Close the loophole by knocking down the wall

Written By: - Date published: 8:43 am, May 20th, 2010 - 21 comments
Categories: budget 2010, spin, tax - Tags:

On Tuesday, John Key told us that we don’t matter. In fact, he said that we have to be taxed more to give money to the rich because they are so important and we are not. To top it off, he told us not to be ‘jealous’ (two insults there – assuming we are ‘jealous’ of the rich and invalidating any sense of injustice we feel).

Well, that went down like a cup of cold sick. So, now reducing the top tax rate isn’t about giving tax cuts to keep this vital (more vital than you) people in New Zealand. It’s about ‘closing loopholes’. The loophole is that if  a high income person runs their income above $70K through a company or trust they can end up paying 33% or 30%, rather than 38%.

How would you close the loophole? Well, you would make it impossible to abuse trusts and companies this way, eh?

Ah, but you’re not as cleverly as these Nats (probably why they’re so highly paid). Rather than closing the loophole they make the tax cheats’ job easier for them by abolishing the top rate altogether. ta da!

Historically, loopholes were gaps in castle walls or trench walls for firing arrows and guns. So, you can think of the Nats’ ‘solution’ to the tax loophole as like knocking down the castle wall as a ‘solution’ to the gap in it.

Put it another way, it’s like solving murder by making it legal.

But hey, it’s all about keeping valuable people (who must be rich, by definition) in this country, or about closing loopholes, or was it about boosting growth through the magic of trickle down (which is kind of like helping a dehydrated man by giving water to someone with an already full bladder and hoping they piss on him)?

Whatever, just don’t be jealous, OK?

21 comments on “Close the loophole by knocking down the wall”

  1. felix 1

    Startlingly similar to his solution to the “scientific” whaling loophole.

    Can’t wait til he decides to tackle the drink-driving problem.

  2. zonk 2

    ‘Tax cuts for all, but rich fiddlers may not smile’ Breaking news on the Herald.

    When ads are misleading they can be taken to court. Why doesn’t this apply to political advertising or the NZ Herald’s headlines?

    And surely a fiddler is a poor person’s violin player. Won’t be too many rich fiddlers then I would have thought.

  3. This should be compulsory reading for all Labour supporters to show why you lost the last election and why you’ll like to do the same next time. You won’t be able to move on until you admit to your mistakes.

    If the envy tax was introduced for “fairness” it’s hardly fair or effective when those who earn the most can legal avoid paying the highest tax rate. The approach here reminds of Kiwis and Warriors supporters of the past – they didn’t worry about the result, so long was we put a few big hits on the Aussies. The 39% was exactly the same – playing to the fans in the stand.

    Anyway, from my point of view, keep on this strategy as it’s bound to be as acceptable as it was last time.

  4. Armchair Critic 4

    You won’t be able to move on until you admit to your mistakes
    As much as I despise “but they did it too” arguments, I have to say I am sick and tired of this line. Until National admit their mistakes that created the leaky buildings debacle a large number of people will not be able to move on, in a number of ways. A grovelling and craven apology will suffice. And until it is forthcoming, please make sure you ask both Labour and National to apologise for their sins.
    Regarding the latest proposal to share the costs of repairing leaky buildings, I would like to see the costs levied as follows:
    5% paid personally by members of the Fourth National government (Ministers and MPs)
    20% paid by the National party, through fundraising from its membership.
    25% paid by people who voted National in the 1990, 1993 and 1996 elections, with the proportion increasing for every vote.
    15% from other taxpayers
    15% by ratepayers, through rates paid to their local council
    10% by industry bodies who did not voice opposition to the changes
    10% by affected homeowners

    • Armchair Critic 4.1

      Oops, meant as a reply to Daveski (3) above.

      • Daveski 4.1.1

        This is not a they did it too argument. This is a Labour got it wrong with the tax rates argument. The current scenario fails the fairness test any person would apply. If you are going to have a higher rate for rich pricks, then ensure everyone pays it. As it stands, many of the richest can circumvent this rate in part or full which is a complete nonsense.

        It would seem sensible to me that the left should be applauding moves to ensure that there aren’t loopholes.

        Further in terms of stupidity, Labour’s tax legacy was giving rich pricks tax advantages to buy second and third and other rentals at the expense of first home owners. And people on this site critcises steps that will correct it.

        • Armchair Critic 4.1.1.1

          FTR Daveski I wasn’t suggesting you were making a “they did it too” argument. I was apologising in advance for using one myself.
          My point was that all governments make mistakes, including some pretty serious ones with significant impacts. Asking one government to apologise for their mistakes without asking others to apologise for theirs indicates a degree of partisanship. No apologies or all apologies, I’m not fussed either way.
          And also, I’m aware that it is not possible to get National to take responsibility for their role in creating leaky buildings. Readers who get their knickers in a knot over my suggestion about actually getting National to take responsibility for their actions (heaven forbid that people should ever take personal responsibility) do so at their own risk.

          • Daveski 4.1.1.1.1

            AR – fair comments. I accept that there is no argument against standardising all rates at 35% or even 38% (altho there is the Australian company tax rate as a peg). However, it defies believe we should accept that the very top earners don’t pay the top tax rates. No one can justify that, especially those of us who are salary earners and can’t legally rort the system 🙂

            • Draco T Bastard 4.1.1.1.1.1

              And yet the most effective way of closing the loophole would be to put everyone on the same rules rather than keeping a minority of people on one set of rules that gives them privilege and the majority of people on another set of rules that denies them the same privilege.

  5. ianmac 5

    Remember Morgan the Younger and his ability to pay no tax? (A brave lad by the way.) I wonder if the coming changes announced by Key will cause a change for Mr Morgan? Wonder if he will comment?

  6. Not all the rich will leave but enough could. Plenty have already. Call Fay, Richwaite and Gibbs what you want but the IRD can no longer receive tax off their combined incomes of $500 million. That’s a $150 million loss to the revenue base from just THREE ‘rich pricks’ moving to Switzerland or England. You just dont get it do you. The rich can be tax domiciled out of NZ and come here for the three months or summer and enjoy the lifestyle and get to keep more of their money. The English and Swiss treasuries get to use their tax money. When the wealthiest 5% pay 50% of the tax if only 1% more of this income bracket decide to leave NZ then that’s 10% of the potential tax base gone. Where do you make that loss up from? Raising taxes on the middle class? Higher taxes on the 4% of ‘rich pricks’ left to accelerate their departure even more?

    Study after study shows that tax increases = reduced revenue take due to tax avoidance and migration vs tax cuts leading to higher than expected revenue flows due to reducing the incentive to use avoidance structures and fewer wealthy citizens emigrating to lower tax juristictions. Its not rocket science.

    This was directed to me from a user at kiwiblog …whats The Standard take on it ?

    captcha : reduced

    [lprent: you mean the people at the Standard – authors and/or commentators. The Standard itself is a dumb machine with non-opinionated software. ]

    • Bright Red 6.1

      my take on it is that when you add the Confederation tax, the Canton tax, the land tax, and the capital tax, Switzerland has a more progressive tax system that ours, and the likes of Fay Richwaite will be gaming it too.

    • uke 6.2

      It demonstrates really well how globalisation has enabled capital flight. It’s a no-win situation. Maybe a “solution’ would be to tighten the rules along the lines of:

      – If a NZer wants to reside in another country for tax (avoidance) purposes, then they must permanently relinquish their NZ citizenship. Their property and business interests in this country will be confiscated.

      – Only NZ citizens may own real estate or controlling interests in local businesses.

      – Those caught avoiding tax should be treated as “terrorists’, as economist Loretta Napoleoni has argued, for financially attacking the ability of the State to function. And treated accordingly.

      (Hope this message doesn’t double-up below. Replied in the wrong place and requested deletion. Cheers)

      • Draco T Bastard 6.2.1

        Pretty much agree with all of that.

      • insider 6.2.2

        Wow, what an economic and political agenda. New Zealand as the South Pacific North Korea or ZImbabwe. Imagine all those people going on OEs having their property confiscated and citizenship stripped. That’ll keep all those teachers here instead of them infesting London schools avoiding our taxes.

        No doubt there will be complementary laws banning NZers owning absolutely anything anywhere but here. It’s only fair, surely? ANd a we;ll get our whole new branch of Al Qaida with all these economic terrorists – then we’ll really hit the world stage.

        • uke 6.2.2.1

          Yeah, just a coupla ideas.

          Of course, there used to far tighter restrictions on foreign ownership, capital flight, and financial speculation in this country. Guess we were virtually North Korea then, eh? It all seemed so “normal”.

          But then I suppose you could argue that a tax evader/avoider is really a “freedom fighter”.

          • insider 6.2.2.1.1

            “Of course, there used to far tighter restrictions on foreign ownership, capital flight, and financial speculation in this country. ”

            Yes my father had to get Muldoon’s signature as Minister of Finance in order to get enough foreign currency to buy a computer for his organisation.

            “Guess we were virtually North Korea then, eh? It all seemed so “normal’.’

            Yes and we used to send children up chimneys and doctors advertised the benefits of smoking. That seemed so normal, then.

            “But then I suppose you could argue that a tax evader/avoider is really a “freedom fighter’.’

            Well no doubt the libertarianz would 🙂

            • uke 6.2.2.1.1.1

              Well, I’m not sure that foreign currency controls are really quite in same league of “evil” as child chimney-sweeping, but maybe that’s just me…

              BTW, I realised there already are Al Qaida-style economic terrorists. They go by names like Goldman Sachs and we have some in NZ too. Join your local cell today! FTW!

    • pollywog 6.3

      yeah sorry…i meant, what’s the Standardista take on it 🙂

      …so am i right in thinking fay, richwhite and gibbs will be looking on from afar and saying, ‘they’ve dropped the personal taxrate for ‘rich pricks’ by 5%, must be about time we moved back home then’ ?

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    Last week, English Prime Minister Boris Johnson boldly declared that he would rather die be dead in a ditch than delay Brexit. Unfortunately for him, the UK parliament accepted the challenge, and promptly dug one for him. The "rebellion bill" requires him to ask for and secure yet another temporary ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Warning! Warning! Danger Jacinda Ardern! Danger Marama Davidson! Warning!
    Lost In Political Space: The most important takeaway from this latest Labour sexual assault scandal, which (if I may paraphrase Nixon’s White House counsel’s, John Dean’s, infamous description of Watergate) is “growing like a cancer” on the premiership, is the Labour Party organisation’s extraordinary professional paralysis in the face of ...
    1 week ago
  • Union solidarity with Ihumatao land occupation
    by Daphna Whitmore Every Sunday for the past two months unionists from First Union, with supporters from other unions, have set out to the Ihumatao land protest, put up gazebos and gas barbeques, and cooked food for a few hundred locals and supporters who have come from across the country. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: The wrong kind of trees?
    Newsroom today has an excellent, in-depth article on pine trees as carbon sinks. The TL;DR is that pine is really good at soaking up carbon, but people prefer far-less efficient native forests instead. Which is understandable, but there's two problems: firstly, we've pissed about so long on this problem that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • No freedom of speech in Turkey
    Canan Kaftancioglu is a Turkish politician and member of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP). Like most modern politicians, she tweets, and uses the platform to criticise the Turkish government. She has criticised them over the death of a 14-year-old boy who was hit by a tear gas grenade during ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Tadhg Stopford: Why I’m standing for the ADHB
    Hi there, just call me Tim.We face tough problems, and I’d like to help, because there are solutions.An Auckand District Health Board member has nominated me for as a candidate for the ADHB, because her MS-related pain and fatigue is reduced with hemp products from Rotorua.  Nothing else helped her. If I ...
    1 week ago
  • Good little vassals
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security has published their report on whether the SIS and GCSB had any complicity in American torture. And its damning. The pull quote is this:The Inquiry found both agencies, but to a much greater degree, the NZSIS, received many intelligence reports obtained from detainees who, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Who Shall We Turn To When God, And Uncle Sam, Cease To Defend New Zealand?
    Bewhiskered Cassandra? Professor Hugh White’s chilling suggestion, advanced to select collections of academic, military and diplomatic Kiwi experts over the course of the past week, is that the assumptions upon which Australia and New Zealand have built their foreign affairs and defence policies for practically their entire histories – are ...
    1 week ago
  • The Politics of Opposition
    For most of the time I was a British MP, my party was out of government – these were the Thatcher years, when it was hard for anyone else to get a look-in. As a front-bencher and shadow minister, I became familiar with the strategies required in a parliamentary democracy ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • More expert comments on the Canadian fluoride-IQ paper
    The Green et al (2019) fluoride/IQ is certainly controversial – as would be expected from its subject (see If at first you don’t succeed . . . statistical manipulation might help and Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear). Anti-fluoride campaigners have been actively promoting it ...
    2 weeks ago
  • The return to guerrilla war in Colombia
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh On August 29th a video in which veteran FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) commander Iván Márquez announced that they had taken up arms again was released. There was no delay in the reaction to it, from longtime Liberal Party figure and former president Uribe, for ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Air New Zealand identifies this enormous plot of unused land as possible second airport site
    Air New Zealand couldn’t believe its luck that this seemingly ideal piece of real estate had so far gone entirely unnoticed. Air New Zealand’s search for a site to build a second Auckland Airport may have made a breakthrough this afternoon, after employees scanning Google satellite imagery spotted a huge, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Redline on the Labour Party
    No-one on the anti-capitalist left in this country today puts forward a case that Labour is on the side of the working class.  There are certainly people who call themselves ‘socialist’ who do, but they are essentially liberals with vested interests in Labourism – often for career reasons. Nevertheless, there ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • New Fisk
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s failure
    When National was in government and fucking over the poor for the benefit of the rich, foodbanks were a growth industry. And now Labour is in charge, nothing has changed: A huge demand for emergency food parcels means the Auckland City Mission is struggling to prepare for the impending arrival ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Ardern attempts to vaccinate Clarke Gayford live on television to prove that it’s safe
    Gayford, pictured here on The Project, before things got wildly out of control. A bold public relations move by the Government to encourage parents to vaccinate their children has gone horribly wrong. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern appeared on tonight’s episode of Three’s The Project, where the plan was for her ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Has Mr. Whippy gone too far by parking on our front lawns?
    Mr. Whippy’s business model has driven it down a dark road of intimidation. Residents in major centres around the country are becoming disgruntled by the increasingly aggressive actions of purported ice cream company Mr. Whippy, who have taken to parking on people’s front lawns and doorsteps in a desperate attempt ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Cleaning up the water
    Today the government released its Action Plan for Healthy Waterways, aimed at cleaning up our lakes and rivers. Its actually quite good. There will be protection for wetlands, better standards for swimming spots, a requirement for continuous improvement, and better standards for wastewater and stormwater. But most importantly, there's a ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Fronting up
    Today I appeared before the Environment Committee to give an oral submission on the Zero Carbon Bill. Over 1,500 people have asked to appear in person, so they've divided into subcommittees and are off touring the country, giving people a five minute slot each. The other submitters were a mixed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago

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