Monday, June 20, 2005

Big bucks buy elections?

I am extremely concerned by a report stating that a "forestry lobby group" are planning a $2 million anti-government election year advertising campaign.

Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with groups from whatever side of the political fence coming out to either advocate for or against the policies of particular political parties. But this is different.

In a small country like New Zealand, $2million dollars during an election campaign is huge money. The article I link to above points out that during the 2002 election campaign, the National Party itself only spent around $1 million on their campaign. If memory serves me correctly, Labour spent about $2 million, and ACT a bit more.

Given that scale, a consortium of private interests throwing such huge interests into a campaign to push a very specific policy gripe (they want to own the carbon credits referred to in my previous post), is a real concern. Presumably, this group of very rich blokes hope that their campaign will help unseat the government so that they will receive the potentially very profitable carbon credits.

That sounds like a self-interested group wanting to buy votes to line their own pockets to me. Further, it is a concern to anyone interested in a genuine, representative democracy. How many groups representing the interests of, say, the intellectually handicapped, beneficiaries, or the elderly, can afford that much influence???

18 comments:

David Farrar said...

They claim they will spend $2 million, but I would be surprised if they did.

But will be nice to have a lobby group spend more money than the unions normally do!

Too Right said...

Michael - the Labour Government is throwing 5 times that amount at promoting its Working For Families campaign. That money does not count as campaign spending. You may want to reflect that the Labour Government was the only Government of 150 countries who ratified the Protocol that nationalised carbon credits owned by private forest owners without any compensation. No wonder the owners are angry. You would be grumpy too if someone took the front 10M of your section without compensation. Sorry Michael you are barking up the wrong tree on this one.

Anonymous said...

WOrking for Families is designed to assist families. It brings many families into the scope of family assistance for the first time. They have to know about it to secure the assistance, and so there's a publicity campaign. Hardly the first time a government department has engaged in a publicity campaign. Simple really.

Nigel Kearney said...

There are too many campaigning restrictions already. If you don't like freedom of speech, move to North Korea.

Anonymous said...

The vast majority of families eligible for the working for families are already on the books and get it automatically. And I hardly think a sign that says "You're better off with Labour" is actually informing anyone of anything. So that money is wasted from an information point of view, but valuable as a campaign tool. No doubt Labour think they were clever. Not.

We have free speech in New Zealand. Get used to it.

Anonymous said...

15 000 more families on Family Assistance than there were before already. Hardly a drop in the bucket - and many more to come as it rolls out.

I'd be very, very surprised if you can refer to Ministry for Social Development literature etc saying 'you're better off with Labour'.

A great Labour initiative helping those who need and deserve it more than tax cuts ever would. It's a targetted tax cut, really.

Would National retain 'Working for Families' - or will it have to cut it to afford tax cuts benefiting the much higher income earners?

Too Right said...

Anonymous you are all over the place. By Treasury's own analysis tax cuts are affordable without cutting services; the Treasurer can cut taxes and still have a surplus. And here's the kicker, the economy will grow by 1-1.5% or $2billion. WFF is a bribe and consigns the recipient's to State dependence

Too Right said...

Anonymous you should do more reading WFF is not a targeted tax cut at all - quite the opposite - a worker on WFF earning $52,000 pa will face a tax rate of 89% for every dollar his/her income increases as family and housing assistance is abated.

How does that help people improve their lot?

If the income reaches $60,000 the tax rate will rise to 95.2%.

This is sheer lunacy. Your Government has frozen their income. So, if one earns an extra $20,000 they only keep $1,440. Conversely if the salary drops $20,000 the loss is only $2,880. There is no incentive to work hard to boost income by say 40 per cent because you only get to keep 3%. Slack off and lose 40% of your income, and you are topped up by the State so you are only 6% worse off.

michael wood said...

The biggest possible big hit on the incomes of middle income New Zealanders would be the interest rate increases that expansionary tax cuts would provoke.

These would easily eclipse the $6 per week tax cut that, for arguments sake (as National has not yet provided any specifics), the average Australian family gained from their recent tax cuts.

The OECD's own analysis has shown that tax cuts would be likely to fuel interest rate hikes.

Too Right said...

Rubbish - you are showing your complete lack of any understanding of Political Economy. Just a simple example - despite the RBNZ hiking rates, the BNZ lowered rates to gain market share. Interest rates are generally an issue for borrowers - in Domestic Housing where you are aiming your blunt barbs - pricing will meet demand. Mortgages are thought of as weekly amounts. Have you not heard the clamour for tax cuts - even 61% of labour voters want them and they want them now. If you want to be a Politician then do more reading and listen to the sentiment of the people. Parroting the statements of your History teacher, Dr (Deathwish) Cullen will do you no good. You come across as naive and wet behind the ears.

Anonymous said...

Too Right - to start with your moral agenda, there is very little connection between 'hard work' and human virtue on the one hand, and income levels on the other.
People on $30 000 work just as hard as those on $60 000 - it's just market rationality that determines how much they are paid. And they probably have a harder life generally. Sorry to burst the right-wing we're-better-than-the-rest-because-we-earn-the-best bubble, but true.

Working for Families compensates for the inadequacy of mainstream incomes paid by employers as far as families are concerned. That's how it helps people improve their lot - by taking that worker you refer to up to a total income of near $52 000 in the first place. It's a huge help. Take the amount received via Working for Families and spread it to include the number of years they are on $52 000 if you like, to get a more accurate picture.

Dependency is a myth and you've got a grim and inaccurate outlook on what motivates people. People will continue to take opportunities to earn more, and they'll take them not out of financial calculations alone - people aren't like that. The major boost to family incomes is usually a second income, which would take your family way clear of those marginal tax rates you've selected. Second incomes are started up for money but also because the second income earner wants to add a different aspect to their life after some years of child rearing, for instance.

And if dependency is such a problem, why is it that Working for Families still leaves our family assistance programme not quite as generous as those in the UK, Australia, Canada and - the great land of incentive and independence - the United States!?

And - the budget surplus itself is largely devoted to student loans, the Cullen Superannuation Fund, and forecast capital expenditures in health. When National wants to chop one of those in order to fund tax cuts but not cut services, let us know.

Anonymous said...

Too Right - to start with your moral agenda, there is very little connection between 'hard work' and human virtue on the one hand, and income levels on the other.
People on $30 000 work just as hard as those on $60 000 - it's just market rationality that determines how much they are paid. And they probably have a harder life generally. Sorry to burst the right-wing we're-better-than-the-rest-because-we-earn-the-best bubble, but true.

Working for Families compensates for the inadequacy of mainstream incomes paid by employers as far as families are concerned. That's how it helps people improve their lot - by taking that worker you refer to up to a total income of near $52 000 in the first place. It's a huge help. Take the amount received via Working for Families and spread it to include the number of years they are on $52 000 if you like, to get a more accurate picture.

Dependency is a myth and you've got a grim and inaccurate outlook on what motivates people. People will continue to take opportunities to earn more, and they'll take them not out of financial calculations alone - people aren't like that. The major boost to family incomes is usually a second income, which would take your family way clear of those marginal tax rates you've selected. Second incomes are started up for money but also because the second income earner wants to add a different aspect to their life after some years of child rearing, for instance.

And if dependency is such a problem, why is it that Working for Families still leaves our family assistance programme not quite as generous as those in the UK, Australia, Canada and - the great land of incentive and independence - the United States!?

And - the budget surplus itself is largely devoted to student loans, the Cullen Superannuation Fund, and forecast capital expenditures in health. When National wants to chop one of those in order to fund tax cuts but not cut services, let us know.

michael wood said...

Too Right - I had assumed from your own tagline that you are on the political right, and would therfore understand monetarist economics.

In monetarist systems, like ours or the USA's, an independent central bank uses the mechanism of interest rates (through the official cash rate) to curb excessive domestic demand when this threatens to push up price inflation.

Are you saying that several billion dollars worth of tax cuts would not be stimulatory in this way? If you are, then you are undermining one of the fundamental arguments put for tax cuts - that they stimulate demand and therefore growth!

Anonymous said...

http://cathyodgers.blogspot.com/2005/06/i-cant-hold-back-from-this-anymore.html

Ahahahahaaaa ... so true!

spooks said...

Working for families basically says -- if you have children, then it does not matter how hard or not hard you work, you will get roughly the same dollars. Two problems with going into semi-retirement by having children. First, what example is it to teach the very kids in the middle of it, that hard work doesn't pay off. Second, eventually the kids grow up, and coming out of semi-retirement at fifty-ish, is too late.

Anonymous said...

Spooks - this is absolute nonsense.
Tell any mother that the 'semi-retirement' as you call it of bringing up children is not hard work. What planet are you on?

spooks said...

Gladly. If you think that bringing up a couple of kids is hard work, than you (a) are totally blinded by the fact that your head is firmly rammed up the bum of political correctness, or (b) you have never actually experienced hard work.

Anonymous said...

Truly hopeless, spooks!