HERALD WEEKLY ISSUE 608: 21 March 2012

Pukapuka community owes $579,000 to NZ IRS
A Cook Islands community in New Zealand that was seen as a trailblazer for “social entrepreneurship” has been forced into liquidation by the NZ Inland Revenue Department. Pukapuka Community of NZ Inc, employed 65 people at its peak in preschool and tertiary education, social services and at a bakery. It was described in a book published this year by the NZ Social Entrepreneur Fellowship as “a role model for other migrant groups”. However, Inland Revenue has obtained a High Court order placing the society into liquidation to recover a tax debt of $579,000. Chattels at the Pukapuka community centre in Mangere, including children’s play equipment and ovens used for the bakery, were to be removed for sale yesterday, but the liquidators at Pricewaterhouse Coopers agreed to give the society more time to come up with a solution. The society sold the community centre for $1.3 million in March, and a Mangere training centre valued at $680,000 the day before the society was placed into liquidation on May 3. Both properties were bought by Mellons Bay investors Michael and Maria Stephens. The proceeds were used to pay off a $960,000 mortgage in Mangere and mortgages on a property in Hastings held by Wroxton Finance and Canterbury Trustees. Those companies then withdrew from the liquidation action, leaving Inland Revenue to pursue the case alone. Society president Nuku Rapana said the society still owned the Hastings property, valued in 2010 at $405,000, and a property in Brisbane which he said would be worth “at least $1 million”. Both have been used as community centres. He said those two properties were now debt-free and selling them would more than cover the tax bill. “Our lawyer told the court we can pay this, just give us another month and we’ll be able to sort it out,” he said. But Inland Revenue said the society’s last five tax payments were dishonoured. The society’s treasurer, Tupuka Tikinau, said the tax arrears dated back to 2003-04 and the society was paying them off on an agreed timetable. However, Companies Office records show escalating interest and penalties to Inland Revenue of $47,000 in 2007-08, $129,000 in 2008-09 and $258,000 in 2009-10. No later accounts have been filed.

Herald Issue 608 21 March
- Terms of one China Policy document should be reviewed
- Pacific Media Assistance Scheme Seeks Innovation
- Successful NZ visit by PM
- Rerekura Teaurere New Climate Change Coordinator
- News Briefs

Copyright 2006 Cook Islands Herald online . All rights reserved.