Most Kiwis want major tax change, poll results show

Sir Michael Cullen's Tax Working Group asks if tax can make housing more affordable.

RELATED AUDIO: Accountants give their first impressions of Labour's Tax Working Group (Apr 20)

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The Tax Working Group’s public consultation has closed, with 6700 submissions received on the future of tax.

The public submissions will be published on the working group’s website once collated, probably later this week.

Group chairman Sir Michael Cullen says these views will help inform the interim report to ministers due in September, with a final report due by February.

“Submissions range from the very brief to the very detailed but it’s heartening to see so many people feel strongly about our future tax system.”

As well as the written submissions, about 16,000 votes were received on the quick polls (see below) on the group’s website.

The polls are not scientific but show the majority think the tax system needs major changes to be ready for the future.

Respondents are split on whether the government taxes the right things and whether taxes can improve housing affordability.

The prospect of a capital gains tax tops the chart of important tax issues, followed by funding retirement and protecting the environment.

The working group meets fortnightly. Its members are Council of Trade Unions policy director Bill Rosenberg, Auckland University professor Craig Elliffe, former Bell Gully tax partner Joanne Hodge, PwC NZ partner Geof Nightingale, Meredith Connell senior partner Nick Malarao, Inland Revenue former deputy commissioner Robin Oliver, Business NZ chief executive Kirk Hope, Air NZ tax head Michelle Redington, Parininihi ki Waitotara chairwoman Hinerangi Raumati and Victoria University assistant vice chancellor (sustainability) Marjan Van Den Belt.

The group will report on whether the tax system operates fairly in relation to taxpayers, income, assets and wealth, and whether it promotes the right balance between supporting the productive economy and the speculative economy.

It will examine whether there are changes that would make the system fairer, balanced and efficient, and whether there are other changes that would support the integrity of the income tax system, regarding interaction of the systems for taxing companies, trusts, and individuals.

Increasing the income tax rate or the rate of GST, an inheritance tax and any changes that would apply to the taxation of the family home or land under it are outside its scope.


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38 Comments & Questions

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Flat tax rate of 15% but no deductions of any kind for anyone.

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No deductions - do you mean a flat tax on turnover rather than net profit? That'd be manifestly unfair.

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It would be a flat tax on income. A flat tax on turnover would only need to be a quarter of that. That is if we can reign in Spenderilla’s mass squandering.

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I was able to vote on these polls twice. Which means they were wide open to abuse by those with a political axe to grind, i.e., the Left. I would take all of their, the polls' findings, with a healthy large grain of salt.

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Agree with you. Most people's views on tax reflect their political views or biases rather than reasoned or rational thinking.

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They conveniently left out the fact that ~50% thinks tax should be something that is in the background, that headline which would paint a completely different picture.

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Agree It is a wonder that a white Knight supporter of the left has not rushed into print condemming your comments and observations. Of course there is still time for some sort of legal threat letter which may still arrive.

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Looks like the Labour and Green Parties mobilised their supporters up from off their couches to fill out multiple submissions.

'Most Kiwis want major tax change'?? If you believe that most Kiwis want anything other than far less tax, then I happen to own the Auckland Harbour Bridge which I am willing to sell to you for a very modest price.

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I want major tax change.... a decreases in taxes...... a change doesn't mean more tax.

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I am sure most people want everyone else to have to pay more while they pay less....

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Like the asset sales referendum this result will be used politically to advocate for the opposite of what many people voted. As with the asset sales I voted against the sale of up to 49% of assets - as I wanted the sale of 100% of them ... but this was treated as being against the policy by the lying left. With this poll I selected a major change to the tax system: get rid of all duties, halve income and corporate taxes, put a low-rate LVT in place, and change how GST is distributed. This is a major change but will result in a simpler and lower tax system. Highly unlikely to happen as I'm sure that the lying left will treat it as a way to advocate additional taxes and further complexity.

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Utterly absurd poll.

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Problem with submissions is that the groups with the money and the clout are submission seasoned professionals.
The average Joe Blow who is affected by the policies in numbers wouldn't have a clue they were on, or the knowledge or know how of what to do about it.
Is Fred on the shovel working on one of the city roads whose rent is skyrocketing for the dump he is in likely to put a tax submission in?
Or is it more likely that the property president is going to rally all the troupes to keep all their tax perks?

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Fred might not put a submission in, but I bet his union will. And his Iwi, and the city mission where he takes the kids and family to for Christmas lunch, and the budgeting centre his sister went to last year. Believe me, Bill is well represented in the submissions that have been made to the tax working group, except of course that not one of them has actually asked Bill for his thoughts............

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How did Fred suddenly become Bill?

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Lol, good point. Well, at least he didn't become Sarah!

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What's the point asking the public? What does the average citizen know about complex tax systems and their consequences? Sounds like a manipulative and loaded exercise to soften up the public for more taxes.
Do we ask the public how to run hospitals, surgery theatres, power stations or other complex systems? the level of politicians salary and perks...NO.
Public opinion is only relevant for general outcomes in society and that usually happens at general elections.
Brexit is perhaps a classic example of the public having no idea and shooting itself in the foot.
We are a small spec on a big globe. Make dumb policy and those affected will move and take their money with them. Many have already done that in anticipation of a Labour govt and the recent drop in the exchange rate makes that a profitable move already with more to come.

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Criminal poll to Tax the people. No one wants capital gains tax !!!

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I think you are incorrect. No one with assets wants a capital gains tax but the with outs want (as Cullen would say) rich pricks with assets to pay more so we can raise how much we pay/subsidise people on low incomes.

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I too think you are wrong, I believe there is a sea change towards capital gains tax in this country.

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They need to get Gareth Morgan involved in this. He's the best thinker on income tax in NZ. The tax system needs to recognize the difference between wealth and income inequality. Tax needs to be targeted at those with lots of Assets, rather than higher incomes.

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People should not be taxed on wealth, as this does not reflect the ability to pay, and ends up impoverishing the elderly who are invariably asset rich and cash poor as their homes increase in value with inflation while their incomes are savaged by council rates.

(Edited)

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If they're asset rich and cashflow poor they can do reverse mortgage or similar products to pay their taxes. Otherwise the next generation will never own assets at all. Unless their bequethed, which amplifies inequality in NZ. Kids of asset owning class don't need to worry about earning 200k home deposit because they just use parents equity as Collateral

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If they're asset rich and cashflow poor they can do reverse mortgage or similar products to pay their taxes. Otherwise the next generation will never own assets at all. Unless their bequethed, which amplifies inequality in NZ. Kids of asset owning class don't need to worry about earning 200k home deposit because they just use parents equity as Collateral

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Rubbish. Instead of being invested in and captured by the non-productive neo-stagnant worldview of the Left, I suggest you get out there and start trying to earn a quid. You'll be much happier and better off for it.

And never forget, taxes are State forced legalised theft of other peoples' property. The private property of citizens doesn't belong to you and it doesn't belong to the State.

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It's a bit like when the council asks you what you think about their future spending plans. Now everybody knows they're only asking as what we think about it because they're trying to get us to think that they're going to take on board what we said. We all know that they're not going to take a blind bit of notice, and that they're just going to go ahead and do what they said they were going to do in the first place. The same with this poll.

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This tax working group and our Left wing robbers, sorry Govt, are going to make Marie Antoinette look good.

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The problem with the poll is that the questions and the answers are in places ambiguous. "Are we taxing the right things" - the response to which could be we are over taxing as equally as under taxing something. A call for "major changes" could equally be a call to extend or reduce the tax footprint on some or all areas. Despite this I am sure they will be used as a basis to drive the inevitable capital gains tax.

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Yet out of 5 options, 50% said tax should be in the ground, this just means taxes are too high and too many things are being taxed - and indeed it needs to be changed.

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Key shafted the hard working home owners of New Zealand when he forced the Reserve bank to enforce a 40% LVR against their recommendations at the time.
Key is rich he did not have to worry about his house value dropping because in his bracket buyers do not need a mortgage.

The Rich do not need to be a landlord and take on a P infested rental property to try in desperation to get ahead in life.

Landlords are generally working class struggling for a future and retirement.

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Like it or not, we are a democracy. The current tax laws are biased towards the asset owners as they scoop up the gains and avoid the taxes. Those that are missing out are increasing by the day......there is a sea change to the left that has only just begun. Next election will show this swing even more.

But if you mix in an echo chamber, your're probably unaware.

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This poll doesn't have any scientific credibility so essentially we can discard the results all together. This tax working group will recommend whatever the current administration intends to tax! It's a farce really, the government will announce the new taxes under the guise of the tax working group recommendations.

Still can't believe we are still talking about CGT as the jury is out on this already. Numerous examples from around the world that it doesn't impact house prices so it's just another way of collecting revenue - and that is where the current administration should just come clean on it's reasons.

Finally, Joyce was on the money and Labour/NZF/Greens are going to tax the populace to close the hole they've got themselves into

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Like the overwhelming majority of New Zealanders, I strongly desire for more taxes to be introduced: our tax rates are way too low, we need both higher tax rates and new taxes too, 'cause our after tax weekly take home pay is way too much! Capital Gains Tax, Wealth Tax, Poverty Tax, Breathing Tax, Forgetting to Breathe Tax, Sunrise Tax, Sunset Tax - bring them all on! This is what we all strongly wish for!
I was concerned for a while during the latest election campaign with Labour's promise of "no new taxes". Phew, I am now relieved, as they invent new taxes just about every week - well done, Labour! Keep it up! The polled majority just love it, and will vote for you again and again!

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Don't forget the carbon in your breath tax, so if you are an athlete, you pay more, and your quota runs out quicker than say a Wellington bureaucrat. This carbon tax will be called a "terminal tax".

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Create a system where everyone who has to pay DOES.
Cut out the bludgers and the tradies who work only for cash....take a cruise paid for for in cash (no trace) the weekend batch, paid for with cash (no trace). Find them and take it off them as proceeds of crime....because that is what it is.

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Never forget that all taxes other than income tax, such as GST, petrol tax, rates, are paid out of money that has already been taxed, and therefore take a proportionately higher slice of earnings.

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Yes it's just a rort on a rort, and nothing can be done about it, short of an uprising, and that's never going to happen. The French knew how to deal with them.

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Time to cut the euphemistic nonsense and call “rates” by their real name - “property taxes”.

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