How soon we forget our history.
Pakeha history: New Zealand was colonised by Anglo Saxons and Celts - very few Norman gentry showed up on these shores. With little more than the shirts on their back, these migrants left a land where they were tenants and debtors to find a new land where they could be their own free men and women. Owning a piece of land freehold, building one's home on it, and living as free peoples was most important to those founding families and it remains so today.
Maori history: In 1840, when staking those claims to land became messy because Maori already were there and tikanga was clashing with British land-law, a treaty was signed in which the Queen guaranteed the full, exclusive and undisturbed possession of local leaders and their extended families to their land, estates and other properties. Subject matter: undisturbed possession of land & estates. How clear can it be?
So whether you are of British descent or Maori, or you came here from somewhere else, land and estate (home) is sacrosanct.
Back in 2001, Rob McLoud chaired the government's Tax Review where he recommended that people who owned homes without debt should be taxed. The theory was that if they borrow money from the bank, they are not tying up capital that could otherwise be flowing through the economy. Of course another interpretation on could be that this is another subsidy for the banking system. It failed to gain political support.
In short, Mr. Morgan, land and estates in NZ are not a plaything for the politicians. Leave them alone. To be clear, I am talking about the family home, family business and family farm, not speculation and land banking.
Taxation is a very ineffective tool for social and economic engineering. It is strange that a man like Gareth Morgan does not see that what his son Sam Morgan did in creating a whole new private sector market called TradeMe, was far more effective than tinkering with taxes. For the ordinary person, not the rich, TradeMe created huge cash flow as personal property in people’s sheds and closets became items for sale – one person’s trash was another’s treasure and a lot of new small businesses arose when those amateurs realised that TradeMe gave them a national audience without needing a storefront.
Mr. Morgan, if you are worried about the way this country is going, then focus on how to create new employment and small businesses, especially now that broadband is finally vanquishing the tyranny of distance.
If you want to create opportunity, then create opportunity instead of tinkering with taxes.
If you want to create opportunity in a nation of small businesses, take back NZ Post and drop international shipping rates to lower than what Chinese companies apparently pay to send stuff here. Create simple conditions so that Kiwi businesses can sell domestic products online and ship to the world for competitive prices.
Subsidise air and sea freight charges. If you don’t understand this, go to DLH and look what it costs to ship a 31.5 kg package up to 1.2 x .6 x .6 cm from Germany to NZ? (€126). Then look what it costs to send the same box from NZ back to Germany (over $3,000). Why? Because Deutsche Post bought DHL and tilted the playing field so their small businesses (that use the post office) will export more.
Ditto Air New Zealand. Drop international airfares for business travel to next to nothing... for business people who hold APEC cards taking business trips, not overseas holidays that add to the negative balance of trade.
Make NZ a nation of entrepreneurs who sell to the world because their government does everything it can to help them succeed. We as a people are smart as entrepreneurs, but our government business ethos is not so smart.
Want more policies to consider Mr. Morgan?
Nationalise the fibre-optic broadband network and ensure that every business gets what in the US is called Google Fiber - 1 TB speeds - and make it free for all NZ businesses with no caps. Encourage 30 printing industries and the internet of things.
Boost Kiwibank small business lending and employ talented business advisors so that loans come with real expertise and connections. Then put in place very strong laws to end the duopolies and the wink-wink businesses that think they are smart raising the price of everything in search of the maximum price the market will bear. There are times I despair for the businesses that seem to think it’s smart to charge their domestic customers more than their international ones. We're eating our children.
Mr. Morgan, you named your party The Opportunities Party, but your first policy is not about opportunities but rejigging the tax system. You write "All productive assets - and that includes the house that provides you with your accommodation each year - are or can produce income each and every year.” Next you will be saying that if I grow food in my garden I should pay tax before I eat it. If I heat my home with solar panels, I should pay tax for the free energy from the sun.
Your view of what it is to be human is distorted. A house is not a productive asset, it is someone’s home. My house does not provide me accommodation, it is my home. I recommend you look up the word “accommodation” before equating it to “home”.
On your web site you write “home-owners benefit while those that are renting are punished." So your solution is to punish home-owners.
Let me suggest a different approach. Press for 99% home ownership in NZ. Make it easier and cheaper to buy a home than to rent one. Make the government the guarantor of all mortgages, and if someone gets into trouble because they lost their job, bring in WINZ to get them a temporary job so they can make their payments. Make them mortgages that are cleared at age 65, so all pensioners have a nest egg and then offer that any pensioner can swap their home for senior housing plus a liveable pension for life.
Do you like this suggestion?