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Taxpayers Union is relaxed about Multinationals not paying tax

Written By: - Date published: 1:45 pm, March 18th, 2016 - 147 comments
Categories: Economy, tax, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags:

Amongst its lofty goals the Taxpayers Union aims “[t]o lower the tax burden on New Zealanders”.  But a recent press release has it being relaxed about existing policy that increases the tax burden of ordinary New Zealanders for the benefit of rich foreign multinational corporations.

The background is in this fascinating article by Matt Nippert which shows that by transfer pricing about $500 million in tax is avoided each year by some large corporations.  For instance last year Apple paid tax of $9 million on sales of $732 million.  And here was me thinking that it was one of the most profitable and efficient companies in the world.

This avoidance means that local taxpayers have to pay more.  That $500 million a year could be channeled into reducing Government debt or even giving local taxpayers a tax cut.

So what does the Taxpayer’s union think?

The associated press release states:

Many will be surprised with the low level of company tax some multinationals pay in NZ. The problem is usually the complex transfer pricing laws rather than companies breaking the law. No one can criticise a business for legally minimising its tax liability, but it does demonstrate why New Zealand needs a simpler, lower tax regime to boost employment, competitiveness and make doing business here more attractive.”

The problem is the Government is not enforcing the tax laws properly and if there are loopholes they should be closed.  After all the rest of the world is addressing this problem.  A real taxpayers union would advocate for local taxpayers and insist on law changes so that this situation was addressed.

If this was my union based on today’s performance I would be asking for my union fees back.

147 comments on “Taxpayers Union is relaxed about Multinationals not paying tax”

  1. mac1 1

    How does the Taxpayers’ Union view the $7.4 billion annually lost to the government through tax evasion since this too impacts adversely upon those taxpayers actually meeting their lawful obligations?

    http://www.victoria.ac.nz/research/expertise/business-commerce/fraud-sentencing

    • BM 1.1

      That figure is nonsense.

      • Henry Filth 1.1.1

        And the correct figure is. . . what exactly?

        • BM 1.1.1.1

          No idea.

          That figure came from some overseas group called the tax justice network, it’s nothing but a guess at best.

          I will say something, cash doesn’t end up stuck in the mattress it get’s spent buying stuff, so it ends up straight back in the economy.

          While it’s in the economy it’s producing tax, it’s not doing anything for the economy when it’s in a bank account or being used to pay off loans .

          Money circulating is money generating tax.

          I don’t think they took that aspect into account when they came up with the $7.4 billion figure.

          Also cash is hardly used these days, everything is electronic which makes income impossible to hide.

          • Henry Filth 1.1.1.1.1

            Thanks for your honesty.

          • KJT 1.1.1.1.2

            IRD reckons at least 5 billion, by the way.

          • Detrie 1.1.1.1.3

            “While it’s in the economy it’s producing tax, it’s not doing anything for the economy when it’s in a bank account or being used to pay off loans .”

            Indeed. Although a US perspective, seems up there Corporates just horde the money away somewhere, untaxed. And as one financier noted, the top 1% who have most of the wealth, spend around 5-10% of what they have, whereas more should be re-distributed in the middle class where 100% of it circulates and is taxed. Oddly, he was discussing Bernie Sanders policies at the time. http://bit.ly/berniebestforeconomy

            • Henry Filth 1.1.1.1.3.1

              When it’s in a bank account, it’s being loaned out to somebody else to buy stuff, make stuff, employ people, whatever.

              No money in the banks means no money for new business, expanding business, housing, or personal consumption.

              Money in the bank is a good thing.

              Or do you have visions of Scrooge McDuck’s money bin?

              • Mike S

                “When it’s in a bank account, it’s being loaned out to somebody else ”

                Umm,no.

                Banks don’t ‘lend’ depositors money.

                No depositors money is required for banks to create ‘loans’.

                Banks these days create credit now and worry about finding reserves later.

                • Richard McGrath

                  Yes but that money deposited in the bank is used to fund the lending retrospectively, so yes it is being lent out

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    Not even that really. The idea that banks need deposits to make loans is just a fiction used by the banks to hide the fraud that they engage in. Hell, many in the banking industry probably don’t even realise that what they’re doing is fraud.

              • Tom Hunsdale

                Wrong. That’s a common misconception, that banks have to have money in the bank to lend out. That somehow they are merely intermediaries between savers and borrowers. That is complete nonsense. Banks create money when they make loans with a keystroke on a computer. Here’s one link.

                http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/mar/18/truth-money-iou-bank-of-england-austerity

                There are multiple others. Plenty of proof. This is no longer a conspiracy theory, in fact it never was except in the minds of those who refuse to see the truth.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Plenty of proof. This is no longer a conspiracy theory, in fact it never was except in the minds of those who refuse to see the truth.

                  QFT

            • Richard McGrath 1.1.1.1.3.2

              “Redistributed”… you mean by force if necessary?

        • Sacha 1.1.1.2

          There was a local academic quoting $6b a year or two ago, so it’s about the same ballpark. Certainly orders of magnitude higher than welfare fraud.

      • mac1 1.1.2

        So, I quote research from a Senior Lecturer from a New Zealand university, who quotes a figure from a Belgium based organisation which is investigating world-wide tax issues, and you get to say ‘nonsense’ but you can’t come up with a figure yourself, nor can you cast credible doubt upon the article, or upon the research organisation.

        BM, you are simply not credible, and if you are involved in any academic study yourself, then apply those same rules to what you have just said.

        Furthermore, when challenged by Henry Filth below, you cannot come up with anything credible but go off on a diversionary tangent, attempting to justify illegality in tax fraud and tax evasion.

        By the way, guess who recently used the “no idea” defence when asked a question about numbers in the House, but didn’t let that stop him from pronouncing upon that topic?

        Key is on top of the dairy crisis

        • BM 1.1.2.1

          Furthermore, when challenged by Henry Filth below, you cannot come up with anything credible but go off on a diversionary tangent, attempting to justify illegality in tax fraud and tax evasion.

          I’m not trying to justify tax fraud.

          Just pointing out that maybe the figure isn’t as bad as it seems if you include the tax created from the cash as it gets injected back into the economy.

          • Draco T Bastard 1.1.2.1.1

            I’m not trying to justify tax fraud.

            Yes you did:

            I will say something, cash doesn’t end up stuck in the mattress it get’s spent buying stuff, so it ends up straight back in the economy.

            While it’s in the economy it’s producing tax, it’s not doing anything for the economy when it’s in a bank account or being used to pay off loans .

            Money circulating is money generating tax.

            I don’t think they took that aspect into account when they came up with the $7.4 billion figure.

            So, there we have proof of you lying.

            • BM 1.1.2.1.1.1

              Jesus, don’t be so binary .

              • mac1

                Jesus would have flogged you out of the Temple.

                • BM

                  Nonsense, me and Haysoos would have got on like a house on fire.

                  • mac1

                    “Render unto Caesar that which is is Caesar’s……….”

                    Including taxation.

                    • Richard McGrath

                      … and Caesar can make that any proportion of your income he likes. You have no property rights whatsoever over your income.

                    • mac1

                      Richard McGrath, ” and Caesar can make that any proportion of your income he likes.”

                      The point about the “render unto caesar” teaching is that Caesar, that is ‘government’, is entitled to what he seeks in order to govern. But no more.

                      Remember the old axiom, “Governments govern with the consent of the governed.” When consent is withdrawn, Caesars are deposed and in democracies, governments are voted out. So your canard about Caesar being able to take all of my income is countered by the governed saying no to such oppression. No wise ruler would try that on. They wouldn’t last.

                      “You have no property rights whatsoever over your income.”

                      This is a Lockeian argument and is addressed in the paper I cited earlier from Benedict Prebble where he presents another view. This argues that because income and private property rights are in place as a result of having the state governing us, that the state has a right to tax us to enable this governance which ensures our income nd property.

                      Where we have got to in our ‘discussion’, I believe, is a fundamental
                      philosophical disagreement.

                      I must point out, though, that your characterisation of taxation as “paying no-hopers to breed, locking people up for victimless crimes and funding politicians’ junkets” is demeaning to your arguments.

                      I have I believe demonstrated that taxation evasion and avoidance both cannot be characterised as ‘victimless crimes’ as you say.

                      The victims of taxation evasion, and avoidance too, are all of us.

                      I must finally add that I began this discussion with an example showing the $7.4 billion sum which was credited to tax evasion, note evasion, annually in New Zealand.

            • Richard McGrath 1.1.2.1.1.2

              “While it’s in the economy it’s producing tax, it’s not doing anything for the economy when it’s in a bank account or being used to pay off loans.”

              You mean banks aren’t part of the economy and they will just keep their money in a dark dusty vault with creaky doors rather than lend it out to earn interest?

              • Draco T Bastard

                1. I didn’t write that, BM did which is why it was formatted as a quote.
                2. The banks don’t actually loan out the money that they have on deposit – they create new money every time they make a loan.
                3. No, economists don’t actually take this behaviour into account in their models or theories which is one of the reasons why they’re wrong.

              • Lanthanide

                You mean the government isn’t part of the economy and the tax they collect will just sit in a dark dusty vault with creaky doors rather than be spent on running essential services such as hospitals, schools and universities?

          • gristle 1.1.2.1.2

            On this basis beneficiary fraud should be welcomed because 100% of the money will be spent.

            However we find considerably more resources being spent on investigating beneficiary fraud than tax fraud. And the beneficiary fraud level is less than 6% that of tax fraud.

            • left for dead 1.1.2.1.2.1

              However we find considerably more resources being spent on investigating beneficiary fraud than tax fraud. And the beneficiary fraud level is less than 6% that of tax fraud.

              not quite true, but its bad enough. 40/60 spit, that can be confirmed in Hansard when the current Government passed the law criminalizing partners of beneficiary’s ( chester Burrows) with the help of Labour I might add.

              👿

            • Draco T Bastard 1.1.2.1.2.2

              If the reported figures are correct of tax fraud being ~$5,000,000,000 and beneficiary fraud being ~$24,000,000 then beneficiary fraud is about 0.5% of tax fraud. If we did a proper accounting of that I think we’d find that we spend more combating beneficiary fraud than it actually costs us.

          • dave 1.1.2.1.3

            tax evasion is theft evaders should be tried convicted and jailed crime is crime china has the answer for tax evasion
            http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-1239060/China-shot-tax-evasion.html

            • Richard McGrath 1.1.2.1.3.1

              Aren’t we talking tax avoidance here?

              • Lanthanide

                Tax avoidance is merely tax evasion that is presently legal.

                This whole discussion is about where to draw the line between these two concepts – many people (including Hillary Clinton) think that a lot of what multi-national corporations get up should be considered evasion and the laws re-written to reflect that.

              • mac1

                Tax avoidance harm. The following is derived from a paper written by Benedict Prebble.

                http://www.otago.ac.nz/law/research/journals/otago036330.pdf

                “People argue that tax avoidance is victimless. But this is not the case. Society has shared interests and an act can be harmful if it interferes with such interests.Three most serious harms are identified below.

                Revenue loss
                The most obvious harm of tax avoidance is lost state revenue. As a result, either the government cannot provide all the services it would have been able to, or it is forced to increase tax rates to recoup the lost revenue from dutiful taxpayers. Thus revenue loss harms society at large and also individual taxpayers.

                Perceived Unfairness
                Avoidance undermines the public‘s confidence in both the tax system and the law in general. Successful avoidance undermines both the avoider‘s and the honest taxpayer‘s confidence in the system.

                Deadweight Loss
                Tax avoidance can be understood as the reallocation of resources to the avoider from society. Tax avoidance arrangements are generally time consuming and costly to implement, as this requires resources to be diverted away from other productive areas of the economy.

                If everyone engaged in tax avoidance, government would collect less revenue and be forced to increase tax rates to cover the shortfall. After the increase everyone would be in the same position as before they all started to avoid tax, but less the time and resources needed to set up their avoidance schemes.

                Simply because evasion is immoral and illegal, it does not follow that because avoidance is legal, it is also moral.”

                • Richard McGrath

                  So… the only moral course is for everyone to pay the maximum amount of tax possible. Which of course includes spending all one’s disposable income, even going into debt to spend what you don’t have, to maximise the GST you pay to the government. By not spending all your disposable income you are depriving the government of tax revenue, which is tax avoidance. By only working 40 hours a week instead of 60, you are depriving the government of income tax – now that’s definitely avoidance.

  2. b waghorn 2

    Who’s side is national on! It doesn’t seem to be the average kiwi.

    • TC 2.1

      Never have been, history and current behaviour show that.

    • mosa 2.2

      WELL DUH !!!!

    • mosa 2.3

      Mr Key is and was a investment banker no matter how much time he spent growing up in a state house wont change that fact
      He supports and enforces the current economic model that disadvantages hard working low wage kiwis and many others on or below $50.000 a year.
      He talks the talk but doesnt do the walk.

  3. Henry Filth 3

    Until the world has standardized corporate tax rates, the individual taxpayer will continue to subsidize the corporates and their shareholders.

    A level playing field would be nice. But I’m not holding my breath.

    • AmaKiwi 3.1

      Nonsense, Henry Filth.

      Multi-nationals made these tax loopholes. Individual governments can close them.

      Simple example: Multinational X has a global profit of $100 billion. It does 5% of its sales NZ. Therefore NZ requires X to pay NZ corporate tax rate on 5% of $100 billion ($5 billion).

      • Henry Filth 3.1.1

        If the tax rates were the same, there would be no incentive to evade tax, as it would cost the same to pay it in any jurisdiction.

        If there’s no possibility of paying less tax by shifting profit, then there’s no incentive to shift profit.

        Your simple example is just that. Simple. Too simple to work.

        • AmaKiwi 3.1.1.1

          Henry Filth

          “If the tax rates were the same, there would be no incentive to evade tax”

          Some countries have a corporate tax rate of ZERO. Precisely how do you propose to force these sovereign nations to raise their tax rates to a level that is acceptable to you?

          When you answer that question do a Google search on “NZ tax haven” and discover that WE are one of those ZERO tax rate countries for any and all non-NZ residents whose money is earned outside NZ.

          Henry, next time do some research.

          • Henry Filth 3.1.1.1.1

            I see that you don’t argue my point, but simply talk about the difficulties of implementation.

            I agree that getting the US and the various British territories on side will be difficult.

            I fail to understand why someone not resident in NZ should pay NZ tax on non NZ income.

            • Lanthanide 3.1.1.1.1.1

              They shouldn’t pay NZ tax on that income. The point is, they don’t pay any tax on it at all, because it’s hidden from their own government as well, and the NZ trust system is set up in such a way that the foreigners don’t have to tell their government about the existence of the trust, and IRD cannot force them to (unless they are Australians, for whom there are specific rules because the Australian government complained).

  4. Chuck 4

    No one Country can change International tax law, this is why the debate has been going on for decades. NZ is but one small Island, if we decided to rip up International tax treaty laws our own International companies and reputation for investment will suffer greatly. By all means make the corporations pay there far share of tax at source, however it will require a combined effort by member Countries.

    • AmaKiwi 4.1

      Chuck, you are embracing the corporate golden rule: “He who has the gold makes the rules.”

      Try democracy instead: the people make the rules, not the politicians the corporates bought.

    • Lloyd 4.2

      So why wasn’t this a central plank in the TPP?

      • Lanthanide 4.2.1

        Because the TPP was written by the corporates and politicians rubber-stamped it.

  5. adam 5

    When I think of the the tax payers union a few things come to mind

    Professional trolls

    Shrill corporate lackeys

    White boys with small…

    Just another cog in The Tory bastards Dirty Politics Machine

    • Richard McGrath 5.1

      Stereotypes one and all

      • adam 5.1.1

        So you are saying, that the tax payers union is just a typical Tory stereotype.

        Hear, hear.

        I forgot to mention, they seem to be nut job libertarians as well. You know the type, the ones who can’t ever seem to finish wealth of nations.

        • Richard McGrath 5.1.1.1

          No – but it seems anyone who questions the actions or efficiency of our tax masters must conform to the stereotypes you have listed.

  6. Keith 6

    Since the Taxpayer Union IS the National Party, a fictional objective lobby group that is really the National Party’s lobby group (thumbs up to Nicky Hager), then this is what the National Party think.

    Let’s have some grumpy Newstalk ZB type resentment to spur the Nats into targeting dairy owners or trades for not paying their GST!

  7. UncookedSelachimorpha 7

    They are more the union of people who pay less tax than most.

    The moral argument against cash jobs etc is greatly weakened by the fact that the wealthy (in all probability, including FJK) pay far less tax proportional to their income and wealth, than almost everyone else with much less. And in many cases, it is legal for the wealthy to pay less – before any actual illegal evasion.

    Because the very wealthy control so much of the country’s wealth – that is a big hole in the tax take.

    • Draco T Bastard 7.1

      +1

    • No. The top 10% of income earners pay 49% of the tax. Seems like they’re paying more than their share.

      • mac1 7.2.1

        How do NZ wage earners evade $7.4 billion in tax? I’d say the top !0% of income earners have their unfair share of that. It’s $1500 per NZ citizen.

      • Mike S 7.2.2

        When we talk about tax evasion, tax havens, etc we’re usually not talking about salary earners, who your top 10% probably consists of. It is very difficult for a salary or wage earner to avoid paying tax on their income.

        The wealthiest 10% are able to declare little or no income, so don’t pay income tax.

        • Richard McGrath 7.2.2.1

          Not quite – it’s corporations and the self-employed who can lessen their tax burden, who can claim deductions on business related expenditure.

      • UncookedSelachimorpha 7.2.3

        This repeated RWNJ lie again…John Key repeats this one too. This statistic only applies to IRD-declared income (if at all), which is not a measure of true income or wealth, especially when considering the truly wealthy.

        Truly wealthy people have very little declared income (remember, many multi-millionaires have no income at all in the top tax bracket) – and pay far less than their share.

        • Richard McGrath 7.2.3.1

          So… are you suggesting there be a tax on capital and savings as well as income?

        • Richard McGrath 7.2.3.2

          In 2010, 68% of income tax received was paid by the 26% of households earning over $100k p.a., and those earning under $50k p.a. paid no net tax

          http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2011/07/net_taxpayers.html

          • Lanthanide 7.2.3.2.1

            Those figures are long discredited and are merely spin for idiots like yourself to repeat ad-nauseam without bothering to think about them.

            http://pundit.co.nz/content/tax-burdens-some-facts-for-a-change

            How embarrassing that you fell for such simplistic nonsense dressed up as analysis.

            • pat 7.2.3.2.1.1

              +1

            • Richard McGrath 7.2.3.2.1.2

              How embarrassing that you didn’t check that I wasn’t quoting from the right hand column in English’s table of net tax transfers, the one that a few seconds of observation shows doesn’t really make sense. I quoted from the middle column that listed tax paid, and those figures aren’t disputed by Rob Salmond

              • Lanthanide

                and those earning under $50k p.a. paid no net tax

                Why should we listen to anything you say about anything when you don’t even know what you’re saying yourself?

          • pat 7.2.3.2.2

            completely disingenuous….you should be working for English or Farrar….perhaps you do?

            • Richard McGrath 7.2.3.2.2.1

              Ha, no chance of that, I’m currently offshore, paying zero tax to the NZ govt, earning more than I ever thought I would make. Received a hefty refund last month from the Australian Tax Office. So you needn’t worry about me.

      • KJT 7.2.4

        Income tax! Not total tax.

        You have just blown your credibility.

        We also get much more than half of the benefit from our functioning society.

  8. Michael 8

    Of course the “Taxpayers Union” [sic] is “relaxed” about corporate tax dodging: it is nothing more than a front for tax dodgers in the first place.

  9. Muttonbird 9

    The Taxpayers Union seems interested only in how revenue is disbursed, not how it is gathered.

  10. Reddelusion 10

    Multinational in essence only pay tax on value add created here, if everything is produced offshore, manufacturing, raw materials, ip of course revenue may be high but most of the value and cost is created off shore. Example petrol companies, pharmaceutical, i phones etc. Agree constant vigilance is required to ensure transfer pricing is fair but just to focus on revenue is simplistic, I am sure NZ exporters do the same thing Tax haven and global tax harmonisation is another matter re global tax treaties etc, as long as it does not affect our sovereignty and there is a treaty of waitangi out clause (sarc)

    • mickysavage 10.1

      Que? Apple has a cost price and a mark up. They do not sell here out of the goodness of their heart. They sell here because it is very profitable. The amount of tax paid is insulting.

    • maui 10.2

      I might come back as a multi-national then, no need to pay tax in the country I generate my income, just pick ‘n choose, that’s the life. Rewrite business rules as I go, woohoo!

      • I think you should start a multi national, maui. Go on.

        • maui 10.2.1.1

          I think I can take National global, opening party stores in Singapore, and the newly opened markets of Tehran and Myanmar. Key figurines will be a hot item especially with hammer, ponytail, flag and handshake addon accessories. Maurice will be easy, he’s already been a superhero for years.

      • AmaKiwi 10.2.2

        maui – “I might come back as a multi-national then, no need to pay tax in the country I generate my income, just pick ‘n choose, that’s the life.”

        Suppose I or maui start a multi-national company, International Tax Haven Widgets, headquartered in the Tax Haven Islands. International Tax Haven Widgets starts another company to trade in NZ, New Zealand Widgets.

        We make $1 million profit from our NZ operations but low and behold our parent company (International Tax Haven Widgets) bills us $1 million for R&D, market research, use of patents, etc. Now New Zealand Widgets has zero NZ profits and therefore owes no NZ tax.

        What would happen? The IRD would fit us with those shiny stainless steel bracelets and march us off to prison.

        Why doesn’t the IRD do the same with Harvey Norman, Chevron, Exxon, Apple, Google, etc.?

        The worst offenders: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11607279

        • The Chairman 10.2.2.1

          “We make $1 million profit from our NZ operations but low and behold our parent company (International Tax Haven Widgets) bills us $1 million for R&D, market research, use of patents, etc. Now New Zealand Widgets has zero NZ profits and therefore owes no NZ tax.”

          If earnings are less than zero they can claim deferments and losses.

        • Richard McGrath 10.2.2.2

          Good reason to make NZ a tax haven then, isn’t it?

          • Lanthanide 10.2.2.2.1

            Um, no. You quite clearly have a very poor grasp of taxation topics.

            • Richard McGrath 10.2.2.2.1.1

              So better to be the government that misses out on any tax, than the government that receives a small share of the $1M transferred overseas?

              In any case, the money that doesn’t end up being wasted paying no-hopers to breed, locking people up for victimless crimes and funding politicians’ junkets is better spent as capital investment in businesses that employ people and contribute to a general increase in everyone’s standard of living.

              • McFlock

                lol

                So you’re against giving people a reasonable standard of living if you designate them to be “no-hopers”, and would much rather pay capitalists to extract even more from NZ in the dim hope that they’d employ a few people.

              • UncookedSelachimorpha

                …and your real perspective is revealed.

                yuk yuk yuk!

      • Reddelusion 10.2.3

        Thats silly, if you domicile here produce and earn your income here of course you pay tax here, if you export from here, say to au you would only want to pay tax on your mark up in au, not pay tax on your NZ profit twice in au and NZ

  11. One Anonymous Bloke 11

    Lick. Spittle. Yum yum.

  12. saveNZ 12

    Apple are not the only one. It is common practise and should be the first thing to void in international trade agreements, you would think??

    That is unless the trade agreements are written by corporate lobbyists for non tax paying corporates and dumbo politicians with kick backs are keen to sign up in local casinos.

  13. logie97 13

    Television news did not appear to give this item much prominence – wondered why, then realised that TVNZ/TV3 need the advertising dollar, so they are not going to investigate are they…?

  14. Richard McGrath 14

    Somewhere it has been forgotten that these corporations sell NZers things they want, so they do actually do the public a lot of good.

    • weka 14.1

      So if I do a lot of good in my community can I not pay as much tax too?

      • Reddelusion 14.1.1

        Yes if you do it as a charity or you do it at a loss

        • weka 14.1.1.1

          Why not as an individual making normal amounts of money? The principle Richard was espousing appears to be that so long as one is doing good it doesn’t matter if one doesn’t pay the right amount of tax.

      • Richard McGrath 14.1.2

        I’m saying the corporations do a lot of good, satisfying consumer demand, but that is never acknowledged in leftie echo chambers

        • adam 14.1.2.1

          I’m say corporations do a lot of harm, distorting communities, but that is never acknowledged in rightie echo chambers.

          • Richard McGrath 14.1.2.1.1

            Everything “distorts” communities – no-one on the right would dispute that – are you suggesting that any change in a community is a bad thing?

            • Lanthanide 14.1.2.1.1.1

              Yes, “any” change in community is a bad thing, because “any” change encompasses the complete universal set of good changes as well as bad changes. Axiomatically it is easier to destroy than create, so on average “any” change in a community is likely to be bad.

              Maybe you should put more thought into trying to defend your position, because so far you’ve done a very poor job.

    • Incognito 14.2

      Selling drugs to an addict because he/she wants it is not necessarily doing anybody any good except the ones who financially profit from the transaction. Yes, I get your point, thank you.

      • Richard McGrath 14.2.1

        So if selling drugs to an addict benefits no-one but the seller, then giving drugs to an addict surely benefits no-one at all? So opiate substitution programmes, where addicts are given methadone or buprenorphine, do no-one any good?

        • Lanthanide 14.2.1.1

          Wow, you really fail at logic. You think you’re being clever, but you really aren’t.

          I’ll make it easy for you – one of the big negatives for drug users is the price they have to pay for them. Take that big negative away, and obviously all else being equal, this is better for the drug user than when they had to pay for them.

          Your laughable extension to rehabilitation programmes is bizarrely focusing solely on the price component of such programmes, and ignoring that the reason those programmes exist is to help people stop using drugs, not give people drugs for free.

          I sincerely hope you’re deliberately trolling, because otherwise this is just embarrassing.

          • Richard McGrath 14.2.1.1.1

            Not quite right – the aim of drug treatment programmes is to reduce or stop people using illicit drugs. A lot of progress could be made in furthering this aim by legalising all drugs, making them affordable and safer to buy. I specifically mentioned opiate addicts because the most effective treatment still consists of the treatment centre becoming their (legal) drug dealer. I know you view anyone who makes a point you don’t agree with as a troll, but do try not to jump to invalid conclusions.

            • Lanthanide 14.2.1.1.1.1

              You have REALLY poor reading comprehension.

              I said this:

              …the reason those programmes exist is to help people stop using drugs, not give people drugs for free.

              So naturally I entirely agree with this statement you have made:

              the aim of drug treatment programmes is to reduce or stop people using illicit drugs

              Better luck next time, I guess?

        • Incognito 14.2.1.2

          My example was aimed at showing the logical disconnect between “want” and “good” in your comment. Never mind.

    • AmaKiwi 14.3

      Richard McGrath

      “Somewhere it has been forgotten that these corporations sell NZers things they want, so they do actually do the public a lot of good.”

      They sell them to us because it is profitable, not because they are corporate do-gooders. If they were corporate do-gooders, they wouldn’t mind us buying generic medicines. They write the laws that make themselves monopolies.

      With corporate friends like that, who needs enemies.

      • Reddelusion 14.3.1

        lets go back to barter and cottage industries, the world was a lot better then

        • Macro 14.3.1.1

          yes it was

          • Sacha 14.3.1.1.1

            swapping stuff like the internet for a bucolic village life expectancy of 40? should be a doddle to persuade the public.

            • weka 14.3.1.1.1.1

              Probably won’t be so hard once climate change really kicks in. Whatever other comparisons we want to make, they’re all pretty insignificant in the face of the question “was AGW preventable?”.

        • Draco T Bastard 14.3.1.2

          Tell you what, first you find us a tribe/village/nation that has used barter.

          And, no, not all peoples have used money.

      • Richard McGrath 14.3.2

        By “generic” I assume you mean copyright-breaching. Do you think pharmaceutical companies, like the ones Andrew Little shills for, would continue to develop new life-preserving drugs if they couldn’t be assured of a return on their investment?

        • Lanthanide 14.3.2.1

          *No one* has a problem with drug companies earning a fair profit.

          It’s probably also fair to day that the FDA of the USA is an inefficient and overly expensive government agency whose costs end up being borne by the end user. Unfortunately only American citizens have got any real chance of influencing that problem.

          Also by assuming “generic drugs” means “copyright breaching” it shows that you clearly don’t have any basic understanding of the topic you’re talking about. How embarrassing for you.

          • Richard McGrath 14.3.2.1.1

            Your concern for the possible embarrassment felt by others is touching. I do like the way you insert the word “fair” into so many sentences. Such a vague, arbitrary term which can mean whatever you want it to mean.

            As a prescriber of pharmaceuticals I am acutely aware of the meaning of ‘generic’ as opposed to ‘brand’ medicines. Problem is, many generic medicines become available (illegally) before the copyright/patent by the original manufacturer of the drug has lapsed. Once it’s lapsed, access to cheaper generic versions of that medicine is moot – there is no need to purchase more expensive versions of the same medicine. But purchasing generic versions of a product in breach of copyright is a different issue altogether.

            • Lanthanide 14.3.2.1.1.1

              As far as I am aware, Pharmac does not buy ‘illegal’ generics, since that would get them in trouble with the drug companies with whom they need to maintain a good relationship.

              So really all you’ve done here is create a huge distraction and avoided the point that AmaKiwi actually brought up, which is that the drug companies want to use “trade” agreements such as the TPPA to extend the period during which they have a monopoly.

              AmaKiwi’s point is that they sell drugs to make a profit, not because they’re corporate do-gooders.

              You suggest that any corporate that sells products to NZ is a doing a public good, as if that excuses them of any further duty.

              You really are VERY poor at following a thread of an argument.

        • Draco T Bastard 14.3.2.2

          Did you know that 75% of new drugs developed in the US are done so under their Orphan Drugs scheme which subsidises the pharmaceutical companies to the tune of $9,000,000,000 every year?

          Typical US policy is that any research done by US federal grant is public knowledge and anybody can use it. This, though, doesn’t seem to apply to the Orphan Drugs scheme.

  15. Incognito 15

    The self-entitled Taxpayers’ Union is a non-entity and as such does not warrant any attention whatsoever. Why even confirm & justify its existence? The human mind creates and chases illusions like a kitten chases its own shadow. Some guy by the name of Plato wrote some good stuff about shadows.

  16. The Chairman 16

    Not only does this avoidance (transfer pricing) mean that local taxpayers have to pay more, it also puts local companies at a competitive disadvantage.

  17. slumbergod 17

    If multinationals aren’t contributing to society in a meaningful way through tax then let them shut-up shop and leave NZ. They’re not doing their share yet they’re happy to suck money from NZ. The jobs they offer are pathetic and smaller kiwi-owned businesses could easily take up their place.

    • Sacha 17.1

      “smaller kiwi-owned businesses could easily take up their place”

      Yep, all our local phone and computer makers are just gagging for a chance.

      • Draco T Bastard 17.1.1

        Yes, actually, they are. Just because we don’t have such now doesn’t mean that we don’t have the capability to produce them.

        And we’ve had many significant tech manufacturers here and still do.

        • Sacha 17.1.1.1

          I wholeheartedly want more local tech companies, but we are far from self-sufficient in that regard.

          • Draco T Bastard 17.1.1.1.1

            True but even that’s not what we actually need. What we need is government owned manufactories that the local tech companies could then use to manufacture their designs/inventions. That would take care of the scale that people are concerned with while also maintaining competition.

            What I’m talking about here is the extraction of raw materials, processing of them and then turning them into products that are sold on the open market. Those products are designed by the local companies big or small. The capitalists do it all the time where they license or hire other manufacturers to produce their own designs. Like Apple where their products are Designed in the US and Made in China. Hell, it’s even how the US tech industry got started.

            Even Labour won’t do that even though it’s a logical and rational thing to do and would do wonderful things to develop our economy.

  18. ropata 18

    This “Taxpayers Union”‘s solution to tax avoidance/fraud is “lower tax on corporations”?!

    I guess we know who they are really working for

  19. The Taxpayers Union said the problem is usually complex.

    Nothing very complex about proving themselves to be such a bunch of arrogant, hypocritical arseholes totally focussed on keeping Key and his mob in power. That is their true agenda.

    • Richard McGrath 19.1

      Key and his Labour-lite mob support the progressive tax system that lefties advocate, perhaps to a lesser degree, but we will never see a flat income tax with corporate rates equal to individual rates, which would eliminate a lot of tax avoidance and put a few tax accountants out of work.

  20. Captain Feathersword 21

    “The problem is the Government is not enforcing the tax laws properly and if there are loopholes they should be closed. After all the rest of the world is addressing this problem.”

    IMHO I think this is over simplistic. Merchants have been playing tax arbitrage since Rome open the Freeport in Delos to deliberately hurt Rhodes – with Rhodes’ trade catering about 50% in a few years. That was over a 2% change in tax rate.

    2500 years later not much has changed. If the OECD gets “tough” on multinationals (which is what I assume you mean by “all the rest of the world is addressing this problem”) there will be a flood of HQs and capital (trillions I’d suspect) simply being moved to whatever jurisdictions play ball. The lawyers, accountants, etc. will look for the next best loopholes in the OECD’s tax codes until a certain tax threshold is reached and investment will move away.

    Capital, as they say, is only loyal to security and return.

    • Captain Feathersword 21.1

      Sorry that should have read:

      “IMHO I think this is over simplistic. Merchants have been playing tax arbitrage since Rome opened the Freeport in Delos to deliberately hurt Rhodes – with Rhodes’ trade cratering about 50% in a few years. That was over a 2% change in tax rate. “

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  • Electoral law breach allegations
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  • Tax-free deployments for Kiwi troops
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  • A balanced Zero Carbon Bill passed
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  • Week That Was: 2,000 teachers in two years
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