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Tax reform misses vulnerable children

Maori Council has welcomed the Governments desire to review the tax system but has said if they want to also bring in a well-being budget they need to make the shift from pure accounting principles to some very human ones. Speaking at a forum on Maori Business, Council Executive Director, Matthew Tukaki has also said Maori, Maori organisations and Iwi need to look at the recommendations through a very Maori lens:

“The Capital Gains Tax discussion at the moment is both premature and ill informed. Its not an easy tax to introduce or administer and is probably some way off if at all. In the Australian experience the number of exemptions has grown over the years and nowhere in the debate has that number been discussed. For Maori, however, we need to see it in the context of what it might impact in terms of future Treaty settlements that could include assets like buildings and infrastructure. Does that cause an exemption?” Tukaki said

“The other thing we need to be mindful of is the debate around Maori economic development – as we push to develop up Maori land that will create a capital value and therefore at sale the difference between cost and profit may be taxable – should it be and will it be?” Tukaki said

“There are areas that have been missed in the reform discussion.

For example I would have liked to have seen tax relief for families who are currently fostering or caring for children out State care. By tax relief I also mean additional deductions from school clothing and uniforms to stationary and so on. A lot of these families take on the task of looking after very vulnerable children with no or little financial support. Tax relief could be one way of recognising what they do including maybe a slight exemption on the personal income tax.” Tukaki said

“A number of Maori operate in the small business world – in fact small business is the back bone to the New Zealand economy. It would have been good to see investment incentives such as instant asset write offs to allow for new equipment and capital purchases to be instantly written off. This gives small business access to more working capital more readily and therefore could encourage them to employ more New Zealanders.” Tukaki said

“I think also we have lost the opportunity to look at tax relief or creative ways of supporting primary industries to transition into a lower carbon future and we sure have missed the boat when it comes to Maori and the growing calls for a tax on water.” Tukaki said

Tukaki lamented the need for more Maori to come into the financial services sector and grow both the skills and knowledge base:

“We are part of a much larger global economy but as Maori, we are part and parcel of hundreds of smaller micro economies around the world. What we need to do is look at building our financial knowledge and wealth base, our skills and workforce to manage our own investment and financial futures.”

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