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Break open the Champagne.

By   /  June 5, 2019  /  Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda, Susan St John  /  15 Comments

Why so quiet Minister Sepuloni?  This is amazing and was found by chance on your department’s website.  Is vindication  for the small group of superannuitants affected by the Spousal Provision applied under section 70 of the Act imminent?

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I am not a conspiracy theorist but……

By   /  May 6, 2019  /  Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda, Susan St John  /  39 Comments

Releasing the Welfare Expert Advisory Group report at 2pm Friday (3rd May) just before the weekend at a far-flung West Auckland venue miles from the train station was a masterstroke of political strategy.

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Grasping the chance to do it better.

By   /  April 21, 2019  /  Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda, Susan St John  /  11 Comments

While CGT might have been a one-way ticket to oblivion for this government, the original problems that the Minister of Finance asked the TWG 2019 to address have not gone away. These are housing unaffordability and increased inequality, both of which are highly damaging to New Zealand’s future stability and prosperity.  

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Paying too much to keep us warm?

By   /  April 15, 2019  /  Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda, Susan St John  /  25 Comments

The Winter Energy Payment (WEP) provides older people extra income to keep warm during the winter. It sounds kind, but is it a glaring example of wasteful expenditure and poor allocation of scarce resources?

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Of course, the left wants a capital gains tax…

By   /  March 28, 2019  /  Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda, Susan St John  /  23 Comments

There is an old 4 bed room house in Epsom I drive past that has been left to deteriorate, uninsulated, mouldy and damp, rusty roof and leaking gutters set in overgrown unkempt grounds. It was sold to an overseas owner five years ago it now belongs to another overseas owner who paid $500,000 more for it and has it in the hands of a letting agency. Rent has come down by $80 a week to $915 a week after it was empty for months. It is not alone, there are many other examples throughout Auckland.

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MUST READ: Dr Susan St John – Justice delayed is democracy’s undoing

By   /  February 11, 2019  /  Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda, Susan St John  /  21 Comments

Individuals arguing their case for justice have been caught up in Kafkaesque-like experiences at WINZ, MSD, ACC and IRD, where unresponsive officials impose anachronistic rules and laws made for a different time and era. For those who don’t cave in at this point, there may be appeals to the Benefit Review Committee, the Social Security Appeals Authority, and then the daunting prospect of higher courts. Some disappear for years in the labyrinth of the Office of Human Rights Proceedings (OHRP) and the Human Rights Review tribunal (HRRT). While getting to a hearing in the HRRT can take years, after the hearing an actual decision can take many more years and even then, a finding of unlawful discrimination does not bind the Crown to reform the laws.

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Will the Tax Working Group actually address housing inequality?

By   /  December 4, 2018  /  Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda, Susan St John  /  27 Comments

Inequality is a number one issue for Western countries like the US, UK Australia and New Zealand. It not the same as the poverty issue. The growth in extreme income and wealth differences has gathered momentum as tax-free gains accumulated at the top end compound asset values, while disadvantage and debt compound negatively at the bottom end. The fortunes of the top and the bottom are inextricably linked. To begin to reverse the growing wealth divide, policy must address the balance sheets of both.

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