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GCSB expands cyber defence service

Minister Responsible for the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB), Hon Andrew Little, has announced the agency will expand its Malware-Free Networks (MFN) cyber defence initiative.

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Roadshows outline help for small business

Small Business Minister Stuart Nash will next week launch the 2018 series of small business roadshows. The roadshows give business owners the opportunity to learn more about assistance available from the Government.

Taking Care of Business is a series of 12 events across New Zealand between May and August. The roadshows bring together the private sector with representatives from government agencies to explain what they do and how they can help small businesses.

“This Government is working to give every small business in New Zealand the tools and the confidence to meet their potential, and realise their goals as a business,” says Mr Nash.

“New Zealand is a nation of small businesses. This roadshow is designed to help these firms get the most out of their interactions with the Government so they can spend more time on what they do best.

“As well as playing a regulatory role the Government offers a range of services to help businesses be successful. We help owners and operators tap into these resources.

“Whether a small business is worried about meeting health and safety legislation, tax or ACC obligations, or if they want to find help to grow their business, they have someone they can talk to directly.

“Government agencies do a lot for small business, whether it’s providing advice on compliance or ways to improve innovation, growth and productivity. There will also be an opportunity to hear about Budget 2018 support for the business sector,” Mr Nash says.

The roadshow events include short presentations from up to fifteen government agencies. These include ACC, WorkSafe, Immigration New Zealand, Inland Revenue, the Ministry of Social Development, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise and StatsNZ.

“There will be opportunities to ask questions and have face to face discussions. Expert advisors will be on hand with practical information,” Mr Nash says.

“For example Immigration New Zealand will discuss how to find, bring and keep the best skilled migrants when a business can’t recruit within New Zealand. Regional Business Partners’ Growth Advisors will explain how they can help a business connect with the right resources and experts to build capability and grow, and IPONZ will explain different types of intellectual property and give some simple tips.

Events will be held in the following towns and cities:

  • Wellington, 29 May
  • Levin, 30 May
  • Rotorua, 5 June
  • Taupo, 6 June
  • Napier, 7 June
  • Matamata, 21 August
  • Auckland (East), 22 August
  • Auckland (Pasifika) 23 August
  • Queenstown, 27 August
  • Dunedin, 29 August
  • Christchurch, 30 August
  • Westport, 31 August

For further detail, visit: www.business.govt.nz/news/2018-small-business-roadshows/

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Next step to improve fairness of tax system

New legislation to improve the fairness of the tax system and prevent large multinationals from exploiting rules in order to shift their profits offshore has passed another step closer to becoming law.

Revenue Minister Stuart Nash has taken the Taxation (Neutralising Base Erosion and Profit Shifting) Bill through its second reading in Parliament. Detailed debate will continue during the Committee stage once the House resumes in June.

“New Zealand and other countries are taking action to prevent multinational corporations from engaging in aggressive tax planning. This practice, known as base erosion profit shifting, or BEPS, is a challenge for tax systems around the world,” says Stuart Nash.

“The tax strategies mean that some large multinational companies pay little tax in New Zealand, or, in fact, anywhere else in the world, despite having a significant economic presence here. This threatens the revenue base that Governments need to deliver public services and erodes the overall fairness and integrity of our tax system. It distorts competition and effective and efficient allocation of resources and enables some multinationals to exploit tax rules to get an advantage over other businesses.

“The tax system must be fair for all income earners, regardless of their size or the complexity of their arrangements. The Taxation (Neutralising Base Erosion and Profit Shifting) Bill contains a comprehensive package of measures designed to combat BEPS, ensure fairness and equity and improve the integrity of the tax base”, says Mr Nash.

The changes will prevent multinationals from using BEPS strategies, including:

  • artificially high interest rates on loans from related parties to shift profits out of New Zealand
  • related-party transactions which are intended to shift profits to offshore group members in a manner that does not reflect the actual economic activities undertaken in New Zealand and offshore
  • hybrid mismatch arrangements that exploit differences between countries' tax rules to achieve an advantageous tax position
  • artificial arrangements to avoid having a taxable presence or a permanent establishment in New Zealand
  • tactics to stymie an Inland Revenue investigation, such as withholding relevant information that is held by an offshore group member.

“New Zealand's response to BEPS is generally aligned with Australia's tax legislation and broadly consistent with the OECD and G20 action plan,” says Mr Nash.

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Fisheries NZ has new focus on innovation

Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash says the creation of a new specialist organisation dedicated to the sector will lead to greater innovation in the way we fish and the way we manage the resource.

“Today marks the first full day for Fisheries New Zealand. It is one of four new dedicated business units within the Ministry for Primary Industries along with Forestry New Zealand, Biosecurity New Zealand and New Zealand Food Safety,” Mr Nash says.  

“Fisheries New Zealand also carries the te reo Maori name Tini a Tangaroa, or whole of the sea. I thank my ministerial colleagues Shane Jones and Peeni Henare and others for their guidance on this name.

“Fisheries New Zealand, as its te reo name implies, is deeply interconnected across the whole of the sea. Our fisheries carry cultural significance and meanings, contribute to regional economic development and employment, and provide recreational and leisure opportunities. Our unique maritime environment also speaks of our country’s identity and reminds us of the need to ensure sustainability for future generations. 

“We need to balance the commercial benefits from fisheries with the responsibility to look after our treasured marine mammals and seabirds and to reduce the impact of fishing on the environment. Quicker and more accurate information about commercial fishing will allow us to better manage our fish stocks, and to understand and mitigate risks to protected marine species.

“Fisheries and aquaculture bring $1.74b into New Zealand per year and create thousands of jobs. We need to keep demonstrating that fish from our waters are sustainable, and that the environmental impact of fishing is being mitigated.

 “I will be looking for Fisheries New Zealand to do things differently. That means greater innovation in both the way we fish and the way we manage our fisheries. It also means greater engagement with stakeholders, and a focus on developing and implementing 21st century solutions to fisheries challenges. Fisheries New Zealand will have greater visibility and allow for a single point of accountability to enable a better understanding of who is responsible for fisheries management.

“Around 120 staff are brought together into Fisheries New Zealand, along with around 100 fisheries observers. They are based in eight sites from Whangarei to Dunedin. Fisheries New Zealand combines fisheries science, aquaculture, management, planning and monitoring. Other staff in MPI will continue to provide legal, policy and other shared services,” Mr Nash says.

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Cracking down on tax dodgers and restoring fairness

New initiatives to make the tax system fairer and a crackdown on tax dodgers are expected to provide the Government with an extra $726.3 million of revenue over the next four years, says Revenue Minister Stuart Nash.

“The Coalition Government is committed to being fiscally responsible. Creating more fairness in the tax system is a critical part of this,” says Stuart Nash.

“Extra revenue from cracking down on those dodging their tax obligations, while levelling the playing field, will help the Government address significant under-resourcing of critical public services. We are reducing distortions in the tax system and ensuring everyone pays the right amount of tax.”

“Budget 2018 gives Inland Revenue $31.3 million of operating spending over the next four years, including $23.5 million to ensure outstanding company tax returns are filed. This is expected to recover approximately $183.3 million.

“It also includes $3.0 million of operating funding over the next four years to analyse the potential to improve tax compliance in specific industries through the use of third-party reporting and withholding taxes.

“Recently announced initiatives to reduce distortion in the tax system and boost productivity will also provide more revenue. Ring-fencing rental losses will mean speculators and investors can no longer offset tax losses from residential properties against other income to reduce their tax liabilities.

“This is expected to boost revenue by at least $325 million over four years and further dampen property speculation, while encouraging investment in the productive economy.

“Meanwhile, offshore suppliers of low-value goods will be required to register for, collect and return goods and services tax (GST) just like New Zealand retailers have to. This is estimated to provide $218 million in new revenue over the next four years, and is expected to increase each year as online shopping continues to grow.

“This Government’s plan includes adequately funding health, education and housing, increasing police numbers, and lifting more children out of poverty. We are not changing tax rates. But we do need a tax system that is simple, balanced and fair – where people and businesses comply with their obligations, and where those in similar circumstances pay the same amount.

“Our Tax Working Group is also tasked with making recommendations for a fairer and more balanced tax system. It will report back in early 2019 and no significant changes recommended in the Group’s final report will come into force until after the 2020 election,” says Stuart Nash.

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Focusing on community safety and targeting organised crime

New investment in police will lift the number of officers, see an unprecedented push to disrupt organised crime and make our families and communities safer, says Police Minister Stuart Nash.

“The Coalition Government’s police package, when fully rolled out, will deliver 1,800 new officers. It will enable the deployment of 1,100 police on the streets and 700 police to combat organised crime, supported by 485 non-sworn staff,” says Stuart Nash.

“Budget 2018 takes the first steps towards that. It includes $298.8 million in new operating funding and $17.8 million capital for the Police over the next four years. In addition, $159.7 million of new funding is provided in 2022/23.

“These increases enable the recruitment of an extra 920 officers and 240 support staff to maintain and build on the 880 officers and 245 support staff announced in Budget 2017.

“Budget 2018 provides tools and support for 21st-century policing, including the latest technology to combat organised and serious crime. We are going after the gangs to disrupt the supply of drugs in our communities. A separate Budget 2018 announcement by the Minister of Customs targets the international networks behind the methamphetamine trade,” says Stuart Nash.

“We are focusing on families and young people on the periphery of gangs, who are at risk of harm from addiction, offending and victimisation. We will enable the Police to identify and intervene with offenders as the first step to reducing crime and apprehend those who commit burglaries, robberies, theft and violence.

“With a focus on making New Zealand the world’s safest country, the Police will work closely with other government agencies and key stakeholders in our communities. Collectively, this will give vulnerable women and children a better chance to break out of cycles of dysfunction and intergenerational offending and help them improve their lives.”

New operating funding also replaces radio equipment for emergency services in 2018/19. Funding for the project totals $17.4 million, of which $11.6 million is allocated to the Police, $2.0 million to Fire and Emergency New Zealand (Internal Affairs) and $3.7 million to St John Ambulance (Health).

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Pare Hauraki Collective Redress extension

Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Minister Andrew Little has given settlement groups more time to provide him with any additional information before he makes a decision regarding the signing of the Pare Hauraki Collective Redress Deed.

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Government releases review of organisational culture and processes at the Human Rights Commission

Justice Minister Andrew Little today released the Ministerial Review of the Human Rights Commission in relation to the internal handling of sexual harassment claims and its organisational culture.

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Ngā Hapū o Ngāti Porou moana first reading

The Ngā Rohe Moana o Ngā Hapū o Ngāti Porou Bill (No 2) passed its first reading in Parliament today, says Minister for Treaty Negotiations Andrew Little.

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New leadership for Māori Television board

Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta has announced a new leadership duo to progress the revitalisation of Māori language and culture at Māori Television.

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