The neo-liberal culture of greed has become so ingrained in New Zealand society that left of centre politicians fear to suggest policies that would reduce the wealth or income gap between our richest and poorest citizens or, heaven forbid, ease the hardship of our poorest children for fear of losing votes.
The moment that a policy is suggested, John Key will play the “not fiscally responsible” card with a “they’ll increase your taxes to pay for it” follow up.
Are tax increases necessary?
Even at record low tax levels, an article in the NZ Herald by Anna Leask noted ‘Inland Revenue has found that 107 out of 161 “high-wealth individuals” who own or control more than $50 million worth of assets declared their personal income in the last financial year was less than $70,000 – the starting point for the top tax bracket.’
Victoria University research found that, in 2012, tax evaders cheated the country of between $1 and $6 billion.
So before anyone needs to raise taxes (or sells off more assets) the Government of the day should enhance its process for collecting the vast sums that are currently missed.
Who would pay, if there were increases?
Who exactly are the people who make up John Key’s “your” in “your taxes”? Are they the floating voters switching between National and Labour? Almost certainly not.
If a higher rate of tax were to be introduced at $ 100,000 then it would impact the top 3% or 4% of New Zealanders.
Apart from Labour or Green MPs (who earn around $ 140,000) it may well not affect any of their prospective voters! Indeed it is unlikely to affect the majority of any party’s supporters.
Set the higher tax rate at $170,000 and it would only target the 1% that includes the CEO’s currently earning in the millions of dollars.
So, left of centre politicians, start working on your policies to reduce the appalling income gap in New Zealand, which is causing so much harm to all of us and prepare your answers, in advance, to the ridiculous claims made by people who believe that so many New Zealanders have so much to lose from their back pockets!