Notice how a single announcement (not even officially made) from the opposition Labour Party has generated more interest, excitement and reaction than the last (Sub-Zero) budget? More excitement, in fact, than anything the National government has done in the last three wasted years?
The Herald editorial heaps praise on Goff for a policy that is says is courageous and “not only would a capital gains tax be hugely beneficial to the economy but the time for its introduction is right.”
Press gallery leader Guyon Espiner says “most New Zealanders do not have an investment property and if Labour can argue this properly they should be able to carry this argument”.
Fellow press gallery heavyweight John Armstrong reckons that “Goff goes for broke with huge gamble”. Got that right. But – what – you thought Labour was just going to sleepwalk to defeat? Hell no.
Poor John Key reckons that a capital gains tax will send NZ “screaming backwards”. He’s quite the expert on that I guess. In the same piece Key predicts that the CGT will raise only “$700 million a year, after 15 years”. Unfortunately for the PM the recent Tax Working Group report put the figure at more than $4 billion a year (the 2009 report from the Victoria University of Wellington Tax Working Group agrees). Perhaps Nice Mr Key should check his sums. Or even wait a week and see precisely what form Labour’s policy will take.
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”.
Everybody’s favourite Tory mouthpiece DPF was strangely muted in his criticism at Kiwiblog. Perhaps that’s because he recalls saying, just last year that “… I think the time is right to now take a serious look at capital gains tax”.
For a take out of left field, Rob Carr at Political Dumpground argues that even if the CGT causes a property market implosion, that might be a Good Thing.
Labour have started setting out a bold, fair and plausible policy framework for the election. No asset sales. A tax system for the many not the few. $15 minimum wage. Children at the centre of social policy. R&D tax credits. Keep ACC and Pharmac. GST off fresh food. Strengthen KiwiSaver and the Cullen fund. All good stuff!
And the Nats? A budget almost universally panned as lacking in vision, they are simply recycling meaningless promises from one budget to the next. And news yesterday that the government’s “new” $17 billion infrastructure plan in fact contains no new plans at all, just re-announcements of old ones (which were mostly Labour’s anyway).
In short, Labour has a plan, National has a record of three wasted years. Labour have taken hold of the political agenda. Now they have to keep it for the next 5 months.