It does not agree with every aspect but overall is positive.

Posted by David P. Farrar at 01:15 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

August 08, 2005

A moderate immigration policy

One of the lamentable side-effects of NZ First's posturing against immigration, and especially against non white immigrants, is how difficult it has made it to disagree with Labour's immigration policies, yet not be seen to be aligning yourself with the xenophobia of NZ First.

The current immigration service has to be in a competition with Corrections, NZQA and TEC for most dysfunctional agency. Let's not even mention the "lie in unison" scandal.

I have a fundamental belief that immigration is a good thing for NZ. However it does pose challenges - especially if the rate of immigration outstrips the ability of infrastructure to cope.

And while immigration admittance should be blind to race, it should not be blind to their ability to contribute to New Zealand, and become New Zealanders.

The NZ Herald reports that the thrust of National's immigration policy will be a four year probationary period for new migrants. This means they can be deported if they break the law.

It seems a sensible solution to me. It will put an end to the endless NZ First horror stories about crimes committed by recent immigrants, which just serve to wind up ill-will against all immigrants. And it will not affect the vast majority of immigrants who settle down and contribute positively to NZ.

Posted by David P. Farrar at 07:49 AM | Comments (18) | TrackBack

August 06, 2005

Somewhat Disappointing

I have to be honest and say that I do find National's defence policy somewhat disappointing.

I never expected a pledge to reinstate the air combat wing, as I knew it was near impossible to do after all the pilots have gone off overseas. Building a new new wing from scratch would be incredibly difficult. It was possible in 2002 after just two years, but five years after it was abolished it just is not possible to turn the clock back.

But what is disappointing is no specifics around funding increases. Spending at 0.9% of GDP is dangerously low (Australia is double that at almost 2.0%) and I would have liked to have seen a pledge to increase it by 0.1% a year over six years so by 2011 we are at 1.5% of GDP.

Posted by David P. Farrar at 12:29 PM | Comments (64) | TrackBack

August 05, 2005

The Taxathon

Around a million "taxathon" pamphlets are going out this weekend. The front page is below and Aaron has all four pages on his site.

I love the pamphlet - pissed myself laughing reading it the first time, and am sure it will strike a chord with many.

The NZ Herald also has a story on the pamphlet.

taxathon.jpg

Posted by David P. Farrar at 09:19 AM | Comments (61) | TrackBack

July 27, 2005

Tsk tsk

The NZ Herald has got itself a copy of Nationals' December 2004 board minutes.

Luckily for National the minutes are quite mundane, but there will be considerable angst over how they got out. A deliberate leak is almost unthinkable, so my presumption is a copy was carelessly left somewhere.

Posted by David P. Farrar at 09:17 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

July 25, 2005

National's Tertiary Policy

National has now released its teriary policy. The first part, also part of the tax policy, was to make interest on student loans tax deductible.

I like the fact that one can intelligently justify the policy in terms of treating getting a tertiary education along the same lines as borrowing to go into trade or business. The cost is relatively modest, but this is not a bad thing as if one makes student loans too attractive, you encourage students who don't need them, to take them out. The total amount of long-term predicted student debt has skyrocketed under Labour because of this.

Labour has wasted billions of dollars, as seen by:

* Tertiary education expenditure has grown by almost $1 billion since 1999, but degree courses have grown by only 6% in six years, while community education courses have grown by 545% and certificate and diploma courses by 116%.

* Labour is spending $65 million on community education courses which have no assessment, no qualification, and no requirement for evidence that students are doing the courses.

* From 2000 to 2004 Labour spent at least $3.3 billion on sub-degree courses, of which only one third of students completed, so $2.2 billion was spent on unfinished courses.

In the full tertiary policy (not yet online), the key points are National will:

* Abolish Community Education courses run by tertiary institutions as informal courses with no assessment, no qualification and no teaching time are not tertiary education.

* Remove funding restrictions on trades and apprenticeship funding and encourage more trade training and apprenticeships by paying more for high-quality, high skills qualifications.

* Freeze government spending on student enrolment in sub-degree certificate and diploma courses

* Institutions who do not have adequate quality control systems or who have approved dubious courses will lose the ability to approve their own new courses.

* Pay institutions for students when there is evidence that students are genuinely engaged and learning, not just enrolled.

* Cut funding for any course where the drop-out rate exceeds 50% two years running.

Posted by David P. Farrar at 07:42 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

July 17, 2005

State Assets

Just to prove I have not yet succumbed to the borg and become a mindless clone (N a t i o n a l i s a l l k n o w i n g - r e s i s t a n c e i s f u t i l e) I thought I would take a mild whack at one of National's policies - their SOEs one.

The policy pledges to:

* Retain Kiwibank for at least the first term in government
* Retain the rail track network
* Retain TVNZ
* Retain the state-owned electricity companies
* Retain national grid company Transpower

Now let's just go check that again, It does say retain, not sell - damn it.

Now I understand entirely the political necessity for the policy. Most of the public react to the word privatisation with the same enthusiasm Grey Power show for visits by Jack Kevorkian. The number who fall into the "If it moves sell it" camp like me are very very small. And there is no point spending 21 years in opposition just so one can sell TVNZ one day. For the same reason there is a zero percent chance of National breaking its word not retaining any of these assets during its first term.

But here's what my SOE policy would be:

Agriquality New Zealand Limited - sell
Airways Corporation of New Zealand Limited - hold
Asure New Zealand Limited - not even sure what this one does, so sell and see if anyone misses it
Genesis Power Limited - sell - it is silly owning private commercial companies competing with the private sector
Landcorp Farming Limited - sell most farms
Meridian Energy Limited - sell sell sell
Meteorological Service of New Zealand Limited - sell
Mighty River Power Limited - sell
New Zealand Post Limited - fully deregulate and sell
Solid Energy New Zealand Limited - sell
Television New Zealand Limited - either sell TV2 only or sell whiole company
Timberlands West Coast Limited - sell
Transmission Holdings Ltd - possibly keep
Transpower New Zealand Limited - keep
Air New Zealand Limited - sell before we lose money on it
Accident Compensation Corporation - reintroduce competition then sell
Crown research institutes - keep
District health boards - keep assets
Earthquake Commission - keep
Housing New Zealand Corporation - sell houses to long term tenants
Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa - better not privatise I suppose :-)
New Zealand Fire Service Commission - keep as long as the union stops demonising volunteer firefighters
Public Trust - probably sell - is mainly just another financial services company
School boards of trustees - keep but maybe allow to devolve to community trust ownership
Tertiary education commission - no-one would buy it!
Tertiary education institutions - keep all but Waikato which gets sent to Tasmania
Transit New Zealand - keep

That should fetch a good $20 billion or so which equates to $10,000 per household. The trick is not to sell them to one large owner, but to allow mom and pop shareholders to invest in them. The Contact Energy float was hugely popular when done that way.

Oh well I can keep hoping.

Posted by David P. Farrar at 07:29 PM | Comments (30) | TrackBack

July 13, 2005

Vets Gold Card

The increasing attendances at ANZAC Days has been a welcome sign that we are increasingly valuing the huge contributions made by those who served in the Armed Forces, in times of conflict. We literally owe them our freedom.

Unfortunately Governments (of both stripes) have not done as much as they should have, to value the veterans.

Therefore I welcome the policy pledge by Dr Brash to provide a range of benefits to veterans such as priority access to hospital services and access to Housing New Zealand accommodation.

Again, without their sacrifices, our freedoms would not exist.

Oh and I see in the NZ Herald that Labour is going to designate 2006 as the "Year of the Veteran". No doubt with a multi-million advertising campaign to promote how much Labour likes veterans.

Posted by David P. Farrar at 06:56 PM | Comments (17) | TrackBack

July 12, 2005

Natmobile Photo

The Waikato Times has a photo of the Natmobile, or specifically the billboard at the back of the bus. Heh.

And talking of billboards, Whale Oil has a new one on law breaking by Labour. The Unitec lawsuit is something I have been meaning to blog on.

Posted by David P. Farrar at 03:26 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

July 10, 2005

All aboard the Natmobile

The Natmobile is back!

I missed not having a campaign bus in 2002, as they are great fun to spend a few days on, as you go around the country. The 1999 one was nicknamed Lipstick One.

Posted by David P. Farrar at 01:54 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 06, 2005

Childcare tax deductions

Whoops, just found I already have the announcement.

National will introduce a new tax deduction for pre-school childcare costs, with the deducation taking effect on 1 April 2006, and will cost around$160 million per year.

Several of my friends (who seem to all beccoming mums) have said childcare costs is a huge barrier to being able to not have too long a break from the workforce.

National is effectively saying that childcare costs will be treated as a legitimate work expense for second-income earners who would otherwise be engaged in childcare, and for employed sole parents. Up to $5,000 per child will be claimable off tax - a net reduction in tax of $1,650 per kid.

Just found the official release which is here. Also has links to some FAQs.

Posted by David P. Farrar at 01:00 PM | Comments (65) | TrackBack

Tax Policy this pm

Part 1 of National's tax policy will be announced this afternoon. The full policy will be released in stages. I am around and about this pm so may not have it live but will blog it as soon as possible.

Prediction: No matter what the detail is, Labour will claim it is vastly less than what people are expecting. This is quite amusing, as Labour have been the ones trying to talk it up to be $7 billion or so and of course no-one sensible (which excludes the Minister of Finance) thinks it will be anywhere near that.

Posted by David P. Farrar at 12:44 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 05, 2005

Another idiotic headline

The Herald headline is "National could change anti-nuclear policy", referring to Don Brash saying that a mandate for change could be gained either through a referendum or through a party campaigning on scrapping the ban and winning an election with that as explicit policy.

THIS IS NOT A NEW POLICY!

I've heard Don say this many many times before. This is a beatup from nowhere. The story implies this is some change, backflip, or reversal. It is simply restating what has been the position for at least a year, and arguably for almost a decade - the legislation will only change if there is a public mandate for it!

Posted by David P. Farrar at 02:49 PM | Comments (52) | TrackBack

Tune into Nat TV!

Yes you can now tune into National Party Television. See if they can get higher ratings than Maori TV :-)

Now it is web based television, as the Government hasn't given National $100 million to set up a broadcast studio, but still good viewing. If nothing else, I recommend people view Bill and Maurice's speeches. All seven if you have the time would be great. The TV commercials will also go up there once they are released.

Also available online are the billboards are available as e-cards. You can send one to a friend today!

Great to see National demonstrating a commitment to using Internet technologies. Has been much better since that Farrar guy left :-)

Posted by David P. Farrar at 11:27 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack