Making Friends With The Robots – The Swiss Vote In June On A Universal Basic Income

On 5th June Switzerland will become the first country to vote on a universal basic income. It is a timely referendum. One of the main arguments for a UBI is that technological advances mean we face a future where there will not be paid employment for everyone. And that ‘future’ may be upon us. Continue reading

Act Against Corporate Welfare, Rescue The Common Good

Corporate welfare exists in secret trusts and corporations that play one country’s tax laws off against another’s to avoid paying taxes whilst heavying governments for handouts. Corporate welfare exists in misnamed ‘trade’ treaties, like the TPP, that allow overseas corporations to dispute the decisions of elected governments and embed corporate money spinners like the extension of copyright and patent law worldwide.

Corporate welfare fuels the “relentless machine of corporate profit.” And corporate welfare subverts the common good. Continue reading

Why Does Anyone Want A 70-year Copyright Term?

The Trans-Pacific Partnership Amendment Bill passed its first reading last week by three votes. Those in favour: National, ACT, United Future, and Phil Goff.

What National, ACT, United Future, and Phil Goff mainly voted to do was increase our copyright term to 70 years after the death of the artist or after it is first made available to the public, depending on who holds the copyright. Why? Continue reading

Tax Free Hideouts, Overseas Investment Thresholds, And The TPP

The government is determined to press ahead with the law changes needed to implement the Trans-Pacific Partnership as quickly as possible – before people get their heads around what is really happening. And there is plenty happening.

The Overseas Investment Office is under scrutiny for letting unsuitable buyers buy up land, and the Panama Papers indicate foreign trusts can use New Zealand as a tax haven. At present anyone, anywhere can invest up to $100 million in New Zealand without needing government approval.

Once the TPP is ratified that threshold will be raised to $200 million. Expect the concept of ‘sensitive land’ to get some serious legal scrutiny as well. Which begs the question why even bother with the Overseas Investment Office? Continue reading

The Corporate Con

Most of our elected officials want to do the right thing. They want everyone to have a reasonable standard of living. But they are being led astray. Corporate heads tell our politicians that they can help with this, and our politicians believe them.

These corporate heads have got national and local politicians of every stripe falling over themselves to assist their corporations to make money in New Zealand, in the mistaken belief that their corporations are going to make money for New Zealanders. Continue reading

Transnational Corporate Tax Shenanigans Need To Stop

It’s official. Many big transnational corporations are not paying their taxes. And the government doesn’t intend to do anything about it.

These corporations inflate the value of the goods and services supplied by their parent company, conveniently located in an offshore low-tax/no-tax haven, to equate to the value of most of their revenue from sales in New Zealand. This is ‘cost of sales’ and can be deducted from the money they make from sales as a business expense. Hey presto, very little ‘profit’. Very little tax to pay. Continue reading