Chris Trotter says the Government's handling of the Tax Working Group has highlighted Grant Robertson's reliance on his mentor Michael Cullen

Chris Trotter says the Government's handling of the Tax Working Group has highlighted Grant Robertson's reliance on his mentor Michael Cullen
Simon Bridges has stolen the wind like an America's Cup yacht. Photo: ACEA 2017/Ricardo Pinto

If Simon Bridges was in an America's Cup boat-race, we’d say he’d stolen the wind.

On TV3’s Saturday morning current affairs flagship, The Nation, his spinnaker was puffed out like a pigeon’s breast. And, oh my, how he was enjoying it! There was a light in his eyes. His voice was steady and the words poured out of him in the way they surely did when he was Tauranga’s Crown Prosecutor and all the evidence was in Her Majesty’s favour. Even Tova O’Brien was impressed.

What is this breeze that has sent National’s yacht slicing through the waves? What has given its captain the confidence of Ahab in pursuit of the Great White Whale? The answer is, of course, the Coalition Government’s extraordinarily inept handling of the Tax Working Group’s (TWG) “comprehensive” Capital Gains Tax (CGT). The Prime Minister and her Finance Minister haven’t so much put a breeze behind the National Opposition, as a Force-10 gale. Simon Bridges clearly can’t believe his luck, but he’s certainly making the most of it.

The Coalition Government’s behaviour is so utterly inimical to both its short and long-term political interests, that there is a strong temptation to conclude that what’s unfolding is a plan of such weasel-like cunning that ordinary mortals, too-clever-by-half economists and conventionally-wise political analysts simply can’t see it.

This would seem to be the line that the Labour-friendly Sunday Star-Times columnist, David Slack, is running. That Jacinda Ardern and Grant Robertson are quite consciously fostering public confusion about the ultimate fate of the TWG’s proposals. Their purpose? To encourage a climate of fear, so that, at just the right moment, the Coalition’s heavy-hitters can step boldly from Simon Bridges’ fire and smoke brandishing a clear, calm and surprisingly sensible solution.

“Oh ye of little faith!” Jacinda will chide the electorate. “How could you have allowed yourselves to be so bamboozled by Silly Simon? As if my government of kindness and wellbeing would ever impose so harsh a tax on so many aspirational and hard-working Kiwis. Honestly, New Zealand, I’m disappointed – and even a little hurt. Now, Grant, please explain to everyone what this government is really planning to do with Sir Michael’s report.”

The only problem with this scenario is that it in no way explains the Coalition’s decision to keep the TWG Chair, Michael Cullen, on the payroll for an extra couple of months. Matthew Hooton’s Exeltium PR confrere, Ben Thomas, put it best when he said it smacked of Jacinda and Grant asking “Dad” to step in and help.

It makes little sense to boast about Labour’s torch being passed to a new generation when, the moment things get a bit sticky, New Zealand’s dynamic Gen-X duo immediately thrust it back into the hand of an ageing Baby-Boomer!

Not that it would be the first time Robertson has been caught passing the tricky questions to his long-time supporter and mentor.

On Friday, 15 September 2017, in the midst of the election campaign, Don Richards and Sue Hamill from Positive Money, an organisation dedicated to “a money and banking system that serves a fair, democratic, and sustainable economy” rolled up to an election meeting organised by the Labour Party in Whakatane. They were keen to put some banking and finance questions to the aspiring Minister of Finance, Grant Robertson, who was sharing the stage that night with the local Labour candidate, Kiri Allan, and former Labour Finance Minister, Sir Michael Cullen.

Richards’ described the encounter in the September 2017 edition of Positive Money’s newsletter:

I asked Grant Robertson if he was aware of what was happening in Japan with the Central Bank buying up a significant portion of their national debt. Inflation in Japan was close to zero and the real economy was thriving. Had he considered instructing the Reserve Bank to do the same, thereby saving taxpayers money for social and infrastructure projects?

Grant asked Sir Michael to answer the question and he said that Japan had been experiencing negative growth for some time and so the two economies were not similar. I reminded Sir Michael that the Japanese economy was now thriving and the Central Bank was still buying up their national debt. I was told that a Labour government would not be doing that.

Sue then asked Grant Robertson if he had thought about doing what the first Labour Government did in the 1930s, using the Reserve Bank’s balance sheet to fund the building of housing and infrastructure? The question received a few claps from the audience.

Sir Michael once again fielded the question. He said that we had to be fiscally responsible otherwise we could end up with an economy like Germany after World War One, Venezuela or Zimbabwe. Sue carried on with a second question stating that as private banks create most of the money in the economy, why not let the Reserve Bank do it as well. Sir Michael responded by saying the banks do not create money.

It is hard to distinguish which is the most dispiriting aspect of Richards’ report: that Robertson cannot answer basic questions on political economy without reference to his mentor, Michael Cullen; or, that Cullen’s grasp of these issues is so tiresomely traditional.

What the Positive Money witnesses’ account does make clear, however, is that this master/apprentice relationship between Robertson and Cullen is far from new.

Following the resignation of David Shearer in 2013, it soon emerged that Robertson was widely tipped as Cullen’s candidate in the first party membership-dominated leadership ballot. His support was even more plainly on display in the November 2014 contest between Robertson and Andrew Little. (That was the contest in which Jacinda Ardern agreed to be Robertson’s running-mate.) The presence of the former Finance Minister was also noted during the coalition negotiations between Labour and NZ First immediately following the 2017 general election.

If the decision to extend Cullen’s tenure as the TWG’s chief explainer is not a manifestation of the present Finance Minister’s longstanding dependence on the support and advice of the former Finance Minister, then we are looking at a very cunning plan indeed.

Judging by the Leader of the Opposition’s confident performance on The Nation, National’s strategists have yet to be persuaded that David Slack’s analysis is the right one. The decision to keep Cullen on, far from being the cunningest feature yet of an extremely cunning plan, is being interpreted as proof of Robertson’s loss of confidence: not only in the whole tax reform exercise; but also in his own ability to sell anything but a pale shadow of the TWG’s CGT to the electorate.

Eventually, of course, Ardern and Robertson will emerge from the fire and smoke with a “solution”. They are most unlikely, however, to emerge alone. That Winston Peters, the Coalition Government’s other father figure, will be holding their hands will, quite justifiably, be presented (by all but the Government’s most fervent supporters) as both a joint victory and a joint defeat.

The losers will be the Prime Minister and her Finance Minister. The winners, hands down, will be the Leader of NZ First – and Simon Bridges.


*Chris Trotter has been writing and commenting professionally about New Zealand politics for more than 30 years. His work may be found at http://bowalleyroad.blogspot.com. He writes a fortnightly column for interest.co.nz.

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The root of the problems is that NZ politicians are only interested in benefitting themselves instead of all NZ people.

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I think that you're looking at that from a purely egocentric perspective Xing. A lot of people are seeing improvements from this government. Increased pay for public servants like teachers, police, nurses etc. More first home buyers are able to buy their own homes now, and it's getting better all the time. Some of the things they're doing won't have positive effects for some time but are important if you're forward looking. Infrastructure spending, education and healthcare spending.

NZ works so well because it's more a collectivist society. As opposed to individualistic societies like China, Israel, US...

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Ocelot
What propaganda have you been reading?
- "Increased pay for teachers . . ." - news for you that teachers are dissatisfied and industrial action continues.
- As for nurses - "Nurses have told MPs they are highly skilled professionals but their pay rates mean they still struggle to pay their bills" - RNZ last Friday.
- "Most first home buyers are able to buy their own home . . . " tell that to FHB. RBNZ mortgage data shows little increase in number of FHB mortgages.
- Or do you mean the 62 completed (but not necessarily sold) KiwiBuild homes completed as of today (HUD figures)?
- Infrastructure spending - oh you mean NZ First reelection regional spending.
- Or infrastructure spending via additional (no new tax as promised) fuel tax?
- Communist China an individualistic society?????

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Teachers: https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/366164/new-pay-offer-on-the-tabl...
Nurses: https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12081707

You intentionally misquoted me on FHB's, I said "more", you said "most"... it seems you are attempting propaganda. https://www.interest.co.nz/property/98367/latest-reserve-bank-figures-sh...

Infrastructure spending on our schools, and hospitals: https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/376437/govt-announces-80-million...

There is also a massive expansion of Housing New Zealand properties at the moment, and it's having an effect on reducing the number of homeless in Auckland. People rarely notice when things improve. I've actually noticed improvement with regards to the homeless. https://www.hnzc.co.nz/news/latest-news/how-housing-new-zealand-is-helpi...

China is individualistic culturally because of things like the great famine. Generally they don't care about anyone but their direct family. They don't have many of the socially provided services most modern first world countries have. They have a very "look after number one" culture. "If you can cheat, cheat". https://youtu.be/5ncOyYzOP3w?t=274

Ocelot - Wtf you must be in a bubble everything from our balance of payments, to business confidence, to emergency social housing, to Shane Jones buying votes, to KB flop is going the wrong way !!!!!!

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I'm just looking at real effects on the people in our society rather than how the wealthiest amongst us feel things are. Real effects on peoples lives. And how those people function in our society is actually an extremely important component of economic performance, and the benefits sometimes take a while to come through. Reduced poverty is one of the single biggest things you can do to improve economic performance on the long run.
https://www.ted.com/talks/rutger_bregman_poverty_isn_t_a_lack_of_charact...

Inequality has knocked 10% off our GDP over 2 decades: http://www.oecd.org/newsroom/inequality-hurts-economic-growth.htm

If the next recession/depression hits whilst the current Govt is in office the results compounded by the disastrous legislation they are enacting will make you wish for more inequality of the historic kind.

A lot of people are also worried about this government's lack of consultation over things, as demonstrated by the oil and gas ban which ignored treasury and MBIE advice. We are now concerned about unwanted changes to education being similarly rammed through. Need I mention Kiwibuild? And Chris Trotter is right. No one in the current cabinet is experienced in fiscal policy, and with their arrogant tendency to ignore official advice, it is quite likely we will end up with an ideologically driven mess of a CGT. Having Cullen and Helen Clark comment on things, is not helping the perception that this Labour led coalition has still got its training wheels on.

The number of complaints I've seen about how this government is doing too much consulting is a counterpoint. I think it's great that we're getting expert advice considered on many things. I do have mixed feelings about the oil and gas prospecting ban, we should probably be banning coal for energy generation purposes too.

The egocentricism of assuming that your world view is a) correct and b) the only one that matters... and then the stones to try to call other people out for it. Wouldn't be from Wellington by chance, would you?

*holds up mirror*

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The one attempted assumption you made about me was wrong. I'm in Auckland, and I work in the private sector in central Auckland. I'm seeing some positive shifts in the society around me. Just hearing a lot of squealing from the most privileged amongst us. That strikes me as a good sign, they've been creaming it off the backs of the working for far too long.

You sound like a Communist

I'm closer to a capitalist, but follow Henry George's ideas. I just think that the broadest shoulders should carry the societal burden. And we should fund the government with the natural resources of the nation before the labour of the working classes. The employers and landholders already extract enough profit from the backs of the workers without them having to carry the government too.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georgism

Chinese and Jewish people bring their kids up to be winners. That's why they own a lot of land and corporations. In general kiwis just want to get the next Samsung phone or hock off their property to foreign interests in order to buy the latest SUV. There is zero long term thinking from the boomers or the millennials. The hard working kiwis are punished here and move on.

As a country we are a collective door mat. Houses: sold. Land: sold. Sovereignty: sold. Wage growth: sold. The next generation are born into serfdom thanks to the "she'll be right" kiwi culture.

I assume you are writing this from an internet cafe in China - heavily censored - as obviously, NZ is not a place you would want to reside in. You would want to be surrounded by winners -even if the smog makes them a little hazy to see - no worries at least you are all winning?

Have you looked around? The winners are already here and they're playing the game their way and the locals are losing long term. It's sad but that's what 70,000 per year will do.

Change the rules then.

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True, witness some of the dishonest rhetoric and scaremongering around the idea of taxing earned and unearned income more equitably.

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National is just representing the views of its constituents, which is basically tax the shit out of every cent earned by people working (i.e. the landless plebs), but don't you dear touch the income generated by my assets going up in value (i.e. the landlords).

" ... tax the shit out of every cent earned by people working (i.e. the landless plebs) ..."

Would this be why the top 10% of earners pay 70% of the income tax, and a parent with two kids on the median wage will pay net zero, after WFF is taken into account?

Don't get me wrong. I don't think there is actually much wrong with that, but just don't channel Cullen and Davidson with ridiculous socialist cant.

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"Would this be why the top 10% of earners pay 70% of the income tax...."

But only when you don't count capital gains as earnings, and without ringfencing those that have been playing the property leverage game have also been reducing their income tax with negative gearing against their day-job.

What you say doesn't invalidate anything I said.

I guess you just want the top 10% of earners to pay more than 70% of income tax.

No, just pointing out that the ones that you are calling the top 10% of earners.. probably aren't, a great many of the real top earners are not included in that group because they are making heaps, but with negative gearing and capital gains not counted as earnings are by that measure not in the top 10%.

Um, so where do most of your "fake" top 10% income earners park their excess cash? Properties/shares of course. So you are basically saying the top 10% should pay even more tax? And lefties talk about “saving” the middle class.

Hang on.. are you talking about the middle class or the top 10%? Your post seems to confuse one with the other.

You're assuming the top 10% of income tax earners are the top capital gainers also. Many of the top capital gain earners structure their affairs so as to pay no income tax at all. For example, farmers and commercial building owners may make no money while developing and operating their property (often operating at a loss for tax purposes) in the hope of making a massive tax free capital gain when they sell the farm/commercial building. They will not be in the top 10% of taxable income earners but their tax free profits would dwarf the top 10% of workers income.

It's very hard to make a tax loss on a commercial building. Every one I have seen makes a profit from day one, as long as tenanted, due to only being able to leverage to 50% and no building depreciation. There are not many other expenses due to tenants paying the outgoings. It's a completely different game to residential investing, and the value is only related to the tenancy and yield. So there are no guarantees of capital gains. So I don't agree with your assertions around commercial property.

Higher gearing, especially with 2nd tier lenders as well as the loss made during construction (e.g. holding costs such as rates and interest) and a quick sale on completion ensure little to no taxable income while securing a large capital gain on disposal. I have seen it dozens of times and being involved in several such developments.

An added benefit is that if the developments are done by way of a trust the tax losses can be carried forward and utilized against future taxable income (in case you need them because the accountant stuffed up).

Yes, if capital gains were taxed workers would be able to pay less tax on income generated by their toil and therefore some wouldn't need to rely on WFF (not every worker is paid WFF). Someone on $50,000 income with no assets or kids is required to stump up $9k in tax but a person who sells a rental for a $200k gain pays nothing. Why should workers pay more than people making large capital gains. You also need to factor in GST which is paid for by 100% of taxpayers when working out who pays what and gets what.

I am one of those 10% and I am sick of carrying such a big piece of the tax burden. Take less of the money earned from my toil and take more of the money earned by simply owning stuff.

You are assuming the government will accordingly reduce the income tax. Do you seriously see that happening especially with all the government wastage and Shane “tugging” on 3 billion dollars of tax payer’s money? Do you seriously see this socialist government party removing WFF?

Even if they don't reduce income tax rates at least we will all be in the same boat i.e. wage earners and high value asset owners. That's better then the current situation where only workers are made to fund society and the asset rich and their accountants ensure they contribute little to nothing.

Perhaps I am missing something but to me it is obscene that someone with 10 or so properties sells one and makes a couple of hundred thousand dollars in capital gain and pays NO tax while a worker saving for a first home has to pay 33% tax if he is earning over $70,000.

I say a capital gains tax is essential for equality but it should only apply to non productive enterprises such as non owner occupied residential property. Not farms, business's, shares etc.

A great deal of money from property investors is being poured into the propaganda campaign against CGT

The root of the problem is that Labour lacks the know-how and energy needed to handle business and economic matters. That's why Cullen is being paid to do Ardern's and Robertson's work for them.

Ardern's problems run much deeper, though. Even if she wanted to do something (e.g. sack Shane Jones, as she surely should), she couldn't because she is beholden to one of the junior coalition partners.

Oh definitely, but to put it both more flowerly & crudely, the hand that is in the glove puppet that is Robertson, is that of Cullen. What a lot of us suspected is now quite clear. The old guard, Clark/Cullen are back. In truth they never really left. That’s because this new Labour lot seem to have lost their nerve & perhaps they never had much in the first place. So here we are again with the academic arrogance of one and cynicism of the other. Any opposing thinking is after all just an ideological burp. Mr Trotter has included more than enough data to illustrate exactly that.

Tks Kate. Personally I don’t have a problem with CGT being introduced provided it is compensated for elsewhere and that is sustained. But that was not the case with the last big tax revamp, GST, when the succeeding Labour Government racked up income tax again over the top of it. Ask Peter Dunne, that is why he left. But the point I was making is firstly that Mr Trotter is a longstanding left wing commentator and it surely must have gone against the grain to have to contribute this piece. Clark /Cullen had their time and the electorate turned them out in 2009. That may well have happened in 2006, save for the student loans handout. Both Clark & Cullen jettisoned their responsibility’s and handed the poisoned chalice to poor old Goff. NZ voted in what was thought to be a new fresh and caring government under Ardern. They did not vote for the Labour party old hats.

I agree Foxy, Kiwis did not vote for the Labour old hats and the current Government's use of MC here is bordering on a betrayal. Even more precisely MC's Doctorate is History not economics, and as CT points out here, MC's knowledge on the subject is about on par with Piggy Muldoon's - just enough to be dangerous, and not enough to be useful. This Government would be well advised to think very carefully before following the advice from such a source.

Actually I recall Dr Cullen did study economics to be fair, Edinburgh I think? Well yes Muldoon was an accountant and no more. But while we are on that subject, and that of old hats, it caused me to reflect as to how, if he was in opposition, he might well have this government on its ear by now. In fact he would have done ditto to the last government in the last term at least. If you find some old hansard, he was brutally destructive and hugely well organised with the facts and argument. That was before he resorted to the personal attacks.

Think you will find that Cullen's post-graduate thesis was more of a history submission than exhibiting any original economic thought. But as you say, he was well schooled and could hold his own in a debate... Robertson is going to get run over as he simply does not have a strong enough grasp of the details.

His thesis was on Social and Economic History. That does not make him an economist or possibly helps him to understand the mechanisms of economic policies, and as i referred, the level of his knowledge, and his reactions highlighted by CT indicate that the level of his knowldge is likely to be just enough to be dangerous adn not enough to be useful. This will be driven largely by his ego, just like Piggy, of which there is ample evidence to indicate it is no small thing.

Thanks for the clarification. Seems to be a meandering Monday with memory of Muldoon etc. What just came to mind was a conversation I had with a Labour stalwart in the time of the Lange goverment. It was recounted that in cabinet Richard Prebble could reduce Michael Cullen to tears. That recalled to me, one of my grandparents observing, that that will always happen to the lesser bully when they meet the greater bully. Alongside that I remember on one hand Ms Clark’s “diddums” dismissal of John Key, and on the other, the tears on Waitangi Day. Things always can go each way.

Bullying is a common practice in politics i think, where intelligent debate is relied on less than the clever put down. Piggy was good for those put downs, as were HC and MC. When people resort to those they lose my respect rapidly because they cannot counter the arguements coming their way, and have resorted to bully tactics to bulldoze the opposition.

This really is NZ’s version of the “elite”. Somehow Clarke and Cullen are back in positions of political influence continuing on their agendas. No wonder people get sick of, yet are stuck with the “political class.”

The elite? Your comment is like Donald Trump claiming to be the hero of the working man. The elite in this country are the people with money, and most of the money in New Zealand is in property. That is why they are squealing. Jacinda and co have them by the balls. So they squeal “your rent will go up” “your KiwiSaver will earn less” “they are killing the kiwi dream of every New Zealander owning a rental”. All lies and misinformation. What they are doing is transferring some of the tax burden from workers to capital owners. Taking money from the “elite” and giving it to the not so elite.

Maybe political elite wasn’t the best analogy (although still correct). I should have gone with they are “the swamp” in “drain the swamp.”

Swampiness is about people being corrupt and working based on political considerations rather than the general welfare. How exactly would you say Labour are being swampy here?

Drain the swamp has been used in many different instances so I'm sure you can choose one where it doesn't fit. I had in mind the removal (draining) of entrenched, established and ongoing political entities like C & C.

Funnily enough, it's only through questioning and holding the Gov to account have we seen just how much influence the unelected Cullen has, Robertson defering questions to him case and point. As the water goes out, we get to see who's swimming naked.

I would also contest that the biggest complaint wouldn't be from the "elite" although no doubt they will also be prostesting. The majority of the compliants would be more middleclass NZ. The Government and the RBNZ mandates inflation to help "stimulate" the economy (force spending). This inflation eats away at savings while boosting assets so people saving for their future would be silly not to buy a house or "invest in housing."
They have been pushed one way by Gov only to have the carpet possibly pulled from under their feet and seeing that there is still around 60% home ownership, we're not just looking at the "elite" (unless you have a very broad definition).

All that being said, I'm not against it entirely but you have to atleast see that this is a Gov created issue and they aren't looking at the cause, only the symptom and attempting to apply a bandaid. This is why countries (Australia for example) with a CGT still experience rapid house price growth - it's not the issue.

Combine that with credit creation from banks and it's easy to see why we are where we are now...

I often think CT just takes the opposite side of the arguement as a kind of devil's advocate. Of course he really wants the coalition to succeed and get another turn. I think he should be less concerned. The pain inflicted by high house prices and student loans has built a fairly substantial burden of resentment the will be hard for National to dissuade

Good article. The first inkling I had that Robertson is completely out of his depth was on the RBNZ Capital changes being proposed. Robertson's response was that he 'hadn't received any advice on it'. But we elected him (arguably)... what do you think?

The example above again highlights he really has no idea. I have seen forums where politicians of all walks have been challenged and perform remarkably well... English, Key, Cullen, Dunne, Peters.. they know there topic or at least are able to answer in a convincing way. Peter Dunne I thought was particularly impressive as he knew the details of the then proposed Kiwisaver scheme better than the audience and spoke to the details.

Robertson and Taxinda are out of their depth. There will be only one question when the Govt finally say something about CGT "Can you see Cullen's lips moving?"

It doesn't matter if C&C are or are not influencing, you can bet your bottom dollar the same happens in all political parties. What we have here with the cgt is a newish government following the same (more or less) neoliberal dogma that we have had since 1984. One of the prime objectives of those reforms was to reshape the tax system and shift the tax the burden onto paye wage and salary workers and allowed massive tax avoidance to be enacted by companies, trusts and the like. For any real change there needs to be a government voted in that is not wedded to the neoliberal dogma. As much as national cry about it they know as do I that labour is also neolib and not about to change its spots. The cgt is a lame duck and will never happen.

Chris,

John Key cracked the code of being a successful politician in NZ, do nothing meaningful on a policy front and play a nice guy on TV. And so, with the exception of some early change, National coasted for 9 years occasionally stopping to copy labour policies or do something relatively meaningless like asset sales and flag referendums.

If the labour government wants the same nine years, all they need to do is the same. Smile lots, bring Jacinda’s baby out every three years, and don’t rock the boat.

The problem with this magic formula, as national supporters found out, is you achieve nothing for your base and nothing for your country. You are just wasting time sitting in the big chair. To what end?

So now we have Grant Robertson and Jacinda Ardern trying to do something brave for the country. Simon Bridges knows NZ would be better off with a capital gains tax, that most NZers would pay less tax as a result and that our economy would be more competitive. But he is sabotaging any honest debate - not putting any counter proposal forward. By national’s own definition Simon is promising to raise most NZers taxes (since Labour is promising to drop them).

I agree with Chris, that Simon will probably win. Because it’s easier to whip up fear and doubt than advocate for change. And NZ will be worse for it, and Simon will have a better shot at being the Prime Minister. And I believe that is all Simon cares about, being Prime Minister. And that will be great because then he will adopt the John Key playbook and we will do nothing for another nine years. And Simon will tell us we are on the cusp of something special, that even higher house prices are a sign off success. That he is aspirational for New Zealand. And all the while New Zealanders will be getting poorer and poorer as they spend more and more money on housing. But they will feel richer and richer because QV says their house is worth more and more. And one day it will all collapse and the collapse will be so big and everybody will say woe is me how did this happen. And someone will say we told you so and nobody will listen.

I tend to agree, most kiwis are horribly complacent, whenever I meet an Aussie here they are appalled at how expensive our Country is and that rates of pay are so low, inevitably they ask why we don't strike more to get better wages, then I tell them about the ECA and union busting that came with it

... John Key will forever be known as the Prime Minister whose flag referendum led to the kiwi with the laser eyes ...

We will never forget that awesome image ... green laser beams coming out of the little kiwi's eyes ...

... that made the $ 26 million money well spent , and the knighthood for Sir John richly deserved ...

The only sure thing about the property market and Capital Gains Tax is that prices will increase!
There has never been anything g that has had a tax put on it and prices have dropped!
The established property Investors that have solely been in it for yield rather than speculating, will start to buy, improve and sell, as they might as well!
Personally speaking, I will be doing that, and I can assure you, that I will do very well out of it!

Is something wrong with your keyboard? Perhaps somebody has swapped the . and the ! keys.

Less incentive for speculation and property investment will push prices up? You're going to have to explain that one.

Of course CGT will push prices up just as it has in other countries that has CGT!
If you are going to pay tax at sometime on appreciation then you might as well trade from day one, and take the profit you have already made prior to the implementation.

trade from day 1? so you are going to sell up on day 1 to avoid paying CGT? How is that going to push prices up?

If CGT came in we would trade property by buying and selling.
Our existing properties would not be subject to CGT until after the introduction on only the increases.
Prices will be forced up by people wanting more for their property after CGT is brought in.
There are always consequences for any rule changes,

Right, your logic still doesn't make sense. You're going to start trading property so you can pay CGT because you hate paying tax?

And re-pay all that depreciation I am sure you have claimed?.I hope you do your sums but as we know you are the "expert" on real estate investment " on this site

But, but, shurely it isn't just C&C? I mean, the Russians are behind everything else, so why not this schemozzle? Like them little dolls-within-dolls, if the hands up the sock puppets of Jacinda and Robertson are in fact C&C's, then whose hands are up the latter?

You mean as Lois said to Superman “then who is holding you?”

Its a Shakespearean play - "Much to do about nothing".

Just put in a land tax on all properties as an additional percentage on council rates that is forwarded to central govt. Next step is to drop income tax by the equal amount of income. Suddenly you are incented to work so you can pay for the annual land tax, vs just squatting on under developed land Local Govt controls the value and can increase it with zoning changes forcing the pace of development. Higher rates for overseas tax residents and owners who don't vote.

Even simpler. Combine the premise of the Amazon tax and GST. Collect GST on property sales, vehicle sales, why the whole of Trade Me is out there, farm and business sales too! Heck with that in place, who needs to bring in a CGT, but keep it in the back of the cupboard anyway.Let’s make whoopee!