Is judith collins politically immortal – the listener gas leak los angeles california


These issues wouldn’t be nearly as far advanced were it not for Collins, which goes to show that, one, some policies are genuinely bipartisan despite the rhetoric and, two, you can’t necessarily bury an unwanted MP by giving her “nothing” jobs.

What he overlooked was that most women of Collins’ age grew up with tomes like 101 Ways With a Pound of Mince. She rapidly turned the revenue gig into a populist crusade, launching irreversible preparations to force multinationals such as Amazon and Google to be assessed for tax in New Zealand. She also rescued the GST-free-internet- shopping issue from the too-hard basket, setting it on a one-way voyage to Pay Up-land. For sport, she rarked up the foreign-owned petrol companies about their pricing practices, and when some refused to co-operate, she commissioned an inquiry by officials. All this work has given the new Government some handy “Here’s one we prepared earlier!” moments this week. Fair’s fair

The GST extension to low-value internet imports won’t be wildly popular, but most consumers will probably concede it’s fair. Local retailers have had to compete with foreign suppliers untroubled by the 15% impost. The question was, how to levy GST on the flood of imported goods without creating a bureaucratic horror. What Collins, and subsequently the new Government, realised was that, a few years on from this country’s initial policy work on the issue, other countries had started to tax big online traders such as Amazon, so this tiny nation wouldn’t need to reinvent the wheel.

It is now no big deal that foreign companies supplying goods worth more than $60,000 a year to New Zealand will have to register for GST. It’s still fair to ask, why bother chasing low-value imports? The projected revenue’s not flash, the tax still won’t catch all the sales – like those of small traders – and a 15% handicap for foreign competitors won’t be enough to save local retailers.

But here the Kiwi “fair go” ethos kicks in. We hate that Amazon doesn’t pay company tax here, so it’s hard to defend giving it a GST advantage over local retailers. Given we don’t know the true extent of internet imports, the change could bring in much more than the estimated $64 million-$81 million a year.

The petrol-pricing issue’s a potential blockbuster, as it’s one of a slew of consumer problems this country faces because it’s too small to have fully competitive markets in all sectors. Petrol, like the grocery, electricity, post, building-products, car-parts, airline and airport sectors, is dominated by too few players to be competitive. We pay more than we should because there’s little to stop companies charging at will.

When pressed, they plead, “We need to charge extra to provide for capital investment”. Seldom is this excuse subject to expert scrutiny. Under the Commerce Act, BP has done nothing wrong by charging a bigger margin in some districts to make up for losses in another, a practice a leaked strategy disclosed. But this would not pass most consumers’ sniff test for Kiwi fairness.

Collins’ work has helped set the agenda for this Government to reassess the Commerce Act’s scope over petrol and other uncompetitive markets. This could be career fodder for another relegated minister, Kris Faafoi. He holds the opportunity-rich commerce portfolio – but outside Cabinet. His colleague Meka Whaitiri, also outside Cabinet, has made a star turn of her unpromising customs and associate agriculture jobs, co-fronting the new GST policy and introducing groundbreaking animal welfare legislation. Swirling rumours

Although it would never be a bestseller, Crusher Collins’ 101 Ways With a Dead-end Cabinet Job would be a better investment of time than the latest swirl of political rumours. Vile stories about politicians of all stripes thrived before the internet. Now lurid nonsense gets passed off as fact online. Whether the product of malice or of Chinese-whisper misconstruals, these rumours are most vicious when they attack MPs’ nearest and dearest.