by Peter Petterson
Helen Taiaroa, widow of murdered ‘lollipop’ – stop-go sign roadworker, George Taiaroa, has publicly pointed out the serious and unfair situation that she, thousands of other widows and dependants suffer – having their compensation treated as income and liable to secondary tax. She said she is being penalised for having her husband George murdered that day.
“What the hell is wrong with this country?” said Helen. Indeed! “The arrow goes back to Parliament”, she added.
More than 2700 people were paid more than $71 million in weekly compensation for lost earnings last year by the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC).
All of them had family members murdered or killed in accidents, including road crashes, work related illnesses and medical misadventure.
However, an anomaly in tax law means their compo is treated as income, forcing family members with jobs to pay the higher secondary tax rate on either their weekly compo payments, or on their wages, depending on which is deemed the secondary income.
Revenue Minister, Todd McClay, said he sympathised with the families concerned, and he planned to ask Inland Revenue to look at the rules and make them more tax-payer friendly. What the hell does that mean, tax-payer friendly? They are unfairly and unjustly taxed. And they have been for decades. I don’t know if it has always been that way, or the tax-laws were changed along the way. But remember ACC was introduced away back in 1974 by the Kirk Labour Government. Succeeding governments have treated such people unjustly and unfairly. Nobody was aware of the situation? Pull the other one!
ACC Minister, Nikki Kaye added her sympathy too, commenting that she supported ACC working with the IRD to explore measures that may assist people in such situations.
Helen Taiaroa’s husband of nearly 43 years was gunned down in March 2013 while operating the stop-go sign on a remote road in Taupo in the North Island.
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