Andrew Dickens on the Panama Papers

Andrew Dickens is really stepping up in the past few weeks. His column from yesterday explains how middle NZ feels about the Panama Papers:

We’ve had a few days of the Panama Papers and I’m picking most people have no idea what’s going on.

Today 200,000 names and all the papers were released by the International Consortium of Journalists who have been looking at this for a year.  They’ve been looking at the papers sourced from an illegal leak by a whistleblower.

Now how about that for journalists deciding to be judge, jury and executioner.  Being one of the 200,000 doesn’t automatically mean you’re a bad person. However many people, who have no idea what’s happening, will think these named people and entities are dodgy in some way or another.  It’s incrimination by insinuation.  It’s not pleasant.

Media party like to play judge, jury and executioner. They play fast and loose and think they are performing some sort of higher purpose. Mostly they are low ratbags. Sanctimonious low ratbags happy to play with illegal operations but finger pointing at anyone they don’t like doing the same.

So where am I at with the Panama Papers?

The rules were written in 1988 under a Labour government and they’re common to many countries.

We have these trust laws for obvious reasons but they can be taken advantage of.

Imagine you’ve got a business and you work hard and pay your taxes and fulfill all your obligations.  You sell up and you’ve got a million bucks.  It’s legal and paid up but if you put it in the bank you’re paying tax on it again.  You’re not keen on that so you park it in a jurisdiction that doesn’t want to double dip you.  Perfectly fair and perfectly reasonable.  That’s why these things exist.  The privacy exists because nobody likes the whole world peering into your pay packet.

Except panty sniffing journalists.

Now also imagine being a Colombian drug lord.  You’ve also got a million bucks.  It’s not legal.  It’s never been taxed.  You also want to park it somewhere without tax and without being identified.  You’ll chose somewhere out of your jurisdiction.  Oooh look New Zealand. That’s at the end of the world. No-one will suspect a thing.  Let’s go there.

My point is the legality of tax liability lies at the feet of each sovereign jurisdiction where the money comes from in the first place.  The kiwi retiring with a million in tax paid cash should be allowed to park without tax.  But if foreign guys want to park the profit from their nefarious activities here who’s problem is it really?

It’s the initial sovereign jurisdiction’s problem in my opinion.  If the bad guys have got the money out then more fool the country that let them earn it and then export it .  Close down the NZ trust law and all the bad guys will do is find somewhere else.

Yep. But you can’t really close it down without removing trusts altogether. Take my brother for instance. He has lived overseas for more than 30 years. But he has trusts to protect his assets. Removing foreign trusts would affect his family and he isn’t doing anything illegal.

I talked to an International Consortium of Journalist guy this morning.  Firstly he stressed that if your name is on the list it doesn’t mean you’re bad or that you’ve done anything illegal.  He said these laws are everywhere and New Zealand came into vogue in 2013 because someone realised we’ve got a good reputation.  We’re nice guys with sheep and Lord of the Rings and he confirmed that if we closed it down there are plenty of other places to go.

At the end of the day most of these trusts are nothing to worry about. Most are perfectly legal and fair. Our trusts are the end of the money chain and the problem really lies at source.

Let’s concentrate on clamping down on our own money launderers and drug lords before worrying about other country’s bad guys.

Is Andrew Dickens the only sensible journalist in New Zealand right now?

The reality is the Media party have beaten this up into something it isn’t. They are wrecking people’s lives with no reason other than a wonky and illegal jihad from Nicky Hager to get John Key. It is disgraceful…and a failure.

 

– NewstalkZB


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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.

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