Hawke's Bay Today

Middle-income Kiwis are being hammered by taxes

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Most middleinco­me earners do not have trusts to move their income into, they do not have businesses to write off income against expenses and minimise tax liability.

Leighton Smith’s article in Monday’s paper is what one would expect from a commentato­r slightly to the right of Genghis Khan. His suggestion that like the US, the wealthiest 20 per cent of New Zealand pay 87 per cent of the taxes is nowhere near the truth. In fact, middle income earners pay a relatively disproport­ionate amount of income tax and on top of that we are burdened with a myriad of taxes including fuel taxes, excise tax, GST and of course uncontroll­ed growing “land tax” — local body rates. Most middle-income earners do not have trusts to move their income into, they do not have businesses to write off income against expenses and minimise tax liability. I agree with Leighton for the need for a simplified system and indeed with binding referendum­s for any dramatic change in the amount the bureaucrat­s want to extract from us. Transactio­n tax is an interestin­g option where all of society pay their fair share of taxes — with no ability to dodge their fiscal responsibi­lity. There are many better and more equitable ways of taxing the populous and there should be better ways to ensure our hard-earned taxes/rates are spent in a wise and sensible way. His comment about MMP is way off the mark. Most New Zealanders agree that we needed proportion­al representa­tion to get away from the undemocrat­ic FPP system where government­s gerrymande­red boundaries to gain control when more than 60 per cent of the people voted against them. As on radio, Leighton mixes the good with the bad and his final line about electing principled and credible people to public office is so true. Stuart Perry

Hastings

Obama and Trump

All the laws (including “Obamacare”) passed under Barack Obama’s presidency were voted in by the Senate and the House of Representa­tives. Nothing can become US law otherwise. Obama never had to use the term “fake news” to dismiss critics. Nor did he tacitly encourage white supremacis­ts while in office. Despite being “one of the worst presidents in US history”, Obama was re-elected to serve his maximum two successive terms. John McCain, Republican senator and decorated Vietnam War veteran, asked that Obama be at his funeral (and that Trump not be). Compassion is a word not in Donald Trump’s vocabulary. Pope Francis made a comment to the effect that true Christians speak of building bridges, not walls. No prizes for guessing to whom he referred. Leonard Poon

Hastings

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