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Digital Corporations: Pay Us What You Owe Us

Written By: - Date published: 7:17 am, February 19th, 2019 - 75 comments
Categories: facebook, internet, Media, tax, tech industry, twitter - Tags:

In a welcome development, the Prime Minister has signaled that they will seek to tax digital companies from overseas. The commentary from the Monday post-Cabinet press conference from the Prime Minister is worth listening to in this NZHerald piece.

Minister of Revenue Stuart Nash indicates there is between $30-$80 million of extra tax potentially coming in to the government coffers as a result of this tax, giving the government a massive opportunity to make even larger anti-poverty tax shifts in the package of commentary that it will release in three days’ time from the Tax Working Group.   

Apple, Google, Starbucks, and companies like them all claim to be socially responsible, but the first element of social responsibility should be paying your fair share of tax. As Zuckerberg demonstrated when he deigned to visit the United States committee last, year, and simply refused all other country’s investigation, he does not give a damn about democratic participation or accountability in any form.

Globalization has enabled multinationals to encourage a race to the bottom, threatening the revenues that governments need to function properly.

Globalization has enabled large multinationals, like Apple, Google, Uber and Baidu, to avoid paying tax. Just today, Viagogo yesterday successfully resisted legal action by the Commerce Commission because the Judge viewed that Viagogo was based in Switzerland so the New Zealand court simply did not  have jurisdiction over them. To be successful the Commerce Commission should have served Viagogo in Switzerland. Slippery is the word.

If everyone avoided and evaded taxes like these companies, society could not function, much less make the public investments that led to the Internet, on which Apple and Google depend.   

For years, multinational corporations have encouraged a race to the bottom, telling each country that it must lower its taxes below that of its competitors. U.S. President Donald Trump’s 2017 tax cut culminated that race. A year later, we can see the results: the sugar high it brought to the U.S. economy is quickly fading, leaving behind a mountain of debt (which increased by more than $1 trillion dollars last year).

The digital economy has in some ways been great, but not for government business. The tax package this Thursday is a signal that it is time to take back some of the balance in favour of the great majority of New Zealanders.

Spurred on by the threat that the digital economy will deprive governments of the revenues to fund public functions (as well as distorting the economy away from traditional ways of selling), the international community is at long last recognizing that something is wrong. But the flaws in the current framework of multinational taxation – based on so-called transfer pricing – have long been known.

Transfer pricing relies on the well-accepted principle that taxes should reflect where an economic activity occurs. But how is that determined? In a globalized economy, products move repeatedly across borders, typically in an unfinished state: a shirt without buttons, a car without a transmission, a wafer without a chip. The transfer price system assumes that we can establish arms-length values for each stage of production, and thereby assess the value added within a country.

But we can’t.   

The growing role of intellectual property and intangibles makes matters even worse, because ownership claims can easily be moved around the world. That’s why the United States long ago abandoned using the transfer price system within the U.S., in favor of a formula that attributes companies’ total profits to each state in proportion to the share of sales, employment, and capital there. We need to move toward such a system at the global level.

How that is actually done, however, makes a great deal of difference. If the formula is based largely on final sales, which occur disproportionately in developed countries, developing countries will be deprived of needed revenues, which will be increasingly missed as fiscal constraints diminish aid flows. Final sales may be appropriate for taxation of digital transactions, but not for manufacturing or other sectors, where it is vital to include employment as well.

Since its inception, the OECD/G20 Base Erosion and Profit Shifting Project has made an important contribution to rethinking the taxation of multinationals by advancing understanding of some of the fundamental issues. For example, if there is true value in multinationals, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

Standard tax principles of simplicity, efficiency, and equity should guide our thinking in allocating the “residual value,” as the Independent Commission for the Reform of International Corporate Taxation (of which I am a member) advocates. But these principles are inconsistent either with retaining the transfer price system or with basing taxes primarily on sales.

Politics matters in blunting this race to the bottom. In its spatial form you saw this recently in the game Amazon played with different U.S. states to attract its headquarters. New York, after striking a bargain with Amazon, recently developed a rejuvenated spine from the stronger core of the left of the Democratic Party.

Deal is now off.

That is a great signal to companies that democratic civil society has a real cost and it’s time that the digital multinationals paid their fair share to sustain it. There is plenty of rising agreement that, in the absence of global regulation of the internet, it’s time to control them by other means such as tax.

There is as Minister Nash indicates a lot of work being done in the OECD to standardize how such companies can have a common tax net around them, so that tax revenues are more predictable, their costs easier to predict, and governments can still determine the size of the mesh of the net while having common mechanisms. Nowhere to globally hide, in short.

Governments in some advanced countries where these companies have significant political influence will demur from these efforts – even if doing so disadvantages the rest of the country. The long-run example of Ireland is the classic case. Other advanced countries, focusing on their own budgets, will simply see this as another opportunity to benefit at the expense of developing countries.

It’s a really helpful signal too for Thursday’s announcement that the government is working on useful ways to give itself for a Great Tradeoff: soak the rich of New Zealand with Capital Income Tax, but potentially proffer much larger tax decreases to the poorer of New Zealand. For example: take tax off benefits, or off NZSuper, or off the first $20,000 of income. They have stated that that the package will be fiscally neutral, so this extra income gives them headroom to achieve a deeper balancing.

That helps blunt the primary wedge that National has to win the next election from Labour on the issue of tax.

So not only is Prime Minister Ardern’s digital corporate tax fiscally smart, it’s also smart politics.

75 comments on “Digital Corporations: Pay Us What You Owe Us”

  1. Chris T 1

    “So not only is Prime Minister Ardern’s digital corporate tax fiscally smart, it’s also smart politics.”

    Personally disagree

    It would be better to go in with the other OECD countries, as a massive group, as we are piddly, rather than jump the gun. They are only going to get about 30 million from it with Ardern’s plan and who knows how much that will actually cost.

    • AB 1.1

      The amount of revenue doesn’t matter at this point. It is about establishing an ideological bridgehead. Expansion comes later. Good to do it now while the public mood is in favour.

      • Chris T 1.1.1

        Public mood will always be in favour of big corporates paying more tax

        • patricia bremner 1.1.1.1

          So Chris, do we read from your comments you want to be a “slow follower”, like John Key, rather than a “Mover and shaper” like Jacinda Ardern? You want us to follow other countries slowly?

          Why is taxing the first dollar earned by a poor NZer pushed ahead of Multi-National Companies paying something on their earnings? 1 to 3% only!!

          Poor Nzers will still pay at least 6 times as much on each dollar earned, and they will never have the power to influence Governments the way Multi-Nationals do.

          So save your cheerleading for more deserving cases Chris.

          • Gosman 1.1.1.1.1

            How is this any different to say China demanding Fonterra pays taxes on the earnings it makes from selling milk products in China to a Chinese importer.

            • left_forward 1.1.1.1.1.1

              Wow Gossy, still your usual passive aggressive question /statement style – so assuming your question is a statement – you make an excellent point – there is no difference.

              • alwyn

                Are you seriously suggesting that you wouldn’t worry if China, say, was to apply the same technique to Fonterra?
                Fonterra has a net income which is under 4% (in a good year), of its total sales. Thus if China started taxing the at 3% they would take almost the total net income of all its sales in China. All the profit gone. I’m not to sure that the New Zealand farmers, or the New Zealand Government would be very happy.

                • left_forward

                  I’m going along with Gossy’s logic – if we tax google and facebook for income earned in NZ, then of course we need to accept that NZ business overseas would also be subject to income tax for sales in China.
                  Do you have a rationale for treating these situations differently, other than xenophobia?

  2. Gosman 2

    I’m trying to understand the concept behind this.

    Are people annoyed that a company based in another country offers a service to NZers who pay them a fee and then any profits made as a result are not taxed in NZ but overseas?

    • Stuart Munro 2.1

      No, people are annoyed that more often than not large corporations evade tax altogether, and that this avoidance gives them a competitive advantage over local providers who do pay. It also frequently allows them to avoid other laws or responsibilities, such as the employer responsibilities that Uber routinely avoids.

      One obvious solution is to cap the percentage of sales that can be laid off against offshore costs. Companies like Apple, with substantial sales in NZ, need not enjoy unlimited privilege to invent costs so as to avoid providing some local return on their activity here.

      • Gosman 2.1.1

        They can’t evade tax altogether. Any revenue not taxed in New Zealand will get taxed in the country that it ends up. It is up to that country to decide what that rate is. Also any profit’s that are distributed to shareholders in the forms of dividends are also taxed.

        • Stuart Munro 2.1.1.1

          They often do evade tax altogether.

          This idea that only their country of technical residence has any right to be involved in their activities is a fallacy – without our market Apple’s third world manufacturing base cannot profit here.

          Your presumption of a right to choose location for tax residency precipitates a race to the bottom that improperly favours corporations over citizens. Being a physical entity my choice of tax location is real.

          • Gosman 2.1.1.1.1

            If they evade tax then they are breaking laws and can be prosecuted by the various tax authorities in the nations they have broken the tax laws in. I suspect you are meaning tax avoidance which is a completely different matter. This is all about minimising the overall tax burden from the company (but not necessarily from the entire operation).

            • Stuart Munro 2.1.1.1.1.1

              Your distinction between avoidance and evasion is artificial, and it has reached the point where such license is necessarily going to be wound back.

              But you are evading the point too – that corporates require market access to obtain the profits they hide through these complex and duplicitous minimization structures. As disruption increasingly features as a corporate strategy, the cost of allowing such access becomes increasingly apparent to the states that permit that access. They are going to begin to regulate it.

              • Gosman

                What cost? How is Facebook operating in NZ costing NZ in any significant manner?

                • riffer

                  In terms you could understand, I imagine Facebook is responsible for a fair bit of lost production due to employee timewasting. That’s one example.

                  • riffer

                    But a better way would be to couch it in terms of revenue extracted from the populace compared to social investment. Possibly a concept some might struggle with seeing the value in.

                    • Gosman

                      Revenue extracted from who?

                    • riffer

                      The point people are trying to make, which appears lost on you, is that in operating within a country (of providing a service to members of a country) you are taking advantage of an infrastructure built up over many years through tax and hard work. Failing to pay tax inside that country is effectively taking without giving back.

                    • Gosman

                      If I sell a product to an Australian I will take advantage of the infrastructure of Australia to get it to this person. Should I pay tax on the profit I made from such a sale?

                • Stuart Munro

                  I imagine our local media companies, facing declining advertising revenues, would be happy to attribute their loss of profitability to the likes of google and facebook, not entirely without justification. Both sell advertising within NZ to create profit, and cultivate an online community here, which they exploit for profit. The profit from those activities should be taxed, as should any other corporate enterprise.

        • halfcrown 2.1.1.2

          ” Any revenue not taxed in New Zealand will get taxed in the country that it ends up.”

          You mean like Amazon. Last year paid the massive amount of zero. Like zero irrespective which country they are in

          I find it ironic One of the large electrical outlets in this country is selling some Amazon crap which no doubt the buyer will pay GST on, bought with residue funds after he has paid his income tax. Also the large electrical outlet will pay tax on any profit made, whereas Amazon does not pay a cent AND receive another subsidy from the American taxpayers as their workers have to be assisted with food stamps, owing to the low wages they pay their employee’s.

          https://www.theregister.co.uk/2019/02/15/amazon_no_tax/

          • alwyn 2.1.1.2.1

            “owing to the low wages they pay their employee’s.”.
            Really? What do you consider a low wage? Since November 1 last year the minimum wage Amazon pays any of its workers is $US15.00/hour.
            That is about $22 NZ/hour.
            Is that really a “low wage”?

            • halfcrown 2.1.1.2.1.1

              Any wage paid where an employee has to resort to food stamps tells me they are being paid a low wage. As for the $15.00 hour sounds good but we don’t know the living costs in America do we, so can’t compare with $22.00 hour NZ
              But you are fully aware of all that aren’t you.

              • alwyn

                Well, according to the City Mission in Auckland ever more people in New Zealand are having to rely on food parcels. There were a lot more at the end of 2018 than there were in 2017.
                However people I know who have lived in the US recently tell me that the cost of living is a little less than in New Zealand. It obviously, particularly for housing, depends upon where you choose to live but they said that only the SF area was significantly dearer than Auckland.
                But you were fully aware of all this aren’t you?

                • halfcrown

                  I am fully aware of the food parcel handouts by the City Mission in Auckland and the fact that some are going to people who are already employed. What a sick state this once proud country has descended into

                  ” However people I know who have lived in the US recently tell me that the cost of living is a little less than in New Zealand. It obviously, particularly for housing, depends upon where you choose to live but they said that only the SF area was significantly dearer than Auckland.
                  But you were fully aware of all this aren’t you?”

                  No, I am not fully aware of that, as that is a completely different tale I am hearing from the family living in PA. One of their most crippling costs is the medical insurance rort. I am also aware housing is cheaper but you don’t buy houses every week to eat, and I like to see how many houses you can buy with food stamps.
                  As I originally stated Amazon does not pay any tax and is subsidised by the taxpayer as their employees have to have government food stamps to make up the difference. Now I could not give a shit if they had one dollar, ten dollars or one hundred fucking dollars, if they cannot survive without food stamps they are underpaid.

                  https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2018/08/24/thousands-amazon-workers-receive-food-stamps-now-bernie-sanders-wants-amazon-pay-up/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.2318b35d9563

                  • alwyn

                    Sanders is an idiot. However he has found an argument that appeals to people who are even sillier than he is.
                    There is nothing at all wrong with the state providing people who can not live on the amount they earn with benefits. That is what the state is there for.
                    I shall give you a hypothetical situation.
                    Suppose I was a poorly educated person with a wife and family of 10 kids. My wife cannot, for medical reasons, work. My work is only worth $1500/week to my employer and that is what they pay me.

                    Now. You would not provide subsidised social housing. After all, to you that is a subsidy to my employer and that is bad.
                    You wouldn’t provide working for families. After all, you think that is a subsidy to my employer and that is bad.
                    You wouldn’t reduce the tax I pay. After all, to you that is a subsidy to my employer and that is bad.
                    You wouldn’t provide state paid education for my children. After all, you think that is a subsidy to my employer and that is bad.
                    You wouldn’t provide state paid medical care. After all, you think that is a subsidy to my employer and that is bad.

                    I suppose that you would insist that my employer should pay me $4,000/week so I could pay for all these things myself?
                    So he will lay me off but that won’t worry you.

                    Are you really so dumb that you can’t see that an employer should pay people what their work is worth and that the state is there to make up that income to the amount they need to live decently?

                    And do you really not think that Amazon, if the US was silly enough to adopt Sanders’ ideas, would only hire single people who wouldn’t need food stamps or any of the other things that are provided by the taxpayer?
                    Are you really as stupid as you make out?

                    • halfcrown

                      I always thought you were a rightwing insulting peabrained idiot, you have now removed all doubt. Your reply was a heap of insulting crap which is not worthy of any further comment.

                    • alwyn

                      In other words what I said is 100% accurate and you can’t see any way to dispute what I am saying.
                      Hence, rather than admit that what I am saying is accurate and thinking about why your views are wrong you are going into a sulk.

                      Just take one item and reply honestly.
                      Is Working for Families not simply a more general New Zealand equivalent of Food Stamps?
                      Should we be demanding a higher wage for anyone currently receiving it so that no one needs to get it?
                      Would this encourage firms to employ people who are single, or at least without dependents rather than those people with families.
                      Do you not see any problems with that?

                      Wouldn’t it be better, as I suggest, to pay people what their work is worth and make up their income to a decent standard by transfer payments from the state?

                      Now just try thinking for a change. Ignoring the truth is not really an option you know.

    • AB 2.2

      No – people are annoyed by companies that operate in New Zealand but do not contribute to the public and human infrastructure that makes ‘New Zealand’ possible and without which there would be no ‘New Zealand’.
      Minor things such as a public education system that produces an employable workforce, a system of laws, courts and police that allows them to operate here with some sense of security. Roads, sewage treatment, power supply that mostly works. A redistributive social welfare system that maintains sufficient aggregate demand in the economy across all social classes that lots of people can actually afford their products.
      Et effing etcera.
      It’s called freeloading – something that drives the right into apoplectic rage when done on a trivial scale by poor people but is somehow excusable in companies making billions of dollars

      • Gosman 2.2.1

        They are contributing to it because NZers have voluntarily decided to use their services because they feel it obviously gives them a benefit that a NZ based company cannot provide.

        • Psycho Milt 2.2.1.1

          Sure. But while they’re at it they can also contribute by paying taxes like everybody else does.

          • Gosman 2.2.1.1.1

            They do pay tax. They just might not necessarily pay much tax in NZ.

              • Gosman

                Yes that is correct. They are using legal tax loop holes to minimise the amount of corporate taxes they pay. Why wouldn’t they do that? Your problem is really with the system that allows such tax loop holes not in the companies legally using such loop holes.

                There is still lot’s of tax paid on the profits they made.

                • bwaghorn

                  The problem with your legal loopholes is that they are created by the mates of the very people/corporates that are dodging the tax . Legal maybe wrong definatly

                  • Gosman

                    Wrong maybe. That is a matter of opinion.

                    • Stuart Munro

                      No – avoiding taxes completely is a crime. Opinion is neither here nor there.

                    • Gosman

                      No, avoiding taxes completely would be impossible. Not taking advantage of tax loop holes to avoid them temporarily would be incredibly foolish.

                    • Stuart Munro

                      “avoiding taxes completely would be impossible”

                      What fatuous nonsense you talk. It’s remarkably common. Oligarchs in Russia and China for example, almost invariably find their way around the tax laws, and large US corporations like Enron or Amazon are largely no different. Your crush Key did his best to enable hot and cold running tax avoidance by creating trust laws so lax that NZ became a destination of choice for foreign criminal funds detailed in the Panama Papers.

                      Not taking advantage of loopholes would be the basic good character requirement to do business in any civilized country. And a responsible government needs to consider the tax compliance status of these enterprises when they come trying to lobby for consideration in other spheres.

                      A rogue corporation like Amazon or Apple or Enron should receive short shrift from legislators, a law abiding one retains some right to be heard.

                    • Gosman

                      I have expressed no great admiration for Key beyond his amazing ability to annoy lefties like you.

                      There are no Tax loopholes that I am aware of that ends up allowing no tax to be paid forever. They are generally temporary tax relief. That seems to be how Amazon has avoided paying some tax in New York.

                    • Stuart Munro

                      Good lord Gosman, we’re not about to reduce the universe of possibility to the tiny sphere that you are aware of!

                      The fact is that you endorse the criminal activities of tax evaders like Key. Your catch cry “good luck enforcing that” is the criminals’ “you’ll never catch me alive, copper”. We can, we should, and we shall.

                • How do you think the loopholes get there so companies can use them? Hint: legislators need donations if they want to remain legislators.

                  • Poission

                    and there are knots that can close said loopholes such as making the expenditure say on facebook advertising non tax deductible.

                    • Gosman

                      Good luck with enforcing that tax change.

                    • Poission

                      can be made by regulation ie an order in council easy peasy.

                    • Poission

                      The uk data revenue tax (2% of turnover) commences 1 april 2020 BTW

                    • Gosman

                      LOL! I love how you think making a new regulation is the hardest part about enforcement. Tell me how will the IRD know whether a company has spent money with Facebook or with another online provider of advertisements?

                  • alwyn

                    Is that what Jamie Lee Ross’s question today in Parliament was about?
                    Mind you, if he plans to continue on the subject we are going to be waiting for a very long time to see any outcome.
                    By my reckoning he will get about 1 question per month.

            • halfcrown 2.2.1.1.1.2

              “They do pay tax. They just might not necessarily pay much tax in NZ.”

              No they don’t see 2.1.1.2

  3. patricia bremner 3

    If your company comes to our country with services for the public, uses our infrastructure and engages people in commercial interactions, the public purse should be paid a fee to cover costs and loss of Government revenue through unpaid taxes.

    The public elected their Government to look after the public good. When entities find ways not to be part of society, the Government has to correct that as part of the public good. These entities do not contribute without prodding. So now there is a growing prod from countries affected, especially when no tax at all is paid by these entities using every loophole.

    • Gosman 3.1

      You want these companies to pay for the use of the telecommunications and power infrastructure in NZ do you?

      That would likely be a fraction of a cent for each transaction. By all means try and construct a system that manages the cost recovery for this that doesn’t cost more to administer than it generates in revenue.

  4. Muttonbird 4

    The introduction of the digital economy has thrown up this anomaly.

    I think it’s important that a digital service is viewed as existing in the country it is used rather than the country it is administered.

    I also think the local workforce carrying out the service should be protected under the same employment laws as everyone else.

    • Gosman 4.1

      Why? The service itself was created by a company that is based outside NZ. It would be like someone in NZ buying a computer made in say China and then expecting that company to pay tax on the profit it made from that sale.

  5. Muttonbird 5

    But the service is performed, in the case of uber and airbnb, by local people in this country.

    In the making of a computer in China, local people there perform the action of manufacture.

    • Gosman 5.1

      The people carrying out the service pay tax.

      • Muttonbird 5.1.1

        Yes, personal income tax like everyone else. The business activity is in New Zealand though, yet the profit from that business activity is not currently able to be taxed in New Zealand.

  6. Muttonbird 6

    And Facebook’s revenue is from advertising so again the business activity is in NZ and therefore should attract business tax as does every other business activity in New Zealand.

    • indiana 6.1

      I’m sure the IRD will have no problem collecting this tax. They simply need to pay a visit to the NZ based Facebook office and speak to their financial controller. This financial controller will be able to show the IRD the operating costs of the Facebook NZ office and determine the PROFIT made in NZ by the NZ Facebook off from the NZer’s who did not pay an overseas Facebook account to have their adverts displayed in NZ. After all the REVENUE collected was by a NZ Facebook office right?

  7. james 7

    I think it would be a laugh (will never happen tho’) where Google, or Facebook just go “aww fuck it” – “OK NZ – we wont offer our product in your country any more”.

    That would change any government that allowed that to happen.

    • …(will never happen tho’)…

      Well, yes, exactly. I never get this right-wing wank fantasy in which Galtian supermen decide that if the mundane people expect them to pay tax on their business income, their business will just forego that income. It would be “funny” in the same sense that someone cutting off their nose to spite their face would be funny, ie would take an odd sense of humour.

      • Stuart Munro 7.1.1

        It’s the default argument of corrupt rightwingers. Dickens cited it in Hard Times – manufacturers who threatened to throw their enterprises into the North Sea were they taxed slightly more. Experienced legislators ignore such histrionics.

    • Muttonbird 7.2

      Don’t worry. You might still be able to Facebook your family back home with a VPN.

    • Pat 7.3

      lol….they are welcome to do us that favour….of course the more they do it the less their income

  8. Poission 8

    As Zuckerberg demonstrated when he deigned to visit the United States committee last, year, and simply refused all other country’s investigation,

    Did you mean the UK?

    Our ‘International Grand Committee’ meeting, held in November 2018, was the culmination of this collaborative work. The Committee was composed of 24 democratically-elected representatives from nine countries, including the 11 members of the DCMS Committee, who together represent a total of 447 million people. The representatives signed a set of International Principles at that meeting. We exchanged ideas and solutions both in private and public, and held a seven-hour oral evidence
    session. We invited Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook—the social media company that has over 2.25 billion users and made $40 billion in revenue in 2017—to give evidence to us and to this Committee; he chose to refuse, three times. Yet, within four hours of the subsequent publication of the documents we obtained from Six4Three—about Facebook’s knowledge of and participation in data sharing—Mr Zuckerberg responded with a post on his Facebook page.14
    We thank our ‘International Grand Committee’ colleagues for
    attending the important session, and we look forward to continuing our collaboration

    UK report into fake news etc (just released)

    Click to access 1791.pdf

    .

  9. Cinny 9

    Jacinda always said it’s about fairness. She is walking the talk and I’m proud of her for doing so.

    If the nat’s have an issue with it, then that speaks volumes about their lust for greed and corporate loopholes that exploit our tax laws.

  10. Tuppence Shrewsbury 10

    Hear hear!

    Tax is horrible necessity. One that must be paid by all wherever the economic activity takes place.

    Fair tax is a relative term and needs to be abandoned. Absolute tax as a result of economic activity needs to be analysed and paid on profit from corporations. As a discount should be applied to taxes resulting gains on capital, as opposed to profit on operating activity, a discount should be applied to profit on digital assets requiring r&d to stay productive. But the same tax as applied to capital gains should be applied to digital companies engaging in transfer pricing.

    The same principal applies. Capital is applied, the gains in its value need to be recognised beyond an r&d level and taxed. The balance accrues to a companies balance sheet.

    A level playing field. Not a pseudo monopoly that entrenches first mover status.

  11. One Two 11

    Higher probability of the nations debt book being opened to public scrutiny

  12. mosa 12

    All this tax not paid should be backdated !!!

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    2 days ago
  • Auckland rail upgrades pick up steam
    Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters and Transport Minister Phil Twyford today kicked off the start of the Auckland NZ Upgrade Programme rail projects which will support over 400 jobs and help unlock our biggest city. Both ministers marked the start of enabling works on the third main rail line project ...
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    2 days ago
  • PGF support for Wairoa creates jobs
    The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) investment of $3.78 million in Wairoa will create much needed economic stimulus and jobs, Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau announced today. PGF projects announced today include: $200,000 loan to Nuhaka Kiwifruit Holdings Ltd (operated by Pine Valley Orchard Ltd) to increase the productivity ...
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    2 days ago
  • Public and Māori housing to trial renewable energy technology
    Tenants in public and Māori housing may be benefiting from their own affordable renewable energy in future – a fund to trial renewable energy technology for public and Māori housing has today been announced by Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods and Associate Minister for Housing (Māori Housing) Nanaia Mahuta. ...
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    2 days ago
  • $2.7m for Hokianga infrastructure
    Hokianga will receive $2.7 million to redevelop four of its wharves and upgrade its water supply, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones has announced. Far North District Council will receive $1.8 million from the Provincial Growth Fund for the work on the wharves. “The work will include the construction of ...
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    2 days ago
  • New fund to support housing and construction sector
    A $350 million Residential Development Response Fund is being established to support the residential construction sector and to minimise the economic impact from COVID-19, the Housing Minister Dr Megan Woods has announced. “The Residential Development Response Fund will help to progress stalled or at-risk developments that support our broader housing ...
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    2 days ago
  • Government investment to boost Auckland’s community recycling network
    As part of a broader plan to divert waste from landfill, the Government today announced $10.67 million for new infrastructure as part of the Resource Recovery Network across the Auckland region. “This key investment in Auckland’s community recycling network is part of the Government’s Infrastructure Reference Group ‘shovel ready’ projects ...
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    2 days ago
  • Te Papa transformation starts at Cameron Road
    The Government is investing $45 million in the first stage of an ambitious urban development project for Tauranga that will employ up to 250 people and help the region grow, Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford announced today. Phil Twyford says the funding has been allocated out of the $3 billion ...
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    2 days ago
  • Low-emissions options for heavy transport a step closer
    Getting low-emission trucks on the road is a step closer with investment in infrastructure to support hydrogen vehicles, the Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods has announced. The Infrastructure Reference Group has provisionally approved $20 million for New Plymouth company Hiringa Energy to establish a nationwide network of hydrogen-fuelling stations. ...
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    3 days ago
  • New training centre to upskill workers
    A new trades training centre to upskill the local workforce will be built in the South Waikato town of Tokoroa through funding from the Government’s COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund, Education Minister Chris Hipkins and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones have announced. The Government will contribute $10.84 million from ...
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    3 days ago
  • Subsequent children legislation to change
    The Government has agreed to repeal part of the Oranga Tamariki Act subsequent children provisions, Minister for Children Tracey Martin announced today. “There are times when children need to go into care for their safety – the safety and care of children must always be paramount,” Minister Martin said. “But ...
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    3 days ago
  • Funding to expand mental health support for Pacific peoples
    A $1.5 million boost to grow primary mental health and addiction services for Pacific peoples in Auckland, Hamilton and Canterbury will lead to better outcomes for Pacific communities, Associate Health Minister Jenny Salesa says.  Pasifika Futures has received funding to expand services through The Fono, Aotearoa New Zealand’s largest by ...
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    3 days ago
  • Funding boost for sustainable food and fibre production
    Twenty-two projects to boost the sustainability and climate resilience of New Zealand’s food and fibres sector have been announced today by Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor. The $18m funding will deliver practical knowledge to help farmers and growers use their land more sustainably, meet environmental targets, remain prosperous, and better understand ...
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    3 days ago
  • Mature Workers Toolkit launched on business.govt.nz
    Employment Minister Willie Jackson welcomes an initiative that assists employers to get mature workers into New Zealand small businesses. The disadvantages that older people face in the workplace was highlighted in the whole of Government Employment Strategy.  In order to address this, a Mature Workers Toolkit has been developed and ...
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    3 days ago
  • Trans-Tasman cooperation in a COVID-19 world
    New Zealand and Australia reaffirmed today the need for the closest possible collaboration as they tackle a global environment shaped by COVID-19, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters said. “In these challenging times, our close collaboration with Australia is more vital than ever,” said Mr Peters. Mr Peters and his Australian ...
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    3 days ago
  • Pike recovery efforts now in unexplored territory
    The recovery and forensic examination of the loader driven by survivor Russell Smith means the underground team are now moving into an area of the Pike River Mine that has not been seen since the explosion, Minister Responsible for Pike River Re-entry Andrew Little said. “The fifth and last robot ...
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    3 days ago
  • Government confirms CovidCard trial to go ahead
    The Government has confirmed a community-wide trial of CovidCard technology as it explores options for COVID-19 contact tracing. “Effective contact tracing is a vital part of the COVID-19 response,” Minister of Health Chris Hipkins said. “While manual processes remain the critical component for contact tracing, we know digital solutions can ...
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    3 days ago
  • Enhanced process for iwi aquaculture assets
    The government is proposing changes to aquaculture legislation to improve the process for allocating and transferring aquaculture assets to iwi. Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash has introduced the Maori Commercial Aquaculture Claims Settlement Amendment Bill to Parliament. It proposes a limited new discretionary power for Te Ohu Kaimoana Trustee Limited (ToKM). ...
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    3 days ago
  • Bill introduced to fix National’s Family Court reform failures
    The Minister of Justice has today introduced the Family Court (Supporting Children in Court) Legislation Bill – the next step in the ongoing programme of work to fix the failed 2014 Family Court reforms led by then Justice Minister Judith Collins.  The Bill arises from the report of the Independent ...
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    3 days ago
  • DOC takes action to adapt to climate change
    A new Department of Conservation (DOC) action plan tackles the impacts of climate change on New Zealand’s biodiversity and DOC managed infrastructure including tracks, huts and cultural heritage. Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage says extreme weather events around the country have really brought home our vulnerability to changing weather patterns. ...
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    3 days ago
  • Reduced international Antarctic season commences
    A heavily scaled back international Antarctic season will commence this week, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods have confirmed. “Antarctica is the only continent that is COVID-19 free,” Mr Peters said. “Throughout the global pandemic, essential operations and long-term science have continued at ...
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    3 days ago
  • New high performance sports hub for Upper Hutt
    The Government is providing up to $30 million to help fund the NZ Campus of Innovation and Sport in Upper Hutt - an investment that will create 244 jobs. “The sports hub is designed to be a world-leading shared service for a range of sports, offering the level of facilities ...
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    3 days ago
  • Govt keeps projects on road to completion
    Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today transport projects currently in construction will continue at pace due to extra Government support for transport projects to mitigate the impact of COVID-19. To keep the $16.9 billion 2018-21 National Land Transport Programme going the Government has allocated funding from the COVID Response and ...
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    4 days ago
  • First project utilising $50 million ‘shovel ready’ fund for rural broadband announced
    $50 million for further rural broadband digital connectivity has been allocated from the $3 billion infrastructure fund in the COVID Response and Recovery Fund has been announced by Shane Jones, Minister for Infrastructure and Kris Faafoi, Minister for Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media. The investment will go to boosting broadband ...
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    4 days ago
  • Ultra-fast Broadband programme hits major milestone with more than one million connections
    The Minister for Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media has congratulated the Ultra-fast Broadband (UFB) programme on its major milestone of connecting more than 1 million New Zealand households and businesses to UFB. “This milestone has been 10 years in the making and demonstrates the popularity of the UFB network. “Uptake ...
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    4 days ago
  • Vaping legislation passes
    Landmark legislation passed today puts New Zealand on track to saving thousands of lives and having a smokefree generation sooner rather than later, Associate Health Minister, Jenny Salesa says. The Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Vaping) Amendment Bill regulates vaping products and heated tobacco devices. “There has long been concern ...
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    4 days ago
  • Government repeals discriminatory law
    A discriminatory law that has been a symbol of frustration for many people needing and providing care and support, has been scrapped by the Government. “Part 4A of the New Zealand Public Health and Disability Amendment Bill (No 2) was introduced under urgency in 2013 by a National Government,” Associate ...
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    4 days ago
  • More competitive fuel market on the way
    Kiwi motorists are set to reap the benefits of a more competitive fuel market following the passing of the Fuel Industry Bill tonight, Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods says.  “This Act is where the rubber meets the road in terms of our response to the recommendations made in the ...
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    4 days ago
  • Government delivers on rental reforms promise
    The Government has delivered on its promise to New Zealanders to modernise tenancy laws with the passing of the Residential Tenancies Amendment (RTA) Bill 2020 today, says Associate Minister of Housing (Public Housing), Kris Faafoi. “The Residential Tenancies Act 1986 was out-dated and the reforms in the RTA modernise our ...
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    4 days ago
  • New rules in place to restore healthy rivers
    New rules to protect and restore New Zealand’s freshwater passed into law today. Environment Minister David Parker and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor welcomed the gazetting of the new national direction on freshwater management. “These regulations deliver on the Government’s commitment to stop further degradation, show material improvements within five years and ...
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    4 days ago
  • Foreign Minister announces new Consul-General in Los Angeles
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has announced the appointment of Jeremy Clarke-Watson as New Zealand’s new Consul-General in Los Angeles. “New Zealand and the United States share a close and dynamic partnership, based on a long history of shared values and democratic traditions,” Mr Peters said. “Mr Clarke-Watson is a ...
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    4 days ago
  • Rental reforms provide greater support for victims of family violence
    Victims of family violence can end a tenancy with two days’ notice Landlords can terminate tenancies with 14 days’ notice if tenants assault them Timeframe brought forward for limiting rent increases to once every 12 months Extension of time Tenancy Tribunal can hear cases via phone/video conference Reform of New ...
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    4 days ago
  • Apprenticeships support kicks off today
    Two employment schemes – one new and one expanded – going live today will help tens of thousands of people continue training on the job and support thousands more into work, the Government has announced. Apprenticeship Boost, a subsidy of up to $12,000 per annum for first year apprentices and ...
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    4 days ago