Labour abandons tax plans

Labour leader David Cunliffe.
Labour leader David Cunliffe.
Labour has officially dropped its policies of having the first $5000 of earnings tax free and of removing GST from fresh fruit and vegetables Leader David Cunliffe said this morning.

The policies were adopted in the run up to the 2011 election under then-Leader Phil Goff but Mr Cunliffe's immediate predecessor David Shearer in his first major speech as leader almost two years ago indicated that the policies would be dumped.

Labour estimated the policies would cost the Government about $1.5 billion a year in lost revenue.

"While these were worthwhile policies , we believe there are better ways to help struggling Kiwi families'', Mr Cunliffe said.

"Labour has game-changing plans that will help New Zealanders who are being squeezed by the National Government's lopsided and unfair policies.''

Mr Cunliffe said he would be outlining "Labour's vision for a better, fairer, more innovative New Zealand'' in his state of the nation speech on Monday.

Mr Cunliffe said there was new evidence that items such as fresh fruit and vegetables were mainly consumed by people who could afford more and there were better ways to give relief to families were less well off.

He said the tax free zone, while simple, would have delivered the same relief to top income earners as well as those struggling to make ends meet and Labour wanted better targeted measures.

Mr Cunliffe said flagship policies of introducing a capital gains tax and a staged raising the NZ Super age of eligibility from 65 to 67 would remain, but would be tweaked.

The Super age policy was being reviewed to address issues of social and gender equality.

He said the media and public would have to "wait and see" whether he would announce on Monday that Labour would extend Working for Families to beneficiaries.


Labour adrift, now lost

What do Labour stand for, GST on unprocessed food is a crime.

What a sad state of affairs to have reached, from a history of social change to the shame of Rodgernomics, now to this about have lost my vote next time. Just gutless, just a waste of space & false words....

Food tax

Well, obviously any government feels it has the 'right' to pass laws, however I was thinking of something more subtle - a moral right.

The Labour party policy recently dropped was to exempt only fresh fruit and vegetables from GST, which are quite easy to define and even if there are grey areas that hardly matters.

What does matter is improving the nutrition of the less well-heeled - a group whose ranks are swelling every week with the growing inequality gap.

Why do the large majority of the world's Governments NOT tax food? Perhaps for the same reason they don't tax sunlight or oxygen - everyone needs food to survive.

Tax on food

David77, of course governments have the right to tax food, just as they have the right to tax earnings, petrol, alcohol etc.  In democracies the people gave them that right when they were elected.  If there were a party that promised "we will abolish GST" (or petrol tax, or excise duty, or income tax) and they got the majority of the votes ... but then who would pay for roads, defence, health care, education and so on?

"It is 'too difficult' to exempt food from GST" because  of the issue of "what is a food?"  Is sugar-free soft drink containing no nutritional value a food?  Is wine a food?  Out of a restaurant or take-away, how much of the price is for the food and how much is the labour, energy, containers,  cooking and serving dishes plus the machines and detergent and labour required for washing them?

Should tax be removed from "healthy" foods, or from everything edible even if it consists of mainly substances that cause obesity, tooth decay and diabetes?  Who should define where the line is drawn?

Tax on food

So Governments have the right to tax food - who gave them that right? The large majority of Governments do not tax food yet we are told that it is 'too difficult' to exempt food from GST in New Zealand, which is arguably one of the most over-regulated and over-taxed countries on earth.

Don't vote for food-taxers?

"No government has the right to tax food, water or sunlight" asserts David77, incorrectly. Governments can tax anything they want to, they can pass laws that persecute certain groups, that deny rights to certain classes of people, and they did - they do. In NZ the last few decades have seen many changes. Women can vote, work and drive cars. Maori don't come up against a "No Maori, no dogs" sign outside commercial and accommodation premises, they even get more rights than others to be consulted by local and central government, which is a turn-around from when their interests were trampled over without any consideration. I am not sure about water and tax. Where water charges apply is GST added? If not, some government some day having wasted other tax money will no doubt pass a law to allow themselves a grab at the water money. Sunlight - a tax on power produced by home-owners' solar systems? Never say never.

Regrettable Labour policy change

No government has the right to tax food, water or sunlight (which was tried once in England). I will never vote Labour again, even though they are generally good people.

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