Thursday, 6 October 2011

Power to pillage, but not to surveil

For all the kerfuffle about the changing of the laws recently controlling over the police's powers of surveillance (about which I've commented here) a front page story in the Herald this morning reveals something both surprising, and disgusting.

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.


  1. Why is this a surprise?

    The brutal truth of the tax system is that the state must be prepared to commit violence, right up to and including shooting people, to enforce it. Of course, the system's supporters would prefer that we dress up this violent extortion with phrases like "paying your share", but let's call it what it is.

    You know, the single thing that most grates with me about the IRD is that they have the gall to call me the "customer". I would feel better about paying my taxes if they had the good grace to call me the "victim".

  2. That fat fuck Simon Power-Lust looks like a cocksucker.

    I bet that there won't be any outraged from our residents John Key worshipers such as Kiwiblog and No-Minister.

  3. Part 1 of 2

    Glad someone has blogged on this (as I still can't get into my own blog, and looking like I never will).

    People need to understand that circa the twenty first century, IRD basically runs government, given how government has irresponsibly indebted itself and needs a constant source of money taken from taxpayers (the story of the West) to fund the bigger and bigger State. And IRD have full police state powers, plus are given any further powers they ever ask for: none of us have privacy, and thus no freedom, from them. Worse, IRD, with a compliant judiciary, (Gramsci has won through the education system that spawned our judges), have now completely overthrown what used to be known as the Westminster Rule - from House of Lords case 1936 - under which the taxpayer did have some wiggle room against the State, a classical liberal ethic, if you like, and have now redefined the notion of tax avoidance to mean if you are not paying the maximum amount of tax, and rate of tax, that you could, then you're probably practicing avoidance as far as the courts are concerned. I don’t know why English has legislated a reduced 30% then 28% corporate tax rate: the case of Penny and Hooper has shown if you’re a small mom and pop company – the majority of companies in an economy - and have the temerity to use the lower corporate rate, and not the higher personal tax rates, then IRD will probably just go you for tax avoidance, and they’ve not lost a single important case over the last decade (and I don’t believe IRD when they say they’ll only apply this to service companies: their track record now shows they’ll apply the principle wherever they can). English is right when he says lower tax rates foster economic growth, but IRD, apparently, make policy now, and have countermanded his express intentions relating to this – that last point is hugely significant.

    Indeed, our courts, unbelievably, in the tax realm, are the chief promoters of the totalitarian concept that the State is complete master of the individual, not servant, and that before the State the taxpayer has no property rights (rights to privacy, income, assets, nothing). It's appalling and makes me mad as hell. Since 1776 the West has been travelling steadily back in time to the barbarity of Orwell's 1984.

    The IRD are more and more using what I would call 'terror tactics', working through fear, putting out media release after release threatening what they can do to you if you get our hotch potch mess of tax law wrong - and while my blog was up I had copious posts on just how bad our tax legislation is; some of it so contradictory, it's uncompliable. In fact large tracts of our tax law from the fortress of legislation, including the latest insult, LTCs, are incompetent, and politicians should be held to account for the harm it does, will cause. Dunne has been a rank disaster for the taxpayer: he won't even support ACT's spending cap bill, trying to cap govt spending to the inflation rate: obviously he feels his Stasi can just extract for the State whatever they need as they continue to tax and spend (against my will - I want no part of this violent society they're creating). And think about it: under first a hard left government, then a (supposedly) right government, the Minister of Revenue has been the exact same man – that must mean there is no difference where it matters for a society and an economy, namely tax policy (where politics, philosophy and economics all meet), and the taxpayer is screwed no matter which major party rules. And then think what that says about politics, itself, in our social(alist) democracy.

  4. Part 2 of 2.

    And don't get me wrong, I deal with individual people in the department who are great, and helpful, and are good people: but as a department, they are way beyond the power they should have in a free society, and where it matters, they do have some real slimeballs. Their head of compliance openly brags about how he loves to use private sector assets against the private sector, such as the Waikato University benchmarking database, that business gives data to freely, which IRD routinely use as part of their audit program. For example, if you're a painter, they know from this database what you 'should' be making per litre of paint purchased, and so they'll be going through all such tradesmen asking them to explain themselves if not meeting the average (and don't use recession as an excuse, what would IRD know about recession). To me this connotes an adversarial relationship against business in his mind, which must flow through to enforcement – even though it is those same businesses that pay all their wages. If you’re a business putting data to this database, which has been so beneficial, you’ve got to ask yourself why you would continue doing so now it’s being used routinely against you.

    Before Christmas IRD raided Chinese restaurants in Auckland, deliberately picking their busiest times, during lunch service, thus maximum inconvenience. Apparently during their raids, some of the staff at the various restaurants were terrified. And now, despite our law says you only need to keep records for seven years, one restaurant has been asked for all records going back 20 years. Note against IRD you are not innocent until proven guilty, as in the criminal jurisdiction: IRD simply assess you what they think you should owe them, and it's up to the taxpayer to prove otherwise, so if you've not got your records, you're screwed.

    They are currently running a major case worth $100 millions against some of the biggest Aussie companies operating in NZ, trying to deem a debt instrument being used as an avoidance scheme – and despite IRD earlier approving the use of it: if they win this, it could seriously affect some of these firms wanting to operate in NZ - but IRD is not accountable for the economic harm they do, so they'll just keep prosecuting their divine bloody mission. They would just keep going, I reckon, until there was no economy left, and they might well do so.

    Anyway, can't go on. I get too angry. I see the press is worried that Putin is trying to reform the old Soviet bloc: well don’t worry too much, because in New Zealand, with the power the IRD has to completely disregard your privacy, and it’s punitive penalty system that is breath-taking in its capacity to bankrupt, we are all living the ‘Lives of Others’ (movie, watch it), and we are all now living behind the IRon Drape ourselves. The IRD are the defacto government of New Zealand, and when you give a government department the immense power it has, and charge it with taking people’s efforts from them, then you’re always going to end up with some version of Orwell’s worst nightmare: it’s inevitable. But unfortunately we're sheeple. We suck it up, sitting in this Gulag of Good Intentions, slaves to bureaucrats, and do nothing, because what do you do anymore? One man, or two, or three, against the brute State we have will get squashed every time.

  5. Elijah Lineberry6 Oct 2011, 17:49:00

    I remember back in 2008...(okay, yes, I am going to get nitpicky for a moment)...and, indeed, in the decade or so leading up to 2008 - the ACT party saying "vote for us and by golly once in Government as National's coalition partner we will put a stop to this IRD nonsense" (or words to that effect); various people (ie - me) laughed our heads off (I laughed so much I 'almost' bought a round of drinks) and [yet again] suggested to the gullible that Rodney and co were full of it and voting ACT and not LIBERTARIANZ was foolish and a con trick.

    The gullible voted ACT in vast numbers and despite Rodney's crusade with Dave Henderson (no, the other one - from Christchurch) nothing more was ever heard from the pussy whipped "we will sort out IRD and the National party" brigade.

    Before getting into fits of indignation about this matter readers should:

    1. Remember whom they idiotically voted for last time

    2. Remember they were warned

    3. Remember they ignored the warning and yes "I told you so"

    4. Remember that only one party will REALLY 'deal to' IRD [and the National party, for that matter]

    5. Remember how gullible you are when looking down at a ballot paper

    This story in the Herald is shocking and yet another attack on the rights of anyone seeking to make a profit.

    The only reason this sort of thing happens is because insufficient people vote Libertarianz. Fancy that...

  6. In the mid-eighties I was employed as a solicitor in a large law firm. We all arrived at work one Friday morning to find security guards throughout the building, each telephone receiver was taped down with masking tape and the firm's four fax machines were unplugged and placed under guard in a stairwell. The IRD goons were rummaging through files, drawers, satchels etc... The reason, they were executing this filth was due to one partner having given evidence in support of a businessman who was being sued by IRD and they were looking for "something." I recall secretaries being in tears as their hand-bags were fumbled through,while the glove-boxes of some of our cars were rifled. The thing that is really chilling is that there are children growing up today who will carry on this extermination of free enterprise against future businessmen all in the name of the state! (The interesting thing is that the IRD had already lost the action in the courts that had led to the evidence being given.) The IRD's powers are not new, they only change in their breadth.

    Chris R.

  7. Tradable Citizenship is the answer. Then people will vote to make things better, not worse.

    Living inside a citizen-serf state is the problem as individuals are subsumed with no escape. It's just like living in cannibalistic Maori tribes 200 years ago. People were just a disposable unit of the tribe, with no external world possible.

    Every year, the state takes half your efforts. You get a small portion back via roads and other assets you use. But about 80% of the money is redistributed to other people who bludge on your efforts.

  8. Elijah Lineberry7 Oct 2011, 19:02:00

    Actually, Maurice, the answer is to tick the Libertarianz box on your ballot paper. Quite simple really...

    (one thing I think Peter should do with this blog is institute a rule of "If you didn't vote Libz - don't complain"; the comments section would die immediately ha ha!)

  9. Actually, Maurice, the answer is to tick the Libertarianz box on your ballot paper. Quite simple really...

    I've ticked the Libertarianz box on every ballot paper on which it has appeared, and will continue to do so, but it's done no good so far, and it never will. I'll keep doing it because, well, I'd rather see 47 votes for Libz than 46, but even if Libz by some miracle won every seat in parliament, while we'd all be much better off in many ways for maybe the next couple of decades (assuming they've be voting back into purgatory at the next election), it wouldn't really solve anything (and we'd be worse off in some ways, Libz being composed of loony Randians). As long as a significant proportion of people are statists, "minimal" or not, humans are screwed.


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