An OIA response on capital gains taxes

While I was typing the previous post, where I mentioned this OIA request, the email below turned up.  Given that the Bank has found precisely one email, and released it with no deletions, it is (a) difficult to understand why Grant Spencer went public supporting a capital gains tax, when the Bank has previously been sceptical of any benefits from such a tax, and (b) difficult to see how the Bank has complied with the law in taking so long to respond.  Surely the timing of the press conference and of the Governor’s FEC appearance would not have had anything to do with how expeditiously they handled several simple OIA requests?

Michael Reddell

Via email: mhreddell  at

Dear Mr Reddell

On 16 April 2015, you made a request under the provisions of Section 12 of the Official Information Act (the Act), seeking:

Any material prepared, or distributed, in the Reserve Bank over the last 12 months on capital gains taxes, whether on houses or on other assets.  Without otherwise limiting the scope of the previous sentence, this request should encompass any analysis of capital gains taxes undertaken by Bank staff or consultants to the Bank, any academic articles distributed widely among analytical or policy staff, minutes of any policy committee meetings in which capital gains taxes were discussed.  It should also include any advice on capital gains taxes provided to the Minister of Finance, the Minister of Housing, Treasury, Inland Revenue, and/or the Bank’s own Board.

The Reserve Bank is providing to you an email message to Deputy Governor Grant Spencer that he received while drafting the speech titled Action needed to reduce housing imbalances.

Email to Grant Spencer 24 Mar 2015.pdf

Academic articles that may have been distributed widely among analytical or policy staff are either publicly available documents or available upon request from the institutions that published them. Accordingly, the Bank is refusing this part of your request under section 18(d) of the Act – the information requested is publicly available.

Minutes of policy committee meetings do not include capital gains taxes and the Bank has not provided advice on capital gains taxes to the Minister of Finance, the Minister of Housing, Inland Revenue, or the Bank’s own Board. Accordingly, this part of your request is refused under section 18(e) of the Act – because the information does not exist.

The Reserve Bank intends to publish this response to you on its website.

Under the provisions of section 28 of the Act, you have the right to complain to the Ombudsman of the Reserve Bank’s decisions about your information request.

Yours sincerely

Angus Barclay

External Communications Advisor | Reserve Bank of New Zealand

2 The Terrace, Wellington 6011 | P O Box 2498, Wellington 6140

  1. +64 4 471 3698 | M. +64 27 337 1102

3 thoughts on “An OIA response on capital gains taxes

  1. I have a lot of sympathy for that perspective, altho on capital gains I’d argue that rationally expected real capital gains on any asset are zero, and in that sense a symmetrical non-realisations-based CGT might do little harm and little good. Actual CGTs are, of course, rather more damaging.


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