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Head of Oxfam says NZ could do more

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 11/06/2017
Winnie Byanyima. © Escalona/Epa/REX/Shutterstock/Rex Images Winnie Byanyima.

The head of charity Oxfam says big companies in New Zealand need to be brought to task for dodging tax, and the country can lead the way in bringing in the living wage.

The executive director of Oxfam International, Winnie Byanyima, told TVNZ's Q&A programme on Sunday that tackling economic equality around the world comes back to tax and who isn't paying their share.

"There is an obsession by governments on growth and not looking at who is being touched by the growth," she said.

"It's also businesses - wealthy people dodging their taxes, driving down wages, paying peanuts to the producers who supply them, and refusing to invest back in the businesses, spending their money lobbying governments to give them more advantages to tax them less."

Ms Byanyima said transparency in tax is key to reduce tax-dodging and New Zealand can lead the way in the area of global corporate tax reform, "putting the burden on the companies that make the money".

A government like New Zealand's can work to close tax loopholes so money is not legally channelled offshore to tax havens, she said.

She said while New Zealand was the first country to introduce a minimum wage, there must also be a move for a living wage across the board as part of a move towards a global economy, "that benefits workers, producers, communities, the planet".

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