Capital gains tax: “too blunt a measure”

Is this true?  Of course, it is – any single measure as compared to a carefully crafted range of strategies is needed to deal with the “Auckland housing crisis”.  The most important measure is to increase not only the quantity of housing, but also its quality.

The Housing & Health evidence is compelling: it can be a cost-saving investment, as well as improving health.  We need warmer and less damp houses, and make sure that we support the poorest to be able to afford enough energy.

So, why does the government not invest in quality housing?  The potential to design new communities always comes at a cost to the old.  And the benefits of the new not evident until it is built.  Can we re-design living around our biological needs, and not just profit?

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs implies a certain standard set of needs that all humans need.  Shelter is but one of these, so why not design for the package of food, clothing, transport, and so on.  The main need now is connectivity for access to an incredible range of resources.

If we ask the question how can we most efficiently and effectively achieve this, the best answer till now has been the market.  The magic of the invisible hand that achieves optimal outcomes from individuals serving their own interests.  But new technology offers new opportunities; including to address the over-concentration of wealth in a hungry world.

One simple solution with profound impacts would be to move to a single financial transaction system for NZ.  This could make retail banks redundant;  the optimal solution?

The system would pay for itself by enabling a range of financial transaction taxes that would be collected seamlessly, replacing current income and sales taxes.  A capital gains tax, added to this regime, that would apply to the sale of houses (excluding first homes, unless over $2m) would be fair and appropriate way to reduce demand while the supply is built up.

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