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Brian Fallow looks at whether it's fair to burden future taxpayers with a huge public debt while failing to address the cost of an ageing population

Brian Fallow looks at whether it's fair to burden future taxpayers with a huge public debt while failing to address the cost of an ageing population

By Brian Fallow

Is it fair to burden future taxpayers with a huge public debt while failing to address the cost of an ageing population?

Reductive as it may be, that way of framing issues of intergenerational equity arising from the current crisis is likely to feature as the election approaches and may well resonate with voters.

Simon Bridges, referring to the Budget’s plans for a cumulative increase of $142 billion in net bond issuance over the five years to June 2025, said, “We run the risk of turning a deep economic recession from a $50 billion problem to a more than $140 billion one, through poorly prioritised spending,… that’s $80,000 for every household around our country, and it all needs to be paid back.”

Set aside the question of whether we can be as confident as Bridges in quantifying the problem.

It is a mistake to think about public debt as if it were the same as the familiar kind we take on, and repay, as individuals. We smooth consumption over a lifetime by first borrowing and then saving to flatten the curve of income.

It is not as if the New Zealand Government with each passing year is one year closer to the grave and should repay its debts before it expires.

Government debt is not in practice repaid. It gets rolled over.

Instead fiscal prudence is usually defined in terms of the ratio of net debt to the size of the economy as measured by nominal gross domestic product, a proxy for the tax base. A ratio of 54% by 2024 would still be low by international standards and far from unprecedented by New Zealand historical standards.

What matters for future taxpayers is the cost of servicing the debt and that depends not only on the level of debt but interest rates.

Right now, and for the foreseeable future, rates are low. The Budget forecasts the core Crown’s finance costs or interest bill actually to decline from $3.7 billion in the year to last June to $2.9 billion in the coming 2020/21 year before rising again to $4.5 billion in 2023/24.

To the extent the new debt ends up being bought by the Reserve Bank, which has indicated it is willing to hold up to 50% of it, the effective interest rate the Crown incurs on that debt is the official cash rate, which it pays on the associated increase in the settlement cash banks have on deposit with the central bank. That is currently 0.25% and headed, if anything, lower.

And as for the rest of the bonds, held by the private sector, yields are also low.

Eventually, we can but hope, the Official Cash Rate (OCR) will rise and the yield curve steepen. It will be a sign that economic activity has strengthened and unemployment fallen, to the point where the economy’s slack is taken up and firms can think about raising prices. By then, we can but hope, banks will have found something more useful to do with that swollen stock of base money than keep it on deposit at the Reserve Bank.

But eventually the cost of servicing a higher level of public debt will rise.

Hard choices will arise about whether to accommodate that with higher taxes or to look at other expenses, including the rising cost of New Zealand Superannuation.

The number of super annuitants is forecast to rise from 795,000 this year to 910,00 in four years’ time, and the cost from $15.5 billion to $19 billion.

And of course it does not end there. The International Monetary Fund’s Fiscal Monitor released last month reckons --and this will reflect the Treasury’s calculations -- that by 2030 superannuation spending will have increased by 1.5% of GDP. To calibrate the scale the tax take is around 30% of GDP. The increase is twice the average forecast for advanced economies, reflecting the extent to which New Zealand socialises the cost of retirement income provision.

Health care spending, much of which is also demographically driven, is also expected to rise, by 1.7% of GDP by 2030.   

In a debate ahead of the 2017 election Jacinda Ardern said yes when asked if she would resign rather than raise the age of eligibility for NZ Super, echoing a commitment John Key had made.

There has been no indication since then of any change in that position.

And last week’s Budget continues contributions of more than $2 billion a year to the New Zealand Superannuation Fund, whereas National ceased contributions in the wake of the global financial crisis arguing it was silly to borrow money in order to save it. Opponents of that move argued that so long as the custodians of the Cullen Fund managed to achieve a greater return than the cost of government debt, as they did, it did make sense.

National went into the last election with a policy of raising the age of eligibility from 65 to 67, starting in 2037. Its finance spokesman Paul Goldsmith last year reaffirmed that policy, adding that it would also double to 20 the number of years someone would need to live in New Zealand beyond the age of 20 to qualify for the pension.

A feature of the labour market in recent years has been a growing rate of labour force participation by those over 65, to the point that as of the March quarter nearly one in every four people in that age bracket were employed.

How many work by choice and how mow many as a matter of financial necessity is hard to say.

What we do know is that the unemployment rate was slow to decline during the recovery from the last recession and this one will be much more severe. In that environment, and given a degree of ageism, raising the age of eligibility would be a hard sell.

That leaves the issue of means testing. In an interview on Newshub’s The Nation at the weekend Finance Minister Grant Robertson indicated Labour remains committed to universality.

It is a defensible position. The targeting of welfare payments with thresholds and abatement rates creates all sort of issues of poverty traps and perverse incentives.

Arguably the better way to address payment of superannuation to those who do not, or will not, need it is through a more progressive income tax scale.

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91 Comments

24
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I've spent the last decade worrying about our private debt, now I get to worry about government debt too.
Give me a shout when we hit the trillion dollar mark.

"Arguably the better way to address payment of superannuation to those who do not, or will not, need it is through a more progressive income tax scale." Certainly that would be a fairer way of clawing back Super from the unneedy than either means testing or raising the qualifying age.
But a more efficient way might be to establish a high flat tax of 50 per cent across personal income, companies, trusts, and the deemed return from home ownership and other wealth, then balance that by a flat nontaxable citizen's dividend to everyone over 18 of about $400 a week, a rate high enough to replace NZ Superannuation and all other benefits apart from accommodation supplements. Add a universal child benefit, and you'd come close to disposing of WINZ/MSD.

10
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The perfect solution to eliminating anyone that saves for a rainy day... tax the prudent so as to give to the imprudent.

Evidently it would be better to spend ones paycheck for baubles, and not ever save for the future as the savings would be taxed on not just any capital gains but instead the saved capital itself.

In other words, how to marginalize the productive people in a society.

Yes, I very much understand that there are inequities in the current NZ taxation system. I strongly believe that there should be a capital gains tax, and that it should be levied on ALL realized capital gains.

Taxing capital... well, watch and see how that fares. I know that my capital will grow legs and walk rather quickly.

I will give another Shout Out...Truth is stranger than Fiction.....We are not Alone....We is being Watched.

When money became theirs not ours, both Bankers and Governments took the biscuit, spent it like water, damn well did not produce Well being, Damn well did not save water, blasted the cap on spending, Killed the interest rates to multiply their debt binge, fudged the true State of Affairs and screwed any one with a pulse, including First Home buyers trying to "Save" for a rainy day, with a roof over their heads.
But also leveraging up the Rental Mental Brigade to push forward the debt to an unacceptable level to cover their own "Hides" whilst fiddling the "Books" Themselves. A little Dam work with our money could have helped even more, the Average Working Tyke, but it went to "White Washing" the "Laundry Marks" from Days gone Buy etc. and the Water we did have given Freely to China and all points..................to date.
It has been a Key factor that no one spotted the Laundry Marks, but whitewashed em.......but I digress.
Now we have a lowering of Standard Interest rates, since time stood still, not producing livable Houses, but multi-million Estates of the Rich and Infamous. (Not a Labour of National Love...I can assure you).
We even bought and Saved.. Air New Zealand means to get them here with ...Yoused ....and abused....Taxpayers Munny.

Now we have Homeless people in Motels and Hotels and Camper Vans, that the Rich Tourists used to come and stay in to see how "Lucky We Are" in God's Gift to Paradise".

The irony is we have now borrowed Billions again so that the Actual Taxpayers can be indebted again to pay to resurrect the E-conomy to Pay the Bwankers and Poll-lies to cover up their mis-demean-ours and filtering the Coffee Cafes to ensure that the Biscuit can get Dunked all over.....again.

Work is a 4 letter word, not actually recognized by Bwankers in Shut Down, nor Politicians in Space Saving Capsules in Multiple McMansions that they could not afford by legal means, but at the expense of 'Others".
Whilst Covid-19 is a killer virus, it has shown just what a problem our "Leaders yes, and Bleeders" need to pay for all their efforts.
Giving a "Working Holiday to Mortgages and Free money to Hide the factors of Employment issues of Debt, is still a crime in my Book.
Mamon is worshiped by many as long as I have lived. Jesus would be so proud of that Fact. Tis a brave new world, this Capital Lot.
Paying for the problems for future workers to keep GST and the Books up to date, does not Rate very well, if little Interest is not multiplied by state and allowed to be avoided by Amazon and Google and their co-horts the Laxative Lot crapping the life out of the System and shovelling this shite....Forwards>

Farmers and Farmers Limited showering capacities are water off a ducks back to Asian Stock Buyers and Holders....but the still want the Pound of Flesh...in this Viral State of affairs....

Aussies are in the same Boat... But they Shouted out first and got their arse Kicked....Trump is making a point, but ...USA be damned.

Stuff the lot I say....but then...I always did.

10
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Means testing super is an absolute no brainer.

25
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Give me 10 seconds, and I can make my 'means' and asset anything you'd like them to be for evaluation purposes.
That's the problem - there's always a way to make sure you fit the criteria.

At the risk of repetition - it's not the Debt that's the problem, but where it is and what it finances. (Unless Debt is productive, it's parasitical)
Change that, and many of the problems of the future are mitigated.

You are slow - it would take me less than 5 seconds. With working wife and kids it is not hard. First rent a property and pretend to move into it and my super increases because I'd be single rather than with working partner, claim accommodation allowance to pay rent on the new property, move my adult children into the rental property as 'lodgers' (then you don't pay tax or reduce the accommodation benefit). When my working wife wants a cuddle - just pop home. To make it easier to hide from any WINZ inspectors have the new rental close to the family home. By chance my daughter is renting the next house so it ought to be easy.

lovely. sounds like you have a lot of experience in tax avoidance

Lapun and BW, IRD systems have and are continually improving. Law can be made with high penalties for avoidance and even criminal penalties for evasion. Key is to beef up oversight of it... high cost but may be worth it. A few test cases with forfeiture of assets etc.. will pull the heads in of the greedy!

No it is not that simple at all. If that was the case Australians would all be doing that as they are means tested there. There is no way to hide. Means testing needs to be implemented here ASAP it’s an absolute rort and an expensive inefficient cost to the government and tax payer

Agree

39
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National have been happy to spend years pumping up a housing bubble and lumping young families with 100,000 of dollars of debt, but all of a sudden are now concerned about the burden on future generations?

While I don't want to see government debt rise too much, the damage done by successive governments to generate false growth through rising property prices has done far more to damage the future well-being of young families than some unfortunate, but necessary, bailout measures.

20
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Yep. We need massive incomes to service staggering mortgages but we need to pay more aggressive income taxes to service the state debt? How does anyone see this working out?

It only works with more inflation, which is ironically the problem...

11
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Which is why any sort of discussion of paying down the debt needs to include asset taxes, not raising income taxes.

I'm paying down my mortgage using money I've already paid tax on when I earned it - why should I be paying tax twice on that bit? Same with my car. I'm not using them to earn income, so what's the justification for taxing me on unrealised disposal proceedings?

capital gains tax is not double taxation. The clue is in the "gains" part of that phrase.

depends if only real increases in value are taxed, or, as is the case with interest, we also pay tax on the inflation.

Yes, the inability to separate inflation from gain is a bit deceptive.

wow thanks, but if you check the post i'm replying to, it doesn't specifically mention taxing capital gains, just 'taxing assets' which could be any number of things.

I do not think Wealth taxation will be implemented... way too hard for valuation gaming.

P.S. we are already double taxed in many instances. GST is an obvious example.

If you're taxing an asset that is going up in value it's not completely different, in a way. It recognises the value that is accruing to the owner of the asset through the efforts of society and betterment around that asset. Timing is different.

It also cannot be avoided through structuring, so provides a good way to capture wealth from overseas-based ownership and speculation.

Because you tax-paid money has to pay tax if you save it (RWT), if you spend it (GST), put it into Kiwisaver (FIF). Adding a tax to the remaining assets (mostly property) is leveling the playing field and removing the distortion it currently creates.

Miguel, re National have been happy to spend years pumping up a housing bubble and lumping young families with 100,000 of dollars of debt.
You are correct but LABOUR led goverments have presided over larger increases in house prices.
https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/property/98475352/labour-governments-ha...

10
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Whenever we jump on this roundabout discussion, the next point is to note that National were then duly elected based on John Key's campaigning on the urgent need to address the housing crisis. https://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA0708/S00336.htm And then denied any crisis existed for the next nine years, while National instead spoke of lumping children with this debt as "a good problem to have" and "a sign of our success".

I wonder if this is due to incomes rising more under Labour governments?

Makes you wonder whether the concern is actually for the younger folk, or because the effects can't only be lumped on to them rather than being experienced now by more people. This can't be as easily ignored as climate change.

Just shows what a reprehensible set of actions were taken over these past two decades, blowing up asset bubbles as much as possible to enrich certain folk.

They are worried about us in the sense that if we have to pay more tax to service the govt debt we won't be able to afford the debt-for-equity swap they're relying on to cash out of their bubble house Ponzi scheme.

Exactly. Govt debt will have to multiply several times more before it approaches the kind of debt liability our stupid, stupid housing bubble is leaving younger generations. It suits them ideologically to bitch about government debt though... They aren’t convincing anyone.

17
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Means testing is significantly less equitable than raising the age because you would means test out of the scheme the people who put the most in.

People working post 65 will be paying more tax than they take out, therefore, the concern that they access super is a non issue.

The real policy fix is:
• make KiwiSaver compulsory
• raise the age of super till 67
• allow people to extract KiwiSaver at 65
• loosen benefit rules for people 60-67 as a de facto super for people to worn out to work.

That way everyone can retire at 65 if they want, but the public purse saves money by raising the age.

The problem is inaction on the obvious solution because of baby boomer myopia and political inertia.

Everything we’ve done and we need to do we should have done earlier. If we’d introduced KiwiSaver in the 90s, we could have made it compulsory in the 2000s and raised the age soon after.

The real inequity is having different access to NZ Super across generations. You can’t let the boomers in at 65 with no means testing and then means test X and Y. That is inter generational theft.

Sometimes you just need to make a call and draw a line in the sand.
I guess the politics of it is difficult, hence why it never gets addressed...

13
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"You can’t let the boomers in at 65 with no means testing and then means test X and Y. That is inter generational theft"

Precisely. And that's the problem with raising the age - of course it won't happen til all the baby boomers are safely through. So the same generation that started off ~30k in the hole thanks to student loans before they even started their career now lose effectively another ~40k at the end due to the super age being raised. Combine that with much bigger housing costs throughout their working lives at it feels even more unfair. The boomers have essentially had a golden run, and going into lockdown was to an extent a sacrifice made to protect (mostly) them, as they would have had a much higher fatality rate. So I reckon we need a policy that ensures that at least those boomers who are well-off take on their fare share of the financial burden of Covid-19. Higher taxes on superannuitants earning over a certain threshold would be my pick. Also asset taxes.

"Means testing is significantly less equitable than raising the age because you would means test out of the scheme the people who put the most in." Contributing to society as a taxpayer inherently means you don't take out what you put in - some take out more and some take out less. Redistribution is the whole point. Agree means testing Superannuation is a no-brainer; say it saves 10%pa, that's >$1billion to say spend pa on getting children out of poverty! I would also (now) publish online the names of all Super recipients - some trasnparency is great for developing social accountability as per the current Covid-19 wage subsidy scheme.

I disagree.

First of all, I think ensuring the people who contribute to stuff see benefits helps build societal commitment to the programmes - otherwise you get the makers/takers dynamic.

Second of all, remember where NZ Super came from, it is a universal system where tax payers contribute and receive later. Current tax payers are paying $14B+ a year because they expect to receive their share when it’s their turn. Now that may sounds like a ponzu scheme (given how it’s been managed by the boomers it’s dangerously close) but it is the system we have.

Uhhh people's taxes go to whoever the current superannuitants are at the time. Kiwisaver is pay-in now, get out later, but state super is purely an exercise in cashflow.

If a super means test says you don't get paid super it's because you don't need it. So why not let the Government spend your super on someone who needs it more than you? Also, marginal rates for income tax should be designed so that those in the highest tax bracket will never ever get out of the system anything like what they put in - except they get to live in a fairer and happier society.

How are you going to determine whether someone needs it? Income? Assets?

Wait a second, that income and assets potentially needs to cover 35 years of ageing and complex health issues. Nobody knows what a person will need and people should be saving with that in mind. Then the government penalises them because they determine ‘they don’t need it.’ No thanks. I’m only paying boomers super because I’m getting super. If mines getting cut off let’s have a revolution.

Please speak for yourself. My daughter has no student loan. Why? Because I paid for her to go to university.

17
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So your point is what - I should have chosen to be born to a different set of parents? We've gone from a system where people without wealthy parents could afford to do things like go to university and buy a house to a system where boomers pat themselves on the back for being so generous because they paid for their own children to go to university and gave them a house deposit, and bugger other people's children.

That is exactly what is unfolding in the US. If your parents can't afford to send you to uni, chances are you're going to struggle financially. And the gap is just getting wider, generation by generation.

Check out the charts in this rather interesting NY Times article:

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/04/10/opinion/coronavirus-us-ec...

Your mistake is this: to care for ones child is not to diminish another persons child.

The implied association has no basis.

I didn't imply an association between those. Reread the post.

No but by your broad brush you are totally ignoring the boomers who through prudence and hard work who have saved enough to help their offspring.

No I'm not. I'm pointing out that a lot of that wealth was gained by creating conditions that favored boomers. And those same people then pay themselves on the back for their generosity- but only towards their own children. If they were really being generous they wouldn't have structured things in a way that made them so much better off than the following generations in virtue of being born at the right time in the first place.

You did though. You wrote, " .. and bugger other people's children."

Thus creating a non existent association of 'buggering other peoples children' with paying his for own child's education.

The two events have no correlation, causation or association. Your implication does not exist and is untrue.

To state it even more plainly, to pay your own child's expenses does not 'bugger' anybody else's child.

You have to read the whole thing. I'm not making the implication you describe.

You and the taxpayers of NZ paid for her to go to University you mean. Only ~20% of University running costs are met by domestic students.

That's very generous. But why not let her get a student loan and invest the equivalent amount on her behalf? They are interest free (unless you are working overseas).

Since tertiary education is subsidised by the state, you only paid for a portion of the true cost. Yes, give yourself a pat on the back ....

Because governments bailout corporations and people in a crisis I think you have to look at overall debt levels on a per capita basis to understand the extent to which we are accruing liabilities for future generations.

Obviously taxes will need to rise and new taxes levied to pay for this response. The sooner we can implement these tax changes the more gradual and phased their introduction can be.

Yes, debt is now where choices cease to exist. Now we must borrow AND print money AND raise taxes.

Just a matter of timing.

Two important points:

First - "To the extent the new debt ends up being bought by the Reserve Bank, which has indicated it is willing to hold up to 50% of it, the effective interest rate the Crown incurs on that debt is the official cash rate, which it pays on the associated increase in the settlement cash banks have on deposit with the central bank. That is currently 0.25% and headed, if anything, lower."

Second - "Eventually, we can but hope, the Official Cash Rate (OCR) will rise and the yield curve steepen. It will be a sign that economic activity has strengthened and unemployment fallen, to the point where the economy’s slack is taken up and firms can think about raising prices. By then, we can but hope, banks will have found something more useful to do with that swollen stock of base money than keep it on deposit at the Reserve Bank".

The RBNZ buys NZGS from the public, and replaces them with bank reserves (base money) that someone has to hold, at every point in time, until the RBNZ sells its bonds and retires the cash. All monetary policy does is to change the mix of government obligations held by the public. Only fiscal policy – specifically deficit spending – changes the total amount of those obligations.

Hence banks will never find something more useful to do with the swollen claim to base money except collect a higher OCR return if interest rates rise. In fact there is absolutely no need to do otherwise since lending credit is no longer regulated on the liability side of the ledger. Banks can freely purchase borrower's IOUs with their own IOUs which then act as deposits limited by capital constraints applied to the asset ledger.

There were two major evolutions in money and banking that seem to fall outside the orthodox narrative. The first was a shift of reserves and bank limitations from the liability side to the asset side. The second was the rise of interbank markets, ledger money, as a source of funding rather than required reserve balancing: replacing the old deposit/loan multiplier model. Courtesy of J. Snider from Alhambra

Good points Hardly. Personally, I think Brian Fallow's last paragraph is the best way to go.
As for property prices, these could have been surpressed years ago by new property taxes ( as per overseas )
Alas, no government seems to have got the balls for this course of action. The most recent example of this was the PM quite unnecessarily backing off CGT ' on her watch '. In all probability, by September she could have been in a position to deliver it. It would have been one step on the 'transformational' path that she bragged about prior to becoming PM.

In twenty years time, retires (generally) will be living off their KiwiSaver accounts so therefore will not have a need for NZ Super. To make it more affordable today the government needs to jettison those kiwis who havent lived, and more importantly paid taxes, for years / decades. Don't penilise those kiwis who live in abnormal relationships and those whose spouse is under 65 when they have reached the retirement age. This is political suicide in my book. They should also pay retires the minimum wage wih no flashy bits attached. I am sure you would see a balancing of the books, as a consequence.

"In twenty years time, retires (generally) will be living off their KiwiSaver account..."

I could rephrase this as

In twenty years time, retires (generally) will be living off their saved wet bus tickets …

Sorry - Pixels on a screen will not deliver goods and services for the foreseeable, no matter how much we legislate it
Capitalism is bust (and with it claims & promises on the future … such as pensions)

Debt... Many individuals who are facing problems in USA.....

https://www.ccn.com/us-housing-market-crash-begun-unofficially/

Can NZ be far behind or immune as currently asking price is same/high as would have been before the tsunami of Corona Virus.

Market will be determine Not by asking price but at What price vendors are able to sell ?

It will not be before October/November will one know the Speed and Quantum of fall.

Great watch if you have time, full of interesting charts, and presented by a boomer so no bias:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZuXzvjBYW8A

Do you really want the Government to sort out retirement funding? First step - make them change their pay and retirement schemes to align with everyone else in this country. Then watch them get it right.

Hmmmmmm

I approached aging, by putting in place and obtaining, those things I might want then. So I am self-sufficient in energy and mostly so in food - thus they will cost near-nothing in my old age.

What this piece assumes - and so does every comment so far - is that 'stuff' will be available to 'buy' forever and ever amen. This cannot be the case, as I keep repeating. There ain't enough 'stuff' left in them holes in the ground.

Means tested benefits tend to be rorted. So universal child benefit and universal Super then if they have other sources of income take that benefit back by way of income tax. I get ~$20k in Super and it is taxed at ~20% however I'm lucky enough to have a modest source of income from an investment property (not bought as such but it is rented out now) also taxed ~20%. Seems to me that a higher tax band should start where Super stops. Say Band1 to $10k at 0%; band2 to $20k at 15%; band3 to $40k at 25%; band4 to $80k at 30% and everything over that 40%.

To reduce many fiddles allow a cohabiting couple to share income to minimise tax paid - it would cost the IRD a smidgen (a few more stay at home Mums) but save a fortune in benefits relating to broken relationships with kids. A second advantage would be fewer single person households - good for mental health and good for increasing the stock of available housing without actually building.

"good for mental health" hahahahaha - if you are a man.
https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2019/may/25/women-happier-witho...

Laupun, this is a terrible idea.

Yes, this really frustrates me. I pay income tax on my personal income, yet any family tax credits I'm entitled to are made on the basis of my household income. In my household, I work and my wife is home with our infant children. If we were both working for 50% of my salary, we'd be better off because we'd pay less tax but be entitled to the same family tax credits. We shouldn't incentivise two-parent-working families given what we know about child development.

"Right now, and for the foreseeable future, rates are low."

Rates can NEVER climb
unless real economic growth comes back
which would mean an increase in NET energy surplus per capita (effectively resources available for consumption NOW per capita)

Not going to happen

We have been on a downward slide ever since we started substituting Debt for net energy available NOW (ie Debt just shifts the consumption payback … until the point where interest rates must go to zero to support the Debt mountain…. then hmmm . … game over)

Report on Australian Housing Market :

Watch

https://youtu.be/0uTC4gNOCdU

The IRD has become very adept at finding hiding places for funds and income - they check trusts etc very carefully so its a lot harder to hide things. I personally think it should be tested in some form so that anyone earning over say $100k per year doesn't get anything and slide it down to full benefit if anyones other income is under 80% of the average wage (still very generous on an international scale). Index the income levels so it moves automatically - Yes it will be rorted by some but everything is. Raising the age can be done by it is unfair on those who do hard manual work and their bodies give out at early 60 ish.

The government is a sovereign currency issuer and every dollar that it spends is a new dollar. It can afford to purchase whatever is for sale in its own currency and this includes pensions. Money is not the issue for supporting the retired but resources are, having enough trained and qualified workers to create the goods and services needed to support the economy.
Alan Greenspan explains it here on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DNCZHAQnfGU

BUT
we effectively buy OIL in US$
and energy is the key input
So print as much as you like ...but you will devalue your purchasing power for THE key input

ENERGY is the issue
Not people

So we don't need doctors and nurses as long as we can fill our cars with petrol?

Oil isn't petrol
Its the economy
That's the stuff that pays for doctors & nurses

Tax base needs changing. Reduce income tax, and bring in a land tax quarterly so land needs to be productive, vs overpriced thru debt, which penalizes new taxpayers entering the system. Current model is the number one issue for educated kiwis heading to Straya.

At some stage under 35 need to vote their own interests. If not, then the agenda will continue to dominated by boomer agenda as we had under Nats for nine years.

Under 35s have started taking on houses and debt. "Voting in their own interests" is anything that won't lead to them taking a haircut on already massive mortgages.

NZ Super the envy of the world. Cost effective , low admin, great for women not linked to paid work, the pro's are endless.
If you play around with Universality, you have to do away with all trusts and asset protection, all income must be transparent.
What's needed is a wealth tax, and a hard look at senior executive and CEO pay, not fit for purpose, the research overwhelming that the ratio and ratchet effects on the packages not required or effective, set a salary and pay it.
New Zealand the wealthiest 10% own nearly a fifth of the country's net worth, while the poorest half of the country has less than 5 per cent. .

When talking tax reform and changes, Rob Salmons 2011 book on the NZ Tax system remains relevant and a good starting point

It shows New Zealand has a tax system of extremes. We charge less tax than almost any comparable country on high incomes, dividends, and capital gains. Our GST however, is bigger than most, both as a proportion of taxes and as a proportion of the economy as a whole. And our goal of aligning top personal and company tax rates is not one that other rich democracies seem to share.
They say that in order to change tomorrow, first you must understand today.

You make some good points. I know a few wealthy Australian businessman who make sure they have NZ operations and quietly base themselves here for tax purposes. I do think it would be more equitable to have a 0% threshold up to say $15k and then a 40% bracket >$150k, similar to Aust.

I have a real problem with the current super unless we determine we as a country are rich enough to have a universal basic income.
KiwiSaver is also a mess and we should just adopt the Australian model for this as is. They have a very effective model. In particular why we tax kiwisaver contributions is beyond me.

LETS MAKE SOMETHING CLEAR !

National did nothing new that Ms Clark did not do to 'pump up the housing market " as you put it .

We had a an inept Auckland City council run by a left winger who could not keep his trousers up , and constrained the supply of land until the dam broke

Then we had foreign QE money washing in here chasing yields , and the Banks created credit on grans scale

Cheers Boatman! A voice of reason at last! I have read with amazement all the comments over the last few weeks bemoaning how the "right wing capitalists" have captured the Interest site. If any group has captured this site it's the chardonnay socialists, communists, marxists and the plain stupid! Do any of you have a real job? I mean something that earns export income! Not money already in the system that just goes around and around! I doubt it!!!

There are a few nuggets in there, but most of it is leftie dross.

Lol. I’m one of those chardonnay socialists. I work for a successful software business. Even playing my small part in the company I produce, literally, an *infinitely* greater export value for our economy than an *infinite* number of landlords. The absolute stupidity of our property market couldn’t be designed better to create a generation of militant socialists.

Don't you find it odd that those who are centre-right often vote National, yet National want to get as far in bed with the Chinese Communist Party as possible? So communists and marxists on this site are bad, but the real world communists (CCP) aren't? No conflict of values there eh?

Given that you like to stretch the truth and say that anyone who is centre-left is a socialist, communist or marxist, it must then be okay for anyone who is centre-right to be equally treated as that is only fair unless you have double standards - do you? Or is it okay for me to say that anyone who votes centre-right is a facist or nazi? But that would just be false right? So are you sure you want to label people as communist and marxist?

You can't have it one way and not the other - you all good with that?

Brisket, 2 thumbs up! For as long as I can remember people have been saying the same things regarding the property market. IMO the same comments will still be around in 20 years. Unfortunately it is what it is and politicians only ever titavate around the edges.

Independent Observer. Made many assumptions haven't you! I can guarantee you one thing, I will NEVER vote for the greens!! The people I have pin pointed all love wealth redistribution as the panacea for the ills of society. Sounds like the great communist experiment to me! hasn't worked to well so far has it! Ive worked bloody hard to get where I am and I don't want a bunch of dick-heads in Wellington telling me I have to much.( Not saying I have much) As for the Chinese, have you lived amongst them? I have back in the eighties and I can assure you I saw very quickly how ruthless they are. Generally most people in the West have no understanding of how they operate - they play the long game and play to win! I have said ever since the West needs to be very very careful of China. I don't trust them at all! So very long bow you draw - as usual!

Cool - you’re not voting for the Green Party and anyone who does is a communist. Glad we’ve cleared that up.

Not sure how you made that connection! Still I guess they could be communist. If not then definitely halfwits! Does that also clear things up for you!

The far left nature of the greens were made very apparent when they defenestrated actual environmentalists David Clendon and Kennedy Graham in favor of self professed benefit fraudster Meteria Turei in lead up to 2017 election and stacked their list with left wing hot-button campaigners commited primarily to 'class struggle' and all-around wokeness ahead of environment. Refusal to transact with National - even at the cost of Establishing Kermadec Marine sanctuary three years back just illustrates the point still further. They are 'Green' in name only.

Bang on Foyle!

I'm missing your point Foyle? So anyone left wing is a communist or marxist? That its okay to make sweeping generalisations?

Boatman, you are either missing a couple of things or generously exonerating National for them.

1. The most obvious: they campaigned and were elected in part on the need to urgently address the housing crisis, then pretended for nine years that no such crisis existed.

2. The Reserve Bank specifically asked them on multiple occasions for a DTI measure to enable them to stimulate the economy without further blowing asset bubbles. National refused this on all occasions.

3. National dragged their feet on anti money laundering legislation to the point of provoking comment even from overseas. This enabled foreign money laundering to further exacerbate the problem.

They campaigned on addressing the crisis. They had opportunities to do so and chose not to, instead seemingly choosing to exacerbate the crisis. Related to their 3.4 houses per MP, perhaps?

Surely we should not simply ignore such facts?

Increasing dependency ratios is not a financial problem for the government. It is a real resource problem. Can we produce enough with fewer workers in the future? Yes I say. If we invest in productive capacity now. That will not happen via running austerity policies or over taxing people now. You need a hot economy to encourage investment not an anemic one. Cutting the very efficient state pension will just penalise the young as on top of all the other injustices they won't get a proper secure pension when their time comes.

This might seem like both a dumb idea and a brilliant idea. But why doesn't every government just agree that all debt incurred during CV19 is perpetual credit with no creditors? We all agree to cancel one another's debts if they were accrued during the crisis. It would be a much more intelligent and efficient method of dealing with this problem. We could agree to make the World Bank the sole creditor of all debt accrued during CV19 then abolish it as an organisation - just replace it with the Global Bank with no outstanding debtors. CV19 is a Global problem, so we can technically do it, we just need to advocate for it and convince enough politicians and businesses that it is possible, and then it becomes possible.