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Foreign trusts review a charade

Leader of the Opposition

11 April 2016
Foreign trusts review a charade

A review into offshore trusts must involve more than one tax advisor behind closed doors if it is to have any credibility or salvage New Zealand’s international reputation, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says.

“What is John Key trying to hide? Yet again the Prime Minister is doing the absolute minimum to appear as if he is addressing an issue the public are deeply concerned about. When a full inquiry is needed John Key has created a charade.

“The Government has done all it can to downplay New Zealand’s involvement in the Panama papers and the possibility ill-gotten gains are being laundered through our country. The reality is the Government is allowing the world’s richest people to hide their wealth in New Zealand and not pay their fair share.
“What is needed is a full public inquiry with the power to subpoena witnesses and question them under oath.

“Any inquiry must also be given adequate resources so it can fully examine the 60,000 times New Zealand is mentioned in the Panama Papers – and the more than 12,000 foreign trusts registered with Inland Revenue.

“It must also identify the different ways foreign trusts can be used for tax avoidance and tax evasion – in both New Zealand and overseas territories. And it must recommend how information can be proactively shared with tax treaty partners.

“John Key’s sudden change of heart to look like he is doing something about these trusts is most likely the result of focus groups telling him the public are unhappy with his flippant response. It’s time for the Prime Minister to step up and take this issue seriously,” Andrew Little says.


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