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An Uber Rip Off for Taxpayers

Rt Hon Winston Peters

New Zealand First Leader
21 JANUARY 2015

An Uber Rip Off for Taxpayers

New Zealand First is concerned the Uber ride service and multinational companies like it are using elaborate tax shelters to rip off hard working Kiwi taxpayers. The Party will be closely following the government’s newly announced review of small passenger services.

“Why is it when a multinational with a track record in tax avoidance snaps its big fingers, this government jumps to attention?” asks the Rt Hon Winston Peters, Leader of New Zealand First.

“The plutocrats in National don’t seem to understand that this is as much about tax revenue as it is about public safety.

“Uber’s Dutch operating company, Uber BV, does not pay tax in the UK and is under fire in India for similar concerns so let’s be blunt. If this company wants to operate in New Zealand then it needs to pay its full share of tax just like our taxi drivers, taxi companies and legitimate private hire operators do.

“You can rest assured Uber won’t be paying very much tax over and above GST.

“We need to wake up to the fact that a company based out of the Netherlands is not going to champion ‘the sharing economy’ but its own self-interest. Last December, Reuters said it was valued at US$40 billion ahead of an expected initial public offering.

“As Chartered Accountants Australia New Zealand noted in 2013, ‘New Zealand’s tax base is threatened by foreign multinational companies doing business here and not paying their fair share of tax by shifting profits to jurisdictions where there is more favourable tax treatment’. That’s what we need to work on with other jurisdictions.

“Uber is going down that tax avoidance path of mailbox corporations and holding companies.

“We know there is in New Zealand an estimated $7 billion of tax avoidance both private and corporate but multinationals like Facebook, Google, Apple and now Uber represent the poster companies.

“The ‘next Uber’ will be the room sharing service Airbnb which has been flying underneath the radar but shares a similar tax avoidance strategy.

“New Zealand First wants to enhance services while giving middle-income earners a decent tax cut. You can’t do that if multinationals earn a lot of money here but then contribute very little to the New Zealand tax base in return.

“What’s the point of getting an Uber ride to your hospital if there are no bandages because of corporate tax avoidance? There’s no free lunch,” Mr Peters said.

ENDS


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