New Zealand broadcasters to pay back National party's GST

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Monday, October 23, 2006

Today New Zealand newspaper, The Press, reported that New Zealand broadcasters are having to pay back the GST (Goods and Services Tax) owed to Inland Revenue by the New Zealand National Party for its election advertising. The amount owed is at least NZ$112,000.

Talks between broadcasters and the National Party were said to have failed.

Crown owned broadcaster, Television New Zealand (TVNZ) is having to pay back about $60,000. TVNZ told The Press that they have paid back $57,369 on behalf of the tax payer. "We did consider taking (legal) proceedings, but we actually decided against that," a spokesman for TVNZ said. "The likelihood would be that judgment could not be entered against the party as the debt was actually illegal. That is not to say that at some point we will not be looking to recover our money."

The owner of TV3, Canwest MediaWorks, said that it has paid back $16,011. Roger Beaumont, spokesman, said: "We are still in discussions with the National Party in pursuit of that outstanding money."

Tony O'Brien, spokesman for Sky Network Television, said that Sky is in talks with National over the unpaid GST and hopes to get to a resolution soon.

National said the money owed has been put into a trust fund and wont be available until the law has been changed. But with Michael Cullen, finance minister, saying that he will block the legislation the law is unlikely to get passed.

This follows Labour Party agreeing to give back $800,000 taxpayer money which they spent on illegal advertising. That illegal spending was last week made legal by Labour.

National is now trying to introduce its own bill to allow it to pay back the GST, without the bill it will be illegal for them to break the $900,000 advertising cap. If National was to break the cap they would receive a big fine. National report that they do have enough money to pay back the GST.

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