Michael Cullen

The spadework has been done and the Labour-led government now has to decide whether it can afford to walk through the door labelled 'Capital Gaints Tax'... and they need to know who will follow

And so now, as was always inevitable, it comes down to political courage. Has Jacinda Ardern and her coaltion got the will and the numbers to introduce a proper capital gains tax?

One per cent of the world's population now control half its wealth. 

The concentration of more and more resources in fewer and fewer hands has actually accelerated since the global financial crisis. This is no accident. It is the outcome of policy decisions made – or avoided – by political leaders either unable to learn the lessons of the crisis or unwilling to act on them.  

Since 2008, “middle-class wealth has grown at a slower pace than wealth at the top end. This has reversed the pre-crisis trend, which saw the share of middle-class wealth remaining fairly stable over time.”

A softening of the housing market, falling dairy prices and potential weakening of the Chinese economy do not bode well for New Zealand

There were knowing smiles among economists when earlier this year John Key set the election date a couple of months early. He told us it was because there were various international gatherings that the prime minister had to attend. But it also seemed possible that economy growth would be weakening at the end of 2014.

….but only if they can sort out their own muddled messages.


John Key’s promise not to promise anything in his pre-budget speech last week revealed some serious muddle in National’s thinking. The tried and tested rule is that governments spend in the bad times to stimulate the economy when no-one else can, and save in the good times.

Increasing the supply of housing is only part of the solution. Demand needs to be shored up. That means changing incentives so that wage earners can compete with investors.

When run down villas in Sandringham are fetching up to a $1 million, the average family can't afford to buy the average house.

 Here are two things that the problem of affordability isn't:

It's not a problem of not enough houses being built in the wops. People want to live where they work and play.