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Tax changes in for bumpy ride

The government’s investment tax changes, which are due to be introduced into Parliament today, may be in for a bumpier ride than expected.

Tuesday, May 16th 2006, 6:53AM

by Rob Hosking

Government support party New Zealand First has confirmed to Good Returns it wants to see changes at select committee level.

A Wellington rumour late last week suggested New Zealand First was threatening not to support the tax bill because of the unhappiness of many of the party’s supporters – who are predominantly the retired or near-to-retired – with the impact of the tax changes on their retirement planning.

That rumour suggested Labour would put the tax bill up with Thursday’s Budget and make the issue a matter of confidence.

It appears the issue has not come to that point, but New Zealand First has confirmed there are aspects of the bill it is not happy with.

New Zealand First chief of staff Graham Harding told Good Returns the party would vote to support the bill going to select committee.

As to whether the party would support it after that, Harding says “that depends on what it looks like when comes out of select committee”.

After initially declining to say what the party’s concerns are, he confirmed they are in the area of capital gains tax on direct offshore investments.

Neither the officers of Finance Minister Michael Cullen or Revenue Minister Peter Dunne were able to comment when contacted yesterday.

The Parliamentary bump comes just as the Shareholders Association and investment house GPG have stepped up their public campaign against the tax changes.

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

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