Asset sale proposal behind planned capital gains tax - Goff

The catalyst for Labour's support of a capital gains tax was the government's proposal to sell shares in state-owned assets.

The catalyst for Labour's support of a capital gains tax was the government's proposal to sell shares in state-owned assets.

Labour leader Phil Goff said at the launch of his party's tax policy this afternoon that the proposal was a declaration of intent that effectively called on Labour to find the political courage to map out a better, more viable alternative.

“It lifted our sights well beyond the election in 2011,” Mr Goff said.

“It inspired us to set out an alternative vision for the future – a future we can own, not sell.”

The government wanted people to believe the only way to get New Zealand back on its feet was to cut services and sell assets, he said.

“They, and all the people who get to clip the ticket every time one of our assets gets sold, want you to think there is no alternative.”

Selling shares in state assets would only benefit certain groups of people and would not be good for the country as a whole, as it was only a short-term fix, he said.

“[It] is good for the people who list the shares and draw up the legal documents.

“It's good for the brokers who sell the shares for a fat commission to overseas investors who will end up owning even more of New Zealand.

“But it's not good for the rest of us.”

Mr Goff likened selling state-owned assets to selling a house to pay the mortgage.

“Selling assets to solve crises is not viable long term planning,” he said.

“You can only sell assets once.

“We need a far more robust alternative.”

That was why Labour had turned to a capital gains tax, he said.

“We must have an economy that grows and enables us to keep our assets and to plan for future shocks so that our heritage does not go on the block ever again.”

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