From the ‘that’s never going to fly’ file

Written By: - Date published: 5:49 pm, June 11th, 2010 - 13 comments
Categories: Maori Issues, tax - Tags: ,

Scoop reports:

“Tribal Tax” to be part of Treaty settlement
Friday, 11 June 2010, 4:42 pm
Press Release: David Rankin

A Ngapuhi tribal leader will be insisting at the Waitangi Tribunal hearings next week that a special tribal tax be imposed on all residents living within Ngapuhi boundaries.

David Rankin, the Chairman of the Matarahurahu hapu, says that this tax will be one of the non-negotiable parts of any settlement Ngapuhi reaches with the Crown, and has promised to withdraw his hapu’s consent if it is not achieved.

Mr. Rankin’s ancestor, Hone Heke, was the first chief in the country to sign the Treaty in 1840, and also had a tax at that time that applied to traders in the Bay of Islands.

“The idea of a tribal tax is not new”, says Mr. Rankin. “It is part of our history, and a right we wish to reassert in order to restore some fiscal equity in Northland.”

Mr. Rankin is proposing a flat tax rate of 9 % be applied to every person living within Ngapuhi’s tribal territory, and that it be administered by IRD.

“There is no point on doubling up on administrative costs”, says Mr. Rankin. “We wish to establish a partnership with Inland Revenue in order to ensure that the tax is fairly levied.”

As for the revenue from the proposed tax, Mr. Rankin cites a number of economic development projects – starting with aquaculture projects – which will benefit from the funding.

“The whole scheme makes prudent fiscal sense”, he says. “As the economy of the region grows due to the investment of the tax revenue, more jobs will be created and more people will move to the area, thus growing our tax base. It’s a win-win situation”.

13 comments on “From the ‘that’s never going to fly’ file”

  1. Lanthanide 1

    Interesting idea, but I’d say 9% is far too ambitious a rate. He might have some inkling of a chance if he’d proposed something much lower like 2 or 3%.

    Also this would really require a referendum in the area, otherwise any private group could go to the government and propose special private taxation for their own benefit.

  2. Rharn 2

    It’s because of this sort of thing that Maori have lost any credibility. They float these ideas knowing that they are not going to ‘fly’ in order to keep the Treaty claims ‘active.’

  3. prism 3

    my favourite idea is to tag each gst payment with a code and then pay 2% back to the approved local code holders. it would give extra kickback from every trade. Ngapuhi could have a return this way without having to impose special taxes in their name.

  4. Chess Player 4

    Why is some people’s answer to problems always ‘more tax’ rather than ‘better use of existing tax’?

  5. Lew 5

    Can’t happen. A cornerstone of the unitary state is the monopoly ability to levy taxes (rates don’t count). Unless NZ federalises (Nandor Tanczos had some hare-brained schemes in this regard which were too crazy even for the Greens), no government of any colour will permit that to change, nor should they. At best the runanga could make it voluntary, but then, what’s the point?

    There are a whole lot of other practical problems with collection, identity, avoidance, enforcement, and so on as well, but they’re not even worth discussing given how broken the idea is in principle.


    • felix 5.1

      Why don’t rates count?

      • Lew 5.1.1

        Short: Because they’re not taxes.

        Longer, but not very long: because they’re a bunch of service, infrastructure, maintenance, insurance, and discretionary (and etc.) charges all glommed in together predominantly for ease of collection and administration. They look like taxes, but they’re pretty different when you get down to it.

        Also, and I’ll admit this is a bit cheeky, they’re not collected or administered by the IRD under the Tax Administration Act and associated legislation which defines what is and isn’t a tax : )


        • felix

          Very cheeky. But thanks.

        • ak

          Because they’re not taxes.

          Sorry Lew, dead wrong. Rates most definitely are taxes (via history, logic, the dictionary and the Rating Act to name but a few) and it’s disappointing to see that the nefarious campaign by well-heeled lobby groups since the ’80s to push the contrary view has affected even your astute perception.

          You’re not alone, but. Fed Farmers and their professional ilk have been so strikingly successful in pushing user-pays (“targetted rates”) and the grotesque Uniform Annual General Charge past the motley collection of gullible, buffoonish car salesmen and businesspeople that the public insists on electing to local govt every three years, that over the last two decades there has been a massive transfer of the rating burden from the rich to the poor.

          The UAGC in particular is the exact equivalent of a Uniform Income Tax: the latter a risible proposition never seriously suggested by even the looniest right-wing fruitcakes. Yet year after year, exhortions to raise the UAGC are hammered into councils with mind-bending distortions of logic, and many councils now sit at the legal maximum – despite its complete abolition having been recommended by the recent Rates Enquiry.

          Local body rating in NZ now has the dubious distinction of being the most regressive taxation regime in the world. A scandal that would have long ago been exposed by a semi-competent or independent media. With neither, and an ACT minister, expect the trend to continue.

          • RedLogix

            Local body rating in NZ now has the dubious distinction of being the most regressive taxation regime in the world.

            But not apparently regressive enough for Fed Farmers…who’ve been quietly pushing for a Poll Tax.

            Combine that idea with this lead balloon from Nga Puhi and the outcome can only be tears before bedtime.

  6. Name 6

    No taxation without representation is an (unwritten) constitutional principle going back to the English Civil War. As I cannot imagine Ngapuhi are intending to allow non-maori payers of this tax any say in what it is spent on this would be a gross affront to New Zealand’s constitution.

  7. johnbt 7

    Nah. Phooey.

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