Maybe Labour should look closer to home

The Herald reports:

Thousands of employers have been failing to pay Kiwisaver contributions building up more than $20 million in KiwiSaver debt to workers.

wants them chased down with the urgency used when workers or beneficiaries owe money.

Inland Revenue figures show 11,241 employers had KiwiSaver debt totalling $24.9m at the end of June.

That debt includes $12.32m in contributions taken from workers’ pay packets, $9.34m in employer contributions and $3.24m in penalties and interest.

Employee contributions not passed on to Inland Revenue by employers are guaranteed by the Government.

However, the $9.34m in unpaid employer contributions must be chased up by Inland Revenue and there are no guarantees of payment.

Labour’s finance spokesman Grant Robertson said the entitlements were hard-earned.

“Employers not paying their fair share threatens to further undermine confidence in the retirement scheme after National has spent years hacking away at it.

“It is not a small amount to workers and will grow considerably after decades earning interest.

“Inland Revenue is quick to chase workers and beneficiaries that owe money. [Revenue Minister Michael Woodhouse] should direct it to chase defaulting employers with the same rigour.”

I agree that IRD should vigorously pursue employers who fail to pass on to IRD deductions taken off their staff. Here’s one example of an abusive employer from 2010:

One of New Zealand’s largest unions, , owes IRD over $130,000 including over $36,000 in meant to be paid on behalf of its employees.

The union’s accounts, which can be publicly viewed through a Government website, shows Unite’s liabilities exceeded its assets by over $170,000 for the year ended March 2009.

A further $57,630 is owed to the Government tax collector for GST.

Unite head Matt McCarten admitted to BusinessDay this afternoon that the union owed money to IRD and said the union was “keen” to pay.

He said it was “not that much in the great scheme of things”.

I’m sure Grant would agree this is a great example of a bad employer who should be pursued by the IRD. They trivialise their offending by saying $170,000 isn’t much in the great scheme of things.

Incidentally isn’t this bad employer in another job now? Who is he now working for?

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