Archive for January, 2010

Goff on Q+A

January 31st, 2010 at 2:30 pm by David Farrar

Some extracts from an interesting interview:

GUYON You spoke in your speech a lot about tax as well, and again you returned to that equity and fairness argument, and I want to quote from that, you said too many people on good incomes avoid and evade paying taxes.  Now I’ve looked through the MP’s Register of Pecuniary Interests, and I see you don’t have a family trust or a trust listed there, so I presume that you personally do and always have paid the top tax rate.

PHIL I’ve the top tax rate, I’ve always paid every dollar in tax that I’ve been required to pay and I’m  proud to pay that tax because that’s how we fun our education our health system.

GUYON Is that the case for your caucus, because when you look through that Register of Interests, there are a lot of your own MPs who have trusts, and can structure their finance and their assets so they do not pay the top tax rate, do you include those people in the people who are being unfair by not paying the top tax rate?

PHIL If you have a system that allows people to avoid paying tax, they would avoid paying taxes, what you have to do is get the system right.  What I guess offends me is that most people, average working New Zealanders, wage and salary earners they don’t evade, they don’t avoid their tax, they can’t, but when you see the list of the top hundred income earners in this country and half of them are paying less tax as a proportion of their income than the people right at the top, you say there’s something wrong with the system.

GUYON Something wrong, a lot of people would agree with that, but can I return to that, have you asked those MPs, I mean is it fair that they’re not paying the top tax rate, all of them are paid over $140,000 at least yet they’re able to structure their finances in that way.  When you gave a speech and said that was unfair had you checked with your own caucus to see whether those people are paying the top tax rate and paying for the roads and hospitals and schools of New Zealand?

PHIL Yeah, I’ve got absolute confidence that every one of my MPs is paying all the tax that they should be paying …

Good to see this question put to Goff. Cactus Kate was the first to raise it – the hypocrisy of railing against wealthy people avoiding the top tax rate, and having a third of your caucus using trusts to minimise their own tax liability.

If you want to reduce tax avoidance in NZ, then the best way to do it is to lower the top tax rate.

If Goff continues to go on about how wealthy people should not avoid the top tax rate, then he should be challenged to ban his caucus members from having family trusts!

GUYON The top 10% of income earners though, they pay 44% of all the tax, is that fair?

PHIL Well they earn probably over 40% of the income, so proportionately yes.

Actually the top 10% of income earners pay 76% of net taxation (taking into account working for families etc). And what people shouold be worried about is not how to tax them even more, but what it will mean if those 10% leave NZ in significant numbers!

GUYON Shane Jones said this week that it was his mission to drive the Maori Party out of parliament.  Now how smart is it for the Labour Party under MMP to actually annihilate a potential coalition partner, leaving them only with the Greens and leaving you with almost no chance of forming the next government.

PHIL Well if the electorate will make that decision but Shane was speaking from heart and he was saying this.

GUYON Is he speaking with your authority?

PHIL I’m comfortable with his comments.

GUYON You want the Maori Party out of parliament?

PHIL No no.

Yet Shane Jones does. Goff them tries to have it both ways.

GUYON No no hang on hang on, that’s what he said, sorry Mr Goff, do you want the Maori Party out of parliament?

PHIL Look if there is a question of whether there are seven Maori seats that are Labour Party or Maori Party held I want them all to be Labour Party held.

GUYON So you don’t want to work with the Maori Party potentially?

PHIL No, no, that’s a different question.

GUYON But if you’re trying to extinguish them, there’s no chance at all is there?

PHIL In a democratic competition of course every one of our Labour candidates in the Maori electorates will be seeking to win those seats and I’ll be right behind them, and I’d like 100%.  The second question you ask is a slightly different one.  Will we work with the Maori Party while they’re in parliament, of course we will, if we think that’s in the interests of the country, as would any other party.

GUYON So let’s get this straight.  You want to drive the Maori Party out of parliament, but should they actually remain so you’ll work with them?

Would have been interesting at this point to have asked Goff if he wants Winston back in Parliament, and does he want the Greens there?

GUYON Will you resign on election night should Labour lose as Helen Clark did?

PHIL I don’t have a plan B for election night, and it’s not about losing.

GUYON I think I heard a similar phrase before, but thanks very much for coming and joining us this morning.

A very similar phrase indeed.

To be fair, I don’t think Phil Goff does have a Plan B for election night. He said that Plan B is not about losing. That must mean Plan A is about Labour losing! 🙂

Anti-abortion activist found guilty of murder

January 31st, 2010 at 1:26 pm by David Farrar

It is no surprise that it took a Kansas jury just 37 minutes to find Scott Roeder guilty of the murder of George Tiller. Dr Tiller was a provider of legal abortion services, and Roeder is a religious fanatic who thought it was okay to kill him because he disapproved of what Dr Tiller did.

Troy Newman, president of Wichita-based Operation Rescue, which organised protests against Tiller’s clinic, said “pro-life was not on trial. An insane man doing an insane thing was on trial”.

All religions have their fanatics. The good thing with Christianity is the religious leaders always condemn people who murder people in the name of God. In Islam, you often get shall we say a mixed message at best.

Roeder could be considered for parole after 25 years. But prosecutor Nola Foulston said she would seek to ensure that he serve at least 50 years before being eligible for parole. Sentencing was set for March 9.

I don’t think he can ever be let out, as someone convinced they have a right to kill people is always going to be dangerous.

Roeder, the sole defence witness, testified on Thursday that he considered elaborate schemes to stop the doctor, including chopping off his hands, crashing a car into him or sneaking into his home to kill him.

But in the end, Roeder told jurors, the easiest way was to walk into Tiller’s church, put a gun to the doctor’s forehead and pull the trigger.

Tiller was wearing body armour, due to the threats against him – that in itself is a sad reality.

Laws on National Standards

January 31st, 2010 at 11:01 am by David Farrar

Michael Laws writes:

And so into this surreal realm has been injected the future discipline of national standards. An idea so sensible and overdue that one wonders what took so long. The logic is self evident. Except, it appears, to the teaching profession.

In steeling themselves against such external discipline, teacher unions – and their membership – have made themselves utterly risible. They are opposed to defining standards of age-group achievement, opposed to parents knowing their children’s level of competence against those standards, and opposed to schools providing such information to the Ministry of Education.

Basically sums it up. Worth reminding people that Labour is also opposed to parents knowing how their kids are doing against standards.

Why? Because they are scared witless by the concept of accountability. That a national tool might soon exist that identifies under-performing schools, under-performing teachers and under-performing kids.

The Government does want to know which kids are not meeting the standards. Not to punish the kids, or the schools, but quite the opposite. They want to then deliver extra funding to those kids and schools to maximise the chances of bringing the kids up to the desired standard before it is too late, and they become one of the many who leave school unable to read, write or count.

There is another subterranean theme running through the union dissent. That not all their membership is opposed. Many teachers see national standards as their chance to shine. They perceive them as an opportunity to test their imprint upon their charges. To establish a baseline for the norm of achievement for their age and socio-economic charges, and then beat it.

Better still, to be able to communicate the truth to the individual parent without having to find distracting commentary. And confirm bad teachers in their midst.

Little wonder that the School Trustees Association has thrown its public support behind Education Minister Anne Tolley, and dismissed the objections of teacher unions as illogical. The opportunity to be open, honest and transparent around what a child knows and what they do not, has the capacity to revolutionise teaching standards.

It is only the Luddites who are opposed. They, rightly, fear change. Because it will require them to justify their existence and their methods. And that is no bad thing.

Some people welcome accountability, and some fear it.


January 31st, 2010 at 10:52 am by David Farrar

Not once, but twice, on Thursday I had people come up to thinking I was Whale Oil. One asked me how my father, John S, was going and the other congratulated me on my campaign against name suppression laws.

The only consolation is that Whale will probably be as upset that people confuse the two of us, as I am!

Animal cruelty bill to be fast-tracked?

January 31st, 2010 at 10:39 am by David Farrar

The SST report:

TOUGHER PENALTIES against those who harm animals look certain to be fast-tracked after Prime Minister John Key last night said his government would consider the controversial issue at Tuesday’s caucus meeting.

A spokesman for Key said: “The prime minister has been appalled by the recent animal cruelty cases.”

Key’s intervention means the government is likely to adopt National MP Simon Bridges’ private member’s bill, which proposes increasing the maximum jail term for animal cruelty from three years to five. If the government fails to act, Bridges’ bill could be debated in parliament only if it is drawn, lottery-style, from a ballot.

Key’s spokesman indicated the government would move quickly. “The government supports ensuring we have appropriate measures to deal with these issues. The Simon Bridges member’s bill will be considered for adoption as a government bill at an upcoming caucus.”

Another option would be for Simon to seek leave of the House for its introduction, without going through the ballot. It may well be possible no MP would object, considering the recent court cases.

Labour leader Phil Goff yesterday said the opposition would support Bridges’ bill to the committee stage, where it can be debated, and amended if necessary.


Greens co-leader Metiria Turei had signed the Paw Justice petition and is likely to support Bridges’ private member’s bill, and Act leader Rodney Hide supported tougher penalties because “the next step after cruelty to animals was cruelty to humans”.

Also good. That indicates there may be a reasonable chance of getting leave to introduce it straight away.

General Debate 31 January 2010

January 31st, 2010 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Why you should be careful in you Trade Me photos

January 30th, 2010 at 9:33 pm by David Farrar

A friend e-mailed this to me. I have excised the name of the poor seller!


January 30th, 2010 at 7:47 pm by David Farrar

Q+A returns at 9 am tomorrow ob TV One. Details are:

  • Main interview: Phil Goff about his strategies for rebuilding the party this year and what he plans to do to try and grow his popularity with voters
  • Second interview: Hone Harawira
  • Panel: Mike Moore, Jeanette Fitzsimons and Therese Arseneau

Oriental Bay

January 30th, 2010 at 3:08 pm by David Farrar

A mate had to suddenly head off to Palmie North for a few hours yesterday and as his wife was working, I got a call to see if I could look after Master Ten and Miss Six.

Normally looking after demon spawn is not high on my list of things to do on a Friday and I was resigned to several hours of losing at pick up sticks. However the kids asked if they could go to the beach, and as my instructions said nothing about avoiding drowning, off we went.

Wellington is not actually renowned for great beaches, but have to say Oriental Bay was great.  The kids swam, played on the playground and built sandcastles, while I made conversations with the many Mums there, pretending they were mine.

The best thing of them not being your own kids are that when they say “Can we have ice creams” you don’t have to pause to say yes. And then “Can we have a double scoop” the answer is still yes and “Can we have a triple scoop” also gets a yes. After all I don’t have to look after them when the sugar high hits 🙂

MPs and Beers

January 30th, 2010 at 2:53 pm by David Farrar

Beerologist Neil Miller asks the politicians their favourite beers. In summary:

  • John Key – Bath Gem, a tasty ale from Bristol
  • Phil Goff – Emerson’s Pilsner
  • David Garrett – Stella Artois and Macs Gold
  • Jim Anderton – Speights and Stella Artois
  • Peter Dunne – Guinness, Heineken and Macs Gold
  • Russel Norman – Founder’s Redhead and Tall Blonde
  • Metiria Turei – Green Man Pils

The iPad

January 30th, 2010 at 1:49 pm by David Farrar

Very funny. Hat Tip: Stuff

Lisa for Hamilton!

January 30th, 2010 at 1:22 pm by David Farrar

The Waikato Times reports:

The race for seats on the Hamilton City Council this year could get pretty raunchy – stripper Lisa Lewis is considering standing in October’s local body elections.

Ms Lewis confirmed to the Waikato Times yesterday she was considering standing and wanted to gauge reaction before deciding. “I am 28. I believe we need to look at the percentage of young people that live in the ‘Tron. Why don’t they vote? Because there is no interest in them to do so. If I decided to stand I would ensure there would be a motivation and reason for them to vote.”

Lisa could do for Hamilton, what Tim Shadbolt did for Invercargill, and really put them on the map!

Drool drool

January 30th, 2010 at 1:03 pm by David Farrar

The Dom Post reports:

Wellington homes and businesses will get ultrafast broadband under a plan submitted to the Government by fibre-optic company CityLink, matching a proposal Vector has unveiled for Auckland.

Vector chief executive Simon Mackenzie said all 450,000 homes and premises in Auckland would be connected by the lines company within seven years with fibre that could provide broadband speeds a hundred times faster than average speeds provided today.

The first third would be connected in the “first couple of years”.

“We are not talking about being constrained at 100 megabits a second down and 50 up. This is capable of gigabits and terabits beyond.”

CityLink managing director Neil de Wit would not disclose details of its proposal, but said it was comprehensive and covered the “whole of the four cities of Wellington”.

Vector has done s similar proposal for Auckland.


January 30th, 2010 at 12:59 pm by David Farrar

AP report:

Hamas has accused Israeli agents of assassinating a veteran operative of the Palestinian militant group, saying he was electrocuted last week in a Dubai hotel room.

While it is quite possible Israel did take direct action, I do wonder why would you do it via electrocution?

Talal Nassar, an official in Hamas’ media office in Damascus, said al-Mabhouh had been “poisoned and electrocuted in his hotel room in Dubai.” He did not elaborate.

Poisoned and electrocuted? This is starting to sound like someone has real too many comics.

Al-Mabhouh’s brother, Hussein, 49, who lives in the Jebaliya refugee camp in Gaza, said his brother “died by electric shock and suffocation with a piece of cloth.”

So they electrocuted him, poisoned him and suffocated him? Would it not be easier to just have shot him!

Herald Maths

January 30th, 2010 at 12:18 pm by David Farrar

Some weird maths in the Herald:

Aucklanders would be hammered by a proposed land tax, with households facing an annual bill running into thousands of dollars.

According to conservative estimates, owners of the region’s 443,200 homes alone would have to give the Treasury an extra $443 million if they were subject to a 0.5 per cent levy.

Umm, if 443,000 homes will pay $443 million in a 0.5% land tax, then that is an annual bill of $1,000 on average – not “thousands of dollars”.

Remuera households could be paying $6500 each and those on the North Shore $1300-$4000 a year. Financier Mark Hotchin of Hanover could be paying almost $100,000 a year for his three-section block in Paritai Drive, Orakei, and Prime Minister John Key would be up for much the same on his slice of St Stephens Ave in Parnell.

Umm, The Herald itself in 2008 said that the St Stephens Ave house was valued at $6.8 million. Now not all of that will be land, but even if it is that would be $34,000 a year in land tax – not the $100,000 the Herald claims.

General Debate 30 January 2010

January 30th, 2010 at 11:14 am by David Farrar

The summer the tide went out on global warming

January 29th, 2010 at 12:05 pm by David Farrar

This week’s Dispatch from St Johnnysburg, at NBR, is titled “The summer the tide went out on global warming”.

It is one of my longer columns – 1,300 words, and I think a good summary of the political climate around this issue, such as China and India now refusing to even sign the non binding Copenhagen Accord. A couple of extracts:

I believe the chance of there being a post-Kyoto agreement in the next five years or so to now be minimal. In reaching this conclusion, I look at recent reports of opinion within Governments, then the public and finally what it may mean for the NZ Government. …

The loss of the Massachusetts Senate seat has been a clear message to the Government to focus on the economy and jobs. This is reflected in a Pew Research poll on priorities for 2010. Citizens were polled on 21 potential priorities, and asked for each issue whether it should be a top priority. The three top issues were the economy, jobs and terrorism – all at over 80%. The very bottom issue, of all 21 issues, was climate change at 28%. Three years ago it was at 38%, so has been declining every year. Amongst the all important “Independent” voters, it is bottom ranked at 25%,

My conclusion, focused on what it means for New Zealand, is somewhat provocative.

Hypocrisy and lies on state sector CEO salaries

January 29th, 2010 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

First the hypocrisy exposed by Keeping Stock:

Mr Rennie said the pay rises flowed through from a decision in 2005 to increase the overall funding for chief executives by 5 per cent a year for five years. …

Yes that is right. Labour signed off on a formal policy to increase CEO salaries by 5% a year for five years. A policy cancelled by National in 2009.

Then we have both the hypocrisy and a lie, from Grant Robertson.

I actually find it hilarious that Grant, the self appointed defender of the public service is promoting Goff’s idiocy.  Grant has oppossed every cost savings National has made in the public service, demanding more public servants and higher wages, and then suddenly he is for a pay cap!

But the lie is this:

A raw nerve has been struck very quickly with David Farrar over the commitment in Phil Goff’s speech to cap Public Sector Chief Executive pay at the level of the Prime Minister. He describes the policy as “idiocy”.

I wonder how DPF’s friends in the UK Conservative Party would feel about him calling David Cameron an idiot. Because, as Phil Goff said in the speech today, this is something that the UK Tories are also talking about.

Grant is wrong. Maybe he did not read his own link and just trusted that Phil Goff was correct, He’s a smart guy so won’t make that mistake again.

What does the article say David Cameron wants to do:

  • speculation that public sector salaries may be frozen if the Conservatives are elected – something Labour and the PSA no doubt would condemn
  • named several public-sector employees who he indicated are overpaid – and I could name some here also.
  • said a Conservative Government will “out” quangocrats and mandarins who have been “getting rich at the taxpayer’s expense” by publishing details of all public sector salaries over £150,000 – well we already publish salaries over $100,000
  • Mr Cameron said that means-tested tax credits for people earning over £50,000 would be scrapped to save taxpayers’ money – scrapping their equivalent of WFF – again not sure Grant is endorsing this.
  • seek to reintroduce Gordon Brown’s “golden rule” – to keep Government borrowing below 40 percent of national economic output – wish Labour would tell us their debt target – seems to be the higher the better
  • The Conservative leader also indicated that the Conservatives may freeze public spending in future – wow a spending freeze

Nowhere at all does David Cameron talk about having a policy that no public servant can be paid more than the Prime Minister who gets 197,000 pounds.

His Shadow Chancellor did in one speech suggest that the Chancellor’s permission be necessary for any pay above the PM. His exact words were:

In the current climate, anyone who wishes to pay a public servant more than the Prime Minister will have to put it before the Chancellor.

There is a huge difference between needing to make a case, and a blanket ban which Goff announced, as the House of Commons itself resolved.

Osborne also incidentally proposed a 5% pay cut for Ministers, cutting the number of MPs by 10% and closing off the parliamentary pension scheme and most of all cutting the cost of Whitehall by one third!

Now the House of Commons Public Administration Select Committee happens to have just published a report on top pay in the public sector. Let us see what they think of Phil Goff’s idea:

Public servants who earn more than the Prime Minister are very well paid indeed. Reward at this level deserves a clear and public justification, and close and sceptical scrutiny. But any proposal to use the Prime Minister’s salary as an absolute cap on public sector pay would be little more than a political stunt.

Little more than a political stunt. That’s NZ Labour.

Trevor lashes back at Metiria

January 29th, 2010 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Trevor Mallard hits back at Metiria Turei after she highlighted how he had unfriended her on Facebook:

Last night Metiria Turei used my status to attack Labour. Of all things it was on our record on the minimum wage – probably one of the best areas of progress the last government – but the subject doesn’t matter.

As I said above I’m new to facebook.  I regard my page like my home. I chose who is there. While there are lots of discussions initiated by constituents I decide whether they run or not. But the idea of politicians using the comments section of my status to attack me just doesn’t seem right.

Good God. If you are an MP and you use your Facebook page to try and score political points, it is rather precious to then ban people because they disagree with you. Let alone the co-leader of your own remaining friendly party.

Metiria herself is an avid user of social media and on Twitter (for example) people often disagree with her on an issue. She normally responds constructively, and all is fine.

ps   I found Rod Donald and Sue Bradford good to work with (and Jeanette but only for a short time) – so its not a green allergy.

Ouch that makes it worse. He is saying it is personal with Metiria. And consider his earlier comment:

Not much real help from you guys esp since Russel started cuddling tories.

So Trevor is slagging off not one but both co-leaders of the Greens. Way to go.

I really wonder if Phil Goff is in control of his own caucus.

General Debate 29 January 2010

January 29th, 2010 at 7:52 am by David Farrar

League Tables

January 29th, 2010 at 7:52 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Australian parents yesterday overwhelmed a new federal school rating website, causing it to crash as they ignored teachers’ warnings that they would be misled by data that matched literacy and numeracy with social indicators.

As repairs were made to – a site designed to take 2350 hits a second – Education Minister Julia Gillard said My School’s problems had confirmed that parents wanted to be able to compare the performance of schools across the country.

Parents care about the quality of their kids education – this is no surprise.

But opponents continued to criticise the site, warning that it would lead to inaccurate “league tables” that would hit struggling schools in disadvantaged areas.

The Australian Education Union, which represents the nation’s public school teachers, will refuse to do the next round of national testing that provides the raw data for the system unless the Government ensures it does not lead to discriminatory tables.

“Teachers, parents and principals are united in their opposition to damaging league tables which rank schools according to their test results,” New South Wales Teachers Federation president Bob Lipscombe warned before the site went online.

This was introduced by a Labor Government. It is nice to have a labour party that is not captured by the union movement.

The reforms in NZ are more modest. There will be no Government run database of school statistics (even though I think there should be). Any league tables will be because media organisations have gained infromation under the Official Information Act.

NZ Labour wants to amend the OIA so that educational results from schools are more tightly restricted than security and defence information. The public need to be protected from themselves!

In the Press we read:

League tables that rate schools’ performances are inevitable once national standards are introduced, a teachers’ union says.

Three union groups raised fresh fears yesterday that the new national standards will lead to league tables. Education Minister Anne Tolley said she was waiting for answers from a working party set up to look at the matter.

The fear of league tables is what lies at the heart of the unions opposition.

Frankly they need to get over themselves and understand the realities of the Internet age.

First of all there have always been league tables of sorts. For decades newspapers publishes tables of pass marks in School Cert, or number of A bursaries or whatever. Sure, the tables may be misleading, but the answer is not to ban information, but to counter it with more information. We spend billions of dollars on our schools and teachers and parents should be able to access information on said schools.

There are other so called league tables that the media could publish. The number of suspensions. The average experience level of teachers. The proportion of students who stay on to seventh form. The level of “donation” requested. Do the unions want all information on schools made secret?


January 29th, 2010 at 6:33 am by David Farrar

At around 6 pm last night I got offered a free ticket to the AC/DC concert. I paused to consider my options. Either I could be responsible and finish the report I was working on, and also write my weekly NBR column (due in  by 7 am Friday) or I could go to the concert.

I pause and convince myself that I can get home by midnight and write my column then, and dive into my bedroom to hunt out a black t-shirt!

Never has Thorndon had so many bogans pass through it! I was not surprised to see Paula Bennett entering the grounds!

The UNITE union was outside trying to get people to sign their petition for the minimum wage to go to $15 an hour. One of them recognised me and asked me to sign. My response was that they should tell Matt McCarten to stop campaigning for measures that will destroy his own members jobs! 🙂

The crowd warms up to Shihad.

And then the main event! They rocked even though Angus Young stripping off reminded me a bit of a scene from the Love Actually movie 🙂

A concert goer who has found a cheap bed for the night!

We left around midnight. Of course the sensible thing at this stage would have been to head home and write my column. But when people say that magic word – Hummingbird – I can never resist. So down to Courtney Place we went.

I finally got home at 2 am. Set my alarm clock for 4 am, and luckily did not sleep through it. Two hours later at 6 am, I file my NBR column with an hour to spare!

Trevor unfriends Metiria

January 28th, 2010 at 5:17 pm by David Farrar

Metiria Turia blogs:

Trevor Mallard defriended me on Facebook last night and I have to tell you the story. He also defriended another person for asking the same questions I did. Not terribly sporting, I would have thought.

Metiria’s sin was to point out the gap between Labour’s rhetoric on the minimum wage and their record.

And Trevor got so annoyed he unfriended her!! Seriously – just like a teenager does when they are in a huff.

I love Labour’s strategy for making friends and influencing people.

First Shane Jones insults a priest at Ratana, and them declares war against the Maori Party.

And now Trevor Mallard defriends on Facebook the co-leader of the Green Party.

What next? Will Annette King call Jim Anderton a authoritarian tyrant, to get rid of their one remaining friend?

Mackenzie Basin Call In

January 28th, 2010 at 2:26 pm by David Farrar

Almost everyone seems to think Nick Smith’s call in of the Mackenzie Basin dairy consents was a good idea. Any doubts I had evaporated when I read this:

Environment Minister Nick Smith today called in three large dairy effluent discharge consents in the Mackenzie Basin and established a board of inquiry to decide on the applications.

“I have called in these discharge consents as they are nationally significant due to their scale, the fragile and iconic nature of the Mackenzie Basin environment, the importance of freshwater quality to the Government and the high level of public interest,” Dr Smith said.

“The effluent from these intensive farms is equivalent to a city of 250,000 people and raises quite legitimate questions over the long-term impacts on the water quality in the Mackenzie Basin.

That is (literally) a shit load of effluent!


January 28th, 2010 at 2:22 pm by David Farrar

NZPA report:

Public service chief executives should never be paid more than the prime minister, Labour Party leader Phil Goff said today, announcing the new policy in a speech in Hamilton.

I’m not sure if he is trying to get John Key a pay rise, or what he intends, but this is simplistic drivel.

You pay the salary necessary to get someone who can do the job well. For small agencies this may mean $150,000 or so, but for the Governor of the Reserve Bank it may well mean more than the PM. The Governor’s competence has a huge impact on the economy, and frankly the consequences on the economy make the $50,000 or so Goff wants to save pail into insignificance.

The PM is of course underpaid for the complexity and importance of the role. But people don’t seek it for the money. Hence it is appropriate the role is not paid at full market rates. If you applied that to political jobs,then the US President should be on around $50 million a year!

If Goff’s idiocy ever did become law, the inevitable consequence would be massive pay increases for the PM, if his or her salary becomes the top permissible in the public sector.

Personally I do think pay rates in the public sector senior ranks are generally too high – they actually exceed the private sector, without the risk that top execs face. But a blanket maximum is a stupid way to go.

Take the Solicitor-General. That’s a pretty important constitutional job. Now many partners in law firms can earn over $500,000 a year. The Solictor-General is paid $510,000 or so a year.

Is Phil Goff saying that the top lawyer for the NZ Government should be someone who isn’t even up to partner level in a top law firm? Does he want the Government to get beaten in court all the time?