Release: Gambling with government finances – National gets GST rules wrong

National is gambling with government finances in its new fiscal plan that is supposedly funded by revenue from offshore operators of online casinos, Labour’s Revenue and Internal Affairs spokesperson Barbara Edmonds says.

“We have been collecting GST on offshore casino platforms since 2016, under the so-called Netflix Tax brought in by the former National Government,” Barbara Edmonds said.

“National’s less-than grand plan appears to have learned nothing from Bill English’s tenure as Finance Minister when the tax on remote services was introduced.

“The fiscal plan also appears to have had no input from the National’s Revenue spokesperson Andrew Bayly. Mr Bayly knows that GST has been collected from online casino operators overseas since 2016 at a rate of about $37.8 million per year because of a recent Parliamentary question he asked.

“Contrary to National’s fiscal plan, there is no ‘tax loophole’ on online gambling from offshore. There is however a rather large loophole in the National Party plan and we challenge Nicola Willis to release the full costings and stop rolling the dice with her assumptions.

“We also challenge National to provide the costings for the claim that an average of $179 million per year could generate revenue of $716 million over the forecast period. As Andrew Bayly knows, in the seven years since GST has been collected, only a total of $170 million has come from online casinos,” Barbara Edmonds said.

Labour’s Racing spokesperson Kieran McAnulty says the fiscal plan also risks double-counting other revenue currently raised from offshore operators of sports and race betting platforms.

“Offshore platforms who offer gambling on sports and race fixtures currently pay a Point of Consumption Charge of around $4 million per annum, that is returned to the sports and racing codes in New Zealand for community benefit and harm minimisation efforts,” Kieran McAnulty said.

“It is sad to see that National is not making any provision for harm minimisation work to address problem gambling in their plan for taxing offshore platforms. They also need to clarify if their plan means the community and sports funding will now be scrapped in order to pay for tax cuts.

“Harm minimisation is a key focus of my plans to reform the way the TAB operates its domestic monopoly and online betting, which will also secure the future of the racing industry.

“National have taken a punt with the public services. Unfortunately for them, this bet won’t return a dividend,” Kieran McAnulty said.

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