The Nippert tax investigations

Media is widely criticised for it’s shallowness, it’s obsession with trivia, and it’s lack of investigative reporting.

Last year Matt Nippert showed that there is still some old school investigation going on. He has detailed his series on articles on tax last year – 19 articles at NZ Herald on the topic were published through the year, in what he calls “a deliberate effort to dig into the opaque world of corporate tax avoidance and the growing Tax Gap.”

Not the most popular of topics, but far more important than much of the news we are now dished up.

The series started with package on the front page of the Herald on March 18. This included:

A pre-planned series of stories followed, including

Nippert then looked at government policy on the issue, including

Some further drilling down:

Nippert: “Throughout all this, the opinions of the public and policy-maker and even the business community appeared to shift.”

And finally “late in the year, the government finally reacted”:

In a year that the Herald was heavily criticised for it’s click-bait headlines and increasing reliance trivia we should acknowledge that they retain a commitment to some in depth investigative reporting, albeit with reducing resources.


NZH bio on Nippert:

A Fulbright scholar with a masters from the Columbia School of Journalism in New York, Matt has spent the past decade in newsbreaking roles at the New Zealand Listener, National Business Review, Herald on Sunday and the Sunday Star-Times before joining the Herald in 2014. His work has won numerous awards and he is the reigning Canon reporter of the year.

His stories include horrific abuse at a state-run boys home on Great Barrier Island, malfeasance at South Canterbury Finance, systematic tax avoidance by multinational companies, and the sudden resignation of justice minister Judith Collins.

Nippert has a regular sideline as a broadcast commentator and is one of only a few journalists who honestly enjoys numbers and spreadsheets.

Last year Nippert won Canon media awards for his efforts:

  • Reporter – Business Matt Nippert – The New Zealand Herald
  • Reporter of the Year Matt Nippert – The New Zealand Herald


  1. In all this I was most interested about the “limiting how much companies can suppress profits through debt-loading” , and if debt loading write downs were clamped down on then ” the 100 largest companies operating in New Zealand could be subject to $86m in extra tax under such a limit”.

    However looking at NZ’s expenditure and an annual Social Welfare bill alone being around 29 billion, 83 million ( less than a million each) seems drop in the ocean stuff.

    Excellent article PG.

    • Brown

       /  January 12, 2017

      I’d like to see him do something on government waste to balance the debate.

      • Ah yes Brown, if only we could run government like we do our homes and businesses – i.e contain costs when things are tight, be flexible, increase or decrease productivity as required, beef up efficiency incrementally, diversify as required and limit waste – it’d be great. Doesn’t work like that though. 😉

  2. Blazer

     /  January 12, 2017

    wonder when the ..Shewan Report recommendations will be …introduced.

  3. Revel

     /  January 12, 2017

    I would like to see him fix up his own employer for their own tax avoidance and the story behind the settlement for the IRD.