COMMENT:

Finally, the wealthy are rising up against their proletarian oppressors. For too long – at least a couple of weeks – they have been ground down by the jackbooted indigent, and they're not going to take it anymore. In the streets of Epsom and Remuera they're manning the bespoke barricades. It's like Les Miserables in reverse.

The upper echelon is at the centre of a perfect storm of privilege: they have to face the prospect of paying tax on their capital gains; their rental properties will soon be even more of a burden than they already are; and people operating internship programmes are finding it harder and harder to get good free help.

The latter is not a recent development, but the scandalous shortage of happy-go-lucky serfs has gone unreported until now. Many small businesses have got used to running on free or cheap staff under internship programmes. It might sound like a good deal for them, but it's not because they have to keep training new unpaid workers as each internship comes to an end.

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It doesn't leave much time to shop for rental properties, but then, who would want to under the onerous new conditions landlords are about to face, being required to insulate and provide heating in the homes they rent? It's scant consolation that these measures will improve the value of their properties. Or that they can claim depreciation on their heat pumps every year.

And this is obviously a measure directly targeting the wealthy. Poor people consistently and stubbornly refuse to get into the market. The number of them who own rental properties is disappointingly low.

Landlords already are required by law to spend money on their properties in the form of rates and other costs. And they do so happily. It's only paying for things that will improve their tenants' quality of life that they struggle with.

The deadline for the changes is 2024. With only five years to meet the new rules, they'll want to start raising rents now to give themselves a bit of a buffer.

The measures will also make it more difficult for landlords to remove problem tenants. Sometimes freezing them out is the only way to get rid of them.

Still reeling from these assaults, the wealthy are being threatened with a capital gains tax, the most unfair tax of all. Income tax is fair because people incur it by working – it's their own silly fault.

Capital gains, on the other hand, often accrue while people are just sitting around doing nothing. Why should they be penalised for it?

Surely Sir Michael Cullen's tax inquisition could have softened its measures somewhat - for instance, no capital gains tax on the first 79 rental properties.

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Perhaps those in the upper income brackets could learn a lesson from the poor. According to a study by Oxfam America, "America's working poor have a strong work ethic, put in long hours, and believe that hard work can pay off." Bless.

There's no reason to think the results here would be different but it's harder to collect data about what the poor believe because so many of them are working two jobs back to back. The only time they could be surveyed is when they're travelling to work and most researchers aren't willing to take their clipboards on to buses at 6am just to ask a few questions.

The capital gains tax received a lot of attention but it was only one of many unfair recommendations in the report. Another retrograde recommendation is that the income threshold for the lowest tax rate will be set at a higher level. Surely this will just give people even more reason to refuse to work for free in cafes.