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An outside view on CGT

Written By: - Date published: 7:03 am, July 8th, 2011 - 78 comments
Categories: labour, national, tax - Tags: ,

We tend to get very wrapped up in our own world here in NZ. Same old voices running the same old lines round and round in circles until we’re all dizzy and just a little bit nauseous. Sometimes it’s good to hop off the merry-go-round and seek an outside perspective on the issues of the day.

Case in point the CGT (capital gains tax) debate. Yesterday’s Morning Report interview with Sydney Morning Herald economics correspondent Peter Martin (hat tip Gordon Campbell) is an excellent overview of the topic, and an eye opener of an international perspective. The audio is here, but I’ve transcribed some extracts.

On how odd we are for not having a CGT:

I thought NZ was something of a worldwide orphan … members of both sides of [Australian] politics use NZ as a sort of case study in strangeness because there’s a yawning gap in New Zealand’s tax system, which isn’t there in the UK’s tax system, isn’t there in the US tax system, isn’t there in the Australian tax system.

And yet the New Zealanders showed the way for us in the mid 80’s with their goods and services tax. And yet there’s always been this strange thing missing that New Zealand’s been unable to do, and I must say I thought it would never happen, it would be one of the continuing quaint things about our cousins across the ditch.

On how a CGT allows all income to be treated as income:

… the idea is that if you earn a buck, you’ve earned a buck, it doesn’t matter how you’ve earned it. So if you earn a buck from working hard, labour, you’re taxed on that at your marginal tax rate. If you earn a buck from selling shares at a profit, or buying anything else really and selling it at a profit, speculation I suppose you could call it, you’re taxed on that at your marginal tax rate.

So if your marginal tax rate is low, 15%, that’s what you’re taxed. If your marginal tax rate is 30%, that’s what you’re taxed. …

There is no [separate] capital gains tax in Australia, and there is no [separate] capital gains tax in a lot of other countries. Capital gains are regarded as income.

Far from the nightmare of complexity that the Nats are trying to scare us with, that sounds pretty simple doesn’t it! There’s plenty of other good stuff in that interview on how the lack of a CGT creates damaging distortions in our tax system, and how (despite all dire predictions) the CGT didn’t destroy the property market in Australia. But I want to finish with one final point, that is particularly important, as hysterical Nats try and talk down the amount that a CGT might raise:

Raising isn’t the point. This is misunderstood.

A capital gains tax could be very effective if it raised nothing. What the capital gains tax does ideally is stop people, for tax reasons, changing income into capital gain. So even if the amount that you forecast you would raise from the capital gains tax is low, that isn’t an argument against the capital gains tax. Because if it is low, it’s because what it is doing is encouraging people to make fewer “capital gains” (with quotation marks around them) and make greater income.

It’s more a case of just not having (sort of) a big gap in the tax system people can drive trucks through.

Far from the complexity, avoidance, and low yield that the Nats would have you believe, the picture of CGT that emerges from this interview is one of simplicity, fairness, and closing loopholes. No wonder the Nats hate it.

78 comments on “An outside view on CGT”

  1. Harris was very clear and succinct.  I hope that his comments are utilised again.

    I bet the Labour leadership is pleased that on day three of that launch that was not the CGT debate is still going strong.  The debate in the various papers is fascinating.  The Herald said yesterday that Goff’s CGT proposal showed courage, and when you can rely on Hooten and Farrar for support you know the Nats have a headache.

    The proposal clearly shows that Labour has a plan and National does not.  And the tax will allow the Government not to sell shares in the power companies to cover the Government’s expenses. 

    • queenstfarmer 1.1

      the tax will allow the Government not to sell shares in the power companies to cover the Government’s expenses

      Agreed with you up to this point. Based on the SWG numbers, the estimate is that a CGT on investment property would bring in around $700m a year, after 15 years. How is that going to cover the Govt’s current expenses, let alone the spending increases promised by Labour?

      • Draco T Bastard 1.1.1

        Did you read this bit?

        Raising isn’t the point. This is misunderstood.

        A capital gains tax could be very effective if it raised nothing.

        If people are presently managing to structure their income as capital gains that income is not taxed. Throw in a CGT and that income becomes taxable even if the actual capital gains disappear. In other words, we may see a increase in tax take indirectly from the CGT as some present tax structures used to minimise tax are forgone.

        • queenstfarmer 1.1.1.1

          I agree. Hence, my questioning the assertion that the CGT would cover Govt expenses.

          • Draco T Bastard 1.1.1.1.1

            The CGT itself may not but it’s total effect probably will.

          • Deadly_NZ 1.1.1.1.2

            At the end of the day who really cares?? Just as long as it evens out the playing field and stops the insane property investment, that stops ‘working’ kiwi’s buying their own houses. And if they cant pay it (CGT) Sell up, then pay the tax, and if you still don’t like it. I hear that Somalia is ripe for property investment sharks, you should go well with the Pirates they’ll make you feel right at home. for a price.

      • mickysavage 1.1.2

        the estimate is that a CGT on investment property would bring in around $700m a year, after 15 years. How is that going to cover the Govt’s current expenses, let alone the spending increases promised by Labour?
         
        Initially I agree it will not cover current expenses.  Putting everything else aside if the Government does not sell the power company shares there is a $6 billion hole in the country’s finances that will need to be replaced with borrowing.
         
        As time goes by this hole can be refilled by the larger than otherwise dividend stream that the Government will receive and also by CGT as payments start.
         
        The interest cost on the extra borrowing will be in the vicinity of $300 million a year which is less than the forecast dividend stream.

        EDIT: I also agree with Draco that the general tax take should increase and this will also help fill in the hole.

  2. Chris 2

    Yes it is a bolder plan by Labour, it will make sure they won’t win the election, but it’s a plan even if it’s in the wrong direction to win an election.

    • Colonial Viper 2.1

      In that case I hope Labour comes up with many more policies which “make sure they won’t win the election” 🙂

  3. aj 3

    A CGT is not going to stop people from striving for capital gains. It just means that the $100,000 windfall gain becomes $85,000, or the $1,000,000 gain becomes $850,000

    That’s no going to be end times for investors in any market that may be caught by a CGT. The arguments against it are just the normal ideological ones that come from those who view any form of taxation as theft.

    • felix 3.1

      “The arguments against it are just the normal ideological ones that come from those who view any form of taxation as theft.”

      This.

      • That’s nonsense. There are always valid arguments, ideological and others, for and against any tax.

        Virtually everyone accepts that tax is essential, so “view any form of taxation as theft” is a poor attempt at labelling abuse.

        • felix 3.1.1.1

          Not from you there aren’t.

        • Draco T Bastard 3.1.1.2

          Most people accept that taxes are necessary. The psychopaths leading National and Act think it’s theft.

        • Deadly_NZ 3.1.1.3

          Really I think that to have a work mate pay a lesser amount of tax just because he has an investment property is obscene. Bring on the CGT.

    • Frank Macskasy 3.2

      Indeed, Aj.

      I recall the same arguments against GST – and that tax hit low-income earners/beneficiaries/superannuitants even worse.

      Yet, here we are twentyfour years later – the world has not ended. (*Looks out window to confirm continuing existence of the universe*)

      • Draco T Bastard 3.2.1

        (*Looks out window to confirm continuing existence of the universe*)

        Testing…

        • Deadly_NZ 3.2.1.1

          Oh shoot the Yes button failed, press………..press……….press…………press…………
          ” We are sorry Universal testing failed”
          “self destruct armed. 15 minutes to detonation”
          “Please enter your 256k encryption code, to disarm”
          “Sorry you took too long”
          b
          y
          e

  4. Australia is the obvious place to look to for the pros and cons of a Capital Gains Tax. And there’s obviously good reasons why many countries use CGT in various forms – as in fact we already do in New Zealand.

    But there’s a lot more to it than one glowing review of one opinion.

    Far from the complexity, avoidance, and low yield…

    A quick squiz at Capital gains tax in Australia suggests it mightn’t be quite as simple as you’re making out.

    Avoidance is an issue with any form of taxation.

    Yield can be low, especially in the first decade of implementation, and can be quite variable, as shown here: Chart of the day, ruining it for everyone edition. It’s noticable how slow and low it can be, and the impact it can have on tax take during a recession.

    • Colonial Viper 4.1

      Why don’t you read the post and listen to the piece before commenting mate, you know the bit where the guy says a CGT could raise no money and still be very effective. Loser.

      • Why don’t you read the post and what I quoted? You know, the bit where they guy says:

        Far from the complexity, avoidance, and low yield that the Nats would have you believe

  5. Longinius Howard 5

    That should be nauseated not nauseous

  6. The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 6

    “A capital gains tax could be very effective if it raised nothing.”

    Yet yesterday:

    “Danyl at DimPost nails it with characteristic economy – “National wants to finance the rebuilding of Christchurch via asset sales; Labour via a tax on property speculation”.”

    If CGT is going to raise no money, how is Labour going to fund its promises?

    • Colonial Viper 6.1

      Christchurch needs to be funded and rebuilt over the next 10 or more years, not in the next 2 years.

      • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 6.1.1

        That’s brilliantly answered, then.

        If CGT is to be enacted to raise the money that National wants to raise by partial asset sales, but it is acknowledged that a CGT will raise no revenue, is there not a little problemette?

        • felix 6.1.1.1

          Try reading the post Ole. If CG is treated as income then the normal income tax applies.

          • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 6.1.1.1.1

            Only it is not. In Australia, if you have held the asset for a year it is not taxed as other income. it is taxed at 50% of the rate of income.

            But that wasn’t my point in any event.

            I am inclined to favour the tax as a re-balancing exercise, something the post lauds (“Raising isn’t the point.”) That’s fine. But if it raises no extra money you can’t claim it as the counter-balance to partial asset sales.

            • felix 6.1.1.1.1.1

              If more CGs are classed as income then more income is taxed then more money is raised.

              • higherstandard

                What about the losses ?

                • Daveo

                  Aren’t losses already able to be written off against tax on other income?

                  • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell

                    Not if they are on capital account.

                    • Totally buggered

                      The last time the country was in panic mode over debt we sold our railways telecommunications forestry fishing banks an airline and and god knows what else and began the process of privatizing our power companies ,all of which made huge profits for the advertising industry law firms overseas profits to everywhere else and put alot of people out of work.We got in return Australian companies setting the platform for NZ business not that that was entirely detrimental but it did change us from being able to see the wood for the trees which is to say we didnt have a grip on the detail in this international carve up of the country.
                      Our core resources last time were agriculture fishing forestry and cheap power now it is importing other peoples money for housing and growing an urban economy cos its easier, bugger food its in the too hard basket yeah right .Farming is being forced to rape the water and ecology of the country because we failed to secure our fishing industry and stop the consumption of agricultural land for urban sprawl.
                      Why should we have to allow all the fishing nations in the world the right to our resource without being able to control the value of that resource all the way back to where they come from.Might over right.
                      So when the environment is fucked and the food supply is the price of Japan’s the only people who will be able to live here will be the ones who have made their money else where which is the road we are going down. We cant even manage 4 million people let alone think we could support 15million.
                      Capital gains tax might be a good start in bringing some sense to this country’s finance problems

    • Draco T Bastard 6.2

      Yep, still gormless and still a fool. Taking a sentence out of context is a good way to the lose meaning and thus the argument. And you hadn’t even begun yet.

      • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 6.2.1

        Still a bastard, I see (handle hilarity never gets old).

        There I was thinking that a large point of the post was that a CGT is valuable for re-balancing, even if it raises no money.

        Man, am I stupid.

        • Draco T Bastard 6.2.1.1

          Two things:
          1.) The CGT will probably raise some money itself. It’s actually highly unlikely to raise none although it’s possible to be low.
          2.) The existence of a CGT will likely cause a shift in present tax structures which will most likely cause an increase in the tax take.

          Both of these points you completely failed to address and yet they were both within the scope of the context of the first sentence you quoted.

          Man, am I stupid.

          Yes, you are.

          • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 6.2.1.1.1

            Yes. I did fail to address them, didn’t I? But then, I did not then fully appreciate that it fell to me (and apparently, to me alone) to present a point-by-point refutation of every aspect of the post. Nor did I then completely grasp that a failure to do so made me stupid.

            Luckily for you, I do not require such rigour from you, Bastard. If you feel like it, you might address the sole point I raised which was: how can you claim the CGT will make partial asset sales unnecessary while at the same time accepting that it will raise not much revenue?

            And if you choose not to (as you have twice so far) I doubt I will find it necessary to put it down to your lack of intellect (although I have to say, if you cannot find terms of abuse other than those I have already applied to myself I may have to conclude that you are a little derivative).

  7. higherstandard 7

    So when’s the actual policy details coming out ?

    The speculation about what’s in or out of the CGT is getting a bit boring.

  8. queenstfarmer 8

    Good commentary. One point though, remember that in NZ capital gains are regarded as income in a variety of circumstances (at the marginal tax rate), however the gaping hole in this is investment property.

  9. Lanthanide 9

    A (really boring) tax professor from Auckland University I think it was, some university anyway, was on the radio this morning saying that actually the guy yesterday oversimplified and distorted how Australia’s system really worked.

    He said that actually Australia has a ledger separate from your normal income tax at which capital gains are on and on taxed at (and losses are carried forward separate). He didn’t give a precise clarification on what this meant, but I think the gist of it is that if you’re earning $100k salary and your marginal tax rate is say 30%, if you make capital gains of $20k in the year they will go onto the separate CGT scale at $20k and you might pay 15% tax on them, and they are not added to your income tax (so you don’t effectively earn $120k in income and pay 30% marginal on the extra $20k).

    So, given that, I’d be a bit weary to rely on anything specific yesterday’s “economics correspondent” said.

    • Draco T Bastard 9.1

      I’m not. What he said, that income should be taxed no matter how it’s “earned”, makes sense. On top of that, obviously the one Labour is putting forward won’t be the same as the Australian one and is, hopefully, even better after learning lessons from the Australian one.

      • hopefully, even better after learning lessons from the Australian one.

        Yes, hopefully, and that’s an advantage of following rather than leading with new tax systems.

        Labour probably still have a few years to fine tune their version.

    • Lanthanide, the Australian addressed this. He mentioned that the Howard government changed it from the marginal tax rate to the scheme you outlined (and effectively cut it to 15% or thereabouts).

      So – at least on that basis – you shouldn’t ignore his other points. 

  10. marsman 10

    Duncan Garner, Jackboot Joyce’s Mediaworks Poodle, lead a scaremongering bleat-along on the ‘ news’ last night. The sale of farms will be taxed, in headlines. A farmer’s representative was nearly apoplectic trying to give reasons why this would be unfair, he said ‘ a tax on the sale of assets is against the NZ psyche’. (!)

    • Colonial Viper 10.1

      Well it’s again a certain minority interest group’s psyche anyways.

    • queenstfarmer 10.2

      Provided that farms are going to be taxed then it’s hardly scaremongering. But the farmers need to calm down and not spout nonsense (“against the NZ psyche”).

      For a start, I’d suggest it’s in everyone’s interest that the days of do-nothing capital gains for even marginal farms are over (for a decent while, anyway).

      Secondly, any capital gain will be (I expect) offsettable against the massive capital expenditure that farms typically require (or at least, require to warrant a genuine capital gain).

    • dave brown 10.3

      NZ pychopathology more like. I think its this underworld of entrenched settler entitlement that making Labour bring in a Clayton’s CGT at 15%. If the CGT was a the marginal tax rate there might be a bit more booty, but a hell of a lot more fury among the petty bourgeoisie. If capital gains is to be treated as income it should be added to total household income and taxed at marginal rates?

      • Colonial Viper 10.3.1

        The issue is inflation eroding away over time the value of the capital gains from any held asset.

        If you buy $10K of property today and sell it next month for $14K that’s a $4K capital gain right?

        If you buy $10K of property and sell it in 10 years time for $14K you make nothing – adjusted for inflation. To take another bite out of that at the marginal tax rate means you lose value, in terms of inflation adjusted dollars.

        • Ian Boag 10.3.1.1

          Agreed – the inflation thing has to be considered. There’s the other factor that if the purchase of the asset involved debt (as they usually do) the % gain of your asset will be greater than the inflation rate. Gearing and all that.

          Treating half the gain (rather than all of it) as income is a simple and reasonably fair way of dealing with this. Possibly that’s part of why the Australians, Canadians and Americans do it this way.

          While we’re at it, one might note that no country collects tax on unrealised gains and everyone exempts the family home. Can’t see an NZ CGT (if it happens) being different.

          According to the Tax Working Group the Oz CGT collects about $20b/year. Given that we are about 20% of their size then it seems reasonable to think the figure in NZ for a similar tax would be about $4b give or take a bit.

      • Chris 10.3.2

        There has been a bit of a study on this and it was found that making capital gains at marginal tax rates actually reduces the revenue for the government:

        http://www.adamsmith.org/publications/economy/the-effect-of-capital-gains-tax-rises-on-revenues/

        Admittedly this is looking at the effect of tax increases and decreases as opposed to the introduction of the tax but still applies.

      • Colonial Viper 10.3.3

        yeah anytime I read right wing analyses it says that lowering tax rates to zero magically causes tax revenues to shoot up

        Look at how well it works in the USA

        • Chris 10.3.3.1

          What are you talking about?

          I don’t think it should be at zero I agree with a capital gains tax. I was just trying to say it shouldn’t be at the marginal tax rates. Instead of just posting that randomly without any backing, like you the way you have dismissed it, I decided to find some research which backed it up.

          In case you were wondering nowhere in the that study does it advocate removing a capital gains tax as a way to increase revenues.

  11. Frank Macskasy 11

    As I pointed out to Redlogix, in the thread “The housing market implications of capital gains tax”, I’ve owned rental properties as well (still do).

    I could never understand why, when I sold two of them, I could ‘earn’ a tax-free capital gain. The first time my accountant told me this, I thought he was incompetant and actually sought other advice. That advice confirmed my accountant.

    On top of that, I could claim for “depreciation” – even while my property values were going up. (Point of interest: I considered the tax policy of claiming for depreciation on a house that was APPRECIATING in value, to be obscene. I never claimed for it.)

    As an investor, I’ll put my money into property and rent out to a low-income family. I don’t expect to be given a “free ride” in the taxation system and not pay my fair share, should I sell a house and make a gain.

    That is why Labour’s plan for a CGT is timely – actually, way past timely! – and fair. No one else gets tax exemptions for mondey they make – why should property investors? Otherwise, quite simply, we are bludging off hard working kiwis who earn wages and businesspeople who take risks in their ventures.

    So, kudos to Phil Goff.

    And shame on John Key for attempting to perpetuate a social injustice and economic nonsense.

  12. Endymion 12

    “On how a CGT allows all income to be treated as income…

    If you earn a buck from selling shares at a profit, or buying anything else really and selling it at a profit, speculation I suppose you could call it, you’re taxed on that at your marginal tax rate.”

    If the IRD can establish that you earn your living ‘speculating’ on shares, FX, the horses or even pokey machines it already has the option of treating it as ‘earned income’ for taxation. That probably isn’t as well enforced as it could and should be, but all a CGT does is widen the net to bring in so-called ‘mum-and-dad shareholders’.

    Moreover a capital gains tax is, like GST, a tax on inflation.

    • Draco T Bastard 12.1

      If the IRD can establish that you earn your living ‘speculating’ on shares, FX, the horses or even pokey machines it already has the option of treating it as ‘earned income’ for taxation.

      It’s probably not enforced well because the legislation is so fuzzy it makes it easy to dodge. A CGT fixes that.

      Moreover a capital gains tax is, like GST, a tax on inflation.

      Apparently it’s set at 15% and not the full tax rate so as to account for inflation.

  13. SHG 13

    A CGT didn’t kill the Australian property investment market because of the way the investment revenue is offset against the mortgage under the Aussie tax system.

    For example:

    I borrow money to buy a property.

    The repayments cost me $y/month.

    I put some tenants into the property and they pay me $z/month

    If z is less than y – if I’m making less in rent than I’m paying in interest – then the property is negatively-geared and y becomes tax deductible, as does every single expense to do with the property, since on paper I’m losing money by owning the house.

    • Lanthanide 13.1

      Works the same here, except you can only claim mortgage interest, not mortgage principle.

      If you were using a LAQC then you could claim the entire mortgage expense.

      • SHG 13.1.1

        And then you can sell the house, pay off the mortgage, and pocket everything remaining as pure profit, untaxed?

  14. Thinking more about the way this debate is working it is a very neat skewering of John Key himself.  If he objects and complains all that he will be doing is adopting a position where he can be accused of acting out of self interest.  As I/S points out he is essentially favouring those with capital over those who work for a living.
     

    • Jim Nald 14.1

      “skewering” – hehe

      Might we see John Armstrong’s headline for his upcoming piece to read:

      “Labour’s CGT: John Keybab Getting The Heat From His Doners”

    • Lanthanide 14.2

      Wonder if they would fly in a debate in parliament.

      “The prime minister, and other ministers of the cabinet, between them own xx properties. It’s easy to see why they don’t want a CGT introduced into this country”.

  15. tsmithfield 15

    We already have a capital gains tax in NZ. Its called GST. If the price at sale is higher, the GST is higher.

    • Colonial Viper 15.1

      ?

      GST doesn’t apply to shares or established rental properties

    • rd 15.2

      And if the property is sold with the tenants as a going concern the GST is 0 rated.

    • lprent 15.3

      Huh. Perhaps you should look at this as a very short summary.

      It is a sales tax that is applied at the universal rate of 15% on almost everything you buy – notable exceptions are:

      house sales
      house rentals
      privately sold second-hand goods
      financial services such as mortgages, loans and investments
      the sale of a business that is capable of being a going concern.

  16. mikesh 16

    CGT is still problematic. A better approach would be to disallow, for tax purposes, all expenses related to property, on the grounds that they are capital related rather than income related.

  17. Craig Glen Eden 17

    Yup the Nats are worried theirs no doubt about that, this tax is polarizing. This policy (CGT) on top of others Labour has released makes a clear difference between National and Labour. National have no more dead rats to swallow last time they pretended they were light blue and you can trust the nice MR Key he will deliver a brighter future. Facts are he hasn’t, wage gap with Aussie isnt closing,Government debt is up not down, increased people unemployed the whole aspirational brighter future is looking a lot like some bad investment rip off. Labour just has to weight for the Hanover effect and it will be very interesting to see which way the investors chose to spend their vote.

  18. tsmithfield 18

    So that seems to be more a problem with GST law than an argument for a CGT.

  19. tsmithfield 19

    Sorry. My comment above didn’t attach to the correct thread for some reason.

    I would be interested in comments on how a CGT copes with inflation. If an asset increases in value at the rate of inflation there hasn’t actually been a true gain, so should it be taxed?

    • Colonial Viper 19.1

      I’ve learnt that’s probably why the CGT is set significantly under the marginal income tax rate.

  20. tsmithfield 20

    Perhaps. But it still doesn’t completely deal with the inequity of the situation. Capital gains are quite different to trading gains, where the profit usually accrues in close proximity to the purchase. So inflation isn’t such an issue. But with a CGT an asset might be sold 20 years after the purchase. In that case the government is likely making a windfall gain on the basis of inflation.

    • Draco T Bastard 20.1

      You’re just not with it today are you? That’s why it’s set at 15% and not 30%. Personally I’d prefer proper indexing but it seems people are already too scared about it being “complex”.

    • Colonial Viper 20.2

      Yeah an outlier case like that is likely to end up with a higher effective tax rate, once inflation is factored in.

      While properties sold within a few years of acquisition (which form most of investment property transactions I figure) are likely to end up with a lower effective tax rate.

      Remember a family home sold after 20 years occupation and ownership is exempt from the CGT.

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    This week we moved into the second half of 2020 - and our Government delivered another week of big changes and major progress for New Zealanders. Read below for a wrap of the key things moments from the week - from extending paid parental leave, to making major investments in ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Green Party opposes RMA fast-track bill that cut corners on environmental safeguards and public cons...
    The Green Party has opposed the COVID-19 Recovery Fast-track Consenting Bill which shortcuts normal consenting processes under the Resource Management Act (RMA), reduces public participation and narrows environmental considerations. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Site of new freight hub revealed
    Hon Shane Jones, Minister of Regional Economic Development A regional freight hub for the lower North Island will be built just northeast of Palmerston North, Regional Development Minister Shane Jones has announced. The Government is investing $40 million through the Provincial Growth Fund to designate and buy land and design ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Greens call for Guaranteed Minimum Income to alleviate skyrocketing debt with MSD
    Green Party Co-leader Marama Davidson is calling for the introduction of a Guaranteed Minimum Income to lift hundreds of thousands of people out of poverty and prevent more families entering into further debt with the Ministry of Social Development.  ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Winston Peters: Facts matter when taxpayer money is on the line
    There has been renewed focus on New Zealand First acting as a handbrake on the Government after our decision to not support Auckland light rail. We are a handbrake for bad ideas, that is true, but our track record since 2017 has seen New Zealand First constructively also serve as an ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Bill raising minimum residency requirement for NZ Super passes first reading
    Mark Patterson MP, New Zealand First List MP New Zealand First’s Fair Residency for Superannuation Bill passed its First Reading in Parliament today. The Bill makes a significant change to NZ Super by raising the minimum residency requirement from 10 to 20 years, after age 20. “Currently, a migrant of ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Harsher penalties for assaults on first responders one step closer
    Darroch Ball MP, Spokesperson for Law and Order A New Zealand First member’s bill in the name of Darroch Ball introducing a six-month minimum prison sentence for assaults on first responders has passed its second reading in Parliament. The new offence of "injuring a first responder or corrections officer with ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Criminal Cases Review Commission delivers Coalition promise
    Fletcher Tabuteau MP, Deputy Leader of New Zealand First New Zealand First welcomes the launch of the new Criminal Cases Review Commission, gifted with the name from Waikato-Tainui - Te Kāhui Tātari Ture, announced in Hamilton today by Justice Minister Andrew Little. “New Zealand First has long believed in and ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Greens welcome huge new investment in sustainable projects
    The Green Party is celebrating over $800m in new funding for green projects, which will get people into jobs while solving New Zealand’s long-term challenges. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand First demands answers from Meridian Energy
    Mark Patterson MP, Spokesperson for Primary Industries New Zealand First is appalled that Meridian seems to have been unnecessarily spilling water from its dams to drive up its profits."While New Zealanders have been coming together in some of our darkest hours, we don’t expect power gentailers to waste water and ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Getting New Zealand moving again: June 2020
    We wrapped up the first half of 2020 with a busy month, taking additional steps to support New Zealanders as we continue with our economic recovery. We rolled out targeted packages to support key industries like tourism and construction, helped create jobs in the environmental and agriculture sectors, and set ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Māori union leader appointed to Infrastructure Commission board
    Hon Shane Jones, Minister for Infrastructure Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones has welcomed the appointment of Maurice Davis and his deep infrastructure and construction experience to the board of the Infrastructure Commission. Mr Davis (Ngāti Maniapoto), is the seventh and final appointment to the board led by former Reserve Bank Governor ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Click-bait journalism at its worst
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, Leader of New Zealand First New Zealand’s click bait journalism is taking a turn for the worse, with yet another example of sensationalist, wilful-misrepresentation of the facts. “New Zealand First has worked constructively with its Coalition partner on hundreds of pieces of legislation and policy, and ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Green Party proposes transformational Poverty Action Plan
    The Green Party is today unveiling its Poverty Action Plan, which includes a Guaranteed Minimum Income to ensure people have enough to live with dignity.     ...
    2 weeks ago
  • PGF accelerates Rotorua projects
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, Deputy Prime Minister Fletcher Tabuteau MP, Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development The Rotorua Museum redevelopment and Whakarewarewa and Tokorangi Forest projects will be accelerated thanks to a $2.09 million Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) boost, Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters and Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Week That Was: Getting people into jobs
    This week, we rolled out the next steps of our recovery plan, with new infrastructure investment, extra support for tourism operators, and a new programme to get Kiwis into agriculture careers. The global economic consequences of COVID-19 will continue to be a challenge, but we have a detailed plan to ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Coalition commitment establishing Mental Health Commission delivered
    Jenny Marcroft MP, Spokesperson for Health New Zealand First welcomes the passage of the Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission Bill through its final reading in Parliament today fulfilling a coalition agreement commitment. “This is an important step in saving the lives of New Zealanders and delivers a key coalition commitment ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Whakatāne gets a $2.5m ‘turbo boost’
    Whakatāne has been given a $2.5 million boost to speed up previously funded projects and create more than 450 jobs in the next decade. Of those, the equivalent of 160 full-time jobs could be delivered in the next six weeks. Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters is in town to make ...
    3 weeks ago
  • $2.5m PGF funding to speed up economic recovery in Whakatāne
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, Deputy Prime Minister Fletcher Tabuteau MP, Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is investing $2.5 million to accelerate three infrastructure projects in Whakatāne, Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters and Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau announced today. “This package is about ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Shane Jones calls out those holding drought-stricken Auckland ‘to ransom’ over water
    Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones is throwing his weight behind a bid by the Auckland Council to fast-track the more than doubling of the city's water allowance from the Waikato River. And he's coming out strongly against anyone who plans on getting in the way of this campaign. "It is my ...
    3 weeks ago

  • Condolences on passing of Sir Toke Talagi
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has expressed his condolences regarding the passing of Niue’s former Premier, Sir Toke Talagi, which occurred today in Niue. “Sir Toke, who was also formerly Niue’s Foreign Minister, made a significant contribution to Niue over a long career. He served as a dedicated Premier of ...
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    5 hours ago
  • Prime Minister extends condolences on passing of Niue’s former Premier
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has extended New Zealand’s condolences following the death of Niue’s former Premier, Sir Toke Talagi, who has passed away in Niue.  “We extend our condolences to his family and to the people of Niue. Sir Toke was an elder statesman of the Pacific and a long ...
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    6 hours ago
  • Gore community facilities get Government backing
    Two leaking and run-down community facilities in Gore will receive Government funding to provide jobs for local contractors and long-term benefits to the Gore community and wider region, Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones has announced. The funding comes from the $3 billion tagged contingency set aside in Budget 2020 for infrastructure. ...
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    8 hours ago
  • Next steps in COVID response
    Kia ora tatou Today I am setting out our plan in the event we have a new case of community transmission of COVID-19 in New Zealand. I will take a bit of time to do that, and then I’ll be happy to take questions at the end. Since we moved ...
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    13 hours ago
  • Government steps up action on waste – funds recycling infrastructure and expands levy scheme
    ·$124 million Government investment in recycling infrastructure ·Plans confirmed to increase and expand the waste levy to divert material from landfill, and recycle revenue into resource recovery and waste minimisation ·Innovative construction and demolition facility opened in Auckland with $3.1 million in support from Government’s Waste Minimisation Fund (WMF). As ...
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    14 hours ago
  • Wellbeing infrastructure for Kaipara
    A package of wellbeing infrastructure investments in Kaipara which focuses on improving the lives of the elderly and upgrading the iconic Kauri Museum has been announced by Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones today. “These shovel-ready projects will have significant benefits for their respective communities and I’m pleased this funding ...
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    2 days ago
  • More support rolls out for SMEs
    More support is rolling out for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) from the COVID Response and Recovery Fund, to help them adapt and innovate to deal with the impact of the virus. The Ministers for Economic Development and Small Business have announced a further $40 million for the Regional Business ...
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    2 days ago
  • District Court Judge appointed
    Stephen Clark, Māori Land Court Judge of Hamilton has been appointed as a District Court Judge with jury jurisdiction to be based in Hamilton, Attorney-General David Parker announced today. Judge Clark graduated with an LLB from Auckland University in 1988 and was admitted to the Bar in the same year. ...
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    2 days ago
  • Hawke’s Bay Airport agreement protects jobs, safeguards terminal development
    The Crown will provide a loan to Hawke’s Bay Airport to ensure it can trade through COVID-19 economic impacts, support the region’s recovery and protect up to 200 jobs. The Crown has a 50 percent shareholding in Hawke’s Bay Airport Limited (HBAL), with Napier City Council holding 26 percent and ...
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    2 days ago
  • Funding boost for four cultural events
    Four celebrated Māori and Pasifika events will receive up to $100,000 each in funding from the new Creative and Cultural Events Incubator fund, Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford announced today. The four events that were successful in the inaugural funding round are: Kia Mau Festival, Wellington Māoriland Film Festival, Otaki ...
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    3 days ago
  • Inaugural launch of Kiribati Language Week
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio is pleased to announce the inaugural launch of Kiribati Language Week as part of the 2020 Pacific language Weeks programme. “I am so pleased that this year we are able to provide resourcing support to the Kiribati community in Aotearoa which will ...
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    4 days ago
  • New support package for wildlife institutions
    Wildlife institutions affected by a loss of visitor revenue during the COVID-19 lockdown are set to receive government support with nearly $15 million of funding available announced Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage.  “Eco-sanctuaries, zoos, aquariums, wildlife parks, and wildlife rescue, hospital and rehabilitation facilities provide crucial support for the recovery ...
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    5 days ago
  • 300,000 students to benefit from free mental health services
    The Government is expanding and accelerating frontline mental health and wellbeing services at tertiary education institutes (TEI) to help students manage ongoing stresses related to COVID-19. “The lockdown has been hugely disruptive for students. Many of them have had to relocate and move to online learning, isolating them from their ...
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    5 days ago
  • Gang crime, meth harm targeted in Waikato
    The Minister of Police says a major operation against the Mongrel Mob in Waikato will make a big dent in drug harm and violent offending linked to organised crime networks. “Senior leadership of the Waikato Mongrel Mob has been taken out as a result of Operation Kingsville, which resulted in ...
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    5 days ago
  • Supporting victims and families to attend mosque attack sentencing
    The Government is extending the border exception criteria to enable some offshore victims and support people of the Christchurch mosque attacks to attend the sentencing of the accused beginning on 24 August2020, says Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway. “We want to support our valued Muslim brothers and sisters who were directly ...
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    5 days ago
  • Boost for community freshwater restoration projects
    A project to support volunteer efforts to look after streams and rivers is getting a boost thanks to support from DOC’s Community Conservation Fund announced Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage today.  “The government is backing efforts to look after waterways with $199,400 for the Mountains to Sea Conservation Trust from ...
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    5 days ago
  • More support for women and girls
    Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter today announced that funding for the COVID-19 Community Fund for women and girls will be doubled, as the first successful funding applications for the initial $1million were revealed. “Women and girls across the country have suffered because of the effects of COVID-19, and I ...
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    5 days ago
  • Crown accounts stronger than forecast with higher consumer spending
    The Government’s books were better than forecast with a higher GST take as the economy got moving again after lockdown, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. The Crown Accounts for the 11 months to the end of May indicate the year end results for tax revenue will be stronger than forecast. ...
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    6 days ago
  • Govt releases plan to revitalise wool sector
    A plan to revitalise New Zealand’s strong wool sector and set it on a new, more sustainable and profitable path was unveiled today by Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor. The newly-released report - Vision and Action for New Zealand’s Wool Sector - was developed by the Wool Industry Project Action Group ...
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    6 days ago
  • Funding for Predator Free Whangārei
    Community efforts to create a Predator Free Whangārei will receive a $6 million boost, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage announced today. The new funding, through Government company Predator Free 2050 Ltd, will create around 12 jobs while enabling the complete removal of possums over ...
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    6 days ago
  • New Zealand to review relationship settings with Hong Kong
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has announced that the New Zealand Government is reviewing the settings of its relationship with Hong Kong. “China’s decision to pass a new national security law for Hong Kong has fundamentally changed the environment for international engagement there,” Mr Peters said. “New Zealand remains deeply ...
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    6 days ago
  • Funding for Whangārei’s infrastructure projects revealed
    Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones has announced details of a multimillion-dollar investment in Whangārei for infrastructure projects that will help it recover from the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 200 jobs are expected to be created through the $26 million investment from the Government’s rejuvenation package ...
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    6 days ago
  • Managed isolation and quarantine update
    Following a second incident in which a person escaped from a managed isolation facility, security is being enhanced, including more police presence onsite, Minister Megan Woods said. “The actions of some individuals who choose to break the very clear rules to stay within the facilities means that more resourcing is ...
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    6 days ago
  • Funding for Kaipara district community waste programmes
    Waste reduction and recycling programmes in Kaipara are set to get a boost with Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage today announcing a $361,447 grant from the Ministry for the Environment’s Waste Minimisation Fund (WMF) Sustainable Kaipara. “The new funding will allow Sustainable Kaipara to partner with local schools, kura, community ...
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    6 days ago
  • Government will support the people and economy of Southland
    The Government will support the Southland economy in the wake of multinational mining company Rio Tinto’s decision to follow through with its long signalled closure of the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter. “This day has unfortunately been on the cards for some time now, but nevertheless the final decision is a ...
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    7 days ago
  • New transformational tools for the Predator Free 2050 effort
    New tools being developed to help boost Aotearoa’s Predator Free 2050 effort were unveiled today by Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage and Under Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau. A new rat poison, a camera with predator recognition software to detect and report predators, a new predator lure and a ...
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    7 days ago
  • New Armoured vehicles for New Zealand Army
    The Coalition Government has approved the purchase of a fleet of Bushmaster vehicles to replace the New Zealand Army’s armoured Pinzgauers, Defence Minister Ron Mark has announced today. The new fleet of 43 Australian-designed and built Bushmaster NZ5.5 will provide better protection for personnel and improved carrying capacity. “The age ...
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    1 week ago
  • Community-led solutions to prevent family violence
    The Government’s three prevention frameworks to reduce family violence in Aotearoa were launched this week by Associate Minister for Social Development Poto Williams.   The frameworks were developed in partnership with communities around New Zealand, and build on the work the Government has already begun with its new family violence prevention ...
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    1 week ago
  • Govt confirms investment in better radiology and surgical services for Hawke’s Bay
    The Government is pleased to confirm funding for improvements to radiology and surgical services at Hawke's Bay DHB, Health Minister Chris Hipkins says.     "The Minister of Finance the Hon Grant Robertson and former Health Minister Dr David Clark approved funding for Hawke's Bay DHB’s redevelopment of their radiology facilities ...
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    1 week ago
  • Specialist alcohol and drug addiction services strengthened across New Zealand
    •    New funding for four beds at Napier’s Springhill Residential Addiction Centre •    A new managed withdrawal home and community service, and peer support before and after residential care at Tairāwhiti DHB  •    A co-ordinated network of withdrawal management services throughout the South Island •    Peer support in Rotorua and ...
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    1 week ago
  • Coastal Shipping Webinar
    Introduction, seafarers and POAL Good morning everyone, I am delighted to be online with you all today. Before I begin, I have to acknowledge that COVID-19 has disrupted the maritime sector on an unprecedented scale. The work of seafarers and the maritime industry is keeping many economies around the world ...
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    1 week ago
  • Support for resilient rail connection to the West Coast
    A $13 million investment from Government will create jobs and improve the resilience of the rail connection between Christchurch and the West Coast, Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones and Regional Economic Development Under-Secretary Fletcher Tabuteau say. The funding comes from the tagged contingency set aside in Budget 2020 for infrastructure projects ...
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    1 week ago
  • Major investment in safe drinking water
    The Government is investing $761 million to assist local government upgrade under-pressure water services across the country, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced today.  The announcement was made at the site of the water bore that was found to be the source of the fatal ...
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    1 week ago
  • Supporting stranded seasonal workers to keep working with more flexible options
    Recognised Seasonal Employers and migrant seasonal workers stranded in New Zealand will be able to continue working and supporting themselves with more flexible hours and roles, says Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway. The time-limited visa changes are: Stranded RSE workers will be able to work part-time (a minimum of 15 hours ...
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    1 week ago
  • Relief for temporary migrants, employers and New Zealanders who need work
    The Government is making immediate short-term changes to visa settings to support temporary migrants already onshore in New Zealand and their employers, while also ensuring New Zealanders needing work are prioritised, Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says. We are: Extending temporary work visas due to expire by the end of 2020 ...
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    1 week ago
  • Freshwater commissioners and fast-track consenting convenor appointed
    Professor Peter Skelton CNZM has been appointed as Chief Freshwater Commissioner and Alternate Environment Court Judge Craig James Thompson as Deputy Chief Freshwater Commissioner for the newly established Freshwater Planning Process (FPP). Environment Minister David Parker today also announced the appointment of Chief Environment Court Judge Laurie Newhook as the ...
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    1 week ago
  • Appointment of Judge of the High Court
    Auckland Queen’s Counsel Neil Campbell has been appointed a Judge of the High Court, Attorney‑General David Parker announced today. Justice Campbell graduated with a BCom and LLB (Hons) from the University of Auckland in 1992. He spent two years with Bell Gully Buddle Weir in Auckland before travelling to the United ...
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    1 week ago
  • Feedback sought – Commercial Film and Video Production Facilities
    The Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration, Poto Williams, is seeking feedback on a proposal to better enable the development and operation of commercial film and video facilities in Christchurch. The Proposal, developed by Regenerate Christchurch in response to a request from Christchurch City Council, asks that powers under section ...
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    1 week ago
  • Govt launches bold primary sector plan to boost economic recovery
    The Government has launched a bold plan to boost primary sector export earnings by $44 billion over the next decade, while protecting the environment and growing jobs. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern today released Fit for a Better World – Accelerating our Economic Potential, a 10-year roadmap to unlock greater value ...
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    1 week ago
  • Wellbeing of whanau at heart of new hub
    A new approach to prevent family harm that encourages greater collaboration across government and community groups is being celebrated at the opening of a new facility in Auckland. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern today opened the Multi-Disciplinary Family Harm Prevention Hub Te Taanga Manawa in Lambie Road in Manukau. The facility ...
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    1 week ago