Progressive Thinking Ten Perspectives on Tax

The Public Service Association is proud to present Progressive Thinking: Ten Perspectives on Tax, an edited booklet featuring ten leading authors, academics and campaigners writing on a broad range of topics on tax policy in theory and practice.

Progressive Thinking’s contributors consider everything from tax myths and political promises to specific measures for taxation on wealth and carbon emissions; from family assistance and inequality to social contract theory and tax avoidance. It also include primers on New Zealand’s history of tax policy and our relative taxation in an international context.

"There are a few recurrent themes across the ten authors - New Zealand’s lack of a comprehensive Capital Gains Tax to combat property speculation in the housing market, or the overall coherence of our broad-base, low tax model, for example. There’s also plenty of discussion around GST, foreign trust regulation, tax avoidance, inequality and the political rhetoric of tax cuts," says Mr Barclay.

"It’s clear to us that many core public social services are currently struggling to provide reliable, timely and high-quality services due to a low tax take, questionable Government priorities and the slow decay of underfunding."

"It’s even more unfortunate that all major political parties now seem to have bought in to the spin of having to signal their 'fiscal responsibility' by promising to cap spending on critically underfunded public services," says Erin Polaczuk, PSA national secretary.

"This assumes that current tax settings and levels are optimal, and reinforces the idea that tax itself is a bad thing - a burden to bear - and nothing more than that."

"We represent everyone from the Department of Conservation rangers who protect New Zealand’s endangered species to the underpaid home support workers and library staff at the centre of their communities. Everyone from mental health nurses to senior staff at Government Ministries are telling us about how funding shortages are making their work more difficult," says Ms Polaczuk.

It is available to be read on line at

Jem Yoshioka