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New Zealand

Tax collector forcing Kiwis to put their lives on hold

Punishing call wait times at Inland Revenue are seeing hundreds of thousands of Kiwis either disconnected or hanging up in frustration, National’s Revenue spokesperson Andrew Bayly says.

“Inadequate staffing meant almost 700,000 calls to IR call centres were disconnected before they even entered the queue to have their call answered.

“An additional 181,000 callers hung up before speaking with an operator because it was taking too long.

“Usually the Inland Revenue website gives an approximate waiting time, this morning demand is so high the website simply says ‘We are currently restricting the amount of calls we are accepting due to high demand.’

“Revenue Minister Stuart Nash needs to recognise the stress his department is under and the frustration being caused to thousands of New Zealanders and step in to fix the problem.

“Mr Nash claims people should just go online. This isn’t an option for everyone. There are plenty of reasons who people prefer to discuss tax matters with a person over the phone rather than sort it online, where the information isn’t always easy to follow.

“Given recent changes to the tax system, numbers should have been beefed up to deal with the influx of callers.

“It’s important that Inland Revenue is easy for New Zealanders to access. Mr Nash needs to take charge of his department and fix this problem.”

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