I remember after the last election, someone saying that a capital gains tax had proved so unpopular for Labour they were unlikely to campaign on it again.

It's not surprising then, that three years later, Labour is campaigning with the intention of, in all likelihood, introducing a capital gains tax - but doing whatever it can to avoid talking about it. The idea seems to generate quite an emotional response in some parts of New Zealand but in reality it could end up being a fizzer.

If Labour were to get in and extend the bright line test to five years from the current two, it would have minimal effect. Five years is not a long time to hold a property - and if the market is really going strong, the fact of having to hand over some money to the government is not going to change a determined seller's mind.

There is already a comprehensive system designed to capture people with a pattern of buying and selling or speculators who buy purely with the intention of flicking a property on for profit.


Labour's also talked about ring-fencing losses from investment properties. That would mean that if landlords weren't getting enough rent to cover their loans, and had to top up the mortgage themselves, they could no longer claim the loss against their income.

This might affect some investors who have just started out and are scrimping and saving to get by. But it wouldn't touch those who had large amounts of equity and had held property for a long time.

The only solution to the housing crisis is to get more houses built. Overhaul the system so we don't have the ludicrous situation of waiting months just for the council to agree that work can begin.

Ensure we have the resources to build houses at scale, and with quality. Until the supply side of this equation is fixed, no amount of tinkering with demand is going to make a difference.

Jeremy Tauri is an associate at Plus Chartered Accountants.