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Terrorist tax grabs back Budget assistance

30 June 2004

Terrorist tax grabs back Budget assistance

Business NZ says traders are being singled out to bear the brunt of increased security costs.

Last night Labour and the Greens legislated a new tax on a critical section of the community - the Customs and Excise Act imposes new fees on exporters and importers, to pay for increased border security against terrorist attacks.

Business NZ Chief Executive Simon Carlaw says terrorists don't just attack importers and exporters - everyone is potentially at risk, and the cost of security should be borne by all taxpayers.

"Nor does the Government seem to understand that exporters are often also importers and vice versa.

"The Government has acknowledged that it should have consulted on the issue and intends to move towards a principles-based cost recovery scheme in the future, but for the foreseeable future is requiring importers and exporters to pay for security for all New Zealanders. The costs are substantial - around $16 million a year.

"This $16 million simply recycles a chunk of what the Government proposes to provide for export assistance as arranged in the Budget. Effective export assistance is an efficient export base with minimal compliance costs.

"Business NZ and other organisations in the Travel & Trade Industry Coalition will continue to seek a prompt change towards a fairer system of cost recovery for security costs."

ENDS

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