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Call me pink, I certainly ain't feeling blue

Wednesday, September 24th 2008, 9:02PM 6 Comments

by Philip Macalister

Many of you will be surprised (or have some other emotion) that the Financial Advisers Bill has been passed before the election. Commerce Minister Lianne Dalziel made it clear that was her intention and many doubted her. I didn’t. I reckon there will be plenty of other political surprises in the next month and a half – the biggest one of course will be a Labour victory. I haven’t written them off and, yes I’m a bit of a lone wolf in this industry of ours, suggesting that Helen Clark could well be leading the next government. One of the contrary things is that the finance industry tends to be reasonably conservative (no social concscience I hear in the background!) Quite a few people are highly active within National, others were unlikely enough to have their names included in Nicky Hagar’s book The Hollow Men. But the reality the Clark-led governments have been great for us. Why would you get rid of them? I have no idea what National stands for or what it would do to help savings (other than its panacea for everything – tax cuts) and absolutely not a clue what it thinks of KiwiSaver. Labour on the other hand has a long list of achievements starting with the NZ Super Fund, moving through to providing certainty around the state pension (for the record it is NZ Super NOT National Super), KiwiSaver, tax changes including the PIE regime (which is massive for us) and now more regulation around the advisory sector. You could argue few industries have had more support and encouragement over the past nine year than savings. I would have thought with these sorts of achievements the savings industry should be cheering on Labour. It’s hard to get excited about what National has to offer, as we just don’t know. There is talk that it would cut back the employer contribution for KiwiSaver. That wouldn’t win it too many friends and from my perspective as an employer I’m happy helping my team. Feel free to comment!
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Comments from our readers

On 25 September 2008 at 8:47 am Majella said:
I'm with you Phil - Labour could well yet win suficient support to form the next Government. While I'm pretty cycnical about politicians in general, I have to admit that this particular crowd does have a strong track record, while the Nats seem to have little to offer, other than new faces (and not THAT many NEW ones, either).
Unfortunately, there may be 3% - 4% of the lumpenvoters that may simply want a change for changes' sake. Still there's a long way to go and mch more muck to be slung. It'll be entertaining, at least.
On 25 September 2008 at 9:35 am Philip said:
Thanks. We were just doing a review of political party policies as they relate to property investment for the next issue of the NZ Property Investor Magazine.
One of the things the savings industry often goes on about is that property isn't treated in the same way as managed funds and it has several unfair advantages.
Well, in looking at policies, if you got a Labour/Green government next time around then there is a strong likelihood that property investors would get whacked. Maybe not with a capital gains tax,as the Greens want, but stricter rules around the use of LAQCs and ring-fencing of losses. More food for thought.
On 25 September 2008 at 10:53 am alan said:
Your blog deals with recent legislative issues as they affect advisers, and that's fine as far as it goes; however, two alternative issues, at least, stick out:
1) the imposition of a most complicated and, some might argue, unfair tax on overseas investments and

2) Failure to move New Zealand back up the OECD wealth ladder as they said they would do in 1999. As Michael Bassett has said,once Labour realised it would compromise their Social Engineering agenda, they quietly dropped it.
On 25 September 2008 at 9:28 pm Jens Meder. said:
I fully agree with your positive evaluation of Labour's innovative domestic savings for investment policies, without which small and remote NZ would have no chance whatever to catch and keep up with the leading OECD countries.
National's $50.- feerly consumable tax rebate for all might be just as unsustainable without going deeper into debt, as their (Muldoon's)very generous superannuation bribe in 1975.
Wouldn't a much more constructively effective tax rebate be in allocating the NZSF to PAs (Personal Accounts)as a permanent institution (not just for the benefit of baby boomers), converting a proportion of taxation revenue directly into widening personal long term investment wealth ownership - in productivity, and even in low interest infrastructure finance? In the latter case, debt repayment would be only to our own NZ Super cash flow, and no one else abroad or at home.
There are many more advantages with NZSF PAs, so why has public discussion about it studiously been evaded so far?
Even NZ First, having it in their policies since supporting the Cullen Fund in 2000, has been too timid to advocate it aggressively, so far.
Some public discussions on the pros and cons of it just might result in it becoming the most fundamentally constructive election issue of 2008!
On 6 October 2008 at 10:55 am Andrew said:
Phillip - you must be mad.

Labour have taken an additional $230 per week off every household in taxation, for no additional improvement in services (see various Auditor General and Treasury reports). That additional $230 per week per household would have improved the economy and our industry in particular in so many ways.

Labours socialist ideology, tax and spend mentality, has to go if we want growth as an industry and as a country. And that doesn't even start to address the damage Labour have done to the structure of the country (civil service, police, judiciary, armed forces, media etc.) through their political manipulation and corruption.

Having said that I am concerned Labour may possibly win a fourth term through the benefit mentality a large proportion of new Zealanders seem to have developed. We are certainly not the proud and independent people we used to be.
On 10 October 2008 at 9:23 pm Jens Meder. said:
Andrew, we know that excessive welfarism leads to stalling the economy and widening socialistic poverty - and we also know, that policies under democracy are influenced by numbers.
We have to face the fact, that for whatever reason, the numbers seem to favor more rather than less welfarism, so the primary concern of those feeling responsible for the economic health of the country, should be - HOW TO REDUCE THE DEMAND OR NEED FOR WELFARISM?
Your answer to that in drastically reduced taxation - unless channelled into compulsory saving and health insurance "of your own choice" as initially implied as self-evident by Sir Roger's "Rogernomics" - is "pie in the sky", and would only lead to increasing polarisation into haves & have nots, and the existence of poverty unacceptable in our civilisation.
So, politically the most successful way to work towards diminishing welfarism at present is to introduce a widening savings and wealth ownership culture simultaneously with welfaristic "election bribes".
KiwiSavers and the NZSF are perhaps the most wealth & growth creative economic policies in NZ history, leading to all-inclusive "Ownership Democracy" eventually, with diminishing reliance on redistributive welfarism. Wouldn't this be in the "enlightened selfinterest" of all of us? (Debate welcome.)
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