WTA Blog

Happy Tax Freedom Day New Zealand!

Section: Members Highlights / WTA Blog
27 May 2016

Today is 2016 “Tax Freedom Day”. At 11:12am this morning the average New Zealanders will stop working for the government and for the first time this year begin working for themselves.

Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says:

“Tax Freedom Day is based on OECD figures showing that general government total outlays are now equivalent to 40.0% of the economy. That means that up until today Kiwis have effectively been working for the Government.”

“On behalf of the thousands of Kiwis who are members and supporters of the Taxpayers’ Union, we would like to wish every New Zealander a Happy Tax Freedom Day.”

New Zealand’s 2016 Tax Freedom Day is 15 days later than Australia, three days later than Canada, and later than all the years Helen Clark was Prime Minister.

More information about Tax Freedom Day is available at http://www.taxpayers.org.nz/tax_freedom_day_2016

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Book Recommendation: Catching Capital: The Ethics of Tax Competition by Peter Dietsch

Section: Members Highlights / WTA Blog
27 May 2016

Rich people stash away trillions of dollars in tax havens like Switzerland, the Cayman Islands, or Singapore. Multinational corporations shift their profits to low-tax jurisdictions like Ireland or Panama to avoid paying tax. Recent stories in the media about Apple, Google, Starbucks, and Fiat are just the tip of the iceberg. There is hardly any multinational today that respects not just the letter but also the spirit of tax laws. All this becomes possible due to tax competition, with countries strategically designing fiscal policy to attract capital from abroad. The loopholes in national tax regimes that tax competition generates and exploits draw into question political economic life as we presently know it. They undermine the fiscal autonomy of political communities and contribute to rising inequalities in income and wealth.

Building on a careful analysis of the ethical challenges raised by a world of tax competition, this book puts forward a normative and institutional framework to regulate the practice. In short, individuals and corporations should pay tax in the jurisdictions of which they are members, where this membership can come in degrees. Moreover, the strategic tax setting of states should be limited in important ways. An International Tax Organisation (ITO) should be created to enforce the principles of tax justice.

The author defends this call for reform against two important objections. First, Dietsch refutes the suggestion that regulating tax competition is inefficient. Second, he argues that regulation of this sort, rather than representing a constraint on national sovereignty, in fact turns out to be a requirement of sovereignty in a global economy. The book closes with a series of reflections on the obligations that the beneficiaries of tax competition have towards the losers both prior to any institutional reform as well as in its aftermath.

Find it on www.amazon.com.

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Institute for Economic Studies – Summer Seminar on Political Economy

Section: Members Highlights / WTA Blog
20 May 2016

Summer Seminar on Political Economy
July 05 – 10, 2016
Aix-Marseille Université • Avenue Robert Schumann • Aix-en-Provence, France.

In 2016, IES-Europe will bring back the spirit of these meetings to life and invite people from all over Europe and beyond to join distinguished speakers from the fields of economics, philosophy, history, and law, for what will be IES-Europe first edition of an open summer seminar that will mix intellectual stimulation with friendship in a sunny and convivial atmosphere.

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Europe Liberty Forum – Atlas Network & Institute for Economic Affairs

Section: Members Highlights / WTA Blog
20 May 2016

Europe Liberty Forum
8 June 2016 (All day) – 9 June 2016 (All day)
London, United Kingdom

Co-hosted by Atlas Network and the Institute of Economic Affairs


Atlas Network and the Institute of Economic Affairs are delighted to host the first annual Europe Liberty Forum. Champions of free people and free markets from across Europe and the United States are invited to London for two days of leadership development, sharing of best practices and discussion of the policy battles that lie ahead.

The conference will include keynote addresses and breakout sessions, superior networking opportunities and friendly competition among think tanks. The Europe Liberty Forum Gala Dinner on the evening of the 9th will feature Atlas Network’s announcement of 2016 Europe Liberty Award winner.

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Tobacco tax hike: It’s all about the money

Section: Members Highlights / WTA Blog
20 May 2016 | New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union / New Zealand

New Zealand

The New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union have written a report entitled the Passive Income: How the Government Uses Smokers as Cash Cows.The report details the effect of tobacco excise increases, the failure of the Government to legalise the sale of healthier alternatives which would minimise harm, and the misuse of taxpayers’ money given to not-for-profits which lobby the government.

Politicians claim higher tobacco taxes are necessary to promote better health, but the Government has prevented the sale of new generation smoking alternatives such as e-cigarettes which are 95% less harmful and are the most popular smoking cessation tool used in England.

While politicians cry crocodile tears about the harms of smoking, they are refusing to allow the sale of healthier alternatives. It appears the only reason is to protect the revenue stream from the taxes on traditional cigarettes.

From today, a $20 20-pack of cigarettes includes nearly $16 dollars of tax


It makes a complete mockery of the National Party’s election promise not to increase taxes.

Increases in tobacco excise tax are often held up as interventions that are effective at reducing consumption amongst low socio-economic groups. However, significant tax increases have coincided with an increase in the socio-economic smoking gradient. Counterintuitively, the poor are the least likely to respond to tax hikes. That means they, and their families, go without.

Just because a consumer base is poor, it does not mean that the Government is any more justified in making consumer health choices for them. Worse, increasing taxes well in excess of the health costs of tobacco, knowing that they are being paid by those least able to afford it, is morally questionable.


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Troy Lanigan’s Fundraising Principles

Section: WTA Blog
20 May 2016 | New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union / New Zealand

Due to popular demand, I am posting Troy Lanigan’s presentation on fundraising from the WTA Conference in Berlin. He did a great job breaking down the basics of fundraising, keeping it simple and to the point.

Fundraising can be a daunting task, but if you keep these principles in mind, it will make it much more manageable. It’s also a well put together PowerPoint presentation for your reference.

Power Point – Fundraising – WTC Berlin – 16 March_Lanigan


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New Book Recommendation – Chicagonomics: The Evolution of Chicago Free Market Economics

Section: Members Highlights / WTA Blog
8 May 2016 | Lipa / Croatia


Chicagonomics explores the history and development of classical liberalism as taught and explored at the University of Chicago. Ebenstein’s tenth book in the history of economic and political thought, it deals specifically in the area of classical liberalism, examining the ideas of Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman, and is the first comprehensive history of economics at the University of Chicago from the founding of the University in 1892 until the present. The reader will learn why Chicago had such influence, to what extent different schools of thought in economics existed at Chicago, the Chicago tradition, vision, and what Chicago economic perspectives have to say about current economic and social circumstances.


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