Fair Tax Now!

We all want enough food to feed our children and access to healthcare when needed. But across the world many parents have to chose between food or medicine.

This isn’t right.

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Right now, people in big multinational corporations, like pharmaceutical companies, do everything they can to avoid contributing to the common pool of resources in the countries where they work. They avoid paying taxes and pressure governments to drive down corporate tax rates. While these multinational corporations make billions, their self-serving behaviour robs governments the opportunity to provide people who are poor with essential services, like free public healthcare.

Our international tax laws let multinational corporations like Johnson & Johnson avoid paying billions in tax. The companies get away with shifting profits from countries where they have to pay tax to shadowy tax havens where they pay no tax. They also use their lobbying power to drive down corporate tax rates so even when they do pay tax, they pay less than what they should be contributing.

New research from Oxfam reveals that every year between 2013 to 2015, four of the world’s biggest pharmaceutical companies – Abbott, Johnson & Johnson, Merck & Co. (also known as MSD*) and Pfizer – appear to have avoided paying NZ$5.5 billion in taxes in nine developed countries, and an estimated NZ$167 million a year in seven developing countries. Here in New Zealand, these companies avoided paying NZ$21 million each year.

We can fix this broken system.

New Zealand has taken positive steps towards addressing tax avoidance within our nation. But that hasn’t helped poor countries or their people. Our government can do more to change the international tax rules for good, so multinational corporations can’t keep gaming the system to their own benefit, while billions of other people miss out.

Public country-by-country reporting is one way to help make big corporations like Johnson & Johnson contribute their fair share in tax. To make this happen we need Stuart Nash, our Minister of Revenue, to pass a law requiring multinational corporations to publish key financial information from every country where they operate.

If everyone – members of the public, tax authorities, journalists, other countries’ governments and civil society organisations – can all see these reports, we can hold these big corporations to account for their shocking behaviour and make sure everybody gets enough food and the medicine they need to be healthy.

Take action now.

*In all cases, when we use the name 'Merck & Co.' we refer to the USA-based pharmaceutical company Merck and Company Inc., sometimes known as Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD) outside of the USA, not the German-based pharmaceutical company Merck KGaA.

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