Friday, July 28, 2023

Francesca Rudkin: Te Pāti Māori’s tax policy unsurprising

Yesterday Te Pāti Māori released their tax policy ahead of the election.

The policy wasn’t a huge surprise. At their election campaign launch a few weeks ago they made it clear their tax reform policy would have a focus on redistributing wealth. So the proposal for a new wealth tax, an increase in income tax for those earning over $200,000, and a tax free threshold for income up to $30,000 are all expected.

During Matariki, Co leader Rawiri Waititi said, “100,000 people are homeless in New Zealand, 60,000 of those are Maori”, so it’s no shock they’re also pushing for new taxes for land banking and vacant houses as well as a capital gains tax.

They’ve clearly decided to go all out. So also plan to raise the corporate tax rate from 28% to 33%, as well as new taxes for foreign companies.

They call the policy radical and transformative and representative of their values - but there’s plenty of debate as to whether these policies will encourage or hinder productivity.

It’s easy to take a radical approach when you’re a minor party. When it comes to the compromises required for coalition negotiations it’s important to have something to lose.

Te Pāti Māori’s tax reform policy comes after the Green Party recently released their plan to pursue a wealth tax and universal income guarantee.

The person this creates a headache for is the Prime Minister - who recently made a Captain’s Call pledging no new capital gains our wealth tax as long as he’s Prime Minister.

It makes for an interesting potential coalition negotiation doesn’t it. And it means the Labour party needs to be very clear about their tax policy, which is expected to be announcing imminently. Obviously voters would like the labour party to be transparent about what they would be prepared to consider from coalition partners when it comes to tax reform, but they’ll see no upside in having that discussion before the election.

Hipkins’ announcement on capital gains and wealth taxes was pure politicking, and accepted by his cabinet even if they didn’t entirely agree. Which is becoming a theme.

National’s finance spokesperson Nicola Willis has pipped the government’s tax policy announcement by doing it herself. She confidently claims Hipkins’ plans to announce the removal of GST from fruit and vegetables, even after his Finance Minister ruled out the idea earlier in the year.

It’s a difficult idea to put in place, and it will be hard to know if we’re saving 15% on our fruit or veggies without more supermarket regulation, but with the heightened cost of a weekly shop it could be a popular move.

Hipkins’ is making the big calls and he now has the tough job of assuring party faithful they’re living by their values, while also appealing to a wide demographic feeling the pinch of a cost of living crisis.

Something tells me, he may need more than just a fruity rehashed idea from 2011 to get the job done.

Francesca is a well known film reviewer, writes for NZ Herald's Timeout magazine, and contributes to Jack Tame's Newstalk show. This article was first published HERE


Anonymous said...

....and now that te pati Maori has become interested in tax, surely they can tax their somewhat limited brain power to consider ALL can now pay tax including iwi! It is iniquitous that hugely rich iwi authorities pay no tax as their poor relations down the road are reduced to ram raiding to keep themselves in goodies.

Anonymous said...

Could Mr Waititi please confirm that the corporate tax increase will also Include IWI owned businesses which at the moment only pay maximum of 17.5%. A lower rate than non maori owned businesses or will he exempt them and will he require a tax to be paid on IWI trust funds that are presently non taxable.

Richard said...

Why would one think Rawiri has a clue? The man who thought Parliament's rule of wearing a tie could (successfully) be challenged, thinks wearing a broad brimmed hat, rather than the familiar feathers, in the chamber is acceptable, suggests he's spent a long time where the sun doesn't shine!