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Dunne concerned about “extremely damaging” tax haven label – years too late

Written By: - Date published: 3:35 pm, May 1st, 2016 - 50 comments
Categories: International, peter dunne, tax - Tags: , , ,

Is Peter Dunne waking up at last?

Peter Dunne – tax haven label ‘extremely damaging’

Former Revenue Minister Peter Dunne told TV One’s Q+A programme, ‘if the label ‘tax haven’ is being bandied about now as it is, sticks, then that’s extremely damaging. You think of the way we perceive other countries that we’ve historically labelled as tax havens. We don’t view them credibly, and I think that’s the big risk to New Zealand.

Mr Dunne told the programme, ‘ we’ve got to get to the bottom of is the extent of the activity, what the profile of people using these trusts is, what the implications are for our reputation, and how we work in concert with other countries to make sure, as I say, a robust international system can be developed to combat them.’

Better late than never I guess. But this road to Damascus conversion seems to have irritated ex journo Guyon Espiner

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50 comments on “Dunne concerned about “extremely damaging” tax haven label – years too late”

  1. Stuart Munro 1

    Why would anybody listen to Dunne – that boy’s a weathercock. “The issue has moved” No, the issue is exactly the same, it’s just that the Vicar of Bray has woken up to the fact that people are angry about it.

    • Craig H 1.1

      The issue has definitely moved – the issue in question, however, is the polling results, not the actual substantive issue…

    • Mosa 1.2

      The issue here is not Dunne who has no credibility on this or any other problem as he has never broken ranks on principle while propping up this corrupt regime but Key or McClay who would not front to answer questions on what are serious implications for New Zealand.
      They send in the organ grinder instead. Gosh aren’t we well served!

  2. Incognito 2

    Dunne’s defence: ”Ich habe es nicht gewusst”.

    Ignorant, incompetent, and insolent; the hallmarks of this Government.

  3. dv 3

    Bugger me that pin head is getting very crowded.

    Who is going to fall off first?

  4. Draco T Bastard 4

    Didn’t the IRD have something to say about the foreign trusts issues back in 2011 or earlier?

  5. Sabine 5

    i guess he is not running for re-election in 2017? Might it be time to completely retire the Peter EFFn Dunne Party? I don’t think he could squeeze the country for wages and perks any longer.

  6. Di Hickman 6

    My Open letter to Peter Dunne
    Dear Mr Dunne,

    Please look at the following and reconsider your support for the TPP legislation changes.

    1. Please note that USA home corporations have instigated 138 ISDS cases and Canadian 39 ISDS cases.
    The PM thinks that the track record for NZ of no ISDS so far means that we are extremely unlikely to get pinged.
    The track records for Canada and US would indicate that there is a strong likelihood of future action ahead for NZ.

    2. For less than 1% increase in GDP by the year 2030, this government, of which you are a part, is prepared to sacrifice part of NZ’s sovereignty, without having consulted the public as to the content of the agreement prior to signing. The ISDS means that NZers will have to pay for litigation if we are deemed to have transgressed the rules written without our input and signed off without our permission supposedly on our behalf.

    3. The current deal is a dog. It is badly flawed. It was designed largely before the climate change crisis and is incompatible with policy changes now required by climate change commitments.
    In no way is the current TPP a 21st century agreement. The TPP will liberalise continued fossil fuel extraction with the help of ISDS. See how ISDS has been used to dis-incentivise the India domestic solar project, a China solar project and the German nuclear power station phase out.

    However, with your help, Mr Dunne, we have a chance to make a new deal, better suited to the current times if we
    •reject this deal
    •and renegotiate, this time with genuine public input,
    •including embedded carbon in global trade
    •remove ISDS (or at minimum exclude all clean low C energy

    This is your chance to leave a legacy for the future world and generations of New Zealanders.
    Kind and hopeful regards,
    Di Hickman

  7. Halfcrown 7

    The only problem Sabine as tax payers we will keep this self seeking turd for the rest of his natural when he retires with their Gold plated retirement scheme. He will also still be entitled to all the perks.
    It is a pity he did not lose his seat and went down like a row of shit cans I detest the self seeking prick. only survived because the winning parties needed him to make up the numbers.

    • Sabine 7.1

      yep.
      i hope that the voters and the parties in his district will be working to together the next round should that he consider running again.

  8. McFlock 8

    Interesting: he feels his job is to shut his eyes to all information except that which comes from the ministry. Doesn’t that just make him a rubber stamp rather than an actual decision-maker?

    Mind you, it is Dunne we’re talking about…

  9. Samantha 9

    The Chartered Accountants Association were concerned about the Taxation Bill. You have to scroll through the Hansard Debates at Parliament to read the readings of the Taxation Bill before it was passed. Peter Dunne then Minister of Revenue voted yes all the way with the changes to the Taxation Bill.
    http://www.parliament.nz/en-nz/pb/debates/debates/49HansD_20090826_00001266/taxation-international-taxation-life-insurance-and-remedial

  10. Lanthanide 10

    Not sure why you call Guyon an “ex journo”, considering he’s still a journalist and on Morning Report on National Radio no less.

    He’s gotten much better in his interviewing of late – doesn’t let people get away with shit and will routinely direct them back to the subject or angle that he wants to discuss.

    Suzie Ferguson is a complete lightweight by comparison.

    • Bearded Git 10.1

      +100 Lanth

    • Once Was Tim 10.2

      +100 @ Lanth.

      The improvements in journalist’s integrity and commitment to the 4thEstate seems directly proportional to the distance between them, Mediaworks and TVNZ management.
      It improves when stardom, ego and huge salaries are no longer the driving factors

    • Chooky 10.3

      +100…good when he doesn’t let them off the hook

  11. Herodotus 11

    This from Stuff in Aug 2012
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/opinion-analysis/7521775/NZ-foreign-trusts-among-global-tax-havens

    Originally, foreigners settling a New Zealand foreign trust could do so in perfect secrecy, because a trust is technically just a private arrangement. Not only was there no register of trusts, there was no requirement to tell the government or the IRD about it as long as it had no New Zealand income.
    An overseas taxman was therefore stuffed if he wanted to probe a citizen’s New Zealand trust interests. Even if he asked our IRD for information, IRD simply didn’t have it and had no power to get it.

    Click to access PAPER-5-NZ-TAX-HAVEN.pdf


    Thanks to the beneficial Foreign Trust Tax Regime there is a substantial Foreign (O shore) Trust industry in New Zealand. Very brie y, the Foreign Trust Tax Regime prevents the assets and foreign sourced income of a Foreign Trust from being subject to income tax in New Zealand. Whilst New Zealand is traditionally regarded as having a robust tax system that operates with a broad tax base and low tax rates,
    Whilst New Zealand is not generally regarded as tax haven, it is just that, when it comes to O shore Trusts.
    …the absence of a comprehensive capital gains tax and the bene cial treatment of Foreign Trusts from a tax perspective makes New Zealand an attractive choice of jurisdiction for Foreign Trusts.
    Just 2 links found these thin 5 minutes
    Peter, please be not like the 3 monkeys and not see,hear and speak no evil.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 11.1

      They were being slammed over it back then too: although this story isn’t all about him, even Patrick Gower covered it!

      As usual, The Greens were on the money.

      We’ve become a major participant in a global tax avoidance problem due to our lax taxation laws surrounding foreign trusts.

      It’s time to demand some transparency from our foreign trust regime.

  12. Sacha 12

    Mr Dunne is developing a talent for claiming he has believed the right thing all along. When you’ve been in govt for so long, no shame in admitting you have had your errors of judgement corrected, surely? Fess up. Good for the soul.

  13. Buggar off Dunne.

    You are lacking wisdom in so many areas.
    Your time is up.

  14. Hellonearthis 14

    Are these trusts investing their money into farms and houses, inflating the cost of farms and houses and in turn boosting the value of their own assets…
    There is one documented case in Taranaki, so there must be a lot more undocumented.

    • tc 14.1

      Yup a farm can hold a lot more than a suburban block when it comes down to it.

      Which it will as that’s why our land is getting hoovered up in a bidding war between cashed up offshore interests.

  15. Once you’re no longer the Minister is the ideal time to become concerned about the ugly shit that was going on under your watch – if you were to become concerned about it while you were still Minister, you’d be responsible for doing something about it, which would involve standing up to the PM and possibly losing your cabinet rank or even the dodgy deal that lets you keep getting elected. No, definitely much better to be utterly horrified about it and bravely speaking out about it now, from a safe distance.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 15.1

      I think you just answered Espiner’s question. Dunne certainly won’t.

  16. vto 16

    When Dunne denies something, you know there is an issue.

    When Dunne agrees with something, you know the issue dates wwaaaaayyyyy back and has finally been recognised in the mainstream

    what a useless cock

  17. AmaKiwi 17

    If we put people in charge of departments they have no training or expertise in, how can we expect anything except constant failures?

    Yet that is our political system. Education ministers who haven’t been to university. Justice ministers who haven’t been to law school. Every member of the Green caucus knows more about the environment than the minister for the environment, who admits she knows nothing. Ron Marks knows 1,000 times more about defense than Gerry Brownlee. Auckland traffic grinds to a halt while Julie Gentner, parliament’s only transport expert, sits powerless.

    Successive elected dictatorships will change anything and everything about our country, except the fact that their ministers are completely unqualified to direct the ministries they lord over.

    The elephant in the chamber: Our political system needs a complete overhaul.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 17.1

      Simply return to the way the system was intended to work: officials give advice based on real world information, Ministers and the executive give serious consideration to that advice when making decisions.

      The infrastructure is already in place. It needs better policing, with especial attention to the fact that the National Party is a pack of criminals who will do their best to corrupt and destroy whatever you put in place.

      • AmaKiwi 17.1.1

        One Anonymous Bloke

        “Simply return to the way the system was intended to work.”

        I agree in principle. But how do we embed it in our legal system so “the sovereign” (i.e. parliament) can’t subvert it?

        We used to have unwritten “understandings” between parties and the public. For eight years the Natzies have relentlessly steamrollered over them. Now we need legal guarantees which NO government can change without a binding referendum.

    • Alfor 17.2

      Yes Overhaul it, the rot is systemic when the unethical is legal and leadership are crooks. We can struggle on a few more years with patches, tricks, lies, to a very old, slow broken system (not fit for purpose) and acquire even more debt, less security and autonomy OR Get control of our system of government for the majority and fix it now,
      ahead of the rush.
      Consider :
      1.Government to create money not private banks.
      2.Replace all taxes with a financial transaction tax of 1-2%.
      3.Issue a Citizens Dividend $400-500/wk (UBI Unconditional Basic Income)
      4.Install Government by Referendum ( direct daily democracy ).

    • M 17.3

      Re Amakiwi’s comment on ministerial appointments I have thought that for a long time also. I totally agree. Very well expressed too. And because of the paucity of knowledge and ability, they get shuffled around from cabinet post to cabinet post, in the vain hope that they won’t make too many stuff ups and before they can actually learn anything about the ministry they head anyway.

  18. One Anonymous Bloke 18

    Dunne forgot to mention the MED’s advice in 2010.

    It’s …odd… that the IRD didn’t have anything to say (according to Dunne, that is): they were certainly aware of the issues (pdf).

    He’s a liar and so is his Daddy.

    • AmaKiwi 18.1

      “It’s …odd… that the IRD didn’t have anything to say (according to Dunne, that is)”

      Can we see the files to support that?

      Of course not. Concealment is power!

  19. Richard McGrath 19

    Dunne was right the first time – legitimate tax avoidance. The only people getting their knickers in a twist are those who want to soak the wealthy even more (regardless of whether said wealth was earned fairly and squarely or not) and want to end the right to privacy.

    • Stuart Munro 19.1

      At present NZ wealthy pay half the tax rate their parents did. If there’s a problem, this is the cause.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 19.1.1

        Well that neatly exposed the drivel in Richard’s deeply held fantasies.

    • Dunne was right the first time – legitimate tax avoidance.

      It says a lot about you that you consider money-laundering to be “legitimate tax avoidance.”

      The only people getting their knickers in a twist are…

      …the people who think it’s wrong to provide money-laundering services to foreign criminals. That’s most of us, isn’t it? Of more interest is why you think it’s OK to trash NZ’s international reputation for the sake of enriching a few lawyers – are you one of those lawyers, or just a complete imbecile?

      • Richard McGrath 19.2.1

        There’s a world of difference between transferring earnings offshore legally, and hiding illegally obtained money. You appear to deem these two activities equivalent.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 19.2.1.1

          Think of it like a sewer, through which nothing but criminal cash and tax avoidance can pass.

          I say demolish the sewer. Offer welfare assistance and a statue* to all the redundant tax lawyers.

          *terms and conditions apply

          • Richard McGrath 19.2.1.1.1

            You weren’t listening. Let me rephrase it for you: money obtained legally can be transferred offshore legally with the purpose of legally avoiding tax . You imply that offshore trusts can only process money obtained through criminal means or for purposes of tax evasion.

            • One Anonymous Bloke 19.2.1.1.1.1

              No, I used the phrase tax avoidance. I know it’s “legal”. It relies on the same sewer pipes the drug and pedo money flows through, so boo-hoo if tax avoiders have to build a new sewer at their own expense.

              No, I don’t care how much Cabinet Club fees are: pay your taxes and stop whining.

        • adam 19.2.1.2

          Side stepped Psycho Milt I see. Buried you good Richard didn’t he.

          Because even Brash knows this is wrong, when will the fan-boys get it I wonder?

          • Richard McGrath 19.2.1.2.1

            What the hell are you on about? I posted an answer to the psychopath.

  20. Chooky 20

    Dunne is worried about going down the dunny with jonkey nactional …and is getting ready to do another flip- flop to save his seat …and align himself with Labour

  21. Jack Ramaka 21

    Systemic corruption has been around a long time in NZ going back to the Settlor Governments and the land confiscations in the Taranaki and the Waikato, the Maori Land Court which was labelled the Maori Land Taking Court, to the recent Winebox Enquiry where the Judiciary found no wrongdoing by the parties involved.

    If you a wealthy and well connected in New Zealand the “World’s Your Oyster”.

  22. Jack Ramaka 22

    Looks like Peter Dunne has finally woken up and opened his eyes, maybe he thinks he may lose his job at the next Election?

    • leftie 22.1

      Well, that’s what it’s really all about, isn’t it? Its not a matter of waking up, its ensuring that he stays relevant for next year’s election, so he can keep his snout in the trough, hence Dunne’s atrocious show of lies and hypocrisy.

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  • Speech by the Minister of Defence to the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs
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  • Statement on passage of national security law for Hong Kong
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