Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Are we, or are we not, highly taxed in NZ?

Crusader Rabbit drew my attention to the last of these graphs. I am including the two others. The first (or a statistical variation of) is the one that social democrats always use to show that New Zealanders are not highly taxed in the scheme of things. It shows total tax revenue as a percentage of GDP and NZ is just over the OECD average;



But look at tax on goods and services....



And finally, look at tax on income and profit ....



For historical interest, the statistical tables attached to the final graph show that in 1955 (when our per capita income was relatively high) the OECD average tax on income and profits was 9 percent of GDP. NZ's was 9.1 percent.

By 2007 (when our per capita income is relatively low) the OECD average was 13.5 percent and NZ's was 22.3 percent.

And note also that in Canada, Sweden, Finland and the US the percentage has fallen in the past few years. Ours has risen.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yes, but a lot of the other countries near us in those images have health care etc

Anonymous said...

Those comparisons lie, Lindsay, and you know it.

Who prepared NZ's submission with those figures - that's right Helen's government. Do you have any assurance they are correct? But even if they are "formally" correct, they mislead in several crucial points about NZ's economic position.

First, who cares about the OECD - a bunch of european countries. Saying we're in the middle of the OECD doesn't cut it because the OECD are the 20-odd most heavily taxed countries on earth. What this means is that NZ (even by those measures) is still the 10th highest taxed country on earth!

Second, we have to compete not with great competitive exporting economics like Sweden, Luxembourg and Denmark but with Singapore, Hongkong, Thailand and Malaysia. Effective tax marginal rates there are 0-15%

Third - and probably crucial - this graph totally discounts the vast imbalance in paying tax in NZ - where something like 20% of the population - the productive 10% are all on total marginal tax takes of 60% and above. And the threshold where that 60% rate cuts in is less than GBP 20,000
This marginal effective tax take is larger than in many officially socialist countries in 1950-1970 and much more than even Muldoon ever managed.

And of course, this was arranged by Hellen and Cullen is now maintained by Key and English.

Only radical reform (and no, Brash's 2025 taskforce is not really radical) can have a hope of drastically and quickly changing NZ's position. If we could do only one thing, eliminating company tax and FBT would be a great start, taking out benefits to remain "fiscally neutral".

Anonymous said...

But surely, you can count on the National Party to cut taxes.

Oops, I just saw a pig flying past my window.

They are cowards; the Tories, not the pigs.

Anonymous said...

It dont matter if we are taxed big or we are taxed small.

Those that can do, those that cant grizzle.

Dirk

heisenbug said...

Dirk... you left out a word :)

Those that can do - overseas. Those that can't grizzle.

Cheers!

Richard