Small Business Minister Stuart Nash is encouraging the Australian and New Zealand public to provide feedback on a joint electronic invoicing (e-Invoicing) initiative that will save businesses time and money.
“Research indicates that the economic benefits of e-Invoicing could exceed $30 billion over ten years, thanks to the significant productivity gains it offers,” says Mr Nash.
“E-Invoicing gets rid of the manual handling of bills so the process becomes faster and more accurate and therefore the chances of problems and delays occurring are reduced. It’s like internet banking where my bank system accepts payments from your bank system.
“To emphasise the scale, New Zealand and Australian businesses process around 1.3 billion invoices annually, and e-Invoicing aims to help them save time and money by allowing the direct exchange of invoices between suppliers’ and buyers’ financial systems.
“This Government is committed to growing the economy and working with businesses to encourage productivity. We want to create a seamless trans-Tasman business environment and e-Invoicing is part of that.
“We’re looking for people to give us feedback on the framework that will be used for the day to day operation of e-Invoicing in Australia and New Zealand,” says Mr Nash.
The framework will be based on international standards that allow information to be shared more efficiently.
This consultation is the latest step in the New Zealand and Australian Governments’ commitment to progress e-Invoicing as part of the Single Economic Market agenda.
“We encourage anyone from Australia and New Zealand who is interested in the initiative to give feedback on the consultation through the MBIE website,” says Mr Nash.
A picture of New Zealand’s drug use is set to become clearer with the expansion of wastewater testing across New Zealand, says Police Minister Stuart Nash.
“The Commissioner of Police today announced that wastewater testing at 38 sites in each of the 12 Policing districts will be rolled out this month,” says Mr Nash.
“Wastewater testing provides an accurate measure of illegal drug consumption that is cost effective, timely and non-intrusive.
“Expanding the programme will allow agencies to accurately assess the levels of drug consumption in our major centres and provincial communities to build a better picture of the harm these substances are causing.
“Some of our provincial areas are the most vulnerable to the scourge of methamphetamine, and are being preyed upon by organised criminals who supply it.
“I am pleased that the use of illicit substances will be analysed in these areas so Police and other agencies will be able to make informed decisions on education, prevention and enforcement initiatives.
“Methamphetamine causes a huge amount of social harm and those who supply it in our communities are responsible.
Over the past 18 months, 1.5kg of methamphetamine was estimated to have been consumed on average each week across the 647,000 people sampled at the three test locations. This translates into an estimated $2 million per week in social harm.
“The expanded testing will also give agencies an early warning system for emerging drug risks.
“Fentanyl, for example, was added to the testing programme in May, and while the misuse of this drug remains low, agencies will be now be able to closely monitor any fluctuations or increase in its use,” says Mr Nash.
Revenue Minister Stuart Nash and Customs Minister Kris Faafoi are encouraging feedback on a proposal to extend an information sharing agreement designed to crack down on organised crime.
Since 2014 Inland Revenue and Police have worked together under the Serious Crimes Information Sharing Agreement where they have reasonable grounds to suspect a serious offence is being committed. The government proposes extending that agreement to include the Customs Service and the Serious Fraud Office.
“Police and tax authorities work together well when they suspect a serious crime, punishable by a prison term of four years or more, is being committed. We have released a discussion document calling for public submissions on the proposal to include two more agencies under the same framework,” Mr Nash says.
“Under the proposal, the one-way flow of information from the IRD would be extended to the SFO and Customs. Information could be requested from IRD or proactively provided if there are reasonable grounds to suspect a serious offence may be or has been committed.
“Inland Revenue is usually prevented from revealing details of individual taxpayers. However the Privacy Act makes an exception to the general secrecy rule if there is an approved information sharing agreement, or AISA,” Mr Nash says.
Mr Faafoi says an extension to the existing AISA would make it easier for the Customs Service to investigate and track unlawful imports and transactions.
“The IRD could for example share information from tax audits which show significant amounts of money flowing through a bank account which are not related to core business activities. Further investigation by Customs could reveal potential smuggling of drugs or other contraband across our borders,” Mr Faafoi says.
“Government agencies need to work more closely together to disrupt and prevent illicit cross-border activity that not only evades taxes but also leads to harm in our communities,” Mr Faafoi says.
Submissions are open till 30 October 2018. The discussion document is available at taxpolicy.ird.govt.nz.
Question and Answers
1. What are the main changes proposed by this AISA?
The change is the extension of the original agreement between NZ Police and Inland Revenue, to include two agencies in the sharing of information – NZ Customs Service and the Serious Fraud Office.
The information would be shared with the two additional agencies utilising the same framework that Inland Revenue and the New Zealand Police use to share information for tackling serious crime.
2. How will the new Agreement help agencies prevent serious crime?
The ability to share information held by Inland Revenue with other agencies could open up new lines of enquiry and provide clearer pictures of legitimate revenue streams and illegitimate money, linking individuals and businesses that might be involved in criminal activity.
3. How does this proposed AISA improve information sharing between agencies?
By expanding the AISA to include the Serious Fraud Office and the NZ Customs Service, Inland Revenue would be able to share information with these agencies to help investigations of fraud, corruption and cross-border offences that fit the serious crime definition. Sharing information for this purpose is consistent with the Government’s commitment to making communities safer and reducing crime.
4. What measures are in place to ensure the Privacy of individuals’ information?
The proposed AISA would include controls and processes to minimise any risk of a privacy or secrecy breach occurring. Alongside the protections of the strict secrecy requirements imposed on staff and anyone who receives tax information, the information will be shared on a case-by-case basis and will need to meet a set of criteria to be shared (such as relation to a serious crime and relevance to a case). Information would be available only to authorised staff in each agency to ensure that information is treated appropriately. Staff who knowingly disclose information outside what is legally permitted would face potential criminal liability for breaching taxpayer secrecy.
5. What are the benefits of the extended information sharing?
Information provided by Inland Revenue would assist in providing new leads to an investigation and strengthening serious criminal cases such as fraud, financial crime, money laundering, and drug trafficking. This would support the Government’s objective of giving the NZ Police and the NZ Customs Service the resources they need to crack down on gangs, organised crime and drug trafficking.
6. What will be the cost of setting it up?
For all three agencies, implementation costs would be minimal. The proposed changes do not require any systems or technology changes as the information shared is compiled manually on a case-by-case basis and sent by secure mail.
7. What impact will the extended information sharing / AISA have on individuals whose information is held by the concerned agencies?
The information will only be shared if related to a suspicion of a serious crime, so it won’t affect the majority of individuals whose information is held by the agencies.
The deployment of 500 extra Police to target organised crime will make significant inroads to efforts to reduce victimisation and improve the wellbeing of our communities, says Police Minister Stuart Nash.
“The Commissioner of Police has today revealed details of how the additional frontline officers will be allocated as part of the unprecedented effort to prevent and combat serious and organised crime,” says Mr Nash.
“Areas of focus include disrupting trans-national criminal groups, national and local gangs, cyber-crime, money laundering and child exploitation. The purpose is to prevent crime and reduce the harm to our communities from the supply of drugs, serious violence and other offending.”
“The 500 extra specialist police are part of the Coalition Agreement with New Zealand First to strive for 1800 extra officers. Gangs and disruption of organised crime was also identified as a priority area in the Coalition Agreement. Extra officers at both district and national level will truly make a difference in our communities.
“Organised criminals and gangs are supplying methamphetamine to our communities with no regard for the significant harm it causes, and these extra police will be going after them.
“Police will be targeting our most serious offenders and criminal leaders to take them off the street. We need to cut the head off the snake. But police will also be looking to help others on the periphery of gang life and other vulnerable people to get the help they need to fight addiction, break the cycle, and improve their lives.”
A further 200 district-based officers will support the focus on preventing organised crime. The new investment also provides for the specialist skills and the tools required for effective 21st-century policing, including the latest technology to combat organised crime.
“The Government’s long term plan makes it a priority to improve the wellbeing of families and communities. We are focussing on preventing crime and reducing reoffending in order to keep our communities safe”, Mr Nash says.
Ninety-eight new Police constables will be deployed around the country with the graduation today of the largest single Police recruit wing in more than a decade.
Police Minister Stuart Nash has congratulated the new constables who passed through the final stages of their formal training at the Royal New Zealand Police College.
“The ninety-eight new constables of Recruit Wing 318 are the largest single cohort to graduate since 2006. They put a human face to the unprecedented investment in Police in this year’s Budget,” Mr Nash says.
“We set aside $300 million in new operating funding and $18 million in capital funding. It’s the first step towards our coalition commitment with New Zealand First to strive for 1800 extra Police officers and 485 new support staff.
“This is the eleventh recruit wing to graduate since this government took office and 786 new Police officers are deployed as a result. The extra officers will be over and above the attrition of current Police. The attrition rate in Police is around five percent per annum and is one of the lowest in the wider state sector.
“Last month the Commissioner of Police confirmed the allocation of the 1800 extra officers, with a particular focus on ensuring they were deployed to urban, provincial and rural centres around the whole country. The 98 recruits from Wing 318 will be deployed to all 12 Policing districts.
“There’s a great depth of talent and diversity in the new Police officers. Female constables make up 39 per cent of the wing, ten per cent are Maori, seven per cent Pasifika and nine per cent Asian. The youngest in nineteen and the oldest is 50. Sixteen officers were born outside New Zealand and share at least nine foreign languages between them. There are former sporting reps from New Zealand, Samoan and Australian national teams, and a strong tradition of volunteering in areas like search and rescue, firefighting, and supporting victims, youth groups and the elderly.
“The growing number of new officers allows Police to make real inroads into crime prevention in order to reduce victimisation, lower reoffending and bring down imprisonment rates. They help the government fulfil a key priority of its long-term plan outlined at the weekend, by building safer and more connected communities,” Mr Nash says.
The commercial tarakihi catch in the fisheries areas off the east coast of the North and South Islands is to be reduced by 20 percent in an effort to rebuild the depleted stock.
Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash has also signalled further cuts to the tarakihi catch are in store next year unless the commercial fishing industry can develop a plan to rebuild the fishery within ten years.
Mr Nash has reviewed Total Allowable Catch and other management controls for 32 stocks as part of the regular twice yearly sustainability round. “The decisions follow public consultation and take effect for the fishing year which starts on 1 October,” Mr Nash says.
“These decisions are based on the best available scientific information and show the effectiveness of the Quota Management System. It is flexible and responsive to change. Where a stock is below expected levels then we will act to protect it.
“The tarakihi fishery is of great importance to commercial inshore trawlers and for recreational and customary fishing. I have decided a package of measures is required to get this important fishery back to where it needs to be, which in technical terms is 40 percent of the unfished spawning stock biomass. It is currently at less than half this target.
“I have decided on a phased approach, beginning with a 20 percent reduction in the first year. The industry has eight months to develop a plan to rebuild the stock. If the plan is not sufficiently robust then further cuts of up to 35 percent of current catch will be introduced for the October 2019 fishing year.
“Other changes include increases in catch limits for fish stocks that are doing well, such as southern bluefin tuna, orange roughy and scampi, and a decrease in catch limits for stocks that need help to rebuild, such as longfin eels and Northern flatfish. There will be increases to catch limits for 11 stocks, and decreases to catch limits for 12 stocks. The catch limits for the rest of the stocks will remain the same this fishing year.
Stocks reviewed this year include those of cultural importance to tangata whenua such as longfin and shortfin eels, as well as some shared fish stocks that are important to commercial and recreational sectors, such as tarakihi, flatfish, pāua, and red gurnard.
“I have also decided to close the Kaipara Harbour scallop fishery to recreational scallop fishing under section 11 of the Fisheries Act to allow the stock to recover. This means the Kaipara Harbour scallop fishery will be closed to both commercial and recreational fishing,” Mr Nash says.
These decisions come into effect 1 October 2018, except for the Kaipara Harbour scallop closure, which will come into effect later in October.
Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash has confirmed the next stage of digital monitoring across the wider commercial fishing fleet will begin in January 2019.
“Electronic catch and position reporting is already in place for trawl vessels over 28 metres in length that make up most of the deep-water fleet. They account for 70 per cent of the catch,” Mr Nash says.
“The remainder of the fleet, the smaller vessels who predominantly work the inshore fisheries, will now report their catch and position under the modernised system as well.
“The rollout will begin in January 2019 with those who have the highest total holdings of annual catch entitlement (ACE). It will be introduced progressively and end with operators who have the smallest or no holdings. It will be in place across the whole fleet by December 2019.
“It replaces the current paper-based catch reporting system that is slow, error prone and time consuming. The wider introduction of electronic catch and position reporting will give us more accurate and timely information about what is being caught, how it is being caught, and where it is being caught.
“The modernisation of the fisheries monitoring system will provide better information and improve the understanding of what fish are being legally returned to the sea, including fish below minimum size. It will provide real time information and evidence about the commercial catch that will enable better decisions around setting catch limits.
“I put the rollout on hold late last year after challenges around technology and specifications. We have arrived at solutions to these issues. After consultation with the industry and others we are in a better position to make sure it works. The industry had concerns in a number of areas, such as frequency and timing of reporting, how to deal with equipment failures at sea and how to protect commercially sensitive information such as the location of fishing spots.
Fisheries officials also used the consultation to consider how they could better facilitate innovative trawl technologies that have the potential to reduce bycatch and minimise damage to fish. Officials will continue to work with the fishing industry for the remainder of this year to resolve any other technical questions.
“These changes will allow Fisheries New Zealand to make more informed and faster decisions about managing our fisheries to maximise their recreational, cultural, commercial and environmental value. It will also give increased confidence to New Zealand and international consumers that fish from our waters are being managed and caught sustainably.
“The introduction of electronic catch and position reporting is part of a wider Digital Monitoring Project. I am still considering options around the introduction of cameras on board commercial fishing vessels and no Cabinet decisions have yet been made about this additional technology. Decisions around on-board cameras would require Cabinet approval and wider public consultation,” Mr Nash says.
What is wrong with the way commercial catches and fishing positions are reported now?
The paper-based reporting process can be slow and time consuming, and prone to errors.
The paper reports are mailed in by the 15th of the following month and the process can result in long delays before fishing information is verified. If an error is made in the forms, the commercial operator is notified and must provide an amended report or indicate that they stand by their original report. This requires operators to recall events that happened two months earlier unless they have kept their own separate records.
What will the changes look like in practice?
By using digital technology the commercial fleet will record activity in real time while fishing. The reports will in most cases be completed and submitted daily. The new regime will require the fleet to report more than previously, including fish caught that are below the minimum legal size.
Electronic catch reporting will require an e-logbook where fishing boat operators complete and transmit their catch reports electronically, most of them daily. The upgrade to electronic reporting will reduce human error and make reporting easier and more efficient.
Electronic position reporting is a new requirement for most of the commercial fleet. It will see the location of vessels and land-based fishers reported frequently through automated geospatial position reporting (GPR) devices.
What is the expected impact of electronic catch and position reporting on the commercial fleet?
There will be a cost to purchase the electronic catch and position reporting equipment from technology providers. Fisheries New Zealand will support this process with guidance material and is preparing for meetings across the country to provide information and answer questions.
There will also be some changes to past practice and familiar processes. This will affect what is reported, how it is reported, and when it is reported. However, these changes will improve the timeliness and quality of information provided to support industry decision making.
Precise cost estimates are difficult because technology providers have not yet publicised their pricing. As with any product, prices will also vary depending on the vendor chosen; the hardware and software already in place on commercial vessels; and whether catch and position reports are transmitted using cellular coverage or satellite-based systems.
The modernisation of the fisheries management system is a crucial step towards improving the sustainability of our fisheries and our marine environment.
How will electronic catch and position reporting be rolled out?
It will be rolled out over 11 months, starting with those who had the largest annual catch entitlement (ACE) holdings at 23:59pm on 30 September 2017. In general, the largest operators are more likely to have the necessary infrastructure in place to support electronic reporting. This staggered approach will also enable Fisheries New Zealand to better support commercial operators as they transition into the new regime.
The table below sets out an example of what the rollout might look like. The stages will only be finalised once the regulations have been amended. .
Permit holder’s ACE holding at 30.09.17
Can start reporting from
Must report by
2,000 tonnes and over
14 January 2019
1 May 2019
180 - 1,999.99 tonnes
1 May 2019
1 June 2019
45 - 179.99 tonnes
1 June 2019
1 July 2019
24 - 44.99 tonnes
1 July 2019
1 August 2019
11 - 23.99 tonnes
1 August 2019
1 September 2019
4.50 - 10.99 tonnes
1 September 2019
1 October 2019
1 - 4.49 tonnes
1 October 2019
1 November 2019
All other permit holders
1 November 2019
1 December 2019
How will you deal with concerns about privacy or commercial sensitivity?
We have listened to concerns that vessel operators will be forced to publicly reveal commercially valuable information, such as lucrative fishing spots or places where they enjoy an abundant catch.
There are cases where the fishing operator is not the permit holder for that species but is catching it on their behalf. Some skippers do not want to reveal their precise fishing locations to the permit holder.
Skippers or designated fishing operators will still be required to record their fishing location in fine detail, to the equivalent of 11 metres, when they report to Fisheries NZ. But they will only be required to share the same information with the permit holder with a precision equivalent to eleven kilometres.
Twenty new Police officers have today made history at the first graduation ceremony of recruits in Auckland for more than 40 years.
Police Minister Stuart Nash says the graduation of Section 5 of Wing 314 marks a generational shift in the recruitment, training and deployment of new constables. “We have to turn back the clock to 1973-74 for the last time Police were trained in Auckland,” Mr Nash says.
“It was an era when Britain had just joined the EEC, the domestic purposes benefit and equal pay for women in the private sector had just been introduced, a Labour leader sent a navy frigate to protest French nuclear testing, and colour TV was first broadcast.
“The Police recruits of the early 1970s were trained at a former teachers college at Ardmore in South Auckland. The Auckland wing was a response to requests from the Mayor Sir Dove Myer Robinson who was concerned at rising crime, much of it gang-related, in our biggest city.
“Today’s recruits were trained over 19 weeks at Unitech classrooms and at specialist Police facilities such as a firearms range and a driving centre. The twenty constables are also the first to train in a non-residential setting. Recruits traditionally attend the 16-week residential course at the Royal New Zealand Police College near Porirua.
“We have listened to feedback from aspiring Police officers who say it’s hard on families to leave home for months of training, especially if they have young children. We don’t want to put unnecessary barriers in the way of new recruits. I hope the Auckland course will set a precedent for others in the near future.
“All recruits graduating today will be deployed across Auckland. The changing demographics of Auckland compared to 1974 are also evident in the diversity of the new constables. Thirty per cent identify as Asian New Zealanders. Seven were born overseas and speak languages including Italian, Korean, Japanese and Chinese. The youngest is 19 and the oldest is 38. There are former sporting reps from the White Ferns and the Wellington Firebirds and a volunteer firefighter and a surf lifesaver.
“Today’s graduation means 688 new frontline officers have been deployed since the government took office. We are making good progress towards our objective of 1800 new frontline officers and 485 new support staff. Community safety and crime prevention will be the focus of these extra police resources,” Mr Nash says.
A new online resource will enable small businesses to create health and wellbeing policies quickly and easily, through the business.govt.nz website.
“The online Workplace Policy Builder makes it easy for small businesses to tailor policies to the individual circumstances of their workplaces,” says Small Business Minister Stuart Nash.
“Small businesses who lack in-house expertise can avoid the hassle of drawing up a policy from scratch by using this new online tool. It offers them the assurance that their policies will comply with current law.
“We created the Health and Wellbeing policy to help small businesses create a healthy, safe and positive working environment for their staff.
“A good working environment is good for business. Workplaces are more likely to have higher productivity and sales, more creativity and improved customer satisfaction.
The new policy was developed in association with the Health Promotion Agency, and adds to the existing policies in the Workplace Policy Builder. These include policies for flexible work practices, IT and social media, annual leave and holidays. More policies are in development.
Workplace Policy Builder is part of a suite of free online tools from business.govt.nz that help making running a small business easier for business owners and managers.
Revenue Minister Stuart Nash has confirmed Parliament will extend tax relief for Canterbury businesses affected by issues relating to depreciation following the earthquakes.
Mr Nash today introduced a Supplementary Order Paper (SOP) to the Taxation (Annual Rates, Modernising Tax Administration, and Remedial Matters) Bill currently making its way through Parliament.
“The SOP extends tax relief for Canterbury businesses affected by earthquakes. It extends depreciation roll-over relief for a further five years to the end of the 2023-24 income year. I have been advised that at least 40 Canterbury businesses will be adversely affected if current depreciation provisions are not extended.
“The tax issue arises because an insurance payout on a depreciable asset can attract a tax liability which may cause consequent cash flow problems. We do not want to hinder the city’s recovery or unfairly burden these taxpayers.
“Many Canterbury businesses are experiencing problems outside their control, such as delays with insurance pay-outs or finding tenants for properties or making progress on building projects. This measure will provide relief to affected businesses and further assist with the Canterbury rebuild.”
Mr Nash says the SOP will also close a loophole which allows non-profit entities to potentially avoid GST on income from asset sales. The change was signalled in an issues paper released on 15 May and will apply from that date.
“The GST treatment of non-profit organisations differs from other entities,” says Mr Nash. “Non-profits can register for GST and claim GST refunds on most of their expenses, even if their turnover is below the $60,000 threshold for GST registration. In many cases non-profit bodies do not pay much GST on their activities.
“In turn, when a GST-registered body sells an asset for which it has claimed GST expenses, it must pay GST on the income from the sale. Inland Revenue has applied this rule since GST was first introduced in 1986.
“Revenue officials have recently been advised of a new legal interpretation of this rule which exposes the tax system to potential losses. For the avoidance of doubt, the SOP introduced today will clarify the GST rules.
“The new interpretation is not consistent with the way the GST rules have been applied and understood in the past. If GST expenses have been claimed by a non-profit body in relation to an asset, GST should apply to the asset when it is sold or there is an equivalent event, such as an insurance pay-out.
“The tax system is based on fairness, and being simple and efficient to operate. The new interpretation threatens those principles and the law change restores certainty.