A High Court decision has confirmed that while the powers of the police are (quite properly) circumscribed by law and legal precedent, those of the IRD to do over honest New Zealanders is not.
"While the Inland Revenue's right to search is not new, Deloitte partner Greg Haddon said the decision showed the tax commissioner's search and seizure powers are likely to be broader than any other branch of the Crown.
"[The ruling] identified a number of situations where perhaps in a criminal case, the search and seizure right wouldn't have existed but under a tax case it does," Haddon said.
"The rules around what that warrant looks like is a lot looser [in a tax case] than what would be required under a criminal case. Under a criminal case the warrant's required to be specific about who is entitled to [enter a premise] plus what things they're allowed to look at," he said.
The IRD does not need a warrant to search a business and copy documents found there and only requires one when it wants to search a private dwelling or take documents away, he said. Any information deemed necessary or relevant to a tax investigation can be copied or seized."
Contemplate that fact for a moment. It means, to repeat, that the government continues to give complete and unlimited power to IRD to do over productive businessmen, while retaining the restraint of law only on those investigating criminals and alleged terrorists.
And with all his much boasted tinkering with the (In)Justice system, this is one thing Simon Power-Lust has elected to leave resolutely untouched. Of course.