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NZ Super Fund caught using tax havens

26 September 2012

NZ Super Fund caught using tax havens

The New Zealand Super Fund’s use of tax havens is ethically wrong and undermines New Zealand’s attempts to stop international tax avoidance, the Green Party said today

Parliamentary questions lodged by the Green Party have revealed that our publicly funded New Zealand Superannuation Fund has $1.6 billion (or seven percent) of its funds invested through investment vehicles located in tax havens like the Cayman Islands, Isle of Man, British Virgin Islands, and Mauritius.

“We should not be profiting or supporting an international system of tax avoidance through tax havens. It’s simply unethical and hurts regular tax payers, who have to pay more tax when large multinationals use tax havens to avoid paying their fair share of tax,” said Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman.

The Government’s Minister of Revenue said in November 2012, ‘In the global fight against tax evasion, the New Zealand Government takes its responsibilities very seriously and has been very active in this area. We will continue to explore further opportunities to clamp down on evasion.’ He also said in 2009 about the on-going negotiation of new tax information exchange agreements that, ‘in the foreseeable future we will get to the point where there are simply no more safe overseas tax havens.’

“We have a Government that is allowing the New Zealand Super Fund to use tax havens to avoid paying tax while simultaneously working to eliminate international tax avoidance through tax havens,” said Dr Norman.

“This is clearly a double standard.”

“We can’t both profit from tax havens and try to shut them down.

“That will simply undermine our international reputation – something the Super Fund is specifically legislated to avoid.

“The solution is for Bill English to direct the Super Fund to divest the $1.6 billion invested through tax havens.

“We can still make good returns without hurting others.”


Link to Parliamentary questions revealing the extent of the Super Fund’s use of tax havens:

https://www.greens.org.nz/sites/default/files/super_fund_caught_using_tax_havens_to_avoid_paying_tax.pdf

Link to previous Government statements on tax avoidance and tax havens

http://taxpolicy.ird.govt.nz/news/2009-12-17-big-year-tax-treaty-negotiations

http://taxpolicy.ird.govt.nz/news/2012-11-06-update-nzmalaysian-dta

ENDS

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