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Indian restaurant’s property seized in NZ for tax fraud

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Auckland: Indian restaurant Chain Masala got into trouble for tax fraud. The New Zealand police seized its 33 properties worth $34 million. It is considered the biggest cache of property ever restrained by the authorities in New Zealand.

The asset freeze came after allegations of tax fraud to the tune of $7.4 million dollars, newstalkzb.co.nz reported on Saturday.

Revenue authorities have been investigating 17 firms involved with the Masala chain for allegedly under-reporting earnings.

The restaurant chain owners, Joti Jain, Rupinder Chahil, Rajwinder Grewal and Supinder Singh have allegedly evaded paying tax by systematically stripping cash from the restaurants and not declaring cash sales in GST returns, investigator Elena Bryleva stated in an affidavit.

The brand came under scrutiny last year for paying its employees as little as $2 an hour. Co-owner Jain was sentenced to 11 months home detention last October after admitting immigration and exploitation charges.

According to Immigration New Zealand, one of her victims worked 66 hour weeks for months at the Takapuna restaurant and was also told to clean Jain’s house – all for no more than $3 an hour.

Masala founder Chahil is already facing six charges alleging he falsified immigration documents and supplied misleading information contrary to immigration laws.

Properties seized include a $3 million dollar house in Auckland’s Remuera area, a parcel of land in Takanini and four other properties believed to have been used as accommodation for Masala workers.

Some of the restaurants have since been sold and renamed.(IANS)

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New Zealand Passes Zero Carbon Bill Aimed at Combating Climate Change

We in New Zealand are on the right side of history, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said in a speech at Parliament

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New Zealand, Carbon, Bill
Today we have made a choice that will leave a legacy. Pixabay

New Zealand on Thursday passed a bill to reduce its carbon emissions to zero by 2050 and meet its commitments under the Paris climate accord.

“I am really proud to stand in this House today for what is a historic moment… Today we have made a choice that will leave a legacy… We in New Zealand are on the right side of history,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said in a speech at Parliament.

The law commits New Zealand to keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius, as stipulated by the Paris Agreement and marks an important step in the fight against the climate emergency looming over the world according to more than 11,000 scientists worldwide, reports Efe news.

“We’ve led the world before in nuclear free and votes for women, now we are leading again,” Climate Change Minister James Shaw tweeted.

New Zealand, Carbon, Bill
The zero emissions target excludes methane emissions but the law pledges to reduce them gradually. Pixabay

The zero emissions target excludes methane emissions but the law pledges to reduce them gradually.

The law includes the establishment of a green investment fund worth NZ$100 million ($64 million), a carbon trading scheme and inclusion of agriculture in emissions pricing by 2025, and the plantation of one billion trees by 2028, according to a statement by the Ministry of Climate Change.

The law also stipulates suspending the release of new permits for hydrocarbon explorations at sea and supports the production of cheaper electric vehicles apart from setting a goal of 100 per cent renewable electricity generation by 2035.

The legislation aims to cut biological methane emissions from agriculture by 10 per cent until 2030, and targets 24-47 per cent reduction in emissions by 2050.

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Simon Bridges, leader of the opposition and the New Zealand National Party, said that his party supported the bill but would keep trying to introduce changes in the future in order to make it better. (IANS)