Turkey closes border to New Zealand economic migrants

23 October 2014

The Turkish government today moved to clamp down on the influx of economic migrants from New Zealand.

In a statement today, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said “Turkey has had enough of New Zealanders coming here to take advantage of our liberal tax regime.  What started as a trickle of economic migrants when New Zealand introduced a Capital Gains Tax last year has become a tsunami”.

Turkey remains the only OECD nation that does not have a tax on capital gains, following New Zealand and Switzerland introducing capital gains taxes last year.

The Turkish Prime Minister said “We cannot afford to have these people coming here from New Zealand pretending to be refugees, when they are really economic migrants.  Many have destroyed their passports on the aircraft, so we cannot check thoroughly into their backgrounds.  But immigration interviews inevitably reveal that while they may bring considerable wealth with them, they have no interest in contributing to the Turkish economy or society.  Their only interest is personal self-aggrandisement.  They are bludgers on our nation, and we do not want them here.

Dr Russel Norman,  Associate Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister in New Zealand’s  Green-Labour coalition government, has today formally apologised to the Turkish government for the difficulties New Zealand tax policy has caused Turkey.

“Ever since the neo-liberal reforms Sir Roger Douglas implemented in the 1980s, we have had an underclass of bludgers in New Zealand,” Dr Norman said.  They are people with immense wealth, but who refuse to contribute to New Zealand’s economic well-being.  I am truly sorry that what was our problem has now become a problem for Turkey.”

Dr Norman said that New Zealand’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Dr Kennedy Graham, would be discussing with his Turkish counterpart how best to address the issue.  “But, frankly, we don’t want these bludgers back unless they are prepared to contribute to New Zealand,” Dr Norman said.

The poll result Bill English didn’t want to see

Last Friday, Finance Minister put a poll on capital gains tax up on his website. By sometime on Saturday, 22,687 people had voted. Here’s how the votes were going at that stage:

So the poll was promptly removed from the front page of English’s site, to be replaced by one about infrastructure.  Fortunately, the internet never forgets.

If you are Finance Minister you need to be able to spell your name correctly

This afternoon Finance Minister Bill English set up an unscientific internet poll on capital gains tax on his website. He would have expected resounding opposition, because he tweeted all his Twitter followers, the majority of whom would be Nat supporters, encouraging them to vote.

But they didn’t, at least initially – the reason being that English spelled his name / url wrongly in his tweet:

So at one stage support in English’s poll for a capital gains tax was running at 86% – because Nat supporters didn’t pick up English’s mistake and ran to a dead link but a good number of Green and Labour supporters did pick it up.

Now the Nats have finally got their act together and English has tweeted again with his name spelled correctly, the margin is closing – but it is still 60% in favour of a capital gains tax, with over 1300 votes in.

Chickens won’t shit on their own nest eggs

The Richard Worth conflict of interest affair has made me ponder the extent to which MP’s personal interests influence their behaviour in public life.

For example, I’ve often wondered why only the Greens support a capital gains tax on all assets other than the family home. The current tax regime provides a strong incentive for people to invest in property, where their capital gain is not taxed; and a disincentive for people to invest in productive enterprise that actually makes things and employs people.

A capital gains tax to level the playing field and thereby move investment from property to enterprise makes so much sense. Australia has had one for years. So why don’t we?

Take a look at the Register of Pecuniary Interests of Members of Parliament (the 2008 one, because the 2009 one hasn’t been published yet). You’ll see that most MPs have listed a pecuniary interest in property other than their family home, or a beneficial interest in a Family Trust that no doubt has much of its investment in property.

In all parties other than the Greens, the MPs make the policy. So could it be the simple matter of the chickens not shitting on their own nest eggs that prevents any party other than the Greens from advocating a capital gains tax? It certainly creates a bad look. It is the potential for that sort of look that makes the Greens insist that their members make policy and that MPs are bound by it.

Oh, and getting back to Richard Worth, I see he’s now been sprung for using his diplomatic passport for private business. I wonder how many more dodgy goings on involving him have to be revealed before John Key sacks him.