Politics

'Divide the pie' or 'grow it' - David Seymour says 'wealth tax' no solution to inequality

The ACT Party believes the government is planting the seed for more taxes. Revenue Minister David Parker has announced an investigation into the tax paid by the wealthiest New Zealanders.

ACT leader David Seymour is not impressed.

Tova O'Brien spoke to Seymour early on Wednesday morning, prior to the interview with David Parker later the same morning.

O'Brien asked what the problem is with, at least, finding out if the richest New Zealanders are paying what they’re supposed to be paying in taxes.

"Well, we already know that they are paying what they're supposed to," said Seymour.

"Everybody pays tax on all income, GST on all spending and excise tax on all petrol, tobacco and booze. What they're really saying is they want to find out if people might have more money somewhere that they could tax as well. And my real objection is that there's really only two approaches to economic policy…

"One is that we need to divide the pie relentlessly. The other is we need to create the conditions to grow it. And I just think right now you've got a government that is relentlessly focused on dividing wealth and dividing people. What we should be doing is asking, how do we get houses built quickly to get kids to school more regularly and get gangs and violence off the streets?

"Those are the things we should be focused on, not more tall, poppy styled witch hunts."

O'Brien said that our country does in fact have a large wealth divide and asked Seymour what is so wrong with a wealth tax.

"Well, exactly what I just said," replied Seymour.

"The reason we have a wealth divide and it is real, is we've made it too hard to build houses for the last 30 years and particularly in the last two years, we focused entirely on one thing being COVID and forgot about monetary and fiscal policy discipline. 

"Those are the real problems and if you don't solve those underlying problems, then having government as a silent partner in inequality by taxing people on wealth, that's not a solution that is a Band-Aid."

O'Brien asked Seymour about ACT's GST tax cut policy and if he still believed in it.

"No, in fairness I would say it's being redone and I wondered if you'd ask me about that. That was our policy at the depths of COIVD I think we now face a very different scenario where we've gone nuts with spending and money printing. We've created enormous inflationary pressure that is squeezing people from every direction. So we no longer support a temporary reduction in GST".

Listen to the full interview between ACT Party Leader David Seymour and Tova above.

You can also download the full interview on the Tova podcast, and listen on the go. Check it out on the rova app or wherever you get your podcasts.