Taxing taxes

John Key

ACT remind us that National are slowly edging backwards on a fairly solid election promise.

No New Taxes?
National campaigned on no new taxes and will soon have introduced three. It begs the question, why vote for a National party that introduces new taxes like a Labour Government on heat?

Tourist Tax
The tourism industry is furious about the $25 arrival fee applied to visitors. It was sold as a user charge but the Government has never shown how it covers cost created by the user. That’s a tax.

Capital Gains Tax
If you buy and sell a property other than your primary residence within two years you automatically pay tax under National’s new bright-line test. The only difference between this and what most countries regard as a capital gains tax is the time period, which the opposition are already promising to extend.

Land Tax
As Rodney Hide writes, John Key’s land tax is political genius. It won’t actually affect house prices, it taxes ‘foreigners’ rather than New Zealanders, it shows the PM ‘doing something’ and it partially steals another idea off the left (why do National win power to implement their opponents’ ideas?). Best of all, he’s only proposed it, so he can still back out.

Acorn Taxes
The Capital Gains and Land Taxes would seem to make more sense if extended. The bright line test will catch almost nobody at two years, but at ten years it would bite. Commentators are already saying the land tax would be a good idea if extended to all property owners. Half-hearted taxes are a time bomb.

And this is the real concern. It isn’t the fact that these new taxes are essentially toothless tigers. It’s that left government of the future don’t have the hurdle of introducing a new tax; all they’ll do is adjust the conditions “a little”.

Conditions which, I can assure you, will not favour National voters.

On that basis, we can’t be too relaxed about this, and let’s hope the Land Tax dies a quick death before it becomes another plaything of future governments.


– Free Press, ACT

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.