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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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story.  And when he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet.   Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet, and as a result he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist that takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him.  But you can’t ignore him.