Labour's capital gains tax policy was regarded as
political poison when it was announced three years ago, but now
public support for it is outstripping the party's popularity in
A Herald-DigiPoll survey shows support for the policy, which
is Labour's primary weapon against rising house prices, is
particularly strong in Auckland, where first-home buyers have
borne the brunt of those increases.
The poll of 750 New Zealanders this month found almost 41 per
cent of respondents were strongly or moderately in favour of
That is up from just under 38 per cent in July 2011, and more
than 10 percentage points higher than the number of
respondents planning to vote Labour in September.
In Auckland, 45 per cent of respondents backed the policy.
Throughout New Zealand, the number strongly or moderately
opposed went from 37 per cent in July 2011 to just under 35
Labour's finance spokesman, David Parker, said the swing in
favour of the policy was significant.
"Voters better understand that a capital gains tax is fairer
and makes the economy stronger by directing capital away from
housing speculation and into productive investment and higher
He said better understanding came partly from "the linkages
people are seeing across housing and the rest of the economy"
and Labour's own efforts to promote the tax and the issues it
sought to address.
In Parliament yesterday, Associate Finance Minister Jonathan
Coleman said Labour's proposal was "full of complexities and
Labour's plan for the tax is largely the same as it put
before voters in 2011 with the exception that an exemption
for quake-damaged Canterbury homes has been removed.
The 15 per cent tax on any gains between the tax being
implemented and the sale of assets would not apply to the
The tax would apply to the sale of farms, but gains in the
value of the vendor's family home on the farm would be
The tax would not apply to assets held for personal use or as
collectibles, or the first $200,000 gain on a small business
sold at retirement.
- Adam Bennett of the New Zealand Herald