Thursday, May 10, 2018

Kiwis want to pay more tax

The conversation about tax in New Zealand is only ever about one thing: cutting it. This is because the conversation is driven by the rich, who exclude themselves from government services to avoid mingling with us dirty peasants and thus don't see why they should pay for them, and by radical libertarians, who want to shrink the state out ideological zeal. But if you actual ask ordinary kiwis, it turns out that we want a state which provides decent schools, hospitals, and social services, and we'd like to pay higher taxes to get it:

A majority of New Zealanders say they would support higher or new taxes to maintain funding for schools, hospitals and transport systems, according to polling by the country's largest union.

And despite the Government ruling out income tax rises, there appears to be public support for them - at least for the wealthiest earners.


A majority of people said top earners in New Zealand paid too little tax, and 66 per cent of people supported a fifth tax bracket for those earning well over $70,000.

There's also strong support for pollution taxes and sticking it to foreign tax cheats.

This is a long-standing social consensus, not a recent one. So why do politicians keep ignoring it, rather than acting on it and reaping the political rewards? At this stage, it's kindof hard not to notice that they're all paid at least $160,000 a year, and so in a different boat from the rest of us. And that will be the case, no matter who we elect. Decent pay for MPs protects us from corruption, but the consequence is a political elite which is increasingly divorced from the lives of the people who vote for them, and with strong personal incentives to betray us.