POLL FINDINGS: Tax Survey Signals Appetite for Reform

Latest Essential polling shows clear support for an excess profits tax and a capital gains tax, and the Better Taxes for a Better Future campaign says this is a signal for politicians to stop scaremongering around taxes.

Instead, our MPs should engage meaningfully with the people of Aotearoa New Zealand about tax reform.

An overwhelming majority - 78% - of New Zealanders think it is time for their country to introduce an excess profits tax on large businesses, according to the poll which was commissioned by the Better Taxes for a Better Future campaign.

When asked whether they thought big businesses should pay an excess profits tax when they make "unusually large" profits, most New Zealanders agreed.

“It is amazing how popular this policy is,” says Better Taxes for a Better Future campaign spokesperson Glenn Barclay. 

“Not only do 89% of Greens’ voters and 83% of Labour voters support the tax, 74% of National supporters favour the tax and 75% of ACT supporters do too.”

“People are increasingly aware of the large profits being generated by companies such as banks and supermarkets - and they want change,” says Glenn Barclay.

Should big businesses pay an excess profits tax when they make unusually large profits in NZ?


Percentage of respondents who think big businesses should pay an excess profits tax by party voting intention:

Similarly, 62% agree that all income should be taxed the same way, regardless of how it is earned - and once again there was a majority across all political parties with 59% of National Party supporters and 50% of ACT party supporters agreeing.  

“It shows that New Zealanders are tired of the current unfair system in which you are taxed less if you make a living from buying and selling houses or shares than you do if you work in an ordinary job,” says Glenn Barclay.

“This opens the way for meaningful conversations about taxing capital gains. For too long this has been a no-go area in New Zealand politics, with politicians treating the prospect of a capital gains tax as a threat”. 

“Once people understand that the gains from the sale of assets such as houses and shares is income, just like income from employment, then they realise that our current system is unfair,” says Glenn Barclay.

“New Zealand is an outlier internationally in that we do not tax capital gains in a comprehensive way - and now we have some political parties proposing to wind back the limited tax we do have on capital gains in housing, with the proposals to cut back or even remove entirely the ‘bright line test'.

"Given the levels of support across the country and the political spectrum for treating all sources of income consistently for tax purposes, we hope that all political parties will think again," says Glenn Barclay.

“Both these poll results demonstrate that people have an appetite for change - and it is the politicians that need to respond to that and talk constructively about the tax reform we need to have an equitable tax system - and one that will equip us with the revenue we need to deal with the many serious social, economic and environmental challenges we face as a country,” says Glenn Barclay.

Regardless of the source of income, an individual’s income should be taxed in a similar way:


Percentage of respondents who think income should be taxed the same way by party voting intention:



The poll data used in the Better Taxes for a Better Future research was gathered by Essential Media in a public opinion poll run from 6-10 September. The data comes from a representative sample of 1154 New Zealanders aged 18 and over.

Full question wording

1. Excess profit tax

Some countries have instituted ‘excess profits’ taxes to make big businesses like banks and supermarkets pay extra tax when they make unusually large profits.  Which of the following is closer to your view?

When big businesses make unusually large profits in New Zealand:

  • They should have to pay extra tax in New Zealand
  • They shouldn’t have to pay extra tax in New Zealand
  • Unsure

2. Equitable Taxation of Income (Capital Gains Tax)

In New Zealand, an individual's income can come from different sources. For example:

- Working for an employer

- Selling shares

- Selling investment properties

As you may be aware, income from an employer is fully taxed, whereas the selling of shares or investment properties is not. To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statement: 

“Regardless of the source of income, an individual’s income should be taxed in a similar way.”

  • Strongly agree
  • Somewhat agree 
  • Somewhat disagree
  • Strongly disagree
  • Unsure

About our campaign

The Better taxes for a Better Future Campaign was launched in June with the support of 21 partner organisations.

 We're seeking a tax system that:

  • Is fully transparent.
  • Ensures people who have more to contribute make that contribution: that we gather more revenue from wealth, gains from wealth, all forms of income, and corporates.
  • Makes greater use of fair taxes to promote good health and environmental health.
  • Addresses the tax impact on the least well-off in our society.
  • Raises more revenue to enable us to address the social, economic and environmental challenges we face.

We're supported by:

Oxfam Aotearoa; Amnesty International; ActionStation NZ; Council of Trade Unions; The Salvation Army; Climate Club; Public Service Association; Council of Christian Social Services; NZ Nurses Organisation; Anglican Advocacy; Child Poverty Action Group; Post Primary Teachers’ Association; Closing the Gap;  Renters United; EcuAction Canterbury; Tax Justice Aotearoa; First Union; Wellbeing Alliance for All Aotearoa; Nelson Tasman Climate Forum; E Tu!; Tertiary Education Union.