His house may be in the 30km zone of Mount Maunganui, but Gareth Morgan isn’t slowing down. He’s put his pedal to the metal and plans to hit the political highway with a clear destination in mind.
But the map has changed significantly in the last week. Two days after Prime Minister John Key’s jolting announcement he is resigning, Gareth and his newly-formed The Opportunities Party announced their first policy in Auckland on Wednesday.
It’s a fairly ballsy one about tax reform. And Gareth isn’t too concerned about who is running the country. He thinks the current bunch of politicians have cemented themselves to the short-term or three-year goal of getting re-elected.
“They avoid the tough decisions,” says Gareth. “Half of the time they propose policies that won’t even achieve what they say they will.
“This [tax reform] policy is the one which will make the biggest difference to our lives. It’s all about making New Zealand fair again,” says Gareth.
“The end result of this policy will be more jobs, more affordable housing, more business growth and tax cuts that leave 80 per cent of the population better off.”
And he’s clear about what he wants to achieve. “We are simply changing who pays the tax. The Government needs money to pay for things.”
Unperturbed by his past deliberate provocations, Gareth wants to start a new robust conversation amongst the average Kiwi.
He’s laying out what he believes is an aspirational blueprint for both those who are benefitting from the property prices, and those who find themselves stymied from home ownership. He wants to light a fuse, and influence the Government of the day.
“We want to change what is taxed, not the amount of tax collected,” says Gareth.
“Any increase in revenue will be used to reduce income rates. Under the reform we propose, around 80 per cent of the public will be better off, the 20 per cent that aren’t can well ‘afford’ it.”
The tax policy advances a minimum rate of return on assets such as housing and land. He references John Key and himself as examples of those who’ll end up paying more tax from this policy.
Gareth’s outlined how the large pool of untaxed income was benefiting people who owned assets they’d accumulated.
The growing wealth to homeowners from the increasing house prices produced no or very little taxable income.
This isn’t viewed by him as a capital gains tax but as an efficient and fair way to ensure everyone has the same opportunity.
“Our policies aim to make most New Zealanders better off in the long-term,” says Gareth. “Our country needs to make hard choices, but in the short-term people are afraid of change.”