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

 


Taxes and Votes


Taxes and Votes

9 JUL 2014

Jamie Whyte

On TV1’s Q&A programme, David Cunliffe boasted that his proposed new capital gains tax would collect an extra $5 billion a year. That is the biggest tax hike in the history of New Zealand. Which is saying something.

It is a dreadful boast. Taxes are always paid by people, whatever the taxes are levied on. Income taxes, corporate taxes, property taxes, GST: they are all the same in this respect. They are all paid by people.

Nor are the people who bear the cost necessarily the people who write the cheques to the government. For example, if a capital gains tax means that landlords get a lower return on the capital appreciation of their properties, it will increase the rents they charge their tenants. Or landlords may sell their properties to owner-occupants. The supply of rental properties will then fall and, again, tenants will end up paying more.

Where the cost of a capital gains tax will fall is a complex matter and extraordinarily difficult to predict. All Cunliffe knows is that the $5 billion will somehow be extracted from the people of New Zealand so that it can be spent in ways that he figures will buy him the most votes.

At least, that is what Cunliffe thinks he knows. In fact, he has almost certainly over-estimated the amount he will be able to squeeze out of tenants, consumers and entrepreneurs because taxes can be avoided.

When it comes to income tax, people can divert their activities from highly taxed activities, such as working in productive jobs, to low taxed activities, such as playing golf. When it comes to a capital gains tax, they can divert their investments from rental properties to bigger homes for themselves (which will not incur capital gains tax at sale). They can invest overseas rather than in New Zealand. They can delay selling assets to avoid realising a gain and paying the tax. And they can spend money on accountants and tax lawyers to devise all sorts of other ingenious schemes

Such avoidance activities will reduce the loot Cunliffe can get his hands on. That’s good. But they will also reduce the growth of the New Zealand economy. Resources will not flow to their most valuable uses. They will instead flow to the uses that are farthest from Cunliffe’s grasp.

A capital gains tax is a very bad idea.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

PARLIAMENT TODAY:

Regulators: Govt To ‘Crowd-Source’ Regulatory Advice

A wide-ranging set of reforms is to be implemented to shake up the way New Zealand government agencies develop, write and implement regulations. More>>

ALSO:

Board Appointments: Some Minister Appoint Less The 3 In 10 Women

“It’s 2015 not 1915: Ministers who appoint less than 3 in 10 women to their boards must do better, they have no excuse but to do better,” said Dr Blue. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The 1990s Retro Proposals For Our Health System

As we learned yesterday, the reviews propose that the democratically elected representation on DHBs should be reduced, such that community wishes will be able to be over-ridden by political appointees. In today’s revelations, the reviews also propose a return to the destructive competitive health model of the 1990s. More>>

ALSO:

Post-Cab Press Conference: Foreign Buyers Register, TPP And Serco

At a press conference today in Wellington, John Key discussed the foreign buyers register as well as the TPP and Serco. Key was questioned on whether a stamp tax might be used as a tool to deal with foreign buyers. More>>

ALSO:

Lyndon Hood Satire: Serco To Outsource Prison To Public Sector

In response to high-profile failings, multinational omnicorporation Serco will introduce public management in its prison system. Serco's New Zealand manager, speaking on condition of anonymity, has announced plans for managers from the Department of Corrections to run the Mt Eden Correctional Facility. More>>

National Party Conference: Plans To Nudge Immigrants Towards Regions

The Government will introduce a package of immigration measures aimed at improving the spread of workers, skills and investment across New Zealand, Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse says. More>>

ALSO:

Corrections: Serco Relieved Of Control At Mt Eden Prison, Retains Contract

Multi-national private prison operator Serco has been forced to hand back control of Auckland's Mt Eden remand prison to the Department of Corrections, which has used a 'step-in' clause in its contract with Serco following a string of increasingly serious allegations about contraband, prisoner injuries and a death. More>>

ALSO:

Other Experiments: Failing Charter School Stays Open 'For Kids'

Education Minister Hekia Parata says she has given Te Pumanawa o te Wairua in Northland a chance to continue operating because of her concerns about finding other educational opportunities for its students. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news