Government names members of tax working group
The government has named the members of the tax working group charged with reviewing the fairness, structure and balance of New Zealand's tax system with the first meeting scheduled for late January.
Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Revenue Minister Stuart Nash announced the group – chaired by former Finance Minister Michael Cullen – which includes Craig Elliffe, a professor at the University of Auckland and Joanne Hodge, former tax partner at Bell Gully. It also includes Kirk Hope, chief executive of Business New Zealand, Nick Malarao, a senior partner at Meredith Connell and Geof Nightingale, a partner at PwC New Zealand.
Other members include Robin Oliver, former deputy commissioner at Inland Revenue, Hinerangi Raumati, chair of Parininihi ki Waitotara, Michelle Redington, head of group taxation and insurance at Air New Zealand, Bill Rosenberg, economist and director of policy at CTU and Marjan Van Den Belt, assistant vice chancellor (Sustainability) at Victoria University of Wellington.
"We've got a good mix of people on the working group – from tax experts and academics to people with private sector, union and Maori community expertise. The working group is tasked with looking at how we can make our tax system fairer for all and the diversity in this team makes it well placed to do that," Nash said.
In November, Robertson announced the terms of reference for the group, which will come up with an interim report by September 2018 and a final report by February 2019, which will be then used to inform the government's policy direction at the next general election.
It will report on whether the tax system operates fairly in relation to taxpayers, income, assets and wealth; whether the tax system promotes the right balance between supporting the productive economy and the speculative economy; whether there are changes to the tax system which would make it fairer, balanced and efficient, and whether there are other changes which would support the integrity of the income tax system, having regard to the interaction of the systems for taxing companies, trusts, and individuals.
Increasing the income tax rate or the rate of GST, an inheritance tax and any changes that would apply to the taxation of the family home or land under it are outside of its scope.
The government campaigned on establishing the working group, having dropped its policy favouring a capital gains tax to deal with massive gains in house prices after former leader Andrew Little judged it was part of the reason for Labour's losses at both the 2011 and 2014 elections.