Evil Lord Ashcroft makes a good point on the Panama Papers

Evil Lord Ashcroft makes a really good point about the Media party interest in the Panama Papers.

It is the received wisdom that the leaking of the Panama Papers triggered the Prime Minister’s worst week since he took office. From his personal point of view, that may well be true: having the media trying to dig into your family’s tax arrangements is not a pleasant experience, as I can attest. But politically, how much has really changed since open season was declared on the Camerons’ financial affairs?

As so often, it is worth remembering that most people have better things to do than follow the minutiae of political coverage. Nothing very important gets past the voters, but they have a knack of getting straight to the point. The Cameron tax story, then, boils down to three essential elements.

First, the Camerons are rich. (To anyone who did not know this already – a Peruvian goatherd, perhaps, or a hermit – the last week’s news will have come as quite a revelation.) Second, they may have taken some steps to avoid paying any more tax than they had to. Third, nothing they did was against the law.

Same goes for John Key.

What the opposition and Media party are trying to do is place a moral judgment value on all of the information, without pausing for one second to consider their own morals in rifling through stolen papers and invading the privacy of others.

I see why Cameron, and then George Osborne and Jeremy Corbyn, felt the need to publish their tax returns, but the precedent that has now been set could do more harm than good. If this becomes a standard requirement for Ministers, then MPs and candidates, it will deter capable people who might otherwise think about standing for office – not just those who have made some money, but anyone who thinks that opening their family finances for all to see is an intrusion too far. If the problem is that our rulers live in a different world from the ruled, the solution is surely not to come up with a new way to put normal people off entering politics.

Which is why I am glad John Key has said no to publishing his tax records. Being hectored or badgered into publishing private tax records is not on. The Labour party like to go on about the Americanisation of politics and how evil that is, but they went straight for the US tactic of demanding private details be published.

The silly thing is that it has drawn attention to Andrew Little’s financial affairs, not John Key’s. Andrew Little has been an MP for five years, he has received more than $800,000 in salaries yet declares no investments whatsoever in the Register of MPs’ Pecuniary Interests. Where has the money gone?

More importantly, do we really want a fiscal fool as our PM?


– Lord Ashcroft


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  • Graeme

    This is just a carryon from mike williams sesrch in Australia those years ago. You would think that they would have finally got the message about Keys finances.

  • twittertit

    Where has the money gone? To the unions of course!

    • CheesyEarWax

      Doubt it, a socialist only spend other people’s money. He’s a lawyer, no doubt he’ll have a few Trusts setup.

      • Woody

        You can only be doing what we accuse Labour of which is just guessing and I don’t believe that he is a very smart lawyer. If however that did turn out to be true he would be standing on very shaky ground indeed.

    • biscuit barrel

      So its a terrible thing to call for the PMs tax details but not to call for the Opposition leaders spending over the last 5 years.

      “he has received more than $800,000 in salaries yet declares no investments whatsoever in the Register of MPs’ Pecuniary Interests. Where has the money gone?

      • willtin


    • Abjv

      Donating into non-charitable family trusts is one way of shedding assets without them turning up on a tax return, All it needs the trust to have is multiple discretionary beneficiaries, and pay its tax as required for its tax jurisdiction. Glass houses and all that.

  • Wheninrome

    Avoid tax is legal, whereas evade tax is illegal.
    I think the legal ability to avoid tax boils down to what the Australians call “a fair go”. Fair crack of the whip etc, ie using the law to assist your business, something open to all, the law is for all, you just have to use your nouse, work, earn and save some money and make some right decisions with the assistance of your financial expert, which may involve avoiding tax legally.

  • Whitey

    “More importantly, do we really want a fiscal fool as our PM?” Labour’s net favourability ratings have already answered that question.

  • Urbanviper

    I saw a very good point on Facebook. Tax returns don’t tell you anything because hidden income isn’t reported in them. If the hidden income is reported then it isn’t hidden and it is taxed.

    • Annoyed

      So they were never going to find anything illegal. They were just fishing for anything to attack John Key over.

      • biscuit barrel

        Are you surprised ? Its not that hes PM or something. Anyway he gives as good back.

        This isnt the league of try hards, its top level politics, its what politicians do for goodness sake.

        • Second time around

          Politically it would better to attack him on policies, not on perceptions, and leave Key’s lawyer out of it. Little and Shaw tried to ask clever questions today, to link a company’s web site to Key’s personal values, and failed miserably even to formulate a proper question- regrettably neither is a top level politician.

          • Left Right Out

            It was a pathetic display by the 7% man and you can throw Winston in their as well…… They have nothing but continue to clasp at straws

  • wilson

    The left love going on about the evil 1%. Andrew little releasing his tax summary shows he is in the 1%. Idiot.

    • Isherman

      They also bang on endlessly about the right to privacy, then in the next breath demand everything be open and made transparent…so which is it?

  • Usaywot

    My next door neighbour is very nosey. She opened a letter, clearly addressed to me, from my financial adviser giving details of my investments. She claimed it was an accident but I knew it wasn’t, the office it came from was clearly marked on the envelope. I’m not wealthy but I felt incensed that she was privy to this info. Imagine the whole of NZ being privy to your private info. That is expecting way too much of our politicians from either side. Little just showed himself to be a complete fool, unable to save any money and bitterly jealous of anyone who can. How could he possibly run a country?

  • localnews

    I really like the idea of the amount of tax you pay becoming a moral issue. I think it would be great if the Ird just told everyone to pay the amount they think is morally right.
    I wouldnt pay anything.

    • It wouldn’t be your morals that gets to set the rate. It will be people like Andrew Little.

      • localnews

        Then I would have to try and find a lawyer to argue with him. I would probably have to find one without morals. Shouldn’t be too hard

  • It is every citizens duty to minimise the amount of tax they pay to the rapacious state.

    As governments extort incredible sums of tax monies from their citizenry, and deliver appalling levels of services (arguably in some instances they would be committing fraud if they were a commercial entity), you have a moral obligation to contribute the legal minimum. The more you have, the more the greedy actors of the state want it for their own venal agendas, which unsurprisingly, do not include making your life better, simpler or happier.

  • Crowgirl

    Good grief, please don’t tell me that Little got this stupidity of publishing his “tax records” from the heroic Jeremy Corbyn’s political playbook. As if he wasn’t doomed enough already.

  • Radvad

    Did he include any charitable donations? Rumour has it Key gives his PM salary away, how much does Little or does he only donate to the Labour party?

    • biscuit barrel

      Well then , he could show his tax return to show that he does. All MPs donate to charity, its expected of them.

      • Asian_driver

        They are forced to do it through tax, like the rest of us. nothing more is expected

  • Catriona

    Accountants all around the country are paid by their clients to minimise their (the clients) tax liability. It goes on. It’s real. Smart people pay for good advice.

    • Sally

      Also most accountants stay within the law.

  • zotaccore

    Maybe Angry Little donated the bulk of his pay to the trade unions. After all, they put him in as leader so they’d expect a backhander… wouldn’t they? I would be very interested to see where his money really has gone given his holier than thou behavior this week in the debating chamber.