Around 40 young aspiring tax policy leaders discussed and debated global tax policy issues with the deputy director of the International Monetary Fund’s fiscal affairs department while he was in New Zealand last week for a two-day tax administration conference.
Michael Keen, whose visit to New Zealand as this year’s Robin Oliver Tax Policy Scholarships visiting lecturer was organised by Tax Management NZ (TMNZ), was the keynote speaker at the Tax Administration for the 21st Century Conference in Wellington.
The conference, organised by Inland Revenue, Treasury and Victoria University, was a chance for Minister of Revenue Todd McClay and leading New Zealand tax experts to share their views on future tax policy.
Prior to that, Keen engaged with future New Zealand tax policy leaders from the public and private sector at two forums in Wellington and Auckland.
Attendees were selected by their employers as being potential leaders in the field of tax policy development.
John Shewan and Geof Nightingale chaired the Wellington and Auckland sessions respectively.
As well as discussing and debating a number of tax policy topics with Keen, they also had the chance to share a meal and socialise with him afterwards.
Attendees said they enjoyed the opportunity to engage with other tax professionals at their level from other firms.
TMNZ’s founder director Ian Kuperus created the Robin Oliver Tax Policy Scholarships in 2012.
The scholarships, which recognise Oliver’s 30 years of public service leadership in tax policy, were established to inspire future tax policy leaders and support the continuation of leading tax policy thinking in New Zealand.
The scholarships committee sponsors a leading international tax policy thinker to visit New Zealand to engage in debate and discussion.
It also sponsors a New Zealand tax professional to undertake research and study.
Professor Alan Auerbach of the University of California, Berkeley was the first visiting lecturer last year.
Carolyn Palmer, the inaugural scholarship recipient, is researching the tax policy response to natural disasters such as the Christchurch earthquakes and the Queensland floods.