I had an idea today that I thought may have had some merit in a recession.
What if the government was to put the minimum wage down to say, $11 per hour.
Then the government sets a tax free threshold of say $10-15,000.00, enough to exactly compensate the worker from the fall from $12.50 to $11.00? Theres more maths involved here than I am capable of, but basically at the moment the first tax bracket is $0-14,000 at 12.5%, what say we just abolished this and reduced the minimum wage by 12.5% also?
This would reduce wage bills by a large amount for small business, and result in workers having no less (maybe even more) in the hand.
I’m not sure about the affordability of this now, but I’m pretty sure it could have been done instead of the accross the board tax cuts in April. In this way everyone would have received a tax cut, and most people in the lower bracket are probably negative taxpayers anyway, so would reduce some churn.
Oh and forgot to add- would clearly be job-creating, as the minimum wage is known to be harmful (to a certain extent) to job creation
If it is not out of line of me to ask, can I request a post from you?
I’m interested in your views on National and ACT’s decision to oppose a Bill that would have prohibited the importation of products made using slave labour. As I understand it, that really is all that the Bill did – there were no other nefarious clauses hiding in the Bill.
If you disagree with their decision to vote against this Bill, why do you think they opposed it? If you support their decision, what is the rationale for wanting to facilitate slavery through allowing trade in slave-produced products?
I should say that I am aware any enforcement of this kind of prohibition is likely to be imperfect. No doubt. But surely when it comes to slavery some enforcement is better than no enforcement, especially if you rely mainly on “fire alarm” monitoring mechanisms that cause minimal fixed cost to the government.
For my part, I think it is especially sad that the Bill was voted down even before a select committee could consider practical issues about regulatory regimes.
Looking forward to hopefully hearing your views.
[DPF: I understand the reasons they voted against was that there was no practical way to implement it. Regardless though I disagree with that rationale as I think those arguments are best examined at select committee. My general policy is to vote for most bills to select commiittee unless you are actually oppossed to the objectives of the bill (eg a bill to remove remove reserve bank independence) or it is too fundamentally flawed to be fixed by select cmte (eg EFA).
I will blog on the bill with my views. However might wait until I can see the Hansard. Depends how busy I get today. Have lots of non blogging work on today
Oh finally while no problems making the request in general debate, in future prob a good idea to e-mail me a copy to make sure I see it. I don't always read all of general debate]
Lets ban imports from countries that don’t meet human rights conditions set out by the UN, or countries that don’t meet Kyoto emmission targets, or that fall below UN child poverty levels ….. its all so subjective I could just yawn, roll over and open another beer and book a flight somewhere cheap.
Expat – I can accept that there is a serious debate on a number of the issues you raise. If you ban imports from countries with lots of poverty, are you hurting or helping the people concerned, etc. But I was under the impression that we are all on the same page when it comes to slavery. Surely there isn’t disagreement on that one?!
Rob – I’m sure we are on a similar page, slavery is bad. Does banning imports from countries that have (defn?) slavery hurt the country, help the country, hurt those (defn?) enslaved, help those (defn?) enslaved, hurt the rest of the populace, help the rest of the populace, act as a catalyst for +’ve/-’ve change?
It’s all so chin scratchy and vague and SST’ish.
Not1 – You been to Fiji in the last decade?
NB: Will you people lay off the karma buttons, FFS! If youve got something to say, say it (or kindly fuck off!)
Expat – the Bill, as I understand it, would not have banned imports from countries with slave labour, it would have banned the products of slave labour. Only those products themselves. (And there are plenty of internationally accepted definitions of slavery, like in the UN conventions declaring it illegal, immoral etc) Link to Bill: http://www.legislation.govt.nz/bill/member/2009/0057/latest/whole.html#dlm2233203
Expat – I agree the enforcement is potentially tricky. That is what select committees are for. I heard that the US passed a similar law, so it seems they think they can do it. But even if the government did nothing at all to set up a monitoring program, wouldn’t it be good if when somebody discovers that product X was made by slaves the government could legally stop it from sitting in our shops? Right now, the government would have to shrug and say “nothing we can do,” leaving the product on the shelves to enrich slave owners with New Zealand dollars.
As for which products would be hit, I honestly do not know as I am new to this issue. You might ask Maryan Street or somebody about that part.
Of course if there is sufficient evidence of something being the product of slave labour for one importer (or a group) to lay a compliant against an importer, then there is sufficient evidence to make the claim in public and for consumers to avoid purchasing those products. The general law of defamation applies against false and misleading complaints in that case.
Why do we need new special rule and all the accompanying costs associated with that in addition to the fact that the rule will elicit anti competitive behaviour; lodging a complaint creates delay and therefore advantages competing products in the market, whether the compliant has merit or not.
I assume there is no economic sanction proposed for laying false complaints under the Bill – no counterweight to ensure that only complaints that can be actually proven will usually be laid. Or is that you want the cost of unmeritorious complaints to be entirely born by the importer (who might be put out of business) and the taxpayer?
It is probably a wise Parliament turns down the opportunity to send such poorly crafted legislation to select committee, particularly when there is a consumer driven mechanism for dealing with any real problems with the products of slave labour.
There are two obvious flaws in the bill – goods made wholly or in part is just code for trace your entire supply chain and if we can find one tree chopped down by a “slave” the whole lounge suite is banned. The definition of slave labour is also capable of broad definition what exactly is meant by “slave labour means labour by persons over whom any or all of the powers attaching to the right of ownership are exercised.”
Fundamentally this is an anti-trade bill. If you are against slavery, there are other actions which can be taken.
@ Chris – agree – it’s real easy to talk about “setting up systems” and ignoring all the costs and market effects. The consumer has the ultimate power and there are plenty of examples of major companies voluntarily adopting policies (which actually in practice are not against “slavery” but things like age of workers, minimum pay etc.
It’s very easy to sit in the first world and get all sanctimonious about what 3rd world countries have to do to get ahead while at the same time trying to fuck them over by conceiving local job protection schemes. Dont forget the UK in the 19th centure would have had a lot of labour which might have fallen foul of this bill.
I think expat makes a fair point when it comes to the policing of such a bill. It would be another layer of bureaucracy that would add more cost to imported items. The UN needs to start giving such countries a kick in the bollocks not appointing them to chair committees.
I’m only commenting because expat doesn’t like karma
Chris – The current Act treats products of prison labour in exactly the same way as the new Bill proposed to treat products of slave labour. It seems you and I might disagree here, but I for one think that New Zealanders should never have any legal opportunity to profit from the enslavement of human beings. Any system that relies on consumer boycotts (which never work perfectly) allows that legal opportunity. As to your other point, I costs can be awarded in the event of meritless claims, and repeat filers of meritless claims can be declared vexatious litigants. This system has worked in relation to prison labour since 1996 without, to my knowledge, much outcry or distortion of markets.
Given Phil’s predilection to that most blessed of herbs, I am astounded he would be in favour of prohibition; if as consumers we cannot be trusted to freely reject the products of slavery then surely we also cannot be trusted to decide what recreational drugs to use.
A penal institution is a physical place it’s easy to determine what products are leaving it. It’s also very clear on what basis someone is an inmate (not freely). The fact that the law in this regard is little used probably suggests that the problem isn’t significant.
Slave Labour is a concept not a place ipso facto the uncertainty is much higher.
It’s very very odd that you make the distinction between the right to profit from the sale of products of slave labour yet you also conclude that consumer boycotts are far from perfect (do they need to be to make a business uneconomic?).
It’s really a very dismal view about the nature of your fellow New Zealander. You actually assume someone could profit from the importation of the products of slave labour in New Zealand. I strongly doubt that is so. Given the fundamental values of most New Zealanders (which are also reflected in their consumer choices) most would avoid the products of slavery. Problem solved. The simple economic consequences of consumer choice fix the problem.
Why pass a law. Why not simply get the information out there; identify the products made by slave labour so we can all avoid them.
What are the products coming here made from slave labour that are being sold but for a law preventing this?
It’s heartening to see Labour addressing the real live concerns of everyday New Zealanders; not for Labour the prospect of feel good legislation to address phantom problems.
First, on a minor point, the kind of countries that use prison labour to make consumer goods do not tend to put “proudly made in prison X” on the product, and probably do not like NZ customs officials investigating around, so finding those goods is not as simple as you might presume.
On the major point, your argument appears to be: “the New Zealand parliament should not ban New Zealanders from profiting from slavery, because the market will sort it all out.” I think that is an overly rose-tinted view of how markets operate in the real world. Sometimes markets fail (say through lack of the perfect information throughout the economy that consumer boycotts need to succeed) and that is where legislative action can help.
Given his firmly held conviction that the September the 11th attacks were an inside job due to the fact that a BBC reporter stated on air that the WTC 7 had collapsed when it was still standing, what do you make of the following?
I am not sure arguing that establishing whether a product originates from a penal institution (a discreet physical place) is very difficult actually helps your case.
For however difficult that is it’s an order of magnitude more difficult to establish something is the product of slave labour.
As to your substantive point; you keep repeating the spin about profiting from slavery. What profit – I would have thought slave made products where inconsistent with profit making in a New Zealand context – assuming the slavery was known to the consumer.
Are you seriously maintaining that the vast bulk of New Zealanders would knowingly purchase the products of slavery? That but for a law of the New Zealand Parliament slaveholders worldwide and their importing agents here will be enriched because New Zealanders would be entirely unconcerned about the morality of this?
You cannot be serious.
What are the products we are currently consuming that result from slave labour – I would be interested to know the extent of the problem and whether it deserves legislative time. I suspect there isn’t much of a problem that cannot be remedied by getting the information out there.
We don’t need state determined rules based moral repugnancy when individual moral repugnancy will do the trick.
Things like this make me furious.
Goff is so concerned about the plight of poor beneficiaries, that in 6 months he has spent enough on expenses to fund the benefit for 10 people for a year!
Apparently a salary of $200k+ isnt enough to fund your own accomodation in Wellington either.
Maybe he should get an accommodation supplement?
What a hypocritical idiot.
Chris – Your argument relies on perfect or nearly-perfect information, which clearly does not exist because neither you nor I know which products in NZ right now were produced by slaves. On that score, I would suggest you ask Maryan Street over at Red Alert. If you want to argue that NZ should allow slave-produced products on our shelves because the market will fix it, then go ahead and enjoy yourself. But be prepared to lose, because I think most NZers had enough of believing tidy models of markets always work in the real world some years ago. Markets fail, often for informational reasons. That is where legislation helps.
(Also, I do not have to believe that most NZers would knowingly buy slave-produced products to argue for a formal ban. One NZer knowingly or inadvertently importing and selling one slave-produced product is one too many. By your logic on this issue there should be no fraud laws either, because the perfectly informed market will learn over time steer clear of fraudsters. Good luck with that argument, too.)
I’ve decided that I don’t like the new moderation policy. It is just not fair on the righties, banning them from being rude and abusive is like banning lefties from using words more than 4 syllables long.
racer1 said “I’ve decided that I don’t like the new moderation policy. It is just not fair on the righties, banning them from being rude and abusive is like banning lefties from using words more than 4 syllables long.”
racer – don’t you mean – words more than four LETTERS long???
Oh dear if that is the quality of public policy advice offered by the Labour party and its boosters then they will need a long time in opposition.
You claim that one importer (or group) can have sufficient knowledge about a product to conclude it is made my slave labour in order to lodge a compliant to get the importation of the good prevented. I assume the product must already be in the market since importers don’t helpfully pre identify themselves as “importers of the finest slave made products” – strangely is isn’t good for business.)
Thus the product is here already as is the information that it is slave made. Why not simply make the knowledge public thereby ensuring both the importers and retailers don’t get any further sales. The great advantage of this scheme is it is quick and efficient. Both importers and retailers would only ever do this once – they would get financially punished for not knowing to origins and circumstances of manufacture. You are also assuming that they would not be hit up for refunds for returned products.
There is no need for perfect knowledge and all that – a little knowledge of slavery would do the trick.
It is odd that the lack of information about slave made products will be automatically remedied by making a rule, but otherwise we cannot know what is slave made or not.
Are you honestly maintaining that the importation and sale of slave made products would be un-newsworthy in New Zealand assuming we could know this absent a rule?
Again Rob why make rules when most New Zealander’s personal sense or morality would fix the problem if you make the information notorious (the same information needed for the application of any rule)
I find it interesting that as a booster for this Labour party nonsense you cannot identify any slave made products in the New Zealand marketplace. I am really interested to know what they are so as to avoid them; given that Parliament has not passed this law.
So Mr Goff is the biggest expenses ‘piggy’. Am I surprised? No, not really – the old addage – ‘he who makes the most noise usually has the most to hide’ will always apply, and Phil does have rather a lot to say doesn’t he?
Any bets that the MSM will say absolutely NOTHING about this matter – or, at best, it will warrant only a very, very small sub-paragraph, and that they will hone-in on Murray mcCulley?
Chris, the informational difference between our solutions is that you need to wait for the information to disseminate far and wide to basically all the potential consumers in NZ for your solution to work, whereas my solution relies only on the information getting to Customs. Occum’s Razor suggests that the simpler solution, mine, is probably the best.
As I suggested earlier, I think Maryan Street is in a better position than me to describe the scope of the problem.
Actually Philu it was you implying that the collapse of the WTC7 was some kind of smoking gun which was irrefutable proof in your eyes of how the attack was not all it seemed.
All I have done is point out to you that there is another possibity, one that seems to make more rational sense. That is the WTC7 did not get blown up at all but collapsed as a result of damage when the North Tower fell.
Yesterday you were having a debate with Mr Buchanan about how could the BBC journalist make a report about the collapse of the building when it was still standing. I will give you the scenario.
New York Fire Department is checking WTC7 out to try and find any persons still in there and to fight the fires that have broken out as a result of the collapse of the North Tower.
The team on the ground note that the structural integrity of the building looks to be failing. They advise the new head of Department on the ground, Daniel Nigro, of the situation.
A decision is taken by Mr Nigro to evacuate the building because it could collapse at any time.
The message to evacuate is spread and the building is evacuated. As a result the message becomes slightly garbled.
A media desperate for information from the site and broadcasting live picks up the call about the imminent collapse of WTC7 and misinterprets it as that the building has already collapsed.
The BBC reporter on the scene then reports this incorrect information as fact.
Now isn’t that a more believable story than they rigged the building with Thermate explosives in the weeks before September the 11th and then got the second in charge of the New York Fire Department (the actual head died whjen the Towers collapsed) to agree to cover up the story?
Patrick Star, good idea but Philu doesn’t eat meat so fur burgers would be off the menu maybe Natasha won’t mind. But if they do get together maybe they could advise WINZ on how they milk the system, in much the same way as computer hackers advise computer companies on how to combat hackers.
Just differentiating from voting for RAM in 2011, where they win the election and immediately turn the country into a Chavista paradise. Trust me, I know. I’m from 2015 and I’m here to warn you allllllll!
Also, Soylent Green isn’t really made of people, so you don’t have to worry when it’s introduced in 2012.
Roger Douglas entitled, funny how Douglas wants lower taxes after we the taxpayer paid for him and his wife to take a bloody holiday in the UK.
Strange that we are told we need to tighten our belts, but it does not apply to bloody MPs or ex MPs it seems
And talk about a trougher Roger Douglas, jeez never thought I’d lump philu and roger douglas in the same sentence, but I am now!
Sounded like he got mad over this when questioned, as if he ‘deserved’ to use this much travel- gee, you know the entitlement culture is getting bad when it spreads to the ACT party!…
Haha thats true.
Maybe we could afford it if we follow Philu’s 4-point plan to rejig the economy…
1. Set DBP to 110% of the average wage
2. Legalise marijuana, heroin, meth, and cocaine
3. Top tax rate of 93% for income earners over $60,000 (in this way only the rich pricks are being penalised)
4. All meat to be classified as a Class A substance, with its use, dealing, or consuming to be criminalised.
I would support it to an extent as well phil, i’m just taking the piss
I guess the question of whether I would support drug legalisation would turn on the question of whether you would class drug use as a “victimless crime”, and this is something I haven’t really made my mind up on yet.
Hard libertarians would argue that it is, and the state has no right to tell us what we can put in our bodies.
On the other hand, if a parent gets hooked on smack and starts neglecting his kids, and families start breaking down (as happens with prohibition) I guess it’s not victimless anymore..
Yes phil, as I say, you are completely confusing the WFF package as a whole, with just one part of it- the “in work” tax credit. And as it is clearly paid as an incentive to be in work, why would the state give you more money to perpetuate your cycle of dependency, instead of leaving it there as a carrot for you to get off your arse?
As a long serving MP, he has already qualified for cheap airtravel for the rest of his life. This is part of his package, and Helen Clark and others are also entitled to the same benefits.
The real issue, is should long term service benefits continue to be bestowed to MP’s? I think not. It is a relic of the past, for the times when an MP and a cop were paid the same. MP’s salaries have leapt, so they should forgo air travel perks.