John Key comments on John Doe

The Panama Papers whistle-blower must be European and somewhat confused, says Prime Minister John Key after he was accused of being “curiously quiet” over tax havens in the Cook Islands.

The Cook Islands is a former New Zealand colony but is now self-governing in “free association” with New Zealand.

Investors in the Cooks pay no income tax or capital gains tax.

It has been branded a tax haven and was the focus of the Wine Box inquiry in the 1990s.

That was the only reference to Mr Key or New Zealand in an 1800-word manifesto by the leaker, who calls himself “John Doe”.

But Mr Key says the Cook Islands accusations may no longer be relevant, with tax loopholes now tied up.

“Prior to 1988 there were issues with New Zealanders avoiding their tax by having a structure in the Cook Islands. In 1988 that all closed down and subsequently there has been no issues,” says Mr Key.

“So that well and truly predates me [and] has nothing to do with me.”

Mr Key believes John Doe got confused about the level of responsibility New Zealand has for the Cook Islands.

“New Zealand has responsibility for foreign policy and defence of the Cook Islands but not for tax.

“I have as much responsibility for tax in the Cook Islands as I do for tax in Russia.”

The Prime Minister says the only time New Zealand gets involved in Cook Island tax affairs is when officials give advice on “transparency” and “best practice”.

He added that if the leaker reveals any relevant, new information that hasn’t been resolved, the Government would more than happy to propose changes.

Gosh.  Key seems in a panic doesn’t he?

Of course John Doe isn’t confused.  The fact that John Key was even mentioned (in passing) in the manifesto is because Nicki Hager will have asked for it to be put there (if he didn’t co-author it).

It ties in with the attack that’s building to a crescendo on Tuesday.   It’s the good old Dirty Politics team on it again.  Labour and Hager with the assistance of the breathless Media Party.


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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. 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 who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

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

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.