Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse welcomes a report showing the vast majority of employers who take on seasonal workers under the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme are also employing more New Zealanders.
The eighth annual survey of RSE employers found that 79 per cent of the 92 respondents had employed more permanent New Zealand workers in addition to their RSE workers.
“The fact that more RSE employers are now taking on more Kiwis as well is great news and shows once again the huge benefits of the RSE scheme,” Mr Woodhouse says.
“Employers have been able to get the workers they need, when they need them, which has increased productivity and enabled them to expand their businesses.
“The survey also found that 96 per cent of RSE employers believe the benefits of participating in the scheme outweigh the costs, with most of them expecting further improvements to their business as a result of taking part in the scheme.
“The survey results demonstrate yet again that the RSE scheme is a shining example of best practice where everyone benefits – employers, RSE workers and their home communities and New Zealand workers.”
RSE Monitoring: 2016 Employers Survey Working Report is available at www.immigration.govt.nz/documents/statistics/rse-monitoring-survey-2016_report.pdf
Note to Editors:
The RSE policy allows the horticulture and viticulture industries to recruit overseas workers – mostly from the Pacific Islands – for seasonal work.
Under the scheme employers can bring in a total of up to 10,500 workers a year, provided there are no New Zealanders available to do the work. This is consistent with Government policy to ensure New Zealander’s are first in line for jobs.
Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Woodhouse is pleased to announce the appointment of Jenni-Maree Trotman as a new Member of the Employment Relations Authority (the Authority).
The Authority performs a very important role in New Zealand’s employment relations system, investigating and working to resolve employment relationship problems.
“Ms Trotman is an experienced employment lawyer who will join the Auckland office for a term of three years,” says Mr Woodhouse.
“The breadth of Ms Trotman’s work and particular strength in commercial law will be a real asset to the Authority.
“I have no doubt that her skills will complement those of the current members and I wish her all the best in her new role.”
Background information on appointee:
Jenni-Maree Trotman has been a Barrister Sole since October 2005 and in legal practice for nearly 18 years. As a barrister, she specialises in employment law, litigation and building disputes. She holds an LLB and a BA from the University of Auckland.
Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse will today travel to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia as part of an Immigration NZ (INZ) selection mission to interview refugee cases who have been submitted for resettlement in New Zealand by the UN refugee agency, UNHCR.
“In addition to the UNHCR’s own screening process, all refugee cases submitted for consideration undergo robust assessments as part of INZ’s decision-making process,” Mr Woodhouse says.
“This trip is an opportunity for me to observe those refugee interviews undertaken by INZ staff and gain an insight into the important work INZ staff do on refugee quota selection missions.
“Selection mission interviews focus on credibility, risk and settlement to ensure that the person is not a security risk or character of concern to New Zealand, and that settlement in New Zealand is the right option for them.
“This work is an integral part of ensuring that those refugees who are resettled in New Zealand do not pose a risk to the country and that they are well prepared to settle in the communities.”
Mr Woodhouse will also meet with UNHCR staff at their office in Kuala Lumpur, as well as visit a number of centres that provide education and health support to refugees.
Mr Woodhouse departs for Kuala Lumpur this evening and returns on Saturday 28 January.
The minimum wage will increase by 50 cents to $15.75 an hour on 1 April 2017, Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Woodhouse announced today.
The starting-out and training hourly minimum wage rates will increase from $12.20 to $12.60 per hour, remaining at 80 per cent of the adult minimum wage.
“The Government is committed to striking the right balance between protecting our lowest paid workers and ensuring jobs are not lost,” says Mr Woodhouse.
“An increase to $15.75 will benefit approximately 119,500 workers and will increase wages throughout the economy by $65 million per year.
“At a time when annual inflation is 0.4 per cent, a 3.3 per cent increase to the minimum wage will give our lowest paid workers more money in their pockets, without hindering job growth or imposing undue pressure on businesses.
“Annual increases to the minimum wage since 2009 reflect this Government’s commitment to growing the economy, boosting incomes and supporting job growth throughout New Zealand.”
Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Woodhouse today announced two new appointments to the WorkSafe New Zealand Board.
Stephen Reindler and Nikki Davies-Colley will join the board from 16 December for three year terms.
“These appointments bring to the Board strong governance skills and experience in sectors which WorkSafe is particularly focused on,” Mr Woodhouse says.
“Stephen Reindler is a very experienced director and engineer who has led health and safety programmes in large manufacturing, engineering, and transport companies.
“Nikki Davies-Colley brings her governance experience in the farming, forestry and energy sectors and her health and safety initiatives have become models for others in those industries.”
Chair and Deputy Chair of the WorkSafe Board, Gregor Coster and Ross Wilson, have also been reappointed.
“Both Gregor and Ross have shown a strong commitment to implementing the reforms introduced by the Health and Safety at Work Act.
“Gregor is an experienced health sector leader and has led the board from its establishment in 2013. Ross will continue to bring an employees’ perspective and a sound understanding of employment and workplace health and safety law.”
WorkSafe is a Crown agent and has an independent board, with five to nine members appointed by the Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety.
Note for editors:
Mr Reindler has a background in large-scale infrastructure and heavy industry manufacturing. He is a director of Meridian Energy Ltd, Naylor Love Enterprises Ltd, Broome International Airport Group, Resolve Group Ltd, Yachting NZ and Chair of Waste Disposal Services JV. He was previously a director of the Port of Napier, Stevenson Group Ltd, an advisory director of Glidepath Ltd, a member of the Transfield Services Ltd Advisory Board, and is a former president of the Institute of Professional Engineers NZ. Mr Reindler has led occupational health and safety programmes at Auckland Airport and BHP Steel.
Ms Davies-Colley and her husband have farmed cattle and sheep for over 30 years and owned companies involved in forest management and harvesting in Northland for 25 years. She is Chair of Northpower, a founding director of the merged Farmlands Co-operative Society Ltd, its subsidiary Farmlands Finance Ltd, and chairs the Farmlands People & Performance Sub-Committee. She is also a director of Landcorp Ltd and chairs the People and Safety Sub-Committee of that company. Ms Davies-Colley has implemented a number of initiatives to improve health and safety in her various organisations.
Professor Gregor Coster, has chaired the WorkSafe Board since its establishment in 2013. He has served on six Crown agency governance boards over the past 20 years, including Pharmac and the Counties Manukau District Health Board where he led significant health care reforms. He is currently a board member of the ACC. Professor Coster serves on the Bevan Commission in Wales providing health and social service advice to the Welsh Government. He is currently Professor of Health Policy and Chair of the Improving Health and Wellbeing in our Communities theme at the Victoria University of Wellington.
Ross Wilson is a self-employed mediation, arbitration and labour consultant. He is a former president of the NZ Council of Trade Unions. Of Scottish and Ngāi Tahu descent, Ross has governance experience which includes Chair and Deputy Chair of the ACC, and director of the Port of Wellington, KiwiRail, and NZ Railways Corporation. He is a lawyer with a strong interest in employment and workplace health and safety law and practice.
A change made to tax rules will provide businesses with faster access to GST refunds from February next year, says Revenue Minister Michael Woodhouse.
The Tax Administration (Direct Credit of GST Refunds) Order 2016 will make it compulsory for Inland Revenue to provide GST refunds by direct credit to a taxpayer’s identified account, resulting in much faster GST refunds.
“Under the current process, a cheque from Inland Revenue takes an average of 10 days until the funds become available to the taxpayer. Direct credit means the funds will be available to the taxpayer in just two days,” Mr Woodhouse says.
“This change is the result of extensive public consultation in November 2015, which sought feedback on how digital technology might be used to provide more streamlined PAYE and GST processes for taxpayers.
“It is just one of a number of changes that will be introduced next year as part of Inland Revenue’s modernisation programme to make it easier and faster for New Zealanders to manage their tax affairs.”
From 7 February 2017 GST refunds will only be made by cheque if Inland Revenue does not have a customer’s bank details or if there are extenuating circumstances, such as hardship.
Revenue Minister Michael Woodhouse today released proposals to simplify and modernise the Tax Administration Act (TAA), as part of the Government’s major transformation of the revenue system.
“The Government is committed to ensuring our tax administration is fit for purpose and meets the needs of modern New Zealand,” Mr Woodhouse says.
“Today’s release of the discussion document, Making tax simpler – proposals for modernising the Tax Administration Act, includes detailed proposals developed following the first round of consultation in November last year.
“A key feature of this consultation is a focus on moving Inland Revenue resources to help taxpayers get it right from the start by providing more advice.”
Submissions received in November 2015 showed support for greater flexibility in how Inland Revenue works with taxpayers and intermediaries. They also recognised a desire to balance taxpayers’ confidentiality with the need for broader information sharing within government.
“A lot has changed in the way individuals and businesses engage with the tax system since the last comprehensive review of our tax administration settings in the early 90s,” Mr Woodhouse says.
“That is why we are undertaking extensive consultation to ensure the TAA is simple and workable for all New Zealanders.”
Submissions close on 24 February 2017. More information is available at www.makingtaxsimpler.ird.govt.nz.
Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse says changes to the migrant investor policy will encourage investments that provide greater economic benefits for New Zealand.
“There’s no doubt the Migrant Investor categories are performing well with $2.9 billion invested since they were launched in July 2009 and a further $2.1 billion in funds committed,” Mr Woodhouse says.
“However, around two thirds of investment is currently placed in bonds and the government believes there is an opportunity to rebalance this towards growth-oriented investments.
“That is why we are making changes to increase the amount and performance of investment while better recognising the non-financial contribution of migrant investors.”
The changes include:Doubling the funds Investor 2 migrants must invest to $3 million Removing the need for Investor 2 migrants to hold $1 million in settlement funds Recognising higher levels of business experience and English language skills through changes in the points system Increasing the annual cap of approved Investor 2 migrants from 300 to 400. Rewarding investment in growth-oriented investment with incentives such as bonus points, priority processing, and a financial discount.
“Many investors tend to move into growth focused investments as they become more familiar with the New Zealand environment. These changes will encourage them to do so earlier in the process while incentivising investments that deliver greater economic benefits for New Zealand,” Mr Woodhouse says.
The changes will come into effect in May 2017.
Revenue Minister Michael Woodhouse today welcomed the release of the OECD’s new multilateral instrument – the latest step in the global fight against base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS).
“Many BEPS techniques rely on abuse of tax treaties, and the OECD/G20 BEPS Project has recommended a number of changes to further strengthen tax treaties multilaterally,” Mr Woodhouse says.
“The OECD have proposed a multilateral instrument that will rapidly amend a worldwide network of several thousand bilateral tax treaties, rather than countries having to implement these amendments on a treaty-by-treaty basis.”
The instrument text is the result of work undertaken by the OECD and around 100 countries over the past year.
“New Zealand officials have been working with other countries and the OECD to develop this unique instrument, which will enable New Zealand to quickly and efficiently strengthen our tax treaties against BEPS techniques.
“BEPS is a global problem that this government is committed to addressing. The best way to do that is through a co-ordinated global response, which is why we are fully committed to the multilateral instrument.”
Officials will now begin consultation on the implementation of the multilateral instrument, with the signing expected to take place in June 2017.
The text of the multilateral instrument can be found at www.oecd.org/tax/treaties/multilateral-convention-to-implement-tax-treaty-related-measures-to-prevent-beps.htm
Revenue Minister Michael Woodhouse today announced tax measures to help those affected by the Kaikoura earthquakes.
“This is a difficult time for many in the Kaikoura region and those affected by the earthquakes should be looking after themselves and their families first and foremost, rather than worrying about not meeting their tax obligations,” Mr Woodhouse says.
“Following an Order in Council this morning, Inland Revenue will waive use of money interest when a person is prevented from paying on time as a result of the recent earthquakes.
“This applies to all late tax payments and at this stage, is scheduled to expire on 31 January.”
Mr Woodhouse also welcomed Inland Revenue’s decision to cancel late filing and late payment penalties for all affected taxpayers.
“Yesterday was a PAYE filing date, but while people are trying to put their lives back in order, they shouldn’t be worrying about missing filing dates if the quakes have prevented them from filing,” Mr Woodhouse says.
“I’m also very pleased that IRD has announced discretions on income equalisation for farmers and fishers who are significantly affected by the earthquakes.
“Normal tax rules do not take into consideration extraordinary events like last week’s earthquakes. For Kaikoura and surrounding areas, it is important we provide some more flexibility to reflect the reality of the situation they face.”
For more information, see www.ird.govt.nz.
Anyone requiring information and support should call the Government Helpline on 0800 779 997.