The Editor, The DomPost, Wellington
New Zealand First has been the destroyer of many of the main promises of the Labour Party from the last election (Cap Gains Tax), but where have been the complaints and insults of Winston? (Thanks to Sharon Murdock, Friday, for illustrating this reality, as she always manages to do.) Contrast that to the wave of heat against Greens Co-Leader James Shaw for a comparatively minor offence.
Yes, the Green private school grant and loan was against Green Party policy, and yes, Shaw has been out of step with the party membership for some time. But that doesn’t explain the vitriol from pundits and politicians. The visceral hatred of the Greens is always close to the surface. The Greens have been right too many times in vocalizing the challenging (terrifying) changes necessary to move forward in a nuclear weapon filled, climate change world with growing inequality that they exist unforgiven.
What is the future of Tax?
The world is changing. The Post Truth Era is main stream here in New Zealand and around the civilized world. Forty years ago there was a rising understanding that human cultures were destroying the ‘environment’ (‘ecosystem’ is a new and better word). It became understood that human culture must recognize that it was part of the ecosystem, not separate and superior to it. The changes required to reconnect with the planet also came to be seen as fundamental and terrifying. Those four decades have been dedicated to trying to ignore that. In fact, those who’s ideology was that human’s proper role was domination realized this was their last chance. Those persons or constructs (e.g. corporation) most capable of accumulating vast wealth would be encouraged and inequality would be increased. Neoliberalism became the preferred system to accomplish that and its tax workings need to be examined in that light. Piketty more recently did the analysis of what was actually happening.
We must be careful about comparisons with other countries. There is disconnect widely across the globe about human culture’s place in the planetary ecosystem. Tax systems must be seen in a new light. Money systems must be seen is a new light. It seems incredible to me that such a fundamental thing as money creation is left to large private profit making organizations (banks). Money should be kept as a medium of exchange and not be something that can be owned, traded, and rented (interest).
Tax then needs to focus on controlling impulses to accumulate and dominate and on encouraging health of the ecosphere.
What is the Purpose of Tax?
As wealth has been used to further the ideology of dominance (planetary ecosystem, class in human relationships, etc) and increased inequality, wealth must be a strong focus of tax. (Capital gain could be a part of that, focusing on difference from a norm which is based on balancing negative impacts and enhancing impacts on the planet.)
Tax cannot be separated from other aspects of human relationships, government, etc. Once those fundamental changes are accomplished then the tax environment will look different.
Can housing affordability be increased through tax?
Housing has become a primary means to increase inequality in New Zealand. Progress will come from a change in attitude toward productive soils and land use as that reflects the most primary exploitative attitude. (see previous comments) More modest housing models could result. Fewer people would be desirable. The whole philosophy of exploitation in human relationships must be rejected and resulting changes in attitude toward money would take power from the profiteer approach of banks.
Wealth in the form of land ownership and assets needs to be taxed, especially idle housing properties. Capital gains tax would work in this context.
My most important ?
The phrase “protecting the environment” doesn’t really capture it. Living realistically and healthily within the ecosphere does it better. See my earlier comments to see how this needs to be seen. Many other impacts would flow on to the other priorities you mention here.
The approach to retirement is another crucial factor. Kiwi Saver has primarily been an attempt to discredit National Super while creating winners and losers through the ‘market’, thus increasing inequality.
Wealth in the form of shares is a way to use productive activities to produce wealth which is not productive and should be heavily taxed.