11 Mar 2019

Capital gains tax should be the start of reform, says Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson

8:51 am on 11 March 2019

Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson wants a capital gains tax to be just the start of wide-ranging tax reform.

Watch: Marama Davidson speaking to Morning Report's Guyon Espiner:

Speaking at the party's summer policy conference Ms Davidson told members that resistance to a tax on capital gains came from a wealthy elite who are holding the country's political system hostage.

In February, the Tax Working Group announced it was recommending a broad extension of taxing capital gains, and consideration of environmental taxes, changes to personal income tax thresholds, retirement savings, and charities.

The government is expected to announce next month whether it will introduce a capital gains tax.

"What I want to see is the burden removed from low-income households and the redistribution of wealth," Ms Davidson told Morning Report.

Part of this was collecting tax that could be funnelled into programmes like public housing, hospitals and schools.

Ms Davidson said a capital gains tax would be a start in regulating a housing market that had caused a burden on low-income households, with high rents and housing costs.

"It's just not right that we have speculators who can own hundreds of homes or even 20 homes, 10 homes, while we've got people struggling to pay the rent on a home, while we've got people living in cars in my local park in Manurewa."

A higher tax rate on wealthy households was also important since the working group's proposals would not bring in more tax overall.

The Green Party wants more reform including a 40 percent tax rate on salaries above $150,000, and taxing polluting big businesses and housing speculators.

Marama Davidson

Marama Davidson wants further taxes including a tax rate for the richest 1 percent. Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller

Ms Davidson said the party was also reviewing its decision to sign up to the government's Budget Responsibility rules. Her personal opinion was it was inappropriate to hold surpluses when there are crises to deal with now.

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