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Inland Revenue

Tax Policy

4 April 2019 - Response to concerns raised about data used by the Tax Working Group

Press releases

Issue date: Thursday, 4 April 2019

Version note: Advisory from Sir Michael Cullen, Tax Working Group Chair

Copyright: © Crown Copyright, Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

“Troy Bowker’s claims in today’s Business Herald about the reliability of data used by the Tax Working Group lack credibility”, says the Chair of the Group, Sir Michael Cullen.

“Boiled down to its essence, his argument rests on one simple point: the data is derived from the Household Economic Survey (HES) which is a sample survey of households.

“Mr Bowker seems to believe a sample size of 8,000 is a small size on which to base conclusions. In fact this is a sample size some eight to ten times that of the main political polls. It has a high degree of accuracy.

“In so far as it may provide an inaccurate picture around wealth distribution it is likely to be an underestimation of the assets of the very wealthiest, something which does not help Mr Bowker’s case at all.

“Mr Bowker does not help his argument by describing the CGT proposal as a ‘Labour’ one. In fact it comes from a clear majority of the Tax Working Group – a group of experts drawn from a wide variety of views.

“Finally, Mr Bowker continues to argue, like so many speaking for high net wealth individuals, as if only those people are hard working ordinary Kiwis.

“The great advantage of the HES is that it gives us the most complete and available picture of the wealth of all Kiwis – including the many who have little wealth apart from their family home”, Sir Michael said.

Last updated: Thursday, 4 April 2019