“The ACT Party would use Inland Revenue’s new powers to investigate gang members income and tax paid,” says ACT’s Justice spokesperson Nicole McKee.

“The Labour Government has given the Inland Revenue Commissioner power to ask for any financial information, no matter how private or personal. It’s come up with a list of what it considers “rich pricks” mostly gathered from the NBR Rich List so it can try to introduce an inheritance tax.

“ACT would take those powers and tell Inland Revenue; stop with the tall poppy syndrome, stop targeting New Zealand’s most successful who are already paying huge amounts of tax on their legal incomes.

“Instead, we can identify a case of high-rollers who are not paying their fair share of tax. Gangs survive based on their ability to evade the law and authority. The information collected by Inland Revenue can’t be used to lock up gang members directly, but the information can be used to improve future policies on taxing gangs.

“Tax law applies to everyone, even gang members. According to Inland Revenue, illegal income is still income for tax purposes. But by its very nature, it is difficult for the government to tax illegal income.

“This does law abiding taxpayers a double injustice: not only are gangs avoiding tax, but taxpayers have to foot the bill or personally suffer the consequences of crime.

“Gangs are out of control in New Zealand. You only have to read the news headlines, or just walk down the street to see it. There has been a 50 per cent increase in gang members under Labour.

“Labour has sent a message to the gangs that they are untouchable. ACT says it’s time we stopped hammering hardworking, law-abiding New Zealanders and start focussing on the people who are damaging our society.

“ACT is sending a clear message that it expects existing laws to be enforced, and it will empower the Police and government agencies to enforce it, focussing on criminals rather than high achieving Kiwis. We hear ya.”

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Nicole McKee