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Tax Apartheid Illegal--Peters

21 May 2002

The Taxation (Annual Rates, Maori Organisations, Taxpayer Compliance and Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill currently before the Finance and Expenditure Select Committee, which will mean that Maori Trusts will only be liable for 19.5% tax rates is of serious concern to New Zealand First on moral, legal and constitutional grounds.

New Zealand First will also be requesting that members of the committee who have a pecuniary interest in Maori trusts and agencies stand down from the committee for the Bill’s hearing.

“Morally it is questionable that a particular group be able to pay less tax because of their race. It doesn’t take a PhD in philosophy to see that this is racial preference and racial discrimination of the worst kind. South Africa at the height of Apartheid didn’t have a separate tax system for blacks, whites and coloureds—but now we have legislation in front of us which would do just that.

“Legally this type of legislation would impinge on the Human Rights Act and the Race Relations Act. We would in effect be asking IRD to contravene their own stated objectives and to act as some sort of racial judge.

“Constitutionally it is questionable for one group to gain racial favour. If we are to believe the Treaty of Waitangi requires Maori be accorded the same rights and protections as non-Maori then clearly this is not the case with this legislation.

“New Zealand First maintains that all should be equal in legislation regardless of race,” concluded Mr Peters.

ENDS

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