Continuing our ridiculous series on what the government could buy with the measly tax dollars it earns from tech multinationals, we decided to turn the barb toward Google, which was recently revealed to have paid only $227,000 in tax over the course of 2013. And while this is ten times more than the pittance paid by Facebook, it still didn't quite measure up to what one would expect from an organisation that made US$15.42 billion of revenue globally in the quarter ended 31 March 2014.
When the Herald reported on Google's tax bill, it went for the optimistic headline 'Google's NZ tax bill on the up'. And since the team here at StopPress also tends to be optimistic about everything except for the livers of those working in the ad industry, we decided to compile a list of all things National could splash out on at its probable re-election party later this year.
1. A stretch of uneven land — $99,000
In thanks for the sterling effort that Google put in over the course 2013, Government could buy this stretch of uneven land (pictured left) and use it to build a Google shrine (pictured right) as a reminder of all the organisation has done. (Please note: pug, trees, and Google sign not included in price. Must be purchased, found or stolen separately).
2. A pair of vintage Vespas — $15,000
When the need to admire the shrine of Google arises, a pair of politicians (or perhaps even a small, brave quartet) could mount these modern Italian stallions and then take the treacherous journey through the suburbs to the sacred destination.
3. Kobe Bryant's face mask — $77,160 (after conversion)
On a more serious note, our politicians are in danger. Every time one of them takes the walk of shame to appear in court, they are at risk of having "foul-smelling mud" thrown at them. For this reason, we propose this mask as a means to protect the facial pores of our political missteppers. Unfortunately, we didn't have the budget to cover Armani suit protection.
4. 120 copies of Al Capone: A Biography — $2,620 (after conversion)
Given that Capone, one of history's the most successful tax avoiders, was eventually caught, perhaps this book could provide the 120 Members of Parliament with some insights on how to act against powerful organisations that seem to act beyond the remit of the law. Then again, this would actually require reading and remembering on the part of politicians—and there's no guarantee of either of these.
5. 50 tattoos of Hope — $10,000
Since Google increased its 2013 tax payment by $61,548 from 2012, we can always hope that the organisation one day pays a figure that somehow corresponds to the $10.13 million local revenue figure that was filed with the Companies' Office this year. So, in an effort to spread this sense of hope, Government could pay for 50 volunteers to tattoo a picture of Kristian Alfonso to their bodies as a nod to the years she spent playing the character Hope on Days of our Lives. This way, no matter what Google does, Kiwis will always carry a sense of Hope with them.
6. 25.8 dolphins — $23,220
With only 55 Maui dolphins left in the world, Government needs to act. And what better way to do this than by purchasing new dolphins from a foreign land. According to Talcoh, a reputable holder of knowledge at Yahoo! Answers, one bottlenose dolphin costs approximately $900. And based on this estimate and the cash we have left, we could thus afford 25.8 dolphins (a fraction is always better than nothing at all). The risk of this, however, is that certain members of the public might respond by desecrating the nation's overpasses with offensive and totally inaccurate graffiti.