Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Research Questions Fairness Of Current Tax System

media release
Embargoed until Thursday 16 October 2008

Maxim Institute Releases New Research Questioning The Fairness Of Our Current Tax System

“Deciding how to tax, what to tax and how to spend the money are issues that all democratic governments have to grapple with,” says Alex Penk, Maxim Institute’s Policy and Research Manager. “These issues involve bigger questions about justice, freedom and compassion, which are the subject of our latest discussion paper, Is it Just Tax? The shaping of our society.”

“Working for Families, different tax brackets for different levels of income, interest-free student loans, daycare subsidies, KiwiSaver incentives—the decisions we make are constantly moderated and influenced by the way we are taxed and the way our taxes are spent, raising important issues of justice and freedom,” says Mr Penk, the author of the paper.

“Current tax policy paints an overall picture of increasing limitations on justice and freedom. This is due in particular to the growing reliance on tax incentives and the priority given to outcomes such as increased income equality. Different policy directions accompanied by individuals and communities assuming greater responsibility for their well-being and the well-being of those around them, may do a better job of reconciling the interests of justice, freedom and compassion. Such cultural change could enhance the flourishing of individuals and communities strengthening the social fabric and the common good.”

“There’s a lot of talk about ‘fair’ tax, but often without a clear understanding of what fairness or justice really is. Justice should go hand-in-hand with compassion for those in need, but the current debate often confuses the two concepts, resulting in tax policy that tries to equalise people regardless of their actual need,” says Alex Penk.

“Tax ultimately places limits on freedom—for example, collecting taxes involves coercion—and given the centrality of freedom to democracy, the impact of tax on freedom is an important issue, yet it is rarely talked about.”

“Meaningful discussions about the relationship between tax, justice and freedom are not exactly commonplace. Yet informed debate about tax is vital in a strong democracy, as tax reflects the relationship between government and citizens. Discussion about foundational principles like these is even more important during the current testing economic crisis,” says Alex Penk.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Why Labour Isn’t Responsible For Barnaby Joyce

As a desperate Turnbull government tries to treat the Barnaby Joyce affair as a Pauline Hanson fever dream – blame it on the foreigners! We’re the victims of the dastardly New Zealand Labour Party! – our own government has chosen to further that narrative, and make itself an accomplice.

Evidently, the National government is similarly desperate for anything that might discredit or derail the Ardern juggernaut, even if that means throwing Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne under a bus More>>


Rail: Greens Back Tauranga – Hamilton – Auckland Service

The Green Party today announced that it will trial a passenger rail service between Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga starting in 2019, when it is in government. More>>


Housing: Voluntary Rental Warrant Of Fitness For Wellington

Wellington City Council is partnering with the University of Otago, Wellington, to launch a voluntary Rental Warrant of Fitness for minimum housing standards in Wellington, Mayor Justin Lester has announced. More>>


Treaty: Agreement In Principle Signed With Moriori

“The Crown acknowledges Moriori was left virtually landless from 1870, hindering its cultural, social and economic development. The Crown also acknowledges its contribution to the myths that the people of Moriori were racially inferior and became extinct." More>>


Susan Devoy: Call For Inquiry Into State Abuse Reaches UN

Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy is in Geneva and has asked a United Nations committee to urge the New Zealand government to initiate an inquiry into the physical and sexual abuse of children and disabled people held in state institutions. More>>


(Not National): Cross-Party Agreement On Pike River Re-Entry

The commitment was signed this afternoon by the leaders of Labour, United Future, The Maori Party, and the Green Party and, together with the earlier commitment by New Zealand First, means that there is now a Parliamentary majority behind the families’ fight for truth and justice. More>>






Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election