Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 


Paying to rebuild CHCH: A small temporary earthquake levy

Paying to rebuild Christchurch: A small temporary earthquake levy

Published: February 25, 2011
by Russel Norman

While the horror of Christchurch’s second earthquake continues to unfold, those of us not immediately involved in the recovery can begin to plan for the rebuilding of a city and the livelihoods of those who live there.

The question that immediately comes to mind is how are we going to pay for the recovery and reconstruction?

The Earthquake Commission (EQC) and private insurance will cover most of the cost to private property. Everything else—the hospitals, the roads, the rail, the sewage—will likely be borne by central government. More borrowing by central government is being contemplated.

As a practical, principled response to the Christchurch earthquake, the Green Party is putting forward for discussion the idea of a small temporary earthquake levy on all income earners over $48,000.

The levy would work like the one being introduced in Australia to pay the A$7.2 billion fix-it bill after their floods.

To make it fair, the levy would fall on those most able to pay it. Those earning between $48,000 and $70,000 a year could pay up to an additional one per cent income tax, while those earning over $70,000 could pay up to an additional two per cent income tax to help pay for the reconstruction of Christchurch. (People earning less than $48,000 and all those living in the Christchurch region would be exempt from paying the levy.)

A levy at those levels would raise an additional $921 million per year and be directly tagged for disaster relief and reconstruction. The levy could last for a defined time period such as a year, or end with the reconstruction of Christchurch, whatever comes first.

Here are a number of different levy scenarios with estimates of the amounts they raise:

Income band Scenario 1 ($M) Scenario 2 ($M) Scenario 3 ($M)
$48,000-70,000 (@0.5%) $118 (@1.0%) $236 (@1.0%) $236
$70,000+ (@1.0%) $343 (@1.5%) $514 (@2.0%) $685

Total yearly revenue $461 $750 $921
The additional tax to pay for individuals would look like:
Income (pa) Scenario 1 ($/week) Scenario 2 ($/week) Scenario 3 ($/week)

$50,000 $4.80 $9.61 $9.61
$60,000 $5.77 $11.54 S11.54
$70,000 $13.46 $13.46 S13.46
$80,000 $15.38 $23.08 $30.77

There are those who argue against such a levy. Australia’s flood levy has been attacked by the Right who argue that further government cutbacks are the best way to find the necessary funds to pay for their flood damage. And a new, albeit tiny, tax raise for upper-income earners goes against the Key Government’s current pathway towards a flat tax structure. And of course we have already paid into the EQC kitty over many years.

However, we don’t believe these arguments against a small temporary levy are convincing. The public sector is already being cut and further cutbacks won’t help the jobs situation. A tax rise may go against National Party ideology but it is only temporary for a national emergency situation. And the size of the damage bill appears to be greater than current reserves and re-insurance.

With this small temporary earthquake levy we don’t wish to politicise the argument. We don’t wish to re-litigate the argument around National’s tax changes, nor do we think the Right should use the opportunity to promote their agenda of asset sales to pay for the damage. We need a pragmatic response to the situation we’re in. We can return to the arguments about tax rates and privatisation later.

A small temporary earthquake levy does appear to offer a fair way for all of us to do our bit to contribute to Christchurch’s recovery without adding to Government debt. We welcome your feedback.

ENDS


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

Parliament Today:

The Kids: OECD Report Shows Huge Impact Of Poverty On Education

A new report from the OECD has again highlighted the negative effects of poverty, showing that disadvantaged children in New Zealand are more than six times more likely to underachieve in maths than children from wealthier homes. More>>

ALSO:

Pacific: NZ Pledges $500,000 To Help Address Zika

“With the Zika virus now confirmed in a number of Pacific countries, New Zealand is committed to helping limit the impact and spread of the virus in the region,” says Mr McCully. “New Zealand will provide $250,000 as a contribution to the WHO to implement the Pacific Zika Action Plan, and a further $250,000 to enable countries in the region to respond rapidly if required." More>>

ALSO:

Labour: Police Commissioner 'Doesn’t Get Force Needs'

The Police Commissioner has let down the public and his own force by insisting the police have what they need despite it taking a year to solve a burglary and overwhelming number of officers saying they are under-resourced, says Labour’s Police spokesman Stuart Nash. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The US Pressure To Expand Our Role In Iraq

Foreign news services are being more forthcoming about what the “next 12 months” will entail – essentially, the defence ministers will be under US pressure to increase their “training” role preparatory to an assault on the city of Mosul in northern Iraq. More>>

ALSO:

Parliament Restarts: Prime Minister’s Statement

Our policy agenda and legislative programme will reflect the Government’s four priorities: • to responsibly manage the Government’s finances • to build a more competitive and productive economy • to deliver better public services to New Zealanders, an • to support the rebuilding of Christchurch. More>>

ALSO:

NZEI Survey Report: Special Needs Students Missing Out

The survey revealed that around 16 percent of students were on schools’ special needs registers, but nearly 90 percent of schools’ special needs coordinators did not believe there was adequate support for students and their learning... More>>

ALSO:

Interim Report: Waitangi Tribunal On Ture Whenua Legislation

Labour on Proposed changes to Maori land rules: “To have Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson dismiss findings as ‘bizarre’ is totally disingenuous and disrespectful. What’s bizarre is Maori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell stubbornly pushing through this Bill before the Waitangi Tribunal has even completed its report..." More>>

ALSO:

Spy Update: Appointment Of GCSB Acting Director

GCSB Chief Legal Advisor Lisa Fong will become the Acting Director of the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) from 15 February 2016, Minister Responsible for the GCSB Christopher Finlayson announced today. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news