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Speech: Katene - Consequential Rate Alignment, Tax

Taxation (Consequential Rate Alignment and Remedial Matters) Bill 2009
Thursday 26 November 2009
Rahui Katene, Finance Spokesperson for the Maori Party

I want to take a very brief call to raise three points of particular interest to the Maori Party in this Taxation legislation.

The first is that the Bill defines forestry business to include Permanent Forest Sink Initiative activities so that all foresters receive same tax treatment.

It is of course, highly appropriate to be considering this legislation in the light of the new Emissions Trading Scheme passed into law last evening.

The Maori Party was proud to advocate for the creation of large-scale permanent forests to breathe new life into an environment that has often been taken for granted.

Planting permanent forests is an intrinsic good in its own right; And but of course it will also reduce the amount of money taxpayers pay to meet this country’s financial obligations under the Kyoto Protocol.

The afforestation provision that the Maori Party negotiated as part of the ETS amended legislation will enable iwi to plant permanent forests on Crown land and in return, accrue carbon credits.

The Permanent Forest Sinks Initiative encourages indigenous tree planting by issuing Assigned Amount Units for carbon uptake.

We have also asked for a review of the initiative with particular emphasis on the impacts on land owners. A review of the Permanent Forest Sinks Initiative would increase the incentives for all land owners to plant trees

So we are pleased, in the interests of equity and fairness, that the inclusion of the Permanent Forest Sink Initiative in this Bill means that all foresters receive the same tax treatment.

The second point we want to raise, is the amendment to ensure that GST is payable on the waste levy imposed by the Waste Minimisation Act.

The Maori Party supported every stage of the Waste Minimisation Bill as it was taken through this House by former members, the late Rod Donald and Nandor Tanczos.

Our policy position acknowledged that waste disposal can damage and destroy the mauri, the life essence of our land by reducing or destroying the life supporting capacity of soils.

The establishment of a waste levy incentivises us all to try to think carefully about the amount of waste we take to the landfill. It encourages us to recycle, to reuse, to repair, to respect, to replace.

We in the Maori Party believe that peoples have a fundamental right to clean air, land, water and food. This means being protected from the production, release and disposal of toxic and hazardous waste, and it also brings with it the collective responsibility to ensure that we use the resources of the earth in ways that preserve the planet for current and future generations.

So we are pleased to support the amendment to provide that GST is payable on the waste levy imposed by the Waste Minimisation Act 2008 as part of the long term plan to protect our environment.

Finally, we want to note the importance of the amendment to the definition of associated persons in the Goods and Services Act 1985.

The definition for “associated persons” will be amended to ensure that the activities of charitable and non-profit bodies that do not involve the supply of goods and services in exchange for payment, such as collecting or making donations, are not performed for profit and are thus not subject to GST rules.

We really support this move which is another significant step in reducing the barriers that can get in the way of enabling the not-for-profit sector to continue to contribute so significantly to the wellbeing of our communities.

We therefore are pleased to support this Bill.

ENDS

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