Tax Justice for all

I have never been much of a conspiracy theorist. I believe that men walked on the moon and that, on 9/11, a plane really did fly into the Pentagon. But the arrival of the above billboard on the Hutt motorway last week, and the launch of the new group yesterday at parliament really does make me wonder. Why now? Why, as we await the government’s decision on the TWG’s report, scheduled to be made public later this month, has the purported New Zealand arm of this international organisation suddenly decided to make itself known?

The fact that its launch took place at parliament is, to me, a giveaway. It implies, whether correctly or not, that this group has the support of our government. It claims to be putting the government on notice, but there is still something very odd about it. I mean, how long would a group called #whitejusticeaotearoa last outside parliament? The police would be called in to forcibly remove them within minutes.

This group is focused entirely on Capital Gains Tax. It claims that the vast majority of people in this country want a CGT. This is garbage, of course. There is no evidence at all to support this, but they are saying it anyway. And you know what they say. Tell a lie enough times and it becomes a truth.

Its spokeperson, Paul Barber, is cagey about the membership of the group and claims to have no idea whatsoever about its funding, which cannot possibly be true. He just doesn’t want the public to know. As there are unions and publicly funded organisations involved, clearly there is taxpayers’ money going into this campaign. This is your money and mine being used to fund a campaign to unfairly skew public opinion in favour of CGT. Unbelievable.

Can it be a coincidence that this group, focused entirely on CGT, is going public within about two weeks of the government’s expected announcement on tax reform, including the possible implementation of a CGT?

I don’t think so.

Is it a coincidence that the group’s mantra is all about ‘fairness’, which is exactly the same line that has been spun by Jacinda Ardern and Grant Robertson over the last few months?

I doubt it.

Is it not strange that Paul Barber is extremely evasive about the group’s members and knows nothing about its funding, even though the advertising campaign, in newspapers and on billboards and bus shelters around the country, must be extremely expensive? Listen to his interview on RNZ here.

I think we are being played.

Paul Barber claims that we need to have ‘a conversation’ about fairness and CGT, about redistribution of wealth to those who have nothing, so that we can educate our children and have public hospitals.

Don’t we already have compulsory education and public hospitals? claims it is putting politicians, such as Jacinda Ardern on notice, but this is fallacious. Jacinda already wants a CGT; so does Grant Robertson. The politicians it is putting on notice sit on the other side of the House, although they could also be aiming at Winston Peters.

Is it not strange that, while the international group #taxjustice concentrates on tax havens and international tax fraud, is only interested in CGT… at a time when the debate is already very much in play? Is this group actually affiliated with the international taxjustice organisation, that is generally respected? This group appears to be a single issue group, unlike the international organisation, which has much loftier aims. Has this local group merely hijacked the name to make it look genuine and respectable?

Is it not strange that there is not one single tax expert or professional involved with this group, which is populated entirely by academics, public health advocates, and Mike Smith, former General Secretary of the Labour Party?

Welcome to our Brave New World, where ‘a gramme is better than a damn’, and we will all be told what to do and what to think… one way or another.

After all, Jacinda was not the President of the International Union of Socialist Youth without learning a trick or two, I am sure.