Hot on the heels of their support for the Bill of Rights for foreign multinationals (aka the TPPA) the new Labour-led government has appointed none other than former Labour Finance Minister Michael Cullen to head its tax working group.
Cullen will forever be remembered for his proud proclamation (in response to criticism from National) that during most of his tenure as Finance Minister (1999 – 2008) company profits increased at twice the rate of workers’ wages.
The effect of Cullen’s tenure as Finance Minister administering the economy for the wealthy (along with his fellow neo-liberal finance ministers Roger Douglas, Ruth Richardson and Bill English) was this Radio New Zealand report over the weekend which reported:
Statistics New Zealand data shows in the year to March, the country’s two million salary and wage earners received just under 49 percent of the nation’s income, compared to 59 percent in 1981.
The council said if workers were receiving the same return for their labour that was considered fair a generation ago, then, on average, they would be about $11,500 better off today.
The sickening result is seen everywhere in this deeply divided country with its rotten economic system.
New Zealand desperately needs to address poverty and inequality and under capitalism the only way to do it is through the tax system.
Low wage workers already pay the highest rates of tax through income tax and GST while the rich pay the lowest rates. For the wealthy tax is essentially voluntary.
For Cullen to attack our Sheriff of Nottingham tax system would be to repudiate his own political career as Finance Minister.
Can we expect any significant change from the Cullen tax working group?