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The Devonport Flagstaff Page 22

Interview

June 16, 2017

Numbers, words and sport all add up for tax-expert Terry Terry Baucher became hooked on New Zealand after arriving here as a Lions supporter 24 years ago. Since then, he has combined his career in the financial world with his sporting passions – and has also just co-authored his first book. He talks to Maire Vieth. It’s been a frantic three months for Terry Baucher. The end-of-tax-year workload at his consultancy firm in March was followed by six World Masters Games cycle races in April, and then the launch of Tax and Fairness, a book he authored with Deborah Russell, in May – timed to be in book stores before the budget was presented on 25 May. They wrote the short book as a “debate piece” for the general reader, arguing that the nation’s archaic tax system is failing to keep up with economic and social changes, and becoming increasingly unfair in the process. Baucher says the tax regime is particularly unfair on those who save. “Most people didn’t know that their KiwiSaver savings are taxed much more harshly than a house or an investment property.” With 2.7 million New Zealanders contributing billions of dollars each year, the tax system makes KiwiSaver one of the country’s top tax generators, he says. A much smaller number of landlords own nearly double the assets in property but pay considerably less tax, he says. Unless the tax system is changed, this imbalance will increase for future generations. “Many young New Zealanders are unlikely to afford houses but are expected to pay into their KiwiSavers. It’s a real distortion in the system.” What would Baucher propose were he Finance Minister? “A capital gains tax is one Up for a debate... taxation is a moral issue for Terry Baucher, answer but you would also have to look at a co-author of a new book arguing our tax system is out of date. more comprehensive taxation of land, carbon taxing, changes in GST and multinationals’ years, he has been a regular contributor to the ran a session for boys and girls aged 12 and 13. I thought, I couldn’t get my 20-year-old taxation,” he says. “You may even reshape financial online journal interest.co.nz. He first got into writing while working at players to do what they did. The average the policy to have a system where people on earnings pay less tax and those with capital accountancy multinational Ernst & Young level of skills of my players was nowhere during the 1990s, when he reviewed films near theirs.” pay more.” The weight restrictions impressed him Taxation is a moral issue for Baucher. “It’s for the monthly in-house magazine. “I think the price we pay for civilisation,” he says, my first review was of Desperado,” he says. as well. “They make skill more important Baucher met his future wife, Devonport than size.” adapting a quote chiselled into the façade of By the time his trip came to an end, the US Internal Revenue Service building in painter Tina Frantzen, through writing. Both had signed up for a University of Auckland Baucher was hooked. “I thought, I like it here, Washington. Baucher appreciates a meaningful turn of weekend creative-writing course. “It was the didn’t feel a compelling need to go back to phrase and enjoys writing. For the past five 19th of September 1998. I am very good at Manchester and decided to stay. I went back to get my things and a work permit and that remembering dates,” he says. “We struck up a conversation and that was it.” Baucher was a senior tax manager for was it.” It was his second marriage. Baucher moved to Devonport that year and the couple Ernst & Young from 1995 until 2001. After three years as an associate for Pieter Holl & married five years later. Baucher, originally from Northern Ireland, Associates, he opened his own consulting arrived in New Zealand to watch the 1993 firm in Takapuna. He kept up his rugby coaching at Te Papapa British Lions Tour. As a rugby coach for the University of Onehunga rugby club, taking an under-21 Manchester, he was on a mission to work out team, then the senior reserves, and in his final why New Zealand rugby was so good, and to season co-coaching the senior team. “It was return home with some new coaching ideas pretty intense,” he admits. Baucher got into rugby as a kid, growing for his team. “I saw more training sessions than matches. I spoke to coaching directors up in Tandragee, 50km southwest of Belfast. “I was terrible at football and didn’t have and filled up notebooks,” he says. Baucher learned his first lesson about New great hand-eye coordination, but I could stay Zealand’s skill level watching a bunch of kids. involved in a rugby game and enjoyed running “At the first training session at Eden Park they into and over people,” he says.

16 June 2017 Devonport Flagstaff  
16 June 2017 Devonport Flagstaff