Written By: - Date published: 8:07 am, March 7th, 2019 - 111 comments
Categories: capital gains, grant robertson, jacinda ardern, labour, making shit up, national, nick smith, nz first, racism, same old national, Simon Bridges, spin, tax, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, winston peters, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags:
National is a party with a plethora of hired “talent” researching and planning and scheming to return National to its natural position, that is ruler of us all.
It does not matter that they are hopelessly inept at the leadership stuff, that they are incapable of making any brave but necessary decisions, that the only lens they take to the decision making process is what will make their business and farming mates happier, but they have to lead. There are far too many obscenely rich people who need to be even richer because that is according to them the natural order.
So the thought of even modest redistribution from the top 10% to the rest of us is an anathema to them. And this is why they are throwing the kitchen sink at the capital gains tax proposal.
I think that Ad is right. Labour is struggling with the PR because it thought that National would play fair and wait for the Government to announce its response before going on the attack. This vacuum has proved too tempting.
So wave one of the attack was to suggest that Labour was going to gut KiwiSaver accounts even though the TWG package would mean that most people would be better off. Wave two was the scare the farmers effort. And now we are into the racist dogwhistle stage.
Yesterday in Parliament showed the depths that National is prepared to stoop to. From Hansard:
Hon Simon Bridges: Does she agree with Grant Robertson, who is reported as saying “There was no recommendation in the Tax Working Group report excluding Māori from the capital gains tax”?
Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: If the member was willing to characterise the member’s statements correctly, then I would agree with Minister Robertson.
Hon Simon Bridges: What does she say about volume 1 of the Tax Working Group report, page 15, headed “Summary of Recommendations”, which makes quite clear there are recommendations around Māori being excluded from a capital gains tax—[Interruption]
Get that? National was prepared to suggest that Maori would be exempted from a CGT. What was this based on?
The TWG recommendations report proposes that there should be a broad capital gains tax but acknowledges that Maori freehold land poses problems, essentially because it is whanau land and the owners are essentially trustees. And there are major hurdles in place before it could be alienated.
The report invited the Government to “consider that some types of transactions relating to collectively owned Māori assets merit specific treatment in light of their distinct context” and “recommends that the Government engages further with Māori to determine the most appropriate treatment of transactions relating to collectively owned Māori assets.”
This is not preferential treatment. The bright line test allows transfer of trust property between trustees without the period being triggered. You can bet that any CGT will allow the same.
Transactions relating to Maori land are generally essentially the same. It is tightly held land that is almost inevitably kept within whanau control.
If owners of Māori land want to sell their interest in the land, they must first offer it to members of the whānau and hapū associated with the land. If there are no takers then they have to get Māori Land Court’s approval for the sale.
Ownership is often fragmented and complex. To require owners to pay a CGT when there are whanau transactions would cause all sorts of difficulties. And to claim that allowing this sort of transaction is evidence that Maori are being exempted from the proposed CGT involves all sorts of falsehood and bullshittery. Sorry about the language but this deserves it.
For a start it only applies to owners of Maori land. This is a pretty small subset of Maoridom. And the complications deserve special treatment.
But it got worse. Nick Smith confirmed that the dogwhistle was being given a big, big blow:
Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: Again, I refer them back to the report, which encouraged the Government to consider whether particular circumstances such as disposing of Māori freehold land or where assets are—
Hon Dr Nick Smith: Are you going to exempt Māori?
Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: —transferred within iwi, whether or not we should give specific consideration to an exemption—in the same way that, for instance, if you had land passed down after death—
Hon Dr Nick Smith: Are you going to exempt them?
Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: —whether there should be a 12 months’ exemption. These are exemptions they asked us to consider, and for very good reasons.
Winston Peters, bless him, understood the issues:
Rt Hon Winston Peters: If any owner, Māori or otherwise, was holding land in trusteeship for future generations, how could a capital gains tax possibly apply when they do not intend to benefit from any capital gains themselves?
Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: Yes, the member is making the point around intent of sale, and, again, I’d like to make the point that of course, as has been the case for a number of years and successive Governments, we have, for instance, a 17.5 percent tax rate that applies to Māori authorities. And now is the member stating that he disagrees with that provision as well?
But Bridges came back to give the dogwhistle one last big blow:
Hon Simon Bridges: Will her Government exclude Māori from any capital gains tax it imposes?
Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: As I have reiterated, the Tax Working Group has as a group, including a range of representatives, acknowledged that it warrants consideration. We have made no decisions, but unlike the other side of the House we can see when there are circumstances that are particular that do warrant consideration. It seems to me the National Party now has a strategy where they don’t support 17.5 percent tax rates for Māori authorities. We might be interested in sharing that with iwi leaders.
Grant Robertson summed the afternoon’s events up well:
And just in case you think that this was accidental Simon’s twitter team came up with these.
And in this tweet he left out the rather important qualifying words “collectively owned” as in “collectively owned Maori assets”.
There is going to be a whole month of this sort of nonsense before the Government releases its response. I wonder how low National will go?