Simon Bridges says Tax Working Group findings a 'declaration of war' against farmers

Simon Bridges says the findings of the Government's Tax Working Group is a "declaration of war" against farmers and targets all "hard-working New Zealanders".

Source: 1 NEWS

The National Party leaders comments come as a comprehensive capital gains tax has been recommended by the Tax Working Group, which estimates the $8 billion raised over five years could go towards changing the bottom tax rate and reducing tax on KiwiSaver for low and middle-income earners.

However, Mr Bridges says the recommendations go much farther then just a capital gains tax, saying another "eight new taxes" will hit farmers particularly hard.

"This is an attack on the Kiwi way of life. This would hit every New Zealander with a KiwiSaver, shares, investment property, a small business, a lifestyle block, a bach or even an empty section," Mr Bridges says.

"For farmers, who are the backbone of our economy, this is a declaration of war on their businesses and way of life. They would pay to water their stock, feed their crops and even when they sell up for retirement.

"Labour claims this is about fairness, but that’s rubbish. The CGT would apply to small business owners like the local plumber, but not to investors with a multi-million dollar art collection or a super yacht who won’t pay a cent more."

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He said the farming community would have their voices heard before any decisions are made. Source: 1 NEWS

Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters said today he could "reassure the farming community and provincial, regional New Zealand that we're not going to have them panicked by the media with rumour and malice with this issue concerning". 

He said they would listen to the farming community on the matter of CGT, but currently no decisions have been made. 

When asked on The Country earlier this week if he was still "anti" CGT for farmers, Mr Peters said "they are in for the long haul and there is no way a capital gains tax would have any effect on them, at all".

"Farmers don't buy farms to speculate and just pass it on, they buy farms for a lifestyle... they buy it for permanence, they buy to stay there - they're part of the province. They don't do this sort of stuff you see in Christchurch and Auckland and Wellington.

"Capital gains tax is about short term speculation."

But the National Party leader says that extra taxes recommended by the Tax Working Group are "an agriculture tax, a tax on empty residential land, a water tax, a fertiliser tax, an environmental footprint tax, a natural capital enhancement tax, a waste levy and a Capital Gains Tax."

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Sir Michael Cullen’s tax working group has said NZ should introduce the controversial tax on property sales. Source: 1 NEWS

He believes if the recommendations are taken up it will hit regular Kiwis hard while leading to a boon for others.

"It will lead to boom times for tax lawyers and accountants and even iwi advisers, given recommendations for exclusions that include Māori land in multiple ownership.

"We believe New Zealanders already pay enough tax and the Government should be looking at tax relief, not taking even more out of the pockets of New Zealand families.

"National says no to new taxes. We would repeal a Capital Gains Tax, index tax thresholds to the cost of living and let Kiwis keep more of what they earn," Mr Bridges says.

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The Prime Minister says she’s ‘not ruling anything in or out,’ including implementing a capital gains tax. Source: 1 NEWS

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the Government won't commit to any tax reform from the Tax Working Group report released today.

"We’re going to give the public a little bit of time, we’re going to take a little bit of time to form some consensus around the Government’s response," she said.

"As you can see in the report there are some areas where everyone agrees, and there are some areas where the group did not, it’s our opportunity as government to go away, take a little bit of time, build some consensus and then come back to the public.

"We are not ruling anything in or out at this stage."