Labour's gains tax finds favour

David Parker
David Parker
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 the polls.

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 the tax.

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 per cent.

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 paid jobs."

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 exemptions".

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 family home.

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 excluded.

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

On merit

Marious: I am just judging on merit as outlined earlier. It's not about personality. I'm not going to repeat myself - just scroll down. For the record I don't own any property, let alone investments. In fact people in our position used to vote Labour as recently as 2005! Yet again, reasons also outlined in other comments. Labour can't expect voters to flock back just because we are tired of National (even though National are making their fair share of mistakes too). People look at Govt spending and job security differently after the GFC and Labour's evident reliance on the Green Party. Especially as the new norm for National is Labour-lite. That fence is not hard to jump. Especially if I have to work until I am 67 to get my pension if I jump back to Labour. I would rather pay more tax. That's not personality politics. That's real politics - the distribution of resources and therefore the base of my opinion. 

Rising housing costs

Sv3nn0   Are you a property speculator? Once again you shoot the messanger and ignore the problem.

You seem totally wound up in the policitical personality contest of the day. As you point out such contests may win elections but only lead to larger problems. Superanuation comes to mind over decades. The current personality contest isn't at its conclution as yet. Will wait and see how may are prepeared to see the real issues. 

Instead of criticising opposition policy being put up to deal with this problem you should be criticising a government with no policy on the issue at all. 

We have no control on housing prices at present and crony capitisim is out of control here. This government appears happy with the situation.  

Well, yeah actually...

@Marious: You are pretty much right - I find little to identify with in Labour at the moment. For Speedfreak's two main reasons, plus I don't think Cunliffe is up to the challenge, a lack of depth in the party, a lack of consistency in message, a lack of representation of Labour's roots, and their reliance on the Greens, Winston First (and probably the Internet/Mana Party). 

As for the tax, it's poorly thought out as Te Jackle pointed out, and is one of the main reasons people aren't voting Labour at the moment as Speedfreak pointed out. It's based on assumptions as I pointed out. I would further point out that it failed at the last election and won't likely find favour at this one either. It didn't bring house prices down in the countries that have implemented it - in fact Australian house prices went up after it was implemented as people recover the cost of the tax. The Govt just clips those tickets...

Rising housing costs

Sv3nno: Just let speculators continue to push the prices up? You seem to have it in for any idea to deal with anything that isn't this National government's.

Pity, this government doesn't seem to have any interest in the effects rising house prices are having on many New Zealanders six years on. More crony capitatism speculating prices up seems to be more their interest. Quick to slap controls on first home buyers while ignoring the speculators though.



Labour has learned nothing

The two main reasons National get elected are 1)Not increasing the age of retirement and 2)Not implementing a capital gains tax.

Three more years, people. Enjoy 

Tax, tax, tax

The price of houses will go up if another tax is put on them. Since when has a tax reduced the price of something? I can't believe they claim it will reduce the price of houses. That's why 59% of Kiwis don't support it. Besides, I thought there was no data on who was actually buying the houses and by extension it is based on assumption.

Don't get too excited

How many who responded actually own property? Or is it a carefully orchestrated poll of low income labour voters who, no matter what, will not be affected by any property tax but are just envious of property owners who they view as rich?

It is also interesting to see that this tax applies to farms but not the first $200,000 of small business. Are farms no longer a business in Labour's eyes and therefore exempt from any type of business tax? This is poor policy, poorly thought through and formulated from a desperate party trying to be relevant.  [Abridged]


A good lesson for Labour

Is there a lesson here for Labour? Research, and develop a cogent policy, and time will be on your side.

In politics, sometimes the bigger picture, for the longer term, is more sustainable in more ways than one. Including an eventual political dividend. Well done Labour. You have resisted short term political gain for what is right.

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