Week in Review – April 19th

No Capital Gains Tax


After months of public speculation it has been announced that there will be no new capital gains tax. There is already an effective capital gains tax in New Zealand through the Bright Line test which applies to rental properties owned for less than 5 years. The Coalition Government was not able to reach a consensus on the Independent Tax Working Group recommendation to extend capital gains tax.

The Independent Tax Working Group Report had suggested that the overall tax system was working well, but could be fairer. The Prime Minister has maintained a belief that there should be a capital gains tax in New Zealand, whilst New Zealand First’s view is that there is not a compelling mandate to institute a comprehensive capital gains tax regime.

The Coalition Government remains committed to building a fairer tax system, and our priorities will be cracking down on multinational tax avoidance, pursuing property speculators who don’t pay their fair share and closing loopholes.



Racing industry reform


The Racing Minister, Rt Hon Winston Peters, has announced the next steps in response to the ‘Messara Review of the Racing Industry’. Two new pieces of legislation will be introduced this year to amend the Racing Act 2003. The first Bill is due to be enacted by 1 July 2019.

“The New Zealand racing industry is in a state of serious decline. The Coalition Government supports the overall intent of the Messara Report and is committed to reforms. We know we have the grass, the race animals, and the people to help the industry achieve its potential,” said Mr Peters.   

This legislation will revitalise the domestic racing industry and bring some financial relief for the industry by making offshore betting operators contribute to domestic racing and sports codes from the bets they take from New Zealanders.



Public consultation on reform of Overseas Investment Act


The Coalition Government has launched public consultation on the second phase of the Overseas Investment Act reforms. The reforms aims to reduce the complexity of the Act whilst giving decision-makers the ability to consider the broader impact on New Zealand of potential investments.

This consultation also considers whether to introduce a national interest test and hopes to achieve greater flexibility to manage any issues arising from overseas investment.

“We’re looking at where we draw the line as to what constitutes a New Zealand owned or controlled company, and what information the government should request from investors to ensure they are of good character.” said Associate Minister of Finance, Hon David Parker.

This consultation will include public meetings held by treasury throughout the country.



Gore PGF announcement


Regional Economic Development Minister, Hon Shane Jones, announced $3.7 million in Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) funding to help young people into jobs and support economic growth in Southland.

The announcements centred on the Gore district, with $1.6 million of investment towards the Maruawai precinct project, which involves the redevelopment of the Hokonui Moonshine Museum and creation of the Maruawai Heritage Centre. These projects were within the framework of Ready for Growth, a community-led initiative to create a solid foundation for future growth in the Gore district, including developing its tourism potential.

There’s also $2.1 million for the Hokonui Huanui programme to provide wrap-around support services for children and rangatahi and support opportunities for those youth at risk of long-term unemployment in the district.

Mayor Tracy Hicks heralded the investment from the New Zealand First Minister, saying "It’s the right investment, at the right time, in the right place” for the Gore district.




Missing New Zealand aid worker


This week, Rt Hon Winston Peters confirmed reports that a New Zealand aid worker Louisa Akavi was taken hostage by ISIS in northern Syria 5 years ago and remains missing.

Successive New Zealand governments have chosen not to disclose any information about Louisa’s case following advice public disclosure of her situation would place her at even greater risk. The media context has changed this week with Louisa’s situation becoming public via international publications, leading to Mr Peters’ acknowledgement.

Sustained, whole-of-government efforts have been made to locate Louisa over the past 5 years, including the deployment of a small, multi-agency team based in Iraq. This has involved members of the NZDF, drawn from the Special Operations Force.

Mr Peters confirmed hopes for her survival are still alive after the liberation of ISIS’s formerly held territories, and that efforts to locate her are on-going. Mr Peters also said that the Government is focused on supporting her family, and requested that their privacy be respected.



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