Home' The Wellingtonian : November 3rd 2011 Contents 11
THE WELLINGTONIAN, NOVEMBER 3, 2011
Facing political machine guns
Doing nothing can always
seem like the best policy.
By all accounts, being in a
foxhole in World War I was no
picnic, but preferable to heading
over the top, into the mouth of the
In this election campaign,
Labour is making its own run
through barbed wire, armed with
two policies -- a capital gains tax
and a rise in the age threshold for
national superannuation -- that
have been copping fire from all
Staying in the foxhole, though,
may not be practical for very
The rise in income inequality
means sooner or later, the wealth
earned from capital gains will
have to be fairly and comprehens-
ively taxed, in the same way that
wealth earned from wages always
With national superannuation,
the rising costs are simply
The problem for Labour is that
the majority of voters are unlikely
to emerge from their foxholes
before Election Day, 2011.
The plan Labour announced
last week was hardly
Starting in nine years time,
Labour wants to raise the
retirement age from 65 to 67 by
2033, with exemptions for some
It also wants to lift employer
Kiwisaver contributions to 7 per
cent over the same period.
Across the Tasman, the Aussies
are doing more of the same, but
faster. The retirement age in
Australia will start to rise in 2017
and will reach 67 by 2023, 10
years ahead of us.
Their employer contributions to
compulsory savings will also be
far higher, reaching 12 per cent by
2023. The United States will lift
the retirement age to 67, by 2022.
So, while Labour s plans for this
country are relatively timid,
they re in line with where the
developed world is headed.
Fairness between generations
(and sheer affordability) mean
either the retirement age will
need to rise, or some form of
means testing will have to be
Already, the needs of pen-
sioners are crowding out other
forms of social spending.
The Key Government intends,
for example, to crack down on ben-
eficiaries if re-elected, partly on
grounds of affordability.
That aim seems misguided,
because during the two years
before the global recession
arrived, the rise in national super-
annuation costs had accounted for
all of the $535 million growth in
expenditure on benefits during
That situation is only likely to
worsen. During the nine years
from 2006-07 until 2014-15, an
additional 150,000 people are
forecast by Treasury to qualify for
national superannuation, a one-
Costs will rise in tandem, by 71
per cent according to this year s
Budget: from $6.8 billion in
2006/07, to $11.6 billion in
2014/15. Nearly two-thirds of that
rise will be because of annual cost-
The Key Government, however,
seems so fixated on not giving
Winston Peters an issue to
exploit, it appears to be living in
denial about this trend.
Yet back in the early 1990s, a
previous National Government
lifted the pension age from 60 to
65, and slashed the payment
levels. It also phased those
changes in fairly abruptly,
between 1992 and 2001.
Yes, it took a popularity hit for
doing so. But if National was right
to raise the retirement age and
lower entitlements back then, why
is it finding it impossible to even
consider a smaller, far more grad-
ual change now?
The Wellingtonian welcomes
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Send your letters to P O Box 3740,
She has one vote on a par with
every other councillor.
The Government has funding
for a roading project. The council
has voted in support and the
majority have prevailed over a
small party, which has been over-
ruled on this issue. Democracy in
not the answer
Les Cleveland must really have
his tongue in cheek when he
asserts (October 27) that
Wellington is not favoured for
walking, with cars the only
suitable mode of transport.
Wellington city has one of the
highest usages of public transport
and cycling and walking in the
southern hemisphere, and that
number could grow if we stopped
focusing on building new roads.
The most recent Wellington
Regional Council monitoring
report showed that nearly 70 per
cent of journeys to work in the
CBD were made walking or
cycling and 20 per cent in the city.
Over the last year there has
been an 8.2 per cent increase in
peak period public transport trips
which now comprise 21 per cent of
all region-wide work trips.
A further surge in growth is
happening with the introduction
of the new Matangi trains and
with the completion of track
upgrade work reducing
In the initial Ngauranga to
Wellingtonians indicated their
support for higher capacity
modern tram, along with safe
cycle and walking routes, and
they still show their support for
improved services in every survey
I have been flooded with calls
questioning the need for a Basin
Reserve flyover and new roads.
Indeed, NZ Transport Agency
traffic road counts show that peak
car use occurred in 2006.
Commuter support for the
Wellington Regional Council s
innovative car share software may
also show a desire to use our
roading infrastructure more
Wellington regional councillor
FROM THE WEB
Chris M: Good to see issues
discussed here rather than people
pulling the mayor apart. Although
I am not a Green Party supporter
overall I think she has done a
fairly good job.
Greg: Everything a city does
costs a bit of money. If you re
going to freeze rates, inflation
adjusting means that doing the
exact same thing the next year
has to be cheaper than this year.
If you re going to freeze rates, you
just end up with spikes between
freezes, or you get a city that s
falling apart around you. I m not
thrilled when my rates go to an
overblown feasibility study for a
pool, but I don t mind when the
library gets to keep reasonable
operating hours. Have a look in
the annual report and see what s
up with rates.
Michael of Miramar: The Basin
flyover is not necessary. The
congestion is on Buckle St and
Karo Dr. Fix that and the flyover
is not needed.
Dave: The whole funding
structure for community groups
needs a complete overhaul. Loans
to community groups instead of
grants would introduce some
fiscal reality and planning. Issue
community infrastructure bonds
to raise funds for long-term
projects. Introduce more public-
private sector partnerships.
Freeze the actual dollar amount
collected in rates, with new
expenditure only available from
bonds, loan repayments,
operating entity profits and new
A home for
Richard: Why don t they use the
new indoor sports stadium built at
huge cost to ratepayers? I
understand badminton already
uses the Renouf tennis centre.
These seem like very good options
already funded by ratepayers.
Tony D: To ride these [bikes] you
would probably also have to pack
a comprehensive tyre repair kit.
All the rubbish that gets swept
into the city s bicycle lanes leads
to frequent punctures.
Frank Ricard: Who will
maintain the 99 bicycles? How
much will that cost? Who can we
sue when the bike falls apart mid
Trevor Woolnough: Promoting
cycling , so where are all the cycle
lanes? We re so far behind the rest
of the world. Less talking about it
and more doing please.
D: China has come a long way
from the single-speed water-pipe
clunkers of the past. They are now
up with the world s best. Even
many top selling New Zealand
brands are made there. Giant is
made in Shanghai. I ve seen the
factory there that made mine, and
mine has done serious
MMP -- time for
Fmacskasy: Vote for Change is
being disingenuous when it claims
that SM (Supplementary
Member) is halfway between FPP
and MMP . That is simply not
true. MMP is a proportional
system. SM is not proportional
and is actually FPP-plus-add ons.
If we choose SM, we ll be back to
First Past the Post and one-party
Harry: The issues in Rongotai are
-Traffic. It s stuffed and getting
worse by the day. All the buses in
the world won t fix that.
- Housing. We don t need more
and there is already provision to
build denser housing in the city
- The airport. A largely bad
neighbour who s consultation
process is similar to the one in
Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy
where the plans for consultation
were in a locked filing cabinet in a
basement guarded by a tiger.
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