The marriage bill has hogged the headlines but worth noting that David Clark’s Mondayisation bill passed its second reading despite being opposed by the Government.
Labour, Greens, NZ First, Maori, Mana, United and Brendan Horan were 61 votes in favour and National and ACT 60 votes against.
I’m pleased to see it progress. it is illogical that we Mondayise some holidays but not all of them.
I don’t accept the argument that by placing the public holiday on a Monday, it shifts the focus from the actual day.
Put it like this. If Christmas Day is on a Saturday, the public holiday is on Monday the 27th. Does anyone celebrate Christmas on the 27th or regard that as Christmas Day? Of course not.
There is a legitimate debate you can have about whether 11 paid public holidays a year is too many or too few. But if we have a public holiday, it should occur every year in opinion – not just five out of seven years.
It is also a good thing to occasionally have Parliament able to legislate over the will of Government. This is the benefits of no party having a majority (there are drawbacks also). You don’t want the Government losing votes too often, but it is good for a Government that they have to defeat bills in the House on the basis of the strength of their argument, not on the basis of a vote in caucus.
In the end the arguments against David Clark’s bill are not persuasive and it should also pass into law in April.
In the next decade, the years when it will have an impact are:
- 2013 – none
- 2014 – none
- 2015 – ANZAC Day on a Saturday
- 2016 – Waitangi Day on a Saturday
- 2017 – none
- 2018 – none
- 2019 – none
- 2020 -ANZAC Day on a Saturday
- 2021 - Waitangi Day on a Saturday, ANZAC Day on a Sunday
- 2022 - Waitangi Day on a Sunday
Tags: David Clark, private members bills, public holidays
Vernon Small profiles David Clark:
Clark, a Presbyterian minister, returned the favour, officiating at Robertson’s civil union. (The Wellington Central MP’s partner, Alf, joked at the ceremony that given the keen interest from singles of both sexes he was sorry to report Clark was neither gay nor single.) Clark and wife Katrina have two children, the youngest just 3 months old. Katrina is on maternity leave from the Ministry of Economic Development, overseen by his new political duelling partner, Joyce.
Clark concedes: “We will have to face how we handle that” but says she is an exemplary civil servant and a “fanatical observer” of the public service code of conduct.
I’m sure she is, as was Madeleine Setchell whom got effectively sacked and blacklisted from public service jobs because her boyfriend worked for John Key. It’s fortunate National actually believes in public sector neutrality – unlike Labour which talks the talk but didn’t walk the walk.
So far his biggest impact in the House has been his bill to ensure a statutory holiday on the next Monday if Waitangi Day or Anzac Day fall on a weekend. It should have the numbers to pass – a rare victory for a non-Government measure.
It will conclude its second reading on Wednesday 13 March, and should pass into law on 17 April. I support the bill.
Clark says the free market is a good servant if properly regulated.
A statement few can disagree with, but what is critical is the details. Most people accept a degree of regulation in the economy such as the Fair Trading Act, the Commerce Act. But the fact that some regulation is desirable doesn’t mean all regulation is desirable. I’d like to see examples from Clark as to what further regulation he proposes.Tags: David Clark
Audrey Young interviews David Clark. Some extracts:
What’s been the most rewarding part of the past year?
Representing the local constituents in Dunedin North and being able to make a difference in specific situations where they have fallen through the cracks for one reason or another, or the system hasn’t quite served them properly, and having the ability to intervene and raise questions with local agencies or the relevant minister and to get the support they need for their circumstance.
The private member’s bills have been pretty satisfying, too, particularly getting the one Mondayising Waitangi Day and Anzac Day through to select committee and hopefully beyond.
I don’t think the Monday issue is a big issue, but I do think the change mooted by Clark is sensible.
What MP outside your party impresses you?
Kevin Hague [Green]. Kevin is impressive in that he has been able to walk a line where he is seen as very reasonable, but also is able to challenge injustices where he sees them.
I have a lot of time for Kevin Hague also. He’s very good at working with others to advance issues he believes in.
Name one of your heroes outside politics.
I guess this sounds a bit cheesy but ultimately the Biblical Jesus is something of a hero to me, unsurprising given that I’ve got a background as a minister of religion. He was someone who stood up for the poor and vulnerable and was concerned about social justice issues and not afraid to take on the authorities of the day to ensure fairer outcomes for those who were struggling.
I wonder how many ministers or ex-ministers have been MPs over the years? I can think of half a dozen at least.Tags: David Clark
Oh dear. I have already blogged on Labour’s release about tax paid by Google and Facebook. But I overlooked they don’t even know the difference between revenue and profits.
David Clark, ironically a former Treasury staffer, said:
“It’s not just Facebook that funnels revenue through its low-tax Irish counterpart. Google New Zealand does it too. That company paid just $109,038 tax on $4,447,898 in revenue. That’s two per cent, way below our 28 per cent corporate rate.
This is as bad a mistake as Andrew Williams one. These are not statements made under pressure, but ones put out proactively by MPs for the media.
So David Clark thinks tax rates are paid on revenue. Sigh. An article in the Herald gives us some facts:
Clark’s comments that Google NZ appeared to have paid only 2 per cent tax last year was “a bit inept” and misleading, Vandenberg added.
“We get mesmerised by sales figures and people get outraged about how much tax companies should be paying but then you come along and apply a little bit of tax law.”
A company was required to pay tax on profit before tax, not on revenue, Vandenberg said.
Financial statements show Google New Zealand’s revenue last year was $4,447,898 but its profit before tax was only $56,803. It paid $109,038 in tax, making a loss of $52,235.
Facebook New Zealand’s financial statements show revenue of $427,967, a taxable profit loss of $66,696, and $14,497 paid in tax. The company ended up with a loss of $81,193.
So in fact Google paid more in tax than they made in profit, for their NZ subsidiary. Clark wasn’t just wrong with his 2% claim – he was massively wrong.
And Facebook NZ made a loss, yet paid tax (as some expenses are not claimable off tax).
Clark said his point yesterday was that companies were sending their revenues out of the country “one way or another”.
Trying to ignore the fact his statement was factually incorrect and bogus.
And Google are not sending any revenues out of the country. This is Labour xenophobia at play. NZ advertisers have decided to advertise with Facebook Ireland. This is no different from an American company hiring a NZ company to do research for it. Is Labour saying that any NZ company that has overseas clients should be forced to pay tax in the country their clients reside in?
He criticised the way Facebook used its Irish operation, which pays just 12.5 per cent tax, to determine revenue and expenses.
“This ensures the company can put most of its revenue through countries with low-tax systems,” he said.
Wah, wah, wah – it isn’t fair. Of course they choose to operate from a low tax company. This is why low tax countries attract business.
He called for the New Zealand government to work with other major countries, like Australian, to review international tax treaties and create a fairer system.
Yeah, good luck with that. Unless every country in the world signs up – then companies that can be flexible with where they are based will be based where the taxes are lower.
This is like trying to ban countries from offering higher wages, as people may move to a higher wage country.
UPDATE: David Clark has updated his release to remove the references to tax being levied on revenue, not profit.Tags: David Clark, Facebook, Google, Labour, tax
The Herald reports:
Labour MP David Clark has admitted he doesn’t know how much it will cost employers if the minimum wage is raised to $15 an hour, despite sponsoring a bill to do just that.
Of course not. Why worry about the cost!
I supported the Mondayisation bill as the impact on wages was minimal – around 0.2%, and it was standardising the practice of Mondayisation. An 11% increase in the minimum wage though is exponentially larger, and is calculated to cost around 6,000 jobs. That is too much in one go.Tags: David Clark, minimum wage
New Labour MP David Clark blogs:
The Government has continued to spout the line that its tax ’switch’ in 2010 was ‘broadly revenue neutral’.
This is an outrageous claim. It was nowhere near revenue neutral.
According to the IRD’s 2011 Briefing to the Incoming Minister (BIM), Government tax-take dropped from 35.1% of GDP to 31% of GDP during National’s first term. In a time of high borrowing, and a projected $12 Billion deficit, a drop in the tax base of more than 10% is plain irresponsible. Falling revenue means we don’t have the funds to support our schools and hospitals. Either that, or we have to borrow to fund them. This ain’t good.
The ‘broadly revenue neutral’ claim has been relegated to the status of a bad joke by the honesty of the Government’s own tax officials. In their 2011 BIM, officials made clear that only about 1.5% could be blamed on the Global Financial Crisis. About 2.5 percentage points of its 4% revenue drop can be directly explained by Government policy changes (ie the 2010 tax package).
This is not a good start for a former Treasury official. He is comparing two different things. He is comparing the impact of the tax changes in 2008, 2009 and 2010, and using them to come to a conclusion about the 2010 tax changes only.
This would get you failed first years stats at even Waikato University.
What Clark leaves out of the equation was that Labour itself instituted some of the tax changes, which led to tax dropping as a percentage of GDP. It’s nice of him to give National all the credit for them, but it is not quite the case.
What the true comparison should be is whether the totality of National’s tax changes dropped tax revenue by more or less than what would have happened if Labour’s 2008 tax cuts had been fully implemented. And the answer is that over around four to five years, National’s changes look to have slightly less impact on tax revenue. This is because of course National cancelled their planned tax cuts for 1 April 2010 and 1 April 2011.
One can dispute the impact of tax changes, as it is not an exact science. It is impossible to know for sure how much revenue one would have got if a tax change had not occurred. But what one can not do is use the results of tax changes in 2008, 2009 and 2010, to come to a conclusion about the 2010 changes only. It is quite dishonest.Tags: David Clark, tax cuts
The draft transcripts of the four Labour maiden speeches is here. I used to e-mail MPs asking for a copy of their maiden speeches but now the draft transcripts are out in 150 minutes, I just wait for them.
First some extracts from Dunedin North MP David Clark:
Politicians do not exist to rubber-stamp what the electorate has already decided, but to articulate and share a vision of a better society. I will describe the better society to which I aspire. It has similarities with what founding members of the Labour Party described as an “applied Christianity”. It is a society where accident of birth does not dictate one’s station and prospects. It is a society where every citizen can get ahead by dint of hard work that builds on their natural endowment. It is one where all have free and equal access to high-quality education, a society where all have the ability to develop their talents sufficiently to ensure fulfilling and enriching lives. It is one in which choices are not driven by fear, but are afforded by opportunity, in which everyone has access to legal representation, regardless of their means.
I agree with those sentiments, even though I suspect we disagree on how to achieve them.
I would describe how we might consider financial transactions taxes, gift and estate duties, and a capital gains tax in order to broaden our tax base.
Broadening the tax base is good, if it leads to lower rates. Not good if it leads to the state growing in size and crushing the private sector.
And I don’t support taxing people for dying, or gift duty which cost three times more to administer than revenue it took in.
A third reason that greater equality makes pragmatic sense relates to public investment. Infrastructure is an example—witness growth in China’s high-speed rail network. It is 12 times bigger than it was in 2008, four times larger than in any other country, and still growing at an astonishing rate. It is hard to imagine this happening in the USA today. Where a critical mass of the truly wealthy exert undue influence on the political process, investment in infrastructure, education, research, healthcare, and other matters related to the common good dwindles …
Oh nonsense. China is growing its rail network because it has 10% economic growth and the cost of labour is so low. To suggest that the USA is not growing its rail network at the same pace because of the wealthy is batty.
This year marks the centenary of one of the most bitter and violent industrial disputes in New Zealand’s history: the Waihī miners strike. It is an important part of the Labour story. A young Scottish union organiser was witness to that dispute and saw how workers who wanted nothing more than decent pay and a fair go were intimidated, divided, and—after a striking miner was beaten to death by those opposed to the strike—run out of town. Those dark events led to that organiser and many others realising that justice would be achieved only when working people reached beyond the workplace for influence and had a direct say on the laws and policies they were subject to. The union organiser was Peter Fraser, who later became a Labour Prime Minister.
I found the Waihi link to Peter Fraser quite interesting. Fraser is my favourite Labour PM.
New Plymouth is a great city with, I might add, a great mayor and I enjoyed campaigning there last year, although I remain intrigued by a question I was asked at one of the first meetings I held: what my position was on the merger of Air New Zealand and NAC. I said that Labour was taking a “wait-and-see” approach.
In my previous role at Plant and Food Research, I observed firsthand the real difference science and innovation can make. We need more businesses to access and utilise the exceptional knowledge that is being created in our Crown research institutes and universities. And we need a proper commitment to the fundamental research that underpins this. To improve this we must commit to adequately fund science and innovation to create jobs and lift wages. …
I am a New Zealand historian by training who has worked in science and innovation. I am a former community board member who believes in the power of communities and the grassroots. I am a Christchurch native who grew up in the ravages of a user-pays world, who, despite being glued to the royal wedding in 1981 believes in the desirability and inevitability of our country becoming a republic in my lifetime, who celebrates the diversity of modern New Zealand. I am here because I have a strong belief in social justice. I am here because I believe that there are always real alternatives in working to ensure that hope, opportunity, and being all you can be, is not an accident of birth for the privileged few but the birthright of all New Zealanders.
And finally Rino Tirikatene:
Eighty years ago, in this room, maybe even in this chair, my grandfather Sir Eruera Tirikātene stood before this House as the member of Parliament for Southern Maori. Forty-five years ago, in this room, maybe even in this chair, my aunt Whetū Tirikātene-Sullivan stood before this House as the member of Parliament for Southern Maori. Today, I stand before the House as the member of Parliament for Te Tai Tonga. At the time my grandfather rose to address the House for the first time, the Māori population numbered a mere 82,000. We were at that time a rural people, still recovering from the ravages of land sales and the scourge of introduced diseases. We existed at the very margin of the country’s economy. What income we were able to earn as unskilled labourers in the agriculture and forestry industries was supplemented by gardening and foraging. The land development assistance programme introduced by Sir Apirana Ngāta in the 1920s, which eventually gave rise to the Māori incorporations and trusts of today, was in its infancy and poverty was all pervasive, especially among those communities that had been left landless by confiscation and land sales. Statutory recognition of the Treaty of Waitangi, the claims of Ngāi Tahu, Waikato, and Taranaki, and poverty were my grandfather’s main concerns.
We have made some progress since then.
[Today] more than 1 in every 2 Māori was living in a household with a combined income of more than $50,000, and well over 1 in every 3 in a household with a total income of $70,000 or more. What we are witnessing is the steady growth of a Māori middle class. On the collective front, we are witnessing the rise of the Māori economic authorities, Māori land trusts and incorporations, and iwi authorities.
Life and prospects for Māori are so much better than they were 80 years ago, but Māori know better than anyone that much remains to be done. We are still overrepresented at the bottom of the wealth pyramid. We will, on average, die sooner than our Pākehā mates. We will, more so than our Pacific cousins, end up in prison, and, unlike any other group in Aotearoa – New Zealand, we now receive more in transfer payments than we pay in tax. Too many of use remain locked into a cycle of dependency and poverty.
I am glad he mentioned dependency as well as poverty. The two are linked.Tags: Andrew Little, David Clark, maiden speeches, Megan Woods, Rino Tirikatene
Two brand new MPs had their bills drawn from the ballot today. Good fortune for both of them.
Tamaki MP Simon O’Connor had the Joint Family Homes Repeal Bill, which is embedded below.
The bill was previously in the name of Rangitata MP Jo Goodhew. As she is now a Minister, she can’t sponsor it. The bill looks to be uncontroversial. Stuff notes:
The Joint Family Homes Repeal Bill will abolish a 1964 law protecting the family home.
O’Connor said the Law Commission had recommended scrapping the old law which ”afforded the family home protection against the winds of financial adversity” because the law was unused as the same protections were afforded in more recent legislation.
”The Matrimonial (Property) Act made it very clear spouses and partners have the ability to get joint ownership of things.”
Dunedin North MP David Clark also had selected the Holidays (Full Recognition of Waitangi Day and Anzac Day) Amendment Bill, which was previously in the name of Grant Robertson.
I don’t have a copy of the bill yet, but it proposes that if ANZAC Day and Waitangi Day fall on a weekend, they be Mondayised.
I don’t think it is a particularly important issue, and it was ridicolous when people called for an urgent law change last year because both days were at weekends. However as I noted at the time, I’m not against a change and think the bill should be supported, even though it does impose some small extra costs on businesses.
The additional wage cost is around 0.11%, so not huge. In return for some certainity around the number of days off, I think it is worthwhile.
UPDATE: The bill (when it was in the name of Grant Robertson) is on the web here. The key clause is:
if either of the public holidays … falls on a Saturday or Sunday and the day would otherwise be a working day for the employee, the public holiday must be treated as falling on that day … and (if) the day would not otherwise be a working day for the employee, the public holiday must be treated as falling on the following Monday
That is sensible, so it does not disadvantage those who do work on weekends.Tags: David Clark, holidays act, private members bills, Simon O'Connor
The ODT reports:
Labour Party members in the Dunedin North electorate have a rare chance on Saturday to select a new candidate to represent them at the general election next year.
Well, the members don’t get to select the candidate. They get two votes out of seven – and even then only if not outvoted by “affiliate members” who get trucked in by the bus load.
The union movement has targeted both Dunedin North and Manurewa as seats it wants a unionist to win, to increase the proportion of unionists in the Labour caucus. Phil Goff may not last long after 2011 – even if he wins!
Three candidates have put themselves forward to replace Mr Hodgson – current electorate committee chairman David Clark (37), former electorate chairman Simon Wilson (25) and uinionist New Zealand Nurses Organisation national adviser Glenda Alexander (55).
David Clark has a campaign website. He is Warden of Selwyn College (2rd best after Carrington and Knox). He has been an EMPU member since 2006. On the basis of his CV, looks quite good.
Glenda Alexander also has a campaign website. She has been a professional unionist for the last 20 years.
Simon Wilson is a former President of the compulsory Otago University Students’ Association.
So all three have a union background to some degree – but Alexander by far the most.
It will be interesting to see who wins – they will inevitable become an MP at the next election.
Hat Tip: HomepaddockTags: David Clark, Dunedin North, Glenda Alexander, Labour, Simon Wilson