Tax since 1950

Back on the post showing Government taxation since 2000, someone asked for details of taxation before 2000. Here it is as a % of GDP. Interesting to look at it by Government. Just remember that it generally takes one year or longer for polices by a New Government to register, so don’t pay much notice to the first year of any Government.


The Holland Government from 1949 to 1957 kept taxation fairly constant. Under Nash it moved about a bit and they left office with it increasing. The Holoyoake era saw some changes but overall very low and constant at 23% until 1970 and then a jump to 25% for the last two years.

The Kirk Government saw the start of the big increases, rising to 29% almost. Muldoon at first had some reductions, then some increases and overall left office with it just 1% higher.

The massive increase came from the 4th Labour Government. Sure they did some good things with tax rates and increasing the tax base, but they spent like drunken whores and the tax take went from 29% to a massive 36%.

National in the 1990s saw the first sustainable reduction in 40 years and a fall from 36% to just over 30%.

Labour at first maintained this, but the last four years have seen the relentless increase again to 33%.

Now note this is just pure taxation. This does not include levies, fines etc and revenue from monopoly SOEs etc. If you add that all in you are up at 48%. And then add in Local Government and you are over 50%.