Apr 27 2023

Party members urge delay to voting on Green list rankings

Green MP Elizabeth Kerekere (Photo: Lynn Grieveson – Newsroom/Newsroom via Getty Images)

Green Party members are calling an urgent meeting to propose that voting on the party’s list rankings is delayed until an inquiry into MP Elizabeth Kerekere’s conduct is complete and the findings are released, reports RNZ.

Members were due to begin voting on the final makeup of the party’s list tomorrow, but an email sent to members by the Rainbow Greens, Young Greens, Aotearoa Greens Global, Pasifika Greens and Inclusive Greens, seen by RNZ, has called an online meeting tonight to discuss the proposal.

The party launched the internal investigation into Kerekere’s behaviour in early April after leaked messages appeared to show her complaining about fellow MP Chlöe Swarbrick. RNZ has since reported the accounts of sources accusing Kerekere of ongoing “mean girl behaviour”.

“In order to uphold the mana of our Party’s democratic processes, the opening of the membership ballot on the Party’s list is delayed until the conclusion of the current Parliamentary Process regarding our MPs, and the subsequent release of findings to Party Members,” reads the proposal in the email, according to RNZ.

The email asks members not to speak publicly about the meeting.

PM: No capital gains tax, wealth tax or cyclone tax in 2023 budget

New PM Chris Hipkins has his work cut out for him in 2023 (Image: Archi Banal / Getty Images)

About 24 hours after an IRD report on New Zealand’s “unfair” tax system saw surging speculation of a new tax, such as one on capital gains, the prime minister has ruled it all out – at least for this year’s budget.

At a speech to the Auckland business community today, Chris Hipkins confirmed next month’s budget would be “no frills” – a new “bread and butter” catchphrase – and would not contain any “major new tax changes like a wealth tax or CGT”. He also ruled out a cyclone levy to pay for the recovery after Cyclone Gabrielle, instead confirming the government would pay for the ongoing clean-up through the budget’s operating and capital allowances.

“This will be an orthodox no-frills budget focused on funding the things most important to New Zealanders like support with the cost of living and cyclone recovery,” Hipkins said.

“A key message of this budget is restraint. In a cost-of-living crisis, now is not the time to be asking Kiwis to pay more though a levy for cyclone repair costs.”

He added: “My priorities are investment in skills, science and infrastructure to help grow our economy and make it more productive and secure. These three areas will all receive extra support in the budget.”

Of course, while a new tax is off the table for the budget, the prime minister hasn’t yet unveiled his party’s tax policy for the forthcoming election.

Listen: A Gone By Lunchtime taxation special

Gone By Lunchtime (Image: Tina Tiller)

Is the report on tax paid by the wealthiest New Zealanders valuable data or political stunt, and does David Parker’s campaign for a wealth tax stand a chance against Chris Hipkins’ no-frills crusade? On today’s new episode of Gone By Lunchtime, Annabelle Lee-Mather, Ben Thomas and Toby Manhire discuss potential future Labour tax policy, relocating the podcast to Australia to take advantage of the new citizenship pathway; Kiri Allan, Meng Foon and donations; candidate selection, deep scrolls and the dangers of poetry to politicians.

Listen and follow on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or your favourite podcast app.

Phew: Briscoes Lady to remain for at least three more years

Two titans of industry

Earlier in the month, infomercial queen Suzanne Paul and Briscoes Lady Tammy Wells combined forces in the Briscoes cinematic universe. It was a shocking and unexpected media merger that raised a lot of questions – is this a last gasp attempt to get New Zealanders spending again? Could their selling power be simply too powerful for our small island nation? And are we watching a succession plan for the Briscoes Lady unfold before our very eyes? 

Today, we are a little closer to learning the truth. In an unsurprisingly affable email to The Spinoff, Briscoes Lady Tammy Wells has revealed that she will remain as the face of the homewares behemoth for many moons to come. “I still have nearly three years to go on this contract so I’ll be on your screens for a little longer,” she wrote, adding that working with Suzanne Paul was “amazing” followed by not one, not two, but three exclamation marks. 

It remains unclear whether Suzanne Paul will continue appearing in Briscoes ads in future, but wait, there’s more. Fans of the Blue Monkey star can get their SuPaul fix in the new advertising campaign for Summerset retirement village. The ad features a suitably regal looking Paul wearing a tiara and pearls, encouraging viewers to “retire like a king”. We will continue to keep you updated as more information comes to hand.

Suzanne Paul, queen of advertising

For more on this major news, tune into the latest episode of The Real Pod. Listen below or wherever you get your pods.

PM expected to douse talk of capital gains tax

PM Chris Hipkins fronts a press conference (Photo by MARTY MELVILLE/AFP via Getty Images)

Prime minister Chris Hipkins will address a business audience in Auckland this afternoon for what is the first big speech of this year’s budget season.

Following straight after yesterday’s major IRD report into tax inequality in New Zealand, some expected today’s speech would see Hipkins either announcing the government’s tax policy for the 2023 election – or at least addressing the serious issues raised by the report.

According to Stuff’s Thomas Manch, neither of those things will be true. He’s reported this morning that the PM will largely avoid talking to the IRD report and will “hose down” any speculation of new taxes.

Instead, it’s been claimed the prime minister will speak about the government’s plans to fund the ongoing Cyclone Gabrielle recovery without having to dive into the public purse.

Writing for Newsroom, Jo Moir similarly said there was speculation the prime minister would look to address rumours of a new tax today. She added that the government would be aware that any policy it takes to the election will need to pass the voter test, noting that a capital gains tax was seen as unpopular when Jacinda Ardern last attempted to implement it.

This year’s budget will be unveiled on May 18 after the prime minister returns from the King’s Coronation in London.

Watch: First trailer for Taika Waititi’s ‘Next Goal Wins’

Taika Waititi, and his award for best Adapted Screenplay award for “Jojo Rabbit,” at the 92nd Annual Academy Awards. (Getty Images).

The success of Ted Lasso has proven we enjoy happy stories involving football – and that seems to be the winning formula New Zealand director Taika Waititi has employed for his next film.

Next Goal Wins is the long-awaited new film from the Oscar winner, telling the mostly true story of the infamously bad American Samoa national football team as it headed for world cup qualification in 2014.

Starring a who’s who of both local and international talent, it’s being released in prime awards season: November 17.

Watch the first trailer below.

The Bulletin: Hawke’s Bay braces for more aftershocks after big quake

Hawke’s Bay residents are being warned to expect further aftershocks in the coming weeks after the region was struck by a magnitude 5.9 earthquake on Wednesday morning. The initial quake occurred at a depth of 21km near Pōrangahau in central Hawke’s Bay at 10.16am, followed by a magnitude 5.4 earthquake at a depth of 17km a few minutes later in the same location, Stuff reports.

The large number of aftershocks the area is experiencing is typical for seismic events of this magnitude, says Dr Katie Jacobs​, duty seismologist at GNS Science. As for the location of the quakes, she explains that “Pōrangahau is located along the Hikurangi Subduction Zone which drives much of the earthquake activity along the East Coast of the North Island.” Victoria University seismologist Dr Finnigan Illsley-Kemp​ says he’s concerned about the quake’s potential impact on potentially saturated ground which could be prone to further slips. “I feel particularly sorry for the people of the area who have had a terrible few months.”

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Are we being ‘softened up’ for a capital gains tax?

Health minister David Parker (Photo: Mary Melville/Getty Images)

Yesterday’s bombshell IRD report revealed/confirmed just how much more the average New Zealand is paying in tax than our country’s wealthiest.

If you missed it, Duncan Greive wrote about the findings, Mad Chapman analysed the most “depressing” graphs, and this morning’s Bulletin has covered off some of the reaction.

On the political front, we’re expecting to hear more on tax from the prime minister today when he delivers a major pre-budget speech in central Auckland this morning. It’s being delivered to a business audience and while any sort of tax policy announcement seems unlikely, the speech is being pitched as an important one. We’ll have all the details from around midday.

But the question now is what the government will do in the aftermath of the report. National’s Nicola Willis said the government needs to be honest about its tax intentions. “There’s no doubt Labour want more taxes,” she told Newstalk ZB. “This is a government that is spending a billion dollars more every week, they can’t get the books to add up, they are desperately searching for new places to find money. Make no mistake, they are coming after the wallet of everyday New Zealanders and they are looking for reasons to do that.”

Over on RNZ, party leader Christopher Luxon struggled once again with the question of whether our current tax system was fair. He eventually settled on an answer. “I think it is broadly fair. You’ve got the top 2% of income tax earners paying a quarter of all our income tax.” Luxon said he didn’t understand the point of the IRD report and suggested Labour was once again going back to the idea of a capital gains tax. “This is a complete and utter distraction,” he said.

Earlier this morning, also speaking to RNZ, the revenue minister David Parker was at pains to clarify he wasn’t announcing tax policy today – but he wouldn’t rule out a capital gains tax ahead of the election.

Asked whether the government was “softening” the public up for a new tax policy, he responded: “You might say that but I would say we are shedding light on unfairness in the system and that has political consequences for all political parties because the public might say ‘well what are you going to do about it’… but that’s not for today.”