NZ Prime Minister cuts top rate taxes
When he was Merrill Lynch's global head of foreign exchange in London in 1998, the ever-cheerful John Key was nicknamed "the smiling assassin" after he fired some 50 members of his team.Today, as Prime Minister of New Zealand, population 4.4 million, he's using his trademark grin to woo millionaire immigrants, foreign investors and high-end tourists to one of the planet's most remote developed countries, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its October issue.Key, 49, even took time out from a session of the United Nations General Assembly last year to appear on the Late Show with David Letterman to talk up New Zealand . He encouraged visitors to take a "convenient" 20-hour, one- or two-stop flight from New York ."It's like England without the attitude," he wisecracked, adding: "Visit in the next 30 days and I will pick you up at the airport."Key was joking with Letterman, yet his underlying message was serious. Since he took office in November 2008, the Prime Minister has cut income and corporate taxes, offered scholarships for business executives and taken personal control of the country's tourism ministry to boost a stuttering $125 billion economy."Attracting high-net-worth individuals is critical in terms of the investments they make and the opportunities they provide for others." As for his currency background, it comes in most handy in political debates."Parliamentary question time is very much like being on a trading floor," he says. "You live off your wits, and you feed off the environment."Key, who leads the centre-right National Party, is pushing pro-business policies. He has trimmed the top income tax rate to 33 per cent from 38 per cent compared with 45 per cent for Australia .Next year, the corporate tax rate will fall to 28 per cent, two percentage points below Australia 's, from 30 per cent.He's trying to win free-trade agreements with India and Russia . He has cut bureaucracy so that Auckland will be run by one local authority instead of eight."Look at what he's done; it's quite remarkable," says Jonathan Ling, chief executive officer ofFletcherBuilding , the country's biggest publicly traded company.The Emigration Group specialise in Business Visas for New Zealand . If you are thinking of relocating or starting a business in this beautiful country, call us on 0845 230 2526.