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Dr Muriel Newman

A Tax Sham

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The real goal should be reduced government spending, rather than balanced budgets achieved by ever rising tax rates to cover ever rising spending.

– Thomas Sowell, American Economist and Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution


Last week submissions opened on the Government’s tax review.

We always knew it was going to be a sham review, but by appointing Sir Michael Cullen as the Tax Working Group’s Chairman, there can be no pretence that the review is independent. Sir Michael was a key member of Labour’s coalition negotiating team and the former Labour Finance Minister, who notoriously called the Leader of the Opposition a “rich prick”, in Parliament.

The other members of the Working Group are Professor Craig Elliffe of Auckland University, Joanne Hodge a former tax partner at Bell Gully, Kirk Hope the Chief Executive of Business New Zealand, Nick Malarao a senior partner at Meredith Connell, Geof Nightingale a partner at PwC New Zealand, Robin Oliver the former Deputy Commissioner at Inland Revenue, Hinerangi Raumati the Chair of Parininihi ki Waitotara, Michelle Redington the Head of Group Taxation and Insurance at Air New Zealand, Bill Rosenberg the Director of Policy at the Council of Trade Unions, and Marjan Van Den Belt the Assistant Vice Chancellor (Sustainability) at Victoria University.

In reality, the tax review is a twelve month long $4 million political charade designed to deliver the capital gains tax policy that Labour botched during the election campaign.

In a recent speech Chairman Cullen claimed that the origin of the Tax Working Group is not clear: “The reasons why the Labour Party went into the last election with a policy of a substantial review by a working group of the tax system are not, on the face of things, clear.”

But we can refresh his memory. 

Going into the 2017 election, the former Labour leader, Andrew Little, wanted to downplay their controversial capital gains tax policy on the basis that it had been pushed hard at the 2011 and 2014 elections, and was thought by many in the Party to have been instrumental in their defeat.

However, once elected as Labour’s new leader, Jacinda Ardern promoted it as a point of difference. But the policy was marred by confusion over what assets would be subjected to the tax, and it was heavily criticised for its vagueness.

Labour’s leader compounded the problem by saying that a working group would be established after the election to work out the details of the tax. But promising to introduce a controversial new capital gains tax, without full details being available before the election – and therefore without a public mandate – met with protest. Critics argued that Labour should be up-front about the finer points of their proposed tax policy, and as a result, their position again changed.

This time, a Tax Working Group was to be established to undertake a comprehensive review of the whole tax system – including the option of introducing a capital gains tax that did not target the family home nor the land under it. Any recommendations for change were to be presented for a mandate at the 2020 election.

At the Tax Working Group launch, Labour’s Minister of Finance confirmed this: “Final recommendations are expected by February 2019. As promised before the election, any significant changes legislated for from the Group’s final report will not come into force until the 2021 tax year.”

Essentially, this means that tax will be a main focus of the next election campaign. We can therefore expect the Group’s recommendations to be highly political and designed to appeal to Labour’s voting base – to help them win the 2020 General Election.

Like their proposed capital gains tax, Labour’s water tax also came under attack during the election campaign for a lack of detail. It too was kicked for touch – to be dealt with by the Tax Working Group after the election. Adding to that controversy was the fact that a water tax would invariably trigger a massive Treaty of Waitangi claim, saddling New Zealand’s long-suffering taxpayers with yet another tribal gravy train.

However, the proposed water tax is now off the table – dropped during coalition negotiations with New Zealand First – as are a number of other tax issues that are being dealt with separately, including taxing multinational firms, levying international tourists, abolishing secondary tax, and reviewing Working for Families.

New Zealand tax reviews have historically been established by Governments concerned that the increasing complexity of tax laws was leading to falling rates of compliance. As a result, any recommendations have usually been aimed at simplifying and flattening the tax system.

In other words, ensuring a broad-based, low-rate tax system has traditionally been the long-standing aim of tax reform. A broad tax base allows governments to raise substantial tax revenue with relatively low tax rates. Simpler tax systems with fewer exemptions reduce compliance costs and provide less opportunity for tax avoidance.

Over the years, tax reviews have eliminated sales tax, excess retention tax, land tax, estate duty, stamp duty, gift duty and cheque duty; and they have rejected financial transaction taxes, wealth taxes, and capital gains taxes.

However, under the guise of public concern about inequality, Chairman Cullen now intends reversing the trend, by politicising and complicating the tax system: “The tax system can play a major role in combating inequality both through taxing people with higher incomes at higher rates, and through redistribution and spending.”

Essentially the goal of the review is to find new ways of increasing taxes to pay for higher levels of Government spending: “The Government’s fiscal objective for the tax system is to support a sustainable revenue base to fund government operating expenditure around its historical level of 30 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). If the Government is to continue providing healthcare and superannuation at current levels, then the level of taxation will need to increase.”

While in 2012 – as a result of the recession and the global financial crisis – government spending was 32 percent of GDP, this year the forecast is 28.5 percent, and by 2022, it was to have reduced to 27.6 percent. National’s long-term goal was to reign in government spending to 25 percent of GDP, which is said to be the optimal size of government to create a high performing economy. Labour’s long-term goal is increased spending.

So while real tax experts have long agreed that a good tax system should be simple, with a broad base and as few exemptions and incentives as possible, Dr Cullen wants the system to become more redistributive, business taxes to become progressive, Maori to be given further tax breaks, and he wants to see a raft of new taxes introduced, including environmental taxes and taxes designed to change people’s behaviour.

The Working Group’s background paper invites submissions: “In the spirit of openness and inclusion, the Group would now like to encourage all New Zealanders to share their own views about what is working and what is not in the current tax system”. However, these sugar-coated words bring to mind that famous quote by President Ronald Reagan: “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help’.”

While you might look at all this and say that under the circumstances making a submission is a waste of time, you should not underestimate the importance of resistance. If opponents do nothing, then the radical voices of social justice advocates – many of whom are net beneficiaries of the tax system – will prevail, and we could end up with the Working Group recommending not only the capital gains tax, but any of a number of other taxes including wealth taxes, a land tax, a transaction tax, death duties, gift duties, stamp duties, a congestion tax, a carbon tax, and a sugar tax.

What’s worse is that such taxes would invariably start off at extremely low rates in order to win acceptance at the next election – only to be ramped up in the future. In other words, a new land tax might start off at a rate of only 0.1 percent, but soon end up costing as much as the household rates bill. Or once a capital gains tax is in place – even if it excludes the family home and land beneath it – all it would take is the simple removal of an exclusion from the statute, for a cash-strapped government to bring the family home into the net. 

Everyone who is concerned about the future of our economy should take the time to make a submission – even one as simple as pointing out the importance of lower and flatter taxes in incentivising wealth creation and lifting prosperity for all New Zealanders. That will help to ensure that the Working Group also hears the voice of reason. The deadline for submissions is Monday April 30. Submissions can be emailed to submissions@taxworkinggroup.govt.nz – full details are available HERE.

This week’s NZCPR Guest Commentator, investment analyst Frank Newman, shares his concerns about the tax review and his analysis of the issues in his article The Future of Tax:

“The Government appointed Tax Working Group has released the Future of Tax, a background paper to assist those wanting to make submissions to the Group. The key themes are:

  • Wealth redistribution,
  • Advantaging those engaged in what they call the “Maori economy”,
  • Achieving positive environmental outcomes, and
  • Making homes more affordable by using the tax system to make investment in rental property less attractive.

“What is striking about the report is how it is turning to tax policy to address social issues. It’s like Karl Marx has gone to the pantry and found a new box of cereal called ‘Tax’.

“That signals a shift from the approach to date, and conventional thinking in prosperous countries, that tax policy is primarily about gathering revenue in a fair and equitable manner without killing the Golden Goose. That’s why most countries are lowering tax rates. Those rational thinking countries take the view that social objectives are achieved via government spending. Muddling those approaches will bring about a seismic shift in the way our central Government collects its revenue.”

The Government’s socialist perspective is clearly evident in the review. Finance Minister Grant Robertson says he wants property investors to pay their fair share: “A lot of New Zealanders wanted to see us look at the balance of the system. Those people who are wage and salary earners look across the driveway at somebody who is selling their third or fourth rental property, and not paying tax on the capital gain from that.”

But the Minister is deliberately misrepresenting the truth. Under the current law, a capital gains tax on rental housing already exists and anyone buying a house purely to capture the gains of a rising property market will pay tax on the profit – if they are not captured by the five-year bright line test then they will be by the intention test.

In particular, the working group has been asked to look at a capital gains tax and alternative ways of cooling the housing market, a progressive company tax, environmental taxes, and other measures such as taking GST off fruit and vegetables and women’s sanitary products, requiring overseas retailers to collect GST on goods bought by New Zealanders, and taxing the assets held in savings schemes such as KiwiSaver.

One final comment – just as the tribal elite convinced National to make advantageous policy changes, such as introducing co-governance arrangements at central and local government level, and funding tribal groups to claim New Zealand’s entire coastline, they now appear to have convinced Labour to give them yet more tax favours.

It was Michael Cullen’s Labour Government that not only introduced the discounted Maori Authority business tax rate (now 17.5 percent), but also changed the law to enable billion-dollar tribal corporations to register as charities and avoid paying tax. But instead of signalling that this anomaly – which gives wealthy Maori businesses a significant competitive advantage – will be rectified, by requiring corporate profits not used for charitable purposes to be taxed at the normal rate, it appears that additional tax benefits and exemptions are being planned. This will further entrench racism in tax laws, instead of eliminating it.

Don’t forget to have your say, by sending in a submission to the tax review by April 30!


Do you believe the tax base should be broadened to include a capital gains tax that excludes the family home?


*Poll comments are posted below.


*All NZCPR poll results can be seen in the Archive.

Click to view x 120


Keep it simple. No extra taxes necessary Sue
I don’t agree with any form of capital gains tax If a property increases in value so does the one next door and your position relatively has not changed so have you really made a gain…If you are trading in property then you are caught by income tax anyway My thoughts on tax is that there should be a flat tax to cover the cost of the big items of Government Expenditure Education Social Welfare and Health All other expenditure to be covered by GST and the Government needs to learn how to live within its income just like all its citizens. I live in hope but won’t hold my breath  Robin
We already have capital gains taxes and there is no justification for further taxes as proposed by this inept socialist government Irvine 
Should the Labour govt. start introducing new taxes then all reasonable NZ ears should revolt and demand a proper election, where the majority rules. Wins ton Peters should be excluded from any election. Allan
This is more ultra left wing thinking which will stifle growth. Appointing fiscal f**kwit Cullen to chair a tax reform group (read tax increase group) is akin to appointing a drunk to decide whether guests at a party should have another drink! New Zealand should be reducing taxes to promote growth and investment. Were company tax to be abolished, the gains in new investment in plant and equipment, growth in efficiency and output, growth in employment with its associated tax growth would more than compensate for the loss in company tax revenue. Peter
I am watching the young and affluent gobble up houses and charhe wickedly high rents. A tax on threi re-selling plans might slow them down, and put money in Givt. coffers. Joe
At a very low rate John
Why are politicians always looking for more ways to tax us? Fraser
The difficulty is that, once a capital gains tax is brought in it is very easy to add the family home. Applying a capital gains tax to the family home hits those whose main investment is their home. Laurence
Landlords are now being chased for more and more for tenants and most keep their properties up to standard . It is time the powers that be eg Government and Councils come down hard on landlords that run slum properties. Wendy
No I do not, in my opinion and according to previous reports, it will take many years, at least 15 years, for any income to be derived from such a tax. If the tax in imp,emended then it should not include the family home or land its situated on.  Audrey
A definite NO to Capital gains tax or any other tax. We are taxed enough. It is just Labour needing more revenue to pay for their over generous welfare policies. I am in favour however of an export levy on pure bottled water only sent overseas. Frank
I’m strangely torn. I’m firmly in favour of making money – what concerns though is the flagrant grabbing by property developers/ speculators that is ruining NZ for young NZers wanting to get a start with their own home. I say yes to a capital gains tax but with a whole bunch of provisos.  Mike
why not focus on the tax dodging maori corporations and make them pay the same tax as the rest of us. Frank
Taxation is theft !!! – legalized theft pure and simple. Free market capitalism can exist without socialism but socialism cannot exist without capitalism. Until a more rational system is proposed and implemented taxes will continue to be imposed for the core functions of government – police, defence and law courts and local councils limited to water supply, sewerage disposal and footpath maintenance. There is huge room for tax cuts today to abolish or privatise those functions other than those listed above. This is the reason why I am against more taxation. It kills the producer’s incentive to think and create wealth.  Don
How much of a ‘rich prick’ are you these days Michael Cullen? What is equal about Maori corporations not paying tax at all or very little and you want to give them more tax breaks? Go and learn from Trump in America and not Karl Marx. Monica
This concept has been looked at previously by a revenue minister and his conclusion was that it would cost as much to administer as it would collect, and so didn’t go any further with it. Ted
Just another socialist way of trying to bring the successful New Zealander down to a poorer level. Lloyd
OMG…yep take it from those that work and accumulate a degree of wealth that they deserve , tax has already been paid several times over on their capital gains , in the accumulation process , not to mention the large amounts of Stealth taxes. this will send their money over seas , !!! Roy
This labour led Government must be chucked out by whatever means possible. Albyn
There are NZERS who skimp and save, go without, make very measured financial decisions, because they want a better more financially advantaged position. Now that particular Avenue would be closed off. What?  Neil
Capital gain is another form of income earned and in the name of fairness should be taxed. I cannot see why the family home should be exempt though. Such a tax would go a long way towards flattening property inflation in this country. Like GST a universal capital Gains tax would capture everybody who has property Ray
Tax gains on limited so called capital gains should be taxed in my opinion. There are certain gains that I do consider should, in equity, be taxed. Left to Gvt to decide on what is taxed is too dangerous. Eric
No more taxes. I don’t have enough money as it is. I am being robbed. Rob
Of course not. it would be a Robin Hood tax. Martin
No Capital Gains Tax at all, end of story. If I work hard and achieve don’t you take it from me and give it to the “so called’ poor!!! Eric
We pay enough Tax now to keep those who do not work. Reign in Government spending. Lets make sure this Government is out next election. Ross
I recall a time past when our companies construction workers and drivers did not want to work overtime (so productivity fell) because the tax level made it not worth it. My experience would be they should forget any changes other than sensible tweeks. Maurice 
I certainly don’t agree with a capital gainstax. We should be all paying less tax now and would be have been so except for Winston Peters.   
As David Lange said,introduce a capital gains tax you will lose the next election the one after that and the one after that Graeme
We already have a good working tax system. Including a capital gains tax will be a disincentive to save for future needs of the individual, such as a comfortable retirement & the growth of the country. Brian
Lord only knows we pay enough tax now! The simplest & lowest tax take should be the goal but I have no confidence that this socialist bunch of do gooders will lighten our tax burden. Rex
No to capital gain tax Paul
Flat tax now. Paul
This will absolutely kill the rental market. Affordable housing, housing for the poor. More tax means less property investment, less housing, less opportunity Sharon
I favour stamp duty on residential property transactions other than the family home. This will raise revenue and to some extent discourage property investors who underpin current high residential property values. Rod
No, our honest govt? would be better to spend our time on getting rid of the false treaty stopping the part maori gravy train in its tracks ,hence more cash in the coffersinstead of cg tax,the gestapo tax is bad enough. James
A capital gains sense makes sense because it will help to correct the incentives which currently lead to to much investment in property. More government revenue is also needed and this helps to increase the crown revenue. Andrew
It could well be fair but depends on many other tax issues Howard 
Absolutely not. JOHN
Yes too many people getting rich on rental homes and other things and claiming tax pays money. Yes we need a capital gains tax but it needs to be carefully look into to make sure things work right. Robert
Any Capital gains tax in NZ is uneconomic- otherwise Labour would have imposed it years ago. Bob
AS a CA I have long seen clients happy to rent at a taxable loss knowing that the expected gain on sale in the future will be tax free. Max
This is about what you would expect by any cause chairedby Cullen. He was always a bent and twisted little man. This is all envy taxation and is blatently political that it borders on outright dishonesty. Ronmac
If the Maker of the universe only asks for one tenth what gives any government the right to ask for more? There should be a flat rate right across the board and no racial division. We all live in New Zealand ans so regardless of race should be New Zealanders and not have the present divisions. Have Maori forgotten they used to kill and eat each other? Kath
If they stopped spending money that SHOULD be kept for IMPORTANT things they would NOT need to increase tax but they WANT to GIVE<GIVE,GIVE. Cindy
Finland and Singapore have tax systems that would work very well in New Zealand. But getting government to agree and implement them is a huge hurdle to jump. Dennis
Not worth saving anything in this country Tony
People that would be targeted with Capital gains tax have usually worked hard for their assets and already paid more income tax. If the rich become poor what happens to the economy Colleen
They take enought Tax from us now, They should cut staff numbers back & the high saliers they pay & they then would be able to fund all. Geoff
Most certainly! Jim
CGT will end up penalising anything invested. Mark
Absolutely no. Reduce all taxes and close all loopholes. Get more in the long run. Graeme
We pay too much tax now, and sugar tax is a joke sugar is in most food,but this is lala land not nz. Owen
CGT is an overly complicated tax that rarely meets it’s projected yields. Even if it’s Revenue Neutral (I’ve also got a bridge to sell…) it’s complicated nature means that in order to provide the same amount tax income and meet it’s administrative costs, it will need to dig deeper into out pockets. Want more tax? increase GST, same yield for far less effort. Marc
As Winston Churchill said “Taxing the Rich to help the Poor is like trying to lift the Bucket your standing in, up by the Handle.” (or something very close to that) Geoff
This is already available under current tax law. Why would we wish to make even more laws and then require the administration of that law, which obviously increases the cost of Taxinda’s government and means taxes go up again. Try taking everyone using a consumption tax to make the corporates pay their share and maybe (pigs will fly) drastically slash the cost of government in New Zealand? Mark 
Where is it working effectively? Barbara
But only if the other property or properties are generating income, e.g. rent. An empty holiday home is like a boat – a hole that eats cash. Andy
There is already a Capital Gains Tax on anyone trading in property and shares – as opposed to People who wish to invest longer term in these entities – then ttere is the thought that withba Capital Gains Tax there is no allowance for Inflation – however low – Di it%u2019s a Tax ion inflation! . A Capital gains tax is also a nightmare for annual tax returns necessitating to necessary cost of personal accountants and the cost to the country of the administration – but beware the Labour Oarty%u2019s new Tax Review Committee has Sir Michael Cullen as its head and he is a socialist tax granberbsnd Givermentvdoendef from way back Hylton
According to the fact the Treaty was ruled a “simple nullity” by Chief Justice Prendergast in 1877 and our true founding document is Queen Victoria’s Royal Charter/Letters Patient ratified on 03-05-1841, the day New Zealand was born, Maoris are not eligible for racist tax exemptions. To sell a rental in order to purchase a better one, one gains nothing by inflation as inflation has spread to the rental to be purchased. If the rental to be purchased was better than the one to be sold, the owner would be losing more by inflation than gaining. There is no doubt it would spread to the family home eventually. George
To be rational, a CGT would have to adjust for inflation and also allow capital losses to be tax deductible.  Peter
Tighten up on property speculation instead  
These closet Marxists destroy economies deliberately by promoting envy. Venezuela is the current example and Cuba type communism is the result of what these labor technocrats achieve – nothing but political power for the elite. Rex
Socialists, everywhere, have a one-track mindset: “Tax! Tax! Tax!” It never seems to occur to them that the way to run a successful, flourishing economy is two-fold: firstly, government must live within its means; secondly, it should do everything possible to improve productivity. After all, taxation income is but part of a money-go round within the country’s borders, whereas export earnings do truly represent income and, therefore, an enhancement of the country’s wealth. Then again, that wouldn’t fit Labour’s “politics of envy”, would it? Graham
This would be a foot in the door to taxing anything someone sold; furniture, household items no longer needed. Better to tax profiteers who on sell properties for quick profit. Nick
We unfortunately have again entered the arena of “Tax and Spend”. Wealth redistribution, a true Marxist sentiment, has not worked successfully anywhere in history, and is a disincentive to growth and employment opportunities. The imposition of this tax will not assist in building more houses, but is simply another means of gouging the taxpayer to gain more funds for the support of socialist ambitions. Michael
It is an invitation to reword the Tax and increase the take to meet the extravagant promises already in train Warren
Capital gains is a misnomer – it is actually indicative of the real inflation that is taking place. Alan
Difficult to Understand all of this !! David
Continued expansion of government means more tax will be clawed in to support socialist ventures. John
The Labour tax review IMHO is a scam. Its nothing but a whitewash to hide the blatant envy of the labour Party members most of whom are foreigners to saving and asset accumulation.. In most cases if these members werent dirt poor and had half a brain to prosper themselves they wouldnt be Labour supporters. So Labour has to keep the poor poor to ensure its own survival. Capital Gains Tax attacks the very foundation of the Middle class most of whom have had to pay dearly in earnings tax and often GST Tax as well on the ongoing maintenance of their asset, only to have the value taxed again as a Capital asset. It should be well understood that most so called gain is not a value gain, but rather only a numerical increase on the same real value, same actual utility, that numerical increase representing nothing more than diminishment of the currency value occasioned by the government’s own value diluting currency inflation. So middle class savers are being taxed into poverty by socialist wealth transference confiscation, based on government inflationary currency dilution. Thats why we DONT need a morally bankrupt Capital Gains Tax driven by a morally bankrupt Rich Prick envy policy from Labour. Let us be under no illusion this is not a Tax to benefit the working, earning, productive Citizens, this is an ideological confiscation to prepare the population for NWO socialism. Fight it. Richard
Certainly hasn’t taken them long 4.5 months in power and they want to Tax us more. Definitely NO learn to live within your means Jacinda & Grant! Don
It will have a very negative effect on assets that have been in the family for several generations. David
We are ripped-off enough already.. Donald
Go back to a level playing field for all enterprises and ta payers. to introduce an Australian type CGT (15%) will cripple the country as it will grow to include everythingl but Pacific Maori interests. Dave
Just more tax payer funds for a useless expensive govt. to waste or give away to non tax payer imigrants? Ian
I do not agree with complication of the tax system Michael
Reign in the charities that are tax free to start with and then stop handing out monies to those who do not understand what budgeting is. This does mean of course that we have to get rid of this government Tom
No no no providing a stable economy where busniess flourish should provide more tax take anyway Nevkath 
I believe we should be paying less tax when it is increasingly being spent on fulfilling policies that oppose! Cyril
The leopard hasn’t changed it’s spots. No one should be surprised that this is happening. We need a sensible voting system that won’t let someone who has just lost his seat dictate who is going to be the Government. Capital gains and tax the real hard workers and give it to the no hopers has always been the left wing Labour approach – no one should be surprised!! Don
If its a business venture it should be taxed dave
Our tax system needs reviewing BUT NOT BY CULLEN and his minions….. Carl
The only ‘good’ thing abut such a proposal is that I will be dead before my house is sold, so I won’t have to worry about a Capital gain tax!!! Carl Carl
Surely this will become so complicated, messy & will disadvantage many families. Peter
Capital Gains Tax should be introduced only on investment properties but not family homes or holiday homes. John
Why should successful people in our community be penalized for their success ?  Andrew
It will raise rents and lead to even greater lack of security for tenants. NZ seems to have very weak incentives for landlords to be in the business long-term. Adding a capital gains tax will reduce expenditure on maintenance. Face it, landlords obtain a rental property by massive gearing, hang on to the property until the mortgage is pretty well paid off and rents become income… Only to discover at retirement age when the income is needed, that the bloody property (or properties) need massive repairs to plumbing or roof or dairns – and are faced with a bloody bill for capital gains tax when the bloody property ain’t gainin! Tim
We do not need any new taxes, only less wasteful expenditure by central and local government. All taxpayers should be treated equally under the tax systems, with no exceptions. Charities operating a business should be taxed at the same rate of all businesses. Leon
Jacinda must stop giving away our hard earned tax money to all and sundry to gain popularity and hence future votes !  Pierre
But restricted to residential property and adjusted to account for general inflation. This tool should be targeted at the specific problem of rising residential housing costs. Alan
Just one tax is reqired 20% GST no deductions allowable for anyone . But I can hear the consultants ,accountants and solicitors squealing from here !!! Greg
This will merely be the thin end of the wedge. Next you will find homes over $X will be targeted. Labour has the intention of placing financial control in it’s hands and so gain absolute control of the country. Maurice
You have to be extremely careful introducing a tax of this kind Peter
Absolutely not. Labour’s desire is to tax enough to ‘share’ everything with those who have not. Many don’t want to work, they just want that which others have worked for – the communist / socialist dream.  Stuart
The Tax Act and as such the tax base needs revisiting but the review should include a broad based CGT Glenn
this Labour govt is causing great concern with the way it is spending money, and still intends to keep taking from those who have worked hard all their working lives jenny
While the mandate for the tax group is to look at the tax system and “sort it out” the behind the scenes mandate is to ensure that any changes proposed will ensure that the Labour Government will be re-elected. However, upon re-election the government will re-neg on the proposals under the guise of “the economic conditions not favourable for such a move”. Haven’t we seen this approach before – regardless of which party makes the promise and subsequently wins power. Groups such as Dr Cullen’s are not put in place for the benefit of New Zealanders as a whole but rather to ensure that the party remains in control and continues to collect their “just rewards”. Tony
There is already too much tax grabbing going on. If they wish to give us a good economy, they should be looking at dropping taxes and giving people a reason to work for. Gavin
Simplify, simplify, simplify Graeme
Keep the tax base simple Bruce
We should care for each other, and that costs money. Our tax system is not nearly progressive enough.and the Labour party should have the courage to advocate a wealth tax. Don
Definitely not end of story. Clark
The present Labour Government will be remembered fro its stupidty The way to go is like Singapore with small Government low taxes and tough laws. Those with their hands out for more and more money to help them will be absolutely pleased that the golden eagle will lay another golden egg in their nest and the blasted Maori Iwi blood suckers will be laughing all the way to the bank as well. People who are trying hard to help themselves by hard work enterprise and thrift will face ever increasing frustration and will no doubt end up talking to that other set of elite the tax planners tax accountants and tax lawyers who make good incomes fro themselves and save their clients lots of tax but in the long run the honest workers suffer. As Lee Kwan Yu of Singapore said “if you leave it in the hands of the people who produce it your economy will tick. From a nation with half our national income per head of population in 1962 to two and a half times ours in 2015 and on course to become the richest nation per head of population in the world by 2020 need I say more. But I will. Sir Winston Churchill said trying to get prosperity by taxation is like a man standing in a bucket trying to lift himself up by the handles. Colin
I can spend my money more responsibly than the Government can – less not more please rob
Govt needs to look at the inefficiency of its present spending first. If there is to be a capital gains tax it should include the family home to be consistent. If that fails the popularity test then the whole cg idea should be dropped. Willy
Robbing money from people willing to take the risk on an investment, and giving it to people who are too lazy to work is not a way to promote a healthy economy Neville
The introduction of GST was with the promise of less tax in other areas. Do not go back on this promise. Allan
The Country needs to grow is revenue base, not its tax redistribution base. Get people earning proper wages from profits made from doing expanding business ventures, which are not subsidized by the Government Frank
I can’t support ANY tax system other than the only fair one. I.e. GST. Capital gains tax is simply immoral and will escalate to include family homes over time. Better to stop the wastage of current tax take on rubbish like free tertiary education, welfare fraud, etc. Geoff
…hard working New Zealanders do not want to TAXED OUT of existence for all their hard work to build some important assets for their lives and live a safe and modest life…!! “We are only here once…..!!! “ CHowes
This is our last vestige of retirement savings and by keeping it for ourselves we are saving the government from us being another pauper on the state. Graeme
Not only family home but business sales as well. So the so called inbalance in the favour of real estate, THAT DOES NOT EXIST. I am at the point that New zealanders deserve what they get from revisiting marxisim. Tracy
I hope the Greens cross the floor and end this madness. Chris
There are enough taxes already, these coupled with GST and local body rates are killing us Con
We need to reduce tax, the easiest way would be to shut down unnecessary govt depts., ministries and commissions then introduce and flat tax, 15% – 18%,  Hugh
The main objection to all this is Cullen’s comment that there should be more relief from tax by Maori. So we are still not addressing the fact that Maori assets are not taxed Andrew
Thank you for exposing Labour’s tax review as a sham. Ian
The tax base should be broadened. A caputal gains tax imposed with no exclusions. I proposed significant restructuring of the tax framework in 2009’s review, but that review was merely window dressing. In brief, my 2009 proposal was: 15% income tax levied on income in excess of median income and families able to pool the exemption; 15% GST; 15% non-resident withholding tax; 15% real, realised capital gains tax (no exemption for family home); NO corporate tax (dividends taxed a s income); excises to be restructured into a coherent framework; duties reviewed as necessary within the overall trade framework. Based on Treasury data I had direct access to at that time the overall tax base would have been broadened, tax efficiency improved, inconsistencies removed, avoidance and evasion significantly reduced (if not almost eliminated). Last, but least, the corpus of the statute would have been radically reduced. I
Capital gains tax as it stands now is sufficient. Gregor
I am deeply concerned that this group will impose new taxes by stealth. The majority of NZers won’t realise this until it’s too late Kerry
Absolutely. Example: housing costs are a true reflection of supply & demand. It’s to our benefit if we can curb the investor’s influence (local & overseas) and hopefully make home buying more affordable for the average Joe Kiwi. Tony
It should be simplified, no further misguided complications David
I am not in favour of any increase in any tax as we are an over taxed nation and additionally local bodies are taxing all rate payers too much. Ray
Tax the Maori charitable trusts, and legislate to stop Council sponsorship of racial festivals instead John
One only has to look at the overspending of the American government and the Chiese problems to see that expanding the NZ Government spending will follow the same path to destruction. Capital gains tax is a nonesense in itself. When is comes to calculating the tax and including (real) inflation there is no capital gain – the value rise in the housing prices is the rate of real inflation. This has been the reason why it has not been introduced previously and should again make the imposition of such a tax a no-no! Instead the giving a fish daily should be replaced by teaching fishing so the people can feed themselves for life! Ian
Absolutely NO to a capital gains tax. All this tax stuff is a slippery slope. Once Labour get their hands on assets or property there is no stopping them. They MUST be defeated at the next election! Debra
No, no, no to any form of higher taxes. Kiwis pay enough tax. Labour needs to reign in its spending plans and aim for 25% of GDP so the country can flourish. Simon
The only tax changes the government should be looking at are tax decreases like President Trump has brought into the US. Just watch their economy take off and the taxes roll in. That’s the way to do it.  James
Labour should learn to live within its means like the people have to do! Derek
Labour is a spendthrift government and has no right to screw the public through higher taxes. We didn’t vote them in, so they should pull their heads in. And if Cullen proposes tax increases, they should all be booted out at the next election.  Roger