by Kerry Lee
When I think of the word “revolution”, I think of the French. While the French Revolution was a bloody affair, it shaped French politics and gave the common citizen a sense of self-determination through the creation of France’s first constitution which set out the rights of the people of France.
Over two hundred years later, in New Zealand, a revolution seems inevitable. To understand what I mean, just look at the situation that the country is in at the moment. House prices in Auckland continue to zoom upwards to the point where the average citizen will never afford their own home. Aside from that, we are taxed to death while large corporations pay only a tiny amount! Unfair, right?
Here is my opinion. Let me use myself as an example of what I mean when I talk about tax. I’m just one person, yet I pay two different taxes: a Goods and Services Tax (GST) whenever I buy goods or services and an income tax whenever I work. All these while huge corporations that operate here virtually no tax yet make billions from us as their customers.
An article in NZ Herald by Matt Nippert, Top multinationals pay almost no tax in New Zealand (18 March 2016), confirmed that 20 multinational corporations including Apple, Pepsi, and Facebook paid zero income tax despite making profits of $10,000,000. Instead, this money is taken and then shipped off shore to major shareholders and their parent companies! But make no mistake, change is coming! For now, here are some solutions to stop the revolution in its tracks:
1. Reduce or eliminate the income tax. Currently, there are eleven countries that have no income tax, some of these countries are smaller than New Zealand and yet still manage to supplement their national income without taxing an individual’s income.
2. Crackdown on multinational corporations that generate billions of income from New Zealand and yet refuse to pay their fair share of tax in return. At the moment our business tax stands at 28%. Australia’s is at 28% – 30% We mimic Australia with everything else, let’s mimic their business tax.
3. Ban foreign ownership. Instead, limit the housing market to New Zealand citizens and residents; everyone else will be required to sign 99-year leases. This has worked successfully in countries such as China and Japan for years.
4. A minimum resale stand-down requirement should be put in place forbidding the home to be sold any more than once every 5 to 10 years at least. This measure would be put in place to prevent a home being bought and then resold again for a higher profit, (also known as flipping).
5. If someone has less money, tax them less. I used to be against this idea because I felt that in order to live in a fair and just society, everyone should be treated equally. Unfortunately, I was misguided. Life isn’t fair. The government should keep watch on those companies paying almost no tax. Some people are forced to live in their cars because they can’t afford to buy a house, and worse, more people are begging and living on the streets.
6. Exempt retirees who only have superannuation as their primary income. After tax, the superannuation is $720.36 fortnightly for single and sharing and $780.40 for single and living alone. While that may seem like a small fortune to some people it really isn’t, especially when you take away the cost of food, rent and the various taxes that I’ve already talked about.
Like the French, we are on the road to revolution. While I don’t advocate violence or vigilantism, I feel that some sort of change is on the horizon. Let’s not settle down for something less if we do know that we deserve more. Together we can make history. VIVA LA REVOLUTION!