Preventing repeat benefit fraud

October 13th, 2013 at 1:36 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

New measures to crack down on beneficiaries who have previously cheated the system will begin tomorrow.

The ‘low trust client’ rules are aimed at preventing those with a history of benefit fraud from repeated the abuse.

It will apply to people who have been convicted of in the past or had overpayments established following a fraud investigation.

The new law will apply to an estimated 1500 per year, the Government says.

“These people have proven, through their own actions, that they are willing to be dishonest with the welfare system and take money they are not entitled to,” said associate social development minister Chester Borrows.

“With these new measures we will have sensible steps to prevent them repeating this behaviour, such as requiring them to deal face-to-face with a single case manager.”

As with many of the changes in this area, it sounds very sensible and somewhat overdue.

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52 Responses to “Preventing repeat benefit fraud”

  1. Urban Redneck (234 comments) says:

    “requiring them to deal face-to-face with a single case manager.”

    How about making it clear to all beneficiaries that if the knowingly defraud the system they will never be able to receive another cent ?

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  2. jaba (2,146 comments) says:

    this is an abuse of the fraudsters human rights .. so I am in favor

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  3. Michael (912 comments) says:

    The IRD do this already…

    (Just pre-empting some comments.)

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  4. Dennis Horne (2,403 comments) says:

    Clearly the minister does not understand the hardship and humiliation these people face. Why are we making criminals of some people who just want to benefit from others’ work and property? ;)

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  5. srylands (417 comments) says:

    It is just more beneficiary bashing from a far right neoliberal government. All to please its rich mates.

    As an aside, I am bemused that in New Zealand someone who receives welfare is called a “Beneficiary”. Like it is an occupation. I have not seen this anywhere else – like you see press reports, “Fred, a Beneficiary from New Plymouth, was arrested for …”

    In Australia, they would be referred to as “unemployed” or maybe as an “invalid”, but you don’t have this giant amorphous class of people all dependent on the Government with a common name. Why does it bug me? Because it serves to make legitimate the choice of welfare dependency. There is no stigma in stating your occupation as “Beneficiary”. There should be.

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  6. Rex Widerstrom (5,354 comments) says:

    Dealing with a single case manager (albeit not always face to face) should be applied to ALL beneficiaries because it’s actually better for both the beneficiary and the taxpayer.

    A relationship of trust (or mistrust, in the case of dodgy ones) is established, the beneficiary isn’t asked the same questions at every contact by an endless merry-go-round of people, the deeper understanding of the beneficiary gained by the officer allows for faster and better-informed (by judgement, not just facts on a computer)… the benefits (no pun intended) are numerous.

    And in relation to the topic of this post, it’d head off a fair chunk of the fraud before the first occurrence. Instead we have a benefit system that allows the grown up equivalent of “dad said no, so (I’ll borrow my cousin’s ID) and go ask mum”. I thought Rankin, at whose feet many benefit hard-liners still worship) was meant to have fixed all this?

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  7. kiwi in america (2,511 comments) says:

    So srylands fraud is acceptable? A policy like this is devoid of ideology – if you asked 10 random people 9 of them would agree with the government. Why are the left opposed to normal checks and balances? You make an insurance claim, the insurance company wants to make sure the claim is valid. You get caught defrauding insurers and guess what, its harder to get insurance. it’s called consequences. To avoid being a low trust client then play by the rules everyone else plays by.

    That the word beneficiary has become a pseudo occupation in the eyes of the media is an indictment on how the deeply rooted welfare culture has become.

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  8. Manolo (14,086 comments) says:

    The fewer “false” beneficiaries, the better we are. Benefits should be directed to people in real need, the infirm, the weak and the elderly.

    Buggers and scum who milk or cheat the system deserve to be punished.

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  9. slernz (33 comments) says:

    Urban Redneck is right. If someone defrauds the benefit system they should be excluded from receiving a benefit, no arguments. These people are thieves, stealing from hardworking taxpayers like me who has never had a handout.

    The present system is a joke. I know someone who defrauded over $50,000 from welfare yet she is still entitled to more. She was prosecuted and given community service as a punishment and also had to pay back what she had stolen. The princely sum of $10 a week is taken from her benefit as payment for the sum she defrauded. This is no imposition, nor punishment, because it is not her money to start with and whenever she is a bit short she goes to Winz and gets a top up.

    The system is a joke and honest taxpayers bear the brunt.

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  10. DaveG (1 comment) says:

    to Srylands. IM calling you out on your comments about what they are called in Aussie, the term Bludgers, bene’s, the dole and many many more are used over here as well. If you intend to quote wha tis happening in Aussie, please at least be accurate. Most Aussies have a very low tolerance of welfare cheats ,and of bludgers. sure, there is an issue in certain areas, but that does not mean its tolerated.

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  11. srylands (417 comments) says:

    “So srylands fraud is acceptable? ”

    Good grief.

    I though the sarcasm would be immediately obvious in my statement: “It is just more beneficiary bashing from a far right neoliberal government. All to please its rich mates.”

    I am parodying The Standard. Sorry I thought it was kind of obvious. Obviously not.

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  12. srylands (417 comments) says:

    KIA “That the word beneficiary has become a pseudo occupation in the eyes of the media is an indictment on how the deeply rooted welfare culture has become.”

    Yes that was my point exactly. – the use of the collective noun “beneficiary” and the legitimacy handed to welfare recipients by that term – I am suggesting that has become a feature of NZ public discourse that you simply do not see in Australia.

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  13. srylands (417 comments) says:

    >>”srylands (27) Says:
    October 13th, 2013 at 3:28 pm
    It is just more beneficiary bashing from a far right neoliberal government. All to please its rich mates.”<<

    I see this has 8 negative votes. Before it gets 30, please note that it is sarcasm. I won't do it again :-)

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  14. Steve Taylor (211 comments) says:

    I was recently involved in assisting the MSD bring a multiple benefit fraudster to justice for 6 charges http://www.grantnormanking.com/ and http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11128276

    I enquired as to whether he would be able to ever get a benefit again. I was advised that because NZ was a welfare state, he would not be turned down for a benefit if he applied for one, although he would be closely scrutinised. I am assuming these new rules are a part of this scrutiny. He is currently having to pay back nearly $7000.00 to the MSD.

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  15. Yoza (1,914 comments) says:

    I’m pretty sure ‘cracking down’ on benefit fraud is a regular event designed to promote the illusion that something is being inflicted on the ‘less than undeserving’. If it were 150 years ago and this was England we would be transporting these people to Australia.

    The real problem is the superfluous population created by an economic framework which demands a high level of unemployment as a means of placing downward pressure on wages. Nobody should be surprised if a portion of that discarded chunk of the workforce invents dubious means of supplementing their meager incomes.

    As long as we exist within a system that ensures those at the bottom are economically deprived this kind of fraud will occur. Unless a way can be be found to provide an avenue through which these people can escape the drudgery to which they have been condemned, some will seek illegitimate means to achieve this end themselves.

    And I’m fairly sure it has been comprehensively established that white collar criminals are a far greater threat to the tax base than the fraudulent poor.

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  16. slernz (33 comments) says:

    Utter garbage Yoza. Claiming benefits that you are not entitled to is theft. I am a hardworking taxpayer who has never had a handout, but many beneficiaries get more in the hand than I do. This is not right. How can someone who has never worked, often for over 20 years, get more than someone who has always worked? There is a big problem, why work when you can get more on the dole, i ask myself this question often. Why do I work when so many others take the easy way out and freeload off hardworking Kiwi taxpayers.

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  17. OneTrack (3,237 comments) says:

    “I am parodying The Standard. Sorry I thought it was kind of obvious. Obviously not.”

    Yes, it was :-)

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  18. OneTrack (3,237 comments) says:

    Yoza -What happened to “to each according to his need”. Are you just happy for people to rip off the state or does everybody “need” a 55inch television and a new car? Do we expect when The Greens get in that they will remove any benefit fraud investigations and will just give people whatever they say they are due.

    Russel has got a really big printer, right?

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  19. Yoza (1,914 comments) says:

    Unemployment benefits are not ‘…the easy way out. Most really struggle to exist.

    You are also evading the point that is glaringly obvious, yet studiously ignored – it does not matter how odiously benefit fraudsters are punished they are not going anywhere. ‘They’ exist as a means through which established interests allow you to measure your worth.

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  20. liarbors a joke (1,069 comments) says:

    “They’ exist as a means through which established interests allow you to measure your worth.”

    What a crock…

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  21. bhudson (4,741 comments) says:

    ‘They’ exist as a means through which established interests allow you to measure your worth.

    They’ll exist in far greater numbers if a Labour/Greens/Mana/NZF monstrosity is able to gain the treasury benches and starts rolling out the ‘living wage’ programme.

    Which really goes to show how little Labour/Greens/Mana/NZF measure their worth.

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  22. Colville (2,300 comments) says:

    Yoza.

    Unemployment benefits are not ‘…the easy way out. Most really struggle to exist

    You dont seem to want to understand that this thread is not about “most”, it is about 1500 across all of New Zealand.

    This thread is about 1500 utter scum who make it hard for the ones that do need a helping hand, the 1500 who lie cheat and steal and make life harder than it needs to be by reinforcing the public perception that ALL benificaries are lying cheating scum.

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  23. Colville (2,300 comments) says:

    Yeah lets bring on a minimum wage of $18.40 and we will have another 100,000 on the dole.
    I suppose it will be the only growth industry under a Cuntliffe govt.

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  24. bhudson (4,741 comments) says:

    No problem Colville. He’ll legislate them cheaper power to make up for it.

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  25. itstricky (1,904 comments) says:

    And I’m fairly sure it has been comprehensively established that white collar criminals are a far greater threat to the tax base than the fraudulent poor.

    Yep, was covered six months ago or so in various media. Funnily enough not really mentioned on KB at all.

    Here’s some random stats. quotes that I’m not defending but mearly repeating:

    Two-thirds of New Zealand’s richest people are not paying the top personal tax rate
    Inland Revenue has found that 107 out of 161 “high-wealth individuals” who own or control more than $50 million worth of assets declared their personal income in the last financial year was less than $70,000
    The multimillionaires used a variety of 6,800 tax-planning devices – such as companies, trusts and overseas bank accounts – to avoid paying tax. One had a network of 197 entities.
    Dr Littlewood estimated that up to $36 trillion was hidden in tax havens around the world.
    But even after that change, the IRD continues to claw back hundreds of millions of dollars in extra tax from the super rich – $89 million in the 2012/13 financial year so far.

    Reckon that benefit fraud even gets anywhere near $89 million a year? … ?

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  26. itstricky (1,904 comments) says:

    And if it’s not immediately obvious, do you want a bet that those 107 individuals are scamming away more than 1500 unemployed people?

    If you want to talk about “taking the easy way out and freeloading off hardworking Kiwi taxpayers” then this is a much bigger fish.

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  27. bhudson (4,741 comments) says:

    itstricky,

    And how many Labour MPs have family trusts to squirrel their wealth away? Hell even Nicky Hager is the beneficiary of a trust if Whale is to be believed, so you can’t even expect much help from the Greens or Mana on that one.

    Then there is David Shearer with his offshore bank account…

    You’ll get a lot of bluster about the wealthy, but very little in tangible change from the current opposition when it comes to legitimate tax structures that they use themselves.

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  28. Nookin (3,473 comments) says:

    Isticky

    Until a government makes it compulsory to organise one affairs to ensure maximum liability there will always be estate planning structures which have the effect of minimising tax. So long as tax avoidance is not the raison d’etre of the structure and it is commercially explicable there is nothing wrong with it. Tax evasion is another matter altogether and you will find that IRD is very enthusiastic in its pursuit of tax evaders. You will also find that the penalties are substantial.

    This issue, however, is not just about the tax base. It is all about fraud. If you want to excuse fraud because money lost as a result can be recovered from rich pricks, go for it. It won’t get you elected.

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  29. itstricky (1,904 comments) says:

    So, let’s keep ignoring it and instead focus on some small time crims?

    Talk about low hanging fruit and lack of ambition.

    Labour talk about a CGT now, despite the fact that many of their MPs would be negatively affected by implementation of one. Bring it on, I say.

    Eewww, it’s all wrong, bad for the economy, zanny, loony etc… KB says.

    At least there’s someone putting it out at last. Pity those 107 people will use every lobby in their power to make sure it never happens.

    Either way, it has nothing to do with the political affiliations of those who cheat the system.

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  30. bhudson (4,741 comments) says:

    Labour talk about a CGT now, despite the fact that many of their MPs would be negatively affected by implementation of one. Bring it on, I say.

    Because they know it’s just a general tax hike itstricky.

    Taxing all investment (other than the art & precious jewels of their friends of course) the same will not make an ounce of difference to peoples’ investment decisions. Throwing a 15% CGT on them will eventually raise some cash for them to spray around though.

    To them it is the same as adding a couple of percent onto the income tax rate. (Just hidden under some disingenuous rhetoric of course.)

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  31. itstricky (1,904 comments) says:

    This issue, however, is not just about the tax base. It is all about fraud. If you want to excuse fraud because money lost as a result can be recovered from rich pricks, go for it.

    I have aaaabbbsolutelllly no idea what you are going on about. You’re saying because it’s tax evasion (and avoidance to a lesser degree) is just as fraudulent. Those 107 people are all grown ups. I expect they can afford a calculator. I expect they are “kind of brainy” given the amount of money they have. I expect they know how much tax they _should_ be paying. But they’re not. And not paying money when you know you should is exactly morally equivalent to stealing. I don’t imagine you can argue the semantics of that.

    The scale of this fraud is many times greater than the lowly unemployed fraudster.

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  32. Jafa (38 comments) says:

    Yoza said “And I’m fairly sure it has been comprehensively established that white collar criminals are a far greater threat to the tax base than the fraudulent poor.”

    According to you its only white collar criminals that are a threat to the tax base. Hmm, what about all those tradespeople doing cash jobs? Just who has “comprehensively established” this so called evidence based supposition of yours?

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  33. itstricky (1,904 comments) says:

    Taxing all investment (other than the art & precious jewels of their friends of course)

    What’s that? Que? Sorry – I just got some sort of reverse Deja Vu effect, “rich pricks protecting their rich mates” et al. Okay, back to the play:

    To them it is the same as adding a couple of percent onto the income tax rate.

    You’re lost me. I must admit I’m a bit slow but I don’t understand your statements they way they are expressed above.

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  34. itstricky (1,904 comments) says:

    Hmm, what about all those tradespeople doing cash jobs?

    I imagine the tax that falls through the gaps here is also of an order of magnitude greater than that of the unemployed fraudster. But here were are again, wa-ing on about those evil low lifes, ripping the system off…

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  35. bhudson (4,741 comments) says:

    itstricky,

    The point is this: Labour’s claim that adding CGT to investment properties will help to cool down the property market is arrant nonsense as their CGT will apply to almost all investments, not just property. (I say almost, because Labour are going to exempt the art and personal jewelry collections of their dear friends – the liberal well-to-do. You know the ‘chardonnay socialists’ that have been the backbone of this Labour party since the 90s.)

    Their CGT is nothing more than a general grab at income. It will not discriminate between investments, therefore will not shift investment behaviour (as they claim it will.) It is the same as hiking up income tax rates, but covered with a thin and false veneer of steering people away from property investment.

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  36. bhudson (4,741 comments) says:

    I expect they know how much tax they _should_ be paying.

    That being exactly the same as the amount they are obliged to pay, structuring their affairs legally.

    And not paying money when you know you should is exactly morally equivalent to stealing.

    Well quite. But even your article indicates that most of them are paying what they should.

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  37. Psycho Milt (2,419 comments) says:

    The real problem is the superfluous population created by an economic framework which demands a high level of unemployment as a means of placing downward pressure on wages. Nobody should be surprised if a portion of that discarded chunk of the workforce invents dubious means of supplementing their meager incomes.

    These two sentences, while a succinct, accurate and perceptive assessment of the problem, don’t assist the government with using “cracking down on beneficiaries” as a tool to draw attention from unpopular aspects of its programme – and therefore can be dismissed as irrelevant for the purposes of a Kiwiblog comments thread. The important (to the government) message is that bludgers are committing fraud!

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  38. itstricky (1,904 comments) says:

    I say almost, because Labour are going to exempt the art and personal jewelry collections of their dear friends – the liberal well-to-do. You know the ‘chardonnay socialists’ that have been the backbone of this Labour party since the 90s.

    Sorry, another reverse Deja Vu moment. For a second I was sure that those rich pricks were funding the National party again. I must have been dreaming.

    It is the same as hiking up income tax rates, but covered with a thin and false veneer of steering people away from property investment.

    Sorry? Tell me again – will Labour MPs have to fork out more tax on investments or not? If so, does the rest of what you are going on about matter?

    That being exactly the same as the amount they are obliged to pay, structuring their affairs legally.

    I can’t tell from that string of quotes whether we are talking about avoidance or evasion. Avoidance is mearly morally wrong. Evasion is legally wrong. The fact that the IRD are going after them means it is probably evasion, not avoidance. If you look at the numbers it is significantly more money than 1500 unemployed fraudsters would steal in a year. I’m mearly questioning why we are are talking about unemployed bludgers again rather than talking about the far more profitable (if you can catch them) employed bludgers.

    How would you conduct your management of NZ Inc. bhudson? In your restructuring would you pick off tiny little small fry costs from the edges or go for the big meaty costs in the middle first?

    (Incidentally, I think the treating of a Country like it is a business is royally wrong. But you get the picture)

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  39. bhudson (4,741 comments) says:

    In your restructuring would you pick off tiny little small fry costs from the edges or go for the big meaty costs in the middle first

    I think you’ll find they’re doing both. And that makes sense.

    Avoidance is mearly morally wrong.

    No it isn’t. People are under no legal or moral obligation to structure their affairs to pay more tax than legally necessary. Which is why your moral equivalence to stealing fails.

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  40. itstricky (1,904 comments) says:

    I think you’ll find they’re doing both. And that makes sense.

    I haven’t seen much reference to picking off the tax evaders in the middle or upper income brackets at all. Just endless articles with snaps of Paula and her latest blast on the low-lifes who are nicking all our tax dollars.

    Again, what would you do?

    Avoidance is mearly morally wrong.
    No it isn’t. People are under no legal or moral obligation to structure their affairs to pay more tax than legally necessary. Which is why your moral equivalence to stealing fails.

    My anology was with evasion, which is where the article tends to suggest the losses are. This is because the IRD are pursuing them. They wouldn’t bother if it was avoidance. Or rather, they would leave it to the legal beagles.

    Regardless, I do believe avoidance is morally incorrect.

    If a slab of Whitaker’s Peanut Slabs fell off the back of a truck tomorrow, would you haul it back to your place and gouge yourself, or ring the cops?

    If the NZ Herald forgot to stop one of it’s free sample paper deliveries to your house, you knew it, and consiciously decided to do nothing about it, are you stealing?

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  41. publicwatchdog (2,855 comments) says:

    Will this apply to ‘corporate welfare’ beneficiaries?

    Penny Bright

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  42. UpandComer (537 comments) says:

    Those people worth 50 mill or more are much better at using their money then the Labour govt. Every dollar we keep from Russell and Cunliffe in the coming years will be a good dollar. Here’s the difference yoza, people worth 50 million or more probably have dragged up at least 100 people earning from $150k down to the min wage in their productive enterprises. They’re sovereign, independent individuals – that’s why Left governments hate and distrust them, because they have freedom and aren’t subject to control. A beneficiary fraudster is a key labour voter – utterly dependant on that nice kind well intentioned Labour govt who just sends them a cheque and leaves them in the dark. I’m astounded that this National govt is the first in decades to actually learn every beneficiaries name. But I digress, why should I or anyone else have to work from Monday morning through until Wednesday paying for your and your ilk’s fool ideas and stupid philosophies? reckon those 3 days before we get any of our wages is paying for the privilege of having roads and cough great schools cough. Jack Levosa with his MBE education is the kind of guy Labour hates. As always, National takes the right approach to high net worth individuals, working with them realistically to have them pay more tax, whilst understanding that you don’t structure an economy around the CEO of Westpac and Telecom. The economic framework doesn’t create welfare dependency – keep telling yourself that Yoza.

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  43. kiwi in america (2,511 comments) says:

    Itstricky
    You have made a big thing about tax avoidance by the wealthy. If you were so concerned about it then why did Labour not do anything about it in the 9 years they were in office. Various studies have shown that lower flatter tax rates and the absence of punitive taxes on wealth creation and generational bequeathing are the best tools in killing off evasion – mostly because the cost of elaborate structures becomes not worth it. Punitive ‘rich prick’ taxes invite avoidance and history has shown that the more socialist minded governments seek to expropriate wealth, the more the wealthy find a myriad of ways to hang on to it – the most extreme being in Soviet Russia, Cuba and Venezuela etc where people cash up when the writing is on the wall and where taking the lot out of the country became the norm thus depriving the do gooding governments of ANY of the assets they were seeking to expropriate. Class warfare invites ‘war time’ defensive measures. Sweden learned this the hard way. It’s high and multiple taxes to feed its vast welfare state drove its wealthy and job creating entrepreneurs offshore leaving the various progressive Swedish governments to tax the large legacy companies like Volvo. Sweden got away with it for longer than most high tax super welfare states because Swedish industry profited vastly from WW2 (sale of ball bearings to all participants) and Sweden had zero war related costs so it emerged in the 1950s with an already vibrant growing economy that boomed even more in the post war expansion. After decades of atrophied economic growth, Swedes could no longer feed the welfare state monster and responded by cutting taxes, regulations and paring back entitlements. The result: expat entrepreneurs returned and they are the generators of new jobs and wealth that now is taxed in Sweden and not the UK or Switzerland with the result that Sweden rode out the GFC better than almost every other country.

    If you attack the wealthy they won’t go down without a fight and yes they will indulge in avoidance behaviour – behaviour that most governments of 1st world countiries realize they have limited tools to fight. Wherever CGTs are introduced they don’t achieve their stated intention (reducing house price inflation – look at UK and Australian house prices for an example of continued unaffordable housing despite a CGT).

    CGT’s have never anywhere in the world ever raised the tax revenue their proponents promised. This is because all exempt the most politically sensitive property – that being the family home. Secondly due to political lobbying, CGT’s are infested with revenue leaching exemptions undermining the tax base. Third – they are ripe for avoidance as all kinds of properties become classified as somebody’s ‘home’. They become devilishly complicated and costly to administer and the stated aim of tax equality is never reached. The loopholes and complexity are rarely exploited by low income earners as only the wealthy can afford the accountants and lawyers to structure their affairs to avoid the tax thus enriching these professions even more.

    CGT’s fall disproportionately on the poor and smallest business owners who can least afford it. Most working class families have only one major asset and that’s the family home. It is not uncommon when parents die for the ownership to pass to one or more of the children – if they cannot move into the home then it is usually rented. Then when it is sold as a rental it is subject to CGT. Ditto for small business. Almost all were built from nothing and then are sold as a going concern to fund some of the proprietors retirement. If a CGT is introduced then it must be factored into the value of the business reducing its value and so it acts as a pernicious tax on the hard work of the owner. Large businesses and the wealthy will not feel the sting of the CGT nearly as much. As is often the case with centre-left parties, they proclaim concern for the poor but enact well-meaning policies that end up hurting the poor more.

    CGTs distort markets by incentivising owners of assets caught in the regime to never sell their assets. This keeps businesses and certain properties caught by the tax from coming on the market bidding up the price of those that do come to market thus defeating goal of reducing price barriers to entry to say the residential property market. The freedom to buy and sell particularly business assets is an integral part of the market economy. Newer technologies and more entrepreneurial people can extract better profits (that can be used to expand a business and hire more workers) by buying an asset making it available for a higher and better use than the current owner. A CGT puts the brakes on the sale of such assets trapping them in the less productive owner’s hands and gumming up the normal ebb and flow of asset use. This has a dampening effect on wider economic activity.

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  44. Psycho Milt (2,419 comments) says:

    If you were so concerned about it then why did Labour not do anything about it in the 9 years they were in office.

    Itstricky was a cabinet minister in the last Labour government? I didn’t realise – which one was he (or she)?

    If you attack the wealthy they won’t go down without a fight and yes they will indulge in avoidance behaviour…

    Funny – tbat’s exactly the kind of self-serving bullshit welfare fraudsters use to convince themselves they’re morally justified in what they’re doing.

    Third – they are ripe for avoidance as all kinds of properties become classified as somebody’s ‘home’.

    Yep – just ask Bill English. There’s a bloke who’s ripped off the taxpayer more than a townful of beneficiaries. Which is one reason none of the ‘bludgers’ take it seriously when Nat cabinet ministers want to pontificate at them about morality.

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  45. bhudson (4,741 comments) says:

    itstricky,

    Again, what would you do?

    Both. Which, as I pointed out, this govt is doing.

    My anology was with evasion, which is where the article tends to suggest the losses are.

    No, the excerpt you posted from the article was clear that the author believes that most (but certainly not all) structures are legal and therefore tax minimization, not evasion. It is true, and was pointed out, that IR are going after evaders, but they were clearly a minority of that group.

    The author wanted to conflate legal tax minimization structures with a moral obligation to pay and therefore also hint at the moral equivalence with stealing. They are wrong.

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  46. itstricky (1,904 comments) says:

    You have made a big thing about tax avoidance by the wealthy.

    No I made a thing about evasion (which is illegal) based on the fact that the IRD would directly chase that. Avoidance is separate.

    If you were so concerned about it then why did Labour not do anything about it in the 9 years they were in office.

    I said it was good that Labour were talking about CGT and now I am on the Labour list? Que? How about – what have National done about it in the past six years? Yet every six months I see a photo op. For Paula telling all how she has stabbed a couple of bennies with her stealy knife and saved us two bucks annually.

    Various studies have shown that lower flatter tax rates and

    Interesting however both your arguments/propositions seems to be indirectly infering that ‘rich pricks’ _are_ dodgy by nature and that to cure them we must give them more money by lowering their tax burden. Not exactly the way I would teach a child to do the right thing nor, dare I say, something that would go down well on KB if we were talking about unemployed fraudsters rather than multimillionare fraudsters. As Psyhco Milt has above – that is the same sort of self-interested justification for a moral wrong that would have commentators howling with rage.

    Either way I mearly mentioned CGT as bhudson pushed the button first. I am more interested in asking why we do not chase the big fish more than the little fries. No answers to that yet (apart from self serving justifications as to why we should not)

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  47. itstricky (1,904 comments) says:

    Both. Which, as I pointed out, this govt is doing

    Do you have any links suggesting they are cracking down on evasion? I can Google six Paula photo ops. In the blink of an eye.

    My interpretation of the article suggests evasion based on the fact that the IRD had exact and direct involvement and quoted figures on how much they had returned. That amount makes 1500 unemployed fraudsters seem like petty cash box crims. Yes it is true that the author may have exagurated avoidance to write a good story but that does not change the fact that avoidance is morally wrong. From this I can tell where you stand on the ‘fell off the back of a truck’ question…

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  48. bhudson (4,741 comments) says:

    itstricky,

    I am more interested in asking why we do not chase the big fish more than the little fries. No answers to that yet

    Sorry that the facts inconveniently undermine your ‘good’ story.

    http://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/dunne-1170-tax-evasion-cases-nearly-200m-two-years

    “I trust these figures will end the bizarre fiction from Labour that the Government is tough on welfare fraud, but soft on tax evasion,” Mr Dunne said.

    As I said, the govt is going after both.

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  49. kiwi in america (2,511 comments) says:

    Psycho Milt
    Labour had 9 years to pursue the policies itstricky says they now stand for. Why didn’t they chase tax evasion properly when they had the chance. There’s a big difference between legitimate tax avoidance that is within the law and benefit fraud which is illegal activity. Tax evasion is lillegal and needs to be chased and punished and, as Peter Dunne pointed out, National have been better at chasing white collar evasion than Labour ever was.

    At least Bill English is actually from a place a long way from Wellington and spend so much time in Wellington that he needed a home away from home. Contrast that with Labour Cabinet Minister Marion Hobbs who claimed a second home when she actually was the MP for Wellington Central. I never heard her name come up in your condemnation.

    Neither of you addressed the long list of major problems associated with CGTs. That’s because the CGT is part of Labour/Greens class warfare rhetoric for political points scoring and raising more taxes to pay off the pledges Cunliffe made to the unions and the hard left of th Labour membership and have little to do with affordable housing and equity.

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  50. The Scorned (719 comments) says:

    As taxed money is really stolen money then what we have is legalized thieves being robbed by private sector thieves….the poor old taxpayer is still a victim either way.

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  51. itstricky (1,904 comments) says:

    Sorry that the facts inconveniently undermine your ‘good’ story

    Sorry? Like KIA you seem to equate saying that CGT was something that Labour are bringing to the table automatically makes me a Labour lister? Que? There is no story – I am asking where the policy announcements are about targettng the big fish tax evaders.

    The provided link shows none of that BTW. Just some stats saying we collected $X mill this year. Where are the Government press releases about policy to target tax fraud? Paula seems to get her ones heard quite well.

    It would be good to see how much the IRD collected in tax fraud for a period of years. You might find the only reason it has gone up is because the economy is improving not because of any law change by the Government.

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  52. itstricky (1,904 comments) says:

    as Peter Dunne pointed out chasing white collar evasion than Labour ever was

    So you are in posession of the stats for the last 10 years then? Can you post them?

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