MEDIA RELEASE: No tax cuts at cost of spending cuts - voters

Aotearoa’s voting public are not keen on massive cuts to public spending and services simply to fund government tax cuts.

That is a key take away from poll findings set to be presented by political scientist Dr Terence Wood tomorrow, Tuesday 21 May at an event hosted by Tax Justice Aotearoa.     

The public opinion poll, commissioned by the Better taxes for a Better Future campaign, surveyed a representative sample of more than 1,000 New Zealanders prior to last year’s election.

Dr Terence Wood, Fellow at Australia National University’s Development Policy Centre, was one of the poll’s designers and is a Tax Justice Aotearoa board member. He has conducted an in-depth analysis of the results, which has been published this week

Dr Wood says one clear message from the survey data was that while New Zealanders might not like paying tax, very few wanted tax cuts if it meant cuts to essential spending. 

“Only 2% of New Zealanders wanted public spending cut to fund tax cuts. More than that, only 10% of New Zealanders wanted public spending and taxes to stay at current levels,” Dr Wood says.

He says the appetite for spending cuts was low across the political spectrum. 

“Only 12% of ACT voters with an opinion on the matter wanted spending on core services to be cut or stay the same.”

Dr Wood said that survey findings also showed a large majority of poll respondents

wanted more affluent New Zealanders to pay more tax than they do at present. 

“61% of respondents said they want a more progressive tax system.”

Dr Wood says he was particularly surprised to see support for progressive tax reform across the political spectrum.

“While support was higher for this on the left than on the right, about half of ACT voters wanted a more progressive tax system - and more than two thirds of New Zealand First voters who had an opinion said they wanted those at the top to pay more.”

Dr Wood says the other key point from the survey was just how open New Zealanders were to new forms of tax.

 “Nearly 80% of New Zealanders want an excess profits tax - and while there was some uncertainty about a wealth tax, more than half of those surveyed favoured introduction of a wealth tax as part of a tax switch”.

More information on Dr Wood’s presentation and others in TJA’s latest series.

The Better taxes for a Better Future coalition is a grouping of more than 20 organisations committed to progressive tax reform and co-ordinated by Tax Justice Aotearoa.