Thursday, 3 December 2020

Invasive new powers to the Inland Revenue shouldn’t be rushed

“Parliament granting expanded new powers to the Commissioner of Inland Revenue to gather information from taxpayers under urgency is a prime example of unsafe law-making,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“The Attorney General has already recognised in his Bill of Rights report on the Taxation (Income Tax Rate and Other Amendments) Bill that section 33 of the Bill breach New Zealanders’ human rights, and he has tabled a hastily drafted amendment to try and paper over the cracks.

“But the fact remains that it is completely unnecessary to grant these invasive new powers under urgency.

“At least one tax Bill goes through Parliament every year and this matter could be properly considered by the Finance and Expenditure Committee over the next six months and incorporated into one of those Bills in a fit and proper state.

“Tax, privacy and human rights experts deserve the opportunity to ensure that granting of such invasive powers meets the tests we expect and demand in a constitutional environment like New Zealand.

“Not only has the Attorney General concluded that the rights as originally drafted breach the Bill of Rights, the Privacy Commissioner has noted that he can’t assess the privacy risks of the new powers due to being provided insufficient information.

“This is not good enough, and as I pointed out yesterday in respect of this Bill, hastily passed legislation often results in more unintended consequences than intended ones.

“The invasive new powers being granted to the state’s tax collector are bound to be an example of this.”