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NZers want a tax cut - but no rise in mortgage

New Zealanders overwhelmingly want a tax cut - but not if it puts up the mortgage

An overwhelming 85% of New Zealanders believe the Government should lower personal income taxes this year.

However, 71% do not want a tax cut if it puts up prices and interest rates.

The big majority for tax cuts also reverses substantially if the cuts mean less spending in social areas, like benefits, health and education. If social spending is cut 61% say they will oppose a tax cut (22% of them strongly).

New Zealanders' preference for a personal tax cut has risen 9% from 76% to 85% since October, according to ShapeNZ research.

The latest national survey of 2882 respondents, conducted between March 27 and April 8, shows 81% believe the Government can afford to cut personal income taxes this year (also up 9% since October.

The survey, weighted by age, gender, personal income, employment status, ethnicity and party vote 2005, to provide a nationally representative population sample, has a maximum margin of error of + or - 1.8%.

Asked how tax cuts will influence their vote at this year's general election, the number of people for whom a tax cut will be the main influence is up 5% to 18%.
However, 40% (down from 49%) say they will be influenced most by the party which maintains a balance between tax cuts and social spending.

For 28% (down from 32% in October) issues other than tax cuts will mainly influence their vote. Only 5% say they don't know.

How much of a tax cut do most want?

49% will settle for $20 a week or less (22% for $20, 20% for $10 and 9% for $5 a week). Each $10 cut applied across the board costs about $1000 million.

Asked which of six options were most important to them this year:
30% cited a personal tax cut
28% increased spending on social services like education, health and benefits
23% lower mortgage interest rates
8% maintaining social spending, and
2% a company tax cut
Only 3% did not know.

The New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development, which operates the ShapeNZ research service (an online panel with more than 9000 members, 90% of whom were specially recruited to match the population profile at the 2006 census), says the poll shows what a fine balancing act political leaders must perform to ensure long-term equity is retained, but wealth creation rewarded.

The Business Council polled on tax reform options in September-October last year, ahead of its annual Business Budget Summit with the Minister of Finance.

Business Council Chief Executive Peter Neilson said the CEO summit recommended the Government outline a long-term, sustainable, plan for tax cuts – triggered when the economy could afford them, as Australia had done.

Tax poll results are available at www.nzbcsd.org.nz and www.shapenz.org.nz. October 2007 results are available in Budget Summit tax papers at www.budgetsummit,org.nz


The Business Council believes sustainable businesses are profitable, contribute to social progress and ecological balance – and protect New Zealand's quality of life. The Business Council's 71 members jointly employ more than 66,000 people in managing resources, manufacturing, retailing and the service sector. Members contribute annual sales of $44 billion to the economy, equivalent to 34% of GDP. The Business Council runs a national online survey panel, ShapeNZ, to allow public input on major issues. The panel has more than 9000 members, is built from purchased lists and is representative of the population as a whole, compared with the 2006 census. ShapeNZ members register and provide demographic and previous party vote information to ensure results can be accurately weighted to reflect the New Zealand population. A report is available here on ShapeNZ methodology. Registration is also available at www.shapenz.org.nz.

See... ShapeNZ_Tax_cut_survey_REPORT_March_27_to_April_8_2008.doc

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