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Tax-take bullshit

Written By: - Date published: 11:26 am, January 2nd, 2012 - 104 comments
Categories: tax, welfare - Tags:

An earlier post by Mike Smith on inequality referred to a claim by Geoff Vincent that 12% of the taxpayers were paying 49% of the the taxes. Now this was patently a spinners interpolation on the tax data and shouldn’t be part of the debate.. A comment by DH has a look at that bullshit. I figured it was worth highlighting it here. My brief scan of the data and argument from a cafe in the sunshine of Dunedin* says that it http://thestandard.org.nz/inequality-and-the-rich/is a more accurate point to argue the progressive tax debate from. That is that the top 12% of actual taxpayers pay about 30% of the actual taxes.

DH wrote:

Some of you guys need to spend a little more time researching & less time bickering IMO. I found this site when googling for info on NZ taxes after reading the Herald commentary by Nightingale. No-one here seems to dispute the figures which I find a little puzzling. The 12% paying 49% of tax claim is correct only on paper, by any real analysis it is false and demonstrably so.

The 12% figure was likely calculated from the Treasury report here;

http://www.treasury.govt.nz/budget/2010/taxpayers

(It’s actually 11.2% without rounding but the report adds up to 12% & 49% for the top five groups)

Note that the percentage of taxpayers in each income bracket is worked out from the total of 3,374,000 ‘taxpayers’. Well that 3,374,000 includes 314,000 welfare beneficiaries on the DPB, dole, invalids & sickness, 550,000 OAPs collecting super, the 236,000 at the bottom of the report who declared zero income, part timers, casual workers etc etc. The number of real taxpayers is likely less than 2,000,000 and if the true figures are used it will push up the 12% to a more believable 18-19% paying 49% of the tax.

Also note the report gives stats on extra GST paid by income bracket which allows one to work out how much GST each group pays. The GST burden is carried mostly by the middle income groups.

Work it out in terms of real tax and the top 12% pay about 35% of income tax and when GST is added to the tax intake they pay around 30% of tax. Not so disproportionate then is it.

The recent claims about nett taxpayers was also fiction, for similar reasons.

That is closer the reality than the self-serving crap that Vincent was peddling. It is hardly disproportionate in a group that like myself actually has disposable income. Most of us would prefer that the elderly weren’t starving in the streets, that we didn’t have to live in secure compounds surrounded by barbed wire, and that our less fortunate family members don’t have to be supported directly by ourselves with the fawning and favoritism that involves. Those that don’t? Well I view them as congenital sociopaths that we should really look at providing more treatment for. But that is my personal view….

* That is a purely gratuitous gloat after reading this morning moans by people on face book about the weather I have missed up north.

104 comments on “Tax-take bullshit”

  1. RedLogix 1

    Every time I read about tax I keep coming back to Gareth Morgan’s Big Kahuna.

    Well the idea of a UBI is much older than Gareth, but perhaps the most pertinent aspect of it, easily overlooked, is that such a system inherently treats every taxpayer exactly the same.

    The current system is so full of targetted exemptions, loopholes and high marginal tax rates that it naturally breeds resentment and ill-will. This discredits the system as a whole, and far too many people just hate the whole idea of tax simply because they feel they are not being treated equitably.

    People don’t mind doing the right thing as a rule; but they hate it when they see others getting away with cheating on the system … and doing better than them as a result.

  2. Ari 2

    I think this argument about how many taxpayers are paying what percentage of revenue is just a way to avoid having to compare ridiculously high incomes and modest, if not outright insufficient, tax totals. I don’t care what the spread of net taxpayers looks like, I care whether each general set of cases are fair.

  3. Colonial Viper 3

    I’m pretty sure that the top 12% own around 2/3 of the country’s financial wealth (ie. assets excluding the family home).

    So they are definitely not pulling their weight. This stems back to RL’s comment about the Big Kahuna. In NZ, wages and every day living expenses are heavily taxed; financial wealth hardly at all.

    This is a setup which heavily favours the top 1%-2% of NZ society.

    • Herodotus 3.1

      CV you as with the post appear to have been confused with income verses wealth. Too often groups on the left e.g. The Labour party are unable to see the real issue. Instead they attack the wrong target, taxing income. Yet many govts and the minor parties who support current and previous govts being unable or unwilling to define True Income. Allowing the situation below
      http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10745867
      The rise (and fall) of many rich listers and the middle class property speculators has been on the back on wealth creation that has missed paying taxes, either lawfully or not being caught when tax is applicable.

      • Colonial Viper 3.1.1

        I pretty clearly defined above that I was talking about wealth in terms of financial assets (eg I mention the family home as an asset). Not income.

  4. prism 4

    “high marginal tax rates”. The only people who pay high marginal tax rates are those on welfare who are trying to get into the workforce at a wage they can live on while still surviving on welfare. They are taxed often till they receive below their previous income.

    I question that there are high marginal tax rates. It seems that they have come down and down but never enough for the free-loaders at the top. That’s how it’s been – have tax rates for those who can most afford to pay tax changed recently?

    (I was listening to Garrison Keillor the other day and he was doing a skit on someone playing golf breaking a car window. The car owner was asked to sign a waiver against damages because the damage was caused by a ‘job creator’ and the argument put – ‘we don’t want to upset them do we or they may take their jobs overseas’. We also have this USA disease of the wealthy tax irresponsible free-loaders now.)

    The smugs call welfare f-ls but when it comes to not paying a reasonable share of cash or even a useful percentage of their excess to finance the country that provides a platform for their financial winnings then its whoa hoa, we don’t want to make a contribution to the national body – we’re just fleas that live off its laws, financial and commercial system.

    • RedLogix 4.1

      The only people who pay high marginal tax rates are those on welfare who are trying to get into the workforce at a wage they can live on while still surviving on welfare.

      Umm yes. I wasn’t very clear there. That’s exactly the scenario I had in mind.

      In fact virtually all forms of targetted tax exemption or reduction have relatively high marginal tax rates as you transition off them.

    • Ari 4.2

      Tax rates ARE high, for people who rely entirely on wages. This means the upper-middle class is probably pays the most overall income, while people who live off their wealth pay practically nothing on it, and people who are barely earning a living wage are probably paying the highest percentage of their disposable income.

      A capital gains tax that didn’t kick in on your first 200,000 of gains each year (and which could be banked up against an extra year or two, say, for very large one-time gains) would hit people who live off the interest from their wealth.

  5. Peter Marshall 5

    I pay $26-30K PA in tax/ACC then GST on top of this ($4K PA) then local rates on top of this as well ($3000PA). How is this not fair? Also Petrol tax as well, must be $2000PA at least. I more than pay my way and this is more than enough.
    In the past on the 66% rate people hated paying this amount but did not mind so much as the tax take was used more wisely than today.
    Although tax rates are lower now for mid-top earners they begrude paying more as so much tax is wasted compared to 20-30 years ago on beauracracy, bloated benefits, ease of getting benefits, compliance etc.

    NZ has to look at spending less, investing more, no matter which govt is in power, not more.

    • McFlock 5.1

      got any evidence for your assertion that more tax is wasted now than in your mythical halcyon days? And that people didn’t gripe about taxes then?
      Funnily enough, tax isn’t about “paying your way” like buying a ticket on the citizenship bus. It’s about funding the services that the government is elected to provide. So if you have an issue with that, take up politics or move to a country where the citizens don’t want the government to provide so much. Oh, hang on – we’re among the lowest taxed nations in the oecd, and people are still bitching about taxes.

      • Lanthanide 5.1.1

        “got any evidence for your assertion that more tax is wasted now than in your mythical halcyon days? ”

        I should think that with the massive productivity gains from computers, we can now use our government money much more effectively. We don’t need to employ as many of those nasty “back office” mole people, instead we can use bright shiny white computers to calculate everything for us.

        • Colonial Viper 5.1.1.1

          This is the nonsense which is seeing a middle class hollow out from both the private sector and the public sector.

          After all, you get rid of these useless jobs, what need do you have for people in this society.

          “Productivity gains” have generally ended up as money for the rich, while the working class get laid off and the middle class gets squeezed. What a great society – for the 1%.

          we can now use our government money much more effectively.

          What exactly does this mean? How do you measure “effectively?” Effective for whom, and from who’s point of view? Certainly not from the point of view of all those laid off workers whom NZ society no longer requires.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 5.2

      No you dont pay GST on your personal tax rate.
      What you are referring to is the GST you can claim back as a business ( not available to private taxpayers)

      • Peter Marshall 5.2.1

        Never said I did, could have worded better though. It is over & above what I pay in Income Tax. More closer to $5-7KPA in GST on spend of $3-4000PM.
        All in all my overall tax rate is near 40% on $100K I earn, which seems enough to me.

        • RedLogix 5.2.1.1

          Worth noting that all finance transactions are zero rated for GST, as is rent. This means that GST does not apply significant portion of many people’s income.

          • Herodotus 5.2.1.1.1

            RL financial transactions and rent are not part of income- if you mean GST on interest received all you will do is drive up rates both for deposits and loans (at least it will not do anything to inflation due to the vargaries of how it is calculated) . For some entities even though GST is not charged on rents when completing GST returns the GST sourced from income is accounted and paid to the govt. There is a rough rule of thumb of 4 properties then GST should be acounted for.
            Appologoies CV from 3.1, If you have a progressive coy tax then how do you account for loss carried over? $1m loss in yr 1 $1m profit in Yr 2 = nil yet under your suggestion the entity would be adversly affected for cashflow and taxes due.
            Keep tax simple, everyone pay and reduce with the intentions to eliminate exceptions. How many of our top coys pay anything like 20% tax on profits let alone the 30% or now 28%. Like the PAYE issue many suggestions are to hit those already paying their dues. Why not attack those who are paying negligible amounts or none at all e.g. Google?
            http://www.fletcherbuilding.com/FB_microsites/annualreview/2008/financial-summary.html
            http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/blogs/the-bottom-line/5172219/Googles-double-Irish-evil
            http://news.cnet.com/8301-30684_3-20020329-265.html

            • RedLogix 5.2.1.1.1.1

              Umm.. I think I agree with most of that heredotus.

              The only point I was making is that given that most people pay something in the order of 30% of their income on either mortgage or rent that is not directly subject to GST, then it’s not quite right to simply add 15% to your PAYE rate and assume that’s your total effective tax rate.

              How many of our top coys pay anything like 20% tax on profits let alone the 30% or now 28%.

              There’s an interesting argument for eliminating company tax altogether. It would make much more sense to simply ensure that all dividends or benefits that flowed to individuals in any form were properly taxed as personal income.

        • Colonial Viper 5.2.1.2

          All in all my overall tax rate is near 40% on $100K I earn, which seems enough to me.

          To make the tax system more progressive it would be useful to reduce the consumption tax GST, reduce income taxes paid on the first $50K in income, and increase income taxes on every dollar earnt over $50K pa.

          We also need asset taxes, and an FTT.

          I’d suggest that we make the company tax system progressive as well, with say the first $250K in profits taxed at a lower rate than every dollar after that. This will improve life for many small business owners, contractors and the like. There could also be a windfall profits tax of 50% on every dollar of company profit made over $50M.

        • Lanthanide 5.2.1.3

          ACC and income tax on $100k is $25,960. So assuming 5k GST, 2k petrol and 3k rates, that’s $35,960.

          If you want to pay less tax, you could try using less petrol.

          • Muzza 5.2.1.3.1

            Lanth was that a serious comment ? Use less petrol, are you a social engineer or just being facetious?

            • Lanthanide 5.2.1.3.1.1

              The petrol taxes currently amount to 59.129c per litre, not including GST. At the current petrol price of $2.069 per litre he must be buying $6,998.26 inc GST or call it $7k in petrol each year. That’s 65 litres a week, or a full tank, or 9.45% of his take-home pay after income tax (assuming no kiwisaver or student loan).

              Either his estimate is on the high side, or he does indeed use a horrendous amount of fuel. Easiest way to reduce your tax burden is to reduce activities that are taxed. Reducing fuel usage would be way to achieve that in his case.

    • prism 5.3

      In the past on the 66% rate people hated paying this amount but did not mind so much as the tax take was used more wisely than today.

      Oh nostalgia – they don’t make it like they used to.

    • Peter Marshall – “…bloated benefits, ease of getting benefits…”

      You’ve never been on a benefit, have you?

      Otherwise, you wouldn’t refer to dealing with WINZ as “ease of getting benefits”. Try it one day. But make sure you have a good stock of migraine pills handy.

      As for “bloated Benefits”?

      Since when is getting $201.40 a week, net, for an unemployed person “bloated”? http://www.workandincome.govt.nz/manuals-and-procedures/deskfile/main_benefits_rates/unemployment_benefit_tables.htm

      Try surviving on $201.40 a week for a couple of months and get back to us.

      Look, I know that your sort would rather that unemployed, solo-mums, etc, go away and quietly die – but if you want to live in a First World society, without having thousands of beggars lining the footpaths – get used to paying for it.

      Otherwise, go live in a country without a social welfare system. I’ll bet you’ll be back within a week.

  6. DH 6

    I’m flattered my comment made a new post. I will ask that people don’t quote my workings as facts; they’re just quick & rough calculations. I don’t have the raw data on tax so the margin of error is large but I am comfortable my workings are a more accurate reflection than the 12% of 49% claims. If we remove beneficiaries etc from the taxpayer total we also have to remove the tax they pay and I just approximated that.

    My main point was to illustrate how misleading tax statistics can be and that people should not take these claims for granted. For accounting purposes the Govt treats all beneficiaries as taxpayers; total crown tax revenue includes transfers from welfare payments. But since the numbers of beneficiaries are large, beneficiaries are low income earners and the amount of tax they pay is small the statistics will always be skewed (falsely) towards the high income earners.

    • lprent 6.1

      It happens… Whole guestposts appear from comments. Especially when I have 10 spare minutes and an iPad.

      Rough and ready is good enough for argument. If I have to listen incipient wedding gossip, then close enough sounds like ample bounds of accuracy for taxes before and afterwards.

      I am looking forward to heading back to work.

  7. hoom 7

    Nats happily roll out the fact that over 75% of taxpayers are on under $48K.
    The average income is higher than the 17.5% tax bracket -> the top end has massive outliers that drag the average up a huge amount.
     
    If the top 12% pay nearly half the tax its simply because they pay themselves such an outrageously large percentage of the total Income.
     
    If the income distribution is made more equal (eg freeze top end income raises and bump min wage to $21/hr like in Aus) then you’ll see the percentage of tax paid by the lower 75% shoot up.

    • Lanthanide 7.1

      Be interesting to calculate the average wage if we excluded the top 2.5% of earners.

      • KJT 7.1.1

        Thats why median wages or ordinary time rates are a better indicator.

        The NACT’s like to use averages wages as big increases at the top and job losses at the bottom push average wages up and give an illusion we are doing better.

        I have talked about dodgy figures for tax paid before.

        NACT’s like to use income tax only. Ignoring GST, petrol and other taxes which impact more on lower incomes.

        We know from the IRD’s own numbers that half the wealthiest people in NZ pay little or no tax. Many were getting WFF.

        A capital gains tax should be at the same rate as personal income tax and apply after a set amount of capital gains earnings a year say (50 000). Exempting family homes is an unnecessary distortion. 50k would exempt all but the most expensive homes anyway.

        A variable rate FTT on new lending is a much better targeted method of fighting inflation than the OCR which just gives a windfall to banks and hits existing business and private borrowers who cannot change their position.

        Inheritance taxes stop money accumulating in fewer and fewer hands.

        Eliminating trusts, hiding earnings overseas and other tax dodging rorts mean more pay their fair share.

        A fairer tax system could mean longer term that eventually we could have a GMFI, and reduce income taxes!

        • queenstfarmer 7.1.1.1

          Eliminating trusts, hiding earnings overseas and other tax dodging rorts mean more pay their fair share.

          Somewhat yes, but to be more accurate (and putting aside what a “fair share” might be), it is eliminating incentives for tax dodging behaviour that will get results.

          The prime example in NZ was the stupid misalignment of the top personal tax rate with the trust rate. Suddenly, accountants and lawyers had a way that they could instantly save their clients sometimes huge sums of money (and therefore deprive the Governemnt) simply by putting certain assets (& income) into a trust. That caused an explosion of people moving assets into trusts to take advantage of the tax benefit. Of course, wealthy people were more able/likely to do this than the average worker. All manner of tax rorts (and other effects) occurred as a result of that tax dodge incentive.

          Compare with, say, GST, which is a very simple flat tax (despite some parties unwisely wanting to complicate it). It is a model of efficiency and is very difficult to rort. There is no real incentive to avoid or generally play silly buggers with it.

          So, you could attempt to “eliminate trusts” as you put it – and throw the baby out with the bathwater – or you could simply eliminate the unnecessary tax incentives that motivate people to use trusts for tax advantages.

          • Colonial Viper 7.1.1.1.1

            Just have jail terms for professional advisors who help create and maintain trusts which aren’t fully justifiable, or which primarily exist as tax shelters.

            Unnecessary trusts will go away quite quickly.

            • Descendant Of Smith 7.1.1.1.1.1

              The growth industry in trusts however also revolved around the baby boomers hiding their money so the state would have to pay for their residential care.

              It’s not just about tax.

  8. Allan 8

    All taxation is theft by Government. A flat tax of say 20% would be the best way of taxing income. Then the harder you worked the more you earned and proportionaly the more tax you would pay, however you would also keep more of your hard earned cash. At present the harder you work the less you get because the money is then stolen from you by the Govt to give to those who feel that the world owes them a living. Also if there was a flat tax rate Govt income would most probably rise because those who were actually doing the contributing would consider this a fair tax and would not try and devise ways to avoid paying the current high taxes.

    • Lanthanide 8.1

      *yawn*

    • lprent 8.2

      Idiot. In the first two sentences you contradict yourself.

      But we have seen all of this twaddle before from people who can actually argue. You don’t present an argument, just some pathetic boring assertions that sound like they come from cunnilingus from the corpse of Ayn Rand.

      Boring and a bit disgusting.

      • Muzza 8.2.1

        LP , do you own this site ? Do you feel it appropriate to insult posters who raise valid points, which may not conform to your clearly self important views on how things really are ?
        You like to talk about subjects in a way which espouses ignorance or perhaps a desire to divert away from issues which could render this blog site as being a bit useless, achieves little because the talk is around in circles never able to solve or contribute anything useful. Dave Browns reply is on the money, the discussion around figures & % etc is oxygen theft !

    • KJT 8.3

      Taxes are payment for services supplied by the State. Which we would not otherwise have.

      Those who refuse to pay their share while benefiting from services and infrastructure paid for by taxpayers are the thieves.

      If you do not like the civilised and decent society, the rest of us paid taxes for, please move to somewhere like Somalia. No taxes there.

    • Fotran 8.4

      Years ago Roger Douglas wanted to bring in a flat tax rate (about 20% if I remember), but David Lange et al would not have bar of it.

    • Colonial Viper 8.5

      All taxation is theft by Government. A flat tax of say 20% would be the best way of taxing income. Then the harder you worked the more you earned and proportionaly the more tax you would pay

      Capitalism is theft from society and from communities. So?

      By the way, ignoring your messed up concept of changing “proportion” under a flat tax rate of 20% (yeah how does that work lol), no worker should be paid more than 25x to 30x than the minimum wage.

      They’re not worth it, and no CEO or executive manager can work 30x harder than a minimum wage labourer anyhows.

    • prism 8.6

      Allan
      Did your daddy tell you that tax is theft or did you read it in a treatise on individual self-advancement? Or did you do a business course and join a tax-hating witches coven where you all sat round stirring up a steaming, stinging serving of free-market nettle soup? What other good quotations do you know? I love sharp little quotes.

    • Allan – “All taxation is theft by Government…ad nauseum”

      Ok. You can stop paying taxes. But stay of the footpaths, roads, bridges, out of hospitals, away from schools, etc, etc.

      “At present the harder you work the less you get because the money is then stolen from you by the Govt to give to those who feel that the world owes them a living. ”

      Yet again, a right winger demonstrates that he wants the benefits of living in a First World society – but doesn’t want to pay for it.

      There’s a word for that…

      Oh yeah, bludging.

  9. I don’t think talking tax take means a thing unless you look at the other side of the ledger and look at the sources of income.
    First, how many of the rich and super-rich are on corporate welfare?
    Big corporates who got their start on the welfare like Fletchers, or boosted with oil licences like Todds or earthquake recovery like Fletchers?
    Or are getting handouts like truckers, farmers etc etc?
    Second, how may like FayRichwhite, Hart, Gibbs etc got their capital startups from ripping off state assets?
    Third, how many of them are Bankstas speculating in shares, currency, property etc and rent rorters and will never pay any real capital gains?
    And among those left, how many of them could produce a dollar and take credit for creating jobs, or saving the country, without expropriating the labour time of their workers? So if they are paying taxes its not them who should complain but their workers.

  10. spammer 10

    Personally i don’t have an issue with low maximum rates on income tax. I think the unfairness lies in G.S.T which clearly penalizes the poor and with the fact that so many forms of wealth increase aren’t taxed properly. My idea of an ideal tax system would be as low rate but with as wider take as possible, incorporating a financial transaction tax and a capital gains tax and with as little loopholes as possible.

    • Colonial Viper 10.1

      An asset/land tax will also be necessary IMO. There is tens of billions of dollars of asset wealth in this country which is virtually untouched by tax.

      First $10K or $15K of income should be essentially income tax free for everyone.

  11. Muzza 11

    Given that income tax is primarily used to pay interest on the country’s foreign debt, then yes more tax I’d being wasted, because as the debt climbs the interest repayments do also. Sure you can disct the percentages to get lower year on year inremental shifts but the fact will remain that you are arguing over paying for interest on a debt you don’t control, and which makes us all poorer collectively, some more than others sure, but it takes money out of the Nz system by in large.
    Maybe focus on the real issues, because PAYE levels etc ain’t it!
    I’m still waiting to hear how we will pay out debt off, without someone saying we won’t have to !

    • Lanthanide 11.1

      Income tax is primarily used to run the government.

      When we don’t have enough income tax (and other tax) we have to borrow to meet costs.

      I’m not quite sure you understand how this all works.

  12. Descendant Of Smith 12

    All income in businesses should be taxed on gross income the same as for employees.

    This would simplify the tax system enormously as it would remove the necessity to determine what expenses could be claimed for tax purposes and would put businesses and workers on a more similar tax footing.

    The percentage could be set initially to ensure that the company tax rate would still be similar in total to now – it’s simply that it’s distribution would be different.

    It would disincentive, for instance, businesses from setting up tiered companies to minimise tax as a expense transaction in one company would be taxable income in the next. It would prevent rorts such as an Australian bank charging it’s subsidary in NZ a fee for using the banks name, it would ensure that the tax cost of doing business in NZ is explicitly clear e.g. 4% of your total income.

    It would be simple and easy to understand.

    A sole trader for instance would simply need to add up his gross income for the month and pay x%.

    He wouldn’t need to keep any financial records unless he wished to – e.g. to understand his business cashflow, where his costs are etc.

    Larger companies would still need to keep financial records but the focus would clearly be much less on taxable profit and more on actual profit and return to shareholders.

    Business expenses would then be between the business and it’s owners and shareholders where it belongs. It you want to spend profits on a corporate box then that’s none of IRD’s business.

    Income earned to NZ would be taxed in NZ and couldn’t be offset by moving the profits offshore.

    You could potentially have a lower tax rate the larger the businesses is to encourage growth e.g. businesses over 10 million dollars in gross income could pay .5% less perhaps.

    Trust income would be taxed on the same basis.

    There would be productivity gains as much less time would be spent on working out how to minimise tax to increase profit figures. The total effort could then go in as to how to increase income and productivity.

    Productivity would also lift because we would not need to have all the tax minimising companies and trusts that exist today for this purpose.

    How much time and effort and resource is wasted in NZ on those two activities alone.

    I’m not sure how you would work out the tax percentage figure but I’m assuming that if you took business GDP/business tax take then you would be somewhere in the ball park.

    • felix 12.1

      That’s a very interesting idea that deserves a lot more thought.

      The practical benefits should be immediately obvious to anyone who genuinely wants to “cut red tape” for small businesses.

      • Colonial Viper 12.1.1

        Yep DoS has a good one. The gross income should certainly be taxed progressively in order to help small businesses get off the ground. For instance, the first $250,000 pa of gross income should be taxed at a lower rate than every dollar over that threshold. Big corporations bringing in tens or hundreds of millions in gross income should be taxed at a higher rate.

        I’d also implement capital controls on profits being expatriated out of NZ. Apply GST to company profits which are moved offshore within 12 months of being earnt in NZ.

      • Herodotus 12.1.2

        But then you are not taking into count the varying margins of different industries. Say for a construction coy, the casino or supermarkets when you are basing pricing on 2-5% GM, to that of when there are over 100% markups in some retail, and such a system would favour the grey and black markets. Still think it is better ALL contribute than yet again hit those who are contribing their taxes. I am sure it is out there but a simple profit before tax/tax ratio would be very telling for most companies, to see who is paying anything approaching the coy tax rate !!

        • Descendant Of Smith 12.1.2.1

          Margin is only important if you are considering profit as the tax basis.

          We don’t consider expenses that workers have to incur before taxing so why do this with businesses?

          I would think that the rate could be low enough and the subsequent broadening of the tax base wide enough that it is fair.

          Business’s could pay their tax monthly to IRD once income / sales figures have been collated.

          Do business in NZ you pay x% of your income in tax seems quite easy to sell.

          I would also remove GST again to reduce administration and compliance costs for businesses.

          The simplicity would also ensure that IRD resources could then be focused on the black market.

          I’m less concerned about parallel importing. Shouldn’t a free market support that?

          • KJT 12.1.2.1.1

            Employers should have to pay all the costs of their workers including travel.

            Many workers at the moment are subsidising their employers. Especially minimum wage employers where the cost of travels for casual workers almost exceeds their earnings.

            • Lanthanide 12.1.2.1.1.1

              “Employers should have to pay all the costs of their workers including travel.”

              Sure, if you want to kill off rural towns where people commute into the big cities to do their jobs and bring money back out into the town. Companies in cities will stop hiring people from the towns.

    • KJT 12.2

      Interesting, but how do you make it fair between, say, a builder who gets 30% of the gross income from his business and someone like a computer programmer working from home who may get 90%.

      There is an argument, which was first made by that “socialist” Adam Smith that you should tax capital and wealth only (Rentiers). Productive business and labour should not be taxed.

    • alwyn 12.3

      Taxing a company on its gross income, and not allowing any deductions would mean that there is a very great incentive to construct large vertically integrated businesses rather than having a number of smaller businesses trading with each other.
      Consider a single business that does all the steps of a manufacturing process and produces and sell $1m worth of goods. It would pay tax, at say 5% of $50k.
      Now consider a series of small companies that do 20% of the work each and sell the product on to the next company in the chain to do the next step.
      Company 1 sells good for $200k to company 2. Gross income $200k and tax $10k.
      Company 2 adds value and sells the goods for $400k to company 3. Gross income $400k and tax $20k
      Company 3 adds value and sells goods to company 4 for $600k. Gross income $600k and tax $30k
      Company 4 adds value and sells for $800k to company 5. Gross income $800k and tax 40k.
      Company 5 adds value and sells the final goods for $1m. Gross income $1m and tax 50k.

      The same final goods have been produced but now we have a total tax payment of $150k.

      There will end up being a situation where there will be only a single company that produces everthing as small companies buying and selling onward cannot compete.

      The above is why businesses can deduct GST they have paid to other suppliers before having to pay their own GST. You only tax net income in other words.

      • Colonial Viper 12.3.1

        Nice manufacturing example mate what you describe would increase efficiency and increasing the amount of money real productive companies keep for themselves, so whats the problem?

        I thought you were for minimising taxes paid by companies?

        Anyhows, simplifying the tax system to prevent rorts and shelters for the rich and for corporates is very important.

        • alwyn 12.3.1.1

          There is absolutely nothing in my example that says there would be increased efficiency. If you think that I can only assume that you think small companies are inherently more efficient than large ones.
          There is also no reason to say that companies get to keep more money. In the case given a single company gets to keep $950k out of their sales of $1m. With small companies they get to keep in total $850K out of their sales of $1m.
          What I am trying to illustrate is that if there is only going to be tax paid on gross income, with no provision at all for the costs of the business a vertically integrated business has an advantage over a small business that produces, and on-sells, components of the final product.

          I also said nothing about minimising the tax paid by businesses so you shouldn’t assume that either.

          I would add that there is an argument that businesses canot pay tax and that any tax paid is, in effect, paid by either the customers, the employees or the owners. This argument suggests that all the NET income of the firm should, whether it is paid out or not as dividends, be attributed to, and taxed as, part of the income of the shareholders.

          To your last remark I would say that of course there must be ways of avoiding rorts etc but taxing gross income is not the way to do it.

          Incidentally the proposal that businesses wouldn’t need to keep any records will certainly lead to rorts. Who is going to honestly declare their real gross income when they can under-declare it and there won’t be any records to check it?

          • Descendant Of Smith 12.3.1.1.1

            Except that today under the current tax system those companies could be currently paying lots of different amounts of tax – including nil.

            The current incentive is to actually set up a series of companies in exactly the way you describe (Shell does this for instance) to lower the cost of taxation by having each company charge costs to the other companies – despite often being owned by the same people.

            That is inefficient and as a rule the larger companies do this much more than sole traders. It was fully intended that doing this be a disincentive.

            You want to run your business inefficiently then you will end up paying more tax.

            You want to set up a trust to do the administration for your business and have the trust charge the business for that work then that income gets taxed a second time.

            It seems to me quite perverse that the current incentive is to set up layers of companies, trusts, etc..

            Your scenario doesn’t quite work either because your example requires 5 sets of infrastructure etc all of which carries a cost over and above producing the goods. You also suggest that in each step value is added. This is not always the case. There are plenty of examples where no value is added – only more cost to the consumer.

            Each step would add a layer of profit which would add to the final value.

            In your scenario I could almost guarantee that you would be selling significantly less goods for that million dollars having gone through all those steps.

            Small businesses who genuinely add value would no doubt survive – those who just on-sell and take a cut may not. I don’t see that as a bad thing as a consumer.

            There is also no more incentive to rort in this scenario than currently. Do you not think that people rort now. I remember a business adviser employed by one of the councils advising new business people that if they had a cash business and that if 10% to 15% of their sales were not going through the till then they weren’t doing it right.

            There is a world of difference between keeping accurate financial records and needing to prepare accounts for tax purposes. No one is saying accurate financial records don’t have to be kept.

            If I’m a sole trader and I only need to keep track of my gross income for tax purposes then it is up to me whether I keep more detail than that. What’s the problem as long as it’s accurate.

            For other businesses then they are accountable to their partners, owners, shareholders. Then would still need to keep good quality accounts but focused more directly on profit – not taxable income.

            These would mean that shareholders for instance could be more focused on the overall profit because they would no longer need to consider what things the company had done to reduce it’s tax bill.

            Equally they did they might be asking do we really need to outsource if their is no tax advantage, do we need to set up subsidiary companies, etc?

            • Descendant Of Smith 12.3.1.1.1.1

              “There is a world of difference between keeping accurate financial records and needing to prepare accounts for tax purposes. No one is saying accurate financial records don’t have to be kept.”

              Sorry in my original post I did say financial records when I meant end of year business accounts, details of expenses, etc.

              There may of course be other reasons for keeping accounts e.g. keeping track of cashflow, being able to sell your business and prove it is a going concern, WFF assistance.

              For tax purposes a sole trader however could just keep track of his gross income and present that to IRD to pay his tax. His records e.g. invoices, will still need to be kept to prove it as they would now.

            • alwyn 12.3.1.1.1.2

              I don’t seem to be very good at explaining my argument. Oh well my wife tells me that all the time.
              I will have one more go.
              Let’s consider that NZR wants some locomotives. Also assume that there are some specialist businesses in New Zealand. In particular
              Company A is very efficient at making Pistons, crankshafts and Valves for Diesel motors. They can make a set for $250k and are willing to sell them for a net amount of that. With a 5% tax on gross income they need to sell them for $250k/0.95, ie $263.2k.
              Company B is very good at making engine blocks, cylinder heads etc and assembling the engine. They can do their work for $250k also. They buy the parts from company A for $263.2 do the rest of the work and are then willing to sell the engines for (263.2 + 250)/0.95. ie for $540k.
              Company C is very efficient at building The chassis, bodywork, bogies etc and at assembling a loco. They can do their work for $500k. They buy the complete engine from company B for $540k. They are willing to sell the locomotive for (540 + 500)/0.95, ie for $1,095k.
              As an alternative consider a single company that makes the whole loco itself. It is not as efficient in any operation as any of the specialist companies. It can do the engine parts for $255k, the actual building of the engine for $255k and the building of the loco itself for $510k. It can therefore sell the loco for the amount of (255 + 255 +510)/0.95, ie for $1,074k. Note that it is NOT as efficient in any operation as are companies A, B or C.
              As a third alternative NZR can build the whole thing itself. They can do step part 1 for 260k, part 2 for 260k and part 3 for 520k. They thus own the loco for $1,040k. They aren’t as efficent as any of the other companies but no tax has to be paid because nothing was sold and therefore there was no gross income.

              This is why I am suggesting why the cheapest way to do anything is to have only a single, enormous, company that does everything up to the sale to the final consumer, rather than efficient, specialist, firms that can do their own work more cheaply.

              As a side comment you mention the Shell company. In the old days when we had sales-tax rather than GST printed matter like business forms attracted sales-tax if bought from a printer. A number of companies, including I have been told Shell, set up printing rooms to do their printing in-house. Since the goods were never sold there was no sales tax incurred. The forms probably cost more to do in-house but not by as much as the sales-tax bill. The same sales-tax rules also explain why two and three ring binders used to have a name on the cover, usually “catalogue”. This made them a book and books were exempt from sales-tax.

              I’m sorry for this being verbose but I can’t seem to say what I want to in less words. Oh to be Abraham Lincoln and to make an immortal speech in 236 words and about 3 minutes.

              • Colonial Viper

                This is why I am suggesting why the cheapest way to do anything is to have only a single, enormous, company that does everything up to the sale to the final consumer, rather than efficient, specialist, firms that can do their own work more cheaply.

                1) National prefer to have neither, they prefer to give NZ jobs to Chinese rail builders.

                2) Who said small specialist firms are necessarily more “efficient” than large vertically integrated companies anyway. You’re only talking about tax efficiency here anyways which is narrow and largely irrelevant in whether a firm is successful in doing good work or not.

                • I don’t have a problem swapping milk powder for Chinese trains. What we need though is to own production socially. The Chinese working class is not sitting back and lying down. They are capable of re-socialising their SOEs and showing the CP the door, so that the surplus from train swaps to NZ is shared out to all Chinese workers.
                  Similarly, nationalising the land in NZ and leasing it back to farmers, to take account of real externalities including climate change, will encourage what is still residually a cooperative enterprise to head towards genuine collectivisation where the ‘mum and dads’ get a social dividend from dairying instead of handing over their wage check to the privateer farmer, Fonterra monopoly and corner dairy entrepreneur. At the same time the venerated ‘taxpayer’ become extinct in the museum of antiquated ideas. Revo New Year!

                • alwyn

                  I am trying to discuss the proposal that companies be taxed on the Gross income they receive and suggesting possibly unforseen effects. I think it is an interesting argument and I was trying to explore the consequences.

                  I am NOT discussing the merits or otherwise of building locos in New Zealand. I was just trying to invent an example to illustrate my point.

                  I am NOT suggesting that “small specialist firms are necessarily more efficient”. I am trying to show that even if they were it would not necessarily mean that anyone would deal with them as it could be cheaper to do the work in-house even though that was LESS efficient in an economic sense.

                  • Descendant Of Smith

                    I’m not an accountant and was looking at as a simpler alternative to a financial transactions tax.

                    Any tax system will have perverse incentives.

                    In your scenarios based on the current tax system however couldn’t we likely end up with the following:

                    Company A is very efficient at making Pistons, crankshafts and Valves for Diesel motors. They can make a set for $263.2k which includes a profit of 25%.

                    They would pay tax on that 25% profit of $65.800 * 28c = $3,696-00…….

                    As an alternative consider a single company that makes the whole loco itself. As it is less efficient it’s profit is only 20% of the total cost $214.80k x .28 = $60,144-0.

                    As a third alternative state-owned NZR can build the whole thing itself. They can do step part 1 for 260k, part 2 for 260k and part 3 for 520k. They thus own the loco for $1,040k. They aren’t as efficent as any of the other companies but no tax has to be paid because nothing was sold and therefore there was no profit.

                    Alternatively company 1 claimed lots of book entry depreciation and actually paid no tax, or spent their profit on a corporate box at the rugby for entertaining clients, or gave their CEO a pay increase and still paid no tax or did all three, made a loss and can claim that loss back against future profits.

                    The current system has lots of degrees of unfairness and inconsistency now. Depreciation is the classic example where businesses with high assets or stock can reduce their profit without actually spending anything but businesses who say rely on knowledge and intelligence or service cannot.

                    What I am suggesting is a simpler tax system, with a lower rate of tax but one that is more difficult to escape paying tax as all would pay at it just becomes a fixed cost on doing business – rather than a much more variable cost as at present.

                    It appeals to me more that for instance a financial transactions tax which seems a little more complicated but when people started talking about this tax again I started thinking about how else could tax be determined.

                    It would be useful if I knew what the gross turnover of all businesses were in NZ last year as you could then estimate where this tax rate might sit. Banks for instance would pay tax on their gross turnover which would widen the tax net significantly.

                    Think if it was as low as 1% to 1.5%.

  13. Peter 13

    To support your argument the table includes all Kiwis over 16 years of age. So kids at secondary school are said to be eligible tax payers.

    • burt 13.1

      And those same 16 year olds (working age people) were counted when dumb ass Cullen was claiming his top tax rate only effected 12% of [working age] people. Hopelessly partisan Labour supporters thought it was great to confuse the numbers when trying to cover the stupid Dr’s top 5% that eventually blew out to about 20%… but that’s different isn’t it – it’s OK when Labour do it.

      What a hopelessly partisan blog inhabited mainly by blindly partisan “It’s OK when Labour do it” losers. FFS – if you want to make someone look stupid for being selective with the numbers Cullen is your man – he couldn’t even understand that taxing Teachers as rich pricks was wrong.

      [Releasing from moderation. I made myself a bet that your self imposed exile wouldn’t last a week of the new year, and sure enough. Still the same broken record – why not make a New Year’s resolution and try and have a new thought in 2012? –r0b]

      • KJT 13.1.1

        Didn’t like Labours blind following of the Neo_liberal prescription either. especially on “free trade” agreements and tax.

        They did not get us in the poo as fast as NACT are though.

        Financially Cullen left us in a good position,. Which National promptly stuffed up with tax cuts for Hawaii holidays.

        And! only the top 10k or so of Teachers incomes was at the top rate.

        • burt 13.1.1.1

          KJT

          It was reported as 75% of high school teachers in mid 2008. Sorry the harsh reality of how rooted Cullen’s perception of rich was is so offensive to you.

          • KJT 13.1.1.1.1

            Not what I said. Can’t you read?

            • burt 13.1.1.1.1.1

              Sorry where you said (emphasis added)

              And! only the top 10k or so of Teachers incomes was at the top rate.

              I took that as only a small number were paying the top rate… Obviously you had other reasons to present the figures as ‘only’…. Please explain.

              • felix

                You may well have taken it some other way but that’s nothing to do with what was written.

                If your income is 70k and the top rate kicks in at 60k then “only the top 10k or so” of your income is taxed at the top rate.

                It’s not that bloody complex burt.

                • burt

                  Oh right, I get it. Only some of their income was above the threshold of “rich” so the fact they were being taxed like rich pricks is not so important. The Cullen threshold for rich was clearly rooted but we can pretend that it was valid to call high school teachers rich because it wasn’t all their income. Wow… It really is OK when Labour do it.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    60% tax on every dollar earnt over $250K pa please.

                    Rising to 91% (the old US top income tax rate) above $1M.

                    • burt

                      So would you index $250K to inflation or lock and load it at that dollar value for so long that by the time you change it 75% of high school teachers are earning above it ?

                      91% – good one… That will create massive avoidance – would let you hire thousands of people into the public service to hide how ineffective your polices are… so very Labour party like.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Since incomes are going down for most people not up, I don’t think your point has any relevance.

                      As for rich people who continue to try and cheat the tax man – they’re going to jail.

                    • burt

                      CV

                      Quite revealing. It seems you don’t think such tax rates would have a positive effect on lifting incomes – rather just punish people who you think earn too much. So Labour party like – policies of envy with no specific goal other than Labour party popularity. What a grunt.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Wrong burt. Lowering tax rates does indeed raise incomes. For the rich.

                  • felix

                    I think I’m starting to see why flat tax is so attractive to burt et al, and it’s nothing to do with ideology or economics…

                  • felix

                    With all this thrashing and wailing from burt, it’s worth remembering exactly what the horrific injustice was.

                    An additional 3% of income tax was applied to the top ~15% of the salaries of the teachers at the higher end of the pay scale.

                    Oh the horror. 39% instead of 36% on the top bit of your salary. How did we ever pull through?

                    • burt

                      So the injustice was that the 1999 election promise was only the top 5% would pay the policies of envy rate…. you can pretend the top ~15% of teachers salaries was in the top 5% of all earners and pretend Labour kept their election promise – I’m not so partisan I feel the need to be an apologist for self serving government.

                    • felix

                      No of course you’re not.

                      3%.

                    • burt

                      felix

                      Can I quote you as having a position that it’s OK to tax teachers as rich because it’s only an extra 3% on some of their salary ?

                    • Lanthanide

                      burt, since when did having a top income tax rate at $60k make anyone earning that amount or more, ‘rich’?

                      Was there some sort of New Zealand English Dictionary compiled with this as the definition?

                      What if they had introduced a tax rate at $200k+ at the same time as they increased the $60k rate? Would suddenly those earning $60k+ no longer be ‘rich’ because it wasn’t “the top tax rate”?

                    • burt

                      Lanthanide

                      It never had anything to do with being rich except in the mad Dr’s propaganda. The policies of envy spin machine made people think it was a tax on high earners. (aka – the rich)

                      The mad Dr claiming it would only be applied to the top 5% of earners created the perception he was taxing the rich – but reasonable people know that a) Even in 1999 $60K wasn’t rich and b) The truly rich had multiple ways to avoid the top rate.

                      What is really funny is that there are people stupid enough to think it was a tax on the rich and therefore voted for it and there are people who defend it being locked at $60K long enough to even categorise teachers as being in target ‘top 5%’ of earners.

                    • burt

                      Lanthanide

                      But my point that nobody seems to want to address is that apparently using ‘working age’ people for tax calculations is dishonest – but it was how Cullen calculated the percentage of people paying the top rate. Probably because he would need to admit he was gouging the middle earners if he published the percentage of actual earners paying the ‘top 5%’ rate.

                      The old: Its OK when Labour do it!

                    • burt

                      Just watch felix claim teachers are not paid enough for the job they do and that it’s OK to treat them as top earners in the tax system – that will be a good example of how stuffed in the head you need to be to support Labour party policies.

                    • Lanthanide

                      If, when it was introduced, it was targeted at the top 5% of tax payers and it did actually affect the top 5%, I don’t see a problem with that.

                      The fact that fiscal drag over the subsequent years of massive economic growth under Labour doesn’t somehow mean the initial tax decision was somehow being unfair or a lie. Should they have changed the tax thresholds sooner than they did? I think so. But judging the 1999 tax change based on what happened in 2000 to 2008 is dishonest.

                      “Probably because he would need to admit he was gouging the middle earners”

                      This doesn’t make logical sense. How can they be ‘middle earners’ if they were amongst the top 5% of earners? Or top 20% even? Clearly the “middle earners” are those who earn at or around the median OR average wage (take your pick), both of which (after years of massive economic growth under labour) are still under the magical $60k threshold you like to go on about.

                    • felix

                      Err burt, the whole “rich prick tax” meme is one invented by you and your ilk.

                      You’re asking us to take responsibility for something you just, well, made up.

                      Where did you get the bit about teachers being “top earners” btw? It’s only in your mind that paying the top rate defines someone as “rich” or “top earner”.

                    • KJT

                      Burt is confused as usual.

                      Nice of him to be so worried about Teachers when not long ago all the right wing parrots, including Burt, were up in arms about Teachers expecting pay rises.

                    • burt

                      KJT

                      Find evidence of me being up in arms about Teacher pay rises. A link perhaps? You’ll find plenty of me spitting bile at the teachers unions but I challenge you to find one single one where I state (or even seemingly imply ) that teachers shouldn’t get pay rises, particularly so if they are good teachers.

                      felix

                      I never said teachers were high earners. If they were actually in the top 5% while the top tax rate was set 1999 then I guess by Cullen’s definition they would have to be. Given that wage inflation pushed them and thousands of other people into Cullen’s mythical top 5% I can’t understand how you can agree with me that teachers are not highly paid while asserting that Labour had fair and honest tax policies under Cullen.

                      Lanthanide

                      The fact that fiscal drag over the subsequent years of massive economic growth under Labour doesn’t somehow mean the initial tax decision was somehow being unfair or a lie.

                      1) Only the top 5% of earners will pay this top rate.
                      2) Only the top 5% of earners as calculated on tax year end 2008 will pay this top rate, good luck chaps 20% of you will be paying it before we remove it.

                      1 would be a broken election promise that was broken by 2000 and 2 would be an election promise kept.

                      I’m not sure why you want to conflate ‘middle earners’ with ‘the average wage’ – what point is that serving when discussing income in terms of low, middle and high?

                    • felix

                      “I never said teachers were high earners. “

                      Oh dear burt, you’re not having a good start to the year at all. You said that I think they’re top earners you dolt. Right here:

                      “Just watch felix claim teachers are not paid enough for the job they do and that it’s OK to treat them as top earners in the tax system”

                      Kindly point out where I said any such thing. (Or alternately perhaps you could have yet another childish off-topic spaz about unions or s0cialists or whatever the fuck it is you think ruined your life and then ban yourself again in disgust.)

                    • burt

                      felix

                      It was based on some history of you defending Cullen’s $60K == rich and you saying teachers having ~15% of their salary in the top bracket was nothing to be concerned about.

                      You prove my point. Your positions are in direct conflict with eachother. Not surprising because I suspect you only defend Cullen’s tax insanity because it was Labour doing it. Which was actually my starting point in this thread.

                      I note you didn’t answer my question, perhaps you could to clarify where you really stand on this;

                      Can I quote you as having a position that it’s OK to tax teachers as rich because it’s only an extra 3% on some of their salary ?

                    • felix

                      You’re arguing with yourself.

                      You’re the one who thinks the top tax threshold = “rich” or “rich prick” or “rich prick tax” or “envy tax” or whatever your buzzword is this year.

                      The portion of your income over the top threshold gets taxed a bit more than the rest of it. What’s your problem with that?

                      Why does it matter if you’re a teacher or a lawyer or a builder or whatever?

      • burt 13.1.2

        rOb,

        That “i thought so” sounds like a 6 year old. You must be a Labour supporter… Why don’t you make a New Years resolution and open both eyes. I note you didn’t address the issue of “It’s OK when Labour do it”. Still what would I expect from one of the worst offenders.

  14. ropata 14

    Who Will Win the Upcoming “Class War” in America?

    When I heard news of Obama’s “tax the rich” plan my first thought was “is it even legal to tax the rich in the USA today?” During the Bush Administration the wealthiest 5% of Americans got a $580 billion tax cut, live far more luxurious lives than the normal citizens, and have gotten a free ride for so long it’s almost inconceivable…tax them? Hard even for Democrats to imagine it appears, since the last thing Obama said was look “This is not class warfare. It’s math.” This is playing into the American right’s anti-government rhetoric, and I believe the President made a serious blunder by putting it that way.

    Instead, Obama should try to make it very clear what exactly his plans really are and why we need the rich to pay for these programs. Even if he does, chances are the current band of extremely anti-state conservatives in congress will do everything in its power to block the increases. OTOH, if he succeeds Obama might well get re-elected: killing a $1.3 trillion deficit largely inherited from the Bush administration‘s reckless spending is an epic “war” indeed.

    OBSERVATION: Steve Kornacki makes a good historical point about taxes in his Salon article:

    Bill Clinton, who rode to the presidency in 1992 by positioning himself as a champion of the middle class and deriding the 1980s as a decade when “the rich got richer” while everyone else fell behind. Clinton promised to raise taxes on the wealthiest two percent of Americans, and voters responded — even as Republicans screamed, “Class warfare!” And as president, Clinton followed through, creating a new marginal rate that affected the top 1.8 percent of income-earners — and that passed Congress without a single Republican vote, but with dire Republican warnings that it would cost millions of jobs and plunge the country into another recession. Instead, it proved to be one of the main reasons that by the end of Clinton’s term the country was running a surplus and was on course to pay off the entire national debt.

    Taxes really are an effective way to generate funds and promote national prosperity. Even though his chances of succeeding are slim, hopefully Obama will prevail in his struggle to revive the economy and drag it out of a recession caused by extravagant Republican spending and certain corrupt traditions in American capitalism.

    In the upcoming “class war,” I for one hope the 95% of us who are losing in this economy (not to mention the 8% of us who are unemployed) prevail against the top 5% who have and always will succeed in any case.

    • Colonial Viper 14.1

      The top 5% need to be fairly heavily taxed. The top 0.5% need to be very heavily taxed.
      Corporate windfall profits need to be very heavily taxed. Add to that an FTT.

      And a tax on asset wealth over a generous margin (say $1M or $2M in net assets).

      This prevents the hoarding of capital by the very wealthy.

      The package is completed by capital controls and the Government being able to exercise its powers to issue credit against its own good name (as opposed to leaving the generation of circulating money to the private banks). It would be good to have up to 25% of money in circulation interest free debt free and government created.

      • burt 14.1.1

        CV

        Is that an ideological top 5% (IE: any old percentage you like as long as it’s popular for the policies of envy voters) or is it an actual top 5% ?

  15. Yoti 15

    Forgetting GST for the moment, the reality is that we have very few people in NZ whose taxes are a positive income stream to the Governments coffers that allow the tax payer income to be spent in other areas such as public servants, beneficiaries, etc.

    We have four plus people living in NZ. After looking at all of the Stats figures it would seem that about 800,00 are paying positive tax to the Government. No Public Servants, Beneficiaries, any contractors that are employed by the Government pay any tax that can be spent. The Government gives it to the IRD and the IRD gives it back to the Government.

    I will not even go to the Working for Families Tax Credits which mean the a family of ten kids with only one working on the minimum wage is effectively on a pre tax income of over $100,000.00 per year.

  16. prism 16

    Is this figure of Yoti correct? I can’t think how this would be. I’m all for working for tax credits and assisting parents with their expensive and important task and I’m sure that ‘an effective pretax income for a family of ten of $100,000 pa is tripe’.

    I will not even go to the Working for Families Tax Credits which mean the a family of ten kids with only one working on the minimum wage is effectively on a pre tax income of over
    $100,000.00 per year.

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    GreensBy Kennedy Graham MP
    1 week ago
  • Recognizing Palestine: The European Parliament Votes
    Last week I wrote a blog drawing attention to Sweden’s formal recognition of the state of Palestine (the second Western state to do so after Iceland).  That move has created ripples throughout the international community. In recent months the parliaments… ...
    GreensBy Kennedy Graham MP
    1 week ago
  • Minister has work to do over Xmas
    Red flags raised in a multi-agency review into how Phillip Smith was able to flee the country highlight the inadequacies of those very same agencies not having red flags in place that would have notified them of his plans, says… ...
    1 week ago
  • Minister has work to do over Xmas
    Red flags raised in a multi-agency review into how Phillip Smith was able to flee the country highlight the inadequacies of those very same agencies not having red flags in place that would have notified them of his plans, says… ...
    1 week ago
  • Minister has work to do over Xmas
    Red flags raised in a multi-agency review into how Phillip Smith was able to flee the country highlight the inadequacies of those very same agencies not having red flags in place that would have notified them of his plans, says… ...
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  • Gerry Brownlee’s revolving airport door story
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  • Govt spend on transport out of step with reality
    The National Government is planning to allocate ever increasing amounts of taxpayer funding to build expensive new motorways despite record numbers of New Zealanders flocking to buses and trains, said the Green Party. The Government released its Government Policy Statement… ...
    GreensBy Julie Anne Genter MP
    1 week ago
  • Govt spend on transport out of step with reality
    The National Government is planning to allocate ever increasing amounts of taxpayer funding to build expensive new motorways despite record numbers of New Zealanders flocking to buses and trains, said the Green Party. The Government released its Government Policy Statement… ...
    GreensBy Julie Anne Genter MP
    1 week ago
  • Solar homes stymied by Govt inaction
    Government inaction is allowing the big power companies to discourage the nascent solar power sector, the Green Party said today. Green Party MP Gareth Hughes launched a petition today calling on the Government to empower the Electricity Authority to act… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes MP
    1 week ago
  • Foreign buyers for iconic island must add value
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    1 week ago
  • Way opening for April Sun in Cuba
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    GreensBy Kennedy Graham MP
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  • Minister ducking for cover over ‘Diplomat Case’
    Apparently the Ministerial Inquiry into what now seems to be being referred to as ‘The Diplomat Case’ ( I have a few other names for it) has been completed and is in front of Foreign Affairs Minister McCully. Initial Reports seem to… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    1 week ago
  • Energy users need answers on Vector share plans
    Energy Minister Simon Bridges needs to stop ducking for cover about whether or not the Government will support plans to nationalise and then privatise $2.1 billion of shares in the Auckland Electricity Consumer Trust, Labour's Energy spokesperson Stuart Nash says. “It… ...
    1 week ago
  • Turning up the heat on working conditions
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    1 week ago
  • Biosecurity it’s everyone’s responsibility
    Biosecurity costs New Zealand millions of dollars in attempting pest eradication and much more in ongoing management of pests in farming, horticulture, beekeeping and conservation, as well as in our own backyards and recreation areas. More work must happen at… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    1 week ago
  • Heartfelt sympathy for Sydneysiders
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    1 week ago
  • The CIA Torture Report
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    GreensBy Kennedy Graham MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Haere Rā 2014
    We’ve almost reached the end of the Parliamentary year so I wanted to take a moment to reflect on some of my highlights of the term in this blog post. It’s been an absolutely hectic year juggling an election campaign… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes MP
    2 weeks ago
  • A welfare system for the 21st Century
    Today Child Poverty Action Group released a background paper on ‘The complexities of ‘relationship’ in the welfare system and the consequences for children.‘ The report includes 16 recommendations to modernise our welfare system which is no longer fit for the… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    2 weeks ago
  • A welfare system for the 21st Century
    Today Child Poverty Action Group released a background paper on ‘The complexities of ‘relationship’ in the welfare system and the consequences for children.‘ The report includes 16 recommendations to modernise our welfare system which is no longer fit for the… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    2 weeks ago
  • NZ should formally recognise Palestine
    New Zealand should follow the lead of Sweden, and now recognise Palestine as a separate state On 30 October, Sweden’s new government formally recognised the state of Palestine, only the second Western country to do so, after Iceland. Down here… ...
    GreensBy Kennedy Graham MP
    2 weeks ago
  • James Shaw’s adjournment speech on behalf of the Green Party
    It is a great honour for me to speak on behalf of the Green Party in this adjournment debate. I thank my colleagues for the privilege. I became a MP only 12 weeks ago, a period of time that seems… ...
    GreensBy James Shaw MP
    2 weeks ago
  • A Tale of Two Farms
    Pig farming has yet again been thrust into the public view with two programmes this week on Campbell Live highlighting the very different conditions for pigs on two very different farms. The first programme exposed the awful conditions on… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers MP
    2 weeks ago

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