I'm pleased to see (Stuff) that John Key has ruled out the adoption of a flat income tax in New Zealand.
Flat taxes are a nirvana of the fringe right. They increase the income of high income earners and decrease that of low income earners compared with a progressive income tax system - in other words, they make life harder for people on struggle street and easier for people who already have it easy.
The supposed economic benefits may be there in theory, but in practice the progress of an economy is about much more than the structure of its income tax system. New Zealand's economy has been held back by being treated as a branch economy by foreign investors, by low wages that have come in part from weak unions and a de-regulated labour market, by a lack of public and private investment in science and innovation, by a lack of market penetration by our largest firms in foreign countries, and by a monetary policy regime that just doesn't deliver a reasonable real exchange rate position for export growth.
Anybody who thinks that a regressive change to the tax system will fix those problems needs their heads read. It's reassuring that the Prime Minister is not one of those people.