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NZ presents some of the most alluring property in the Western World; particularly given the greater easy of residency, the low cost of property, and the liveability of the country. In addition, there is no capital gains tax, transfer taxes, VAT/GST or wealth taxes in NZ, so rest assured that NZ property is tax-effective! Learn more now!

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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Excessive taxes on alcohol - backpacker beware

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If you value drinking alcohol, you might want to consider not coming to NZ for a holiday. NZ is already charging a tax of $2.47 per litre on alcohol between 2.5-14% concentration, whether beer or wine. The government is also taking measures, probably punitive, to regulate the campervan trade in NZ.
These are big disincentives for foreigners to travel to NZ, and yet the government is considering another increase in alcohol tax to 'reduce binge drinking among the young'. This is the most insane policy you could imagine. First of all, the tax has already been increased for the same reasons before, to no avail. Is this not simply about using 'punitive taxes' to resolve holes in the national budget. Business will of course need to pass on the costs, which will see a bottle of beer priced between $7-8, and a glass of wine between $16-18. I suggest the increases might even be greater if businesses experience a fall in patronage.

My guess is that the policy would result in several negative effects:
1. Increases organised crime activity in the realm of boot-legging. Maybe the sellers will give you a rebate if you bring your own potatoes.
2. Closure of businesses - restaurants and bars are big employers in NZ, so more taxes is simply going to stop people going out. Expect rural town employers to be particularly hard hit, which will mean population declines in rural areas as rural people are forced to move to the city. I suspect they will move to Australia instead.
3. Less tourism - The backpacker trade will die off because alcohol would be a major expense for this group. They might not spend as much as the premium traveller, but they spend 1-6 months in the country (compared to a few days for business travellers and 1-2 weeks for wealthy retirees), with all funds being recycled through the economy, as well as spreading to the rural areas through the backpacker network. Expect more tourists to head to Australia. OK, Australia does not have the mountain vistas of NZ, but USA, Canada, Europe does, so travellers from those countries will not miss them. Australia will be a more holiday friendly place.
4. Greater use of alcohol substitutes - You can't use punitive measures to correct some action you consider inappropriate. There is a need for education - but not the idiotic messages we are accustomed to on TV. The problem is more fundamental. The problem is that academics do not understand the alcoholism issue. What they don't realise is that kids are going to explore other options like 'glue sniffing', meth, etc. The implication is that the government is driving people into more illicit activities as well as more dangerous activities. Having researched this issue I can tell you that the behaviourist school of stupidity is driving public policy on such issues. Governments are therefore labouring under the misconception that humans are animalistic. The reality is they totally lack any theory of values.

I will be among the first to suggest that alcoholism consumption is a problem, but the solution is never greater taxation. Taxation is slavery - not education! It might change behaviour at the margin, or in the short term, but the 'externalities' of such policies are far greater than any benefit. The implication is greater use of meth, greater use of methylated spirits (i.e. cheaper), greater illicit activity.

NZ might just learn that one of the appeals of travelling to NZ is the low cost of living. After all it is so far away, and does not have a lot of culture to offer. Basically its an 'outdoors experience'. My advice is - ditch the taxes, as well as the bureaucrat/academic reports which suggest punitive measures are the best way of avoiding youth binge drinking.

Send a message to the NZ government that taxation is NOT the solution! Take a holiday in Australia if you are in this part of the world. Better still punish the Australian government (who do the same thing) and tax a holiday in the Philippines or Vietnam. Alcohol there is just $1/beer. With the savings you will be able to buy an apartment for $50K. :)

Another paradox of these silly policies is that youth unemployment is pretty bad in NZ, and kids wanting a sense of efficacy are turning to alcohol or drugs to medicate their low self esteem. The government I believe is quickly taking this country into an escalating crime regime. You guessed it! That means more taxation to regulate behaviour because we didn't learn in the Nth round of tax increases. We need a change in government administration so we can avoid the spiraling crime and incompetence as practiced by Western governments around the world. They are truly the pits. There is simply a complete lack of good sense and reason needs to be the standard of value. What qualifications do these people have? What life experience? The problem is they are not analytical thinkers. They are lawyers with 'good memories'. Precisely not the type of people you want drafting law.
Details on NZ tax - see Wikipedia.

'Buying NZ Property – Download the free sample readings!

NZ presents some of the most alluring property in the Western World; particularly given the greater easy of residency, the low cost of property, and the liveability of the country. In addition, there is no capital gains tax, transfer taxes, VAT/GST or wealth taxes in NZ, so rest assured that NZ property is tax-effective! Learn more now!

New Zealand Property Report 2010 - Download the table of contents or buy this 180-page report at our online store for just $US19.95.


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