BOOM – TOP release incredible policy!


Consider me bloody impressed!

The Opportunities Party leader Raf Manji has a chance of winning Ilam now Gerry Brownlee has stood down. Sarah Pallett won the seat in 2020 during Labour’s red wave, but Manji was competitive against Gerry back in 2017. If Manji can steal the seat off Pallett and against a weak National newbie, TOP could enter Parliament AND bring in 2 MPs off the Party list.

TOP are talking about Housing and the political tax impasses that prevent Housing from being built, if they can convince the public that he can win in Ilam, then a vote for TOP isn’t wasted. If National were smart they would consider talking to TOP and offering them an Epsom deal in Ilam.

Expect to see some incredible policy ideas from them this weekend which might cause some genuine political attention, and they’ve done that today with this remarkable announcement


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  1. I watched a webinar by them last election and it was disappointingly amateur in content. Have they improved enough? Let’s hear about them if they have. I loved their tax policy two elections back. We’re desperate now for substance. Can they bring it?

    • Crunch the numbers. Not as great as you may think. I’ll be better off but my income cohort that live in the big towns will not.
      Land value is so variable from place to place that it should not even be used for rating let alone taxation.
      I would vote for a government that makes the first $60k tax free and wipes all the things like working for families, tax credits, accomodation allowance etc.
      Don’t profess to know how the numbers stack up but there would be a huge saving in the number of people that administer these schemes.

      • I’m not quite sure I follow your ‘land value is variable from place to place’ argument Mike. The reason land value in RVs is variable from place to place is because it actually is. High land values in urban areas represent a huge opportunity cost for society when they have a single house on them since they could feasibly build and sell an apartment block on the site for example, compared to low land values in rural areas where such a development would likely lose money.

        This is exactly why they’re targetting it. To enable efficient land markets.

  2. I live in Ilam and after 2 years have just got a flyer from Pallett tell me she is there for us .She would be looking at the figures and dusting of the CV. There are some good people putting their hand up to stand in this seat .Raf could do well but he has n uphill battle to convince people it will not be a wasted vote .The local elections will be a guide as to people’s thinking.The 2 meetings I went to those candidates that supported 3 Waters got booed as did the few audience members that spoke in favour.

  3. I’m desperate for wy through the nonsensical status uo. I like, like Manu Caddie here on the Est cost, their salience. Initially nywy.

  4. I will be watching them closely in the run up to the general election. My vote is up for grabs and I will refuse to support any of the current parties in parliament for the first time in 36 years.

  5. Finally Martyn you’ve discovered NZ’s only left wing political party. Please keep promoting them. Raf Manji is brilliant.

    • And for the time being, their only baggage is wanting to kill all NZ cats. I think they’re great (even when Gareth was in charge). Fingers crossed.

  6. Finally Martyn you’ve discovered NZ’s only left wing political party. Please keep promoting them. Raf Manji is brilliant.

  7. private property rights are a fundamental prerequisite for a civil society since Magna Carta & stealing private property never ends well.

    • Confiscation of stations that created our family farms, for one. Liberal Govt McKenzie in the eighteen-nineties. Of course they became conservative voters twenty years later.

  8. THIS is the party that Labour needs in the next coalition.

    The Nats & Nat voters will never accept property tax, but if Labour bring TOP to the table, they can adopt some of TOP’s policies & still claim that “Hey, it was TOP’s idea.. ” even if it was something Labour *wanted* to do, but were too scared to on their own.

  9. I dont think this is as hopeful as it sounds.

    I looked into Top earlier this year whilst looking for a place to vote. I like what TOP has to say and am in agreement, but I think that the timing of their policies is wrong if they want to succeed.

    On the one hand this is the perfect time to introduce these policies, they very much speak to the hole we are in. However, in terms of demographics and savings habits, this is entirely the wrong time.

    Nz has the shittiest personal pension scheme in the western world, The UK, Canada and Australia (probably others) started their compulsory pension schemes decades before we did and have incentivised them tremendously. Kiwisaver is half assed and awful. The PMC in Canada (don’t know about now) were retiring around 50 years old about 10 yrs ago because they had acquired enough wealth through their pension schemes to give up working and live comfortably (Not sure about working class people) and in Britain my brother in law is super comfortable on an index linked pension + state pension. Retired at 55 with his house paid off as did others who were lucky enough to still be in these schemes.

    In NZ. pensioners get an averageish state pension and have little or no money in Kiwisaver. The average account has $35K in it. In most other western countries the state pension is lower than the private pension on a monthly basis. My friend in the UK had to have it explained to her why we weren’t stopping work (she stopped at 55 also) because even stopping at 55, she has a paid off home and gets a private pension of 2.5 times her state pension or thereabouts. So 3.5 times the value of the average Kiwi pension.

    The Boomer generation is coming to an end over the next 5 years but they are a large force in terms of voting power. Most NZers have retired with only the State Pension and if they are lucky, a paid off property.

    The Boomers grew up with the view (and were encouraged to have this view) that the state would pay them a decent pension and the few personal pension schemes that did exist went out the door with Rogernomics.

    If TOP were to get in, you’d be asking in the main part, people to fork out on average an extra $7500 without the ability to raise extra income. This is a problem politically when you have such large numbers of voters. In support of a better world, some will vote for the future and try and cope with the reduced funds or defer some of it. But life would get a lot harder.

    But then you will have read Phase 2 of TOPs policy that says:

    Our vision:
    Phase 2 of our higher incomes package will see the introduction of a Universal Basic Income (UBI), established at the prevailing Jobseeker Support rate.

    A Universal Basic Income will:

    Provide income security for everyone.
    Reduce government interference in people’s lives, allowing them to spend their money in the ways that are best for them and their families.
    Acknowledge unpaid labour, such as childcare.
    Provide a safety net for people, empowering them to take on new opportunities and pursue their passions.
    We will:
    Introduce a $16,500 annual tax-free income to all citizens and residents aged between 18 and 65 years (no changes to superannuation).
    Establish a $2,340 annual tax-free child basic income (paid to parents up to the age of 18).
    Remove tax loopholes and simplify the tax system with a single income tax rate of 35%, which will include company and trust income.
    Increase the annual land value tax on residential land (established in Phase 1) to 1.25%.
    The introduction of a Universal Basic Income is likely to grow New Zealand’s economy, and it is estimated to be fiscally neutral (within 1% of GDP).

    Again, I agree with all of that but the additional increase of land tax means most Aucklanders would be paying about $15000 a year and thats on middling property values of around $1.2 Million. $30,000 on $2.5 mill. Add in rising rates, ours are currently nearly $5K and we dont live in a main centre. The after tax state pension is about $26K a year I think so how does one find $15K or more a year when it was never budgeted for?

    TOP says it can be deferred. But that is the biggest problem of all. For many it would have to be wholly deferred and if you lived for another 30 years, you could potentially end up leaving a debt for your family rather than an asset. Who works all their life in the hope they can leave something behind and then says fine, I’ll give my assets to the state and leave my kids a debt instead? What would happen to generational family homes?

    Then there is the comment that the pension would be maintained and not lowered by almost $200 per week to match the UB of $317. Any bets on how long it would be before the pension was frozen and eroded away? Those in work would get their salary + UBI and those already on a pension would get a dwindling pension with no chance of increased income. Doesn’t sound altogether like a very reasonable proposition when you add multiple thousand dollar land taxes on top.

    Can’t see it happening until we have generations retiring who have a lifetime of personal pension contributions behind them or have the numbers to swing the vote.

    • And you just gave us all a few good reasons to walk away from top.
      this reminds me of a previous idea that they had, taxing nanas house in the name of productivity.
      any UBI will be in the end lower then what individual benefits are atm. A UBI makes sense if it is to supplement rather then be the end to all.
      So once more, not this voter here is again not impressed with this Party.

      And just as a reminder, all of this is proposed because we simply can not tax the very rich and ueber wealthy and the corporations through which they manage/fund their lifelihoods.

  10. Some interesting comments on TOPs new policy. I believe that the current NZ tax system is grossly unfair and that lower income earners shoulder a disproportionately high tax burden and that our almost non-existent property taxes encourages greedy speculation, which has been a significant driver in creating crazy house prices especially when compared to average incomes.

    I concur with Fantail that Kiwisaver is shit compared to other systems, don’t know much about Canada but know quite a bit about Australian super (I am lucky having lived in NSW for 16 years so have a bit of it myself), 10.5% employers contribution, tax deductibility on additional contributions after the age of 55 etc.

    Whilst there are many elements of TOPS policy I agree with such as making income tax fairer, increasing benefits, and writing off debts to MSD etc. However I don’t think that the over simplistic land tax model is a workable option. Firstly it will go down like a bucket of cold sick with the majority for the electorate, not just current homeowners but also those who aspire to buy their own home. Remember that home ownership is an integral part of the kiwi DNA.

    In my opinion a combination of a proper capital gains tax with stamp duty and a tax on homes that have been vacant for six months plus so-called ghost homes is the best option and a fairer one. I would advocate looking closely at the current models in the Australian states such as NSW which is not bad. With interest rates going up and inflation still not under control plus council rates your average kiwi homeowner is feeling the pinch so I very much doubt they would go for an additional annual cost on their property.

    Whilst I think the aims of this policy are admirable, I think the execution has been badly thought out and I suspect that it has been done in some sort of “technocrat bubble” without actually talking to the electorate. The challenge for TOP is going to be having policies that resonate with a larger enough segment of kiwis who actually go out and vote, not just those on benefits because this cohort has very low participation rates in the democratic process because they have unfortunately more pressing concerns such as where is the next meal coming from and how to put a roof over their head.

    If TOP wants to be a catalyst for meaningful change in our society, change which I believe is desperately needed, they need to engage better with the electorate and successfully sell a vision for a fairer more just society in AO/NZ with policies that resonate with a much broader segment of the voting public. Otherwise they are doomed to remain at the fringes of the political debate, which is where they are now, you only have to look at the mainstream media coverage of this policy announcement – bugger all! Case in point!

  11. It seems inconsistent for TOP to promise to scrap the Brightline tax, and at the same time, bring back deductibility of interest. The lack of Brightline taxation (or CGT) would seem to be a quid pro quo for non deductibility of interest.

  12. Generally speaking, I think I would make residential rental income non taxable if a land tax was applied to all residential property, as this would mean that both private and residential property were being taxed on the same basis; there would of course be no deductibility of any expenses in that situation. It could also lead to reductions in rent, since it would mean that landlords could obtain the same income with from lower rents. Of course I would still ring fence rental losses.

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