Minister doing farmers a disservice over TWG report

The New Zealand National Party

Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor’s dismissive attitude to the Tax Working Group’s (TWG) report is doing a disservice to the primary sector, National’s Agriculture spokesperson Nathan Guy says.

“The Minister has already signalled his intent for a Capital Gains Tax with his comments on Radio New Zealand that ‘capital gains as the ultimate goal of a farmer is flawed, and it’s something that needs to be looked at’.

“A Capital Gains Tax would cost farmers $600,000 if their farm is sold after 10 years. On top of that, environmental taxes would take $20,000 from the average sheep and beef farm, $25,000 from the average dairy farm, and $68,000 from an irrigated dairy farm.

“In addition the Government would smack farmers with additional costs because they’d be forced to get a valuation for their farm under a Capital Gains Tax that could cost upwards of $5,000 per farm.

“Farmers’ worries about this Government’s policies are reflected in Rabobank’s latest farmer confidence survey which shows the sector ‘still languishes in negative territory’, while MYOB’s Capital Gains Tax survey found rural communities are deeply opposed to the tax.

“Mr O’Connor is turning a blind eye, telling the New Zealand Herald last month he ‘hasn’t fully read’ the TWG report, and when interviewed by Rural Exchange he said that these taxes ‘probably won’t affect the vast majority of farmers’.

“It’s bizarre the Minister is shooting his mouth off without having read the report. And today he confirmed in the House that he hasn’t even bothered to seek advice on the impact of these taxes on rural communities, despite the TWG report being public for 43 days and him having access for weeks before that.

“Farmers already have to cope with unfavourable weather and swings in the prices of New Zealand’s exports of farm commodities. The Government seems oblivious to the effects these taxes would impose on our rural communities.

“There’s still time to have your say and send this Government a message by signing National’s petition. These proposed taxes will hurt rural communities and slow our economic growth.”

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