There is legitimate debate over how much tax multinational companies should be expected to pay in New Zealand.

Given these firms, particularly in the technology sector, can operate production, design and research teams far from their end consumer it is understandable our slice may be small.

But, in fairness, it must be more than zero - the amount we reveal today that Apple has been shown to pay to Inland Revenue in income tax.

Fairness in the tax system demands rules be appropriate and adapted to behaviour designed to exploit them, but also so that the public is convinced they are fair and are not being exploited by others.

Advertisement

A failure to do so risks seeing the trust underpinning our economy fracture, and means we are missing out on money we could reasonably expect would help pay for our public services.

The rapid evolution of international trade and tax is a complex subject and no government yet - not even Ireland's unfortunate attempt to style itself as a developed haven - has found an easy solution.

But complexity must not be used as an excuse for inaction: The economy is changing rapidly and our tax system must change with it.