Ignore the hysteria, listen to the experts

Labour are going all in on so-called tax dodgers, conveniently ignoring their own expert tax dodger working from Andrew Little’s office.

The Media party are doing it too, as usual, laundering stolen and illegally obtain documents in order to create murk. Essentially they are playing dirty media.

However the experts don’t agree with their rhetoric.

If someone gets run over by a car, the response by the government should not be to ban all cars on the road.

That’s how tax specialist and former Deputy Commissioner of Policy IRD Robin Oliver describes the early hysteria, as he calls it, to the so-called Panama Papers data dump.

The massive leak of documents from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca has put the spotlight on foreign trusts registered in New Zealand and whether they are used to avoid tax or cover dodgy dealings.

“There will always be some abuse,” Mr Oliver told NBR Radio’s Andrew Patterson. “But you would expect a reasonable response and, to me, that means continuing down the line we currently have with rules that ensure that the financial information held by NZ trusts is available.

“Now we have a series of laws the government is introducing with I think general support for automatic exchange of information, which means that there will also be more vigorous identity verification. All that info will be sent to IRD and exchanged with other countries.”  

Mr Oliver agrees with Prime Minister John Key that New Zealand is not a “tax haven” and that there is full disclosure of information.

“People need to realise there is no secrecy here,” Mr Oliver says. “We are a safe haven, not a tax haven and we should appreciate that.”

Most of the people investing in the NZ trust industry are from Asia and the Middle East where there is no income tax, he says.

“So these people want to invest their money somewhere, protect their assets, and they don’t want to pay tax they wouldn’t pay at home but they want their money invested out of their country to a place that respects property rights and is safe.”

We are not a tax haven, and never have been. But I really wonder why it is Labour, after the debacle of wading in with support for Australian based criminals, are now wading into this debate on behalf of foreign jurisdictions and their tax arrangements.

There is absolutely no evidence that these organisations haven’t paid the tax that is due in NZ. But that isn’t stopping Labour bagging New Zealand for their own political benefit.

Bottom line though is there is no tax haven in New Zealand…and our tax rates are quite a bit higher than that of real tax havens.




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  • Wheninrome

    Criminals who steal, student loan defaulters, these are proven “takers” from society. The overseas people investing their money in trusts here are not taking from NZ.
    Still want to see our N Z Trust law improved in the same way that our Company law i.e. with a register of N Z Trusts, Trustees, Settlors and beneficiaries would be a good start. That way no NZer can hide behind their Trustees in an anonymous way.

  • Cadwallader

    Labour/Tax Havens/Taxable Entities Let Labour parade about, they’re ignorance on heat!

  • localnews

    A high net worth individual who doesnt structure his affairs according to his accountants instruction is a fool. Making Andrew Little happy is unlikely to one of their aims

  • Nige.

    Stuart Nash cold called Leighton Smith the other week whingeing about tax dodgers and told the audience that there is a Westminster defense dating back a couple of centuries whereby it is a citizens right to attempt to avoid tax, which is still in place.

    I mean….are these guys capable of getting a game plan together and execute it without giving tips along the way?

    • Not Clinically Insane

      That same Stuart Nash went on the record this week that he has trusts to protect his assets in the event he gets sued as an MP!

  • EpochNZ

    Labour are just barking at passing cars (again).