Is it government revenue, tax or what?

A discussion led by Phil Stevens on terminology.

Sin taxes are taxes, but otherwise we should call it rent or royalties. There is a widespread belief that tax or borrowing is the only way governments can get money and it is false because governments can create money. It is just that 98% of our money is created by private banks.

There are a number of mantras that are equally false but have become the dominant discourse – e.g. that a surplus is good. Professor Steve Keen and others have explained it isn’t true but if you say it often enough people believe it. What is income tax then? Phil answers it is theft.

Resource list – books, DVDs, website etc

This was prepared for our Unconference held in May 2015

Disclaimer: This is just a selection of books, DVDs and websites. No claim is made for its comprehensiveness. Please send suggestions to

Books on Sustainability and Climate Change
Paul Gilding The Great Disruption
James Hansen Storms of My Grandchildren
Tim Flannery The Weather Makers
Clive Hamilton Requiem for a Species
Naomi Klein This Changes Everything

(Ed) FEASTA (New Zealand version) Fleeing Vesuvius
Herman Daly and John Cobb For the Common Good Redirecting the economy towards community, the environment and a sustainable future. London: Green Print.

David Korten (Co founder of the Yes Magazine, Seattle)
Agenda for a New Economy
The Great Turning
When Corporations Rule the World
The Post Corporate World

Paul Hawken Blessed Unrest
E F Schumacher Small is Beautiful.
Vandava Shiva Earth Democracy

Hazel Henderson
Beyond Globalization
The Politics of the Solar Age Alternatives to Economics
Paradigms in Progress (and many others)

Books on Peak Oil
Jeff Rubin Why your World is About to get a Whole lot Smaller.
Richard Heinberg
Peak Everything
The End of Growth
Snake Oil

Books on General Economics, Inequality and on Money Trading

Steve Keen Debunking Economics

Michael Lewis. Former trader, books include:
Liar’s Poker
Flash Boys

Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett
Why Equality is Better for Everyone

Thomas Piketty
Capital in the 21st Century

Charles R Morris
The Two Trillion Dollar Meltdown Easy Money, High Rollers and the Great Credit Crash

David Hackett Fischer
The Great Wave Price Revolutions and the Rhythm of History

Books on Money
John Kenneth Galbraith
Money Whence it came, Where it went

David Graeber Debt the First 500 Years

Silvio Gesell
The Natural Economic Order (online in English now)

Major C H Douglas
Social Credit 1924 and many others see Wikipedia

Michael Rowbotham
The Grip of Death a Study of Modern Money, Debt Slavery and Destructive Economics.

Deirdre Kent
Healthy Money Healthy Planet –Developing Sustainability through New Money Systems 2005.

Bernard Lietaer: The Future of Money, Money and Sustainability – the Missing Link (with 3 others),
People Money (with Margrit Kennedy)
New Money for a New World (with Stephen Belgin)
Rethinking Money (with Jacqui Dunne)
Creating Wealth (with Gwendolyn Hallsmith)

Margrit Kennedy
Interest and Inflation Proof Money
Occupy Money

Geoff Davies. Economia (Australia)

Thomas H Greco
New Money for Healthy Communities
The End of Money and the Future of Civilization

Richard Douthwaite
(He founded FEASTA in Ireland)
The Growth Illusion
Short Circuit
The Ecology of Money

John Rogers
Local Money (UK)

Ellen Brown
The Web of Debt
The Public Banking Solution

Books on the Commons and on Tax
Andro Linklater
Owning the Earth The Transforming History of Land Ownership

Peter Barnes
Who Owns the Sky?
Capitalism 3.0

Henry George
Progress and Poverty
The Land Question
The Conditions of Labour
The Science of Political Economy pbl Robert Schalkenbach Foundation

Robert V Andelson (Ed)
Land Value Taxation Around the World pbl Robert Schalkenbach Foundation

Fred Harrison
Boom Bust House Prices, Banking and the Depression of 2010
The Traumatised Society
(With Mason Gaffney): The Corruption of Economics. (Critical concept in this book. V important)

Martin Adams
Land A New Paradigm for a Thriving World 2015

Prof. Mason Gaffney
The Mason Gaffney Reader Essays on Solving the Unsolvable

Alanna Hartzok The Earth Belongs to Everyone

New Zealand books are rare but two were written by Rolland O’Regan – Rating in New Zealand and Te Ara Tika

Gareth Morgan and Susan Guthrie The Big Kahuna: Tax Welfare and Dignity

Optimistic Books and Books on new ways of working

Rachel Botsman and Roo Rogers
What’s Mine is Yours The Rise of Collaborative Consumption

John Greer The Ecotechnic Future

Michael Lewis and Pat Conaty
The Resilience Imperative Cooperative Transition to a Steady State Economy.

Charles Eisenstein
Sacred Economics
The Ascent of Humanity

Bruce Lipton
The Biology of Belief
(and with Steve Bhaerman )Spontaneous Evolution Our Positive Future and a Way to get there from here

Newsletters to subscribe to
James Robertson. He is a founder of the New Economics Foundation of UK and has been writing on green economics for decades. His website has a list of the books he has written, the submissions he has made, the newsletters he writes. Topic on money, tax, future work, the dependency culture and many others.

Global finance:,,, resilience,,, TED talks
Money: has comprehensive online teaching.
Zeitgeist the movie
Current global situation:

Basic Income NZ

Real Estate for Ransom. Made in Melbourne by Karl Fitzgerald of Prosper Australia

Money and Life Features many of above authors plus Vicki Robin, Edgar Cahn, Elizabet Sahtouris, Jean Houston, William Greider

Social media
Twitter: (Use tweetdeck where you can have columns).
Follow Deirdre Kent, Phil Stevens, Aaron McLean, Carrie Stoddart

Short History of the New Economics Party

History of the New Economics Party Oct 2011- May 2015

Sept 2011 Deirdre Kent rang Laurence Boomert and suggested a new party because an election was coming up. Deirdre wrote the website, Laurence stood for Wellington Central, logo done by AJ Hunter, constitution written by Natalie Hormann approved by Electoral Commission. Amanda Vickers, Rex Verity, Phil Stevens all involved. Deck Hazen, Deirdre and Laurence made financial contributions. Deck treasurer.

14 April 2012. The First meeting of the New Economics Party, Turangi School, held during the morning of 14/4/2012 during the Australasian Permaculture Convergence

27 attended with Phil Stevens as Interim Chair. Topics discussed included setting up a logo committee led by Miles Thompson (this was eventually dropped as there were more pressing things to do), going through the process of registering as a political party, reviewing the draft constitution. Got more on the mailing list. Set up working group on constitution, Phil Stevens on brochure.

2 June, 2012 Meeting at Otaki
Present: Joy Svendsen, Laurence Boomert, Alex Greig, Finlay Thompson, Deirdre Kent, Rex Verity, Phil Stevens, Niko Leyden, Sue Hamill, Gary Williams (chair) Conor Coady, Malcolm Murchie, Don Richards, Russell Bishop (minutes)

5 August, 2012 First meeting at 215 Rangiuru Road, Otaki. Photo taken of participants with billboard in background. Present: Amanda Vickers, Andrew Rundle-Keswick, Gary Williams, Sue Hamill, Deirdre Kent, Inka Humphries-Gliesche, Don Richards, Alys Delft, Ian Todd, Paul Webster, Conor Coady. Ambitious goals set re timetable.

Our vision was to have a New Zealand society where:

1. We had full employment in quality, fulfilling work for those wanting work.
2. We each had sufficient as our natural right. (Sufficiency of income, access to resources, land, housing, food, clean water)
3. New Zealanders were happy and healthy.
4. There was a ‘reverence’ for nature and a recognition that the economy was a subset of society which was a subset of the environment.
5. Both the national and local economy would be resilient to any threat.
6. There would be vibrant and functioning communities, sufficiently resilient to withstand the challenges of declining supplies of fossil fuels, and collapse of economies in the rest of the world.
7. There would be full human rights and responsibilities starting with security, safety, rights of free speech etc.
8. Our economy would operate like a healthy living organism, a well functioning whole, like a social ecosystem. The system works as a well functioning whole.
9. A healthy participatory democracy.

General election expenses of $3493.94 submitted. Donors: Laurence, Deck Hazen, Deirdre

7 Sept 2012. Prof Steve Keen visits main centres and many meet him.

Kiwibank account opened by Deck Hazen.
First membership was listed, including Russel Bishop, Finlay Thompson, Anna Sutherland, Mark Derby, Neil Thomas, Michael Brierton, Alys Delft, Katherine O’Brien, Don Richards

Meeting 28 October, 2012 at Otaki
9 attended including Morgan Le Quesne with three online. TPPA discussion leading to three working on topic – Viola Palmer, Ian Todd and Sue Hamill. Amanda leading the revision of pamphlet with Deirdre and Phil.

Dec 16, 2012 Meeting
Chicago Plan Revisited paper by Michael Kumhof and Jaromir Benes published. Talk of the Open Bank Resolution provision at the Reserve Bank of New Zealand leads to decision to launch petition asking for a Parliamentary Enquiry into the best methods of ensuring banks are stable. Talk of Auckland currency and a Christchurch currency.
Deirdre reported a disappointing conversation with Bernard Lietaer who didn’t see the land issue as relevant.
At this stage we were lucky to have Morgan Le Quesne offer to help with administration in exchange for nominal wages. Deirdre put in $2000 so we could pay her for some of her work. She took over as treasurer mid 2013 when Deck resigned.

April 2013? Meeting at the home of Alex Greig in Wellington. Designer Niko Leyden proposed a new name and a new logo – The Local Economics Party, with reasons.

6 August 2013 paid up membership was 33

Topics discussed were website, newsletter, the political situation, the economy, a suggested federation of microparties, using Yammer as a discussion platform, making new people administrators for Facebook group, Civi membership list, use of loomio, meeting of Phil and Deirdre with Hone Harawira’s right hand woman, petition to Parliament asking for Parliamentary Enquiry on making banks stable, submission made to Select Committee on Standing Orders re secrecy of Select Committee meetings.

11 August 2013
Linnea Lindstroem and Christian Williams had organised a Wellington meeting with about 15 present – mostly young people. Deirdre spoke.

Christchurch Rex organised two meetings there with Deirdre over the years. Good discussion.

22 Feb 2014 Deirdre and Amanda attended a small meeting of Pirate Party in Otaki where they asked us to explain our policy to them. Agreement that we should each join each other’s party, share research, share campaign volunteers, set up an interparty working group and have an interparty loomio group to work on agreed policy. Possible participants to include were the Pirate Party, the New Economics Party, the Awareness Party Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party, Democrats for Social Credit, Positive Money, Focus NZ, Thrive NZ

July 2014 Deirdre was invited to talk on land and money at the Council of Georgist Organisations conference in California. The talk is on She made good contacts.

Those who have been involved
Those who have been on our steering committee from the start include
Laurence Boomert, Natalie Hormann, Deck Hazen, Neil Thomas, Niko Leyden, Amanda Vickers, Jorn Bettin, Phil Linklater, Christian Williams, Andrew Martin, Aaron McLean, Carol Winstanley, Sue Hamill, Morgan Le Quesne, Carrie Stoddart, Miles Thompson. Present throughout have been Phil Stevens, Rex Verity and Deirdre Kent.

Throughout the whole time Phil Stevens has kept our website operating, after original help from Miriam Richardson. Andrew Rundle and Miles Thompson have helped with web work as needed.

Throughout 2013 till 2015 there were no physical meetings. The Steering Committee met online.

Set up as wordpress, we have kept this form throughout. Deirdre has written almost all of it, but now others are contributing blog posts. E.g Joel Benjamin a New Zealander who lives in London. We are conscious it needs a great deal of work and improvement. It seems we come up on the front page of searches quite often.
At one stage Phil regretfully had to shut down the facility to discuss blog posts on the site, due to hacking.

Mailing list management
Phil set up. CiviCRM to manage our mailouts and Morgan and Deirdre have been learning to use it. It is more sophisticated than Mailchimp and does more, so there is more to learn.

Social Networking
Jorn set up a Facebook page. Deirdre posts new blogs there and any news. It has been a major source of recruiting people to our mailing list and of debate.

Twitter. We found both Carrie and Aaron this way and many others. We do not have a New Economics Party twitter handle yet.
Linkedin. We are not on as the New Economics Party here but again have met people interested in our policies this way.
Google Plus. Same.

Policy discussion online tools
We tried for a while to use Yammer but eventually used loomio and will continue to use loomio as it is open source. More work required on getting participation and results.

Apart from when Laurence stood on a monetary reform policy, we have not stood. We have considered local government elections more relevant. We are aware our policies are not yet developed enough to stand at national level nor is our organisation yet robust enough.

A petition to government
When the provisions for Open Bank Resolution in the case of bank distress was set in place by the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, we were sufficiently alarmed to set up a petition, cooperating with other political parties in the process e.g. Democrats for Social Credit and Positive Money. We learnt that our deposits belonged to the banks legally and that as unsecured creditors we are last in line to have our deposits honoured. The public awareness of ‘bail-in’ is still very low.

We sent in our petition asking for a Parliamentary Enquiry into the best ways of making banks stable signed by 877 people but were not allowed to be present at the Select Committee when it was looking at it.

That precipitated a late submission to the Select Committee Reviewing Standing Orders asking for more openness at Select Committees. They took no action, despite the fact that Phil and Deirdre were politely received by the Speaker’s committee. They simply didn’t want the public present when they were deliberating!

We have had very little media coverage. Statements were put out regularly for a while, but very few over the past two years. They are not all on the website either.

Communication with economists
Deirdre has had meetings with Len Bayliss, Arthur Grimes (on land tax), Ganesh Nana.
Some contact with others.

Submissions to various councils
We have made major submissions to both the Christchurch City Council on their Long Term Plan and to the Local Government Commission hearing feedback on the proposal to amalgamate Wellington Councils. Rex Verity appeared in support at Christchurch and Deirdre at the Local Government Commission hearing in Upper Hutt.

International contact
Good contact with Prof Steve Keen, the Georgist movement, the monetary reform movement, the complementary currencies movement and permaculture movement. We are delighted that Nicole Foss of Canada, formerly of now of, has moved to Wellington and has joined us to help.

Cooperation with other microparties and with other groups
We have communicated and cooperated with the following: The Awareness Party, Thrive NZ, Focus NZ, Democrats for Social Credit, Mana Party, ALCP Party, the Pirate Party, Internet Party (after the election),Positive Money and Resource Rentals for Revenue. Amanda and Deirdre met three from the Pirate Party in Otaki in 2014 and discussed our policy. Danyl Strype keen on cooperation, joining each other to boost membership, pooling resources. We continue our ongoing good relationship with Living Economies Educational Trust.

Not explored yet include Grey Power meetings as they are interested in outcomes for their children and grandchildren. Also at university there were Young Labour, Young Nats and also to some degree ACT, people who were seeking policies for the future.

Our current needs
Improving our website, expanding our social media presence, managing the membership list is ongoing work, more people to share more jobs, setting up branches in Christchurch and Auckland. Relieving Phil of some work. Taking notes at meetings. The list goes on. More donations needed.

Deirdre Kent 26 May, 2015

Social bonds an experiment that can’t work because…

This morning during a Q and A current affairs programme I tweeted the following tweet. “#nzqanda Social bonds experiment risky. Can’t solve social problems separate from wages, jobs, tax, governance issues @NZQandA” Six people retweeted it and many marked it as favourite, showing it resonated with others watching the programme.

Quite frankly the Minister of Social Development, Anne Tolley, is bound to fail with this experiment. And it is not just that you can’t privatise social welfare and expect good results. It is because the whole political system is one system so you can’t put welfare in a silo, treat it separately and expect good outcomes.

Yesterday I heard Kim Hill in a Radio NZ interview with UK Renegade Economist Ross Ashcroft utter this telling remark: “It seems nothing you can do in an economy isn’t going to cause some bad effects somewhere else.” Well Kim you hit the nail on the head there! Everything is connected. And it is not just within the economic system. It is the tax system, the welfare system, jobs, governance, the credit system and wages structures that are all tied up together. Change the paradigms of a few of these and the whole system gets tweaked for the better.

So how do we get a healthy economic system that results in good social outcomes? Looking at the range of social problems from truancy, mental health problems, crime, family dysfunction, stress, educational issues, loneliness, health where does it all stop and where is the best place to intervene? Try education of young mothers? Oh no, they are victims of domestic violence and poverty. Try wages alone? Oh dear the businesses shed jobs. Try crime alone? Nothing changes. Poverty persists, the wealth gap keeps widening. Try housing without changing the tax and rating systems? Oh dear, you get urban sprawl and an inability of councils to build essential infrastructure so you get more social problems. Fix the money system by itself with zero interest rates but fail to address the tax system? You just exaceberate the housing bubble and widen the wealth gap further.

Whanau Ora , a cross-government system, an approach that places families/whānau at the centre of service delivery, requiring the integration of health, education and social services, gets it right as far as it goes. This system treats the family as a whole system and refuses to accept that ten state agencies must enter the home that has a social problem. Everything affects everything else. The presenting problem of the misbehaving adolescent may reveal a range of other issues – domestic violence, poverty, educational failure and health problems, housing problems, job insecurity and so on.

But even the integrated Whanau Ora programme can’t solve the fundamental issues of a structurally faulty currency system, tax system, welfare system and governance system. A currency must circulate at an optimal pace, businesses must create well paid and satisfying jobs and be constrained by a tax system that protects exploitation of the habitat.

One of the more interesting admissions from the Minister of Social Welfare was that a lot of problems can be solved locally rather than centrally. Panel member Josie Pagani agreed. Yet devolving functions in the way we have previously understood it isn’t going to work either. Why not? Because the state can still intervene, give councils less money, legislate to put further financial burden on councils and so on.

The only way to restructure an economy is to change four major paradigms. Instead of central devolving functions and finance try the other way round. Instead of banks creating the country’s credit as interest bearing debt, let the people create their means of exchange interest free. Instead of taxing work and spending and enterprise, let’s put a rental on the exclusive use of the commons like land, minerals and so on. Instead of a welfare system that is asset and income tested, let’s give a basic income derived from the land rents that were previously privately captured.

There is a great deal of thinking to do. When the global financial system’s huge credit bubble finally bursts let’s make sure we start again, but start properly. The New Economics movement is a vehicle for this new thinking. We can and we must develop a new economic system that works for nearly all life. Otherwise we are going to repeat the same failed experiment. And it is not just the social bonds experiment.

Productivity Commission recommends change to land value rating system

You won’t find this headline in the NZ Herald or the Dominion Post because it is all but ignored in their reports. Admittedly the Dominion Post gives the rating system a mention in paragraphs 16 and 17 of its report, but its headline was “User pays seem as vital for housing”.

If we look at the actual report, Using Land for Housing, it argues logically that a return to land value rating system is going to incentivise building. After several pages of evidence it concludes very moderately that “A good case appears to exist for setting general rates on the basis of land value rather than capital value, to encourage the development and efficient use of land. Arguments used to prefer capital value rating are not strong.”

It says:
“A number of policy settings would influence a landowner’s incentive to develop land, at the margin. This
section considers four:
 the valuation basis of councils’ general rates;
 land taxes;
 tax breaks for development; and
 charging rates on Crown-owned land.”

The media of course will focus on on the last of these.

Go to P258 of the report and read the subsequent pages. Submissions on the draft report are due on 4 August