MEDIA RELEASE: Tax Progress at UN Welcomed - NZ Should Support

Tax Justice Aotearoa welcomes last night's landslide vote in favour of international tax cooperation at the United Nations - despite the New Zealand government's opposition.

Overnight (NZT), countries at the UN adopted by huge majority a resolution to begin the process of establishing a framework convention on tax and completely change how global tax rules are decided.

"We're delighted the vote has passed, as it paves the way for meaningful progress on international tax cooperation," says Tax Justice Aotearoa chair Glenn Barclay.

"However, we had hopes New Zealand would vote in favour - or at least abstain - as our country's reputation as a constructive member of the international community is on the line," says Glenn Barclay.

TJA - along with other civil society groups from Australia and Canada - issued a statement ahead of the vote, urging our respective governments (collectively known as the CANZ group) to take a progressive stance on international tax cooperation.

Nearly two-thirds (125) of UN countries voted in favour of the reforms. 48 countries voted against the resolution and 9 abstained. New Zealand, Canada, Australia, the US, UK and all EU member countries voted against the resolution.

The resolution, from the Africa Group of Nations, proposes that intergovernmental discussions are launched to strengthen international tax co-operation, leading to a framework developed and agreed through the UN.

"Currently the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development is the main international forum on tax - yet it does not have the inclusive, global decision-making power that the United Nations has," says Glenn Barclay.

"This means developing countries – the ones most affected by illicit financial flows, tax evasion and avoidance - don't currently get an equal say in decisions on tax."

"We urge our government to support future efforts to make global tax decision-making genuinely inclusive and create a fair international tax system that works for all countries, not just the powerful few," says Glenn Barclay.

TJA says there's no time to spare to get this right.

"Right now, the global community stands at a juncture - after years of work to stop tax-related illicit finance, tax evasion and tax avoidance, progress at the OECD continues to be plagued with delay and disappointments," says Glenn Barclay.

"Voting against the draft resolution is akin to supporting the existing elitist OECD system and denying developing countries the opportunity to demonstrate how a fair global tax framework might work - the New Zealand government must change its stance."