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Despite Limits, the Tax Working Group Can Make a Difference

Income Equality Aotearoa New Zealand Inc. Closing the Gap
Media release on the Tax Working Groups latest publication. For Immediate Release Monday 19th March 2018

Despite It Limits, the Tax Working Group Can Make a Difference

The income equality project Closing the Gap has welcomed the latest work of the Tax Working Group, and says that despite limits put on the inquiry, it can still make a difference to inequality in New Zealand.

Spokesperson for Closing the Gap, Peter Malcolm said while equality campaigners were very
disappointed that the Tax Working Group's (TWG) Terms of Reference have ruled out some key options — like inheritance taxes, an all-inclusive capital gains tax—the family home is specifically excluded, and overall tax increases — there was enough left on the table to make a dent in inequality.

In its latest documents, issued last week, the TWG said it has a particular interest in "the fairness and balance of our tax settings", and acknowledged inequality as one of the major challenges affecting the tax system.

"It's clear from the group's work so far that taxing wealth must be a priority," Mr. Malcolm said. "The TWG itself points out that wealth — which is currently not taxed — is distributed much less equally than income in New Zealand."

"While we'd like to see a more steeply progressive tax regime in the mix — that is, higher taxes on high income earners — we're pleased to see discussion of wealth taxes."

Mr Malcolm said boosting benefits and other transfers to lower income families needed to go hand-in-hand with any tax overhaul.

"The Tax Working Group is now taking submissions and we're hoping New Zealanders who care about equality will have their say before the 30 April deadline," Mr. Malcolm said. "Just drop the TWG a line at submissions@taxworkinggroup.govt.nz and tell them what you think," he said.
Details about the Tax Working Group and its Terms of Reference are here: https://taxworkinggroup.govt.nz/

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