“The Government’s introduction of a 39 per cent top tax rate is futile, punitive political theatre that rounds out a month of increasingly divisive governance,” says ACT Leader David Seymour
“We want to trust our Government. It should be making New Zealand a more prosperous and united country, but instead it is increasingly divisive, attacking one group of people for the purposes of political theatre.
“The new tax rate is futile because it will raise little revenue.
“Treasury estimates, which themselves say they’re ‘highly uncertain,’ are that around half a billion dollars will be raised by the new tax rate.
“That has to be put in the context of the Government spending around $100 billion, or 200 times that much each year.
“However, in reality many of the estimated 86,000 affected taxpayers will find ways not to pay it, so the revenue will be less.
“The new tax rate is political theatre, and the lesson is one of punishing success.
“We teach children to listen to their teacher, do their homework, get good grades and get a good job. Then we encourage them to save their income and invest carefully so they can earn grow income.
“This legislation sends the message that if you do all that you’ll then have more money taken off you. It is the complete opposite of the aspirational values that make a country prosper.
“This tax rate change is the second assault on aspirational New Zealand in the past fortnight, after tax changes on residential property attacked those who have invested in it, harming landlords and their tenants alike with a new tax.
“The top tax rate change is also divisive.
“Again, the Government is attempting to curry political favour by setting groups against each other.
“It would like New Zealanders to believe that it is raising significant revenue and promoting fairness when it is in fact doing neither of those things.
“The divisiveness follows the pattern of the past month, where the Prime Minister falsely blamed members of the public for the Valentine’s Day outbreak and introduced punitive tax changes that wrongly accused ‘speculators’ of a ‘loophole’ in taxation.
“A better approach by Government would be to unite New Zealanders behind good ideas, such as creating the conditions for growth. They could start with a simple, low, flat tax structure, or at least not making what we have worse.”