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A Deal Is A Deal!

28 March 2001 PR 44/01


Federated Farmers of New Zealand President, Alistair Polson today called on the government to withdraw the ill-conceived Maori Reserved Land Amendment Bill. "For the government to take this last minute decision to reduce the fiscal impact by cheating 173 West Coast Lessees out of a third of their compensation is an outrage," he said.

"This is a simple case of government deserting principles of justice and equity. The West Coast lessees have been waiting three years to be able to argue their case before the Land Valuation Tribunal. A small group of farmers should not be obliged to lose tens of thousands of dollars in equity just to make up for officials error. If officials got their estimates wrong that is for officials to resolve. The Government can not save money by denying individuals previously agreed compensation.

In 1998 lessees were given a choice of opting for the complicated formula contained in the schedule of the 1997 Maori Reserved Land Amendment or to wait until January 2001. Those that chose to delay did so knowing full well that any award would not be taxed because the legislation was quite clear. It is no use pretending otherwise. Neither should one pretend that those who elected the schedule mechanism were taxed. Both schemes have the effect of tax factored in to the valuation. Nobody should be taxed twice - let alone be expected to pay an arbitrary and selective capital gains tax.

For the Government to ignore tested and proven tax principles is outrageous. It should send a shiver down the spines of all New Zealanders and the business community to see that Government is prepared to change the basic laws of taxation without warning.

This legislation must be seen for what it is an ill advised, scurrilous, flagrant tax grab and the Minister must withdraw it. The deal made in 1998 must stand.


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