AM host Ryan Bridge, Revenue Minister David Parker clash over taxing the rich after Inland Revenue report

  • 27/04/2023

AM host Ryan Bridge and Revenue Minister David Parker have clashed over taxing the rich after a sobering report by Inland Revenue (IRD).

The department's research found the wealthiest New Zealand families are each worth an average of $276 million - but only paying half the tax of everyday Kiwis.

IRD spent two years and $3.2 million investigating the financial affairs of the 311 richest New Zealanders, to discover they're paying less than 10 percent in tax. Much of their economic income is driven by capital gains - most of which go untaxed, the probe found.

Parker told AM the report showed in black and white the tax system wasn't fair.

But the question of what is income sparked a lively debate with Bridge.

"So we're talking not about income, because any income generated from running a business is taxed - we're talking here about capital gains. We're talking about on-paper profits from the increase in a value, for the most part... which is imaginary money," Bridge said.

"It's not money. If your asset increases on paper, you don't get that money."

But Parker disagreed.

"If you've got $276 million at the start of the year and all your assets go up in value by 10 percent, you've got $27 million that you didn't have at the start of the year," he said.

"What you've got is another $27 million to go out and buy another 27 houses if you want - it's money."

Bridge hit back, insisting the money Parker was referring to was "on paper", which he thinks Kiwis would find "unfair".

"If I don't give you $5, you don't have $5 do you? You might be worth $5 more."

Watch the full video for more.