Media release: New Zealand Council of Shopping Centres says action needed regarding GST on online transactions

The New Zealand Council of Shopping Centres (NZCSC) joins Retail New Zealand in welcoming Revenue Minister Hon. Stuart Nash’s commitment to supporting local retail businesses by requiring foreign websites to register for New Zealand GST, but cautions momentum not meetings is what is required now.

Chair of NZCSC, Campbell Barbour applauds Hon Stuart Nash for calling out an ongoing tax loophole which supports foreign businesses over locals.

“With New Zealanders able to import goods at zero GST, New Zealand retailers are automatically trading at a 15% disadvantage, that’s just anti-competitive.”

“It disadvantages local retailers operating through both bricks and mortar stores and online.”

Mr Barbour says while NZCSC realises there are technicalities to agree, it is important to maintain momentum and forward progress on rectifying what has long been recognised as an issue for the New Zealand economy.

“We’re glad to see the new government is taking action, as enabling a level playing field for local businesses is fundamental to supporting the economy, but we are urging progress rather than more discussion and analysis.”

Mr Barbour says businesses that invest in New Zealand create employment and are an important part of our towns and cities. They should not be at an outright disadvantage to offshore retailers as a result of a tax loophole.

Retail New Zealand estimates that the current GST loophole is costing the government approximately $235 million per annum.

Mr Barbour recognises that implementing foreign GST registration is not an overnight process but says Minister Nash’s initial commitment to getting the ball rolling was the right course of action.

“Let’s now keep up the momentum and align with the Australian government’s deadline of 1 July 2018,” says Mr Barbour.