25 Jun 2015

Cooks Grey Power willing to go to jail over back-tax issue

6:54 pm on 25 June 2015

Cook Islands Grey Power says members will now demand to be sent to jail, as a way of protesting against paying back-taxes on their pensions.

In 2013, the government for the first time, began taxing about 260 Cook Islanders who receive the New Zealand pension, and ruled that they should also pay two years worth of tax arrears.

This debt was later forgiven by the government, but Grey Power says they're still required to back pay taxes from 2013 to 2015, and they don't want to.

Grey Power members have marched on parliament twice to protest, but its president, Dennis Tunui, says there will be no more marches.

"We decided to suffer the consequences. That is, face court appearances. The whole group are united. We will not march, we'll just wait for them to start taking us to court. We will do that, and then demand that we go to jail. We stand firm against paying back-tax."

Dennis Tunui says there are about 80 members willing to do this, and they want the headlines to read 'pensioners taken to jail' to shame the government.