Friday, June 10, 2022

Deeply conflicted

The Petitions Committee has reported back on a petition to introduce a capital gains tax on residential property, with a response that basicly boils down to "fuck off, we're not interested". Which is sadly unsurprising. According to the current Register of Members' Pecuniary and Other Specified Interests, the eight members of the committee collectively own 17 homes, with a majority owning more than one. The chair, Jacqui Dean, owns five. But none of them seems to have recused themselves, despite this obvious conflict of interest.

This is the problem: the body we need to fix house hoarding is comprised of house hoarders, who are financially invested in the current status quo, in protecting their own unearned capital gains, and ensuring they can continue to gain tax-free income (to add insult to injury, they get subsidised by a housing allowance for doing so). By any objective measure, they are deeply conflicted. I don't know how to fix it, but the continued toleration of this conflict and refusal to enact any solution undermines the integrity and legitimacy of parliament.