The good: Two promising high-tech companies
Both are in the news today on NBR 24/7 reflect the sort of thing New Zealand needs more of in order to climb up the OECD ladder and catch up to Australia in income per person.
“Emergency assistance provider International SOS is set to release an upgraded version of its travel tracker technology that helps coordinate evacuations and rescue missions around the world’s hotspot.
“International SOS New Zealand manager Jeremy van de Klundert said the company sold its travel tracker technology to businesses around the world so that they could monitor where their employees were at any given moment.
“Mr Klundert said this technology had proved very helpful in the recent evacuation and rescue missions in Mumbai and Haiti. The company has three alarm centres, one in Philadelphia, one in London and one in Singapore.”
The other company was SciTOX, which held its first annual shareholder meeting in Christchurch this week.
“The company has developed a bio-sensor, which uses micro-organisms to measure the toxicity of trade-waste and will enable waste-water treatment plants to charge fees for the treatment of effluent depending on the type of pollutants.
“The device is expected to be popular with municipal authorities, which will be able to more accurately measure pollutants in trade waste from manufacturers and other clients."
The bad: Property investor bashing
Property investors have emerged as the scapegoat of the week after the Tax Working Group recommended a number of options for whacking these investors with new taxes.
Some in the media have taken aim at property investors, pointing the finger at them for making such an “unproductive” investment.
The general implication was that these people only get into rentals to lose money.
They then rip of the taxpayer by claiming Working For Families, jump into their new Audis and drive through the slums they own, pointing at the destitute tenants and shouting “muhahahaha!” before heading home to swim in their pools of gold coins.
According to the established narrative these evil landlords, along with evil foreigners, pushed house prices beyond the limits of affordability for everyday Kiwi battlers.
The true culprits and the real reasons for the recent house and land price inflation (yes it is inflation and inflation is a bad thing) were increases in the money supply and reductions in the supply of land through the “smart growth” delusions of the central planners who want us all to live in apartments the size of cardboard boxes.
And instead of looking for more creative ways to tax everyone to death the government could grow some Kahunas and cut spending, allowing New Zealand to have lower taxes, higher growth and fewer scapegoats.
The ugly (and, while we're at it, mean-spirited): the government
The government’s skewed priorities were reflected in its decision this week to appeal a Human Rights Tribunal decision that said families that look after their severely disabled adult children should be eligible for taxpayer funding.
This comes from a government that doesn’t bat an eyelid at paying thousands of bludgers to sit around all day doing nothing.
We are, of course, referring to the time-servers at New Zealand’s dazzling array of commissions, agencies and departments, as well as the people who get a sickness benefit for being “addicted” to pot.
But paying a few people to look after their disabled children is apparently a no-no.
The equally ugly: New Zealanders’ economic illiteracy
When the 2025 Taskforce made its controversial list of proposals for increasing New Zealand’s economic performance to catch up to Australia’s, it missed an obvious one.
The only way to really lift New Zealand’s woeful economic performance is to smack every New Zealander over the head with a textbook of Economics 101.
This nation-wide lack of financial common sense was reflected in a poll published by the NZ Herald as its lead story that found 61% of respondents want the minimum wage lifted to $15 an hour.
Of course, the Herald poll didn’t ask the follow-up question: “Do you support higher unemployment, particularly among groups vulnerable to labour market changes such as young people and Maori, as well as the possible collapse of many businesses already burdened by ever-increasing government-imposed costs?”
While it may be tempting just to tut-tut at the stupidity of our fellow Kiwis and forget about it, this survey could be a sign of even worse to come.
The Unite union is circulating a petition to get the minimum wage increased to $15 an hour and, by the looks of the Herald survey, it has a good chance of getting the required number of signatures (10% of enrolled voters) to force a Citizens Initiated Referendum.
Fortunately the National government will probably ignore it like all the other CIRs this country has had.
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