Some extracts from an interesting interview:
GUYON You spoke in your speech a lot about tax as well, and again you returned to that equity and fairness argument, and I want to quote from that, you said too many people on good incomes avoid and evade paying taxes. Now I’ve looked through the MP’s Register of Pecuniary Interests, and I see you don’t have a family trust or a trust listed there, so I presume that you personally do and always have paid the top tax rate.
PHIL I’ve the top tax rate, I’ve always paid every dollar in tax that I’ve been required to pay and I’m proud to pay that tax because that’s how we fun our education our health system.
GUYON Is that the case for your caucus, because when you look through that Register of Interests, there are a lot of your own MPs who have trusts, and can structure their finance and their assets so they do not pay the top tax rate, do you include those people in the people who are being unfair by not paying the top tax rate?
PHIL If you have a system that allows people to avoid paying tax, they would avoid paying taxes, what you have to do is get the system right. What I guess offends me is that most people, average working New Zealanders, wage and salary earners they don’t evade, they don’t avoid their tax, they can’t, but when you see the list of the top hundred income earners in this country and half of them are paying less tax as a proportion of their income than the people right at the top, you say there’s something wrong with the system.
GUYON Something wrong, a lot of people would agree with that, but can I return to that, have you asked those MPs, I mean is it fair that they’re not paying the top tax rate, all of them are paid over $140,000 at least yet they’re able to structure their finances in that way. When you gave a speech and said that was unfair had you checked with your own caucus to see whether those people are paying the top tax rate and paying for the roads and hospitals and schools of New Zealand?
PHIL Yeah, I’ve got absolute confidence that every one of my MPs is paying all the tax that they should be paying …
Good to see this question put to Goff. Cactus Kate was the first to raise it – the hypocrisy of railing against wealthy people avoiding the top tax rate, and having a third of your caucus using trusts to minimise their own tax liability.
If you want to reduce tax avoidance in NZ, then the best way to do it is to lower the top tax rate.
If Goff continues to go on about how wealthy people should not avoid the top tax rate, then he should be challenged to ban his caucus members from having family trusts!
GUYON The top 10% of income earners though, they pay 44% of all the tax, is that fair?
PHIL Well they earn probably over 40% of the income, so proportionately yes.
Actually the top 10% of income earners pay 76% of net taxation (taking into account working for families etc). And what people shouold be worried about is not how to tax them even more, but what it will mean if those 10% leave NZ in significant numbers!
GUYON Shane Jones said this week that it was his mission to drive the Maori Party out of parliament. Now how smart is it for the Labour Party under MMP to actually annihilate a potential coalition partner, leaving them only with the Greens and leaving you with almost no chance of forming the next government.
PHIL Well if the electorate will make that decision but Shane was speaking from heart and he was saying this.
GUYON Is he speaking with your authority?
PHIL I’m comfortable with his comments.
GUYON You want the Maori Party out of parliament?
PHIL No no.
Yet Shane Jones does. Goff them tries to have it both ways.
GUYON No no hang on hang on, that’s what he said, sorry Mr Goff, do you want the Maori Party out of parliament?
PHIL Look if there is a question of whether there are seven Maori seats that are Labour Party or Maori Party held I want them all to be Labour Party held.
GUYON So you don’t want to work with the Maori Party potentially?
PHIL No, no, that’s a different question.
GUYON But if you’re trying to extinguish them, there’s no chance at all is there?
PHIL In a democratic competition of course every one of our Labour candidates in the Maori electorates will be seeking to win those seats and I’ll be right behind them, and I’d like 100%. The second question you ask is a slightly different one. Will we work with the Maori Party while they’re in parliament, of course we will, if we think that’s in the interests of the country, as would any other party.
GUYON So let’s get this straight. You want to drive the Maori Party out of parliament, but should they actually remain so you’ll work with them?
Would have been interesting at this point to have asked Goff if he wants Winston back in Parliament, and does he want the Greens there?
GUYON Will you resign on election night should Labour lose as Helen Clark did?
PHIL I don’t have a plan B for election night, and it’s not about losing.
GUYON I think I heard a similar phrase before, but thanks very much for coming and joining us this morning.
A very similar phrase indeed.
To be fair, I don’t think Phil Goff does have a Plan B for election night. He said that Plan B is not about losing. That must mean Plan A is about Labour losing!