Minister for Billionaires

Revenue Minister Peter Dunne on 60 Minutes on Sunday night endorsed “legitimate tax avoidance”.

That’s an unusual position for the minister responsible for tax collection to take, and quite different from his views of the past:

Tax tightening covers asset sales shortfall: Dunne
NZ Herald Wednesday June 20, 2012

The Inland Revenue Department’s clampdown on tax avoidance and loopholes will bridge the gap left by the Government’s planned sell-down of its energy company holdings, according to Revenue Minister Peter Dunne.

“Where those gaps have been identified, they’ve been closed. That will continue to be the policy,” Dunne said. “Our focus is on getting in the revenue that is property due to us.”

Address to IFA annual conference
16 March, 2012

“I am more focused on making sure we collect the revenue currently legitimately due to us through our broad based, low rate system, before embarking on new taxes, which almost inevitably would fall more harshly on some than others.”

Database to reveal the real charities
Dominion-Post 29 December, 2011

Revenue Minister Peter Dunne said tax avoidance among charities was part of the IRD’s brief “to focus strongly on areas of possible tax avoidance across all sectors of the economy”.

Speech to NZ Institute of Chartered Accountants
11 November, 2011

“A range of existing rules in the Income Tax Act better target tax avoidance arrangements involving gifts.
And last year’s Budget further reduced opportunities for avoidance by aligning the trust and top personal rates.”

Dunne delighted with Penny and Hooper decision
Media Statement 24 August 2011

“It is important to the integrity of New Zealand’s tax system that everyone pays their fair share of tax,” said Mr Dunne.

Under-table cash jobs not fair go, says Milne
New Zealand Herald 16 August, 2011

“Part of the problem has been the New Zealand psyche to put one over the IRD with `mates rates’ or nod-and-wink jobs. That’s fine for those people, but the revenue lost is made up by everyone else – we all end up paying a little bit more,” Mr Dunne said.

20 thoughts on “Minister for Billionaires

  1. There is conjecture at the moment as to how the millions (billions, probably?) of cleverly -(deviously?!) avoided tax payments can be recovered for the benefit of the country.Some people are surmising that the 1% Transaction Tax if adopted, would bring in sufficient moneys for immediate needs. Can someone indicate any drawbacks to that particular tax – which was put forward by Jim Anderton some years ago, but has never been taken up. If adopted ,at least instead of G.S.T., it would avoid endless nightmarish details of paperwork etc. for many folk; and would catch, yes, the millionaires and billionaires who have ways of avoiding tax payments.
    It would ‘hurt’ them of course!! But only in the same proportion of income in which it would ‘hurt’ the superannuitant or worker having to pay $1 tax on each $100 withdrawn!
    Could such a principle work instead of other taxes? – ( obviously not at 1% though.) I never understood why the Transaction Tax wasn’t introduced instead of G.S.T., just as I don’t understand why our Nat. Super isn’t income-tested. That would also bring forth the dollars! I’d be the first to forgo it if I had sufficient income/assets – earned or otherwise!

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  2. Dunne is despicable.

    But you knew that.

    Key, unsurprisingly, backed Dunne with the classic “Keyism” – “It’s legal, so it’s okay” *shrugs shoulders, gazes out through transrail eyes.

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  3. This has nothing to do with equality and everything to do with residency. There is one reality for residents and a very different reality for non-residents. It comes down to whether the government owns a taxpayers ass (resident) or whether the government needs the money (non-resident). In terms of non-residents nothing will be done by any party because the money is only in New Zealand at the whim of someone overseas, who can just as easily shift it elsewhere. When the choice is some money or no money, and the government has a massive welfare bill to pay (to keep the slaves from revolting), they will take anything they can get. Read the same for the film industry.

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  4. Trusts are usually to avoid legal and monetary responsibility, for tax and other liabilities.

    For that reason family or private trusts should not be legal or at least should be transparent and accessible to courts assigning and assessing liability.

    People do have trusts for other reasons. What is yours, Photo? or doesn’t NACT pay you enough for your astro-turfing to make hiding your income worth-while?

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  5. There has been international concern about people registering companies here to launder money, one hopes the reason for the trusts is not similar and or to avoid tax in their own countries.

    Photonz knows the tax rate on “resident” trust income is the same rate as the top tax rate, yet cannot resist yet one more cheap shot.

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  6. SPC says “Photonz knows the tax rate on “resident” trust income is the same rate as the top tax rate, yet cannot resist yet one more cheap shot.”

    So Green MPs have trusts for “legitimate” reasons, and everyone else has them to avoid tax?

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  7. Which way did Dunne vote over the Ma and Pa assets bill? That could be a very good indication as to how he will vote in other areas.

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  8. This is about foreigners having trusts here, and not to pay tax to us and possibly not to pay tax elsewhere either. Leaving us as facilitating more than the laundering we have ben accused of.

    And I doubt that Green MP’s are running finance companies and looking to protect their own “family” assets, while investing the life savings of others.

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  9. Yawn. A trust is similar to a company. I (A Greens voter) am a shareholder/director of a company. It’s how business is done and there is NO tax advantages. Big deal with the conspiracy theories.

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  10. I didn’t know we were a tax haven

    Facilitating a tax haven:
    *Does not require us to dig up NZ
    *Does not generate CO2
    *Does not crash into reefs
    *Does not pollute our rivers
    *Does employ people (though I guess not a lot)

    Those people
    * are in NZ
    * are not on the minimum wage
    * do pay taxes

    How much better can it get?

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  11. I note in your press release that yuou suggest trusts are a tax haven for billionairs. Could you please, in the interests of transparency, provide a list of trusts for which the Green Party, or its members of parliament, are beneficiaries?

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  12. The 60 minutes story was about Trusts that are used by OVERSEAS families & companies to ‘hide’ FOREIGN assets & funds in NZ… NOT about local trusts held by Kiwis in NZ !
    It stated that the finance companies that run these trusts are making packets of cash in fees.

    On Mr Dunne’s comment “LEGAL TAX AVOIDANCE” I would ask him “how can you LEGALLY avoid paying tax, that is due ?”
    sounds like ‘Dodgy Brothers Inc.’

    Kia-ora

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  13. in the interests of transparency, provide a list of trusts for which the Green Party, or its members of parliament, are beneficiaries?

    I agree! Let’s see who stacks up lest the Green party follow in Labour’s footsteps.

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  14. robert.ashe @ 12.17pm today.
    I am curious about the pecuniary interest return.
    Russel Norman lists only one superannuation scheme, a Kiwisaver fund.
    His CV says he emigrated to New Zealand in 1997. That was long after the Australian Government required everyone working in Australia to belong to a superannuation scheme. These cannnot be drawn on until retirement, ie they have to be preserved.
    Did Russel never work in Australia? If he did work there why does he not list an Australian Superannuation scheme. Or did he find some way of withdrawing his super early?

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  15. Yes, and avoidance is a GREAT NZ sport what with the negative gearing and the lack of a CG tax.

    http://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2011/05/nz-moves-to-quarantine-negative-gearing/

    http://www.debtdeflation.com/blogs/2012/10/06/its-time-to-abolish-negative-gearing/

    http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2004/06/28/1088392603764.html

    Which applies in spades here, and given that we borrow the money to speculate in housing from Australian banks and pay the interest to Australian banks… shouldn’t we actually do something more robust to fix this than twiddle with the details of the deductions? It would go a LONG way to changing the GINI back to something more advantageous to the society.

    There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch.

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  16. Alwyn

    Not sure if he’d have forgotten about it or not, or if it even counts as an interest. I know I forgot about mine often enough before I started getting closer to “retiring”.

    What is supposed to be declared?

    We have no ability to change anything about it,
    it is foreign,
    and it is involuntary.

    Probably small too.

    I expect we’ll find out.

    Meanwhile, IF you want to start tossing rocks I expect there is a LARGE pile outside Mr Key’s windows, given his association with bankers and the NY Fed and the timing of the LIBOR scams.

    This was about tax avoidance/evasion and the popular sport here of avoiding the IRD.

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