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Policy changes to a festering sore are sadly in the far distance:

By   /  July 11, 2018  /  Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda, Susan St John  /  9 Comments

An injustice that is so obvious requires immediate action- not delay until some report is written by the very people that don’t want change and have just argued that very position in court.

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Universal Super – No steps forward. Two steps back?

By   /  June 16, 2018  /  Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda, Susan St John  /  18 Comments

Better off people can simply save less in other funds if they are forced to contribute more, while the poor just get poorer. On retirement, low income workers may get little advantage from their forced saving as they will need a top-up to get just to the level of NZ Super.

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We can help solve child poverty – here is one crucial way how

By   /  June 5, 2018  /  Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda, Susan St John  /  11 Comments

There is an ample supply of housing overall, but it is poorly distributed in terms of size and price. Increasingly large gains in house values are accruing for the already wealthy while the poorest households suffer excessive rents or lose housing access to housing altogether.  

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MUST READ: Does this budget turn the tide?

By   /  May 22, 2018  /  Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda, Susan St John  /  19 Comments

Let’s be clear, the family poverty inherited from the last decade of entrenched poor policies, sheer neglect or deliberate attacks on living standards won’t be fixed overnight. We get that. We know the PM has solving child poverty at her core, and her values and integrity are the best thing that has happened to children for a very, very long time. But CPAG is the critical friend and has to say the hard stuff on behalf of children.

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MUST READ: The fiscal stranglehold

By   /  April 19, 2018  /  Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda, Susan St John  /  8 Comments

When the Fund is included, New Zealand’s net debt level becomes extremely low. Treasury projections in the fiscal update December 2017 show net debt including the fund actually disappears by 2022!  Time to stop the fiscal panic please.

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The huge white elephant landlord in the tax living room

By   /  April 3, 2018  /  Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda, Susan St John  /  33 Comments

Labour’s ring-fencing is just tinkering. Losses from one property are still able be to be offset against others that make profits or carried forward and written off eventually.

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MUST READ: It needs to be more than a BBQ Jacinda

By   /  March 13, 2018  /  Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda, Susan St John  /  23 Comments

MSD are prepared to pontificate in court for days about how married couples have greater economies of scale than two singles living together and how society expects partners to support each other. The 21st century has passed them by.

Why do we concede power and deference to these unelected officials?  Is it time to give up on the courts?

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Can National stop digging please?

By   /  February 15, 2018  /  Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda, Susan St John  /  15 Comments

National just doesn’t get it.  Bill English’s persistence with the accusation that Labour had an $11.7 billion fiscal hole in its figures was, by far, his biggest mistake as Simon Wilson in the NZ Herald says. But did they learn? Even in the face of clear political damage they kept digging.

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Use of Nudge theory: The Winter Energy Payment

By   /  January 17, 2018  /  Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda, Susan St John  /  21 Comments

Behavioural economist Richard Thaler, the father of ‘nudge theory’ was awarded the Nobel economics prize in 2008. In New Zealand we see his influence in the auto-enrolment, opt-out design of KiwiSaver.

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Further fraying of the social welfare net

By   /  December 15, 2017  /  Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda, Susan St John  /  8 Comments

One of the clear threads is the move to a greater reliance on the complex stigmatizing regime of supplementary hard to access add-on means-tested assistance. Core benefits are not enough to live on and low wages are far too low.

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Housing is the critical issue for the election

By   /  September 19, 2017  /  Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda, Susan St John  /  22 Comments

We are not doing policy development well in New Zealand. Labour now has a real chance here to get it right. There would be time, for example, to investigate the risk-free return method first discussed by the McLeod Tax Review committee in 2001, and more recently by the Gareth Morgan foundation.

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Time to get rid of married/single distinctions

By   /  September 6, 2017  /  Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda, Susan St John  /  20 Comments

Why do we have big differences between rates of NZ Super? Why does a single sharing pensioner get $ 60 a week more than if their relationship is defined to be in the nature of marriage?

Why does a superannuitant living alone get $90 a week more than a married person?

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Black and white or 50 shades of grey?

By   /  August 14, 2017  /  Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda, Susan St John  /  35 Comments

In 1994 CPAG was formed in response to the truly appalling changes Ruth Richardson rammed through in the early 1990s that saw rates of child poverty soar along with rates of 3rd world child diseases. Do people really understand that a sole parent’s benefit was cut below the poverty line but if they tried to earn extra money, they lost most of it?

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Let he who is without sin cast the first stone

By   /  July 18, 2017  /  Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda, Susan St John  /  22 Comments

The poor are ground down by a welfare state more befitting the 19th and 20th centuries than today.  But there is at last a bright spot. There were two breathtakingly bold policies buried in the depths of the Green’s paper Mending the Safety Net that have scarcely been discussed:

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The Families Package 2017 budget

By   /  July 7, 2017  /  Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda, Susan St John  /  11 Comments

It is hard not to be angry. No needy child gets any benefit out of National’s grand plan until April next year.  Always jam tomorrow never jam today. Budgets should be about changes for the current year-not the year after. Shame on them.

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Mean and petty and wrong

By   /  June 13, 2017  /  Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda, Susan St John  /  18 Comments

It is bad for the democratic process when government to fails to address such a clear injustice especially in this case when it poses little fiscal cost. But we don’t seem to know how to do sensible retirement policy any more.

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