Questions for Candidates

We've collated a series of questions you might want to ask political candidates during the election campaign. Click + next to subject headings to see questions and supporting evidence.

"NZ spends noticeably less per person on health than many of the other countries that we like to compare ourselves with, such as Germany, Austria, and Sweden, and as a consequence their health services are more comprehensive and impose less charges on patients.  One of the reasons for this gap is that we also collect less tax than those countries. With Labour unwilling to grow tax revenue and the National Party and ACT committed to tax cuts, how will the parties ensure that we can fund the public health services we know we need in the future?”

Facts to support the question:

Selected OECD Countries' total health spending per capita in PPP (purchasing power parity) international dollars (a hypothetical unit of currency that has the same purchasing power parity that the US dollar had in the US at a given point in time).

Not inflation-adjusted



2020 PPP international dollars


2022 PPP international dollars





8,011 (provisional)





7,275 (p)





6,438 (p)





6,596 (estimate)


United Kingdom



5,493 (p)


New Zealand



6,061 (e)



Tax % of GDP 2022

New Zealand


OECD average








Source: OECD Data

"NZ spends noticeably less per person on education than many of the other countries that we like to compare ourselves with. Education funding per student in New Zealand is 27.8% lower than Canada, 22.4% lower than Australia, 26.4% lower than the UK and 24.9% lower than the OECD average. It is hard to see how we can address this spending gap without increasing taxes. With Labour unwilling to grow tax revenue and the National Party and ACT committed to tax cuts, how will the parties ensure that we can fund the public health services we know we need in the future?"

Facts to support the question:

Details of the BERL research that supports this question can be found here.

"I’m interested in greater equality in New Zealand. How would your party use tax policies to promote greater equality?"

"Many people in Aotearoa/NZ are poor. This is most critical for children. Do you intend to change our tax change to reduce poverty levels?"

"Do you think that those who have more wealth should contribute more - as a proportion of their wealth - to help those who are struggling?"

"Do you think it is good/acceptable that the richest people in this country pay on average a lower rate of tax that the people who earn the least – when you take into account all sources of income?"

Information to support the questions:

In March 2023 Inland Revenue released the results of research it had conducted into High Net Worth Individuals – the wealthiest 311 families. It found that:

If you subtract Govt. paid benefits away from someone’s tax, and add GST paid in, then a middle wealth New Zealander has an effective tax rate of 20.2% according to the Treasury research. The comparable median for the wealthiest families in New Zealand, from Inland Revenue’s research, is 9.4%. You can find a summary of the research here.

"New Zealand’s revenue from tax represents a much smaller proportion of GDP than countries we like to compare ourselves too such as Germany and Finland. Do you think that New Zealand is a highly taxed country? If so, why?"

"According Treasury’s Pre-election Economic and Fiscal Update tax revenue is forecast to be $3 billion lower than expected this year (2023), thanks mostly to falling corporate profits and tax payments, and $6.4 billion lower across the next four years. Since tax revenue is already down, is cutting it still further really sensible?"

Information to support the question 1:

Many countries that we compare ourselves with in the OECD devote a greater proportion of their GDP to revenue gained from tax. Germany for instance takes 38% as tax to spend on public services. Austria, the Netherlands, some Scandinavian countries, even more. You can find information on our tax system here.

Information to support the question 2:

You can read Max Rashbrooke’s commentary on Prefu here.



"I believe that the tax system should help fulfil our obligations under the Treaty of Waitangi. Do you? In what ways would your party change the tax system to meet treaty obligations under Article 2 and Article 3?"

Information to support the question:

Go to this Facebook post to see Matt Scobie’s presentation on Tax and Te Tiriri o Waitangi from December 2022.

New Zealand needs to plan for the next Cyclone Gabrielle, and all the ones after that. These will cost billions of dollars.

"Do you think we should plan now for compensating those affected by such major weather events? How will your government fund this?"

"Do you propose “polluter-pays” strategies to stop industrial activities that harm the environment and contribute to climate change?"

"New Zealand must contribute to global attempts to stop climate change. How do your proposals include funding for prevention of climate change?"

Information to support the questions:

Work done by Treasury and the Ministry for the Environment suggests that Climate Change will impact negatively on our Gross Domestic Product and increase Net Crown Core Debt. The Climate Fiscal and Economic Assessment for 2023 can be found here.

"New Zealand has an aging population. Even with inward- migration, disaster looms in next few decades. We just won’t have enough taxpayers to fund government services that we all need! What are your tax proposals on how we will address this?"

Information supporting the question:

You can see a presentation from Len Cook on population dynamics and tax here.