b) Resource Rentals
Untaxing the productive economy creates wealth while taxing nature conserves the planet. We would tax the use of land, metals, oil, electromagnetic waves, water, agricultural quotas, and any resource which is part of the commons. The principle is that we pay for what we hold or take, but not what we do or make (unless we make them using precious resources or the product is environmentally or socially harmful.)
All private companies which sell basic natural resources will pay an annual rental to the public purse.
If hydro electric power stations currently owned by Government were sold to private owners, then the new owners would have to pay a water tax for our public revenue.
Water tax. The worldwide demand for water is predicted to increase steeply and we have no reason to believe New Zealand will be an exception to this trend.
The irrigation tax proposed by the Greens is a good example of a resource tax. It is a tax on the use of a scarce common resource, water for personal gain. If farmers were taxed according to the resources they used, then water intensive farming would not be as profitable as dry farming. Dairy farms would give way to sheep and beef farms and horticulture, thus reversing the trend to dried up and polluted rivers. It would also mean overseas owned utilities and monoculture agribusiness would start to pay their fair share of tax.
Likewise a resource tax on scarce resources like oil would include petroleum based fertilisers and pesticides. This would hasten the move to organics. Another effect would be to minimise taxes for sustainable farming and consumers with a low carbon footprint. Changing to resource taxes would simplify the tax system.
China has of late moved towards a rare earth tax and has adjusted its coal taxes upwards. Australia is proposing a tax on mining.