What do you think is the biggest problem facing New Zealand and if you’re in government, what would you do about it?
Chris (65) Rotorua
Establishment political parties that are more interested in votes than doing what is right for the country. The Opportunities Party was established to change all
that. The single biggest problem the country has is an unfair tax system that treats residential property as a tax break for the rich, rather than acknowledging houses are for people to live in, not for investors to make money from.
My children are desperately trying to buy a house, but have found themselves firmly priced out of the market. A ridiculous deposit is expected for their first home, which they cannot afford. Do you believe this is a problem and if so, how would you fix it?
Anonymous (56) Auckland
Yes, this is one of our biggest problems. When [my wife] Jo and I bought our first house, it cost three times the average wage. Now it would cost 10 times and 14 times if we lived in Auckland. TOP’s Fair Tax policy will close the $11b tax loophole that drives our crazy housing market. Assets, including homes, will be taxed and the money redistributed through a 30% income tax reduction for all workers. Eighty percent of Kiwis will be better off and house prices will stop rising. We’ll charge double the assets tax for overseas owners.
Why did you get into politics in the first place and if you were not a politician now, what would you be?
Shirley (60) Orewa
I was with my wife in a refugee camp on the Syrian border last year. We were surrounded by suffering and death, and suddenly I realised how easy it would be to solve the problems of inequality and poverty back home if only the political system could be shaken up to give people a real voice.
How do you balance your career and your family?
Natalie (50) Wellington
I’m lucky to have great kids who do interesting stuff, and a wife who shares my love of travel and adventure. Politics isn’t work for me, it’s just something I know I have to do and I have the support and love of my family.
Gareth, my question is related to the recent rampant and unaffordable cost of housing. Your policy aims to reset the housing market by removing the number of speculators, or the number of people buying homes for capital gain profits. At what rate will measures be introduced as part of this policy and will house prices stabilise during this process?
Rebecca, our Fair Tax policy will deal with housing affordability head on. We are also planning a massive change in the rental market, which will essentially give tenants a lifelong right to live in a house without threat of eviction or massive rent hikes. All this will mean residential property will be used for what it should be, providing homes and shelter for people, not untaxed capital gains for the rich.
What are the challenges of being a politician?
Cole (13) Auckland
Talking to other politicians who only care about votes, not people, and refuse to understand if we don’t make some big changes soon, we will end up in serious social
and economic trouble.
How do you take your cup of tea?
Jenny (73) Tauranga
What makes you proud to be a New Zealander?
John (41) Dunedin
I’m proud of our history of fairness and opportunity. We founded the country on the idea of a fair deal between peoples and we’ve made a lot of progress. Unless we change course, that will be lost.
Did you have pets as a child?
I had a golden Lab called Mujib and some cats!
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