TJN Admin ■ Guest blog: Long Overdue Arrival of “Tax Justice Aotearoa New Zealand”

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We are delighted to bring you this announcement from TJANZ, and to welcome them wholeheartedly to the growing global family of tax justice organisations:

Tax Justice Aotearoa New Zealand (TJANZ) has just been launched in Wellington. As a partner of the international Tax Justice Network, we will provide a voice for progressing tax justice in New Zealand. This blog introduces TJANZ, explains its goals and how it can contribute to making NZ and the world a fairer and better place.

Our recent launch on 13 August was well attended by 120 people. The presentations primarily focused on tax havens, of which NZ is a minor but surprisingly real example. Our current law has a measure of secrecy and permissiveness that enables some very questionable business practices.

At the launch we talked about both why we had decided to form a tax justice organisation and where we had got so far. A range of people put their names forward to help in different ways.

Our group members at this stage include people from major unions, Oxfam, academia, public health, other professional organisations and those who are deeply concerned about how easy it is to deprive our country of much needed tax revenue. We are all committed to working towards a fairer tax system.  There are also those who are concerned with the irony of NZ being perceived as the least corrupt country in the world – while still being a de facto tax haven which enables dodgy (even criminal) corporate activities internationally.

TJANZ will cover a wide range of tax areas at local, national and international tax levels, including taxes with environmental, equity, health, human rights and other common good implications.

Our activities will be relatively modest to begin with, but may become more ambitious: from the basics of communication and information, we hope to develop roles in advocacy, campaigns and research.

The goals proposed at this stage:

  1. To bring about the complete end of Aotearoa New Zealand as a tax haven
  2. To advocate for fairness and reduction of inequalities, both in New Zealand and internationally
  3. To significantly reduce corporate tax avoidance and evasion

Work so far

Three weeks ago we made a submission on issues relating to beneficial ownership of corporate entities in Aotearoa New Zealand. The Government has called for discussion on proposed requirements for details of beneficial ownership of companies to be publicly available. We endorse these proposals, but argue that such transparency requirements be extended to trusts, a plea we reiterated in a meeting with the relevant government Minister.

Next on our agenda is advocacy on a draft report due in September on changes to Aotearoa’s domestic tax system.

For information on Tax Justice Aotearoa New Zealand TJANZ please visit our fledgling website: taxjustice.nz.

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