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Questions of trust

Written By: - Date published: 4:30 pm, January 22nd, 2010 - 27 comments
Categories: class war - Tags:

Over at Red Alert Stuart Nash asks whether the details of property developers being investigated by the IRD will be released in the same way Basher Bennett released the benefit details of two solo mums.

Bloody good point.

I’d also like to know if the details of the fifty percent of the richest 100 people who are avoiding paying the top tax rates will be released in the same way.

I’d really like to know if they include members of the Business Round Table or any other group that has publicly lobbied for lower taxes for the rich.

Come to think of it John Key and Bill English both have family trusts. I’d also like to know what kind of income these trusts earned and how much tax was paid on them.

I mean if we’re going to talk trusts and taxes then surely we should follow basher’s example and make sure we “round out the debate” by getting all of the facts on the table.

27 comments on “Questions of trust ”

  1. Anne 1

    Commenter, “A Mother” (herself a solo mum ) has given a good description of what Basher Bennett actually did re- the two solo mums’ benefit details.

  2. Cactus Kate 2

    I am sure everyone printed on the NBR Rich List with their wealth estimate (correctly or incorrectly) would like to have privacy as well…We don’t have names, ages, family details and repeaters repeating on the lives of the 100 biggest beneficiaries in NZ do we? Only statisitics.

    As for some of the richest 100 people (well in income flow….you aren’t talking wealth here which is a different consideration ……) not paying the top tax rate – well you don’t get rich by working for someone else do you? They most likely are self-employed or otherwise have company structures. Perfectly legitimate and these people who do owns businesses are the very reason hundreds of thousands of your claimed “workers” have food on their table as they have taken risks, borrowed and built real businesses.

    But a good example of why the top personal, company and trust rates need to be aligned so thank you for verifying that.

    Trusts? The MP pecuniary interests register lists the interests. The income from a trust – the IRD has that information and given that the settlor may not be the beneficiary, releasing that information is impossible to tag as there is no register of trusts in New Zealand like there is companies. Trusts are perfectly legal.

    The BRT has always campaigned on lower taxes. There is nothing inconsistent if any members were not paying 39 cents in the dollar, why would they when you are taxed at that rate on personal income, not that if you have a company.

    And for the record, the BRT members are not necessarily “rich pricks”, go through the list of members and compare it to the NBR rich list. There are plenty of BRT members who are not actually on it, they are just wage slave CEO’s like everyone else.

    That Stuart Nash wrote that post is incredible given he’s traded off the Nash family name to get into politics. If you wish to speak of someone who has used position and privilege to extend his mediocrity into a cushy life, look no further than a Nash.

    Now run off and continue to practice being poor and bitter.

    • Rob Carr 2.1

      I see nothing wrong with knowing whether the people restructuring our tax system are abusing tax holes. It seems pretty damn important to me.

      I don’t see how every other country richer than us has managed to avoid being ripped off for tax without aligning their tax rates. Seems a bit fishy doesn’t it? If you are going to align them then they can be aligned at the 38% rate. No reason fairness wise why personal income and trusts cannot be there. In terms of business tax rate would probably discourage business but we would get a larger proportion of it to stay in New Zealand so could potentially balance out for the economy here.

      I personally am not poor and bitter, my family has always been in the top tax bracket. I think it is best it stays there or even go higher.

    • IrishBill 2.2

      Um I’m certainly not poor (although I have been). Bitter maybe but not so stupid I miss the entire point of a post as you have done here.

      As a for instance I never claimed that using trusts and company structures was unlawful. I don’t need to to make my point as the threshold Basher set precedent with when she abused the privacy of two beneficiaries wasn’t a breach of the law.

      I do like your use of “wage-slave CEO” however. The thing is I don’t think you realise how amusing you are.

      • felix 2.2.1

        I don’t think she realises how nervous and defensive she comes across.

        I wonder what’s bothering her?

    • Draco T Bastard 2.3

      well you don’t get rich by working for someone else do you?

      No, you only get rich by having others work for you. Politely called exploitation.

      But a good example of why the top personal, company and trust rates need to be aligned so thank you for verifying that.

      So you agree that all legal persons be put on PAYE?

      Trusts are perfectly legal.

      But in no way moral.

      why would they when you are taxed at that rate on personal income, not that if you have a company.

      Thank you for pointing out why the tax system is broken. Workers are also in business. Unfortunately, they just can’t afford the accountants.

      • prism 2.3.1

        I guess you saying that workers are exploited by their employers who get rich (supposedly) means that you are a marxist. I like the quote from somewhere that Marx said he wasn’t a marxist!

        If people don’t like what is said about their ideas on this site they get told to go and start their own blog. They are free to do that but it takes time and effort and constant monitoring and repairing small breakdowns etc. Workers can start their own businesses if they want to, and many do, but the same problem of time and effort etc. apply.

        If you are in business and can employ somebody, then you both get an advantage, Provided that the worker has rights, decent pay and conditions, and has loyalty and doesn’t steal from the employer either their money or their secrets (and start up in opposition – which does happen sometimes).

        • Draco T Bastard

          I supplied that quote. Wish I could remember the book I read it in as well. It was a small biography on Marx.

          The way I see it is that business is actually back to front. The workers should be hiring the administrators but what we have is the other way around with the administrators owning the business. I think this is the problem that Marx saw unfortunately the Marxists, against the will of Marx, went too far and said that the state should own everything. Representative democracy is actually a good example of how businesses should also work because the people are, effectively, hiring the administrators (MPs).

          • prism

            What is the triple bottom line in business? Is it taking responsibility for waste and helping the environment? Or does it include giving workers proper consideration? If it did this would go towards giving them the respect and standing they deserve. Also profit sharing would seem a valuable tool to do this, and still be a thriving company with good returns.

            Then there are co-ops like the Spanish (Basque?) Mondragon? That would be the likely way to DTBs mention of hiring administrators. In the end though someone has to be in charge with authority to sanction, it can’t be all good-feelings and everybody doing what they feel is right. That way is anarchy.

            • IrishBill

              As a political concept anarchy is about order and structure. Just not hierarchical order and structure. Mondragon, for example, is structured in a manner not too dissimilar to anarcho-syndicalism.

              The use of anarchy as a synonym for chaos is an old authoritarian (left and right) conceit.

            • Draco T Bastard

              it can’t be all good-feelings and everybody doing what they feel is right.

              Most people tend to make the right decisions when they have the right information. That would be part and parcel of the administrators job. We don’t need people in charge.

  3. Kate

    they are just wage slave CEO’s like everyone else.

    Like Rob Fyfe and Paul Reylolds

    I don’t know how they can survive on the salary they earn.

    • Jared 3.1

      The market for quality CEO’s is an international one, as we have seen with Paul Reynolds. You might argue that its an “obscene” amount, but if Telecom were to offer a substantially lesser remuneration scheme, they wouldn’t get half the quality. Why don’t we address the proportion of the tax income that those in the highest bracket contribute, oh, that doesn’t matter, because they can “afford it”. Do they get any additional benefits from their additional tax paid?

      • Lanthanide 3.1.1

        The tax they pay go towards the infrastructure and the wellbeing of the country in which the business they run operates. I don’t think Telecom would be as successful if the roads were full of potholes, criminals ran rampant and no one could afford to pay for their broadband internet.

        So yes, the taxes they pay benefit the company they work for, which in turn pays them their salary.

  4. burt 4

    So having complained bitterly that Bennett released the details she did you think that two wrongs might make a right so we should release details of MP’s income and trust arrangements.

    Hey I can play “muppet” as well, Clark had several trusts and Cullen had one as well – I guess that is why they never closed the loopholes that the trusts provided….

  5. burt 5


    Completely, I posted comments saying that at the time.

    see here: Burt on Bennett.

    I still stand by that, I’m happy the details were released because I think there was a lot of misinformation in the public domain that need to be cleared up, however Bennett should never have done what she did. I also made the completely nutty comment that if she broke the rules she should stand in court – silly old me thinking MPs should have the same consequences as the rest of us.

    • IrishBill 5.1

      The comment you link to states you were happy for the details to be made public.

      • burt 5.1.1


        Yes I know, the funny thing is that in the comment you just responded to I said something absolutely opposite;

        I still stand by that, I’m happy the details were released

        Been a tough day acting like a three year old screaming Bennett did it too….

  6. The impending new land tax starting at 0.5% is a major advance toward tax equity in New Zealand.
    Added to this will be no depreciation on improvements on land, ie buildings .
    I think that this is just the start of the realignment of NZ tax system.

    Raising GST is a tax against the low or average income earner and is an inequity,
    and it would be disgraceful to use this to lower the top rate of direct income tax.

    I say we have to make NZ more competitive by lowering the top rate, but not at the expense of working people who pay most of the GST.


    • IMHO the land tax is a side show. The tax that should be applied is on landowners and speculators when they realise their capital gain. Taxing all land owners on the increase of the land value will just piss off many people including Maori. I suspect that it is being raised as a possibility to rally opposition.

  7. Mike 7

    Being a bit pedantic, but it was not half of the top 100 taxpayers, it was half of a SAMPLE of 100 “high wealth individuals”
    Though to be fair, everyone from the PM down to the news media have reported that fact incorrectly.

  8. todd 8

    I see not much has changed here.
    If any statement can be remembered by the last govt its the one by Mr Cullen.Quote.
    RICH PRICKS.A statement of envy IMO.

    • Descendant Of Smith 8.1

      It’s just so easy to dismiss people who believe in equity for all as envious of those at the top.

      I don’t know anyone who thinks wealth should be distributed more fairly and that people at the bottom should be paid more than they get now who is envious of rich people.

      I earn enough to support my family and pay off my mortgage and spend on what I both need and want. I could if I wished be much wealthier – reducing my consumer spending would help I’m just not driven by earning more money than I actually need and I care about those who don’t have enough.

      I also happen to think that both democracy and capitalism are probably the best way of achieving this but consider that unfettered capitalism won’t achieve any sort of equity.

      Capitalism is fettered in many ways to ensure fairness both for business to operate and for people to be treated fairly. This includes rules on monopolies, health and safety, minimum conditions for workers, share market and taxation rules.

      Taxation is just one of those fetters.

      None of this has anything to do with being envious of the rich. That’s comments just a cop-out to assuage your conscience cause you don’t give a shit about those you don’t mix with.

      The envy goes the other way. It seems pretty clear for instance that the only people who WANT to apply for working for families assistance are those who don’t need it. I pretty sure those who do actually need it to survive hate having to do so.

      • prism 8.1.1

        Why should those who apply for WFF hate doing so?
        That attitude comes from the cringing ideas spread by the bourgeois snobs who like judging everybody by the money they make and feel superior by not being ‘on assistance’ because only lesser people do that.
        In a proper welfare state those mean little people wouldn’t be numerous and parents getting tax relief would be being recompensed for the expenses and hard work they put in. Unfortunately there are many people limited by small-minded prejudice who cavil at anything being done for parents, except perhaps education which word has a magic halo for many.

        • Descendant Of Smith

          Why should those who apply for WFF hate doing so?

          They shouldn’t but they many do. Partly from public and media attitude. You only need to see the vitriol poured upon those who receive state assistance.

          I do think though that many would prefer to be paid more for their effort or have more universality to some of the entitlement around children.

          I really do think that universal family benefit was something that my parents generation was really quite proud of and served a good purpose, including the capitlisation for housing aspect.

          You have to factor in the emotional aspects of how people feel to any policy surely. WFF does mean now that a large chunk of the population have to share their financial information with others – this does put people off and can be a hassle for some.

          It’s sad that we ( as a country) have gone backwards in our thinking in so many respects. We have of course gone forward in others.

  9. Ruth 9

    Cactus Kate will just post a rant in due course against her obsession Mark Weldon and NZX – regardless of the positives or negatives in the TWG proposals.

    But really – no one who posts here is ‘poor’ by definition- why leave the country to just die with few more dollars on your balance sheet? Most of us are not that greedy and enjoy the lifestyle here.

    In fact many seconded corporate Americans have chosen to stay here to bring up their kids. So the NZ tax system is not that bad.

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