Story: Taxes

Flat tax

Flat tax

Roger Douglas, minister of finance in the Labour government from 1984 to 1988, is shown as the Greek god Atlas carrying the world on his shoulders. In 1987 Douglas wanted to introduce a flat income-tax rate, so no matter how much people earned they paid the same rate. Prime Minister David Lange axed the plan. A compromise deal was introduced in 1988: a two-step income tax scale of 24% on incomes up to $30,000, and 33% on incomes above that; and a 28% company tax (down from 48%). Douglas’s tax reforms were the most radical in New Zealand history.

Using this item

Private collection
Cartoon by Mark Winter (Chicane)

This item has been provided for private study purposes (such as school projects, family and local history research) and any published reproduction (print or electronic) may infringe copyright law. It is the responsibility of the user of any material to obtain clearance from the copyright holder.

All images & media in this story

How to cite this page:

Paul Goldsmith, 'Taxes - Labour government reforms – 1984 to 1990', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/cartoon/21555/flat-tax (accessed 18 May 2022)

Story by Paul Goldsmith, published 11 Mar 2010, updated 2 Sep 2016