National’s new finance spokeswoman Amy Adams says the IRD “don’t support [the bright line test] going to five years” – but a spokesman for the department says her comments are “not strictly true”

The Inland Revenue Department (IRD) says claims made by National’s new finance spokeswoman on its alleged opposition to the extension of the bright line test are not correct.

In a media stand up on Wednesday, Amy Adams said: “the IRD don’t support [the bright line test] going to five years.”

When challenged on this point, she said she would have to go back and look at the IRD’s submission to the Finance and Expenditure select committee (FEC).

“But they apparently made it clear they don’t support it… I’ll have to go back and have a look, but as I say my understanding is the IRD haven’t supported it.”

However, an IRD spokesman says Adams’ position “is not strictly true.”

“There was no submission on the topic of the bright-line test extension at the Inland Revenue annual review hearing before the FEC on February 21.

“Rather, a committee member asked the Commissioner a question about whether government departments supported the extension of the test, and the answer made reference to IR’s view on the policy extension.”

In the select committee meeting, IRD Acting Deputy Commissioner for Policy and Strategy David Carrigan did say IRD had advised Government that a two-year bright-line test was preferable, catching speculators, but avoiding long-term investors, according to Newsroom.

But the spokesman says IRD just provides policy advice for the Government, “we don’t necessarily provide a position for or against.”

He says he’s “not quite sure how [Adams] could make that claim.”

But Adams is standing by her comments.

In a statement, she points to a paragraph from the IRD’s regulatory impact statement – not the submission to the FEC she told media about on Wednesday – to justify her position.

“The Treasury notes that the risks relating to over-reach and lock-in are unable to be quantified and therefore it is difficult to assess their significance in relation to the Government’s objectives for extending the bright-line test. The IRD considers that two years is the better bright-line period, mainly because this reduces over-reach.”

A spokeswoman for Adams says her read on this was that IRD did not support extending the bright line test.