Most people will expect to be held to their word -- unless of course you're Winston Peters, or his lawyer Brian Henry [audio]. Or the IRD.
The IRD, Te Taari Takee, were a law unto themselves in the years before the inquiry into their methods was undertaken after revelations of their thuggery and bullying were revealed, including the news that they drove Ian Mutton and his son to suicide. After the inquiry, they promised to change.
Nothing has changed, nothing at all, as local tourism operators have recently discovered "over the Inland Revenue Department’s decision not to honour formal, written GST agreements it signed with the industry in 2001 and instead seek $30 million of back taxes," leaving operators "appalled by the conduct of the IRD towards our industry."
Nothing has changed. As Tourism Association President Brian Henderson says on behalf of the businesses being done over, "The IRD has behaved incompetently, arbitrarily and retrospectively... It is out of control."
It is all of that, and it is still out of control -- literally a law unto itself, with powers given to it by those who live off the money they extract -- and it will continue to be incompetent, arbitrary and out of control right up until voters themselves realise the moral cannibalism at the root of the welfare state, and the iniquity of a political system based on theft. The principle point to make is this: if you legalise theft, then you must expect iniquity.
The IRD: It's Still Their Job to Drive You Under.
UPDATE: Christchurch accountant Mark Hubbard writes a letter to the minister in charge of the IRD, Damien O'Connor, which concludes:
Seriously Mr O'Connor, the fair answer is so obvious: you cannot fairly impose this interpretation retrospectively. Everybody within the IRD who thinks this is acceptable, including the Deputy Commissioner on the Network News last night, should be fired as not fit to hold the power they do. In fact any life-time bureaucrat that has been in the IRD since High School, get rid of them: let them see what life is like in the productive sector they, and you, are so hell bent on destroying, despite it being the hand that feeds you all.