Recommended NZ | Guide to Money | Gimme: Competitions - Giveaways

Chris Ford: Are National really the low tax party?? Not come April 1!

Read More:
Chris Ford
Chris Ford

 Last week, I got reminded that National is not the low tax party it claims to be!

I saw a news website story that outlined how, on that day, the pay packets of ordinary New Zealanders are going to be hit again. For those looking at their pay slips after that day, don't think that your employer is having you on. They're not! 

On that day and thereafter, student loan repayment rates go up. Many thousands of Kiwis (myself included) have loan debts and we will lose a few dollars a week or more just to appease the government's deficit cutting fetish.

Also, the minimum employee contribution required for KiwiSaver goes up that same day. For those New Zealanders (and there are many) who contribute to the scheme, it will mean more dollars foregone. 

And (if I'm correct) even for those New Zealanders who don't have either KiwiSaver or Student Loan accounts, you will be hit later in the year by petrol excise tax increases. Even if you're not a motorist, this excise hike will flow through into increased bus and taxi fares and (as all goods need to be transported) into the price of everyday essentials like food.

Just to rub salt into the wound, the Government has now suggested a carpark tax on ordinary workers. This is in the form of removing FBT exemptions around carpark perks for employees. Employers contribute to paying for carpark spaces simply because they want to keep costs down for workers and retain their employees. 

Unbelievably, this proposal has brought together a coalition of odd bedfellows in the form of the FBT Action Group. Comrade Matt McCarten's Unite Union has come together with some of its usual opponents such as the Employers and Manufacturers Association Northern, the Property Council and private carparking corporate Tournament Group to oppose these changes.

These proposed changes will hit ordinary working people hard as they could potentially mean that employers, faced with the tax exemption loss, could stop covering the car park charges of some of their lowest paid workers, such as cleaners and even many of their staff who live on much better incomes.

I agree that this is a screwy proposal to say the least!

Then, just today, Labour's Revenue Spokesperson David Cunliffe came out and attacked government proposals to extend FBT coverage to employers providing accomodation for their workers. Cunliffe pointed out how this will disadvantage construction workers in employer-provided accomodation who are working on the Christchurch rebuild, among others.

I don't oppose closing tax loopholes but, admittedly, some exist for good and fair reasons! In saying this, I note the irony of capitalist business interests backing these campaigns when many of them have benefitted from other tax changes initiated by National. I don't think, though, that they will support much needed tax measures like the left's proposal for a Capital Gains Tax.

Still, with National now riding high in the polls again, I hope that ordinary New Zealanders pause to think about that party's claim to be a low tax party. I think that that statement should be rephrased to ask low taxes for whom? The rich! You betcha!

(NB: Don't forget either that National brought you 15 percent GST!)




All articles and comments on have been submitted by our community of users. Please notify us if you believe an item on this site breaches our community guidelines.