Recent news items I found of interest…
No capital gains tax
Aotearoa New Zealand is somewhat unique among OECD nations in that it has no payroll tax, gift tax, inheritance tax, or capital gains tax. We also have a relatively flat income tax regime, starting at 10% from the first dollar earned, and leveling out to 33% at around NZ$70,000 (US$50,000). The left of centre political parties have made much of the fact that our tax system places an unfair burden on those with lower incomes. The Labour party, and the Greens campaigned on reviewing our tax system, and on gaining power the Labour lead coalition set up a tax working group to review the current system and make recommendations on changes that would make the system more equitable.
One recommendation was the introduction of a capital gains tax (CGT). Unfortunately, the coalition minority party New Zealand First, lead by Winston Peters, would have none of this, whereas Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister and leader of the Labour party has long advocated a CGT. As say describes herself, she’s a “pragmatic idealist” and so for the foreseeable future CGT is off the table.
Capital gains tax abandoned by Government
Rights of Indigenous Peoples
New Zealand aims to be the first country in the world with an action plan to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, in relation to Māori.
Minister for Māori Development Nanaia Mahuta is travelling to the United Nations in New York over Easter to speak on New Zealand’s indigenous rights record to the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.
It comes after a high-level UN delegation from the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples visited the country to give advice on how New Zealand can implement the Declaration, which the country signed up to in 2010.
Mahuta said the delegation had been introduced to Māori leaders and groups up and down the country and met with ministers.
New Zealand’s environment in serious trouble
A bleak picture of the state of New Zealand’s environment has been painted by the Government’s official report, Environment Aotearoa 2019. The report is jointly produced by the Ministry for the Environment and Statistics New Zealand, and is a follow on from the last report in 2015. The report says the way New Zealanders live and make a living is having a serious impact on the environment, and the benefits New Zealanders get from being in nature, though not measured or quantified, could be lost.
New Zealand’s geographical centre shifts
If you’re looking for the centre of New Zealand, it’s moved. And it’s not in the same island any more either.
The change is nothing to do with how the land has shifted as a result of the November 2016 Kaikōura quake.
GNS Science researcher Jenny Black has recalculated the country’s geographic focus, taking into account that the United Nations now recognises New Zealand covers about 6 million square kilometres, 95 per cent of it sea floor.