Pre-emptively poking holes in the land tax bucket

Land taxes have – unexpectedly – become a hot policy topic in the run-up to the election. Land taxes were originally suggested by the economist and social reformer Henry George as a fairer alternative to income or business tax. The logic behind them is that land values are shaped by the activities of society as a whole, rather than the individual owner: they are boosted by public investments in transport and good schools, and by the productivity gains that arise from lots of workers and businesses interacting in cities.…
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Transport Priorities for a New Government

A change of government within the next week is a possibility. Transport has already been quite a high-profile part of the election campaign, and a change of government could mean fundamental change for the transport sector in areas well beyond just the headline large flashy projects where much of the attention gets directed.…
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General Election Debate on Transport – Campaign for Better Transport

The Campaign for Better Transport is holding an election debate with all the major parties this month in Auckland. The CBT is led by Cameron Pitches and over the years has led campaigns and advocated for many transport¬†issues including:Airport Rail Reopen Onehunga Rail Rail Electrification Integrated ticketing Hamilton – Auckland Rail City Rail Link Operation Lifesaver – An Alternative to Puhoi-Warkworth Northwestern Busway North Shore Rail A more economic alternative to the East West LinkThe Campaign for Better Transport will be hosting a public meeting for political parties to present their transport policies, with a particular focus on Auckland’s needs.…
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Pouring gasoline on the housing fire

Yesterday, Prime Minister Bill English announced that he would encourage the Reserve Bank to remove the loan to value ratio (LVR) rules that it put in place to take the heat out of rising house prices. As reported in Newsroom: Prime Minister Bill English has rediscovered his jawbone and has sent a clear message to the Reserve Bank that he expects it to start thinking about scrapping its restrictions on loan to value ratios, now that house prices across the country are flat or falling.…
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Can value capture help pay for new infrastructure?

When we build new infrastructure that connects places to useful destinations or opens up development opportunities, it lifts the value of properties in the surrounding areas. This is pretty intuitively sensible: Holding all else equal, most people would be willing to pay a bit more for the convenience of having, say, a fast and reliable public transport route nearby.…
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Should Auckland’s boundaries be redrawn? Part 1: the splitters

We’ve had a unified Auckland Council since 2010 – it replaced seven district/ city councils and one regional council, in the largest local government restructure in New Zealand since 1989. With such a major, complicated process, it’s a given that it won’t have been perfect: things that could have been done better, and things that should be revisited now that we’re seven years on.…
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