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Capital gains tax attracting more support than opposition


Monday 25th July 2011 5 Comments

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More New Zealanders support than oppose a capital gains tax.

The first nationwide poll conducted since the policy announcement finds 40.9% support Labour's capital gains tax (CGT) proposal , 34.1% oppose, 17.9% are neutral and 7.1% don't know.

The HorizonPoll survey of 1201 people on Thursday and Friday (July 21
- 22) finds the tax policy polarising the country by income, occupation, property ownership and party vote. The survey has a maximum margin of error of +/- 2.8%.

Horizon Research says the policy appears to have consolidated traditional support for Labour, but is not triggering a significant support rise. Labour's party vote support is up 0.9% on its May result. National is up 2.2%. National has 10.2% more support than Labour.

However, among voters who will actually vote and have decided which party they would vote for if an election were held tomorrow, and those undecided who have a party preference, the current governing coalition (National, Act, Maori Party, United Future) would secure 44.4%.

A Labour, Green, New Zealand First, Jim Anderton's Progressives coalition 44.3%, with 7.6% remaining undecided.

The Mana Party has 1.9%, down from 2.9% in May, the Maori party 0.7% (1.2% in May).

The results indicate undecided voters and those currently choosing not to vote or say how they will vote, will most likely determine the election outcome and the minor parties will determine which main party forms a government. There is strong support for a CGT among Labour, Green, and New Zealand First voters and even strong opposition to it among National, Act and United Future voters.

Those polled were told: "Labour proposes a 15% CGT, with exemptions for family homes and some holiday homes and small businesses. It says this will make the tax system fairer and raise revenue to make the first $5000 of income tax free for everyone, take GST off some essential food items, and avoid the need to sell down state assets longer term to repay Government debt.
"National argues a capital gains tax is complicated, may slow economic recovery and the country does not need another tax."


The CGT policy attracts more support among men (46.8% support, 37.7%
oppose) than women (35.2%/ 30.5%).


By personal income, its strongest supporters earn less than $20,000 a year (45%), between $20,001 and $30,000 (44.6%), and $70,001 and $100,000 a year (44.4%).

Middle income New Zealand splits: Among those earning $30,001 and $50,000 36.6% support, 21.5% are neutral and 32.4% oppose. Among those earning $50,001 to $70,000 40.4% oppose, 16.9% are neutral and 36.6% support.

The country's highest earners are strongly opposed to the tax.

Among those on incomes between $100,001 and $150,000, 56.5% oppose (13% neutral, 33.7% support).
Some 65.2% of those earning $200,000 or more oppose (34.8% are neutral and none support).


Strongest supporters for the CGT by age are those aged 55 to 64 (46.2%), over 65s (46%) and 18 to 24 year-olds (44.9%). Support is at 35.8% among those aged 35 to 44 (40% oppose). Among 45 to 54 year-olds support is also at 35.8%, but opposition at 35.1% (21.4% are neutral).


Some 64.2% of the country's business managers and executives oppose the tax (33.7% support). Among business proprietors and self-employed 48.8% oppose, 35.8% are neutral and 15.3% support.
Highest opposition is from farm owners and managers (69.7%, with 16.2 in support and 14% neutral).

However, among professionals and senior Government officials support is 42.5% to 28.6% opposed.

Labour is enjoying strong policy support among students (54.6%), technical, mechanical and skilled workers (50.9%), teachers, nurses, police and other trained service workers (44.6%), and retired superannuitants (54.6%).


Among those who own their own homes or rental properties (with or without mortgages) 43.1% oppose the tax policy, 40.6% support and 14.4% are neutral.


By ethnicity the policy draws more support than opposition from European/pakehas (40.3%/33.4%), Maori (46.6%/ 22.2%), Indians (32.8/
21.9) and Pacific Islanders (43.9%/ 8.4%).

However, among Asians 40% are neutral, 33.4% oppose and 24.5% support.


People who voted National, Act and United Future in the 2008 general election oppose the tax policy (58.8%, 77% and 54.4% respectively).

However, the policy attracts support from 2008 voters for Labour (67%), Greens (70.6%), New Zealand First (52.9%) and Maori Party
(65.5%) and those who supported other parties (56.6%).

This indicates a Labour-Green-New Zealand First coalition would enjoy strong support among its voters to proceed with a CGT.

Among the important group of electors who chose not to vote in 2008 (some 187,000 people), 43.2% support a CGT, 17.2% are neutral and 24.9% opposed).

The survey is weighted by age, gender, ethnicity, personal income, region and party vote 2008 to provide a representative sample of the New Zealand population. The maximum margin of error at a 95% confidence level is +/- 2.8%.

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Comments from our readers

On 25 July 2011 at 9:36 am don blain said:
If people would get them selves educated on financial tax matters they would find that there is allready a cgt tax on goods bought with the intent to sell at a profit,
On 26 July 2011 at 11:25 am Notatrader said:
Yip, I agree with you Don. All that Labour should ask is that the current tax rules be policed properly. All those people buying things like shares with the intent to make gains would then be subject to capital gains tax. This would cause a bit of a stir for the clients of groups like private banks and stockbrokers........ A couple of those caught out flaunting the current tax rules might even be politicians!
On 26 July 2011 at 3:43 pm Bill said:
roughly the same proportion as percentage of labour supporters in recent polls. The haves are not in favour and the have nots are dead keen
On 28 July 2011 at 11:34 am keith wallace said:
There's not a lot of detail about the proposed CGT in NZ. For example CGT in the UK allowed capital losses to be offset against income in a tax year. This led to the unusual practise of "bed and breakfast" share transactions- in other words you could sell shares in your portfolio to crystallise a loss at the end of the financial year and buy back on the on the next business day. Is this proposed for NZ?
On 1 August 2011 at 4:51 pm G.G.Cherry said:
Briefly. - In my opinion the CGT proposal is a dopey idea for N.Z's unique economic and social environment It will do nothing, contrart to popular opinion, for the economy or the needy, and do more for growing beaurocracy, and may actually fuel inflation negating any positives. --- Think about it long and hard ---. It will further stress and weaken the middle 'classes', and that is dangerous for a number of reasons. This is happening in too many countries. As a small investor I invest for two main reasons;to make a little more cash and as a hedge against inflation - hopefully. Inflation is the thief of the purchasing power of savings is it not?. To tax a 'capital' gain that offsets the eroding effect of inflation is cruel and unfair to the saver. It may also act as a disincentive to save and sell when one should. Of course the devil is in the detail of this proposal, which is largely missing, so how can one properly comment - But be careful what you wish for!
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