New Zealand's Political Parties Debate Over Offshore Gambling Tax Revenue Ahead of General Election

OCR Editor. - September 1, 2023
New Zealand Government Buildings

As New Zealand gears up for its general election on October 14, a heated debate has erupted between the ruling Labour Party and the opposition National Party regarding tax revenues from offshore gambling operators.

New Zealand politics is seeing heightened tensions between the Labour and National Parties as they debate the issue of taxing offshore gambling revenue. The discussion comes ahead of the general election, scheduled for October 14, and revolves around how much the country could realistically earn from such taxation.

According to iGB News, The National Party's deputy leader Nicola Willis, proposed an NZ$14.6 billion tax relief plan, claiming that her party could raise NZ$179 million yearly from offshore gambling operators. Willis argued this would be achieved by "closing a tax loophole" and obliging offshore operators to register and report their earnings in New Zealand. Non-compliance would result in the imposition of IP geoblocking. Furthermore, she suggested that her figures include additional corporate taxes and casino fees.

Labour, the ruling party, rejected these claims. Labour's spokesperson for revenue and internal affairs Barbara Edmonds, criticized the National Party's estimates, stating that there was no 'tax loophole' for online gambling from offshore operators. Edmonds pointed out that the Goods and Services Tax (GST) generates less than NZ$40 million per year, contrary to National's claim of NZ$179 million. She also challenged the National Party to provide the costings for their four-year revenue forecast of NZ$716 million.

Andrew Bayly, the National Party's spokesperson for revenue, was reminded by Edmonds that in the seven years GST has been collected, it has only accumulated NZ$170 million from online casinos. New Zealand levies a 15% GST on services provided remotely by offshore suppliers, making over NZ$60,000 annually from New Zealanders.

Kieran McAnulty, Labour's racing spokesperson, further added that National's fiscal plan could result in double-counting revenue. He noted that offshore gambling platforms already pay a point of consumption charge of around NZ$4 million per year. This money is redirected towards community benefits and efforts to minimize harm from gambling. McAnulty also criticized the National Party for not allocating funds for harm minimization in their taxation plan, questioning whether community and sports funding would be cut to pay for tax reliefs.

This disagreement over offshore gambling taxation highlights the complexities of adequately projecting and managing such revenue. As the general election draws near, both parties are keen on leveraging this topic to their advantage, albeit with contrasting viewpoints on its financial potential and ethical implications.

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