Our Correspondent Veronica Harrod reports that in just three years the amount of wealth owned by the top 20 per cent of New Zealanders has shot up from 60 per cent to 70 per cent.
Rising property values
While the country debates the merits of a capital gains tax (CGT), Statistics New Zealand says “rising property values” was the main reason the top ten percent now own 70 percent of the country’s wealth.
But looking at the poorest, in 2015 this 40 percent of the population held just 3 percent of total wealth.
And by 2018 the only increase for this group was in how much more debt they had accumulated!
Confirmation of class divide
Independent economist Shamubeel Eaqub was quoted saying the figures were further confirmation of the country’s growing class divide.
“Every time we see a new statistic on inequality, whether it’s in terms of income, opportunities or wealth, it shows very clearly that New Zealand is being ripped apart by our class system.”
The petition was started by Tax Justice Aotearoa New Zealand in advance of the Government’s intention to release a response to the recommendations of a tax Working Group this month.
Advisory group wants capital gains tax
The advisory tax group, formed in 2017 to investigate ways of reforming taxation, has signalled a strong preference towards the introduction of a capital gains tax on investment property, intangible property and business assets.
Iwi want exemptions because tax has already been paid on treaty settlements.
Maori would be disadvantaged if land returned under settlement ( then subjected to the new tax) was used to buy back more culturally valuable ancestral lands.