Dry July

So here we are, now in July. It is the start of the second half of the year. We look forward to longer days, warmer weather, and summer – not exactly ‘just around the corner’, but it is within sight now. By the end of the month, it will still be light by 5.30… and it gets better from there.

No, I’m not giving up drink. This government makes that fairly unlikely, until the next election at least. And whether or not things actually get better depends on your point of view.

From 1st July, fuel taxes are increased by 4 cents per litre. This is in addition to the fuel taxes imposed on 1st July last year, and also in addition to the regional taxes forced upon Aucklanders, also this time last year. Gosh, aren’t we lucky? Paying for roading projects that we are not going to see for decades? That is if future governments honour the promises of this government, which is hard to imagine, seeing that they are not honouring their promises themselves.

July 1st is also the day that a new tourist levy of $35 per tourist is imposed.

Do you remember how Jacinda promised us that there would be no new taxes? (Read my lips…)

Don’t be silly, guys. A levy is not a tax. A levy is… a levy. A tax is… a levy under another name. You are being stupid if you do not know the difference.

Actually, I do know the difference. Levies are flat taxes. Taxes are mostly progressive, meaning that people who earn more pay more tax, whereas levies are imposed on everyone equally… whether you earn $300,000 or you earn minimum wage. Both pay the extra 4 cents per litre with effect from July 1st.

I might be a filthy conservative, but I genuinely do feel for people who earn minimum wage, have an old car, travel to work out of hours or are unable to use public transport and have their travel costs constantly increased by this government. There is nothing like solving child poverty by increasing family poverty, is there?

I guess Jacinda realises that children don’t drive, so this does not increase child poverty, eh?

A couple of other important things also happened today. From today, businesses can be fined up to $100,000 for providing customers with a plastic bag. Yes… you heard that right. This is draconian… usury… however you want to describe it, it is completely out of proportion with the particular crime… particularly when you remember that most of the plastic pollution in the oceans comes from 7 rivers in the world. Just about all of them are in Asia. So our penalties for providing a struggling customer with a plastic bag really are way over the top, aren’t they?

Don’t worry. The form of capital gains tax that was proposed, and thankfully abandoned, was the most draconian in the entire world too. It seems to be a pattern with this government.

Also, as of today, all rental properties have to have a high level of insulation. It doesn’t matter if you think it is over the top. The property has to have it. You are now breaking the law if you have properties with tenants living in them where your level of insulation does not comply. The alternative for many tenants is for them to live under a bridge. But there is a significant sweetener. The onus is on your tenants to dob you in, if you don’t comply. This is going to work well for landlord/tenant relations, isn’t it?

No. It won’t.

This government does not want good landlord/tenant relations. It wants the state to hold more and more rental properties. Actually, I wish they would produce more state houses. But these days, all they seem to do is put up more and more people in motels. I’m sure they all love it… those living in motels, that is. Some of them, particularly the ones described as ‘rat holes’ are especially nice. The government is talking vaguely about minimum standards for these places, but they can’t punish private landlords that way, so progress is low.

Well, happy Dry July. But you don’t need to worry. We all had some great news today. Neve took her first steps. And someone planted a tree in her honour. I assume we will be planting trees in retrospect for Max Key, Steffie Key and the 6 English children.

No? Thought not.