Large majority of New Zealanders don't want capital gains tax - poll

New Zealanders do not want a capital gains tax (CGT) - not on their investment property, not on their farms or businesses, and definitely not on their KiwiSaver.

Newshub has been given exclusive access to a Reid-Research poll commissioned by Business New Zealand that shows an overwhelming majority of voters - 65 percent - don't think a CGT should be a priority for the Government. 

The poll found that just 22.8 percent think it should be a priority. And nearly half of voters - 47.8 percent - say the CGT debate has harmed the Government, while 33.1 percent say it hasn't, and 19.2 percent don't know. 

Large majority of New Zealanders don't want capital gains tax - poll
David King, a waterproofing and industrial coating master, spent 26 years building his business Modern Maintenance Products from scratch. And it's endorsed by Parliament - he just finished fixing up a bunch of MPs' leaky homes. 
But King told Newshub he's livid about a potential CGT on his business.

"I'm a bit hot under the collar about this. I don't have a KiwiSaver, I don't have any other savings - my savings are in this business."

Most New Zealanders are also opposed. The Reid-Research poll asked New Zealanders: "Do you think there should be a capital gains tax on things like businesses and farms?"

The majority - 54.3 percent - said "no", while just 31.6 percent said "yes". 

Large majority of New Zealanders don't want capital gains tax - poll

"See some sense and just drop it - it is not a fair policy to introduce," King told Newshub. 

Business New Zealand commissioned the poll to break down the CGT and see what, if anything, New Zealanders might support. 

"As we got more deeply into the different types of assets New Zealanders own, they push back pretty hard," chief executive Kirk Hope told Newshub: 

On taxing property profits, half of voters pushed back. The poll found 49.8 percent don't think there should be a CGT on property - the family home would be exempt. 

And that's versus just 39.1 percent that support it. 

In her post-Cabinet press conference on Monday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the Government is "using this time to hear the public's feedback". 

But the feedback seems clear. 

"Well, clearly the capital gains tax shouldn't be a priority for the Government," Hope said. 

When it comes to KiwiSaver, voters say hands off. The poll found that 90 percent do not think there should be a CGT on KiwiSaver earnings. That leaves just 4.4 percent - next to no one - that support the idea. 

Large majority of New Zealanders don't want capital gains tax - poll

Ardern said the Government is still yet to make a final decision. 

As if to illustrate the poll results, a pro-CGT campaign was launched at Parliament on Monday - a tiny group from Tax Justice Aotearoa that says it represents most Kiwis. 

"The majority of people support a capital gains tax, and that voice doesn't really seem to be being heard," Paul Barber, a policy advisor with the New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services, said at the protest. 

But they definitely don't speak for David King - nor, according to this poll, the actual majority of New Zealanders. 

The Government's Tax Working Group recommended introducing a CGT in its February report, that would apply to all gains and losses on land and improvements (except the family home), including shares and business assets. 

The Reid-Research poll was conducted between March 15-23. It had a sample size of 1000 voters, with a margin of error of 3.1 percent.