26 Apr 2013

Cooks pensioners on warpath over tax

3:18 pm on 26 April 2013

Cooks Islands pensioners are pitting themselves against the government over tax laws surrounding their collection of New Zealand superannuation.

There are almost 600 people across the Pacific who receive the New Zealand pension under special regional portability provisions - of those, almost half live in the Cook islands.

Under the Cook Islands government's new compliance programme, New Zealand superannuitants are required to pay 25 percent on any income over 10,000 New Zealand dollars.

But the president of the newly-formed Cooks Islands Grey Power, Tupe Takau Short, says he and fellow retirees face a debt of over eight thousand dollars and the finance minister has no show of getting that money.

"He has to throw the whole 290 of us in jail and the jail is not big enough to put us there, that is how strong we are, we're going to face it, we're not going to back out. Everyone is on on a warpath to our government - and to the tax man and his minister."

Tupe Takau Short says pensioners are prepared to pay a one percent tax and want the back taxes scrapped.