The Generic Tax Policy Process (“GTPP”) is designed to ensure open and consultative development of tax policy and law in New Zealand. Despite complying with the GTPP, a proposal to extend fringe benefit tax to certain employer-funded car parking was withdrawn in the face of media criticism. This paper uses the failed ‘car park tax’ proposal as a case study to illustrate how a rational development process, such as GTPP, is insufficient in tax discourse. Government also needs to “out spin” its opponents.
This paper outlines the GTPP and the progress of the “car park tax” proposal through that process. The paper then tells the story of the proposal’s failure using a timeline which focuses on print media reports. The proposal was flawed in certain regards; nevertheless this narrative demonstrates the ineffective “spinning” of the proposal to the media and public, and, in contrast, the effective opposition by an alliance of special interest groups. The consequences for rational tax measures of this case study are discussed and conclusions drawn.
Barrett, J., & Veal, J. (2016). Tax rationality, politics, and media spin: A case study of the failed ‘car park tax’ proposal. Wellington, New Zealand: Victoria University of Wellington. Retrieved from http://www.victoria.ac.nz/sacl/centres-andinstitutes/cagtr/working-papers/WP102.pdf