Closing Tax loopholes

We Have Plenty Of Affordable Housing

With all the talk of the housing crisis, here’s a few facts to bear in mind.

 

According to the last census, we have an estimated 185,000 unoccupied dwellings - just over 10% of all houses. That is more empty houses as a % of total houses than ever in recorded history; at the end of WWII it was half of that. Of course many of these will be baches/ 2nd or 3rd homes in the Coromandel or Wanaka. The houses in these areas spend most of the year less than half occupied. However, even in Auckland we have over 30,000 unoccupied dwellings – over 6%. 

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Three Reasons Why We Need to Tax the Family Home.

There is growing awareness of the need to tax assets in New Zealand, but this morning the Labour leader ruled out any tax on the family home. Taxing the family home may be politically unpopular, but exempting it will kneecap any serious attempt to reduce inequality and improve the allocation of investment in our country. Labour want to get experts to review our tax system, but this has already been done in 2001 and 2010, and those experts stated that it was a ‘no brainer’ to include the family home. This blog explains why TOP’s tax reform includes the family home, and why we should not make an exception. 

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No Need To Lead When You Can Buy Votes With A House

Yesterday Labour’s new leader reaffirmed their softly, softly approach to the housing crisis. Not to be outdone, Bill English reconfirmed that National remains the party of the property owning class. Both our Establishment Parties seem dedicated to not reining the horses on house prices, which all adds up to another spring time price boom. 

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Tax, Dogma And Economic Illiteracy

We’ve had a few questions from our members about Green Party candidate Robin McCandless’ piece entitled Tax, dogma and The Opportunities Party. It was published in the Green Party members magazine, so wasn’t public and we can’t link to it. It took us a while to get hold of it but there is a scanned copy of it here.

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Our tax system is not just unfair and making housing unaffordable; it is stuffing the rivers too.

Most Kiwis are aware of the speculation in our housing market. It is the demand for housing and land as a tax-favoured investment over and above the demand simply for shelter or comfortable housing. This sends prices spiraling ever upwards, making house prices and even rents unaffordable for many, driving up our debt (most of it foreign), and starving our businesses of the money they need to grow.

 It’s a problem that is all too obvious to people now. But it doesn’t just apply to housing, it also applies to our largest industry; farming. And this is, in turn, stuffing our rivers. 

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Labour’s lunge at speculators a cynical con trick

Last weekend Labour leader Andrew Little identified the villain that was causing all the woe in the housing market. In Labour’s book it’s rapacious, speculator-landlords who are gearing up as much as possible, paying more in interest than they receive in rent and in so doing fueling house price rises. Mr Little intends to target such behaviour by outlawing such negative gearing. But note, only negative gearing by speculators will be in the gun, not mum and dad landlords.

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Prices coming “off the boil” – yeah right

According to media this morning house prices are coming “off the boil”. You could be fooled into thinking they are falling, but they are not, they are just increasing at a slower rate. The bottom line is that house prices are still increasing at 11% per year. This is faster than incomes are rising, so housing is still becoming more unaffordable. Despite the sanguine media reports, the housing affordability crisis continues to get worse. 

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It’s the Scandinavian Model, Stupid

Yesterday I talked about how the reform of our tax and welfare system is central to TOP’s long-term objective. But people have also asked me a much bigger question – we have a tonne of policy but what kind of society we are trying to create? 

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Full Success Against Foreign Artful Tax Dodgers Will Come at a Cost

Foreign companies not paying their fair share of tax is not news, it was discussed in the media last year and has come up again with the case of Apple. The approach I prefer – as written up in a paper I did on this while at the Morgan Foundation and covered in this blog is putting the onus of proof on the corporate to prove their ‘expenses’ are arms length, commercially validated transactions. No proof, no deduction. The common approach of transfer pricing wherein licence fees charged the NZ-based relation suck all the profits out of our tax jurisdiction simply won’t work with that approach.

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The problem with NZ super

Yesterday I was at a retirement village and we ended up having a chat about the topic of the day - NZ Super. Here is a summary of why we can't wait around to deal with this issue.

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