Sunday, November 13, 2011

Why is Winston climbing the polls?

I make no secret of being a big fan of horse racing - both codes - and horsebreeding. The industry has been struggling recently with low stakes, high ACC charges and subsequent loss of NZ talent - trainers, breeders and jockeys - to overseas, particularly Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong. I don't profess to know exactly what Winston Peters did for the industry as Minister from 2005 to 2008 but his record is one that the industry applauded. At the same time Roger Douglas attacked the industry because they received tax breaks. Privilege. But it wasn't as simple as that. The racing industry wasn't getting the same treatment as other gaming industries and argued its case accordingly. My view was that they should all be on the same footing obviously but instead of attacking the racing industry, which began to thrive under Winston, Douglas should be using it as an example of how lower taxation allows business to flourish to the point where they produce more income and jobs for a country.

Douglas wrote in 2009, about what families were paying in tax:

“Given the current economic climate, this robbery must stop. What have families got for their $30,000? How has the Families Commission helped? Or introducing tax breaks for the racing industry?"

I wrote to Roger:

"Actually the racing industry is thriving and becoming more globalised. Which means the agistment, breeding and export industries are thriving. This is NZ doing what it does well. In fact it is probably a super example of how industry blossoms with lower taxes and it is entirely possible that the government is now collecting more tax because of that growth.

Of course the tax breaks need to be right across the board otherwise the concession is privilege. But it would be worth highlighting the industry positively rather than negatively.

He replied, "
The last thing nz needs is govt picking winners ie taxing some nzers to give to others. Roger"

I countered,

"I agree. That's what I said. But the racing industry is a good example of why tax breaks should be universal; it provides tangible proof that the govt shouldn't be picking losers. Or do you think that the racing industry can only prosper at someone else's expense? Lindsay"

No further response was forthcoming.

I still maintain Roger missed an opportunity. Libertarians often argue this point and mostly agree that politically they should support any tax reduction but push for equivalence.

So what is the point of my post?

Winston appears to have spent all of (or damn near to) his advertising budget on Trackside TV. And the industry loves him.


Anonymous said...

It's simple - he gave them money and they gave him moeny:

I blogged on that in July 2008 and incldued this from the SST which wasn't online:
What Racing Has Done For Winston:

* Vela family, with interests in NZ Bloodstock at Karaka and Pencarrow Stud in the Waikato, reportedly donated at least $150,000 in amounts under $10,000 between 1999 and 2003 to NZ First.

* Wealthy breeder Sir Patrick Hogan, of Cambridge Stud, launched his own campaign to get NZ First back into parliament, spending thousands of his own money on newspaper advertsiements. The racing industry also backed the party through its Fair Tax campaign.

* Billionaire expat Owen Glenn, a racehorse owner, donated $100,000 to NZ First’s electoral challenge of the 2005 result in Tauranga.

What Winston Has Done For Racing:

* Reduced totalisator duty to 4% from a headline rate of 20%, pumping around $32 million a year into the industry.

* Decreased the tax write-down period for stallions and broodmares, encouraging more people to buy racehorses for tax advantages and potentially benefitting breeders by millions.

*This year’s Budget allocated a further $19m for a co-sponsorship scheme over a three-year period to enable “substantially higher prize money offered by the creme de la creme of New Zealand races.”

Redbaiter said...

It puzzles me that there's this widespread condemnation of Winston, when IMHO, he's basically no better or worse than anyone else.

Got caught out is all.

The disgustingly Progressive Herald on Sunday editorial attacks him today for the Owen Glenn affair.

Helen Klark was just as guilty as Winston yet escapes similar censure from the self righteous urban liberal prigs at the Herald.

I think the singling out of Winston is bringing him a sympathy vote.

The truth is he is no worse than a lot of corrupt and racist scumbags in parliament right now who have never attracted anything like the criticism Peters has.

The very PC David Farrar attacks Peters at every opportunity, but never subjects Pita Sharples (for example) to anything like that degree of scrutiny.

I'm not a Peters fan but I can see how (apart from the racing Industry) he could be earning the sympathy of some voters.

My own view is that Peters is gaining votes because in National's obsession with earning the support of urban liberals, they have arrogantly dismissed a large part of the population who have views that are counter to those of young government and semi-private sector workers living in the suburbs with mortgages and one or two kids, and whose sole source of political information is RNZ or TV One/ Three.

These people are quite politically detached from other voters, but if National makes them the most important sector, naturally other sectors will be dissapointed at that, and put their vote elsewhere.