Saturday, September 06, 2014

ACT: "Living wage a dumb way to help poor working families"

Now here's a solid contribution from ACT.

Most of the advocacy for a living wage is predicated on the need to reduce child poverty.

But it won't.

ACT backgrounder: the living wage is a dumb way to help poor working families

The Treasury found that two-thirds of households earning between $14.25 and $18.40 per hour had no dependants and receive little in the way of welfare payments.
The red bars in the diagram below show how much goes back to the government in taxes and reduced welfare payments, such as abatement of working for families.

A living wage helps the government claw-back a lot of welfare payments including working for families, it then helps single people who have no children, and last of all, working families on low wages. That payoff matrix is before any discussion, and there must be that discussion, of the job losses from a higher minimum wage.

Friday, September 05, 2014

Labour: Commissions and expert panels for Africa

Labour will have an "Expert panel" work out the detail of the Capital Gains Tax post election.

So what else are they planning:

1/ An Inequality Summit designed to bring together the collective knowledge of experts

2/ A Commission of Enquiry into wages and collective bargaining

3/ A Royal Commission into the State Sector

4/ A full Commission of Inquiry into the conduct and accountability of Ministers

5/ Commission a working group to develop an Action Plan to end homelessness

6/ Commission a working group to report on funding options to re-establish Public Service Television Station  

7/ An expert advisory group to review the Children, Young Persons and their Families Act 1989

8/ An expert advisory group to explore ways to improve the experience of children in state care

Then there's loads more bureacracy:

9/ Conduct a thorough review of gambling law, regulation policy and provision

10/ Adopt a NZ Action Plan to Eliminate Violence against Woman and Children

11/ Establish a Ministry for Children

12/ Establish an Aged Care Commissioner 

13/ Re-instate the Minister of Disarmament and Arms Control

14/ Establish a Chied Technology Officer in government

15/ Establish an Independent Climate Commission

16/ Establish a national health register

17/ Establish Centres of Vocational Excellence

18/ Introduce a Child Poverty Reduction and Eradication Act

And that's by no means an exhaustive list.

What a waste of time and effort just dreaming it all up. With your money.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

The Whale Oil scandal

Whale Oil Beef HookedPundits say it's worsening.

Not enthralled by every new revelation, I am only semi-engaged. But even that status would trump  non-political New Zealanders - the vast majority.

My concerns by degree of seriousness beginning with the worst:

1/ Theft of private property from Cam, and publication of it.

2/ Cam's seemingly unhinged nasty, maybe even soul-destroying attacks on individuals. He's not alone though. For example Winston Peters has ruined a life or two in his time under parliamentary privilege. Graham McCready takes down people for no reason other than spite. Cam's intent or invective is by no means unique.

3/ One, maybe two Minister's careless correspondence with and favouritism towards Whale Oil, though the 20 day rule for OIA response isn't a minimum limit (despite  MSD treating it as such). So, as Bill English said, he got a response quickly? Is it illegal?

4/ Corporate lobbyists pay Whale Oil to run favourable opinion pieces. Big deal. They could take paid advertisements in MSM defending their positions. Why does a blogger or guest blogger's 'opinion' carry any more weight or influence?

5/ The likening of this episode to Watergate. Really?

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Labour endorses 'income management' roll-out

The National government implemented income management for youth and young parents. This involves loading most of their benefit onto a payment card which can be used for groceries and other necessities. Rent and power are paid direct and the beneficiary is left with a small cash allowance.

Indications are that this regime will be rolled out to other beneficiaries who are not managing their money ie constantly seeking more assistance.

This is a policy that enjoys popular support because people want to see children's basic needs met. It took a National government to implement it.

But here's a surprise.

Labour supports it.

Their Social Development policy paper contains this statement:

"...allow income management to be used as a tool by social agencies where there are known child protection issues and it is considered in the best interests of the child, especially where there are gambling, drug and alcohol issues involved."

But then they go backwards again:

"Labour will:
lift the abatement-free thresholds for all main benefits to $150 per week.
The initial cost of this change is estimated at $40 million a year. However, we expect this to be offset by savings made by people on benefits taking up more part-time work."
Abatement-free thresholds are notoriously difficult to set. Raising them does encourage people to work more hours. But it also makes it much more difficult for them to actually get off the benefit because the combination of benefit and work is much better than work alone.

In fairness to Labour (because I blogged recently that I couldn't find their Super policy) here it is confirmed:

A sustainable superannuation system is essential and, in fairness to all generations, requires action now. The number of Kiwis above the retirement age has increased by 24 per cent since the last census, showing action is needed to keep universal superannuation sustainable. Labour will:
gradually lift the age of New Zealand Superannuation eligibility from 65 to 67, starting on 1 April 2020 and taking 12 years to phase in.

I support the age going up but this wouldn't win my vote. Look at the timeline. Once Key, who foolishly tied himself to retaining the age at 65, is no longer PM National will move on this. They'll have to.