Opposition to higher taxes broken down

February 17th, 2014 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

The recent Fairfax poll asked respondents if they support or opposed raising taxes to pay for new spending. 69% said they were opposed and 25% in favour which means the net disapproval was -44%.

I was interested in the breakdown by party vote, which Fairfax kindly supplied. The net disapproval for supporters of each party against higher taxes was:

  • National voters: -59% net disapproval
  • Labour voters: -23% net disapproval
  • Green voters -0.5% net disapproval
  • NZ First voters -55% net disapproval

No surprise National voters are against higher taxes. Pleasing to see NZ First voters just as strongly against. What was fascinating is that most Labour voters are against increasing taxes to pay for new spending. Only 36% supported that with 59% opposed. The Greens were the only party not to be strongly opposed and they were split pretty much down the middle.

Also interesting to look at the demographics of opposition to higher taxes. They include:

  • Under 30s: -38% net disapproval
  • Maori: -50% net disapproval
  • Europeans: -40% net disapproval
  • Students: -32% net disapproval
  • No qualifications: -67% net disapproval
  • Post-grads: -22% net disapproval
  • HH income under $50k: -46% net disapproval
  • HH income over $100k: -32% net disapproval

So three fascinating things here:

  1. More Maori than Europeans oppose raising taxes to pay for more spending
  2. Those with no qualifications at all are far more opposed than the small number of people with a post-graduate degree
  3. Those with household incomes below $50K more opposed than those with HH income over $100k

So if parties go into this election vowing to raise taxes to pay for more spending, they will be seriously out of touch. As we head back into surplus, I want parties to be offering cuts, not increases.

The detailed results are here, for those interested – Fairfax poll breakdown

13 Responses to “Opposition to higher taxes broken down”

  1. redqueen (1,758 comments) says:

    Labour and the Greens are out of touch…well I’m shocked! Oh wait, nevermind.

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  2. PaulL (6,054 comments) says:

    Does opposition to higher taxes to pay for more spending mean:
    – we think that we shouldn’t have more spending
    – the money should just grow on the magic money tree, and the spending should continue

    I’m guessing if you surveyed on specific items of additional spending you’d find people supporting them. And you’d probably find few people supporting cuts to current govt programs. Which just goes to show that people (in aggregate) aren’t rational.

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  3. Camryn (518 comments) says:

    PaulL – reminds me of the Californian experience of binding public referenda, namely… (1) voters hate taxes, (2) voters love spending, and (3) politicians can be very creative at kicking the can down the road if they have to.

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  4. dime (12,984 comments) says:

    “Those with no qualifications at all are far more opposed than the small number of people with a post-graduate degree”

    Did they break that down any further? eg filter out the shit, worthless degrees?

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  5. tvb (5,509 comments) says:

    This is not a useful poll. Presumably higher taxes on higher income would not meet much opposition. But to get a reasonable harvest of money middle incomes would need to be targeted and even the Greens would resist that. If people felt they were getting value for money then they may be prepared to pay more taxes/levies.

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  6. deadrightkev (2,307 comments) says:

    Kiwis know inherently that tax is theft and it is true so no surprises there. They also know politicians waste around 50c in every dollar they steal in tax.

    National have been stealing money from Kiwis with the ETS and now we know officially there has been no global warming for seventeen years we should be given a tax cut for what we have lost.

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  7. PaulL (6,054 comments) says:

    I think every NZer thinks that government wastes money. The problem is that they see waste in different places – one person would shut down the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, another would shut down the Defence Department. One would means test the pension, another would say that the dole shouldn’t be paid to those under 25.

    It would be interesting to attempt a line by line survey of govt spending, and try to identify the individual lines of govt spending that are supported by less than 50% of the population. I suspect the answer wouldn’t be many (otherwise someone would have policy to remove it), but in aggregate there are a lot of people who think govt spending could be cut.

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  8. Sir Cullen's Sidekick (1,293 comments) says:

    The dummy who leads the Labour has taken offence to the question. This joker thinks if the question should have been framed as – “Do you support increasing the tax for the higher income earners (aka rich pricks) to pay for spending”. Dummy thinks that would have received 100% support.

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  9. Pongo (512 comments) says:

    Not surprising at all and it closely mirrors the you gov polling out of the uk. It is absolutely no surprise to me being in the construction industry, guys get a bit pissed off when they are on site in all weather when the girl next door is having her third child on the DPB and they are funding it. They don’t like paying for posh people to have solar power, they don’t like funding the student loans of lawyers and you labour can buggar off with their baby bonus.
    Sorry to restrict it but thems the circles I am in, the wife says the same thing happens around the water cooler from the girls at work.

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  10. Weihana (5,393 comments) says:

    deadrightkev (133 comments) says:
    February 17th, 2014 at 4:47 pm

    Kiwis know inherently that tax is theft…

    As they receive their hip operation… send their kids to school… drive down public roads… cheer on the All Blacks during the Rugby World Cup Final…

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  11. peterwn (4,281 comments) says:

    Labour got into power in 1999 on the promise to increase taxes to improve education, health and welfare. The extra taxes went on penpushers etc whose job was to keep Labour in power. It does not seem to be working this time round.

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  12. beadgame (31 comments) says:

    This poll is too simplistic to be useful and does more damage than good. Taxation and public spending are very complex systems involving many value choices. 1st people should be educated about these choices, then polled on a more detailed level.

    With respect to taxation, the question is not more or less, but is the current system fair. Currently many are already paying a high rate of tax via the 15% GST. The GST has a disproportionately higher impact on those with low incomes, and I think a plan should be put into place to reduce this, even if it means raising other taxes (income, capital gains).

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  13. Grizz (706 comments) says:

    Does this poll mean that most people are saying:
    1) I do not want to pay more tax. In fact I should pay less and
    2) I support someone else paying more tax, but not me.

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