In a statement issued Monday, Retail NZ has published its hopes for the future of New Zealand’s growing retail trade approaching the 2017 September election.
The policy statement which was published yesterday includes lower income taxes, greater controls on council rates, a review of GST and more national consistency in regulation as part of the wish list.
The retail sector is one of the highest growing. Stats NZ Retail Trade Survey says 10 out of 15 industries had higher sales volume for the December 2016 quarter, compared with the September 2016 quarter.
The New Zealand retail trade employs more than 209,000 people and has a turnover of 83 billion. Greg Harford, Retail NZ’s general manager – public affairs, says the retail sector is a huge contributor to the economy.
“Retail firms and jobs in the sector are under pressure, and the new Government will be in a position to help support consumer spending, and make it easier for retailers to do business."
Their policy is calling for the new government and political parties to commit to a number of actions which includes, “affecting tax cuts through threshold adjustments and greater controls over local council rates.”
Harford says that to government’s decision to include tax cuts means less money will be leaving people’s pockets allowing consumers to make their own spending decisions.
“In the long-term, as the world becomes increasingly globalised, it's not sustainable to have a tax system that isn't equally enforced across all players in the market.”
Retail NZ also touches upon fixing the ‘de minimus loophole’ that allows foreign firms to sell good online to New Zealanders without paying GST.
“The Government is currently missing out on $235 million in tax revenue due to this loophole, which equates to 1.9 per cent of GST from retail sales,” says Harford. “If the Government is unwilling or unable to follow the Australian lead and deal with this issue, then the time has come for a fundamental review of GST.”
Retail NZ’s full wish list includes the following:
1) Income taxes and council rates: Lower personal income tax rates via threshold adjustments to allow Kiwis to spend more of their own money. Introduce greater control over local government rates hikes.
2) GST: Require foreign firms selling physical goods to Kiwis to be registered for GST; OR establish a Commission to consider alternative taxes to replace GST.
3) Retail payment systems: Increase the transparency and oversight of merchant service fees.
4) Retail crime: Establish a Retail Crime Taskforce within the Police and set specific targets for retail crime reduction. Launch a social change programme to educate New Zealanders that crime is not acceptable. Introduce an infringement style ticket for small scale theft.
5) Local Government: Adopt a national approach on national issues such as trading hours, the sale of alcohol, waste minimisation. Encourage councils to adopt generic rules wherever possible.
6) Sustainability: If the new Government wants to regulate the issuance of plastic bags, it needs to be at a national level and apply to all retailers.
Read Retail NZ’s full statement here.