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Grey list to go: Cullen

Finance Minister Michael Cullen says the government remains committed to abolishing the “grey list” for offshore investments.

Wednesday, January 4th 2006, 6:32AM

by Rob Hosking

And he says the government also intends to implement the offshore investment changes together with the domestic changes if at all possible. It is understood – as Good Returns reported last week – that one option under consideration has been to delay the offshore tax changes a year, as these have been by far the most controversial.

The domestic changes are crucial to the government’s KiwiSaver workplace savings scheme.

However – although Cullen stopped short of ruling out splitting implementation he made it clear where his preference lies.

“The intention is to try to keep moving reasonably consistently if we can,” Cullen told a briefing on the Half Yearly Economic and Fiscal Update.

“Certainly we have to deal with some of the domestic issues by April 2007 [when KiwiSaver is due to start].

“My own view is we can and should try to deal with the offshore issues as well. We are approaching the point where we’ve got ideas we can discuss with a few leading practitioners in the field and would deal with some of the more coherent objections to the proposals.”

To a question whether the grey list would be abolished Cullen simply said “yes.”

On KiwiSaver, Cullen says a bill has been drafted “but there is still work to do on it over the break,” and it will be introduced to the House in either late February or early March.

Rob Hosking is a Wellington-based freelance writer specialising in political, economic and IT related issues.

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