IRD: Administrators or activists?

Wed, 20 Feb, 2019

The IRD Commissioner is woefully unaware of the line between administering tax and campaigning for more tax, according to ACT Leader David Seymour.

"Under questioning today at Select Committee, the Commissioner said the IRD’s politicised tax surveys were an aberration in its otherwise politically neutral conduct.

"When asked why the IRD was also sponsoring politicised articles on The Spinoff saying things such as: ‘Tax is love. Or the opportunity to express it. To spend it on projects or people you think could really use it’, the Commissioner first tried to say that the articles were simply starting a discussion, then claimed that any politicisation was the result of giving editorial independence to The Spinoff.

"The Commissioner needs to decide: Were The Spinoff articles independent editorial content, or in line with her obligations to be politically neutral?

"Whether or not tax or the level of tax is desirable is a purely political question. The role of the IRD is to implement Government policy, not to influence it.

"There have now been two major transgressions of political neutrality on the Commissioner’s watch.

"IRD is given extraordinary powers and should remain politically neutral at all times. The Commissioner’s clear failure to understand this distinction is deeply concerning."