Kapi-Mana News : July 19th 2011
15 KAPI-MANA NEWS, JULY 19, 2011 OPINION www.summerset.co.nz Affordable, Exceptional In-Home Childcare! At PORSE we believe that a home environment provides children with time for an unhurried childhood, daily routine and play. We offer: • A supported play and learning programme • 20 Hours ECE for 3 to 5 year olds, WINZ support • Loads of resources for your Educator to access • PlaySchools, Nature PlaySchools, music groups, outings. We have Home Educators in your area with spaces now in Paremata, Papakowhai, Aotea, Ascot Park, Whitby, Waitangirua, Ranui Heights, Titahi Bay and Tawa Mana 233 0494 w w w.PORSE.co.nz A0940-NC 3709067AA Parties align with Labour's tax plan TALKING POLITICS GORDON CAMPBELL It isn't often that the Labour Party, the Greens and Treasury line up on one side of a political debate, while the Government and its Maori Party ally take the other. Yet Labour's endorsement of a broad-based capital gains tax that exempts the family home is shaping up as a defining feature of this year's election. Suddenly, the election contest could be about something more substantial than the likeability of the major party leaders. For the best part of two decades, commentators here and overseas have remarked on New Zealand's unusual lack of a tax on capital gains. In almost every other country in the OECD, such a tax is common- place, for reasons of fairness and efficiency. The fairness rationale -- which we are bound to hear a lot about in coming months -- is that since wages gets taxed, then wealth earned by shares, bonds or prop- erty speculation should be treated in the same way for tax purposes. In New Zealand this isn't the case for such investments lasting longer than a year, and ordinary wage-earners have borne the con- sequences. The efficiency argument is that such a tax might usefully channel investment into more productive enterprises than, say, the housing price bubbles that periodically afflict the New Zealand economy. As then Treasury head John Whitehead said in 2009: Capital gains taxes would be beneficial for encouraging investment in pro- ductive activity.'' To be politically acceptable, of course, any new tax would need to be balanced by reductions else- where. Therefore, Labour will be pack- aging its proposal as an alterna- tive to the partial asset sales pro- gramme unveiled earlier this year by the Government. Originally, Treasury threw its support behind a capital gains tax in the context of shifting New Zea- land away from its unusual reliance on income tax, and towards consumption taxes, such as GST. So far, the Government has boosted GST, yet refrained from introducing a capital gains tax, a move that might have allowed it to cut corporate and income taxes even further -- in which case, even the Act Party could well have joined in the chorus of support for a capital gains tax. So far, the Key Govern- ment has attacked the credi- bility of the revenue estimates likely to accrue from such a tax, and painted it as a typical tax and spend'' measure. It has not yet engaged in debating a capital gains tax as an alternative to asset sales, as a fairness issue or as a deterrent against price bubbles in residential hous- ing. As for its Maori Party ally, co-leader Tariana Turia has argued that the Maori middle-class she knows in Whanganui should be left to pursue housing speculation free of any tax on their capi- tal gains -- a freedom unavailable to the income of Maori wage earners, or beneficiaries. David Lange once described a capital gains tax policy as one likely to lose you not merely the next election, but the next three -- which was his way of acknowledg- ing just how addicted we have become to housing speculation as a fast lane to wealth. If nothing else, the fact such a tax is finally being seriously advocated could be taken as a sign of how far the country has come since then in addressing the gaps in its economic framework. Toys delight Tongan children Tawa Rotary has declared its second annual Toys For Tonga project an outstanding suc- cess''. In a joint initiative with the Wellington South Rotary Club, 66 cartons of toys, stationery and educational books donated by people in Wellington's north- ern suburbs were sent to Tonga on HMNZS Otago in May. One of the co-ordinators, Paul Mears, said particular support for the project was received from churches and schools in Tawa, Linden and Churton Park, along with many individuals. Distribution in Tonga was done by Rotary Club of Nuku'alofa. The project was an outstand- ing success. You had to be present on May 21 in Nuku'alofa to witness the pleasure on the faces of the chil- dren, collecting the toys and books and the gratitude expressed by the adults. For anyone who has not been to Tonga [this was my first visit] it is hard to understand the con- ditions in which people live and children learn at school, com- pared to New Zealand,'' he said. This project brought home to me the invaluable work we do as Rotarians for those much less fortunate than us.'' Mr Mears said Toys For Tonga demonstrated there are projects in which a large number of members are able to partici- pate in a very practical and satisfying way''. A significant number of people'' had committed time and energy to the project, Mr Mears said.
July 12th 2011
July 26th 2011