Ardern cautious on capital gains tax

Written By: - Date published: 7:04 am, August 23rd, 2017 - 146 comments
Categories: capital gains, jacinda ardern, labour, tax - Tags: , , , , ,

Yesterday The Herald ran a panel based “job interview” for Jacinda Ardern and Bill English, the write up is here:
Jacinda Ardern vs Bill English: Relentless dissatisfaction vs bloody-minded positivity

After Ardern’s interview much was made of the fact that she declined to rule out a capital gains tax, pending the advice of an expert advisory group:
Ardern’s ‘captain’s call’ to not rule out capital gains tax
No capital gains tax yet – Jacinda Ardern
VIDEO: Jacinda Ardern won’t rule out capital gains tax

For anyone paying attention this was not new news. A week ago:
Labour leader Ardern maintains ‘right and ability’ to introduce Capital Gains Tax if working group suggests it next term; Would exempt ‘family home’

A capital gains tax on property other than the family home makes perfect sense – most OECD countries have them (most OECD countries have better housing affordability than us). Our back catalogue on capital gains tax is here. The Nats have introduced a week form of a CGT already.

Ardern is right to be cautious on the issue before the election. But if we have a Labour led government in October, the issue of a more robust CGT needs serious consideration.

146 comments on “Ardern cautious on capital gains tax”

  1. Ad 1

    Ardern had better get it straight, fast. Not just “form a committee”.

    The Auckland property market is cooling fast, and with that go the fates of several hundred thousand people and their equity that they were planning their retirement around.

    A Labour government proposing going “cold Turkey” off the entire real estate paradigm may appeal to a radical fringe, but English know it’s where his 40% of support remains.

    And of course, part of that 40% is the real estate companies that fund National.

    The only tax talent Labour has to provide Ardern with good advice is Deborah Russell, who I am sure is smart enough to wean the addiction more slowly.

    National just found her first weakness.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 1.1

      If they’re looking for tax talent surely they could just read your comments. You seem to know all about it, after all.

      PS: ‘tax and spend’ isn’t a brand new attack line for National, just in case you weren’t aware of that.

    • lprent 1.2

      *sigh* You need to spend more time looking at economic realities.

      The only reason that the property market is cooling off in Auckland is because the Reserve Bank put a crimp into the ability to lend to certain groups of buyers. They also made it more difficult to launder ill-gotten gains here. The reason that they did that was because of the effects on housing driven inflation and because there was no effective limit on the amount of money being poured into a speculative bubble. These are regulatory matters that can change pretty much as fast as the Reserve Bank can be convinced that there are changes in the economics.

      The underlying economic issues are still there. The high inwards migration. The lack of housing being built. That Auckland has a housing stock that was more suited for the 195-1970s than to the current demographic. None of these are issues that are going to change fast.

      As it stands, after 5 years of a heroic struggle ( in his own mindlessness ) by Nick Smith, we are still building far fewer bedrooms in Auckland than we were in 2007 – when the nett migration levels were much lower. The infrastructure to support denser living and even greenfield estates still hasn’t been put in.

      Kiwi migration depends more on the misery of the aussie job market than anything else. Even immigration has a pretty long cycle time.

      All of these go into the mix, along with the Labour building programme once it gets going in about 4 years, any changes to capital gains, immigration levels, putting in rational infrastructure planning rather than the abortion that is National and Nick Smith, etc etc…. All of which take a long time to change.

      But ultimately the decision on housing market heating lies with the reserve bank with how much economic overheating they will allow with incoming money, expansion of the money supply, and with the cost of money.

      That is the real governing of the housing prices.

      Incidentally the CGT will have less to do with the prices of houses than the supply of new housing, the rate of nett inwards migration to Auckland, the changes in wage rates, and the decisions of reserve bank. I suspect that you’ve been looking at the bottom of semi-log scale and thinking that is important…

      • Ad 1.2.1

        **sigh** right back at you.

        Agree that “the underlying economic issues are still there”.
        But LPrent you know that none of that matters five weeks out.

        And if Labour starts trotting out the same “Rome wasn’t built in a day” lines, they will find that they are saying exactly the same thing that Nick Smith said in every release since 2008. So that won’t work.

        What matters is how close a causal relationship National can make between Labour statements and hip-pocket reality,

        “But ultimately the decision on housing market heating lies with the reserve bank with how much economic overheating they will allow with incoming money, expansion of the money supply, and with the cost of money.

        That is the real governing of the housing prices.”

        That is now only true to a limited degree. The Australian banks that control 90% of our mortgage market are getting tighter and tighter.

        It’s also clearly limited by the range of measures that National have brought in to actively cool the market, including the “bright line test”.

        It is also limited by the ability of Chinese residents to get their capital out of China and spend it on housing here.

        It is of course led by sentiment driven by banking analysts about the long term prospects for real estate. In particular the Westpac Chief Economist was clear this week that the lowering of house prices that we see now is structural, not a blip.

        The degree to which the Reserve Bank has influence will, according to Labour, be constrained further by taking into account employment as well as inflation, because they are going to alter the way the RB is managed to do that.

        Labour’s Capital Gains Tax will further actively cool the market downwards. That is much of its purpose. So they had better get real clear real fast, not just make “Captain’s Calls” or whatever on a whim. With that Capital Gains Tax decision goes the fate of most of New Zealand’s middle class.

      • But ultimately the decision on housing market heating lies with the reserve bank with how much economic overheating they will allow with incoming money, expansion of the money supply, and with the cost of money.

        That is the real governing of the housing prices.

        China clamping down on money exports has probably had an effect as well:

        Strict new government scrutiny on Chinese people who want to convert their money into other currencies threatens to slow the rush of foreign property buying that has stoked sky-high home prices in Canada and around the world.

        For months, China has sought to dam the flood of money pouring out of its borders, which has rapidly diminished its stockpile of foreign reserves.

        It has raised new barriers to companies buying abroad and moving money out of the country.

        Now, authorities in China are taking new steps to bar individuals from putting their cash into overseas markets to buy homes and other investments, a change with important implications for cities such as Vancouver and Toronto where Chinese buyers had contributed to frenzied property trading.

        And there’s nothing that the RBNZ can do about that.

    • The Auckland property market is cooling fast, and with that go the fates of several hundred thousand people and their equity that they were planning their retirement around.

      Why should we have sympathy for them?
      They’ve been told for years that it was a housing bubble. Now you’re insisting that we protect them from their own choice?

      • Ad 1.3.1

        Because “we” is many things.

        “We” is the people that Labour need to persuade. Because it will be exceedingly hard for Labour to win without bringing some National vote over to them.

        “We” are the families and farmers and businesses and everyone else who needs equity to succeed.

        “We” is all the consumers who depend on the spending of that equity in the community – which goes everywhere, even if much of it goes to the banks.

        For every one finger pointing outwards, four point right back at you.

        • Draco T Bastard 1.3.1.1

          “We” is all the consumers who depend on the spending of that equity in the community – which goes everywhere, even if much of it goes to the banks.

          So, rising house prices is all that keeps the economy afloat?

          For every one finger pointing outwards, four point right back at you.

          Fake wisdom is fake.

          You can’t address an issue if you refuse to point it out and look at it.

          • Ad 1.3.1.1.1

            Pointing it out is fine.
            Introducing a massive new tax without analysis of its impact is irresponsible.

            Having no actual policy on it, but having the threat of it five weeks before an election, is flat dumb and she is going to get hit with it.

            And yes, in Auckland, Tauranga, Queenstown, Wanaka, and bunches of other places, house prices really are keeping the economy afloat.

            I don’t have to like real estate capitalism, but New Zealand runs on it.

            • red-blooded 1.3.1.1.1.1

              Why are you assuming any CGT would be massive? And surely any working group set up would have to consider its likely impacts before recommending a CGT? I would have thought that was the point of convening a panel of experts, Plus, while the investment market may play an important role in the Auckland real estate market, there are presumably still family buyers and sellers, too. The family home would be exempt.

              And when it comes right down to it, there’s no way to make housing more affordable without impacting the overheated prices of recent times. Having said that, I don’t think a moderate CGT would crash the market. After all, there are plenty of places with CGTs and expensive housing. As much as anything, a CGT is about creating a more fair tax system; one that doesn’t exempt one kind of business transaction.

              • mikesh

                [And when it comes right down to it, there’s no way to make housing more affordable without impacting the overheated prices of recent times.]

                Yes, one cannot have it both ways. One either hurts would be homeowners by making it difficult for them to enter the market, or one hurts existing home owners by crashing the market. If I had a choice I think I would go for the latter.

                • Third option: Go full state housing.

                  Build huge amounts of state homes with lifetime leases. Let them out on a first come, first served, as need basis.

                  Crash the housing market.

                  Offer to buy the houses that now are a negative equity for the full price of the mortgage while giving the people who live there same conditions as all other state housing.

                  End result: Everyone becomes better off – except the landlords.

      • Enough is Enough 1.3.2

        I agree

        The Market needs to crash by at least 50% to get back to some degree of reality and affordability.

        Personally I don’t give a shit about those people who have borrowed too much to buy during a bubble, or leveraged off their overpriced home, to buy a new audi.

    • Hanswurst 1.4

      Ardern had better get this straight

      I disagree. In previous election campaigns, it appeared that a CGT was far from an unpopular idea, with Labour’s problems lying elsewhere. The potential for one being levied on the back of a tax working group will not strike fear into the hearts of many people. What that gives Ardern is an easy line on any questions relating to it in debates, whereas a specific policy would open her up to all sorts of random and arcane questions on it, as happened in the past. On the flip-side, of Labour categorically ruled it out now, then did introduce one in their first term, you can rest assured that the media would crucify them in exactly the same way as they didn’t crucify National over the GST rise in its first term.

      It’s easy to get hung up on an issue like this, but it’s still just one issue, and Labour would be better off concentrating on the issues they have identified as their strengths in the planned “relentlessly positive” campaign.

  2. Nick K 2

    We already have two capital gains taxes. We don’t need a third.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 2.1

      What a good thing eg: increasing the ‘bright line’ test from two to five years doesn’t introduce a third cgt then, eh.

    • Stuart Munro 2.2

      Don’t we? The focus of NZ businesses since Brierley has been away from productivity and toward capital forms of profit taking. One result has been a lack of investment in technology and in training that is now affecting most sectors. Combined with a real estate bubble the effect is not much different from what you’d get if you deliberately set out to wreck the economy.

  3. Cinny 3

    Had a family meeting about the rental portfolio. All agreed that we are sweet as to pay a CGT should it happen, it’s about fairness.

    Rather shocked to discover the state of most rentals in NZ, all of ours are insulated, we aren’t into exploitation, if we don’t want to live in one of our rentals then we should not be asking anyone else to do the same.

    Would love to see a rental WOF put in place as well. It’s just not right for anyone to get sick from living in a crap rental while landlords profit from their rent payments.

    It’s a bit rich the nat’s going on about taxes, crikey they’ve introduced enough, but they call it a charge or a fee rather than a tax, in the hope that the public will be bluffed.

    • Brutus Iscariot 3.1

      What was the alternative? Not pay the tax if it happens?

      Sounds like a pointless discussion.

  4. Andre 4

    To me, the argument for a CGT is a fairness argument: fairness requires that those who benefit from capital gains contribute a fair share of those gains back to maintaining the society that made those gains possible.

    CGT won’t stop asset bubbles, or even slow them much. CGT won’t significantly reduce inequality, reducing inequality via a CGT requires choices about about how to use the revenue gained from a CGT.

    A good CGT needs to apply to all assets, all property including family homes (with just a rollover concession for family homes), farms, companies and company shares, art, classic cars etc etc.

    A good CGT needs to acknowledge inflation somehow. I favour explicitly accounting for inflation when calculating the cost basis of the asset, which adds a little bit to the complexity. Other jurisdictions do it by applying a reduced tax rate to CGT, which strikes me as a lot less than ideal, but it is simpler.

    So all up the Greens proposal looks fairly close to being a “good” CGT. In contrast to TOP’s crap CCT proposal which looks to me like it will have all kinds of unintended consequences.

    • indiana 4.1

      Your argument sound too much like “You are getting too wealthy for your own good, how about you hand over that wealth to someone that hasn’t lifted a finger!”

      A tax is a tax, period. Governments can set taxes as they desire and if Adern’s tax think tax tank comes up with a recommendation, how do we get to analyse that recommendation before it gets implemented? Tell us before the 23rd of Sep please.

      An if taxation is about fairness, no problems if you introduce a new tax, so long as another tax has been removed.

      New Zealanders pay a fair amount of tax on their earnings now, no need to gouge them for more.

      • Andre 4.1.1

        Your argument sounds like those people who get their income from capital gains should be able to freeload off the rest of us. Nice work if you can get it.

        • indiana 4.1.1.1

          A CGT already exists in NZ, it just may not be described the way Adern wants it to be described. No one is freeloading off anyone.

          • Draco T Bastard 4.1.1.1.1

            I’m pretty sure that all those wealthy people who magically have their incomes 1c bellow the top bracket at all times and which moves with the bracket are, as a matter of fact, free-loading off of the rest of us.

          • KJT 4.1.1.1.2

            The wealthy in New Zealand have been freeloading for decades.

            Taking far more than their fair share of the work we all do, and the tax that is mostly paid by middle income PAYE, payers.

            Many are too wealthy for societies good. Especially as they got wealthy by luck, not entrepreneurship, or working hard.

            • Macro 4.1.1.1.2.1

              And now Ardern has ruled out raising tax rates for high income earners….


              Wow this is brave stuff we are getting from Labour! not
              So the poor will be expected to bear the brunt as per usual.
              I wasn’t voting for them anyway – but had hoped that there might have been a bit more progressive thinking.

              • UncookedSelachimorpha

                Yep, this unequivocal statement from Labour is weak and intellectually bankrupt. There is no reason to not raise income tax on higher brackets, and plenty of unmet need in NZ.

                There are ways to tax wealth that do not involve income tax, so there is still hope, but why paint themselves into a corner so quickly?

              • rhinocrates

                Enough flip flops and reversals while going in circles for their real logo to be a Moebius Strip.

          • UncookedSelachimorpha 4.1.1.1.3

            “No one is freeloading off anyone”

            Actually, the people with capital are freeloading off those without capital, using their capital to extract wealth from others, without the need for effort or productivity.

          • mikes 4.1.1.1.4

            ” No one is freeloading off anyone.”

            Actually the owners of capital have been freeloading off workers since the 80’s economic ‘reforms’.

            Up until then, incomes for everyone increased as productivity increased. Since then pretty much all of the income generated from increased productivity has gone to shareholders and executives whilst workers wages have flat-lined (or gone backwards if you take inflation into account)

            Corporations who make x amount of sales here but don’t pay a corresponding amount of income tax on those sales are freeloading off all of us.

            Landlords who receive a nice little weekly subsidy by way of the accommodation supplement are freeloading off taxpayers.

            etc,etc,etc…

      • Ad 4.1.2

        It would be more useful for Labour to say:

        “We need to shift the whole of our productive capital into enterprise, not rental housing, and this is how we are going to do it: tax.”

        Then they would need to explain how.

      • New Zealanders pay a fair amount of tax on their earnings now

        No they don’t. We’re the least taxed nation in the OECD.

        And it’s really not doing us any good.

        But then, you probably knew that.

      • Ian 4.1.4

        Well put Indiana. The proposed water tax is targetted at a very small group of farmers who labour don’t like. A capital gains tax will be felt by every kiwi that tries to move ahead by saving and investing. It is a kick in the teeth to those that want to get ahead. Lets all dumb down . Plenty of surplus in the budget so why tax,tax,tax ?

        • Muttonbird 4.1.4.1

          The whole of NZ doesn’t like those farmers because they are destroying our waterways and damaging NZ’s image abroad. Labour’s philosophy is that everyone owns water so these cowboys can damn well pay for the resource they use if their use of it is damaging the environment.

          A capital gains tax will be felt by every Kiwi that tries to get into the free circus that is amateur landlordism. So they should, because as has been pointed out this sort of investment is non productive and destroys communities.

          • Ian 4.1.4.1.1

            Thats what you say. I happen to be one of those farmers and I have never destroyed a waterway.Do your homework on cindys stupid tax. She is taxing the wrong people. Thats what happens when you open your big mouth without thinking.
            A capital gains tax will effect everyone in New Zealand directly and indirectly. There are better ways to generate government income.

            • KJT 4.1.4.1.1.1

              None of your stock ever takes a pee. Sounds like “Planet Key”.

              • Ian

                Go and do some homework,rather than believing the soundbites of rural haters. Hate speech directed at farmers seems to be OK in this crazy PC world.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  Rachel Stewart, for example.

                  And Federated Farmers.

                  They both say water quality has been degraded by poor farming practices. Like the Taruheru.

                  • Ian

                    Federated farmers have a bit of credibility.
                    Racheal Stewart is totally warped.
                    To be fair the Taruheru has never been that great but thats no excuse for Gisborne City Council to discharge Raw human effluent into it every 2 to 3 months.
                    It’s tidal and not that long,so the poos gets flushed back and forwards . The local shellfish is not that flash ,but the council put the signs up all the time to make sure the locals don’t gathjer the infected Kai.

                    • In Vino

                      You call that a solution? Both Gisborne and the farmers have to stop the pollution. End of story. Don’t pretend it’s all Gisborne’s fault.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      the Taruheru has never been that great

                      It was perfectly ok until people with no personal responsibility and too much political influence started farming the land it runs through.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      thats [sic] no excuse

                      So what? No-one’s trying to excuse it in the first place. Are you pretending that “he did it too” gets you off the hook?

                • KJT

                  Hate speech?

                  No. just facts.

                  In fact I support farmers. Those that fence the rivers, build effluent ponds, farm as a going concern, not for capital gains, look after the land, and pay their taxes and fair wages.

                  The non tax paying polluters who are in it for tax free capital gains, so they can retire to a house in Fendalton away from their mess, hurt the real farmers, as well.

            • Macro 4.1.4.1.1.2

              We have, in effect, a weak Capital Gains tax now. Many countries around the world have an even stiffer CGT. You can’t tell us here that they are all basket cases and we are the only country that isn’t! Yes it will mean you have to pay some tax when you sell your farm. But are you farming for Capital Gain – or farming for production? And if it means the lowering of land prices, – well then it makes the business proposition for farming more attractive.

              • Ian

                Do you want to buy a farm and become a farmer. I have farmed for 30 years and only made a loss in one year as a result of the GFC. All my farmer mates farm to make a profit. That will be so much harder if Cindy and her mates start charging me for water.
                As for the capital gains tax , just another envy tax on anyone who has taken a few risks to better themselves.
                The Government doesn’t need the money and if it did it could raise GST a few points . Total bullshit from cindy and her inexperience is shining.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  Paranoid and a misogynist. Classy. No wonder people say the National Party are trash.

                  • Ian

                    I wish you wouldn’t use those big words.But I suppose it makes you feel good .

                    • In Vino

                      And who would want to buy a farm and become a farmer when there are more honest and less environmentally destructive ways of making a living?
                      Stop all your mates from polluting streams, rivers (I notice it is never you) and I may have more respect.
                      But you can’t – and the verdict is that over-intensive dairy farming is doing real damage.
                      Own it.

                    • Ian []

                      Horses for courses. Are you going to own Gisbornes problem and contribute to the $ 100 million to fix their broken sewers
                      The verdict is that humans are doing real damage.Why don’t you own it ?

                    • KJT

                      Paid my rates already for an efficient sewage system for Whangarei.
                      And supported the council in public meetings to do it.

                      The Hatea, and other streams, are still full of cow shit. I have to clean it off my boat every few weeks.

                      My son works on a farm with effluent ponds, fenced waterways and limited stock numbers. Why should they be undercut by farmers who do none of that?
                      He wants to sharemilk and/or have his own farm one day. An impossible dream, because farm prices have been pushed so far above their worth as a going concern, by capital gains farmers.

                • Macro

                  Nah the Govt doesn’t need the money – except they can’t fund Hospitals, or mental health, or house the 4000 homeless . But who gives a shit about them anyway – Hope you haven’t been waiting for a hip replacement lately coz – you know it might take years.
                  Nice to know you haven’t made a loss lately – but then you might have heard that in the recent past rural suicides have escalated. (or don’t you read the NZ Farmer?) http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/farming/agribusiness/85688445/suicide-rate-among-waikato-farmers-remains-high

                  Young Farmers is aware of several suicide attempts among its membership and wider rural youth lately.

                  Copeland believed the answer to lowering the suicide rate was for rural-based organisations to provide opportunities for people to talk about how they felt.

                  That was a community rather than a Government responsibility, and required more than just throwing money at the problem, he said.

                  District health boards and the Government had a vital role to play in providing a support network once people who needed help had been identified, but the identification of at risk people had to be at the community level, Copeland said.

                  He needn’t worry the gov’t hasn’t thrown any money at the problem in at least 9 years and I wouldn’t worry about calling any help line because it probably doesn’t exist now anyway!

                  And no I’ve had my share of rural life thanks very much.

            • Draco T Bastard 4.1.4.1.1.3

              Why do you farmers all think that we owe you a living?
              Why do you think you can destroy our waterways and then think that we won’t hold you to account?

              Why do you think that you don’t have to take personal responsibility for your actions?

              Farmers promised, back in 2002, that they’d do the right thing and thus regulations weren’t needed.

              15 years later it’s become apparent that we couldn’t trust their word. Now we regulate and your whinging falls upon deaf ears.

              Perhaps you should have considered what would happen before you fucked us over.

              • Ian

                you don’t owe me a living. I have not destroyed ANY waterways.I am personally responsible for all my actions .
                If you havn’t noticed what farmers have been doing over the last 15 years you have not been paying attention and really don’t know what your talking about.
                If The irrigation envy tax is an example of how Labour plans to govern ,it is a sad day for those Kiwis that care about the future of New Zealand.

                • I have not destroyed ANY waterways.

                  BS.

                  I am personally responsible for all my actions .

                  Then you won’t have any problems with the proper charges being levied against you.

                  If you havn’t noticed what farmers have been doing over the last 15 years you have not been paying attention and really don’t know what your talking about.

                  We have noticed through the increasing degradation of our waterways and the removal of democracy in Canterbury because some farmers were upset that people were starting to require them to use our resources responsibly.

                  If The irrigation envy tax is an example of how Labour plans to govern ,it is a sad day for those Kiwis that care about the future of New Zealand.

                  Farmers show no sign of caring about the future of NZ or, in fact, life itself. More interested in lining their pockets – as shown by your own whinging.

                  A water charge is, as a matter of fact, necessary for the market to work. Without proper charges the market is distorted causing excess use and the ongoing pollution that we’ve seen.

                  • Ian

                    If restoring democracy in Canterbury results in lam poons taking over god help us.
                    Your envy tax is targeting the wrong people.This is what happens when you write policy on the back of a cigarette packet,in the rain with your head up your arse.goodnight

                    • If restoring democracy in Canterbury results in lam poons taking over god help us.

                      Glad to see you telling the world that you don’t think others can be trusted to govern themselves and their land.

                      Your envy tax is targeting the wrong people.

                      Not envious. And everything you’ve written shows that it’s you with your head up his arse as you try to cling on to the failed policies of yesteryear.

                • McFlock

                  But we have noticed what some farmers have been doing over the last thirty years. It’s why Dunedin residents were advised to boil water because someone let untreated water into the town supply and it was “drinking water that’s the equivalent of drinking it straight out of a stream or lake.”

                  Look, if you’re a clean farmer and making it a going concern, good for you. Great. But why are you defending farmers who freeload off your work and harm your reputation? Why are you willing to subsidise their pollution?

                  • Ian

                    Labours envy tax will tax me to clean up someone elses mess.check out irrigation new xealand to see how misguided this envy tax is.

                    • McFlock

                      No, you’ll be taxed as to how sustainably you’re using the local water. Farmers being less sustainable than you will be taxed more, to reflect that.

                      Being already a clean and sustainably farmer, you’re ahead of the game.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 4.1.4.2

          You polluted the river that runs through your property? Get some personal responsibility and pay for the clean-up.

          When the capital gains tax sky falls on your head, I’ll be there to hold your hand. Or take my foot off your neck, whatever.

          Unless the sky never actually falls on your head that is. Pity really, I was looking forward to it.

          • Ian 4.1.4.2.1

            The Rangitata river is as pure as the driven snow. No one swims in it because it is bloody cold.
            The farm is all sorted and the family home in Fendalton will be expanding on all sides. Be prepared ,is a good motto .

        • KJT 4.1.4.3

          The rest of us pay if we pollute water. And we pay tax on our investments, and work income.

          Why the fuck should farmers, and investors in housing, be exempt.

          Just so those of us who do pay taxes, can subsidise them.

          We will have to carry the costs of the extra infrastructure needed for excessive immigration and housing speculation.

          Why shouldn’t those who benefit from rising land prices pay some of the cost.

          Too many free loaders in New Zealand. And it is not the poor!

          • Ian 4.1.4.3.1

            So why does the Gisborne City Council discharge raw human sewerage into the Taruheru river whenever they get a bit of rain ???
            Just because you missed the boat ,no need to penalise those that have done well.
            How many investment properties does Helen Clark own ?

            • KJT 4.1.4.3.1.1

              Didn’t miss the boat. Quite comfortable, but thanks for the concern.

              Penalise?

              Making people pay their share is not punitive.

              If you want a low tax country. Somalia beckons.

              None of us tax payers to freeload off there, however.

        • mikes 4.1.4.4

          “A capital gains tax will be felt by every kiwi that tries to move ahead by saving and investing”

          No. It will be felt by every kiwi who generates income from capital gain on assets. Are you suggesting (as many entitled wanks seem to do) that its ok to tax income earned by a person’s hard work and from giving up their time but for some reason income gained from simply having enough capital to own heaps of ‘stuff’ and sell it at a profit shouldn’t be at least equally as taxed?

          How does that make any sense at all in terms of fairness and of not increasing inequality? You’re saying that if a person is financially well off enough to derive their income from capital rather than labour then they shouldn’t have to pay income tax like the rest of us peasants…. Well,…and the horse you rode in on mate..

    • mikesh 4.2

      I agree that those who benefit from capital gain should, in all fairness, should return a part (or perhaps all) of that gain to the society which created it. However there are more effective ways of achieving this. A land tax or property tax would be better, and would be more effective in keeping down house prices, an area in which capital gains taxes seem dismally ineffective.

  5. DH 5

    IMO all that’s needed is to cut through the crap spun by vested interests who deliberately try to cloud the issue.

    There’s a clear delineation between an ‘investment’ property and an owner-occupied property. One is a business, the other is not. The property investors association freely admits its members are running a business. And as a business they should pay tax on their profits. Capital gain on an investment property is clearly a business profit, ergo it should be taxed.

    There’s no similar justification for taxing the private home, it’s not a business.

    Keep it simple and all the ‘problems’ with a CGT will quietly disappear as if they never existed (which they don’t).

    • mikesh 5.3

      The only reason it is not proposed to levy a capital gains tax on a private dwelling is that any party that did so would be voted out of office at the next election. There is no reason why private householder should make a “profit” from an increase in the value of his home and not pay tax on it, any more than a businessman. A private dwelling is an investment.

      A capital gains tax is pretty ineffectual anyway, but excluding private dwellings makes it even more so.

      • DH 5.3.1

        There’s no absolutes mikesh, CGT is what you make of it.

        The flaw with most CGTs is the tax isn’t levied until the asset is sold, which does largely make it ineffective. The fairness argument is put forward; that people shouldn’t have to pay tax on a profit they haven’t actually realised. That argument doesn’t stand close scrutiny however.

        If one was to look at today’s property investors it is quite plain they are actually realising their capital gains, without selling the asset. They borrow against their capital gain to buy more assets and they raise rents to reflect the higher property value. Both of those should be taxed at source and a CGT would then be quite effectual.

        • mikesh 5.3.1.1

          I agree. What matters in tax is what you pay on a day by day, or year by year, basis, not what you pay once or twice in a lifetime. A land or property tax, tacked onto rates demands (for ease of collection), and handed over to the the government by the local authority, and applicable to all home owners, not just landlords, would be preferable to a capital gains tax.

          If there is a problem with house prices then that problem should be treated as a problem for all who have an interest in housing, not just recent purchasers burdened by high mortgage payments, or those unable to ¨get a foot in the door¨ because prices are too high. Any measures, whether CGT or something else, taken to remedy the problem, should apply also to people like myself who purchased thirty years ago and whose houses are now worth perhaps ten times what we originally paid for them. There is no reason why we should be sitting pretty while others suffer.

          • DH 5.3.1.1.1

            It is a little bit different with the private home though. In comparison with non-home owners I guess you can say you’ve profited but if you were to sell your house and buy another you’d be no better off with or without capital gain.

            The private home isn’t really an investment. It’s savings. You could argue that cash savings attract tax on the interest and so should inflation on the home but I think it’s best left alone. Just tax businesses on their capital gains, it’s a lot simpler and should achieve the same desired result.

            • mikesh 5.3.1.1.1.1

              I agree with your first paragraph, but only where capital gains taxes are concerned. This factor would not be present in the case of, say, a land tax. This would be one of the reasons why land or property taxes are superior to capital gains taxes.

              A private home is very definitely an investment. The rent free accommodation that it provides should be treated as taxable income, and represents the the return on that investment. It has a monetary value, even if that value can only be estimated. Gareth Morgan estimates the rental value at 6% and proposes that this is the amount that should taxed. (Susan St John in a recent blog suggested 4% I think)

              • DH

                You missed out that people take out a mortgage when they buy a home mikesh, which conflicts with the idea of the accommodation being rent-free. In lieu of rent they pay interest which is really rent by another name… just paid to someone else. Property investors have their interest paid by the tenant.

                Anyway a good reason not to tax the family home is a practical one; we’re a democracy and homeowners presently outnumber renters.

                On the other hand investors don’t outnumber renters and private home owners don’t give a rats arse for property investors so a well designed CGT on investors should be politically palatable… except perhaps to those politicians who own investment properties.

                • mikesh

                  A mortgage is not the same as rent inasmuch as it is a way of purchasing the house itself. Paying for the accommodation that a house provides is a different kettle of fish altogether. The mortgagor will eventually own the house outright. A renter won’t.

                  The question of interest is a red herring. The quasi rent argument would still apply even if the homeowner paid for the house upfront, ie without borrowing. One person with, say, $500k puts it in the bank and pays tax on the interest he receives, while another invests $500k in a home so as to be able to live rent free. The rent that the second person avoids having to pay counts as income. So why should that person not pay tax on that income in the same way that the first person pays tax on the interest he receives.

                  Of course the question of interest is itself problematic. In the middle ages the Christian Church regarded the charging of interest as usury, and sinful, and of course they may well have been right. Unfortunately there is nothing much we do about it at the present time.

                  • In the middle ages the Christian Church regarded the charging of interest as usury, and sinful, and of course they may well have been right.

                    All three main religions regard usury as a sin. Probably because, by the time they emerged from civilisation, their originators had realised that it destroys societies.

                    A lesson that we seem determined not to learn – despite all the evidence.

                  • DH

                    It’s an interesting argument mikesh but I can’t see it leading to a rational conclusion. Why single out housing, that argument applies to every asset we buy whether it’s clothes, cars, hobbies or whatever. We exchange cash for the benefits provided by an asset, by that reasoning we should pay tax on everything we own.

                    • mikesh

                      Expenditure can generally be divided into consumption and investment. Generally if something is purchased for the purpose of generating income it´s investment, otherwise it´s consumption. some things of course can be either; purchase of a car, for instance, would be considered investment if it´s for business use, consumption if it´s for private use. A house is generally considered investment because it if one didn´t purchase one, one would have to pay rent somewhere, and a house which is attracting rent is an investment. Also, the amounts spent on housing by the nation as a whole are great enough to be be considered ´capital expenditure´.

                    • DH

                      I think you’re making up your own definition of investment to suit your argument mikesh. I own a set of golf clubs. I bought them because it was cheaper & more convenient than renting clubs every time I played golf. By your argument that’s an investment, to me it’s just a set of golf clubs.

                      The point being that my golf clubs are no different to your housing scenario. I bought them to avoid paying rent and by your reasoning I should be paying tax on them.

                    • mikesh

                      With golf clubs there is a third option ie not playing golf. That option is not available with housing since we all have to find an abode in which to live. Most economists would regard golf clubs as as supporting a recreational activity, and therefore they would not regard their purchase as investment, however one paid for them; though I suppose for a golf professional golf clubs could be regarded as an investment.
                      A house is considered an investment because their is no essential difference between the benefit obtained, by way way of accommodation, whether the house is owned or rented; the benefit received is still the same.

                      I think your arguments a getting little ´straw clutching´. Perhaps we should call it a day.

        • Draco T Bastard 5.3.1.2

          If one was to look at today’s property investors it is quite plain they are actually realising their capital gains, without selling the asset. They borrow against their capital gain to buy more assets and they raise rents to reflect the higher property value.

          Under those circumstances, and it would be fairly easy to determine, treat the loan itself as profit with a 33% tax on it.

  6. Eco maori 6

    Jacainda is not stupid she won’t shoot herself in the foot. And one can not trust the state of the government finances when National are sliding out of parliament. To win a election National will pull all the dirty tricks in the book. We are lucky John Keys left because he was ruthless

  7. Greg 7

    If existing home owners have paid to much for property that’s there problem. labours ability to fix the houseing cries is not dictated by naCT voting property owners.nacyou voters need to take some of there own advice and take personal repossiblry for there debt.positions

    • +111

      I find it amazing that we have people saying that people should take responsibility for their decisions then turn around and say that we should protect people who made stupid decisions which pushed the entire country into a bad position just because they’re home owners.

  8. savenz 8

    Middle class don’t like capital gains because it is complicated and unfair. It does not stop property speculation, money laundering or high house prices. Around the world escalating unaffordability of housing is happening, through global investments becoming the norm, massive immigration, the opening up of Asia, Russia and Middle East and population growth. Those who buy don’t pay a capital gains tax, those that need to sell do pay it. As soon as they put a non resident tax on housing in Canada, property prices fell and affordability increased for local residents.

    In short if you think a capital gains taxes will make housing more affordable while keeping massive immigration you are dreaming.

    And if you think it will help taxation to pay for more services like hospitals, there are much better and more efficient and with faster returns to do it like a stamp duty.

    In short capital gains has become a punishment concept by the left many of whom do not own a house and see it as some paper based mechanism, aka Shamubeel Eaqub economist types that have dismissed immigration as a factor for housing and actually somehow by suggesting better ways to invest money have actually locked many out of home ownership as their house price falls fail to materialise year after year as the NZ population becomes the third fastest immigration per capita in the world.

    Capital gains have not worked in other countries and the cries to increase taxes (which target local middle class not non resident wealthy) helps keeps the right in power.

    • savenz 8.1

      P.s. I think Labour would be crazy to announce any new taxes – wait until next election like JK did with assets sales. Labour’s job is to win, not screw up again and again thinking that eventually the majority will ‘get it’ and want more taxes.

      Did aunty Helen ever announce new taxes prior to winning an election, does National, NOPE!

      • UncookedSelachimorpha 8.1.1

        Problem is – they aren’t “not announcing new taxes” – they are proactively announcing they will not raise taxes in future – and a better NZ society needs to tax wealth much more than currently.

      • Hanswurst 8.1.2

        Helen Clark campaigned on raising the top tax rate to 39c to take office in 1999.

    • KJT 8.2

      See 4.1.4.3 above.

      Over 60% in a poll like capital gains taxes and an increased top tax rate over 150k in income.
      Hardly an election loser.
      Especially as those who vote for tax cuts, and a free ride, are unlikely to vote for Labour, or the Greens, anyway.

      • Peter 8.2.1

        “Over 60% in a poll like capital gains taxes . . .”

        … on other people.

        • KJT 8.2.1.1

          Those other people that are booking capital gains, from services we pay for, but they cry about paying taxes to support those services.

          Taxes are the cost of living in a civilised, functioning country.

          If we all stopped paying taxes on income like capital gains tax dodgers, do. The country would not function for long.

          If you don’t like paying taxes, there are plenty of low tax paradises around the world. Somalia, Haiti, etc.

    • tracey 8.3

      i think people who earn money and pay tax and then save and pay tax on interest feel that property investors are getting an unfair advantage

      • Peter 8.3.1

        Excerpt:

        13-06-2007
        Housing tax advantage a myth – IRD

        By IAN LLEWELLYN

        Inland Revenue says it is a myth that investments in housing have a tax advantage over other types of investment.

        Revenue Minister Peter Dunne and IRD officials appeared before the finance select committee today and were quizzed about why people had the impression that there was some tax advantage in investments in rental housing.

        Deputy Commissioner Robin Oliver was blunt: “The short answer there is none.”

        Rules about expenses for deducting costs such as interest, upkeep and maintenance, as well as paying tax on income were the same for investments in shares or anything else.

        Mr Oliver said the rules were tougher for housing investment than other types.

  9. Greg 9

    Try this one
    I saving for retirement through kiwi saver the employers contribution is taxed by National and Tax credit cut by National yet a person who buys an investment property for retirement is not taxed why are kiwi saver member treated differently or discriminated against.

    • KJT 9.1

      So are farmers and other businesses who run them as a long term business, to make income, not capital gains.

      The incentive is to run the business for short term capital gains, rather than build a sustainable long term income earning asset.

      Time all income was treated equally for tax.

  10. Darth smith 10

    These nact home owners are holding society to ransom
    Young are being held to ransom with high rents that should be going to pay there own house or food.
    Tax payers are being held to ransom by haveing to
    pay out billions in rental supplement .
    Savers are being held for ransom with record low interest rates and then thank to national people with savings accountso are on the hook because of open bank resolution policy these wacky speculators are give us the two fingers.

  11. Ad 11

    Great to see Ardern ruling out income tax increases today.

    • KJT 11.1

      Not a good thing as taxes on the well of, who use most of the tax provided resources, have to rise so we can pay for reversing the destruction of the last 9 years, before the economy falls over.

      We can’t keep bringing in 75 000 new migrants every year just to cover the fuckup, the last 30 years, has been.

      There won’t be an insurance money from earthquakes hospital pass every time. Also.

      • Ad 11.1.1

        We’re running a budget surplus of over $2 billion a year.

        With that you could rebuild Dunedin Hospital from scratch, and put a new teacher in every primary school in the country,with change for a cold beer at the end of the day.

        Then do something else the next year. Say $2b of housing.

        They don’t need any more of our money.

        • UncookedSelachimorpha 11.1.1.1

          “They don’t need any more of our money.”

          They is us! It is all our (the community’s) money – the government is us, levying taxes on us. Your sentence could be re-written:

          “The community doesn’t need any more of each individual’s money”

        • KJT 11.1.1.2

          But the community, all of us, do.

          To pay for the damage done by National.

        • mikes 11.1.1.3

          “They don’t need any more of our money.”

          They wouldn’t, if everyone was paying their share.

        • tracey 11.1.1.4

          Pretty sure that 2b is gone in one fell swoop on rail promises

      • mikes 11.1.2

        The “well off” tend to not pay much income tax. Let’s face it, the only people who pay their full fair share of income tax are salary and wage earners who are taxed at source and can’t claim back any expenses as tax deductions.

        • KJT 11.1.2.1

          Yes. The “middle” income earners pay around 70 to 80 % of total tax. (depending on the source).

          Not rich enough to hide their income, or escape GST.

          Which is why CGT, wealth taxes and inheritance taxes are required to broaden the tax base. And capture unearned wealth accumulation.

  12. greg 12

    and so she should paye in real terms is in decline but untaxed income on none productive assets is increasing.

  13. Peter 13

    There are three reasons to impose a tax:

    – to raise revenue to run the Government. These taxes should generally be widely spread, low level, easy to administer and difficult to avoid, eg GST.

    – to penalise behavior that the majority of people think unwise or distasteful. These taxes should be at a high rate and obvious in order to deter that behaviour, eg tobacco tax.

    – to be be vengeful or spiteful (often called envy taxes). These taxes are not imposed to raise revenue, they are based on the concept “You have it and I don’t, I don’t like the fact you have it, so I’m going to penalise you for having it”, eg a capital gains tax.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 13.1

      Drivel. The reasons to introduce a cgt are exactly as stated. In my case, I have it, and you also have it, and I agree with a cgt, and if you feel penalised you need to stop being such a whiny cry-baby.

    • Andre 13.2

      Um, a capital gains tax is levied at the time of sale. When the thing you used to have got turned into a purely financial instrument. A CGT is the contribution back to maintaining the society that made a profitable capital gain possible.

      It’s TOP’s proposed Comprehensive Capital Tax that it is based the concept of “you have something so we’re going to tax it simply because you have it”.

    • mikes 13.3

      The majority of people probably think that property speculation or receiving untaxed income from capital gains are unwise and / or distasteful.

      (There’s always at least 2 sides to every idiot argument)

    • mikesh 13.4

      A fourth reason for tax would be to compensate the community for things which you have but which are technically part of the common wealth. A land tax would come in under this heading.

    • Technically, as the government can create money, it doesn’t need to raise revenue. In fact, the government should be the sole source of money in the economy.

      All national resources used need to be paid for in such a way and at such a rate as to ensure most efficient use. Some people call the payment for these resources taxes, others call them royalties. What we do know is that they’re not enough as they presently allow unsustainable use of our resources.

      There are no such thing as envy taxes. Just the greed of the rich as they destroy our society that we need to do something about. Personally, I prefer legislating them out of existence. Make it so that people can’t become rich in the first place rather than trying to fix things after they’ve fucked things up.

  14. KJT 14

    Bullshit.

    Why should i pay more income tax, on my hard work and skills, so that someone who makes 100k extra a year just by owning a house in Auckland, doesn’t.
    It is distorting investment, bad for the economy and costly to the rest of us, who pay for the extra infrastructure for immigration, so tax dodgers can have rising house prices.

    Capital gains taxes simply reduce your free loading off those of us who pay taxes.

    The spite and envy from the wealthy was obvious last week.

    “The rich are so envious of the poor, they take what little they have left”.

    • tracey 14.2

      +++++100

    • mikesh 14.3

      The only person who could reasonably complain about the $100,000 capital gain would be the purchaser of the property, who had to to pay for it as part of the purchase price. I don´t really see that anybody else, taxpayer or otherwise, is affected by it. And the purchaser can be assumed to have paid for it willingly, presumably with his tax paid income.

  15. savenz 15

    For those that think capital gains will mean the rich will pay more. Look at Peter Thiel he’s a NZ citizen although does not live here, he owns a 193 hectare (477 acre) estate near Lake Wanaka. Under a capital gain tax he pays nothing because it can probably be classed as his family home, or could buy some major company in the same year he sells it and ‘make a loss’!

    If there was a stamp duty at least NZ could have got some taxes out of him when he bought it.

    If there was a non resident property tax on the property he could pay something.

    At present he’s got circa 30 million profit from xero shares which were described as a ‘sweetheart deal’. Did this guy pay 33% top tax rate on his profits, I somehow doubt it!

    Only the locals are paying taxes and the middle classes know it and are getting pretty peeved off being told to pay more and more for less and less, and now not even being about to afford to buy premium property in our own country…. We are expected to crowd fund to keep our own beaches public for God’s sake.

    Something is wrong with the taxation discourses and remedy’s because those solutions being advocated don’t seem to be taxing those that could do with a bit of taxation to people who appear to contribute little to nothing to our country but increasingly own a chunk of it.

  16. savenz 16

    Look at the headlines around the world (Granny does not publish stories like that as it is not in their interests to point this out to the masses). Taxes are based on profits and profits can easily be manipulated.

    Any way rather than worrying about the ‘top tax rate’ maybe politicians need to tighten up the rules so they are fair for all taxpayers and not able to be manipulated!

    Bonus for Pearson chief despite biggest loss in company’s history
    John Fallon awarded total of £1.5m, including a £343,000 bonus, after world’s largest educational publisher reports £2.6bn pre-tax loss
    https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/mar/24/bonus-for-pearson-chief-despite-biggest-loss-in-companys-history

    Chanel owners pay themselves $3.4bn dividend – four times company’s net profit
    https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/aug/23/chanel-owners-paid–34bn-dividend-alain-and-gerard-wertheimer

    • Bonus for Pearson chief despite biggest loss in company’s history

      One wonders what sort of contract provides for a bonus when the contractor doesn’t meet expectations.

      Chanel owners pay themselves $3.4bn dividend – four times company’s net profit

      Need a law that says that a company cannot pay out in dividends per year more than its yearly profit.

      • KJT 16.1.1

        Borrowing to buy a company, then borrowing to pay dividends is an all to common practice.
        Usually ends in the company collapsing with suppliers, minor shareholders and employees left on the street. And, in New Zealand, the major shareholder walking off with the money, and a knighthood. Usually just before the crash, unless he can get a tax funded bailout.

        Legalised theft and fraud.

        A recent Prime Minister, showed us all how it is done with a country.

        “Jail is where the big criminals put all the little criminals”

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