Colleagues challenge National Leader on tax


Wellington, March 12, 2018

Simon Bridges appears to already be at odds with his Finance and Housing spokeswomen.

The new National leader revealed his reshuffled Shadow Cabinet on Sunday (March 11, 2018), and immediately afterwards said that it was “pleasing” to see the Government investigating new ways of funding infrastructure.

Land Value Capture Tax

Finance Minister Grant Robertson is looking into a Land Value Capture Tax, which would generate income for the Government by taxing those placed to benefit from new infrastructure the most.

“If we are to make big investments in things like (Auckland’s City) Rail Link, and a series of different rail links, people will benefit from that,” he told the Auckland Chamber of Commerce-Massey University annual finance lunch on Friday (March 9,2018).

“How do we capture the value of that, and use that to fund the development?”

Mr Bridges welcomed the Government’s move.

“I think it is good. I think it is pleasing to hear from Grant Robertson today that finally he has come around to the need for innovation in this area. This is like so many areas where we I think did quite a bit, we were moving in that direction, I was certainly excited about doing more,” Mr Bridges said.

Adams, Collins disagree

But his new Finance Spokeswoman, Amy Adams, has rubbished the idea.

“Another day, another new tax being proposed by the coalition Government. Yet another attempt from Grant Robertson to make everyone else pay for all his promises,” she wrote on Twitter.

Judith Collins, who was promoted to number four in the National list, also got stuck in.

“Here we go! Tax, tax, tax. Is NZ First going to support this envy tax?” she wrote.

Finding finance

Mr Bridges said their point was the Government doesn’t have enough money to pay for it.

“The new Government knows it hasn’t got the money to do the infrastructure, and they are looking for other ways – furiously – to do it,” he said.

“I think it is good news that he has come to realise that he does not have enough money for the infrastructure that needs to be built in New Zealand, and some of these things such as value capture – I think there is a lot of detail that needs to be worked through – PPPs, and other private sector initiatives, can play a real role,” Mr Bridges said.

Productivity Commission suggestion

The Productivity Commission suggested the tax in a report last year. One way it could work is taxing the capital gains on property caused by the installation of new infrastructure, which would otherwise be paid for by every taxpayer.

Mr Bridges appeared on The AM Show on Monday morning, saying that he was not “at odds” with Ms Collins and Ms Adams, saying that the former was “fundamentally right.”

“You should always be careful about taxes. What worries me with this Government is that they will put new taxes on and will not take other ones off,” he said.

But Mr Bridges continued to support looking into land taxes.

“I think that the idea has some merit. When you are building a really big new rail line or something and there are people benefiting from that and they are getting a lot of uplift in their property prices, if that is what is needed to get it done, it can be entertained,” he said.

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Photo Caption:

Judith Collins, Simon Bridges and Amy Adams

(Picture Courtesy: Stuff)

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