Monday, March 25, 2024

No credibility

At the 2017 election, the Labour Party under Jacinda Ardern ran on a policy of investigating the fairness of Aotearoa's tax system, with any changes delayed until after the 2020 election. When their Tax Working Group reported back in 2019 recommending a capital-gains tax, Ardern immediately ruled it out for as long as she was Prime Minister. And when she quit, and IRD's High Wealth Individuals Research Project produced a cast-iron case for taxing wealth, her chickenshit successor Chris Hipkins ruled that out too. But now, he's supposedly promising to look at it again:

The Opposition leader, who ruled out campaigning on capital gains and wealth taxes ahead of the 2023 election, in a speech at the weekend said both were back on the table, as was a land tax. The idea is to ease the tax burden on salary and wage earners, who are "shouldering a disproportionate share" compared to those whose money comes from their wealth.

"Under this government, those with multiple investment properties are getting huge tax breaks while those on salary and wages pay tax on every dollar they earn," Hipkins told supporters on Sunday.

But while it's good to see Hipkins has apparently changed his mind on this, given his and his party's past actions, there's a complete lack of credibility here. To put it bluntly: they have offered this before. And then, when handed an opportunity to do it on a plate - with an unthinkable majority government even - they have failed to deliver. So why should we believe them this time? Likewise, if they won't even admit a mistake, but just say "that was then and this is now", why should we think that their position won't suddenly reverse again the moment they're back in government and getting those higher salaries and big, wealth-building perks again? Especially when the spineless chickenshit who did that is still in charge?

If Labour wants us to believe them, they need to offer us a leader who clearly believes in their policies, rather than in nothing. Meanwhile, there are other parties offering fairer taxation policies, who have been consistent for decades on this issue, and who can be trusted. So if you actually want to tax wealth and capital gains, I'd suggest voting Green.