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Put a tax on immigrants, expert says

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 9/03/2017
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A tax expert says there should be a poll tax on immigrants of up to $15,000 to help cover the cost of extra infrastructure and services needed by a growing population.

Mark Keating, a senior lecturer in tax law at Auckland University, says the Treasury last year estimated an extra $100 billion would have to be spent over the next 10 years on hospitals, schools, roads and services to cope with population growth.

"These figures suggest that New Zealand's existing population of taxpayers will shoulder a huge additional tax bill to settle and assimilate its record number of new immigrants," he said.

"New Zealand is a desirable country with excellent infrastructure and public services - immigrants get to share in all these benefits, so why shouldn't immigrants also contribute to them?"

He's suggesting a flat immigration fee of $10,000 to $15,000, with exemptions for refugees and those filling skill shortages.

"Imposing a tax on most other immigrants in return for their right to share in everything New Zealand has built up would be both reasonable and fair," he says.

Mr Keating has calculated that on current immigration figures, a tax of $10,000 would raise more than $896 million a year, and at $15,000 it would raise more than $1.3 billion.

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