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Reviewing tax policy development in New Zealand: Lessons from a delicate balancing of ‘law and politics'


New Zealand is internationally recognised for its consultative and transparent tax policy process known as the Generic Tax Policy Process (GTPP). Instigated in 1994 following a review of New Zealand’s Inland Revenue Department (IRD) the GTPP has survived largfely intact. Its survival has not been made easy since its implementation is by a Cabinet directive without backing from legislation. The GTPP displays both adaptive and survivalist traits, evidenced through incorporating a move to a Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) electoral system in 1999, and returning after a partial suspension in 1999-2000 by the incoming government. Recently the GTPP has been complemented through policy input from several working groups set up to investigate aspects of fiscal policy, including taxation generally, savings and welfare. It has also come under further pressure during the Look Through Company (LTC) regime initiative. Thus, how has the GTPP ‘survived’ in a changing political climate? Why does it continue to receive support from tax practitioners and policymakers alike?

This paper sets out to provide some answers to such questions.

Author profile:

Prof Adrian Sawyer
Adrian is Professor of Taxation in the Department of Accounting and Information Systems at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch NZ. Current at 01 March 2015 Click here to expand/collapse more articles by Adrian J SAWYER.
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