Closing Tax loopholes

Cracks Beginning To Appear For Kiwibuild.

When the Kiwibuild program was first announced we wrote that there was a chance it may simply crowd out private sector building.  We were not alone in harbouring this doubt as various industry commentators have shared similar views. It appears this, along with other concerns such as the lack of capacity, cost blow outs and affordability problems, have led quietly to a change of scope. The official documentation now states Kiwibuild will “facilitate the delivery” of the planned 100,000 homes, rather than “build”. It may seem minor, and arguing about semantics is never very productive, but it does further expose Labour’s flagship policy to criticism. Analysis from economic modeling firm Infometrics showed that the policy could see as few as 9,200 additional properties added to the dwelling stock over the next four years, representing less than one-third of the program that is penciled in for that period.

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Weak Analyses Plus Political Bias: Failure Inevitable for the Tax Working Group?

The TWG has been set an impossible mission – improve the tax regime, make it more efficient and fair, but don’t recommend any changes to the tax treatment of owner occupied housing. And another – make the tax system fairer but don’t deal with the interface between tax rates and welfare (which is just negative tax after all).

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Winners and Loser: The New Zealand Tax System

Taxation has very much been in the limelight in recent weeks. We have the seen the government chastised for a plan to implement increased taxes on fuel by around 10c per litre over the next few years. There has been the constant spectre of the Tax Working Group hanging over us, and over the weekend, the appointment of Marama Davidson as Co-leader of the Greens gave rise to the discussion of new and higher taxes, including higher income tax, for which she is a supporter.

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Housing affordability - How can we claw our way back?

"It's affordable for now and we don't tend to deal with things until they are well and truly broken,". Economist Shamubeel Eaqub.

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Will Labour’s Increase in the Minimum Wage lift Incomes?

The new government has taken no time extolling its desire for a higher minimum wage. $20 by 2020 is the number they’ve chosen, probably more for marketing purposes than anything evidence based.

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Foreign Buyers – The Villain or the ScapeGoat

Does anyone seriously think that Labour’s first loud policy initiative is anything but window-dressing for the masses, a solution chasing a problem that hasn’t even been evidenced? Sure, Phil Twyford doesn’t like Chinese-sounding names, but that is hardly evidence.

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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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The Family Home, and New Zealand's Housing Crisis

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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