Congratulations New Zealand, as at 10.04am today you are working for yourself. However, the fact the Government accounts for all the money earned until today means it is unlikely New Zealanders will be celebrating. The government has effectively sucked up all of our earnings for the first 154 days of the year.
OECD figures put the current burden of government in New Zealand as 42.2% of GDP. This is larger than the 30% recently quoted by Finance Minister Bill English because it also takes into account crown entities, such as SOEs as well as local government.
At 42.2% this year, the burden of government is even larger than when National took office in 2008. While core government expenditure has gone down, the wider crown portfolio and particularly local government has exploded.
We need to aspire to countries like South Korea, Switzerland and Australia. Tax Freedom day this year fell on 21 April in South Korea, 2 May in Switzerland and 11 May in Australia.
Tax Freedom Day is a day for New Zealanders to consider the egregious amount of tax foisted upon us by successive governments. Tax should be used to deliver the key functions of government in the most efficient way possible.
We should be aiming to start working for ourselves in April, not still working for politicians in June. The only way to do that is to reduce the high tax burden on New Zealanders.