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Deborah Coddington's Liberty Belle

Deborah Coddington's Liberty Belle

How do you set up a New Zealand company offshore? You ratchet up taxes and compliance costs and make it more attractive for companies to relocate across the Tasman.

What is it about Dr Michael Cullen that drives him to hoover more and more money out of our pockets and wallets? I picture him, like Scrooge McDuck in the comics I read as a child, bathing in huge swimming pools of money, hoarded just for the pleasure of feeling those dollar bills against his naked feathers (or skin, in the case of Scrooge McCullen).

The $4 billion deficit that Cullen boasts about simply shows that New Zealanders are overtaxed. Without making any cuts in spending, the government right now could give back to every two-parent working family $7000. Imagine what families could do with that money?

Taxes, as someone once famously observed, are as inevitable as death. They also, like death, creep up on you. Look at just some of the tax increases we've had foist upon us since Labour came into power:

1. Income tax - from 33% to 39% for those earning over $60,000.

2. Fringe benefit tax increase - from 49% to 64%.

3. Trust income tax - from 19.5% to 33%.

4. Resident withholding tax - deduction rate on interest and dividends from either 19.5% or 33% to 39%.

5. Tobacco tax - from approximately $7.20 to $8.20 average cost of a packet of fags.

6. Petrol tax - 4.7cents plus GST increase, also 30% increase in road user charges for diesel vehicles, and ACC levy from 2.3 cents to 5.08cents per litre.

7. Import fee - $16 on all imported commercial goods with a GST liability over $50.

8. Booze tax (sherry tax) increasing per litre from $21 to $38.

9. ACC levies - self-employed up by 40% and wage earners increased from 10c to $1.20 per $100 of income.

10. ACC motor vehicle levies - motorbikes up 57%, cars up 14% and new levies on non-petrol vehicles.

11. Births, deaths and marriage certificates up 42.9%.

12. Drivers' licence fees - cost of renewal from $29.50 to $44.30.

13. Fire service levy - households up 17.7% and motorists up 17.7%.

14. Fishing licence - up 10%.

15. Cattle slaughtering - levy up 50% maximum levy per head.

16. Export education levy - $185 charge to institutions per international fee-paying student, plus .45% of their tuition and course fees.

And now we have the emissions tax as a result of our craven and unseemly haste to look as if we care about the environment and rush to sign up to the Kyoto Protocol. Never mind that this will do nothing as far as global warming goes. Never mind that our major trading partners, Australia and America have not signed. Never mind that there is still doubt about whether global warming is a good or a bad thing.

To say nothing of the fact that global warming might not even be caused by human activity. A little piece in the July issue of 'New Scientist' stated that scientists at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California had analysed fossil corals from Palmyra Island to construct a record of climatic changes in the Pacific Ocean stretching back over the past 1000 years. They concluded that the dramatic El Nino activity resulted from a natural variability in global temperatures, rather than human influences. The fossils, the article stated, "revealed that dramatic El Nino activity was more frequent in the mid-17th century than today. That makes it unlikely that global warming caused by human activity is aggravating El Ninos, and will help scientists make more accurate predictions about their return."

But this government won't let the facts get in the way of a good taxing. The emissions tax of $25 per tonne of carbon emissions will collect the government another $1.2 billion and ordinary New Zealanders will have to pay more for their energy. Furthermore, the Ministry of the Environment has confirmed that only $50 million will be recycled into the environment. What happens to the balance? Take your pick - DPB, sickness beneficiaries, corporate welfare, America's Cup, Maori television (or all of the above).

And you can guarantee that taxes will go up on petrol, diesel, power, gas and coal - by as much as 44% for businesses.

The wealth creators won't put up with this in the name of 'protecting the environment'. The best way to protect the environment is by guaranteeing private property rights, another concept Labour members - ably assisted by the Greens - just don't understand. If you don't believe me, just sit in on my select committee some time (Transport & Industrial Relations) and listen to the way they receive submissions from business groups. As far as the neo-socialists are concerned, the wealthy should have their property taken away from them and distributed to (in their words) 'the proletariat'.

Energy intensive industries, after 2007 when these new taxes are planned to come into effect (not if the centre-right take power, ed) will be forced to downsize, shut down, or move offshore.

Whatever they choose, New Zealanders will lose.

Yours in liberty,

Deborah Coddington

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