When the health-enhancing properties of booze are accepted, it will be worth batting for cheaper food

September 9, 2010

And having bought your medicinal tipple here, you can move on to the health food shop.

Alf applauds the Public Health Association and Agencies for Nutrition Action for pressing the government to take concrete steps to reduce the cost of nutritious food – particularly the basics like bread, milk, fruit and vegetables.

He will support them, provided they include whisky (above all) on their list of healthy foods along with other alcoholic beverages with health-enhancing properties.

He enthusiastically goes out to promote whisky, which by the way happens to be one of his favourite tipples, although this is neither here nor there when it comes to the serious business of legislating in the public interest to improve the nation’s health and nutrition.

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Science Media Centre’s involvement in the fat fight is folly – and it looks like propaganda too

July 13, 2010

Dunno what the bloody Science Media Centre thinks it’s up to, but Alf draws his constituents’ attention to its participation in a Maori Party political stunt.

He was alerted to these antics by a report in the Herald today saying…

A panel of experts will take part in an online seminar this morning to assess whether New Zealand should scrap GST on healthy foods.

The seminar, run by the Science Media Centre, comes ahead of the first reading of a Maori Party bill calling for GST-free healthy foods.

It will hear from a range of nutritional experts on the potential implications for the country’s public health if such a bill were to go through.

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And now the party that brought us GST has a bright idea – let’s do something it has always said is wrong

May 6, 2010

It’s taken the buggers a while – they were thrown out of office, and rightly so, some 18 months ago.

But at last they have tumbled to the need to shake up their ideas.

Mind you, shaking them up doesn’t necessarily make them more attractive. Or sensible.

Among their proposals, according to the Dom-Post, is the removal of GST from food. This is a hoot, because (a) a Labour Government introduced GST and (b) at that time, and ever since, it has given us umpteen good reasons why GST should be applied to all goods and services, with no exceptions.

The Dom-Post reports –

Finance Minister Bill English has signalled a rise to 15 per cent in GST as part of a “tax switch” that will see income taxes fall.

Labour has campaigned strongly against a GST rise, which would put $2 billion a year into the Government’s coffers, but has stopped short of promising to reverse it.

An exemption on food – or other changes to the goods hit by the consumption tax – would justify Labour’s strident opposition and could mesh with the Maori Party’s similar policy on the issue.

The Dom-Post reminds us Labour has in the past strongly opposed exemptions for food, and Goff told the newspaper’s Vernon Small he still favoured a comprehensive low rate of GST.

However, as the rate increased to 15 per cent and possibly higher, it would hit low and middle-income people harder, so arguments for exemptions would grow stronger.

There’s more about Labour’s thinking in Small’s report. Go check it out.

Goff, Gunson, GST and grub – a challenge is laid down (and Labour is likely to leave it there)

March 11, 2010

A great challenge has been thrown down to the Labour Party, as the lefties chug around the country to pose and posture on tax matters without much reference to the trade-offs that would give us a better tax system by raising some taxes while lowering others.

Hoping for headlines to remind people of their existence, the Labourites are touring the country in the “Axe the Tax” bus opposing plans to lift GST from 12.5% to 15%.

But here’s the challenge –

Vaughan Gunson, spokesperson for RAM-Residents Action Movement, says: “If the Labour Party really wants to “Axe the Tax”, then they should support the campaign to remove GST from food.”

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Driven to drink by a super scare

June 12, 2009

It looks like we in the government are between a rock and a hard place on the matter of rising national superannuation costs.

At least, that’s what Alf has been led to conclude after picking up his Herald to find –

Retirement policy experts have warned GST may have to be increased from 12.5 per cent to at least 15 per cent, unless the Government considers raising the age of entitlement of NZ Super.

Debate over the sustainability of New Zealand’s pension payments has reignited after National’s decision to suspend contributions to the NZ Super Fund, possibly for at least a decade.

Prime Minister John Key has promised to resign if the age of eligibility is increased, and Labour has made a similar commitment.

But experts insist the issue needs to be discussed – ideally by an independent forum, such as a taskforce or a royal commission – if only to rule out that possibility.

It has also been suggested the Retirement Commissioner chair a wider review, to take political heat out of the issue.

Raising GST from 12.5 per cent to 15 per cent could reap the Government about $2.2 billion extra each year, based on Budget forecasts of how much it expects to raise from GST over the current financial year.

Other options include cutting Government spending, raising other taxes, or introducing means-testing.

Alf has left it to Mrs Grumble to nut out the impact on the household bill, if GST was hoisted to 15%.

But he has run the numbers over his tab down at the Eketahuna Club.

The result in extra GST was so upsetting he had to pour a nip of Scotch on to his cornflakes to settle his stomach.

Now to find a way a way of shifting a bit more of it on to Parliamentary expenses…