Bad behaviour taxes

Head of the Tax Working Group, Michael Cullen, has signalled to possibility of taxes to ‘change bad behaviours’.

Stuff: New taxes could change bad behaviours, suggests Sir Michael Cullen

A wealth tax, a tax on financial transactions, a broader capital gains tax, a land tax and new environmental taxes will all be options considered by the Tax Working Group, its chairman Sir Michael Cullen says.

Cullen said those new taxes would be among the options canvassed in a “background paper” that will be published on Wednesday week.

Speaking to the International Fiscal Association conference in Queenstown on Friday, Cullen gave several strong clues on his own thinking on the direction of the tax system.

Cullen appeared warm to the idea of taxes on environmental and social ills, such as greenhouse gas emissions, pollution and the causes of obesity.

“In this summer of 2017-18 there can surely be little argument that the effects of global warming are already with us.

“We face many other environmental challenges such as water pollution, possible over-allocation of water, plastic pollution of the oceans, and congestion, in Auckland especially,” he said.

“All this means that the possible use of the system to change people’s behaviour in ways which increase the wellbeing of all of us is very much on the agenda at the present time.”

Perhaps MPs could be taxed to change their bad behaviour, especially in Parliament.

Cullen played down the suggestion New Zealand needed to cut its company tax rate to compete with lower rates being promised or introduced in countries including Australia, the United States and Britain.

“Some would … argue that trends in tax rates and types of tax offshore may also necessitate similar changes in New Zealand. Most commonly cited is the downward trend in company tax rates which means that our rate is now slightly above the OECD average.”

But he said New Zealand’s 28 per cent company tax was not as high as it might seem, given other charges that applied in other countries, and that the evidence of a link between company tax and economic performance was “very weak”.

Cullen has made these suggestions before submissions to the working group have been made.

99 Comments

  1. PDB

     /  March 6, 2018

    There isn’t a tax Cullen doesn’t like – going back to his outdated thinking is a sure sign that the new govt has nothing to offer us.

    The fact they haven’t set up a committee to look into taxpayer money wastage also shows us that more tax is their only way forward. This at a time that we are well in surplus & hence essentially overtaxed (also considering tax bracket creep still remains) – which is fine if effort is now made to pay down govt debt. Instead this govt is going to borrow even more money and tax us more on top of it.

    • Blazer

       /  March 6, 2018

      plenty of tax havens around old chap.Thank God NZ’s attempt compliments of …Key,has been wound back.Not before trashing NZ’s international reputation of…course.

      • Wrong on both counts. Your idea of Key was never elevated enough to descend to “a trashed” , but don’t pretend to speak for the world as you’re well out of step with the history books and his “rock star economy’ legacy. Your lot are busy spending his legacy so let’s wait and see how that’ll work out.

        P.S. Hope that’s not that “envy” you accuse others of rearing it’s ugly head.

        • Blazer

           /  March 6, 2018

          I’m afraid the overseas media did not share your opinion.As I’ve told you ,all the Key Govt did was …borrow,for coming generations to…repay.Btw ,even though your father got rolled…he was quite…mediocre.

          • Trevors_elbow

             /  March 6, 2018

            You’re a nasty prick. Whats travs father got to do with anything?

            And you are pedalling the borrowing bullshit…again…. what was your plan to avoid borrowing with declincing tax receipts, tanking economy and a global recession? Cut services? Raise taxes and stiffle economic activity further? Waster

          • PDB

             /  March 6, 2018

            “all the Key Govt did was …borrow,for coming generations to…repay.”

            Do you mean the new govt isn’t borrowing more money? Are you the same person that now says (since we got a new govt) borrowing more money is good?

            • Blazer

               /  March 6, 2018

              my statement stands as …fact.My personal view of deficits,is …just that.

            • PDB

               /  March 6, 2018

              So with that opinion you therefore think Auckland Council/ the supercity is a huge success story?

      • PDB

         /  March 6, 2018

        Blazer: “Not before trashing NZ’s international reputation of…course”

        Like this you mean?

        “New Zealand has once again been rated the least corrupt country””This is the third year in a row New Zealand has been named the least corrupt country by the index.”

        https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/101662094/nz-ranked-least-corrupt-country-again

        • Blazer

           /  March 6, 2018

          check the date…Labour coalition…Govt.

          • PDB

             /  March 6, 2018

            A bit hard to attribute 3 straight years of being no 1 of being least corrupt country ending in 2017 to the new govt that only got formed in late October 2017 and has done bugger all since apart from pay back Winston’s fishing & horse racing mates.

            • PartisanZ

               /  March 6, 2018

              I wonder if maybe there isn’t a thing called ‘corruption creep’ whereby NZ only remains Numero Uno relative to generally increasing corruption everywhere including Nouvelle Zeal Land?

    • robertguyton

       /  March 6, 2018

      Tax…Key…GST.

      • Trevors_elbow

         /  March 6, 2018

        You missed the income tax cut component Robert … what a surprise…

        • robertguyton

           /  March 6, 2018

          One needs a forked-tongue when selling both as a package, Trevor.

          • Kitty Catkin

             /  March 6, 2018

            GST has been in for many years.

            • robertguyton

               /  March 6, 2018

              Key promised he wouldn’t but did anyway, raise it!
              Aye, Kitt.

  2. Social Engineering – behaviour modification taxes. Unbelievable, desperate to be a one-term government aren’t they.

    Cullen is an authoritarian and beneath the pretence at palsy, walsy the new crew Ministers are all the same. We know better than you and we need your money to impose our better ideas on society. Big government, little optimism.

    Cullen’s refusal to a address company tax tells us they’ve never experienced being in business let alone ever recognise that our economy and country is effectively a parasite riding on the back of these businesses. Without businesses there wouldn’t be a single person to “behaviour” tax.

    • Blazer

       /  March 6, 2018

      without compliant workers…there would never be a single…business.Cullen makes English look like…a schoolboy,when it comes…to finance.As for Joyce!!

      • When you’re talking chicken and eggs, the business is both, the worker one

        • Blazer

           /  March 6, 2018

          seeing as we’re talking about chickens…TGH =Tegel bought by private eqyuity and listed IPO shares at $1.55.Currently threatening to go under a $1.Par for the course for P.E floats=thieves.

      • Cullen makes a grandfather see like a schoolboy. He’s 73 fgs

        • Blazer

           /  March 6, 2018

          what’s the cut off age,for reason and rationable analysis?Over to …you?

          • You employed the schoolboy analogy, can I not expand on same for sake of argument

            • robertguyton

               /  March 6, 2018

              “Cullen makes a grandfather see like a schoolboy. ”
              He’s an optician then? Another Fred Hollows, perhaps?

      • High Flying Duck

         /  March 6, 2018

        You’re wrong there Blazer. Plenty of businesses are successful one man bands.

        I think what you meant to say is that if there were no businesses and risk taking entrepreneurs, there would not be any jobs for the average risk averse punter.

        There would also be no innovation. 1970’s Lada;s would still be the cutting edge of transport.

        • Blazer

           /  March 6, 2018

          ‘You’re wrong there Blazer. Plenty of businesses are successful one man bands.’…name…some.

          • robertguyton

             /  March 6, 2018

            There’s a bloke in our town who mows lawns…

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  March 6, 2018

              PE floats are polythene (or some kind of plastic) floats, literal ones that float in water.

    • PartisanZ

       /  March 6, 2018

      As though the lack of some taxes, ie wealth and capital gains, isn’t a form of behaviour motivation [modification] in itself … Climb the property ladder and get rich … Social Engineering …

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  March 6, 2018

        What about people who are on $50,000 a year, pay no tax and are actually given a handout AS WELL by the government when people on a fraction of that pay tax ?

  3. Corky

     /  March 6, 2018

    This stuff is gold. The trick is getting dumb voters to draw up two lists.

    1- What Labour is giving us?
    2- What Labour is, and may, take away from us?

    The next trick is helping voters understand the results…especially regarding the ‘long list’

    • Blazer

       /  March 6, 2018

      all the advice in the world from…the non voter…how compelling.

  4. Alan Wilkinson

     /  March 6, 2018

    Cullen’s latest version of “We won, you lost. Suck this”.

    What a prick.

    • As a fiscal conservative I find it disgusting that it’s all about creative new taxes and more spending. Cullen would have more gravitas if he simultaneously addressed Govt spending. It’s fundamental to analyse, address and rein-in expenditure if necessary when presenting a budget or fiscal directive. Any tax working group needs to address this. When the Government addresses inefficiencies I’ll listen. Taxpayers shouldn’t be subject to increases to address ineptitude in departmental spending.

      This is a group of people hell bent on revision and reform. They’ll make very policy fit with their ideology.

      • Blazer

         /  March 6, 2018

        Why didn’t National…address it ,instead of ramping it.MBIE,and Joyce…was disgraceful.

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  March 6, 2018

      It’s wryly amusing these idiots are planning to cause more problems while their government is supposed to be trying to fix the housing crisis they caused last time they were in power.

      • robertguyton

         /  March 6, 2018

        National had 9 years to fix the housing crisis – were they not up to the job?

        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  March 6, 2018

          No, they had three years during which they had to deal with the GFC and the Chch earthquake as you well know but choose to ignore. After that your obnoxious Greens and Maori Party as well as the obsequious Dunne refused to support the necessary rolling back of Labour’s disasters.

    • PartisanZ

       /  March 6, 2018

      If the TWG goes the way of “We won, you lost. Suck this” nothing much will change … Labour will bow to the pressure from Corporate-Capitalist elites and their Treasury lackeys … AGAIN …

  5. david in aus

     /  March 6, 2018

    Has there been a tax that the left-wing doesn’t like?

    If you have a question, the answer is always tax-n-spend. In the GFC, the left-wing shouted tax cuts and austerity was the wrong plan. Without irony, do they lament government debts after the GFC as a commentary on National’s financial stewardship.

    A Harvard study just published showed countries with tax increases and spending did worse economically than those with austerity responses.

    scholar.harvard.edu/files/alesina/files/what_do_we_know_about_the_effects_of_austerity.pdf

    The answer to everything is not tax-and-spend. If there are new taxes, there should be a conversation on what other taxes should be cut. The growth of government is not good for an economy. It is the private sector that drives economic growth, and the public sector should be there to regulate and moderate the excesses. But not to grow unwieldy and suffocate it.

    Countries with large debts will run into strong headwinds from rising interest rates in the coming decades (Europe/US/Japan).
    Thank goodness, we had the National government steering the country in the past 9 years.
    When you borrow, you borrow from your children’s future.

    • Blazer

       /  March 6, 2018

      What a parody that post is!Do you know what…austerity..is?The last 2 sentences are..ironic too.

      • david in aus

         /  March 6, 2018

        That’s a good question? It means different thing to different people.

        Some, like the Left-Wing, would say National cut essential spending on Health and Education because the rate of spending increase did not match the previous Labour government; that is their austerity.
        Austerity is reducing public spending. The study was looking at responses to the crisis: Austerity (spending less) compared to taxing more.
        Instead of letting you get away with suppositions and vague comments, what is your definition of austerity?

        In regards to the parody comments: I mentioned, the disconnect the Left-wing has, between saying the National government should have spent more and then complaining the debt has increased after GFC and earthquakes. Imagine being in a household, where the spouse doing the spending splurge then blames the other for the credit-card bill- that is the left-wing budget logic.

        Parody, slapstick, and farce.

    • robertguyton

       /  March 6, 2018

      “Thank goodness, we had the National government steering the country in the past 9 years.
      When you borrow, you borrow from your children’s future.”
      Taken-aback barely begins to describe…
      “Borrow? I’ll give you borrow!!! (Direct John Key quote).

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  March 6, 2018

        Where and when did he say that /

        • robertguyton

           /  March 6, 2018

          Under Key and English, how many billions of dollars were borrowed, Kitty?
          He said it alright. People heard him!

          • robertguyton

             /  March 6, 2018

            Actually, I think I remember him saying, “I’ll borrow like there’s no tomorrow!”

            • Richard

               /  March 6, 2018

              You are a moron!

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  March 6, 2018

              Well, he certainly has a poor memory. I wish that he’d make up his mind about what John Key actually (supposedly said)

          • Kitty Catkin

             /  March 6, 2018

            Who ? where ? when ?

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  March 6, 2018

              I am sure that he said no such thing.

            • robertguyton

               /  March 6, 2018

              Of course he did, Kitty! Don’t be so naive .

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  March 6, 2018

              But where and when ? I can find no reference to this, and it sounds most improbable that he would say that when it went against everything that he said and did about the economy.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  March 6, 2018

              It’s not being naive to want proof, it would to accept this slur at face value.

            • robertguyton

               /  March 6, 2018

              Ya have to know where to look, Kitty. Key was a huge borrower – care to dispute that?

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  March 6, 2018

              That is not the issue. You accuse him of making a crassly irresponsible remark, you change it when it can’t be found and refuse to give details that would prove it. Where can I find this remark ?

            • robertguyton

               /  March 6, 2018

              Trust me, Kitty – HE SAID IT!!!

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  March 6, 2018

              Prove it.

            • robertguyton

               /  March 6, 2018

              Actually, he said, “Borrow like a Tory!!” and he laughed while he was saying it!!!

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  March 6, 2018

              When and where ? Why would he use the word Tory ? This doesn’t sound probable. The supposed quote changes so much that the various versions bear no resemblance to each other.

            • robertguyton

               /  March 6, 2018

              “Debt” he said, “Pfffttttt!”

            • robertguyton

               /  March 6, 2018

              At least, that’s how I remember it!

            • robertguyton

               /  March 6, 2018

              Actually, he might have said, “Max – get this on your cellular phone thing and texter it to your pals !”
              From memory.

      • You Sir are trolling. Key went well over a year ago. You need to move on, stop your ad hominem, show some respect for PG ( elsewhere) and start being constructive. You’re outdoing blazer for threadjacking

        Yes, I’m aware I’m off subject but this exchange is mental. Prove your ridiculous and changing claims or move on

        • Kitty Catkin

           /  March 6, 2018

          (hands Traveller a box of chox and a nice bottle of wine)

  6. NOEL

     /  March 6, 2018

    Change peoples behavior by tax.
    Intersting that program on plastc bottle recyling in was it Norway?
    Credit machines for the consumer, restricted categories of plastics on the manufacturer and the threat of high taxes if the don’t run their own recycling schemes.

    • Gerrit

       /  March 6, 2018

      Whilst itis noble to change peoples behaviour by taxation, it is a zero sum game. The state relies on taxation income to “balance” the inequality in society.

      Relying on tax income that is variable is not going to allow continual redistribution.

      Like the tobacco tax, as fewer people smoke, the taxes have to keep going up to maintain the taxation cash flow.

      Punitive taxes cannot be relied upon to provide a forecast able taxation income.

      What happens when all plastic bottles are replaced by glass and the taxation dries up? What will the state have to tax next to maintain cashflow and the level of redistribution funds to beneficiaries of the tax redistribution?

      Your wealth I guess. Cullen has already hinted at that!!

  7. alloytoo

     /  March 6, 2018

    Who defines “Bad Behavior?” Can I have a go?

    • Gerrit

       /  March 6, 2018

      Blazers and Guytons pithy and derogatory one liners (like this one hahah)

      • robertguyton

         /  March 6, 2018

        Your one-liner is neither pithy nor derogatory, Gerrit, just sayin’.

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  March 6, 2018

      Labour has defined it:

      Bad behaviour is spending your own money instead of giving it to the Government to spend to help them get re-elected.

      • Blazer

         /  March 6, 2018

        you recieve welfare every week…why don’t you reject it.You’re bludging.

      • alloytoo

         /  March 6, 2018

        This remains a serious question.

        This government will no doubt feel it appropriate to Penalty tax the middleclass for their “bad behaviour”, (subjectively real or imagined), but will (has already) refuse to penalize beneficiaries for their “Bad Behaviour.”

        This government also refused to think policy through, that’s a ‘Bad behaviour” how can we penalize that? A tax rebate?

  8. robertguyton

     /  March 6, 2018

    “…will all be options considered by the Tax Working Group…”
    Goodness! The mere thought of a group considering options has brought you all out in a panicked sweat!
    What do you fear? What guilty secrets are you hiding?
    Never seen the likes!!!

    • Labour desire a certain outcome and that will happen

      • robertguyton

         /  March 6, 2018

        Wow! They are powerful then. Even Lord Key, desirous as he was of a new tea towel flag, wasn’t able to make it happen. Jacinda, you rock!

        • High Flying Duck

           /  March 6, 2018

          Unlike the flag, the public don’t need to be on board for this one Robert.
          Labour’s MO =
          – Announce a Review / Committee
          – Stack said committee with members who strongly believe in the outcomes the government wants, and make sure there are no dissenting voices or opinions.
          – Claim endorsement of Labour policy positions by the panel of experts after thorough review.
          – Implement legislation they wanted to put in place the whole time.

          A clunky way of putting in unpopular measures and pretending to be removed from the process.

          If JK had been of a similar mind he could have set up a Flag review committee to determine whether the old flag should be kept or to choose a new one. He would have told them the flag he wanted and voila! New flag via committee!

          • robertguyton

             /  March 6, 2018

            HFD – you reckon Key’s actions around the flag were … honorable? admirable?

            • High Flying Duck

               /  March 6, 2018

              They were democracy at work. He campaigned on a flag referendum – which was strongly supported by Labour and was Labour party policy right up until National put it in place.
              He then put a fairly transparent process in place to work it through.
              Labour were obstructive and disingenuous around the whole thing.
              Changing a flag is not something that you would classify as “honourable”, but what Labour did could easily be described as obstructionist and petty.

            • robertguyton

               /  March 6, 2018

              Key tried to skew the debate with his silly flag-wearing, pin displaying antics. “Honourable”? Key?
              Flag that!

          • Blazer

             /  March 6, 2018

            he tried his…best.$600 a day for a few acolytes to consider…designs.

            • robertguyton

               /  March 6, 2018

              Each?
              That’s a lotta tea towels.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  March 6, 2018

              Flags, dear, they were flags, not tea towels.

            • robertguyton

               /  March 6, 2018

              What were “flags”? They were figments of Key’s imagination/megalomania. Flags !!!

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  March 6, 2018

              They were designs for flags, not for tea towels. If you don’t know the difference, google it.

  9. Strong For Life

     /  March 6, 2018

    Why don’t the “Group” consider rewarding good behaviours with tax rebates or cuts? For example, those who exercise regularly and are fit and healthy could be rewarded with rebates on gym membership, sports gear etc.

    • robertguyton

       /  March 6, 2018

      Perhaps they are? Here on Yournz, we’ve chosen to rant at the aspects we don’t like, not support those we do!

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  March 6, 2018

        Anyone who thinks that half-wits like Cullen know what good behaviour is, let alone can reward it, is as clueless as he is. That probably includes most of our present Government which is why this will be another disaster.

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  March 6, 2018

        I don’t drink or smoke, can I be rewarded for this ?

        I’m a good girl, I am.

        • PartisanZ

           /  March 6, 2018

          Yep … Reinforce the positive behaviours and ignore the negative ones … That there’s the way to go …

          I can envisage situations whereby if a person eats less, drives and pollutes less, consumes less resources and utilizes less infrastructure services – plus maybe invests time, energy or money in productive industry or community service rather than property speculation – they can go into a tax credit or a kinda UBI situation?

          Sorta like the American gov’ment used to pay some hog farmers NOT to farm hogs …

  10. Alan Wilkinson

     /  March 6, 2018

    Labour will again improve equality by making the country poorer. It’s what they do best.

    • Blazer

       /  March 6, 2018

      so long as your welfare payments arrive every week….why worry?

      • High Flying Duck

         /  March 6, 2018

        Drawing a very long bow suggesting the pension is welfare. But par for the course from you.

        • Kitty Catkin

           /  March 6, 2018

          Technically speaking it is, but that is a mean-spirited word to use of it.

        • Blazer

           /  March 6, 2018

          generally accepted as welfare.Comes from the tax take.No…long bow there.Muldoons vote bribe…lives..on.

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  March 6, 2018

        Actually every fortnight, B. And they are a small tax rebate that helps me look after other people and a small part of what I spend doing that. You wouldn’t understand that I’m sure.