The Election tax debate has entered silly territory, Alex Tarrant writes; Labour's exclusion of family homes and income tax change aversion isn't fit for a party wishing to fairly tax assets, wealth and income; Joyce's scaremongering is also OTT

The Election tax debate has entered silly territory, Alex Tarrant writes; Labour's exclusion of family homes and income tax change aversion isn't fit for a party wishing to fairly tax assets, wealth and income; Joyce's scaremongering is also OTT

By Alex Tarrant

The Election 2017 tax debate is now getting into silly territory.

In this T-Rant I argue that: Labour needs to get over its stubbornness on arguing against changes to the bottom end of the income tax spectrum; that Jacinda Ardern should have ruled out a Capital Gains Tax next term because Labour's extension to the Bright Line Test effectively covers its desire to tax property investors while excluding two-thirds of a trillion dollars' worth of property assets from any form of taxation (given her new-found willingness to rule out a higher top personal income tax rate); and that Steven Joyce's scaremongering - while fun - is over the top.

On Wednesday both Labour and National made some interesting comments. The big news was Labour Party leader Jacinda Ardern ruling out a new top income tax rate. The reasoning given here was that Labour would be able to afford all its Election spending promises without it.

I’d actually been following the situation from the angle of Labour wanting the income tax system to be more progressive. There are essentially two ways to do this when looking just at the tax system: Raise the top tax rate, or reduce taxes at the bottom (lower income tax take, but a fairer system).

Ardern’s response to my question of 'what would Labour do to ensure a more progressive system', was that proposals for extra Working for Families and child tax credits targeted at the bottom end of the income spectrum went some way to ensuring this – ie dealing with the situation through transfers.

Earlier, Finance Minister Steven Joyce said National wouldn’t consider a second ‘family incomes package’ until 2020. And when that rolls around, Joyce said he would focus on easing the burden on lower-to-middle income earners, while simplifying the system in terms of tax credits. To me this indicated a desire to reduce the tax burden on lower income earners, perhaps with a tax free band.

Ardern’s initial announcement that Labour would not raise the top income tax rate next term – no matter what - led us to believe that any changes to income tax settings were off the table for the Tax Working Group Labour wants to set up after the election to look into more fair taxation across assets, wealth and income.

That disappointed me because it appeared to rule out the possibility of a tax-free band being used to ensure greater progressivity. It’s also something that would help in the fight against poverty. But there is a ray of sunlight; We might have all jumped the gun a bit.

I was told later that the message from Labour is this: they want the working group to look at structural issues and interaction between the parts of the tax system. In this context, it might be able to look how income is taxed in a broad sense. The message from Ardern on the top tax rate was more geared towards indicating the group isn’t going to sit around figuring out what the top/middle/lower tax rates should actually be.

This cheered me up a bit. To me, this leaves open the possibility for moves like the introduction of a tax-free band at the bottom of the income tax spectrum as part of a suite of measures across New Zealand’s asset, wealth and income bases.

Silly season

However, Labour still needs to get over a big hurdle. Grant Robertson’s response to the Budget indicates he is opposed to income tax changes that make richer people better off, even if those changes make poorer people better off as well.

Steven Joyce’s move to raise the bottom two thresholds affects pretty much every earner. Rather than accepting that people on low-to-middle incomes would be better off, as the Greens did, Labour’s response focussed on the fact that high earners such as MPs would be $1,000 a year better off from Joyce’s changes.

From this point of view, a tax-free band would be treated by Labour the same as the threshold changes. Yes, it would do a lot for beneficiaries and minimum wage earners, but you could also be giving about $1,000 a year back to high income earners as well.

In a perfect world, you could mitigate this by raising or introducing new tax rates at the top of the scale. We’re told now that this can’t happen – in a first term at least – due to Ardern’s political aversion to a higher top tax rate.

This indicates that until Labour gets over the fact that doing something at the bottom end of the tax spectrum invariably makes the rich better off as well, the only way for Labour to make income tax more progressive is by fiddling around with tax credits – something Susan St John has said is getting very “confusing”.

In fact, it is Finance Minister Steven Joyce who looks the most likely to foster a more progressive tax scale on New Zealanders with his comment that he wants to simplify things at the bottom. When National could conceivably come out of the next three years as a greater proponent of a progressive income tax system than Labour, then we really need to wonder how we’ve got there. One word: Stubbornness. By Labour.

The 'family home'

There’s another thing that Labour is completely stubborn on. And it’s hurting the party’s credibility whenever it says it wants New Zealand’s tax system to be fairer when it comes to treatment of assets, wealth and income: Talking about the need for a capital gains tax, while excluding ‘the family home’.

On Three’s The AM show on Thursday, Robertson was drawn into his views on whether New Zealand needs a better capital gains tax regime.

He began by reiterating Labour’s current policy which is to expand the bright line test from two to five years. Labour’s working group would be set up to figure out whether that was enough. Labour was being transparent, Robertson argued. “Our tax system is not fair, it’s not balanced, we’ve got a housing crisis, we need to do things to address that. We’re going to ask the experts and they’ll come back to us.”

“I don’t believe our tax system is fair at the moment. If you want to know what’s caused inequality to grow in New Zealand over the last few years, it’s about asset inequality. It’s the fact that we’ve got the lowest home ownership rate in 60 years and we’ve got to do something about that,” he said.

“I personally support a better balance in our tax system and I’m going to wait till we see the expert working group. But I don’t believe at the moment that someone who goes to work every single day, pays tax on every dollar that they earn, is being treated fairly compared to someone who flips an investment property and makes a profit on that.”

Take Robertson’s comment that the main cause of inequality growth in New Zealand over the past few years has been to do with asset inequality. Well, I’m sorry Grant, but New Zealand’s housing stock is worth $1.03 trillion. It’s the major component of our net worth. And about two-thirds of that housing stock is owner-occupied (which is the non-political way of saying ‘family home’).

If we want to ensure fairer tax treatment across assets, wealth and income, then you cannot just rule out capital gains or imputed rents made/unpaid on two-thirds of a trillion dollars’ worth of residential property holdings from the debate.

Labour tries to soften the blow by having a go at “speculators”. But you just can’t ignore that the majority of wealth is tied up in owner-occupied assets which generate untaxed income when sold.

And for anyone thinking about it, don’t try deflecting onto ‘let’s focus on other asset wealth’. The stock market is piddly compared to housing.

The Reserve Bank’s Governors literally laughed at me during their August press conference when I asked if they were worried about the NZX hitting record highs (due to the Bank’s mandate to take into consideration all asset prices). They said they were basically only ever worried about the housing market because that’s our only asset market of note.

If we’re talking “assets and wealth” then we’re talking first and foremost owner-occupied residential property. You can’t get away from that and any Tax Working Group that ignores such a large asset base will be a joke. (In some good news, Ardern also said the group would not be looking at GST – which hopefully means all that talk of exemptions disappears.)

The exact same criticism can be put at the Green Party. They’re just as bad as Labour on this. Whenever the Greens put out a statement that they will sort things out by introducing a Comprehensive Capital Gains Tax, I get excited. But when you open the email they’ve always got that annoying addendum “(excluding the family home)” (as if putting it in brackets means people will think it must just be a miniscule portion of New Zealand’s asset base).

If we’re going to be talking about taxation of assets, wealth and income, then the body carrying out the review needs to be able to consider taxation of all assets, wealth and income. No exceptions.

A better way

There could have been a better way for Labour. If you are not going to consider a proper CGT that includes owner-occupier housing, then just stick with the policy to increase the Bright Line Test (excluding the family home, obviously) out to five years. It’s basically the same thing, and will have the same effect for a term-and-a-half of you being in Government.

Promise that you will not impose a capital gains tax next term, no matter what the Group says. In fact, drop the notion of another Tax Working Group. For any policy impetus for changing the tax system, base it on the recommendations of the previous Tax Working Group, or the one before that, or the one before that. (Yes, their reports all contained lines on ‘fairness’ – more on that in another T-Rant).

Why? Well, that would not allow for Steven Joyce to go on the telly smiling like a Cheshire Cat and pulling out the scaremongering lines delivered after Robertson Thursday on the AM show:

“He’s very careful not to rule out the thing that would really trouble people which is capital gains tax on small businesses and a capital gains tax on the farm,” Joyce began with (he wasn’t asked about small businesses or farms).

“If you’ve been working hard all your life and you’re selling your farm and you’ve worked up the quality of the property then he’s going to say he wants to tax it – probably about 30% - and similarly if you’ve run a good plumbing business or something…”

“For somebody’s who’s built up a plumbing business, got three or four vans going, then decides he or she wants to check out and sell it, then they could be in for a bit of a nasty shock.”

This is manna from heaven for National. I would like to know the number of plumbers who set up their business with the intention of selling it at the end of the day for a capital gain. Actually, if they expressly set up their business for that purpose then IRD should tax them on it under current laws.

For those that didn’t expect to sell their ‘three-or-four vans’ at the end then would they really be too thrown by paying a portion of whatever unexpected profit they make back to the government – just as their partner working a waged job in the city does every pay cheque? (And as they’ve done every year in terms of company tax…?)

“A capital gains tax on small businesses would be a real shock for thousands and thousands and thousands of small business owners, who actually build up a little business, and then they decide to sell it and make a bit of profit.”

Joyce and National are absolutely loving it. 

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

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130 Comments

10
up

"The Reserve Bank’s Governors.... said they were basically only ever worried about the housing market because that’s our only asset market of note."

What a sad state of affairs when a country with as much going for it as ours is dependent upon a consumption item for our survival. It says that we will NEVER escape the C/A Deficit and Debt traps, and are condemned to sell our country to whoever wants to buy it. Add us to the list of the likes of Sri Lanka and Ethiopia, who are similarly 'being bought'.....

The tax free threshold has been around in Australia for a long time. In 2004 it was set at $6000, in 2017/18 its set at $18,200. There is no reason why New Zealand shouldn't implement the same. I'd also like to see the tax rate on kiwi saver contributions be reduced to 15%, as in Australia. Why it's generically taxed above the rate of what most individuals income is taxed at, is beyond me. Frankly if your on income above $150k - $200k your accountant will be busy implementing LTC or trust tax reduction methods anyhow, so introduce a 4th tax tier already.

Australian government are running massive deficits...

Kiwisaver and other registered Pension Funds should not be taxed until withdrawn on retirement.

Interesting - why not?

henry. I don't think Kiwisaver and other funds should be taxed at any stage. Provided they are fenced with requirements about being locked in and their purpose is thus about retirement. We should promote the idea of asset building to look after yourself. And promote capital formation by New Zealanders.

Thank you Alex ... Labour's Tax policies are lost between CGT, equality, helping the lower echelons, and Envy ( to satisfy the die hard lefties) !!
Its not only silly season, it's a Messy season ....!!
Grant Robertson is a very very "clever" man - god forbid he comes anywhere close to the nation's finances ...

I wonder how many more team members Jacinda has to muzzle until elections..??

11
up

"However, Labour still needs to get over a big hurdle. Grant Robertson’s response to the Budget indicates he is opposed to income tax changes that make richer people better off, even if those changes make poorer people better off as well."

Therein lies the problem. Vindictive and grasping.

Bear in mind this is an opinion piece and the above is the author's ideologically-influenced imagining of Grant Robertson's motivations.

Caveat lector.

That is a very limited use of the term "better off" as well. Would we all be "better off" if tax was reduced by half? Would we all be "better off" if tax was doubled? It all depends on how the tax money is spent.

That's what I am finding more and more annoying.

It shouldn't be about the amount of tax paid. It should be about how effectively it is spent.

Grant merely recognises that with limited resourses it is not efficient to reduce the tax burden on the poor where such a reduction also flows through to the rich.

E.g. Country X has two taxpayers A and B and a flat tax rate of 30%. A earns $90 and pays $30 tax and B earns $30 and pays $10 tax. Country A wants to help B out as international data indicates the minimum liveable income is $30. Country A has a $10 dollar surplus. If it made the first $30 income tax free both A and B would have their net income increase to $70 and $30 respectively. However, this would result in Country X having a $10 budget deficit. The better solution would be to target the support to B by some form of assistance (e.g. minimum liveable income credit) that would top up B to the liveable wage by paying B $10. No budget deficit and intended support for the lower income earner is met.

I don’t see how the above is “vindictive and grasping”?

16
up

I get really pissed off about WFF which is social engineering of the worst possible kind .

Why are we taxing hard working and struggling Kiwi families and then "generously " giving them their own money back in transfers , called Working for Families ?

Its nonsense , everyone should be allowed a CHILD REBATE for each child in the tax tables , and pay less PAYE as a result , because irrespective of how much you earn it costs the same to feed and clothe a child .

Collecting the money , and then having an unduly complicated calculation to generously give some money back is just dumb .

This money-go -round costs money in times and wages to administer , there are leakages ( every Dollar transferred back to taxpayers likely costs $1,20 or more in administration ) , and then it costs a fortune to recover if over-paid in error .

Its nanny state nonsense of the worst possible kind , and Labour introduced it before the 2008 election as a bribe .

13
up

Agree we shouldn't have WFF - it artificially subsidises companies by enabling them to pay lower wages.

National labelled it communism by stealth, but all they've done is increase it. They seem to have shifted left to take much of Labour's previous ground.

The invisible hands of WFF and the accommodation supplement are also lifting house prices; could have been invented by landlords.

I'm with you there, Boatman but I don't think it was an election bribe - rather it was a counter to our low wage economy.

For bribes, here's a great historical summary;

http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/afternoons/audio/201851773/...

A very lazy, complex and costly bandaid to counter our low wage economy.... which has done jack to solve the problem of a low wage economy

And its existence completely undoes the reason that we're fed for justifying ridiculously high levels of low-wage immigration, which is supposedly to provide a base of tax-paying workers to support the boomers in retirement. Doesn't work without the 'working' and 'taxpaying' aspects.

You are right about WFF being nanny state at it's worst. You can also add the housing supplement to that also.
Respectively they inefficiently enable a low wage, low productivity economy, and subsidise high rents and high house prices. I don't doubt Labours sincerity in trying to help people when they started WFF, but all they have achieved is a poverty trap, where people are penalised by an effectively extremely high marginal tax rate if they try to earn more and save a deposit for a home. If you are able to accumulate even the most modest savings toward a deposit, you lose these benefits. No wonder National are so happy to go along with it, and increase payments under this system. It just reduces the lives of increasing numbers of our people to permanent serfdom, serving an increasingly wealthy group of wealth owners.
The best thing that Labour can do is eliminate these poverty traps by increasing wages by raising productivity, increasing the real spending power in our economy by totally freeing up land availability and dealing to the monopolistic closed shop within the building material market. Getting houses back to a price to wage multiple of 3.5 will go a long way to eliminating the need for a lot of these welfare benefits, which really only boil down to welfare for the wealthy. The initial beneficiaries are really just the conduit through which the money flows. Similarly we all know we are burdened with a bunch of other monopolies/duopolies that need to be dealt to, - food and petrol to name a couple.
Our present economy is highly distorted and shields companies from from the real competition that will force them to either increase productivity of wither. We can only afford to allow high productivity enterprises to survive; anything less is holding the whole country back. And of course our crazy high and indiscriminate immigration is also one of the prime contributors to perpetuating a low wage low productivity economy.

I agree - these are the real issues. Increase wages, raise productivity; lower house prices - and tax/revenue issues resolve themselves.

Agreed but only if seriously generous universal child benefits were introduced (actually re-introduced from my youth) plus tax benefits but only for cohabiting parents. No systems that rewards family breakup.

!

Imagine the administrative nightmare employers would face trying to apply varying withholding rates based on the family circumstances of each employee.

E.g. How many kids do you have, do you have a partner, do they work, what was their income for this pay period??????

Just take standard PAYE and make the people file tax returns to get the difference back at the end of the year.

Alternatively have the IRD expose a web service to employers such that employers plug in their secure credentials and the employee's unique token along with the amount to be paid to automatically retrieve the amount that needs to be held back in tax. Simple stuff.

Oh Boatman ,,, that would not work very well mate ... there are a lot of "breeders" and little numbers of families ... your proposed system will be abused like there is no tomorrow ...and will encourage "breeding" more than it is !!

That is how politicians draw power to themselves and create clients/voters. Take money off them and then give it back to them - and that is most strongly reflected in left wing approach to government (though even National is not averse to it). It is an inefficient process, that eats a percentage of the money returned in administration.

So yes, a 5% tax reduction per dependent child would be a much better approach, and would encourage better-off people who are mostly better parents, (due to better resources, better work ethic and more focused parenting), to have more children. Middle class kids mostly pay >$1million in tax through their lives. Beneficiaries producing more beneficiaries will generally cost the tax payer more that $1million during their lives. The Economics of paying beneficiaries to have more kids are appalling.

We should not have WFF or the accommodation subsidy. Tax is inevitable, as is providing assistance for some. But taxing and then giving back to a substantial percentage of the population is a nonsense creating a constituency of dependents. Lets go for small government.

Yes, I agree about accommodation subsidy as welfare for landlords as well, and worst of all foreign ones can suck on the public teat as well via it.
WFF not so much, I do think society does have a duty of care toward people raising families. We have some form of assistance as long as I can remember, it has changed as the way society operates over time.

"Grant Robertson’s response to the Budget indicates he is opposed to income tax changes that make richer people better off, even if those changes make poorer people better off as well."

What a nasty piece of work Robertson is. He wants to hurt poor people, just so he can spite richer people.

He lends weight to the argument that most socialists don't like poor people, they just hate rich people.

Billy Bunter Robertson is a fool , and you are right , he dislikes successful people , but actually has little time for poor or struggling folk either , whom he sees as 'below " him .

He is resentful and angry , and it shows .

As pointed out above, this is someone else's opinion piece saying he has that motivation. There's no reason to assume he does actually have that motivation.

I mean, do we assume that John Key had deviant motivations for pulling girls' ponytails just because some people on social media said so?

I have met him , and he is full of it

John? Yeah, he was a forex trader.

Both , Key was at least a little more easy going , Robertson comes across as uncomfortable socially.

Both have their faults , Robertson seems more ideologically stranded , while Key was way less dogmatic and more flexible on any given issues.

I always thought John Key had a lot to say, without actually saying anything at all. I think if people transcribed what he said and read it back at a later point, it would be empty waffle and they'd be wondering why they were nodding along with him when he said it. He delivered it very personably mind, down to earth jokey blokey style.

"Well, look, at the end of the day it is what it is and I'm pretty comfortable with it. And I think your average mum and dad kiwi sees it for what it is too."

The flexibility of Key came about through liberal coatings of Teflon.

Grant merely recognises that with limited resourses it is not efficient to reduce the tax burden on the poor where such a reduction also flows through to the rich (and at a higher rate).

E.g. Country X has two taxpayers A and B and a flat tax rate of 30%. A earns $90 and pays $30 tax and B earns $30 and pays $10 tax. Country A wants to help B out as international data indicates the minimum liveable income is $30. Country A has a $10 dollar surplus. If it made the first $30 income tax free both A and B would have their net income increase to $70 and $30 respectively. However, this would result in Country X having a $10 budget deficit. The better solution would be to target the support to B by some form of assistance (e.g. minimum liveable income credit) that would top up B to the liveable wage by paying B $10. No budget deficit and intended support for the lower income earner is met.

National's increase in the income level at which each marginal rate applies provides the greatest benefit to the highest income earners as they receive the full benfit of each increase. Whereas a poor person may only receive a small benfit.

Therefore the revenue lost from increasing the margianl rates is enjoyed most by those with the highest incomes. One more reason I, a high income earner who will receive the maximum benfit from the increased marginal rates set for 1 April 2018, am voting for Labour.

In fact, drop the notion of another Tax Working Group.

I don't know that's a good idea because I think our current tax mix is volatile, and this is what was pointed out by TSY and EY in the PREFU.

NZSF hovers around 2% of the total tax take; the banks collectively represent a greater proportion and smokers (excise tax only, not including GST) represent 2% of the total tax take. So add up those three categories of taxpayers and you get around 8% of the total tax take. That's a big chunk and in the main these are where we are getting the more recent "one-off" growth in government revenue numbers.

With the legalisation of nicotine for vaping, I suspect the tax take on tobacco will plummet quickly as these products find their way into the wider retail sector and we push toward that smokefree goal deadline of 2025. So that's $1.5 billion in existing revenue at risk - and TSY should be forecasting for decreases (I assume) in near term out years..

Whether NZSF and the banks will continue their record runs also seems to be a concern for TSY with the points made in the PREFU.

So, it seems to me the only way out of this tax base volatility is to raise wages across the economy; lower house prices (so that debt/interest payments as a percentage of household income are smaller) and thereby stimulate additional GST and PAYE returns. In other words, I think we've got to plan to leave the benefit of those wage increases in the pockets of the earners - and rather than erode income tax returns - lift it (but not via an increase at the top end). A tax free threshold, and/or the need to continually tweek these tax transfers is unnecessary if wage growth is healthy.

Labour's intent to scrap the current pay equity bill and start over is key to lifting wages overall. This to my mind solves many problems. It should correspondingly increase inflation and provided asset (house) prices deflate at the same time - we'll be in a sweet spot all economies are struggling to get to.

I think bring on the tax working group and let's expose some of the failings of the current thought processes which it seems fail to put an emphasis on the positive aspects of wage growth in an economy.

Kate. Wage growth is the solution but given the flood of low skilled migrants that is depressing wages, it isn't going to happen any time soon. Woodhouse has just rolled over on raising the migrant income threshold under pressure from the business lobby.

I know - a backwards move by Woodhouse if there ever was one.

Labour are being very coy with respect to discussion about immigration numbers - so as not to be seen to be anti-diversity. But they are the Labour Party and will (I suspect) be happy to move significantly on current immigration settings in a much more dramatic downwards shift (i.e., cut) than what they are implying presently.

A coalition with NZ First will help them in this regard.

You have captured a major problem the electorate has with Labour i.e. who knows what they will do? Hints here and there, Ardern confirming a couple of tax parameters but deferring the actual policy making to a shadowy 'panel of experts', Robertson playing footsie over what his true plans really are. It's all rather murky and unsatisfactory.

No opposition party can give anywhere like the same sort of certainty as the incumbent Government. If you were around think back to 1984. No one in NZ who voted Labour had any real idea what their plans were - just that they saw the very real problems with the economy and were prepared to address it through change. Whereas the incumbent felt they had things 'under control' and that they were 'good economic managers' and that we (the electorate) should give them another term.

Sound familiar?

The 1984 election was about getting rid of the hated Muldoon. Anyone else would have been voted in. No comparison to now when English as the incumbent is ahead in the preferred prime minister stakes.

But the point you are making above relates to a comparison of economic policies/intentions between Labour and National.

There are a whole lot of 1984 similarities - Bob Jones' NZP as a start up to split the vote on the right and hammer home the need for dramatic change - much like Gareth Morgan's TOP in this election.

Sure, the dramatic changes needed address different matters/settings, but are nonetheless no less distinctive.

I see a world of difference between Labour and National in this election - and similarly I saw a world of difference between Labour and National in that one. Effectively, in both elections you have an incumbent National Party saying 'we've got this under control' - and an opposition Labour Party saying 'we can do better'.

And what the hell have they been doing for 9 years in opposition if they can't present a clearly worked out and costed taxation policy?

It is clearly worked out - all you need to do is read it;

http://www.labour.org.nz/fiscalplan - link to full plan in .pdf at the bottom of the page.

With the forecast summarised here;

http://www.labour.org.nz/fiscalplans-forecasts

And the peer review here;

http://www.labour.org.nz/fiscalplan-berl

Its just TAX AND SPEND all over again, except this time , Labour refuses to say how they are going to do it .

Instead we get sneaked -in indications of what they have in mind like Water tax , Sugar Tax , Capital Gains Tax , Auckland road tax , reverse tax band adjustments .................but no idea the rates , levels and how they are going to tax something like water which falls from the sky ( and Coca Cola is to be exempt )

Maybe Coke gives money to the Labour party?

Problem is that building 100,000 houses , free tertiary education , and new railways are going to need money in the form of a budget the size of a country going to war .

Anyone with half a brain can see through this , we simply cannot pay for it .

So they must explain how they intend to pay for all these promises

All their present spending proposals are budgeted for based on the current settings. They aren't trying to raise taxes - the media are trying to get them to raise taxes. It's nuts.

They have scrapped the reversal of the insidious bracket creep tax impost on middle NZ. That is an effective tax increase.

Yes, another matter that should be on the agenda for that tax working group.

I personally think that brackets should be automatically adjusted every three years, so that this matter is taken off the election/pork barrel agenda. National have been disingenuous in holding off until it suited them from an election strategy point of view (just as Micheal Cullen did many years ago).

So, yeah, I think bracket creep is insidious/manipulative as well, but then I'm sure I don't understand the ins and outs of it. But it does seem to me that successive governments have used it as a means to improve the government books at the expense of the household take home pay of the PAYE taxpayers.

PS - from my reading of it, the one party who has been the least responsible in costing its proposals is NZ First. That's not to say they are not good ideas, it's just that given current CG revenue settings, I'm not sure they would be affordable. Take for example;

http://www.nzfirst.org.nz/education

http://www.nzfirst.org.nz/local_government

Yep - NZ First's tax policy is affordable. Prosser will confiscate energy company shares off hapless investors, extract the surplus equity from those companies and bingo - cash galore.

lol, indeed !!

ahem .. what about TOP with their "80% of people better off" claim , in the absence of any detail for anything ( and importantly their hinted at income tax cuts ) ?

Yeah, that's another one - we're lead to believe there is a complex algorithm used somewhere in the background - but I haven't seen any proper workings having been released.

At least when the Big Kahuna proposal was released, they had a calculator where an individual could plug in all their personal details and get an idea of the direct effect of that proposal on them.

pashaas. Yes. That's the rub with Morgans proposals. On the face of it, his policy to apply tax to capital would address unfairnesses and imbalances and also direct capital to more efficient uses. But the catch is the extent of the offsetting income tax reductions. The scope that a widened tax collection base would give to a tax and spend government, sends shivers up the spine.

Indeed ..It is obvious that they are just using the housing issue ( which is real and calls for drastic supply -side solutions in my view ) to push through a broad socialist agenda. This of course endears them to many on this site .

look, at the end of the day NZers are NOT as stupid as Grant R, and Morgan and co think they are - they will see through all this and put 2 and 2 together ...this fiasco is for entertainment ...come 23rd of september and the public will put everyone at his place.

In addition, every party and policy needs to pass the business table tests - they ( and their employees) are the main taxpayers !!.... According to reporters, Ardern did not do well in her briefing to business leaders the other day, neither did NZF or ACT ...

All the rest is minor details to keep us busy and distorted, lol...

What reporters did you read?

Probably the most reliable one is this from the CE of Business NZ - the ones who put on the conference!

https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/opinion-analysis/96107500/kirk-hope-pol...

No political party advocating a CGT on the 'family' home (whatever that term means - or can be construed to mean), will be elected. Alex and other commentators can rant all they like but are pissing into the wind as the electorate won't buy it. Hence Cindy knocking it to the boundary.

TOP is the only party making a rational attempt to address the obvious issues with a family home CGT but their granny mortgage to IRD solution to (home) asset rich but income poor people is unlikely to find favour with middle NZ eyeing their inheritances.

Joyce is scaremongering on a CGT applying to farms and businesses. If you go there, equities and bonds would also have to be dragged into the net. In any case, for those investments tax is already paid on the income earned off the escalating asset value. So an element of CGT is already being captured. I quite like TOPs idea though of a taxable minimum deemed rate of return being applied to business assets, to eliminate the tax shelter/offset racket that many businesses are.

The TOP policy is actually only a tax on unproductive capital. Any capital already making a profit above the deemed rate of return (note that this will also be phased in and they mention the bond rate as the zero risk minimum return) will be income tax on the profit same as now. Any capital not making a return will then be subject to tax at the deemed rate.

In terms of inheritance, middle NZ will have better incomes and lower house prices so the need to inherit money to get ahead should be reduced. Without this we run the risk of worsening inter-generational inequality.

And bond rates are plummeting such that I suspect we would still be the poor productivity economy that we are now. Most of the 'tax switch' will impact real estate, not productive business, holdings. But I don't think they are hiding that fact.

For once I agree with you.

And a number of the 'loopholes' that they are trying to solve with respect to speculation/investment incentives have or are being rapidly closed by National already, with the balance of leftovers by Labour's proposals.

And of course, the market downturn as well - I think it's pretty clear that the gains of the past are over, and if we are lucky, RE asset deflation will become the order of the day.

No-one is closing the owner occupied tax-free status. No-one is actually implementing a CGT just promising it will potentially be looked at maybe sometime in the future. I imagine when they do try to implement the exception list will be long and hard to manage. Bright-line is a poor substitute.

My guess - it won't be what any tax working group would come up with as any sort of panacea - or even a good idea at that.

I quite like the bright line test - as it defaults to tax to be paid and can't be avoided. Far simpler and hence more efficient than CGT as generally implemented in other jurisdictions.

Well Alex the only thing I can fully agree with you on is yes it is a Rant.....and not a very educated rant at that.

I get it that you have it in for all businesses and think everyone is making stacks of dollars and not paying enough in taxes,. I get it that you think a CGT will be a goose that lays a golden egg but again this shows how little you know about business and taxes and are only looking at one direction and certainly not at past transactions.

Firstly when you talk about CGT - at what point would this CGT kick in? Given you are openly promoting a CGT you must have some idea of a starting threshold. What equations do you have to back up your position? And are you considering back-dating a CGT?
What happens if the market flat lines from now on and values don't increase anymore...what and where would your CGT kick in? And how would you treat improvements?
What if the housing market decined? This would mean the taxpayer would have to foot the CGT refund?
What of all the historic taxes that have been paid on a house....wage and salary taxes, GST, tax on capital payments made ( yes all businesses pay tax on mortgage/debt reductions)? Would these taxes be deductable? And how would you account/adjust for inflation?
What of all the bureaucractic costs incurred in building? Are you going to allow deductions for these?

Or are you perhaps suggesting that a CGT could be a tax on tax on tax?

Also for those that want the family home taxed I would suggest that you are not to up to date with the number of people who move around NZ or overseas for that matter on a regular basis. Whether for work or family or other reasons, then taxing them because you can is a direct attack at their freedom and liberty and also their rights to self-determination.

For people who are struggling, here are some small but significant facts I garnered up over the last couple of days.
The average hourly pay rate in the public sector is $38.81 per hour.
The average hourly pay rate in the private sector is $27.82 per hour.

Weekly average earnings Full time work in the Public Sector is $1450.00.
Weekly average earnings Full time in the Private Sector is $1058.

The Employment rate was roughly 67.1% of the population.
The Unemployment rate is roughly 4.9%.

Using a population of 4.5 million and dividing it by 67% = 2,694,610 working people.

The figures I can find for those working in the public sector = 353,500 people. (I believe this figure is higher).
The public sector employee number does not include those in the private sector who might contract their services to the public sector. I suspect the number of private contractors providing public services is very high but can find no information as yet.

NZ has 2,341,110 private sector employees working on average for $1058 per week = $2,476,894,380.
NZ has 353,500 public servants working for on average $1451.00 per week = $$512,575,000.

The private sector has to generate all the income for both lots of average incomes but first there has to be some kind of business activity in goods and services.......and that business activity will have many bureaucratic overheads built in, so more money is flowing towards the public sector in meeting these bureaucratic demands. These costs are really just taxes by another name.

Now the public sector costs don't stop at their weekly earnings........there is the cost of each and every department and its overheads and also the costs of private sector contractors which is unknown, and all these costs are worn by the private sector tax payers and from any business income taxes generated and from GST collected etc.

Many public servants who also get special pensions plus entitlement to superannuation all at the expense of those who earn far less than them on a weekly basis. These are ongoing costs after the public servant retires.......

Most public servants usually do not have to declare any special interests they might have including financial interests as part of their employment. And public servants also have very good access to important statistics which can and do enhance opportunities for personal financial gain. Another equality issue!

Alex I'm not sure what it is that you are wanting other than more taxes to be collected. You seem to want to kick business in the head and then stomp all over the top of them......why so much hate? It is not a right to tax people.....taxes were only ever meant to be collected by government by an amount sufficient in size to be able to protect the freedom and liberty of the people and to ensure individuals could reach their full potential through self-direction......historically these taxes were voluntary...The current taxation system is not sustainable - business is going to smother under the weight of taxes and compliance.........it is not a right to tax it is a privilege and one that is granted by the taxpayer!

If you want cheaper houses then deal with the people and the issues they have created in restrictive policy and adding expensive costings!

By the way in your plumbing scenario above......if the value of the plumbers vans sold was higher than the book value then the plumber who sold will already pay tax on that value in increase. The same rules apply to other tools and plant. Not everyone has a low cost business like GM sold! In fact the gains GM made are a rarity. And GM doesn't understand tax laws in the wider sense for most other business types.

If you want equality in NZ then you need to push for changes that require more people to be productive in NZ. And more taxes and more public servants, and more bureaucratic overheads moves NZ further away from having equality and equality in opportunity as the people in private enterprise are viewed as a resource to be exploited for tax and other purposes by those in the public services and some journalists!

Yes, lift the wage rates of the private sector to meet the public sector average whilst improving productivity across the board and we have little need to adjust tax settings.

I don't think many folks realise just how effective the Court's ruling on pay equity will be on doing just that (provided National don't get back in an knee-cap it via legislative changes presently proposed).

Apparently you can increase productivity by government decree. ..
I think this has been tried before .

Michael Reddell writes a lot about productivity - this search brings up all his posts in that category;

https://croakingcassandra.com/category/productivity/

Government settings/actions have a big influence.

@ Paashaas .......... yes Decrees have been used ......... by Hugo Chavez , Nicolas Maduro , Fidel Castro , Idi Amin , Mao Tse Tung, Lenin , Stalin , Mussolini, the 3 Kim's ........... to name a few

Seems like a strawman of Kate's actual points.

It's actually quite funny - if one did a quantitative analysis, I think one would find the ratio of strawmen increases in a linear fashion with each increase in Labour's prospects in the polls :-).

You make it sound so easy Kate......one cannot just go and lift the wage rates to meet the public sector average as you say.......how does business pay for the increases? Hint they put all their prices up! Would you like me to do the maths for you?

Even if you did something as rash and irresponsible as legislate the increase into place then what of the inflationary effects that would be felt? People would not be any better off would they? But you don't want to tell them that part do you? Because keeping people focused on the one leg allows them to overlook the other which you intend to chop off at the knee. The word artificial comes to mind for more than one reason ;-)

Public servants need to all take a pay cut to bring them in line with private enterprise in fact below private enterprise average levels would be better as they are not contributing or pulling their weight financially or ecnomically. The current situation is untenable. Cutting the public services and the costs needs to be around 50% maybe higher as it depends on how long this huge discrepency has been going on.

Public servants have been investing their incomes into housing as they had inside information on supply shortages, they have then ensured supply side restrictions were maintained by a plethora of methods......I would go as far as saying that NZ needs to have a royal inquiry on this issue. How many public servants have been flipping property and not paying taxes? How many public servants bought sections and on-sold as the title was obtained? The IRD never investigates people who are paid employees.......unless they are a builder or tradie who they think might be doing a cashy......but they leave those who work in the public services alone..........deep state is alive and well and flourishing in NZ......and people working in the public sector are quite adept at using diversion techniques to keep the spotlight on anywhere but themselves and that is why we have growing poverty and housing shortages, and over inflated house prices, and poor health and every other scourge that besets humans.

Couple of comments:

they put all their prices up!

Neoliberal scaremongering. And it's not as if inflation is in all cases bad - in fact it's quite the opposite in respect of the world's problems at the moment - though the neoliberals are loathe to admit defeat.

We have seen the world over that present RB mechanisms struggle far more on trying to lift inflation via softening - whereas historically we have seen it is far easier to dampen inflation via strengthening.

Even if you did something as rash and irresponsible as legislate the increase into place

No need as the Courts have provided the mechanism via the landmark pay equity ruling. National are trying to knee cap that. The other solution is strengthening the Labour Inspectorate to rid the country of this kind of carry on;

http://img.scoop.co.nz/media/pdfs/1612/Worker_Exploitation_in_New_Zealan...

Public servants need to all take a pay cut to bring them in line with private enterprise in fact below private enterprise

Wrong. Current WFF payments provided to employees of private enterprise are more than 80% of total costs. Point is, it's private enterprise that need to lift toward a living wage in order for the cost of compensating that as a percentage of overall tax spend to reduce. Total tax/expenditure cost of our various wage supplements in 2018/19 are $2.075b.

Cutting the public services and the costs needs to be around 50% maybe higher as it depends on how long this huge discrepency has been going on

Generally the public sector averages are lifted where the senior management, head offcie and quango/board and management salaries are concerned. In other words, the front facing police, prison officers, court registrars, nurses, teachers etc are not inflating those numbers. Should a big hard look be taken at the former - yes.

Last paragraph - no idea as it's not the kind of information that you can do an OIA request on. I'm assuming your evidence is purely anecdotal - a perception. If those things are happening, then it isn't the front facing public servants that are captured by your assertions.

Kate it s not neoliberal scaremongering. You are trying to say that the mechanisms that value the price of labour in the private sector can be over-ridden......this is not true.........

NZ has an enormous housing shortage yet despite that builders haven't lifted their rates to e.g.$100 or more hour....have you ever wondered why? There is a both a shortage of housing and a shortage of qualified builders so in reality they could lift prices to wherever the fancied under your hypothesis.......but there are constraints that hold that labour prices down.

Those front-facing public servants are the ones who will everytime push for cash jobs and GST deductions etc....they are the worst ones.......this phenomena is well discussed between the tradies and others.you decline to do the work for a cashy they just move onto someone who will so you lose the work.......most tradies refuse to do cashies now so obviously some of the renovations being done are not up to the standards required as no LBP on site.......front-facing nurses with numerous rental properties, same applies to police and teachers........some are living in million dollar properties and yet can raise families, travel overseas etc......on a front-facing salary I think not!

No, it's your scaremongering with respect to an implied 'unable to be controlled' inflation effect. And your second para. points to/supports the fact that rampant price inflation is an unlikely outcome of wage inflation - rather efficiency is forced on the owners of capital.

And the building/construction industry is a very good example of a sector that has not built-in efficiency gains in terms of its planning.

http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/business/337339/construction-industry-need...

More of this sort of disruptive technology/efficiency gains thinking/acting is needed;

http://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2017/08/fletcher-to-disrupt-th...

Again, on the assertions in your final para. - proper evidence is needed. Nurses, police and teachers with large rental portfolios - where's the proof?

>they put all their prices up!
>>Neoliberal scaremongering. And it's not as if inflation is in all cases bad ..
So is it scaremongering ( i.e. it will not happen ) or an accurate prediction with benign consequences ?

Anytime anyone on the left reaches for "Neoliberal scaremongering" phrase you know they are clueless and out of rational arguments .

an accurate prediction with positive (as opposed to benign) consequences.

OK . therefore "Neoliberal scaremongering" equates to "accurate prediction" ?

No. The scaremongering was specifically with respect to the assertion that with wage rises will come corresponding (or worse) price rises - in other words, rampant inflation scaremongering associated with the labour share of capital increasing, if you prefer it in economic terms.

Backpedaling furiously.. this has nothing to do with what you actually wrote or responded to - which was a simple (and correct ) statement that businesses would put their prices up in response to a government-mandated increase in wages .

Well for starters I'm not (and neither was the original poster) suggesting a government-mandated wage increase. All that was said was that with wage increases in the private sector (enough of an increase to close the gap that the original author claimed to be the gap - although no link was provided) the private sector will put their prices up!

To which I replied that is neoliberal scaremongering. In other words, an attempt to retain the status quo of neoliberalism: that being, an ever diminishing labour income share.

My understandings have been influenced by the work done by the Productivity Commission on this topic;

http://www.productivity.govt.nz/sites/default/files/research-who-benefit...

C'mon , its published and cited as an Opinion piece , and Alex is just entitled to his opinion as everyone else.

I dont agree with the contention that Joyce is scaremongering , the taxes proposed by Labour are just another burden for us to endure .

This Labour inspired Water tax will sink them way before Capital gains , because Fonterra will for starters kick up a huge storm about a water tax , and this will be followed by every food producer and manufacturer , not to mention beer and wine producers .

As taxes go - I look as the water charging proposal as tax neutral - that being it won't improve the government accounts at all - it just means less expenditure from the general tax take in terms of freshwater environmental remediation initiatives. Taxpayers are paying big in that regard - just the Lake Taupo and Rotorua Lakes initiatives alone, before we even begin remedial work on rivers (and then there are soils as well).

The good thing about the 'stick' that Labour's water tax proposal is can be seen by a complete turn around from the farming lobby - they now agree that a swimmable standard is what they want too. And this is less than 6 months since they lobbied the National government to first agree wadeable was good enough and then alter (lower certain thresholds) with respect to what constitutes swimmable.

In other words, the ruse is up for both National and Federated Farmers - and now that the 'stick' has been applied they have changed their tune;

https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/farming/96026220/farming-leaders-pledge...

We have Labour's policy announcement to thank for being the last nail in that 'let's pretend we care' coffin.

The water tax will be paid predominantly in Canterbury (more than half), even though the only unswimmable rivers in Canterbury are in Christchurch. To suggest it is somehow linked to dirty rivers is utter bullshit. Dirty rivers are mostly in highly urbanised areas, not heavily irrigated farming areas. It is a new name and pretense cover for old-concept Jew tax - shake down a small group of voters you don't like with lots of cash flow (but not that much profit) in order to pay off your urban/beneficiary mates.

And an example of this Foyle was when the floods hit here in Christchurch and people were commenting that the dirty water coming down the Avon was because of those dirty damn farmers who made the water filthy.

Having to point out where the headwater is for the Avon and that it is not dirty dairying causing the murky water could be a full time job.

Again, the water tax is not going to address problems of 'murkiness' - and I doubt many people in CHCH recently blamed dairying as having caused murky floodwater. Why do you never provide links to these assertions you make? What people - where are these comments reported?

Dirty is the wrong word - it implies sediment is the problem people want solved and is not where the remedial work I'm talking about needs to focus. It is a problem but not the one that makes people sick when they swim in a river. Yes, urban dwellers have a lot to answer for as well - and in remediating the problems the urban environments cause, we have stormwater and sewerage related direct charges via rates rises to address those.

Kate; are you being paid by Labour to astroturf? or is defending the indefensible just a hobby?

Problem is I don't really believe much that is coming out of the politicians mouths. They will say anything to try and get elected.

Joyce: “If you’ve been working hard all your life and you’re selling your farm and you’ve worked up the quality of the property then he’s going to say he wants to tax it – probably about 30%..."

Well, for crying out loud - if you work hard & earn a salary you expect to be taxed on the benefits, and fair enough. So why shouldn't other forms of revenue be taxed the same? Especially when you can deduct your expenses in the process of building that income.

What's more...
99% of farmers:
You've been claiming WFF assistance while you bought up your kids.
Your kids were able to get means tested Student Allowances as soon as they turned 18.
You have only paid a fraction of the true cost of production through free access to water, not making you clean up the waterways, nor charging you for carbon emissions.
You've had subsidised labour costs for your employees.

I detect an ill-disguised resentment towards our most productive sector...................Farming

Who b.t.w. , ensure that we are pretty much the only non-oil producing country in the OECD with a trade surplus with China .

Alternatively , if you reckon farming is easy street , who dont you just go farming ?

Farming isn't our most productive sector by MPL or MPK, Boatman.
Another perfect example of your penchant for stupid comments.

I'm not saying farming is easy street.
What I am saying is that we have been dairy farming for over 100 years in New Zealand, and we still rely on huge subsidies to keep it going.
Farmers are subsidised throughout their lives, then balk at having to pay taxes on capital gains.
Every time there is a flood, farmers get assistance. Every time there is a drought, farmers get assistance. etc, etc.
Make them stand on their own two feet for once, instead of stealing money from the ICT/prof services sector for their relatively lower return commodity products.

And what it the your source on that 99% figure ? Your inflamed imagination ?

I used to think MMP would result in smaller left wing parties introducing all sorts of taxes however over time its had the opposite effect where the major parties have the power and are too afraid of scaring the voters with increased taxes and silly laws.

No party who wants to govern would advocate CGT on the family home and I'm very happy about that.

With any luck we will vote labour in. Inflation will take the median wage over the 48,000 threshold and we'll have the median kiwi paying 30% marginal tax.
That will really set the mood for tax cuts in the following election!

You really are clueless , aren't you .

If everyone earned a minimum $48,000 , imagine what that would do to food prices, and employers generally ?

If its so simple, why dont we just pay everyone $100,000 a year and be done with it

In your haste to sound smart you completely misunderstand the context of sadr's comment.

It was blatant sarcasm. Not a genuine comment.

was it ?

I said median which I think you took to mean minimum. I didn't use average because the average wage is already over the 33% threshold ( http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/281067/average-salaries-nudge-$75k-for-some ).

The average kiwi already gets to take home 60ish cents per dollar extra they make. The median kiwi is about to join them :). ( figure drops as low as 40ish cents of take home pay per dollar earned if there are WFF, KiwiSaver and student loan deductions )

The median hourly pay in 2016 was $23.5 if I'm not mistaken. If you multiply that by 40hours per week for 52 weeks you get 48,880. I know not everyone works 40hr weeks, but at that rate surely we must be close to having the median wage pass the $48,000 mark soon? (Ie. soon the median kiwi will have a marginal tax rate of 30% + acc)

https://www.careers.govt.nz/jobs-database/whats-happening-in-the-job-mar...

Can you realistically raise a family on $48,000? I don't think so.

That may be the case, but at least you have the privilege of paying 30c of tax + 1.5c of acc levies + WFF abatements (if any) + 8.4c of student loan repayments (if any) + 2.1c KiwiSaver (if any) per dollar. You'll get to take home a whooping 40+ cents to 60+ cents for every extra dollar you make! I'm glad I have an accountant, I reckon the median kiwi ought to get 1 too.

Yes, my point, the median wage needs to rise - significantly.

If the median kiwi gets a 10,000 pay rise their after tax income might rise by as little as 4,000. (In addition to the factors mentioned before at this level you also get to lose the IWTC)

If your calcs are right - then the government coffers increase by $6,000 pa for each PAYE taxpayer and the taxpayer subsidies (WFF and A/S) all but disappear.

And you are against it?

Depending on the number of kids WFF and the A/S can carry on till well over 100k.

I just reckon it is silly to be taxing the median kiwi at 3% less than the top marginal tax rate. Why not raise the threshold for the 30% tax rate so that it is always 10k over the median kiwi income. That way if a median kiwi makes another 10k they get to keep 7 or 8k of it. We can raise the quality of living of kiwis by the same amount with relatively smaller wage increases!

A happy side effect is that smaller wage increases (albeit ones that provide the same amount net of taxes) mean less inflation so the 4K retained out of a 6k pay rise has greater buying power than the 4K retained out of a 10k pay rise!

I totally get your logic there - no idea why such a consideration has not been applied - suspect it would be because the overall PAYE take would reduce and the shortfall would need to be found somewhere via some sort of alternate tax on something else (aside from incomes).

But of course anytime any political party tries to raise a 'new' tax - all hell breaks loose.

National are the ones that started that this election with their "Let's Tax This" play on words. They know what they are doing - that being, to shut down/discredit any changes to the status quo.

Aren't National planning to raise the tax threshold so that median kiwis don't have a 30% marginal tax rate?

The problem is while Labour may wish to have a CGT and a more progressive tax system, swing voters (or enough of them) will have nothing to do with it.

ie I think we have gone so far down the road now that quite a few swing voter PAYErs now have a rental or maybe even 2 as a retirement plan. Probably the same applies to one man bands like plumbers etc. So for all it makes sense to tax all asset gains fairly it looks like too much vested interest now is imbedded and will not allow it.

Really this comes down to can kicking by earlier pollies deciding not to sort this out 20 (if not 30) odd years ago.

Like myself , I still dont know who to vote for

And Labour is not committing to anything , hoping that everyone loves Jacinda and trusts them enough not to tax us into poverty

There is one hell of a lot of money needed to build 100,000 houses , give everyone free tertiary education , build a fast train to Hamilton and Tauranga .

It will need a wartime sized budget , massive austerity and a huge public works program to achieve this .

And lets not forget that Auckland City has only dug a few holes for the new train line , and it is already so broke that it may even no longer be solvent .

Now Labour want to do the same on a country-wide scale

"Like myself , I still dont know who to vote for"
Broken record Boatman.Why the ongoing pretense, Its obvious to most here who you will vote for. - despite many wasting their time answering your banal demands to see Labour's policies.
'Your slagging off of opposition parties, has ramped up considerably since Ardern took charge.
The ignorant comments on state house tenants - only highlights how truly nasty some New Zealanders have become.- Bigots my nana would call them.

Boatman, all of Labour's programme is costed on current settings.... I just don't know why you keep disputing this fact. They've committed to all sorts - and no wartime budget needed.

The difference between them and National is where that same pot of money will be spent.

e.g., National are funding 12 month boot camps to reduce youth offending - Labour are funding more Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Courts. The evidence gathered on the two already established as trials looks extremely promising - whereas there isn't a boot camp that can be heralded as anything but a failure.

I'll help you in your decision - if you are voting between Labour and National - vote Labour - they are a more evidence-based policy maker than National.

National are handicapped by ideology - just look at what happened to their 'big idea' with respect to private prisons;

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11558364

Expect similar cock ups and about faces in their 'social investment' approach;

Last week, the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) issued a Taylor Fry estimate of the future cost of ``social housing'' - the provision of houses, income-related rent subsidies, accommodation supplements and temporary additional support. Based on those on the social housing register in 2014-15, that comes to $16.4billion.

This will have been driven up since by the leap in rents as a result of the house shortage, particularly in Auckland, in part driven by record net immigration, about six times 2000s decade average levels.

The study found that those now in the social housing system will spend an average of another 17 years there.

Interestingly, MSD said it ``won't be looking to reduce liability each year. If we do the right thing and house the people who are most in need, this liability will go up''.

Is this investment?

https://www.odt.co.nz/opinion/social-investment-passing-fad

Can't say I'm surprised to read that you favour labour.

Oh, nonsense. Your repeated failure to learn or absorb any facts about the platforms and policies of Green, Labour, or anybody else show that this ridiculous 'I don't know who to vote for agonise agonise agonise' routine is just a charade that you play out again and again in order to spread bullshit and propaganda against anybody but the blue team.

Really, you mean someone would make themselves appear ignorant of facts on purpose?

My hubs and I are swing voters. We've voted left, right, middle and reserve the right not to be tribal about politics.
We'll be voting Labour though. We would like our daughters to be able to afford a home when they grow up, for there to have been investment on public services and infrastructure. NZ's economic cycle is mature, there will need to be deleveraging whichever party gets in. And it's high time governments started spending to stimulate growth and productivity.

Macawsley,

I don't know you,but you are clearly have a discerning mind. We all know who Boatman will vote for and it won't be labour or Green.In his world,the less fortunate have simply made bad life choices and should be given a swift kick in the backside-not a helping hand up.

You can sarcastically attack me as much as you like , but here's the truth ........... I have family members on welfare.

They are well behaved honest decent people , none have been in trouble with the law , although one was living with an over-stayer who fathered a child by my cousin and was deported in 2007 .

Over the past 10 years , they have gone from being truly thankful for the benefit , to complaining bitterly and being resentful about their situation . They have moved out of Auckland now , so I dont often see them . The male is due to get the NZ Super soon , (he is partially disabled )

Over the past 2 generations we ( my parents and I ) have been asked to bail them out of financial trouble numerous times , and at one stage the only time we ever heard from my male cousin was when he wanted money.

One of their 2 children , has had 2 kids by different fathers (one was the over-stayer ) and was getting the DPB . Her situation is dire , she is currently shacked up with a house - painter in Botany and they are really struggling, he is gaunt and thin and looks like he is on something , but I dare not say anything without another row in the family.

I dont know where they would be if they were not Kiwis , and living in another country where there is no safety net .

They are my family , but my wife is way more sympathetic than I am , which seems odd , but this part of my family has been in crisis since the 1960's when their mother ( my Dads sister ) left their father , moved in with us resulting in 8 of us in a pokey 3 bed house .

Eventually , my mother threw them out and they got a place of their own

And I could go on for hours with the messes they have made in their lives , mostly started by leaving school in Papakura without finishing school , and without any plan or ambition

So yes , I am not in favour of paying more tax for people who have made shocking decisions in life

To sum up my voting decision, I am an ex-Labour supporter , but really got fed up a decade ago . I have voted Act/ National or National/ National for the past 12 years .

Now I am fed up with National over the immigration issue which has , in my view caused the housing crisis

My daughter has said she would vote Labour because she trusts the Labour will help her into a home . She is young and idealistic and thinks Jacinda is just great

My wife is a keen tramper and loves the outdoors and had voted Green in the past in pursuit of her environmental interests, but voted National since John Key stood

My sons are not interested in voting .

Right now , I am undecided , its NZ First , maybe TOP , or spending the day fishing .

Its really Hobsons choice , there is no good choice , so I 'll just have to accept it ............ whatever the outcome

No wonder given the disability in the family, that they have become bitter and twisted over the last 10 years. WINZ treats its disabled clients under this National Government absolutely appallingly - to the degree of asking parents with children with Downs Syndrome and other genetic/permanent disabilities to get medical assessments to prove their continued disability. I kid you not.

And this National Government over ruled the Courts in introducing legislation to nullify the landmark decision regarding parents/family as caregivers.

Just have a look over any of these blogs to get the sad, disgusting picture of the way we treat people with disabilities;

https://publicaddress.net/access/

Starting here;

A short disability history of Aotearoa New Zealand
https://publicaddress.net/access/a-short-disability-history-of-aotearoa-...

Boatman,

I am going to apologise for my sarcasm. I can disagree strogly with you-and find myself doing so regularly-without resorting to it.
ON CGT-I see no reason why we should not have one,as just one tool in the box. I spent my working life in the UK and saw it in action. It is no magic bullet,but would help to remove some of the distortions in the property market. It would have to be applied to businesses,with significant threshold below which it would not apply. Where a business is passed down to another generation,it would be deferred. It would not apply to the family home.
On farming generally. I have no farming background and my 'knowledge' comes from what I have learned since coming to NZ 14 years ago. farming plays a major role in the economy and that will continue,but increasingly,it has to be by going up the value chain and being significantly more environmentally aware. Landcorp is our biggest farming company and I thinkthey are gettingthe message. As the CEO recently said, "We see headwinds coming around the traditional protein model,meat and milk. The model has to change.

I am sorry Kate but you are wrong on this one. WINZ treats it's client's very well and with respect. Better than most big organisations in my experience. For example you have heard those getting upset at being asked identity at the door. To listen some you would think they have had dogs set on them. I go into those offices about once a month. Yes I am stopped at the entrance and asked to identify myself and my business. So what. You just have to be clear, courteous, and there is no problem. Just like getting on a plane. is similar. You can act outraged at the intrusion. You can, correctly, see the silliness. But what is the problem really.
I seems to me there is now a class of political activists, who have found a way to put WINZ and others on the backfoot, and the sophistication of it means WINZ are not in a position to defend themselves.
Also I have accompanied people to sort out benefit matters. I find the staff helpful, efficient, and the systems remarkably functional.
I think Kate you have fallen for political propoganda.
Try a comparison sometime, and try talking to the telephone company.

The findings of numerous reports I've read say otherwise. This one for example:

The report is based on 21 interviews with representatives of agencies involved in the benefit system, and 29 interviews with beneficiaries who: had trouble accessing entitlements; had been investigated for benefit fraud; had challenged benefit decisions; or, had used a benefit review or appeal process.

seems to me to have credibility, as it spoke to both beneficiaries themselves and agency/advocates;

http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/68162272/beneficiaries-scared-stif...

This is another - look at the reaction this beneficiary got from people she didn't even know when she published a blog post on her experience;

http://thewireless.co.nz/themes/fortune/battling-winz-for-benefits

And the point about this person is that she is not disadvantaged by way of a poor education or less forthright cultural background.

And here's another advocate speaking in that story:

Auckland Action Against Poverty co-ordinator Nadia Abu-Shanab, 24, argues there are systemic problems with the way people are treated at WINZ. She's new on the job as a beneficiary advocate and says she's shocked by some of what she's seen.

“I don't think I would have believed if people had told me, before I worked for AAAP, the actual extent to how people are treated at WINZ,” she says.

“We have a misconception around how easy it is to access benefits and entitlements. In two-and-a-half months, my whole understanding of it, even as someone who was initially sympathetic, has flipped on its head seeing what people have gone through.”

It comes down to attitude toward the sector that starts at the highest echelons of governance.

Get yourself down to WINZ Kate. Spend some time. You might find the real story.
I did read through the Sarah Wilson story Kate, what a load of self serving piffle. Worse it denigrates a bunch of people for no reason. I understand some people feel like shit. They do. Sarah then confuses how she feels with the service trying to help her. Common process, human, but neverless no excuse for it when she puts other folk down.
Lets look.
Somebody gave Sarah some complicated forms. - problem ? Lots of us get afflicted with those. Personally I find forms challenging. Get with the programme Sarah.
At WINZ some worker congratulated a client when Sarah was there. Sarah objects. I am not sure what the problem Sarah has with that. But apparently she does. I'm all for congratulations.
A worker tells her he cannot help her. Well. Maybe he couldn't
Going to WINZ makes her feel intimidated. Is this evidence about WINZ. I don't think so. It does seem however to be evidence about how Sarah feels inside. It's not acceptable to me she chooses to lash out at others because of that. Mean indeed.
Sarah makes our that she is 'made to feel' in certain ways. It's a fashion that the Sarahs will not acknowledge they could choose otherwise.
Check out the attitudes in the United States. Culturally different. Criminals there commonly describe their situation as the result of making bad choices. In New Zealand however criminals are the governments fault.
People living with disability will describe success in very different ways from here. They might say proudly. "Now I pay taxes.".
Don't promote Sarahs thinking Kate. Maybe offer some help to her to pull her out of that awful pit.

Check out the attitudes in the United States. Culturally different. Criminals there commonly describe their situation as the result of making bad choices. In New Zealand however criminals are the governments fault.
People living with disability will describe success in very different ways from here. They might say proudly. "Now I pay taxes.".

I would keep that one to yourself, the absurd level of generalization here, borders on a strange form of bigotry. Good luck convincing anyone that this can be true.