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Chatham Islands pāua plan approved

Efforts to reverse the decline in the Chatham Islands pāua fishery are the focus of a new plan jointly agreed between government, the local community and industry.

Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash says the plan was developed by the PauaMAC4 Industry Association with support from the Chatham Islands community. This includes local iwi and imi (Ngāti Mutunga o Wharekauri and Moriori) and the Māori Fisheries Trust Te Ohu Kaimoana.

“The new Chatham Islands pāua fisheries plan will see more timely, transparent and localised decisions about how to manage the commercial harvesting of pāua under the quota management system,” Mr Nash says.

“The pāua fishery on the Chatham Islands is the largest commercial pāua fishery in New Zealand. It is an important food source for customary and recreational fishing. It is also a highly valued cultural resource.

“Voluntary management and decision making has been part of the pāua industry in the Chatham Islands for many years. Since 2010 quota owners have voluntarily shelved some annual catch entitlement to reduce the commercial harvest and restore the abundance of the shellfish. The new plan formalises these arrangements.

“The plan covers procedures such as handling, harvesting and landing pāua, biosecurity measures, protecting it from theft, use of underwater breathing apparatus by divers, access to the sea over private property, and even how to report shark sightings.

“During public consultation in mid-2018 all submissions supported the proposed plan and the need for the fishery to be managed on a smaller scale. This approach provides valuable local data about pāua so the rules for controlling the harvest can be adjusted accordingly. It ensures the fishery is sustainable for future generations,” Mr Nash says.

The Chatham Islands pāua plan will operate within wider management settings overseen by Fisheries New Zealand. It remains subject to the regulatory constraints of the total allowable commercial catch, and shellfish must still be of a minimum legal size. A number of performance measures will be monitored on an ongoing basis and the plan will be reviewed in five years.

It is the first localised management plan approved by a Fisheries Minister since 2007.

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Bill introduced for synthetics crackdown

The Police will get stronger powers of search and seizure to crackdown on synthetic drugs under new legislation, which makes the two main synthetics (5F-ADB and AMB-FUBINACA) Class A drugs.

The Government has today introduced the Misuse of Drugs Amendment Bill which targets suppliers of synthetic drugs, while at the same time affirming that Police should consider whether a health-centred or therapeutic approach would be more beneficial when deciding whether or not to prosecute for possession and use (of all drugs).

“Our current approach has failed. Since June 2017 as many as 50-55 deaths have been provisionally linked to the use of 5F-ADB and AMB-FUBINACA,” Dr Clark says.

“We need to treat drug use as a health issue – and that’s exactly what this Bill does.

“Interrupting supply is a key part of a health response. Classifying these synthetics as Class A drugs under the Misuse of Drugs Act (MoDA) gives Police the powers they need to target the criminals that are getting rich from peddling them. We want to get these synthetic drugs off our streets.

“We also want people caught up in the web of addiction to get the support they need to get off drugs. We don’t want to ruin lives by putting people in jail at a cost to taxpayers of $110,000 a year when we can help them to get the treatment they need.

“Fear of prosecution can deter people from seeking help to deal with addiction issues. This Bill reaffirms in law the existing Police discretion about when to prosecute and explicitly requires consideration of whether a health-centred or therapeutic approach would be more beneficial,” Dr Clark says.

Police Minister Stuart Nash says the law change reaffirms the approach currently used by Police, who already exercise discretion about whether to prosecute.

“Every day, frontline Police make decisions about whether to prosecute in areas like road policing, shoplifting and possession of drugs for personal use. Police supports these changes to the Misuse of Drugs Act, which affirm a practice already in place.

“For example, an organised crime operation during 2019 has resulted in 32 referrals to addiction services in the greater Auckland area. The ongoing Te Ara Oranga programme in Northland has seen Police refer 257 people to the DHB for addiction treatment.

“Police are now developing comprehensive training for officers to enable them to successfully implement the changes and are drawing up guidance for health-based referrals. They are also preparing for greater search and seizure powers to target dealers, manufacturers and importers of any new drugs classified as Class A under the MoDA.

“A health-based approach recognises we cannot arrest our way out of our drug abuse problems. Many of those with addictions or dependence issues need treatment or education about harm reduction.

“However, people should be under no illusion about the risks of getting caught. Misuse of drugs remains illegal and drug users will still come to the attention of Police, irrespective of whether they go through an alternative resolution process or are referred for treatment.

“Prosecutions for drug possession are decided on the merits of each case and follow prosecution guidelines from Crown Law. Police will continue to prosecute people for personal possession and use when appropriate,” Mr Nash says.

In 2017/18, 52 people were imprisoned for drug possession and/or drug use offences as their most serious offence from a number of charges they faced, while a further 25 people were imprisoned for drug possession and/or drug use alone.

During the 2018 calendar year, Police and Customs seized 280 kg of methamphetamine; 216 kg of cocaine; more than 21,000 MDMA tablets; 37 kg of synthetic cannabis plant material and two kg of synthetic cannabinoid powder; as well as 45,000 cannabis plants, amongst other drugs detected.

The legislation will also help Police stay one step ahead of drug dealers by creating a new temporary drug classification category. This will mean emerging drugs can easily be brought under the Misuse of Drugs Act in future, making it easier for Police to target dealers.

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Blasphemous libel law repealed

The archaic blasphemous libel offence will be repealed following the passing of the Crimes Amendment Bill today, says Justice Minister Andrew Little.

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Coalition Government lassos livestock rustling

New rules to crack down on livestock rustling will come into force following the passing of the Crimes Amendment Bill says Justice Minister Andrew Little.

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Medieval law axed

The ‘year and a day rule’ rule will be repealed following the passing of the Crimes Amendment Bill, says Justice Minister Andrew Little.

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Further steps to combat tax evasion

Further steps to combat tax evasion

Revenue Minister Stuart Nash has announced New Zealand is expanding its global ability to combat tax evasion by joining forces with authorities in 30 countries and jurisdictions.

Cabinet has agreed to add another 30 territories to the current list of 60 jurisdictions where New Zealand has information-sharing agreements as part of a global standard known as the Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI).

“The addition of 30 new territories reflects increased international cooperation by OECD and G20 countries to crack down on tax evasion,” says Mr Nash.

“It further increases our ability to ensure all New Zealanders pay their fair share of tax, including those who have financial interests in other countries. It shines a spotlight on those who try to evade tax obligations by hiding their assets offshore.

“New Zealand will send financial account information to these territories on an annual basis. These countries have enacted, or are expected to soon enact, legislation that enables them to send the same information to New Zealand.

“The 30 new countries are spread around the globe, from the Caribbean to Europe, Asia, the Pacific, Africa and the Middle East. The list includes jurisdictions such as Panama, Switzerland, Macao, the Cook Islands and Nigeria.

The AEOI enables information sharing about details of accounts at many institutions, including banks, private equity funds, investment advisors and some brokers and trusts.

“Inland Revenue will review the information and verify that correct tax is being paid on offshore investments. New Zealand taxpayers are strongly advised to check they have correctly accounted for their offshore investments. If not, they should make a voluntary disclosure to Inland Revenue without delay.

“The Coalition Government is determined that our tax system should be fair. We will ensure trans-national financial activity does not seek to evade tax obligations. In 2018 we passed legislation to make multinationals pay their fair share of tax, and have recently signalled our intention to ensure providers of digital services also meet their obligations.

“New Zealand supports the growing international consensus about the need to eliminate opportunities for tax evasion. The G20 and the OECD account for 88 percent of the world’s economic activity. We are determined that the tax system is fair,” Mr Nash said.

https://www.ird.govt.nz/international/exchange/crs/aeoi-crs/aeoi-crs.html

 New additions:

 

 

Antigua and Barbuda

Aruba

Azerbaijan

Barbados

Belize

Brunei Darussalam

Cook Islands

Costa Rica

Curacao

Cyprus

Dominica

Ghana

Grenada

Lebanon

Macao

Montserrat

Nigeria

Niue

Pakistan

Panama

Romania

Saint Kitts and Nevis

Saint Lucia

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

Samoa

Sint Maarten

Switzerland

Trinidad and Tobago

Turkey

Vanuatu

 

Existing list:

 

Andorra

Argentina

Australia

Austria

Belgium

Brazil

Bulgaria

Canada

Chile

China

Colombia

Croatia

Czech Republic

Denmark

Estonia

Faroe Islands

Finland

France

Germany

Gibraltar

Greece

Greenland

Guernsey

Hong Kong

Hungary

Iceland

India

Indonesia

Ireland

Isle of Man

Israel

Italy

Japan

Jersey

Korea

Latvia

Liechtenstein

Lithuania

Luxembourg

Malaysia

Malta

Mauritius

Mexico

Monaco

Netherlands

Norway

Poland

Portugal

Russian Federation

San Marino

Saudi Arabia

Seychelles

Singapore

Slovak Republic

Slovenia

South Africa

Spain

Sweden

United Kingdom

Uruguay

 

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Largest Police workforce in NZ history

Police Minister Stuart Nash is celebrating a new milestone as the Police workforce reaches the highest figure in its history.

“The total number of frontline officers, support staff, and others in the organisation who work to keep communities safe has now passed the 13,000 mark,” says Mr Nash.

“The number of frontline officers has increased by 595, or seven per cent, since the start of the 2017/18 financial year. The Coalition Government is now a third of the way towards its goal of 1800 extra Police.

“Thanks to increased investment of more than $300 million last year the total number of people who serve within Police is the largest ever. The Police workforce is a crucial part of our efforts to improve the wellbeing of New Zealanders.

“The organisation is made up of frontline officers, recruits in training, and non-constabulary support staff. While the workforce of uniformed and plain-clothed officers is often the most visible face of Police, I also want to acknowledge those who work behind the scenes to keep our communities safe.

“The non-constabulary workforce includes those who handle demanding roles such as round the clock work in Police communications centres. It includes specialists on the new digital frontline who tackle cybercrime, child sexual abuse, and complex financial investigations. It includes those who work to prevent family harm, support technical and covert operations, research and develop new policy, and who play a vital role handling police exhibits and examining crime scenes.

“The new milestone has been reached with the intake of the latest recruits at the Royal New Zealand Police College this week. The eighty recruits of Wing 326 have just begun an intensive 16-week training course. While training they are paid the equivalent of a $43,747 annual remuneration package.

“I am delighted with the diversity of the latest wing. Forty-three per cent are women, 19 per cent are Maori, six per cent are Pasifika and eight per cent are Asian. The youngest is 19 and the eldest is 51. When finally deployed they will be sent all over the country to urban and rural areas.

“Police data is now consistently showing a drop in the number of people who are victims of crime every month. The addition of extra police over the coming years will further ensure people feel safe in their communities.” Mr Nash says.

Background:

Since the beginning of the 2017/18 financial year the growth in the Police workforce has been as follows:

  • Constabulary: currently 9434 frontline officers, an increase of 595.
  • Recruits: currently 180 recruits in training
  • Non-constabulary: Police staff currently total 3421, an increase of 353.

There is also strong interest from potential applicants who are keen on making a difference with a career in the Police. In the last six months of 2018 more than 2,800 people applied to join Police, an increase of 14 per cent on the same period in 2017.

The previously announced allocation of the 1800 extra Police is as follows:

 

Location (policing district)

Police allocation*

District Growth

Northland

87

25%

Waitemata

107

14%

Auckland City

102

13%

Counties Manukau

137

13%

Waikato

127

21%

Bay of Plenty

125

19%

Eastern

114

27%

Central

116

17%

Wellington

101

13%

Tasman

55

17%

Canterbury

121

14%

Southern

88

16%

National Operations & RNZPC

520

-

TOTAL

1800

20%

*indicative placement of 1800 additional police above October 2017 target staffing levels.

 

 

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Making sure multinationals pay their fair share

New Zealand is to consult on the design of changes to tax rules which currently allow multinational companies in the digital services field to do business here without paying income tax.

Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Revenue Minister Stuart Nash say Cabinet has agreed to issue a discussion document about how to update our tax framework to ensure multinational companies pay their fair share of tax in this country.

“Highly digitalised companies, such as those offering social media networks, trading platforms, and online advertising, currently earn a significant income from New Zealand consumers without being liable for income tax. That is not fair, and we are determined to do something about it,” Grant Robertson said.

“International tax rules have not kept up with modern business developments. In the longer term this threatens the sustainability of our revenue base and the fairness of the tax system.

“The current tax rules also provide a competitive advantage to foreign companies in the digital services field compared to local companies who offer e-commerce, online advertising, and social networking services.

“The value of cross-border digital services in New Zealand is estimated to be around $2.7 billion. We are determined to ensure that multinational companies involved in this sector of the economy pay their fair share of tax. Our revenue estimate for a digital services tax is between $30 million and $80 million, which depends on how it is designed,” Grant Robertson said.

“New Zealand is currently working at the OECD to find an internationally agreed solution for including the digital economy within tax frameworks,” Stuart Nash said.

“Our preference is to continue working within the OECD, which was also recommended last year by the interim report of the Tax Working Group. However, we believe we need to move ahead with our own work so that we can proceed with our own form of a digital services tax, as an interim measure, until the OECD reaches agreement.

“This is the same approach being considered by Australian authorities, who released a discussion document late last year. The OECD has also released a discussion document on its proposals. Officials will now finalise the New Zealand document which is likely to be publicly released by May 2019.

“The document will make it clear we are determined that multinational companies pay their fair share of tax. We are committed to finding an international solution within the OECD but would also consider an interim option till the OECD finalises a position,” Stuart Nash said.

Background:

Digital services taxes (DST) are generally charged at a very low flat rate of two to three per cent on the gross revenue earned by a multinational company in that country.

A number of countries including the UK, Spain, Italy, France, Austria and India have enacted or announced a DST.

The EU and Australia are consulting on a DST.

DSTs do not apply to goods or services, but to digital platforms who depend on a base of users. These may include, but are not limited to, social media sites like Facebook, content sharing sites like YouTube or Instagram, those that offer intermediary services like Uber, Airbnb and eBay, and others that earn income from online advertising.

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Fewer victims of crime during 2018

New data shows a significant drop in the number of people who were victims of crime in the past year. Police Minister Stuart Nash says the number of victimisations recorded by Police during 2018 fell by 2.7 per cent.

“This means 7240 fewer people were victims of crime than the previous year,” Mr Nash says.

“One of the Coalition Government’s top priorities is to improve the wellbeing of New Zealanders. There is a particular focus on community policing and on tackling organised crime, which is a driver of crimes such as burglary and assault.

“The Police statistics for 2018 show the drop in victimisations involved 1393 fewer crimes against a person and 5847 fewer crimes against property.

“This decline has been led by a drop of 4706 burglaries, representing a 6.8 per cent decrease. This is really pleasing given the invasive nature of the crime and its effect on people’s feelings of safety in their own home.

“Another pleasing result is 570 fewer robberies last year. After spiking to more than 4000 robberies in 2017, recorded robberies dropped by 14 per cent, following significant effort by Police and investment from Government to provide fog cannons and other prevention advice to at-risk shop owners.

“But while the trend is heading the right way in these categories, there are still too many victims and families suffering the trauma and other effects of serious crime.

“While there were 1000 fewer victims of assault, a fall of two per cent, Police recorded 119 more victims of sexual assault, an increase of two percent. Sexual assaults are internationally recognised as under-recorded and Police advise that the increased number may mean more victims are coming forward.

“The addition of extra police over the coming years will further ensure people feel safe in their communities. Today an additional eighty new constables officially graduate from the Royal New Zealand Police College.

“The graduation of Wing 323 means 1190 new frontline officers have been deployed around the country since the Coalition Government took office. I am also delighted with the diversity and range of skills of today’s new graduates. The youngest is 18 years old and the oldest is 48. One third are women, 14 per cent are Maori, and they share at least 12 foreign languages between them.

“I also want to pay special tribute to the 37 new constables who have just returned from supporting other emergency service personnel during the Tasman fires. After passing their final exams last week, they took their oaths as constables and headed to the South Island to assist with community safety and crime prevention efforts. It has been a brave and commendable introduction to their new career as frontline officers,” Mr Nash says.

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Hearing victims/survivors of crime

A new survey is allowing victims/survivors of crime to be heard, in their own words, about how our broken criminal justice system can be fixed, says Justice Minister Andrew Little.

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