Stuart Nash is riled by shortfall in the tax take – but there’s a shortfall in his statement, too

"We're not missing a million somethings here, are we?"

“We’re not missing a million somethings here, are we?”

Stuart Nash’s grand-dad was Walter Nash, who served as the country’s 27th Prime Minister in the Second Labour Government from 1957 to 1960.

Walter is credited with being highly influential, too, in his role as Minister of Finance in the First Labour Government.

But the Nash financial genes seems to have been watered down before reaching Stuart.

Or maybe he was a bit lax when he authorised the release of a press statement aimed at throwing borax at we Nats.

The statement has an attention-grabbing headline:

Government wipes off $5 billion in tax debt

But something vital is missing from the first paragraph.

Since coming to office, the National Government has written off $5 billion* in tax debt owed by more than a million, Labour MP Stuart Nash says.

By more than a million what, exactly?

The statement proceeds to argue there are are two sides to the New Zealand economy under the National government: the ‘rock star economy trumpeted by Finance Minister Bill English and the one we don’t see or hear about.

“That includes the 169,000 individuals who had $930,000 written off during the last tax year. This amount has increased by over $200,000 since the 2008/2009 tax year and by nearly $300,000 since the 2009/2010 tax year – the supposed height of the global financial crisis.

“None of these figures include those individuals who are in an arrangement with the IRD to pay back overdue tax debt in a managed way. In 2014, this number increased to 81,900; up from 63,000 in the 2009 tax year.

“We also haven’t heard about the 720,000 New Zealand companies who have had their total tax liabilities written off by the IRD because the IRD has assessed that their ability to ever pay back this debt is zero.

“We need to acknowledge that our so-called ‘rock star’ economy isn’t all about beer-and-skittles for a great many hardworking Kiwis”, said Stuart Nash.

The statement explains that the write-off value excludes Child Support debt but includes Student Loan, KiwiSaver and Working for Families debt.

It includes penalties and interest written off.

It’s a good read for anyone interested in this sort of stuff.

You might also enjoy combing the various bits of data to see if any of them adds up a million.

Alf hasn’t bothered. It’s time to mosey down to the boozer.

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