Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Oral Question: Inland Revenue Department

Oral Question: Inland Revenue Department--Tax Collection Procedures

Wednesday 16th Jun 1999

Rodney Hide

Media Release -- Economy

9. RODNEY HIDE (ACT NZ) to the Minister of Revenue: Has he any concerns that IRD officers with hardened attitudes may be driving taxpayers to suicide by the over-vigorous pursuit of debt; if not, why not?

Hon. BILL ENGLISH (Minister of Revenue): I am, of course, concerned *about any suggestion that the actions of a Government agency may drive a person to suicide, though I do not accept the assertions at their face value. Some of the taxpayers to whom reference has been made have been pursued by other creditors, as well as by the Inland Revenue Department. In some cases the department has been invited by other creditors to pursue the bankruptcy proceedings on their behalf. Both of these things tell us that these people have been running businesses that have been failing. So that may be a contributing factor to their personal distress.

Rodney Hide: Would the Minister change his answer if he were to learn that it is being claimed that an Inland Revenue Department officer was responsible for five taxpayers killing themselves and that the officer had bragged around the office that this showed how good he was at his job?

Hon. BILL ENGLISH: I would be concerned about any such assertion, but I also suggest to the member that such allegations in no way make it credible. In any number of similar allegations the facts have not stood up to anything like the interpretation the member tends to put on them.

Mark Peck: Is the Minister concerned that the culture within the department is such that taxpayers with problems are having extreme difficulty in getting them resolved; if so, what will the Minister do to ensure that his staff start to treat taxpayers like people?

Hon. BILL ENGLISH: Again I would be concerned if there is a perception of unfairness, or that the department is not dealing with people in an even-handed way. But I also remind the House, as I have with a number of these questions, that the job of collecting tax from those who are reluctant to pay, or from those whose business is failing, is not an easy one. In fairness to all those taxpayers who extend their overdraft, sell stock, or mortgage their house in order to meet their obligations, the Inland Revenue Department has to be firm and consistent with all taxpayers.

Ian Revell: Is the Minister confident that the Finance and Expenditure Committee inquiry will come up with practical recommendations about some Inland Revenue Department attitudes and practices?

Hon. BILL ENGLISH: I am confident that the inquiry will--it is being well chaired. The committee is likely to come up with useful recommendations provided it carefully weighs up the important balances that we need to preserve in the tax system between consistency and discretion, between firmness and fairness. I hope that members of that committee will continue to pursue those issues with the diligence they have and not get too distracted by wild allegations or old vendettas with the department.

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Also, Loan Interest: Productivity Commission On Tertiary Education

Key recommendations include better quality control; making it easier for students to transfer between courses; abolishing University Entrance; enabling tertiary institutions to own and control their assets; making it easier for new providers to enter the system; and facilitating more and faster innovation by tertiary education providers... More>>


Higher Payments: Wellington Regional Council Becomes A Living Wage Employer

Councillor Sue Kedgley said she was delighted that the Wellington Regional Council unanimously adopted her motion to become a Living Wage employer, making it the first regional council in New Zealand to do so. More>>


Scoop Images:
Dame Patsy Reddy Sworn In As Governor-General

This morning Dame Patsy Reddy was sworn in as the New Zealand Realm’s 21st Governor-General. The ceremony began with a pōwhiri to welcome Dame Patsy and her husband Sir David Gascoigne to Parliament. More>>


Ruataniwha: DOC, Hawke's Bay Council Developer Take Supreme Court Appeal

The Department of Conservation and Hawke's Bay Regional Investment Company (HBRIC) are appealing to the Supreme Court over a conservation land swap which the Court of Appeal halted. More>>


With NZ's Marama Davidson: Women’s Flotilla Leaves Sicily – Heading For Gaza

Women representing 13 countries spanning five continents began their journey yesterday on Zaytouna-Oliva to the shores of Gaza, which has been under blockade since 2007. On board are a Nobel Peace Laureate, three parliamentarians, a decorated US diplomat, journalists, an Olympic athlete, and a physician. A list of the women with their background can be found here. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Key Style Of Crisis Management

At Monday’s post Cabinet press conference Key was in his finest wide- eyed “Problem? What problem?” mode. No, there wasn’t really a problem that top MPI officials had been at odds with each other over the meaning of the fisheries policy and how that policy should be pursued... More>>


Mt Roskill: Greens Will Not Stand In Likely Post-Goff By-Election

“The Green Party’s priority is changing the Government in 2017, and as part of that we’ve decided that we won’t stand a candidate in the probable Mt Roskill by-election... This decision shows the Memorandum of Understanding between Labour and the Green Party is working." More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news