Over the past nine months, the Tax Working Group has engaged in a national conversation with New Zealanders about the future of the tax system. Thousands of New Zealanders – including iwi, businesses, unions, and other organisations – have had their say. It is clear to the Group that tax matters to everyone.
There is good reason for this passion. The tax system underpins the living standards of New Zealanders in three important respects: as a source of revenue for public services; as a means of redistribution; and as a policy instrument in its own right. The Group has been alert to these multiple purposes in the course of its work.
The Group also believes it is important to bring a broad conception of wellbeing and living standards to its work – including a consideration of Te Ao Māori perspectives on the tax system. This approach reflects the composition of the Group, which includes members with a diverse range of skills and experience, including from beyond the tax system.
The Group is currently working with stakeholders to develop a framework to support the future evolution of the tax system that reflects principles from Te Ao Māori, alongside the four capitals of the Living Standards Framework and the principles of tax policy design. This includes exploring concepts of waiora (wellbeing), manaakitanga (care and respect), kaitiakitanga (stewardship), whanaungatanga (relationships and connectedness), and ōhanga (prosperity).
The Group has discussed many issues over the past six months – but also recognises that there is still much to do before the presentation of the Final Report in February 2019. This work will include further consideration of measures to extend the taxation of capital income, as well as analysis of the distributional impact of the various options for reform.