Makers and Takers

There were two kinds of people in this world: the makers and the takers. What surprised me most at the late stage that I became interested in money (being a hippy with a backpack is not such fun with a kid in tow) was that often the takers are the ones who can most afford to give back a little. When I woke up and realised that with the number of dependents we were responsible for, and the low possibility of finding well paid work in the North, meant that I actually could not afford to keep working for wages and stay here - it came as a shock. Once I'd got my head round this new fact, it came as an even bigger shock to realise that it was entirely feasible to avail myself of all the educational and health resources this country has to offer, to do very well in either business or in the buying and selling of property and to pay absolutely nothing in tax. The business section in Whitcoulls will tell you how in less than 5 titles. Obviously –the fact that this bothered me rather than excited me into fantasies of how to make the next quick buck would suggest that I'm not really cut out for the real world of business. The fact that there are, genuinely talented and inspiring business people who have had enormous financial success and yet are still also bothered by this is heartening. These would have to be the kinds of people who are interested more in building a robust national economy rather than just making it to the rich list by building a vast personal fortune. Sam Morgan noting the strangeness of not paying any tax on the money he made in selling Trade Me and his decision to continue with his own charity work as a result, is a sign of a great maker in the making. Andrew King, Director of the Property Investment Association, on the other hand, always does a good impression of the Zombie King being let loose in the broad light of day whenever the words 'Capital Gains Tax' gets mentioned. There's a lot of virulent hissing and a sudden explosion where his head used to be followed by a puff of smoke over a pile of designer clothes on the floor. Andrew is good at the implied threat; Labour voters are more likely to be tenants and will undoubtedly suffer from higher rents should the Capital Gains Tax be introduced. He assumes that no one with a rental investment will vote for a capital gains tax but forgets that they are in the minority anyway. He also forgets to add that landlords with multiple properties will tend to sit on them much longer which will stop one of the worst aspects of being a tenant in a rental property in New Zealand. Anyone who has spent a year renting in a real estate boom will know how tedious it is to be thrown out of your 7th house in as many months with three weeks to find a new school for your kid and to find the money for the move and somewhere that will take the pet rabbit. Rental investments can never be considered a worthy focus for all the business talent that exists in New Zealand but why would you risk doing anything else when it has traditionally been such an easy (and lets face it – low risk, lazy) way to make money? When it comes to working out policy it's never a good idea to listen too closely to the takers – you just need to look at the USA to realise this. Obama is trying to bring to heel an economy that is currently borrowing $125 billion a month with another 500 million in debt about to mature in exactly 2 weeks. Enough to make anyone's eyes water. He suggests taxing private jet flight tabs that run into the millions and he gets the Republicans stone walling and squealing like possessed little piglets about to be exorcised. When the takers start squealing policy makers need to respond by just getting out the earmuffs.

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