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Poll shows Govt seen to be handling tax haven issue “poorly”

Press Release
Immediate release

Poll shows Government seen to be handling tax haven issue “poorly” - ActionStation

Community campaigning group ActionStation says the Government needs to act to close loopholes that have allowed New Zealand to become a tax haven. The group today released UMR polling data showing more than half of New Zealanders are concerned about New Zealand being a tax haven and more than twice as many people think the Government is handling the issue poorly than think it is being handled well.

ActionStation spokesperson Marianne Elliott says: “The polling shows that like ActionStation members, a majority of New Zealanders are concerned that sloppy trust laws, left open by the current and former governments, have allowed the world’s rich to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. Most New Zealanders are not satisfied with the Government’s current response.”

About a third of New Zealanders think that the appointment of John Shewan to review New Zealand’s foreign trust laws is an adequate response to the foreign trust issue, while 52% believe a full public independent enquiry is needed.

Ms Elliott; “Our members, like most New Zealanders, believe a full public, independent enquiry is needed to restore public confidence, tighten our laws and close the loopholes that allow this to happen.”

More than 7000 ActionStation members have signed an open letter calling on the Prime Minister and Minister of Revenue, Michael Woodhouse, to “[c]lose the loopholes that allow the world's rich to escape paying their fair share in tax by using foreign trusts in New Zealand.”

Elliott; “The Government can start by closing the loopholes that allow foreign trusts to be registered in New Zealand without any information on the beneficiaries of the trust being listed. A independent public inquiry would be a good first step.”

Top line results of UMR polling (more details in attached pdf):
• More than half of New Zealanders (57%) are concerned about New Zealand being a tax haven. Females are more concerned, with 63% saying so, compared to 51% of males.
• About one fifth (21%) of New Zealanders think that the government is dealing with the issues surrounding New Zealand being a tax haven well, while 46% think the government is handling it poorly.
• About a third (31%) of New Zealanders think that the appointment of John Shewan to review New Zealand’s foreign trust laws is an adequate response to the foreign trust issue, while 52% believe a full public independent enquiry is needed.
• 40% of National voters are concerned with foreign trusts being used by people overseas for tax evasion purposes.

The poll was conducted between 14-18 April 2016 and was crowdfunded by ActionStation members.


The results in this report are based upon questions asked in the UMR Research nation-wide omnibus survey. This is a telephone survey of a nationally representative sample of 750 New Zealanders 18 years of age and over.

Fieldwork for the latest telephone survey was conducted between 14th and 18th April 2016.

The margin of error for sample size of 750 for a 50% figure at the 95% confidence level is ± 3.6%.



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