Saturday, June 2, 2018

WHEN IS A SUBSIDY NOT A SUBSIDY?

Easy ... when it's not applied for the purpose for which it was given.

Last week those in receipt of NZ Superannuation and the Veterans pension received a letter from Work and Income advising that from 1 July single people were to receive an extra $20.46 per week and couples (and those with dependent children) an additional $31.82 being the Winter Energy Payment to "help with the cost of heating your home over winter".

The payment was to partly offset the loss of $1,000 in tax cuts pensioners would have received from 1 April 2018 legislated for by National when it was in government. 

When will 'they' ever learn?   Up until a decade ago and around Christmas time Top Energy customers here in Northland received a cheque from the company as their share of the dividend profit.    That week establishments running pokie machines were inundated with custom with reported turnover increasing by up to 300%.    Eventually sanity prevailed and currently Top Energy customers receive their dividend as a credit against their power account.

My point is simply this ... a smart government would have paid the money direct to the individual's electricity supplier.   Easy to do ... just make it incumbent on the person to advise Work and Income their supplier details and account number and the 'subsidy' ends up doing what it is supposed to do.

This is taxpayer money appropriated for a specific purpose.    Government has a responsibility to ensure it is applied for the purpose it was given.     Gueez Wayne ... even this mob should be capable of understanding that.    Clearly they don't with the result that some of this money will be misapplied and that benefits no-one.

As an aside the letter was kind enough to suggest that recipients could opt out of receiving the payment.   I won't be.   It's poor compensation for the $1,000 tax cut but better than nothing.    Later this year I will OIA the numbers of those availing themselves of the offer.    I suspect not many.

 
  

23 comments:

Andrei said...

Your proposal is a far more difficult proposition to implement and has higher administration costs Veteran

And it is even trickier for those who have one supplier for electricity and another for gas, how should it be apportioned?

And what of those who want to apply this grant to buying firewood?

Apply the KISS principle - no?

Adolf Fiinkensein said...

Andrei

Your second line - just send in details of one supplier.

Your third line = they won't be running their sky TVs and ipads on smoke. This is not Russia, yaknow. See above.

Andrei said...

...being the Winter Energy Payment to "help with the cost of heating your home over winter".

Not everyone heats their home with electricity Adolf.

Gas and open fires are common enough - I guy I know uses an old Kerosine heater and brilliant it is too - though it would give the health Nazis kittens I'm sure. Though considering he is 88 years old it can't be doing him much harm

pdm said...

Not everyone has the letter vet - mrspdm got hers Wednesday but so far nothing for me.

Anrei - you say not everyone heats their home with electricity - true but I would suggest that 99.9999% of Superannuitants have electric lights. Those companies will certainly also supply heating so problem solved.

paul scott said...

Adolf probably hasn't heard we don't like sky TV in the South, you can't buy blue gum this year, so how about the subsidy can include coal.

Gerald said...

Just a heads up if you are not aware. Professor Patterson report is now available.
In some areas I would suggest it was useful.

Dear Sir,
I believe Professor Patterson’s recommendation that Section 28(2) of the Act be amended by adding a further exception, (c), to cover situations where Veterans’ Affairs is satisfied on reasonable grounds that it would be unjust to exclude cover solely because the claimant was briefly absent without leave or committing a minor offence.
Some years ago I was asked to assist a Veteran with his resubmitting of a prior claim.
He had asked a Welfare Officer but he was reluctant to assist because the claim related to the actions of a senior officer.
During his tour in South Vietnam the veteran had “scored” himself a patrol with an Australian platoon on his day off. Unfortunately someone informed command and the Officer and a Sergeant was at the location when the patrol formed up.
His named was called but the soldier did not answer. The Sergeant was instructed to remove the soldier’s weapon. The soldier was again called out but did not move. The officer then instructed the Sergeant to hit him.
I was unable to establish just what was used in the assault due to fading memories and the lack of light at the time. It can be noted that the Sergeant entered the ranks with his own rifle.
When the soldier recovered consciousness he was escorted back to the unit lines and placed in a modified conex used as a cell. It took until the next day before a decision was made to charge him with been AWOL and a day more in the hot box conex before transported to the Services Corrective Establishment at Vung Tau.
On return to New Zealand problems associated with simplex partial seizures resulting from the lack of medical care after the concussion became more pronounced resulting in his leaving the service and his marriage.
Later he was unfortunate to be struck again and the seizures were now complex partial seizures.
To use his explanation” these seizures take 30 seconds out of you life”. “I once stopped at a red light and the next I knew there was an agitated driver knocking on my window pointing to the green light.”
We resubmitted his claim but had not envisaged he would be denied because he had been AWOL when the blow occurred.
Sadly mention of the blow as a means of directed discipline is published in The New Zealand Vietnam War by McGibbon but no indication of the consequences to the veteran.
After that experience assisting with his claim I am firmly convinced that the Section 28(2) should be amended.

pdm said...

Gerald - trolling again!!

This has no relevance to the original post.

Paulus said...

Trustpower give to large BOP local Shareholding Trustpower Electric Conmsumer Trust (TECT)their dividend share which is distributed after enormous BOP charity donations the balance of the dividend in November a minimum of approx and up, $450 to its power users.

Noel said...

A superannuate at the gym was saying they were going back to a fire place.
Seems the new dump charges for tree branches make it attractive to keep for a fire.
Don't see them as the type that would readily accept your claim that "a smart government would have paid the money direct to the individual's electricity supplier."

Adolf Fiinkensein said...

pdm

In this case I don't think Gerald is trolling. He's just late (about a month) and lost (wrong post).

The Veteran said...

Noel ... so your superannuate at the gym doesn't have electricity in the home?

Look, I agree there is a counter argument based on people making their own decisions but some people need to be 'saved' from themselves and paying the subsidy direct to the supplier means it gets up being used as it was intended to be used.

Andrei said...

"some people need to be 'saved' from themselves"

How patronizing can you get? That is the thinking of the Labour Party - mind you the National Party is often indistinguishable from the Labour Party so we shouldn't be surprised at seeing sentiments like this expressed

We all have God given Free will and you have not been appointed to make other people's decisions good or bad for them Veteran

In any case the idea you propose would be a nightmare to implement and expensive to maintain and far more Government money would go down the toilet trying to keep it going than would be "misspent" by senior citizens on things you disapprove of.

The Veteran said...

Andrei ... thought someone would say that but in doing so you miss the point completely. The subsidy payment is for energy and energy alone. So I take it you would be quite relaxed if say the NZDF took it upon themselves to spend monies appropriated for the capital equipment programme on giving everyone a pay rise.

Clearly you are a bit behind the ball with IT. It would take me about ten minutes to write a 'patch' upgrading the MSD data base to include for the pensioner a nominated energy supplier and account number.

Not patronising ... all about ensuring that taxpayer funds are spent for the purpose the were appropriated for. Thought you would be in favour of that.

David said...

As long as the power bill is paid there is no need for the State to get involved. No dollar is any different to any other dollar when it comes to that.

Clearly you are a bit behind the ball with IT. It would take me about ten minutes to write a 'patch' upgrading the MSD data base to include for the pensioner a nominated energy supplier and account number.

Not sure what experience you have with programming, but your "patch" sounds like the sort of thing that fucks software badly. And who ensures the pensioner updates MSD when they change suppliers?

The Veteran said...

David ... you too miss my point. It's public monies. The power bill may not be paid. What then?

The pensioner updates the data if they want the dosh. Not hard really when you're getting something for nothing.

Yeh ... socialist mantra. Chuck money at the problem and hope for the best. No checks and balances. Sorry, don't buy that.

Andrei said...

" Clearly you are a bit behind the ball with IT. It would take me about ten minutes to write a 'patch' upgrading the MSD data base to include for the pensioner a nominated energy supplier and account number. "

LOL it is that sort of thinking that leads to things like the Novopay debacle.

It is a lot more complicated than adding feilds to a database - there are payment systems to be put into place, there are processes needed to deal with dud data in the new fields which will exist believe me

And then the "approved" energy suppliers will have to upgrade their systems to handle the new payments and processes to deal with dud payments because the MSD data is dud and processes to reverse payments made in error and on and on it goes

It is far from a ten minute job and it will also require ongoing maintenance to keep the data current

David said...

No Vet, I didn't miss your point, I disagreed with it.

If the power bill is not paid then the supplier will do what they always do in such cases. And the amount of the subsidy is nowhere near the full cost. Even with the subsidy paid directly to providers the balance of the bill could remain unpaid.

Your attitude harks back to the days of The Susso. Most of us would rather not return there.

Noel said...

"Look, I agree there is a counter argument based on people making their own decisions but some people need to be 'saved' from themselves and paying the subsidy direct to the supplier means it gets up being used as it was intended to be used,"

So if National had won the election you would be dictating what taxpayers could spend their money on because some needed to be saved from a wasteful purchase?

Andrew said...

A better OIA would be to see how many Special Needs Grants are provided over the winter months for heating costs compared to the last few years.
I would hazard a guess that they will not reduce - and in fact will increase.
All because the money paid for the so-called Winter Energy Payment will be spent on anything but winter heating costs.
They should have removed heating costs from the special needs grants category - but they haven't.

The Veteran said...

Andrew ... good point.

Noel, disagree. If National had won the election the $1,000 in tax cut money you and I would have received would have come no strings attached ... it wuz 'your' money. The Winter Power Subsidy Payment is NOT your money. It is money appropriate for a specific purpose ... spot the difference.

David said...

It's hard to remove the authoritarian from the totalitarian.

You say If National had won the election the $1,000 in tax cut money you and I would have received would have come no strings attached ... it wuz 'your' money. The Winter Power Subsidy Payment is NOT your money. It is money appropriate for a specific purpose ... spot the difference.

Yet in your original post you lauded Top Energy for denying shareholders the right to spend their money. You want to determine how people can spend their own money no matter its source.

Up until a decade ago and around Christmas time Top Energy customers here in Northland received a cheque from the company as their share of the dividend profit. That week establishments running pokie machines were inundated with custom with reported turnover increasing by up to 300%. Eventually sanity prevailed and currently Top Energy customers receive their dividend as a credit against their power account.

The Veteran said...

David ... Top Energy customers are NOT shareholders ... they're consumers. The Directors of Top Energy determine how to apply any dividend ... it's their call and the decision to apply the dividend to the customers power account was IMHO a smart call and hence my post.

You want authoritarian and totalitarian ... want about the decision to cancel oil exploration permits made without reference to cabinet ... now that's both.

David said...

...the decision to apply the dividend to the customers power account was IMHO a smart call and hence my post

Because you think you (and Top Energy) know better than others how to spend their own money. You're not much on freedom of choice, are you?

You want authoritarian and totalitarian ... want about the decision to cancel oil exploration permits made without reference to cabinet ... now that's both.

What exploration permits were cancelled?

Anyway, that's governing, you know, what governments are elected to do. They don't need to get your permission to do their job. And in this case, even if it did go through cabinet, you'd still whinge and moan because you don't like the decision. If you don't like what they do/did, you can always cast your vote for a different government next time.