Ben Thomas

The New Zealand Herald - - News - ● Ben Thomas, a PR con­sul­tant, is a for­mer min­is­te­rial press sec­re­tary.

Among the bil­lions he has splashed out on health and ed­u­ca­tion, Grant Robert­son has only dipped his lit­tle toe into the po­ten­tially bot­tom­less depths of pub­lic sec­tor pay claims, dol­ing out $103 mil­lion for com­mu­nity mid­wives.

While not a pay-rise for the public­sec­tor unions it­self, it sig­nals the first step to­wards health and ed­u­ca­tion work­ers get­ting a div­i­dend. Wor­ry­ingly for the Gov­ern­ment, the Trea­sury’s fore­casts now sug­gest its flag­ship $2 bil­lion Ki­wibuild scheme will not stim­u­late pri­vate build­ing ac­tiv­ity as quickly as promised, cre­at­ing more pres­sure for Gov­ern­ment to de­liver homes in other ways.

Min­is­ter Stu­art Nash has built on sen­si­ble fund­ing for In­land Rev­enue to chase down tax cheats, gen­er­at­ing more Gov­ern­ment rev­enue.

It sits un­easily, how­ever, next to the rein­tro­duc­tion of a bil­lion-dol­lar “R&D tax credit”, which is prac­ti­cally an invitation to ac­coun­tants to avoid tax through the shuf­fling of pa­per, rather than en­cour­ag­ing gen­uine in­no­va­tion.

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