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Key changed the law to extend NZ as a tax haven

Written By: - Date published: 6:51 am, April 11th, 2016 - 287 comments
Categories: accountability, capitalism, class war, Gerry Brownlee, International, john key, making shit up, tax - Tags: , , , , ,

Slightly Updated in response to a useful discussion with Nadis in comments – the original version of this post was too strongly worded.


The definition is pretty simple: “A tax haven is a state, country, or territory where, on a national level, certain taxes are levied at a very low rate or not at all.”*

New Zealand is a tax haven. We became a (much more attractive) tax haven in 2011 as a result of a law change directly instituted by John Key. Chapman Tripp – “New Zealand’s leading full service law firm” – helpfully explains:

New Zealand now an attractive tax location for offshore managed funds

10 October 2011

Foreign investors in a New Zealand fund with only foreign investments will now bear no New Zealand tax on their income, whether or not the fund distributes that income. The tax change, which came into force in September 2011, should make New Zealand managed funds an attractive alternative to funds resident in Luxembourg, Ireland or the Caymans.

In 2008 when the PIE tax regime was introduced, it did not treat non-resident investors well. They could not be zero rated. Instead they had a PIR equal to the top tax rate (currently 28%). This made them unattractive to foreign investors, especially for a fund with income from non-New Zealand sources.

The Government recognised that this tax treatment was not sensible from a policy perspective. … Accordingly, the tax change now allows a New Zealand fund to elect to pay tax at 0% on foreign income attributable to foreign investors. The fund will treat the foreign investor as if it were a New Zealand company or trust. However, unlike a New Zealand company or trust, the foreign investor will have no New Zealand tax liability on the income attributable to it, either when earned by the fund, or when distributed. [My emphasis]

The proposal to change to 0% tax was the direct instruction of John Key:

“I have told Gerry to deliver me a paper that has zero rating of funds and we’ll work on that.”

If you want the gory details, the “paper” was the work of the International Funds Services Development Group, see their report here (pdf). The Cabinet paper in response to the report is here (pdf). Here are just a couple of extracts from the response:

Cabinet established the IFSDG to report back to Government on what would be required for New Zealand to successfully position and market itself as an international funds domicile. They were also asked to explore opportunities for the development of any associated financial activities.

The Treasury are fully supportive of measures that are already underway to establish a zero percent PIE tax rate on foreign sourced income for non-residents and to review the existing securities law.

Recommendations

note that it is intended that the zero percent PIE tax changes will be progressed in legislation later this year.

The change to 0% tax went ahead (here’s the IRD’s page on Foreign investment PIEs). Making NZ an “attractive” tax haven was a necessary part of Key’s (ultimately failed) plan to turn NZ into a “financial hub”.



*On the secrecy aspects of havens see the earlier post by Deborah Russell, and this piece on “reports Mossack Fonseca bragged about lax NZ tax laws”.

The rest of this post is too long, you don’t need to bother. It’s a timeline of some of the events and broader context to the above.

2007 / 2008: Portfolio Investment Entity (PIE) tax regime established:

When the portfolio investment entity (PIE) rules were originally developed in 2007, the focus was ensuring that the rules operated properly for resident investors in KiwiSaver funds. The rules were designed so the tax treatment of a resident investor in a PIE roughly matched that of direct investment into the PIE’s underlying assets. This required reasonably complex rules in a number of areas.

This regime (Labour’s law) had a 28% tax rate for foreign investors.

2008: New National government. Key is in a position to pursue his plans to turn NZ into a “financial hub”. This piece outlines Key’s considerable experience (mainly relating to Ireland) in this kind of process.

Dec 2010: Key rubbishes objections to his plans and directly specifies a 0% tax rate:

Key itching for quick action on financial hub

Prime Minister John Key has slammed bureaucratic pin-pricking over the proposed New Zealand financial services hub as “absolute rubbish” and stepped in to put the project on the fast-track.

The Prime Minister’s frustration with Ministry of Economic Development officials spilled over publicly during a question session at an Auckland dinner on Tuesday night where he stressed New Zealand needed to be more optimistic and back success. … Key went on to say MED’s approach was “absolute rubbish”.

“I don’t need the Magna Carta of documents – just get on and do something – which is why I have told Gerry to deliver me a paper that has zero rating of funds and we’ll work on that.” [My emphasis]

Feb 2011: Gerry Brownlee (Minister for Economic Development) delivers, with the Cabinet response to the report discussed in the main post above.

May 2011: The international financial “advisors” start drooling:

Tax reforms set New Zealand on course for non-resident funds boost

Last month, the kiwi government tabled a bill that would remove the current 28% tax rate on income incurred by non-residents investing in funds held in New Zealand.

Revenue minister Peter Dunne said the government considered these investors were being overtaxed under the current legislation, and he hoped the bill would remove the barriers for non-domestic fund investment.

“The news is that there is actually draft legislation now which is a final step towards implementation – before, the quango set up to analyse the situation may have recommended that such legislation not be implemented or the quango’s findings may have been ignored for politically expedient reasons. In fact, what is even better news is that this is receiving little publicity in New Zealand – which means there is a higher likelihood the PM will nudge it through without too much meddling from the country’s left wing camp. [My emphasis] ”

Pesky left-wingers wanting to ruin rich folks’ fun by making sure they pay taxes like everyone else.

Sept 2011: Change to 0% tax (for foreign investors using a New Zealand PIE with no domestic investments) makes NZ an attractive tax haven, as in the main post above.

Sept 2011: Simon Power (Commerce Minister) raises concerns about our regulatory framework:

NZ unable to help international agencies combat fraud: Simon Power

Links between a local company and a Panamanian financier alleged to be involved in crime have fuelled fears that overseas criminals are favouring New Zealand registered companies to perpetrate fraud, launder money and evade taxes.

Simon Power acknowledged New Zealand’s reputation as a good place to do business had been harmed by overseas individuals using New Zealand registered companies “to commit or facilitate crime such as money laundering, tax evasion and fraud, in overseas jurisdictions”.

He said the misuse of company structures by “a small number” of overseas individuals and New Zealand-based agents “threatens our international reputation as a good place to do business”.

This article gives some details of the scale of the problem:

“…a $1.5 billion a year business that has tarnished New Zealand’s financial reputation.

“Those who wish to conduct unlawful activities are increasingly seeking to incorporate companies in New Zealand”

A major investigation by Fairfax Media into the misuse of New Zealand shell companies uncovered links between entities on our Companies Register and the looting of hundreds of millions of dollars from a state-owned bank in Kyrgyzstan, millions of dollars in laundering by Mexican drug cartels and the rorting of the Ukrainian Ministry of Health.

In fact, such is the scale of the problem that the Reserve Bank says it has identified 1000 entities “potentially involved in frauds in overseas jurisdictions.”

May 2012: Official advice forces Key to back off his grandiose plans:

Key backs off ‘hub’

John Key’s plan for a financial services hub in New Zealand would require years of taxpayer support and risks transferring wealth offshore, Treasury has warned the Government. The Government’s lead economic and financial policy agency advised that plans to pay international banks to move here represent “a wealth transfer from New Zealand taxpayers to overseas financial institutions”. Further, the touted benefits were highly uncertain.

Following queries from the Sunday Star-Times last week, Key distanced the government from the controversial aspects of the plan. “The more costly aspects of the [hub] plan were not seen as an effective use of taxpayer money,” a spokesman said.

RIP to both the Hub and Key’s credibility. Continuing from the above…

The financial services hub proposal emerged after banker Craig Stobo told the Government’s 2009 Jobs Summit an economic boost would result if the Government created a zero tax rating for foreign investors who invested in international funds based here. … Stobo’s appointment came after the Government’s Capital Markets Taskforce expanded the initial zero-tax idea into an ambitious plan to compete directly with tax havens Luxembourg, the Cayman Islands and Ireland to host international funds investing in the Asia-Pacific region. [My emphasis]

Treasury analysts also noted potential hub competitors Ireland and Luxembourg were being forced to change their financial hub regimes after an OECD crackdown on tax havens.

May 2012: The EU takes action:

New Zealand removed from EU ‘white list’

New Zealand and Russia have been struck off a prestigious European Union banking and corporate “white list” over this country’s weak money laundering and terrorism financing controls.

November 2012: Warnings on our tax haven status by a 60 Minutes item and a followup piece by Chris Barton in The Herald:

Craig Elliffe, professor of Taxation Law and Policy at Auckland University Business School, says this country’s foreign trust structure effectively provides a vehicle for foreigners not to pay tax and therefore, in a broad sense, we are a tax haven.

The tax haven that isn’t called a tax haven. A rose by any other name.

See also the interesting range of quoted marketing material advertising our “clean” haven status.

2013: IRD warning. As summarised by Vernon Small:

However, in a 2013 report IRD warned that “our foreign trust rules continue to attract criticism, including claims that New Zealand is now a tax haven in respect of trusts”.

IRD said this was largely because “the mismatch between our rules and those of other countries may result in income not being taxed either in New Zealand or offshore”. “To protect our international reputation, it may be necessary to strengthen our regulatory framework for disclosure and record-keeping.” “This, in turn, raises the question of whether our foreign trust rules are sustainable.”

2013: OECD report. Key currently likes to claim that this report gave us a “clean bill of health”. Not true:

Key misleading over OECD tax haven report

Prime Minister John Key has again been caught out misleading the public over New Zealand’s role as an international tax haven for the world’s mega-wealthy and elite, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says.

“John Key today claimed a 2013 OECD report gave New Zealand a ‘clean bill of health’ over trusts and tax laws.

“That is nonsense. The report (page 8, par 5) actually recommended our laws be made more transparent around who owns foreign trusts and who holds the assets of such trusts. “It also raised concerns that enforcement provisions to ensure correct information is given to the Companies Registrar don’t necessarily apply to companies with non-resident directors.

“John Key also conveniently forgot to mention another 2013 OCED report – this one into bribery – which criticised New Zealand’s use of shell companies and failure to prosecute anyone for foreign bribery. “Of most concern is the report’s finding that ‘New Zealand shell companies have been reported as being fronts for international laundering of drug money, fraud and terrorism’. …

July 2013: Tighter laws come into effect (without changing the 0% haven):

NZ’s anti-money laundering laws now in effect with banks expected to pry more into customer identity and account activity

New Zealand’s long awaited anti-money laundering laws are now in place, almost four years after Parliament passed the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act.

Passed by Parliament in October 2009, the Act’s aims are to detect and deter money laundering and the financing of terrorism, maintain and enhance New Zealand’s international reputation by adopting, where appropriate in the New Zealand context, recommendations issued by the Financial Action Task Force, an inter-governmental body established by the Group of Seven (G7), and to contribute to public confidence in the financial system.

October 2015: Well and good, but it looks like the new law didn’t go far enough:

Gareth Vaughan wonders whether a sign saying ‘welcome to John Key’s South Pacific money laundering paradise’ should be hoisted at Auckland International Airport

On the surface such a question might seem preposterous for what remains a well respected little first world country at the bottom of the world. But when you dig below the surface it’s entirely possible that it may be.

It’s only just over two years ago, on June 30 2013, that the AML/CFT Act finally took effect having been passed by Parliament in 2009. This move saw NZ removed from a regular follow up list (effectively the dogbox) by the Financial Action Taskforce (FATF), the key global anti-money laundering oversight body, in October 2013.

Although the likes of our banks, financial advisors, and casinos are now knee deep in AML/CFT compliance, plans to extend the Act to the likes of real estate agents, lawyers, accountants and potentially to jewelers and precious metal dealers, have progressed at the speed of an asthmatic snail.

Meanwhile, the territorial guidance for the AML/CFT Act means dozens, or possibly hundreds, of NZ registered financial services providers that operate overseas but not within NZ, aren’t supervised by our regulators for compliance with the AML/CFT Act. This means we are, undoubtedly, facilitating money laundering overseas, or if you prefer, exporting money laundering to the world. …

April 2016: Release of the leaked “Panama Papers” drags all of this out into the sunlight. John Key claims that “New Zealand has had the same tax laws when it comes to trusts since 1988”. And different laws for the crucial PIEs since 2011.

April 2016: The NZ tax haven features in this story:

The Panama papers: NZ – the quiet tax haven achiever

Both countries [Malta and NZ] are quiet achievers in the ranks of global tax havens, and both are determined to keep it that way.

While Malta has been fiercely resisting pressure to close tax avoidance loopholes used by foreign companies, including Australian firms, to move profits out of the European Union, New Zealand has fought just as hard to protect its laws that make foreign profits tax-free and invisible for beneficiaries of its offshore trusts. But what Key didn’t know, as he and Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull mingled with Muscat at CHOGM, was how deep those links really ran. [My emphasis] …

Today: In news this morning:

NZ urged to act on Panama Papers

New Zealand is being accused of dragging its heels in response to the Panama Papers as the rest of the world starts to crack down on tax avoiders and money launderers.

Britain’s banks have until the end of the week to say whether they have ties with Mossack Fonseca, the United States will force banks to identify who is behind shell companies and more than 800 Australians are under investigation across the Tasman.

European Union tax commissioner Pierre Muscovici has vowed to close loopholes, and wants to set up a blacklist of tax havens. “We don’t have that at the moment, I want the EU to have one in six months time,” he said.

Even the country at the centre of it all, Panama, was creating an international panel to help clean up its offshore financial industry.

[However], New Zealand Prime Minister John Key has resisted calls for action, despite further evidence this country was being used as a tax shelter.

NZ as tax haven, all part of the Key legacy.

key panama lie

287 comments on “Key changed the law to extend NZ as a tax haven”

  1. The Chairman 1

    Did Labour raise concern regarding this change? And if not, did their silence make them complicit?

    [This link will by pass all the derailing and dog-shit. I’m kind of forgetting the time when I had patience for this kind of crap. The post is about tax and the National Party handling of tax. It isn’t about Labour. As I edited on another comment – “These knee jerk reactions; these kicks in the head aimed at the Labour Party on thread after thread after thread for no other than reason than ‘just because’, are getting bloody tiresome. From now, on days when I’m around, I’ll be shoving the more thoughtless or habitual ‘Labour slammings’ to Open Mike. After a while I’m going to get really tired of shunting stuff over. What you reckon happens then?”

    Luckily for you I wasn’t around earlier this morning. At (as of now) 25 comments below your dog-shit, I’m wary of shifting everything across in case it screws up the entire thread/ thread nesting. That just augments how pissed off I am at you. Stop coming in on oblique angles on threads just so you can put the boot in on Labour. If nothing else, it’s showing utter fucking disrespect for the author and the time they have spent generating a post ] – Bill

    • Sabine 1.1

      did the Greens raise concern regarding this change?
      did the Conservatives raise concern regarding this change?
      did the Maori Party raise concern regarding this change?
      did the Act Party raise concern regarding this change?
      did the Peter Effn Dunne Party raise concern regarding this change?
      did NZFirst raise concern regarding this change?

      These are currently all the parties somewhat involved in government.

      Does that mean that the National Party is not responsible if non or only some of these Parties raised concern? Should the concern have been voiced in a strongly worded letter to the editor? Would a walkout have been enough?

      Seriously, is there anything that the National Party does for which it is actually responsible or is everything the fault of Labour?

    • Nick 1.2

      New Zealand became a tax haven in 2011 as a result of a law change directly instituted by John Key.

      • The Chairman 1.2.1

        No doubt the tax change played a large role, but so did the way these trusts have been allowed to be set up in regards to disclosure and the sharing of that info.

        • pat 1.2.1.1

          I think it would be fair to say that most knew this was occurring (even under Labour, though we appear to have been less accommodating then) but the release of these documents provides the evidence and emphasizes the sheer scale of the problem….and proves the grand lie the wealthy pay more tax.

        • AmaKiwi 1.2.1.2

          The Chairman

          Do you want someone to explain to you the difference between paying 28% tax and paying 0% tax?

          • The Chairman 1.2.1.2.1

            No.

            You are aware the tax burden was changed so as investors would be required to pay in their own jurisdiction, thus the main issue here is disclosure and the sharing of that info.

            It’s not that they weren’t being taxed at all, as you seem to think.

            • mikesh 1.2.1.2.1.1

              If the income is received in NZ then the trust or fund receiving it should be liable for the tax in NZ. When the income is forwarded to the overseas investor and he pays tax in his own jurisdiction (assuming he does so) he can claim a rebate against his NZ tax liability. That’s how things should work, and that’s how things work for genuine NZ investors investing overseas. Changing the law to give overseas investors exemption from NZ tax is decidedly dodgy since the only advantage the change gives them is the opportunity to evade tax. It is hard to avoid the conclusion that we are now aiding and abetting the crime of tax evasion.

      • AmaKiwi 1.2.2

        Anthony Robins

        Outstanding posting.

        I appreciate the huge amount of time you put in assembling all this data.

        Now I want to see this flashed as the MSM banner headline of the month:

        “New Zealand became a tax haven in 2011 as a result of a law change directly instituted by John Key.”

        • left for dead 1.2.2.1

          Me too, good job mate 😉

        • Leftie 1.2.2.2

          + millions… “New Zealand became a tax haven in 2011 as a result of a law change directly instituted by John Key.”

          Direct, and to the point, imo that’s the best comment of the day. And agreed, much kudos to Anthony Robins for his excellent piece on this.

    • Blanche Charles 1.3

      Did you not read, above, Andrew Little’s comments in opposition – from back in 2013. Unfortunately, they don’t have the numbers, by themselves, to stop new legislation, or hadn’t you noticed.

    • aerobubble 1.4

      Its the practice of Keys delievery to open with the attack he expects. That he created the tax haven and so says labour did it first n. Its the practice of Labour and speaker to let him get the first substantve word on a subject and so frame the inflowing debate. The media arent about to attack the govt, or the Labour, why? Is it becausell the big doners are up to their heads in tax deception.

    • Rob 1.5

      No in a word they are not complicit
      Please go back and read the post and remind yourself who has been in government since late 2008.

    • Philj 1.6

      Yes. Nice one. Derailment is is a National propensity. Just ask NZ rail.

    • Steve Withers 1.7

      John Key made NZ a tax haven….intentionally and knowingly.

      Deal with that, Chairman.

  2. locus 2

    if information disclosure requirements on establishing a PIE are unable to provide sufficient detail to confirm that the foreign investors taking up NZ’s 0% PIE tax arrangements are not using it to defeat or evade tax in another country (or worse still allowing them to launder money from crime), then NZ is aiding and abetting criminals

  3. Penny Bright 3

    Very helpful article Anthony.

    Thanks for your work.

    Kind regards

    Penny Bright
    2016 Auckland Mayoral candidate.

    • Wyndham 3.1

      Yes, excellent summation.

    • Labour_Voter 3.2

      Will you get at least 100 votes? What chance you have against Phil Goff?

      [I see you were already warned over on open mic for this nonsense. Banned for two weeks.] – Bill

  4. One Anonymous Bloke 4

    Does anyone seriously doubt that individual members of this government will have taken personal advantage of these arrangements?

    Make no mistake: this story is primarily about money laundering. Tax evasion is bad enough, of course, but no, they had to get us into bed with organised crime.

    Thanks very much, National.

    • NZJester 4.1

      And the worst of the organized crimes at that. There is mention of the fact that the Panama company knowingly was helping pedophiles, child sex traffickers and those skirting around trade embargoes to sell to countries committing war crimes.
      They also helped Dictators strip the treasuries of their own countries and feed the money into hidden off shore bank accounts.
      I am wondering how much money was funneled through NZ to pay for child pornography and child sex slaves?

      #johnkeysupportspedophiles

    • Whispering Kate 4.2

      Yes OAB, I can well imagine there are many MP’s who have dodgy investments. One area where I think there should be some digging done (what a pun) is ChCh and the rebuild. How much rorting with contracts for works to be done has gone on. How much has it rewarded people and lined their pockets. You cannot say that a huge rebuild like that hasn’t had plenty of underhand deals done. While the people wait for the thieving insurance companies to pay out they live in wet, cold munted homes and people who should be keeping an eye on the job have been asleep. Gerry obviously hasn’t been keeping his eye on what’s going on and should be kicked into touch over it. I think there is a story to tell about the corruption happening in ChCh.

      Also MP’s are not fussy about the people they associate with and some of them are pretty dodgy. The whole system stinks to high heaven.

    • Whispering Kate 4.3

      Yes OAB, I can well imagine there are many MP’s who have dodgy investments. One area where I think there should be some digging done (what a pun) is ChCh and the rebuild. How much rorting with contracts for works to be done has gone on. How much has it rewarded people and lined their pockets. You cannot say that a huge rebuild like that hasn’t had plenty of underhand deals done. While the people wait for the thieving insurance companies to pay out they live in wet, cold munted homes and people who should be keeping an eye on the job have been asleep. Gerry hasn’t been keeping his eye on what’s going on and should be kicked into touch over it. I think there is a story to tell about the corruption happening in ChCh.

  5. BLiP 5

    It’s all tied up with Key’s failed plan to turn NZ into a “financial hub”.

    Waddya mean “failed”? New Zealand is now a spectacularly successful “financial hub” being used by close to 12,000 bankers, lawyers, terrorists, criminals, despots, and politicians from around the globe. Lots of these people are former colleagues and/ or clients of John Key and this set up is just exactly what the doctor ordered.

  6. BLiP 6

    Well, oddly enough, John Key’s Tax Haven is perfectly legal. That why we should all be worried.

  7. Lanthanide 7

    It’s worth noting that Simon Power left Parliament at the 2011 election (to many people’s surprise) and went for a banking job in Aussie I believe. I’m not sure that he ever gave a particularly believable reason for why he’d leave Parliament after his party finally getting into government, and him becoming a promising minister – he had a shot at eventually leading the party IMO.

    Could this be (one of) the reason(s) he left?

    • Smilin 7.1

      He powered thru the dirty work ,excuse the pun, Key needed written up fast and got out before drawing to attention to it and went to work for Westpac ,strange, uno the govts bank, right pair of jack the lads him and Key

  8. Colonial Viper 8

    Everyone has known for years that Ireland was a corporate (and personal) tax haven. And that the PM admired that when he said we should follow Ireland’s example.

    Every corporate and Big Four accountant and tax lawyer in the country – thousands of them understood the tax haven changes Key led back in those years.

    Also, these are changes that the Deep State (eg. Treasury) “fully support.”

    Nothing new here.

    • BLiP 9.1

      Oh, I dunno. Espiner certainly kept Key on point and shut down the repetition of National Ltd™’s narrative but he could have done a lot better on the use of his foreign trusts, IMHO. Alternatively, Espiner may have been setting a trap or two along the way, plus I loved how he cornered Key on his definitive statement to Parliament about New Zealand having a tax-data sharing agreement with Malta.

      What’s fascinating, though, is how John Key’s tone has changed. He has gone from being slightly pissed off about the issue and definitive in his statements to a far more tremulous position. During that interview it was all about “the advice I have received” when, just last week, it was the bombastic repetition of Crosby/Textor talking points and “nothing to see here”.

      • pat 9.1.1

        Lol..Keys only emphatic answer was regarding releasing his tax details….now theres a surprise.
        What continues to amaze is the constantly claimed lack of knowledge in their areas of responsibility of ALL National Ministers….what the F**k are they there for?

    • gsays 9.2

      is it just me or does anyone else think dear leader sounds like farrar from kiwiblog?

      he slips and slides like a slippery slidey thing. (apologies blackadder).

      also if i turned up to work and only had “i don’t knows” or ” it’s a bit complicated” or the outright lie, akin to, having a tax arrangement with malta, i would be gone by lunch time.

      • the pigman 9.2.1

        I switched onto the Panel recently when Farrar was on, I was 100% convinced it was the PM himself! It’s not just the language they use and the slipping and sliding, they adopt the exact same effected “down-home” koi-woi drawl. It is always worth comparing it against to Key’s voice in the archival TVNZ footage (before he left NZ), or even his voice in 2002.

        Not a reptilian shape-shifter, but what we call a chameleon/lizard without a doubt.

        Not sure whether Farrar was one of his speech-writers/trainers, or whether it went the other way (Farrar emulating his man). Either way, *bleuch*.

  9. Penny Bright 10

    The legislation which set up the New Zealand as a tax haven (the Taxation Tax Administration and Remedial Matters Bill ) – and who voted for it :

    http://www.parliament.nz/en-nz/pb/debates/debates/49HansD_20110817_00001389/taxation-tax-administration-and-remedial-matters-bill

    A party vote was called for on the question, That the Taxation (Tax Administration and Remedial Matters) Bill be now read a third time.

    Ayes 66 New Zealand National 57; ACT New Zealand 5; Māori Party 3; United Future 1.

    Noes 53 New Zealand Labour 42; Green Party 9; Progressive 1; Independent: Carter C.

    Bill read a third time.
    __________________________

    Penny Bright
    2016 Auckland Mayoral candidate.

  10. Rosie 11

    Thank you Anthony. Excellent to see this timeline fully explained. Most helpful.

    Based on this information, Key being the instigator and promoter of this law change in 2011, we should now be calling for his resignation on the grounds that companies using NZ to avoid payment of tax are harmful to our society. The PM has clearly abandoned his duty to the country.

    We need to follow Iceland, Britain’s and Malta’s example and make a public show of calling for his resignation.

    • Rosie 11.1

      Song of the day. Stand Down Margaret – The Beat.

      Stand down Johnnie, stand down please!

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SfhxJiE38sE

      “I see no joy, I see only sorrow. I see no chance of your bright new tomorrow”

    • Draco T Bastard 11.2

      Based on this information, Key being the instigator and promoter of this law change in 2011, we should now be calling for his resignation on the grounds that companies using NZ to avoid payment of tax are harmful to our society.

      We should be throwing him and everyone who voted for the law change into jail.

      • Rosie 11.2.1

        Seriously Drax. I am thinking of contacting Action Station to see what they think of getting a campaign going.

        Could it be proven that NZer’s have suffered as a result of a lower tax take due to the law change in 2011?

        We have suffered through ideological harm, eg, the non maintenance of state housing that led to the death of two people, (that we know of, that we have been informed of by the coroner. Cases like these involve negligence too, as well as a disinterest by the govt in maintaining the houses), the closing down of the rape crisis centre in CHCH because the government wouldn’t bail them out for a measly $30K, the cruel sanctions on beneficiaries where the benefit gets cut for some nebulous reason, no matter that there are children dependent on that income in such households etc. Yet gives 1.7 billion for bailout SCF. That’s ideological. Lots of other examples. Feel free to add.

        But what about intentionally cutting off a source of revenue to assist people who need help? Surely this goes further and is indefensible?

        As for the others that voted for it. I see Penny Bright has a list of the ayes and noes at 10. Peter Dunne was an aye. Depending on how this pans out over the next wee while some of us might be able to put some heat on Peter Dunne here in Ohariu.

  11. Penny Bright 12

    What role, if any, did Lord Ashcroft play in New Zealand becoming a tax haven – given his extensive tax haven background and experience in Belize, and his ‘relationship’, (as it were) with NZ Prime Minister John Key?

    Penny Bright
    2016 Auckland Mayoral candidate.

    • Smilin 12.1

      Good old suring up of those little things that keep the monarchy going in NZ like visits by the royal family just stick it on the tab your still British you know
      And Ashcroft well has his fingers in many pies last time he was here wasn’t there huge concern over our overseas commitment of troops in the ME ?a great cover to discuss other issues like tax havens

  12. vto 13

    Reduce tax on these companies to nil.

    Reduce top income tax rate.

    Put up GST

    Harass beneficiaries to an inch of their life.

    John Key, Prime Wanker of New Zealand

    • AmaKiwi 13.1

      vto

      Your points are good, but can you put some emotion into your conclusion? “Destroyer of the middle class” “Steals from the poor and gives to the rich” “Murderer of hope”?

      The politicians who are making headway these days use emotive language to mirror the voters’ anger. I think one thing we can do on TS is light fires under our left politicians to use more aggressive language.

      “Kiwi polite” ain’t gonna win the next election.

      • Rosie 13.1.1

        vto’s language can be powerful. Language doesn’t need to be emotive to be powerful. Sometimes pared back, laid bare truth is more powerful than drama laden purple prose. Some NZ’s best poets work this way.
        (And lols, if you’ve read vto’s comments over the years you’d see he’s not always “polite”). If you read vto’s post again, you can hear anger in it, if that’s what you’re wanting. I hear slow burning resentment, akshully. I could be wrong.

        Furthermore, can’t we express ourselves in our own way, without being told what we should say and how we should say it?

      • Mal 13.1.2

        “Kiwi polite” ain’t gonna win the next election

        Im sorry but i think you are totally wrong. I would love to have a choice , a strong credible alternative, but to win the election you need to win middle NZ.
        Labour need a polite , but strong leader. Someone who can show NZ that he is credible and reasonable.
        Someone who focus on policy rather than attacking John Key. A closed circle jerk of hatred painting john key as the devil incarnate just drive middle NZ further away. He’s a politician , of course he’s dishonest , but we are kidding ourselves if we think that is a one side of the political spectrum issue.
        They know he is far from perfect but that he still gets some things right. Labour need to pick their fights but a labour who was able to say “i totally agree with John Key on this issue” ( and there are some that make sense ) , rather than just objecting to everything on principle, would show middle NZ a reasonable balanced face.
        “Destroyer of the middle class” and “Murderer of hope” are titles for novels , and certainly not something that show middle NZ they are willing to listen as well as preach.
        But if you want dramatic “polite is the silent killer” , the traditional kiwi is a reserved lot who listens more than he speaks , they won’t respond to loud shrill cries of injustice, the throw them all in jail diatribe just come across as unhinged rants from a third world dictator, but calm polite reasoned debate will win them over.

  13. ianmac 14

    Great work Anthony!
    Listening to Key this morning he has the breathtaking gall to play the vague card.
    “As I understand it….” (can’t hold me to any of my comments.)
    “I don’t really know….”(I do know but it would be unwise to admit it.)
    “That is a very technical matter but…” (I’m just a poor ignorant chap like you.)
    “I just rely on the information given to me…” (Its not my fault. Shoot the advisers.)
    “Oh. Maybe but…” (I am not saying anything that can be used against me and anyway I said maybe or might be so if something comes to light, I can deny.)

    I suppose the general population finds the machinations of high finance all too difficult and anyway they have rent to pay and food to put on the table.

    • AmaKiwi 14.1

      ianmac

      It’s not about finance, ianmac. It’s about calming people’s emotions.

      “There’s nothing to get excited about so re-elect the Nats, the party that won’t upset you.”

      • left for dead 14.1.1

        Thats were the opposition should hammer the prime wanker in parliament over, for him too get better advisers etc etc.
        Start stepping on throats, and yes they will cop some flack, but I think this administration is starting to reel.

    • Rob 14.2

      Yes he was pretty pathetic this morning
      He will still get all his wanker mates defending him in the media
      That whirring sound is his antenna adjusting to public opinion
      But the bottom line is he cannot plead innocent all the time
      He pleads dumb but he is a smart prick who all the journos want to suck up to!!

  14. Smilin 15

    Great article about the stroke of a pen by Key that changed NZ international financial status, something to do with later entry into “the club” and bugger what you NZ want to save in and for NZ ie the environment ,indigenous concerns etc
    International status is every thing, like Key doesn’t mind if america wants us to go to war on their behalf but dont do anything significant about helping the innocent in your fuckin war
    Your tax haven helps struggling millionaires like Dick Cheney and the mafia international rubbish collection in your city ,proposed wharf at Muriwai beach and any other strange decisions that will mentally disable what you think democracy is or for to a Kiwis sense of what is right and unique to our country
    Of course that doesnt matter anymore because Key has declared reform along the lines of “Cortez” which goes well with his “Smiling Assassin tag ”
    God fuk into oblivion Key before those who are the future of this country dont have a chance in this nation

    • Draco T Bastard 15.1

      before those who are the future of this country dont have a chance in this nation

      They already don’t have a chance. It’s taken better than thirty years but the rich have finally put themselves in a position where they own and control everything and are unassailable.

  15. dv 16

    As reported in stuff
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/industries/78761578/john-key-to-take-proposal-to-cabinet-for-independent-expert-on-nz-trust-system

    He had no intention of releasing his tax records and said he had never used sheltering vehicles.

    “I’m quite comfortable and very confident of my tax record,” he told Radio NZ.

    Doesn’t he use a blind trust.

    So how does he know how the trust invests?

    AND of course he is confident in his tax record, its just that many others are not.

    • McFlock 16.1

      Oh, I love the action our mighty Key has put forward – to assess the impact of changes he fast-tracked and kept against departmental advice, he’s considering proposing to cabinet that maybe they get someone to write a report from which they can consider a variety of courses of action… very ‘Yes Prime Minister’.

  16. Smilin 17

    Panama Tax haven 40 yrs plus operation and who in 1988 mooted these trusts be formed one only needs to guess and what Key has set up here since 2011 wreaked Ireland when he did it there
    How long do we suffer this shyte this time before a crash comes here?
    Bernie Sanders blatantly outlined the US need to avoid using Panamas tax haven back in 2011 obviously Key wasnt listening and biasedly didnt care

  17. mikesh 18

    Logically, a fund domiciled in NZ and investing overseas should be subject to the same rules as any other NZ investor, ie liable for NZ tax but subject to a reduction in that liability in respect of any tax paid to the overseas government concerned.

    What on earth were they thinking of.

  18. ianmac 19

    Mike Hosking. Well I never! Worth a look. (Never thought I would say that!)
    He asked good questions. He persisted when Key gave is bumbling vague contradictory answers and played the “Aw shucks. I don’t know everything about Trusts,” but Mike said, “But you are money man for God’s sake and you must know about this stuff…..You are the Government!”
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11620292
    PS. No mention of the 2011 0% tax change.

  19. Alma Rae 20

    When oh when is New Zillund going to wake up and see Key for the conniving corrupt servant of international capital that he is?

    • AmaKiwi 20.1

      I watched the link ianmac (18) to Hoskings interviewing Key.

      Debating against Key won’t work. Every sentence is another smokescreen. Key is the the slipperiest thing to ever crawl out from under a rock.

      How do we unmask this guy? We’ve been trying for 8 years with zero impact with the public.

      What strategy will work?

      • RedLogix 20.1.1

        Key is the the slipperiest thing to ever crawl out from under a rock.

        Yup … never forget where Key comes from, and under which masters he served as apprentice. He flicks away full on frontal attacks with perfect ease.

      • mary_a 20.1.2

        @ AmaKiwi you ask the following –

        “How do we unmask this guy? We’ve been trying for 8 years with zero impact with the public.

        “What strategy will work?”

        ORGANIZE! ORGANIZE! ORGANIZE!

        Msm isn’t on our side. It’s up to the people now. We should be protesting outside the residences of FJK in Auckland and Wellington as well as the Beehive. We need an injection of some of the spirit of the Brits, Icelandics and Maltese at present to get a strong message across. Not only that, but it will create some attention as well, something msm will not be able to ignore for too long!

    • Linda 20.2

      When there faceing foreclosesure on there unpayable home lones. The herds brains will work

      • Rob 20.2.1

        You are so right but the tragedy is he has nobody in our public place that will stand up to him
        When he only relates to the Hosking and Henry’s of this world oh I forgot the sports jocks who will throw women down the stairs we are F**ked
        We have to expose the emperor without any clothes sorry meant morals

  20. I’m so glad the quarter is finally beginning to fall!

    These should all have been warning signs:

    1 October 2007 JP Morgan opened a wealth management branch in New Zealand. This was one year before John Key was elected. In August 2008, two months before his election, John Key went to England to have breakfast with his former bosses at Merrill Lynch. 8 years after he left banking.

    In 2002 Ira Bing a Merrill Lynch banker was on the first board of Guardians of the New Cullen fund. In 2007 JP Morgan was asked to advice the Cullen fund on what to invest in. The Cullen fund subsequently received a price for being the most innovative Investment fund. That means they are loaded up with worthless derivatives and other newfangled financial products.

    http://wp.me/p638n-44k
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wealth_management

  21. Bill 22

    At the risk of sounding thick, what advantage for NZ did John Key see in any of this?

    I get that he’s kind of keen to help ‘big money’ behave like ‘big money’, but what was the pay-off in terms of ‘for NZ’?

    Am I right in understanding that the 0% tax would no longer apply if the trust invested in NZ? In asking that, I’m fully aware that a portion of a trust could be siphoned off to another trust that could then invest in housing or land or what have you off the back of free money.(ie, the proportion of money in the initial trust that that should have been paid in tax).

    And yes, excellent post Anthony.

    • Sabine 22.1

      That question could be applied to anything National has done over the last several years.

      State Housing Sell off – what advantage or benefit did John Key and the National led Party Government see for NZ?

      Partial Sale of SOE – what advantage or benefit did John Key and the National led Party Government see for NZ?

      Charter Schools – what advantage or benefit did John Key and the National led Party Government see for NZ?

      Reduced Funding for HealthCare – what advantage or benefit did John Key and the National led Party Government see for NZ?

      Flag Change – what advantage or benefit did John Key and the National led Party Government see for NZ?

      please add to that list all the things that I am missing.

      • Bill 22.1.1

        No good has or can come from any of it. But I guess the difference I’d see with that list is that they at least offered up various forms of spin in an attempt to justify what they were doing.

        • Puddleglum 22.1.1.1

          $24m for lawyers is the only advantage I’ve heard articulated by the government.

          I’m not an economist or ‘money man’ so I wouldn’t know what else would be of benefit – in a conventional sense – to New Zealand. But, presumably, places that are tax havens must think there’s something in it for ‘them’ (or at least for their elite)?

    • saveNZ 22.2

      @ Bill

      “At the risk of sounding thick, what advantage for NZ did John Key see in any of this?”

      The answer is, Nothing, There is zero advantage for Kiwis. Key’s law advantages foreigners hiding money using NZ trusts.

      His backers in other words. And to funnel bribes off the books.

    • Draco T Bastard 22.3

      I get that he’s kind of keen to help ‘big money’ behave like ‘big money’, but what was the pay-off in terms of ‘for NZ’?

      None. National doesn’t govern for NZ but for the rich and powerful. The richer and more powerful the better which means that they govern for the multi-nationals with a bit thrown in for the local rich. Everybody else is who they steal from.

      • Gangnam Style 22.3.1

        Benefits some very wealthy people, & a few lawyers & accountants, maybe they are frequent ‘cabinet clubbers’ & have been back door funding funding National.

        Excellent & very informative post, thank you.

    • BM 22.4

      On the PDF rob linked to

      The major opportunity is as a funds domicile and funds administration centre,1 where collective investment funds can be incorporated and serviced. The IFSDG originally contracted the financial consultancy firm Oliver Wyman to analyse New Zealand’s opportunity to be the domicile for Asia-Pacific retail funds. However, further analysis shows opportunities in other markets and fund types (for example, alternative assets). The domicile opportunity does not rule out attracting other parts of the financial services value chain, such as investment management or global custody, but considers it more likely that these will be located in other jurisdictions where fund managers are closer to their investors or the assets they manage.

      Research conducted by Oliver Wyman indicates that the full realisation of the domicile opportunity would generate revenue in New Zealand of approximately NZ$0.5 billion to NZ$1.3 billion per year, tax revenue of between NZ$150 million and NZ$360 million per year, and 2,000 and 5,000 high-quality jobs by 2020/2030.

      http://www.mbie.govt.nz/publications-research/publications/business-law/01%20Exporting%20Financial%20Services_%20A%20Report%20from%20the%20IFSDG.pdf

      2010, the economy wasn’t that rosy, Key saw a opportunity to diversify our economy, raise income and create jobs.

      The man should be applauded for doing that.

      • BLiP 22.4.1

        The international economy wasn’t looking that great. What John Key did was allow his billionaire mates an opportunity to avoid paying tax in their own countries. And many of those countries were in greater need of that money than New Zealand. John Key also opened the door for yet more laundering of cash by all manner of other undesirables. The result is that New Zealand’s reputation is being shredded. The man should be jailed.

        • Macro 22.4.1.1

          ” John Key also opened the door for yet more laundering of cash by all manner of other undesirables. ”
          Exactly. He has been totally complicit with this travesty as the above post makes perfectly clear. This is his legacy to NZ. And so it is he who supports rapists, child abusers, fraudsters, corrupt politicians, and career criminals of all kinds. Not the women politicians of the left.
          The hypocrisy of this man knows no bounds

          • Macro 22.4.1.1.1

            This is his legacy to NZ. And so it is he who supports rapists, child abusers, fraudsters, corrupt politicians, and career criminals of all kinds

            For more on this see the overview of the Panama Papers from The ICIJ here.

        • left for dead 22.4.1.2

          And I have to waste time giving my details to a private organization to deposit small sums of cash, in case I’m money laundering.

        • International Rescue 22.4.1.3

          Can you name one? I mean can you actually name one of thee ‘mates’ the PM seems to have, according to the left, with all these billions, who have avoid paying tax in their own countries? I’m sure their own internal revenue service will be delighted to hear from you.

          • Tricledrown 22.4.1.3.1

            Yeah right IRDumbarse.
            Mexican influence peddler corruptor has $145 million parked here Ask your mate Ken Whitney.
            Iternational Ripoffartist.
            Are you a Nigerian Scammer.

      • adam 22.4.2

        What helping criminals hide money. Or for giving the supper rich just more places to hide money?

        I suppose BM when lying to yourself becomes second nature, it’s hard to break the mould. And you accuse the left of living in a bubble, you lot have become camped out in a Petri dish.

        • BM 22.4.2.1

          So, nothing to do with creating jobs or growing the economy?, it’s just a big smoke screen for all the Illuminati shape shifters to transfer their ill gotten gains to a safe location.?

          It’s lucky we have people like you around adam, who can see through the bull shit and make others aware of these nefarious goings on, I’m ashamed to say he had me fooled.

          • left for dead 22.4.2.1.1

            Now, that I do believe Bloody Minded.

            I’m ashamed to say he had me fooled.

            We can help you, just move away from that keyboard and pay more attention to what being said.
            That means less back chat.

          • adam 22.4.2.1.2

            Why Is it so hard, to accept that the national party actually dropped the ball on this one? Why do you have to reach for hyperbole every time? That type of debate is tiresome.

            The national party under the leadership of John Key created the situation of a tax haven. And no amount of spin, or crocodile tears from you, or anyone else, is going to change that.

          • miravox 22.4.2.1.3

            NZs reputation shredded, criminals enabled and other countries robbed for less than the cost of a flag referendum.

            No wonder you lot on the Right keep saying government should keep out of business. You’re pretty useless at running interference.

      • Draco T Bastard 22.4.3

        2010, the economy wasn’t that rosy, Key saw a opportunity to diversify our economy, raise income and create jobs.

        I suspect those 200 to 5000 will be just like the 1000+ that the SkyCity Convention centre was supposed to produce – a load codswallop.

        The only thing that FJK saw was an opportunity for his rich offshore mates to steal more from the poor.

  22. greywarshark 23

    Thanks for wonderfully informative post.
    I had a look at video but couldn’t get sound possibly because I had ad blockers on, I did have my speakers on. If we had public tv still, I wouldn’t have to bother about ads or have the news held to ransom so that I had to open my doors to importunate salesmen.

    Anyway on 3News I liked this bit of summary,
    The billionaire flew into Auckland in his private (sic) for the rugby, and a meeting with Mr Key.

    With these people, who knows what ‘his private’ wossname is? Perhaps it was something to do with Lord Ashcroft’s ‘controversial baggage’ referred to below.

    Mr Key is usually quite open when it comes to his meetings with the rich and famous. His critics will argue he kept this one on the quiet because of Lord Ashcroft’s controversial baggage.

    As I have said before, in these dark days, humour must be entertained wherever it can be found.

  23. Ralf Crown 24

    Intersting. Think of Singapore. 60 years ago, it was a poor fishing village living off aid. Today it has the highest living standard in Asia. Forget the word “tax haven”, rip-off tax laws does not create wealth. Where do you want to be yourself in the future, shall New Zealand be a poor fishing village with draconian taxes, or like Singapore a wealthy place. Do you want to keep your benefits, or have draconian taxes. The problem is that too few trust New Zealand that is seen as untrustworthy.

    • Colonial Viper 24.1

      You have no idea what you are spouting on about re: Singapore. Do you really want a strong man in charge of NZ for the next 30 years, a one party “democracy”, the deliberate bankrupting of opposition political figures and rules against everything from spitting of chewing gum to censorship of womens weekly magazines, intrusive intervention of government in key industries and sectors?

      • Ad 24.1.1

        Grinding through the two-volume hagiography of Lee Kuan Yew you get a really clear sense that – cocky as he should be about his successes – he was always happy to crack heads, smack down and jail parliamentary opponents, shut down critical media, crush property rights for development, take funding from any country he needed to, over-regulate anything from gays to chewing gum, and otherwise whore his country to the highest bidder and run a pretty minimal version of democracy, in order to achieve his ends.

        Anyone who wants ‘step-changes’ or ‘great leaps forward’ or ‘nation-building’ or other Big Swinging Dick forms of changing a whole country should have a read.

        • Colonial Viper 24.1.1.1

          The first ten years of Lee’s reign were particularly brutal. He reorganised – by force if necessary – many of the existing social and business structures and norms that people had become used to in Singapore.

          Agree with you that people like Ralf Crown appear to have no idea what it actually took to transform Singapore from an agricultural swamp land to the strategic, fortified metropolis it is today.

          • Ralf Crown 24.1.1.1.1

            I have a bit of idea, because I lived through it. Brutal, yes, against terrorists and likeminded that wanted to develop Singapore to their own private advantage and profits. Brutal, yeas, against those who were an IS or Al-Qaida of the time. Yes – it took a lot, and the people of Singapore today reap the benefits. What benefits do Kiwis reap? Hunger ????

            • Colonial Viper 24.1.1.1.1.1

              Pfffft you’re laughable mate.

              Just making sure that people know that you are promoting a political police state as the way ahead for NZ.

              • Ralf Crown

                Just interesting to experience that you are vastly more in a police state in New Zealand than in Singapore. You are constantly monitored in New Zealand whatever you do. But of course, in Singapore they monitor the bad guys, sure, they don’t have the freedom as in New Zealand.

        • Ralf Crown 24.1.1.2

          How about you grind through the “volumes” of the other millions of people living a better live than Kiwis, the ordinary Joe bloke, who does not have to live in moldy, damp and cold houses like in New Zealand. Talking about over regulating, New Zealand is probably the most regulated and controlled country in the world.

      • Ralf Crown 24.1.2

        I lived in Singapore so I know what I am talking about. I love the freedom of not having chewing gum on my clothes, I love to see a government that create a good life for me and other non extremists – just ordinary people, I love the freedom of not having to walk on gobs of spits on the floor in the grocery store, I love to have a government that listens and follow the people, not just extremists, and I love the freedom from explicit sensation aiming posters in the subway and on the streets. I love to see the absence of predatory taxes used to support the lazy and incompetent. Why should a government not intervene against those taking advantage of vulnerable people for their own profits.

        • Colonial Viper 24.1.2.1

          Who cares if you’ve lived in Singapore? I’ve lived in Singapore. Get a grip.

          I love it when idiot market liberals start promoting semi-dictatorships, obvious censorship and high interference state capitalism as the way ahead.

          At least understand your own political economic philosophy before you make a fool of yourself.

    • saveNZ 24.2

      Ralf Crown – Key did not make it a tax haven for residents with ‘low’ tax rates for Kiwis of 17% like Singapore – he made NZ a tax haven for his non resident mates to hide money. The non resident mates and money launderers pay 0% but resident Kiwi corporates pay 28% or 33% on trusts. (Of course many corporates don’t even pay that like Pepsi etc)

      • saveNZ 24.2.1

        Not only that but we export more ‘ transnational profits’ than actually milk powder and seafood. It’s crazy!!!

        http://thedailyblog.co.nz/2016/04/08/what-export-from-nz-is-bigger-than-seafood-milk-powder-combined/

        And still the politicians go on about there amazing ‘trade agreements’ that are actually making the country and residents poorer.

        • Ralf Crown 24.2.1.1

          Yes – it is crazy. But if investors are treated the way they are in New Zealand, not even Kiwi investors stay, they don’t invest. All we can do is to sell out our commodities and companies to be moved overseas so other gets the jobs. How much will the TPP benefit Kiwis, Nothing.

      • Ralf Crown 24.2.2

        I agree that Key, or other so called governments, did not give Kiwis a low tax, the tax in New Zealand is in fact over 40% if everything is summed up. That is just the difference between New Zealand and Singapore. In Singapore you don’t pay tax on earnings overseas, and the tax on creating jobs are low, the tax on working is low. Not so in New Zealand, so New Zealand is best developing in the same direction as Singapor did. Why not raise the demands in the next election. Keys trusts is just a first step, but New Zealand need to go further, confidentiality breeds business, jobs and success.

      • Ralf Crown 24.2.3

        I agree with you that Key did not make it a tax haven for residents with ‘low’ tax rates for Kiwis of 17% like Singapore. That’s why he needs to be kicked out. “Tax havens” as Hong Kong and Singapore have no tax for low income families, in Hong Kong a couple can earn some 30,000 dollars tax free. New Zealand has predatory taxes. Developing New Zealand as a new Singapore or Hong Kong is a good way to get lower taxes for ordinary people.

      • Tricledrown 24.2.4

        Lost Creep Singapore has other taxes like very high land taxes.
        Your presumptive argument looks like your trying to pull the wool.

    • UncookedSelachimorpha 24.3

      Singapore realised they had few natural resources, and invested massively in education and trade.

      Low taxes don’t correlate with healthy economies (or communities for that matter). If you want low tax and small government – just look at the third world.

      • Ralf Crown 24.3.1

        New Zealand is the third world today, high taxes, big bureaucracy, and regulated to the extreme. Business and creative people are pariahs. So what massive investment in education has New Zealand done? What about productive people who create wealth as farmers or engineers. No – all money goes to parasitic professions as lawyers and accountants and politicians. The never produce anything, except for their own benefit. Low taxes are healthy economy. Hong Kong has very low taxes, and still the government get so much money they hand it back cash to the residents.

      • Tricledrown 24.3.2

        Singapore doesn’t have low tax they have different taxes land capital gains.

    • Draco T Bastard 24.4

      Singapore: Pretty much a dictatorship with some of the highest levels of poverty anywhere and you want us to be just like that?

      Yeah, that puts you fully into the psychopathic, numbskull ideology.

      • happynz 24.4.1

        The rents in Singapore could certainly make one feel impoverished.

        • Ralf Crown 24.4.1.1

          Yes – you are right, since you have a Kiwi level pay and tax. In Singapore you can afford them, and get money left over. What about the Kiwi hose price level. How many impoverished people is that creating, and how man wealthy.

      • Ralf Crown 24.4.2

        Draco, Talking about dictatorship, how much can you have influence in New Zealand, on the TPP, the USA spy organization, the overseas US wars New Zealand support, no – your democracy is reduced to a vote every three year on an ideology – then shut up. Look at the poverty in New Zealand, 30% of the population below poverty level, kids hungry to school, low level education, violence on the street, racism, cold moldy housing, etc. Singapore is way ahead. It is a first work country, New Zealand is third world. One example, read UN WHO reports, New Zealand health care below Cuba.

        • The lost sheep 24.4.2.1

          Like this UN Human Development Index report that ranks NZ 9 and Cuba 67?
          http://report.hdr.undp.org/

          And Singapore 11th.

        • Draco T Bastard 24.4.2.2

          Talking about dictatorship, how much can you have influence in New Zealand, on the TPP, the USA spy organization, the overseas US wars New Zealand support, no – your democracy is reduced to a vote every three year on an ideology – then shut up.

          Probably why I call Representative Democracy an Elected Dictatorship. It needs fixing but it’s still no excuse for the seemingly outright dictatorship of Singapore.

          Look at the poverty in New Zealand, 30% of the population below poverty level, kids hungry to school, low level education, violence on the street, racism, cold moldy housing, etc.

          Yep, market capitalism at its finest. A complete and total failure.

          Singapore is way ahead.

          http://dollarsandsense.sg/3-hard-truths-about-poverty-in-singapore/
          http://www.bbc.com/news/business-26268500
          https://thehearttruths.com/2013/10/28/poverty-in-singapore-grew-from-16-in-2002-to-28-in-2013/

          Yeah, reality proves you wrong.

          One example, read UN WHO reports, New Zealand health care below Cuba.

          Yeah, communism tends to produce great outcomes in health care whereas market forces don’t.

          • Ralf Crown 24.4.2.2.1

            New Zealand democracy is an elected dictatorship based on personal cults of popularity. The difference in places as Singapore is that the people can decide on the issues, not only the party, the ideology or the person. Bloggers with an opinion of their own is not the same as reality. Being on site and experience yourself is reality, not someones blogging opinion. Communism is gone in most countries, including China and Singapore. It did not work, only the name remains.

            • Draco T Bastard 24.4.2.2.1.1

              Bloggers with an opinion of their own is not the same as reality.

              Strange, I wasn’t linking to bloggers.

              Communism is gone in most countries, including China and Singapore. It did not work, only the name remains.

              Actually, where it has been used properly, communism worked fine. The USSR, China, Cuba (although Cuba is closer than the other two) aren’t communist.

              The way to tell a communist society is where they have participatory democracy on all policies and the rule of law.
              Now show me where that has existed since Marx started using the term.

              • The lost sheep

                The way to tell a communist society is where they have participatory democracy on all policies and the rule of law.

                My Marxism is a little rusty Draco, but my understanding is that Marxist Communism does not see any form of democracy, or any other organised political system (including the one that would be necessary to maintain the rule of law) as legitimate, because it would require a state to maintain it, and Marx believed that once the class struggle had ended the structure of society would be determined purely by it’s economic systems, and no state or political organisation would be necessary at all?

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Don’t think I’d agree with that. I’d say that Marx was more about there being no top down hierarchy as there is both in his time and now:

                  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classless_society
                  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dictatorship_of_the_proletariat
                  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paris_Commune#Marx.2C_Engels.2C_and_Lenin

                  Communists, left-wing socialists, anarchists, and others have seen the Commune as a model for, or a prefiguration of, a “liberated” society, with a political system based on participatory democracy from the grass roots up.

                  • The lost sheep

                    If you read a little deeper into the links you quote Draco, you will see that….
                    In Marxist theory, the dictatorship of the proletariat is the intermediate system between capitalism and communism.
                    and that…
                    that this dictatorship, itself, constitutes no more than a transition to the abolition of all classes and to a classless society

                    According to Marxist theory, the existence of any government implies the dictatorship of one social class over another.

                    So what ever you would call your ‘Participatory Democracy / rule of law’, it is not Marxist Communism, because they imply both a state structure and a degree of coercion, and in a Communist Society those aspects would be perversions.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      it is not Marxist Communism, because they imply both a state structure and a degree of coercion,

                      No it doesn’t. Governance is across everyone. There’s no ‘government’ sitting atop the people – the people are the government.

                    • The lost sheep

                      You specified Marxist Communism Draco, and what you are missing is that Marx saw any form of government, including a government of the people, as an intermediary stage on the way to pure communism.
                      In this final state, there is no form of government what so ever, no laws are necessary, everything that happens springs organically out of the necessities of production, and no individual is ever coerced into doing anything they do not choose to be doing.

                      You propose a ‘participatory democracy’. Do you see that as having some kind of structure? How would a decision be made on matters that effect all members of society?

                      And if you have a rule of Law, that must imply there is a need to control some forms of behavior and punish those who transgressed? That is coercion?

                    • The lost sheep

                      Draco, I’d be really interested in knowing your answers to these 2 questions?

                      You propose a ‘participatory democracy’. Do you see that as having some kind of structure? How would a decision be made on matters that effect all members of society?

                      And if you have a rule of Law, that must imply there is a need to control some forms of behavior and punish those who transgressed? That is coercion?

      • Ralf Crown 24.4.3

        And on what level of “psychopathic, numbskull ideology” is the commentator who makes that judgement.

  24. Sofya Semyonovna 25

    The 60 Minutes story you cite is now missing from the TV3 site.

    Google shows it in its search, and TV3 itself mentions it, but TV3’s own internal link does not go to the story.

  25. saveNZ 26

    Key is keen to send the troops as part of the club, but not so keen to stop money laundering as part of the club.

    That’s priorities for you.

  26. gsays 27

    i want to echo the well done on the post.

    also agree with adam with the ‘what do we do about it?’

    • UncookedSelachimorpha 27.1

      Pressure John Key to disclose his actual wealth and how much tax he pays in proportion to it!

    • Ralf Crown 27.2

      The definition of “money laundering” today is all money the government not managed to confiscate part of for its own purposes.

  27. UncookedSelachimorpha 28

    in 2011 National also quietly abolished the Gift Tax – which had existed since 1885. They disingenuously said it raised little tax (which was true). But its whole purpose was not to raise tax, but to prevent untaxed transfers that evaded other taxes (originally including the Estate Tax…also abolished by a National government in 1992). The abolition of the Gift Tax makes it easier for the super rich to transfer money about the place, including into trusts etc. Max Key may already be benefiting from this one.

    Poor people aren’t in the position to make transfers of thousands wherever they please – the abolition of Gift Tax was purely for the benefit of the rich.

    • Draco T Bastard 28.1

      Poor people aren’t in the position to make transfers of thousands wherever they please – the abolition of Gift Tax was purely for the benefit of the rich.

      QFT

    • ge 28.2

      I knoe, Sis and bro transferred 3 mill into 2 Rotorua Trusts before Dad died, against dads Will, when he was ill, and are sitting pretty. They are living on that Trust land, kept it secret from me

  28. Leftie 29

    “You won’t believe this – Key was warned 7 times he was turning NZ into a tax haven”

    <a href="http://thedailyblog.co.nz/

    • mikesh 29.1

      I feel sure he didn’t need to be warned. He must have known from the outset that he was risking aiding and abetting tax evasion.

      • McFlock 29.1.1

        that does seem to be the only reason someone would charge zero percent tax on trusts belonging to foreigners – get the money funnelling through because it lowers the owners’ obvious tax liability in their home country.

        Or does money just need the occasional south pacific holiday? 🙂

      • Draco T Bastard 29.1.2

        He’s a bankster – aiding and abetting criminals seems to be their reason to exist.

      • Pat 29.1.3

        risking?….surely it was the goal

  29. North 30

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11620586

    A Shewan for robust independence or a shoo-in for master manipulator Key ?

    Please……..not another Bazley or Rebstock.

    • BLiP 30.1

      White wash coming up. John Shewan is a High Priest in the Cult of Neoliberalism. As a holder of the a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to business he knows which side of the bread is buttered.

    • Steve Reeves 30.2

      Hey journos reading The Standard….does Shewan’s name or companies etc. appear in the Panama Papers?

      Like this guy’s…

      http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/apr/10/hmrc-chief-partner-law-firm-offshore-fund-cameron

      • Bill 30.2.1

        PwC that he was head of up through 2012 are up to their necks in the tax avoidance racket. Penny has a link below (comment 34). The report Penny links is from Feb last year, but involves PwC cases that, I’d guess it’d be safe to punt, go back to Shewan’s time.

        • Colonial Viper 30.2.1.1

          All the Big Four are up to their necks in these dealings.

          And, if you remember, so was Arthur Andersen, the firm which used to make the group the “Big Five.”

    • Macro 30.3

      What else but a white wash can we expect from Key – he did the same with the Oravida “inquiry” , the SIS “inquiry” and …
      The MSM will accept it of course and that is all that matters.

    • Bill 30.4

      Why is this being fielded out to some ‘independent’ wallah?

      I’ve read the Guardian piece on the UKs head of Revenue and Customs. What that seems to show is that HMRC has been opened up to bent bastards (or ideologically driven misanthropes) who have managed to claw or schmooze their way to the top.

      Regardless, it seems entirely appropriate that HMRC undertake any inquiry into ‘the Panama Papers’. Sure, Edward Troup (head of HMRC) should be hung, drawn and quartered beforehand. But a Civil Service institution should be charged with getting to the bottom of the shit. If nothing else, they have all the powers and a hell of a lot of info at their fingertips. If they show themselves up to be corrupt by whitewashing in some way, then there is a citizenry who can demand they (or the individuals from the department) be held to account.

      A 10 week long ‘independent’ review, inclusive of time to report, is a fucking sick joke.

      Firstly, (and I’m really cutting slack to be kind here) the guy has to go to the very institutions (the IRD?) that should be carrying out any review or inquiry to request relevant info. Secondly – oh fuck being nice – he gets to fucking well decide what is and is not relevant info! And he’s been fucking hand picked by a [deleted] whose up to his fucking neck in it. Watch him shred that net before he trawls.

      And he’ll get handsomely paid while the institution, whose services our taxes have already paid for, get side-lined.

      Questions. Weren’t the IRD highly critical of National Party plans? What has been the political fate of IRD these past years with regards funding and directives? Why the fuck are IRD not being tasked with going through all of this!?

      edit – fuck me dead. (from Herald linked to above) Shewan – the former head of PricewaterhouseCoopers and a past member of the Tax Working Group.

      And then from Penny’s link below…(comment 34)

      “PriceWaterhouseCoopers condemned for giving misleading evidence to Parliament and ‘promoting tax avoidance on an industrial scale’

      • Bill 30.4.1

        Just “did a google” on Shewan. He’s about as independent as a chronic sufferer of co-dependency might be.

        First hit… http://www.business.govt.nz/about-this-site/video-transcriptions/how-to-reduce-your-tax-bill

        You want to make sure that you can deliver the benefits of your hard work to them in a tax paid way but with tax minimised, and often, for example, using a trust to own your company will be a good way of ensuring that objective is achieved.”

        Now sure. He didn’t suggest you then shove that trust off-shore…

        From NBR http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/john-shewan-review-foreign-trust-disclosure-b-187400

        Mr Shewan, who chairs the manager of the Fonterra Shareholders’ Fund, has been involved in a number of high-profile tax cases. Evidence in the structured finance suit against Westpac Banking Corp showed he advised the lender to declare tax at a rate comparable with competitors, at around 15%, although actual cash payments could be as low as 6%, against the then-legislated corporate tax rate of 30%. The IRD’s case against four Australian-owned banks operating in New Zealand was settled for $2.2 billion on Christmas Eve, 2009.

        From Kiwiblog. http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/tag/john_shewan

        The basket cases of Europe, such as Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal, shared a common thread of poor tax systems, with high levels of tax evasion and fraud. “They regard paying tax as voluntary,” he said. In contrast, in New Zealand most felt they should pay their fair share of tax. Shewan said he was “very proud” of the tax system here.

        And so it goes on and on and on.

    • gsays 30.5

      just once i would like to have an enqiring mind or a dissenting mind making these investigations.

    • mikesh 30.6

      Lewin’s review of disclosure rules is just a smokescreen. Key must resign; there’s no two ways about it; he cannot be seen to be aiding and abetting a crime (tax evasion) and not do so. He seems to hoping that by deflecting attention to the disclosure rules people will fail to notice exactly what it is that he has done.

  30. Henry Filth 31

    To be honest, I don’t see a lot wrong with the New Zealand situation in principle. I just have concerns that the inevitable knee-jerk reaction will b*gger things up for the rest of us.

    However the weak disclosure requirements could do with an upgrade.

    Anyone got some ideas on what a decent disclosure regime might look like?

    • Stuart Munro 31.1

      Details of holdings, transfers, ownership and fees would be a normal minimum. Not publicly available but statutorily recorded and available under warrant, or on request by the proper tax authorities of the beneficial owner’s country.

      The existence of a trust and the names of parties involved in it should be public however.

    • Macro 31.2

      To be honest, I don’t see a lot wrong with the New Zealand situation in principle.

      When you have no principles, I guess that would be true.
      Allowing criminals and fraudulent politicians to squirrel away their ill gotten gains in a hidden trust in a supposedly respectable country and thereby launder this money for their own use is perfectly ok?
      This is a long read – but it is from the ICIJ who have access to the millions of papers and emails obtained. And is an overview of just what this whole situation of which NZ is just a part is about. (there are 60,000 references to NZ in these papers by the way so its not just a minor part)
      https://panamapapers.icij.org/20160403-panama-papers-global-overview.html

      • Henry Filth 31.2.1

        Oh, lay off the snarky smeary stuff will you? This is serious.

        My preference is for a searchable public register, recording settlor, beneficiaries, and trustees, with a copy of the trust deed.

        New Zealand has a reasonable model in the Companies Office. Should be a sensible starting point. . .

        • Macro 31.2.1.1

          I’m serious too. There is a lot wrong in principle with our secret trusts which allow money laundering – so I don’t know what it is that you don’t see wrong in principle?

        • Henry Filth 31.2.1.2

          Oh, and a public record or audit trail of who accessed what and when.

        • Macro 31.2.1.3

          And what of the zero tax? Why should those who are rich enough to be able to establish a trust off-shore pay no tax on the earnings of that trust? – anywhere!

          • Henry Filth 31.2.1.3.1

            Because if the trust earns it’s income outside New Zealand, and remits no money to New Zealand, why should it pay New Zealand tax?

            New Zealand tax is payable on New Zealand income.

            • Macro 31.2.1.3.1.1

              That is very naive!
              These trust are set up so as pay no tax, or as little tax as possible – anywhere. That is their very reason for existence. What moral right or principle do you rely on that says the rich have a moral right to avoid paying taxes – anywhere?

              • Henry Filth

                It’s not naive, and please don’t go trying to put your words in my mouth.

                Now, if you could address my question? Please.

                • Macro

                  I’ll address your question when you address mine – what moral principle gives the rich the right to avoid paying taxes either here or overseas?

                  • Henry Filth

                    Sorry, I asked first.

                    • Macro

                      On the contrary I asked first.
                      I shall repeat – These trusts are set up with the express purpose to allow the rich to earn more money and avoid paying tax, or to pay as little tax as possible. certainly a lot less tax than they would have to pay if they kept the money in their own country. What principle that you are happy with here, gives them the right to do so?

            • Draco T Bastard 31.2.1.3.1.2

              Because if the trust earns it’s income outside New Zealand, and remits no money to New Zealand, why should it pay New Zealand tax?

              If that is all true then why is the trust in NZ at all?

              The only answer to that is that it’s being used for nefarious purposes.

              • Henry Filth

                No, your “nefarious purposes” are not the only reason. Administrative convenience is not “nefarious” in the slightest. But it is a very good reason.

                And the trust is in New Zealand because of the advantages that New Zealand offers.

                Now, to my question, why should a New Zealand domiciled trust pay New Zealand tax on its income from outside New Zealand, which is not remitted to New Zealand?

                Could we return to that, please?

                • RedBaronCV

                  “And the trust is in New Zealand because of the advantages that New Zealand offers.”

                  You’d answered your own question with this comment. The 0% tax rate on overseas investments is the advantage NZ offers along with not having to tell anyone what the trust owns.

                  • Henry Filth

                    I was rather thinking of political stability, respect for the rule of law, independent judiciary, consistent regulation, those sorts of things.

                    I will admit that not being taxed twice on the same income is a positive.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      I was rather thinking of political stability, respect for the rule of law, independent judiciary, consistent regulation, those sorts of things.

                      Generally speaking, they can get that where they are.

                      I will admit that not being taxed twice on the same income is a positive.

                      And they get that where they are to.

                      The problem, of course, is that by having the trust in NZ they’re not paying any taxes as they can hide things.

                      So far, you haven’t listed a valid reason for a offshore trust to be domiciled here or, in fact, any where other than the persons place of residence.

                • Now, to my question, why should a New Zealand domiciled trust pay New Zealand tax on its income from outside New Zealand, which is not remitted to New Zealand?

                  First, because it’s a financial service provided within New Zealand, by New Zealanders; and second, because providing such a service in secret and tax-free is essentially the offering of a tax-evasion and money-laundering service to overseas criminals, which the NZ government shouldn’t be facilitating.

                  Now the question you need to answer: why did a New Zealand Prime Minister deliberately encourage the creation of tax-evasion and money-laundering services to overseas criminals?

            • pat 31.2.1.3.1.3

              “Because if the trust earns it’s income outside New Zealand,….”

              ….or steals , or otherwise misappropriates it, accumulates as result of illegal activity, and is most unlikely to have paid the appropriate level of tax in the earned jurisdiction…..so its all good we give them secure, protected haven for this because other havens will return the favour for our own dodgy pricks….yep, compass working real well

              • Henry Filth

                A nice diversion into applied or assumed criminality, but one which doesn’t address my question.

                Is there nobody out there who can answer my question?

            • mikesh 31.2.1.3.1.4

              “New Zealand tax is payable on New Zealand income.”

              NZ tax is payable on all income, worldwide, received by a person, or other entity, domiciled in NZ. (Or it was until Key changed the law for the benefit of overseas investors.) A trust or fund remitting income from overseas sources to an overseas investor should be required to deduct some form of NRWT from that income before sending it. If the investor pays tax on that income in their own country they can claim a rebate against their NZ tax liability.

      • Ralf Crown 31.2.2

        Actually, I prefer a good breakfast, lunch and dinner with a good bottle of wine, a bit of travel, a free life and personal satisfaction with life way ahead of “principles”. The whole Panama issue feels more like that proverbial small town bitch behind the curtain spying on the neighbor with binoculars and gossiping away at the tea party. We know that people in “tax havens” live a good life, so where do kiwis want to be in the future.

    • BLiP 31.3

      Never mind your principles, there are huge problems with these accounting devices because of the direct harm caused to people who’s governments are underfunded as a result of their existence. Get rid of them. The fact that they are even legal is a travesty.

      • Henry Filth 31.3.1

        “Never mind your principles,. . . Get rid of them. The fact that they are even legal is a travesty.”

        No. I like my principles. I think they’re good ones.

        No it isn’t a travesty. They are useful tools. They just need to be made better tools.

        I am so afraid that the inevitable knee-jerk reaction is going to throw the baby out with the bathwater and b*gger things up for the rest of us.

        • Draco T Bastard 31.3.1.1

          No it isn’t a travesty.

          Yes it is.

          They are useful tools.

          Only to those using them to steal from everyone else.

          They just need to be made better tools.

          They need to be gotten rid of.

          • Henry Filth 31.3.1.1.1

            Well, we’d just have to disagree about travesty then.

            As for “Only to those using them to steal from everyone else”, that’s simply incorrect. There are at her reasons.

            And they don’t need to be gotten rid of, they, like all tools, need to be improved.

  31. ianmac 32

    As a foot note to Mike Hosking’s interview with Key this morning, it is no longer visible on Herald online. Hosking did try and hold Key to account. If Key’s responses were transcripted they would show a meaningless jumble.
    If you haven’t seen it I still have it:
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/national/news/video.cfm?c_id=1503075&gal_cid=1503075&gallery_id=159533

    • Henry Filth 32.1

      Thanks for that.

    • adam 32.2

      ugly

    • gsays 32.3

      i gave it 2 1/2 minutes and i am full of obfuscation.

      several sentences started then stopped part way through,
      at the start of interview he gives a qualified answer to “anything that will embarass you?” “no, no, not in panama”

      it’s insulting.

    • Leftie 32.4

      What a liar Key is, how can anyone trust the word of this crook anymore?

  32. Gangnam Style 33

    These are the people who are on 28% and desperate to smear me” – Key responding to criticism he lacks a moral compass over foreign trusts – NBR Tweet.

  33. Penny Bright 34

    In my view – there needs to be a proper, thorough, independent inquiry into NZ ‘foreign trusts’ / trusts and company legislation – to which the public can make submissions, regarding the growing international ‘perception’ of New Zealand as a ‘tax haven’?

    Seen this?

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/pricewaterhousecoopers-condemned-for-giving-misleading-evidence-to-parliament-and-promoting-tax-10027344.html

    “PriceWaterhouseCoopers condemned for giving misleading evidence to Parliament and ‘promoting tax avoidance on an industrial scale’

    PwC was accused by the MPs of misleading them about the way it has helped hundreds of firms avoid millions in tax by shifting profits from other countries to low-tax Luxembourg

    Andrew Grice @IndyPolitics Friday 6 February 20150 comments …”
    ______________________________________

    Penny Bright
    2016 Auckland Mayoral candidate.

    • Macro 34.1

      Yeah Penny – we are setting a fox to watch on the hen house!
      This will be no independent inquiry – it will be merely a whitewash.
      But it will sound like Key really means business and that should calm the MSM – well it did in the Oravida and SIS “inquiries”.

  34. Penny Bright 35

    Who has been appointed to David Cameron’s new ‘fraud task force’?

    Anyone know?

    http://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2016-04-11/panama-papers-david-cameron-releases-tax-records/7314744

    Panama Papers: UK PM David Cameron releases tax records, announces new fraud taskforce

    British Prime Minister David Cameron has taken the unusual step of publishing his tax records to try to end days of questions about his personal wealth caused by the mention of his late father’s offshore fund in the Panama Papers.

    Key points:
    David Cameron releases tax records covering six years
    Prime minister has come under pressure after Panama Papers
    Launches taskforce to tackle money laundering and tax evasion

    As the fallout from the scandal continues, Mr Cameron also announced a new taskforce, jointly led by Britain’s tax authority and National Crime Agency, to tackle money laundering and tax evasion.
    …..”
    _____________

    Penny Bright
    2016 Auckland Mayoral candidate.

  35. Leftie 36

    Labour has been running an online petition since April 7th. Demand action on tax dodging. Please sign.

    <a href="http://www.labour.org.nz/taxdodging

    • Colonial Viper 36.1

      From the party which dumped the CGT, the huge longstanding NZ wide middle class tax dodge on financial gains from property.

      • sabine 36.1.1

        yes dear.

        • Leftie 36.1.1.1

          Sabine, yes, it does get tedious, doesn’t it?

          • Colonial Viper 36.1.1.1.1

            Labour is going to keep coming out with absurd National Party/comfortable middle class hugging positions over the next few months.

            Like giving the thumbs up to the Bill English pseudo-privatisation of Kiwi Bank. Like promising to keep the TPP.

            Yes, it is going to be as tedious as it is predictable.

            • Leftie 36.1.1.1.1.1

              Have you signed Labour’s Say No to the TPPA?
              <a href="http://www.labour.org.nz/tppa_petition

              You should be furious at John key. Why aren’t you?
              Didn’t you post not that long ago that Labour cannot just walk away from it? You already know that its not that simple, and I haven’t read any other opposition party saying they would leave it either.

              “Labour Party leader Andrew Little said he could absolutely guarantee that any government he led would keep Kiwibank 100 percent in public ownership.”

              “The most important thing is that the government guarantees if either the Cullen Fund or the ACC wants to sell its shareholding, that they take up the first right of refusal and buy back those shares, that’s the commitment that the Labour Party would make.”

              <a href="http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/political/300853/kiwibank-move-'slippery-slope-towards-privatisation&#039;

              • Colonial Viper

                You don’t get it do you?

                I’m not supporting any Labour sponsored initiative.

                And increasing disenchantment with Key and National isn’t going to translate into increasing support for Little and Labour.

                There are many reasons for this but *tedious.*

                • Leftie

                  ROFL it was a means to make a point, and what you desperately hope for, will probably not happen either.

                • International Rescue

                  What increasing disenchantment with Key and National are you referring to? Seems the latest poll has their support going up.

            • adam 36.1.1.1.1.2

              Actually CV I think labour may just do something on this.

              Grant actually said things on Waatea 5th Estate with some backbone and clarity. I’m still recovering from it myself.

      • Paul 36.1.2

        What do you recommend we do?

        • sabine 36.1.2.1

          complain endlessly about labour ?

          • Colonial Viper 36.1.2.1.1

            Break out from your Political Stockholm Syndrome?

            • Paul 36.1.2.1.1.1

              What do you recommend we do?

              • Kiwiri

                Vote Labour because at the end of the day, it is several neolib shades less worse than National and applies a few doses of anaesthetic?

              • Colonial Viper

                Get some initiative and stop waiting for someone else to tell you what to do.

            • Leftie 36.1.2.1.1.2

              Maybe you should follow your own advice Colonial Viper.

              • Colonial Viper

                Did it in the second half of last year. Wondering why so many other people are still lying face down with their hands behind their head, telling everyone that it’s practically comfortable and morally necessary.

                • Leftie

                  Isn’t that what you are doing though? I gather you are no longer a member of the Labour party, I’m so pleased about that.

  36. whateva next? 37

    “The 1% hide their money offshore – then use it to corrupt our democracy”
    Aditya Chakrabortty
    http://gu.com/p/4t8t8/sbl
    explains it quite well…

  37. r0b 38

    Thanks all for the kind words on this post. It was an interesting story to unravel.

    • Leftie 38.1

      R0b you deserve it. You did a brilliant job !!

    • sabine 38.2

      it was interesting to read 🙂

    • nadis 38.3

      Rob

      I think we are right to call for significant changes around the secrecy of trusts, in particular the source of funds, identity of settlors and benficiaries should all be reported to the likes of MBIE.

      However – I think you are dead wrong on theses 2011 tax changes. This change in 2011 has absolutely nothing to do with the foreign trusts a la the Panama papers.

      This change in 2011 was much more boring and so far has had no unintended consequencers as far as I am aware. Prior to this change Portfolio Investment Entities or PIE’s were unable to match the (always in existence) 0% tax rate for offshore investors who invest in a NZ PIE that sources all of its income from offshore. Prior to this law those investors were taxed at 28% whereas if they used a non-PIE trust (a la the Panama papers) they would pay zero.

      Really important to note that the new (in 2011) 0% tax rate applied only to non NZ tax residents who invested in a PIE that sourced ALL of its income from outside NZ. If neither of those conditions were met then the investor pays tax.

      Sorry to rain on your parade, but the 2011 law change was minor in the sense that it aligned the PIE treatment with the existing treatment of trusts for non-domiciled investors. The rationale for the law change was that it corrected an oversight in the original law that set up PIEs (in 2007 ahem). The tax principle that non-resident investors pay no tax has been in existence for ever. In fact investors in a PIE – even if they are overseas – must meet full anti-money laundering regs which includes verified copies of passports and utility bills and this info is available for both the FMA and the IRD. Yes Pies are trusts, but they are a completely different beast than the offshore trusts set up by lawyers (who don’t have to meet anti-money laundering rules because their “professional standards” cover any potential problems. Cue Tui ad……)

      Here is a description of the foreign PIE (the 2011 law change).

      http://www.ird.govt.nz/industry-guidelines/pie/intro/foreign/pie-intro-foreign.html

      The other things you say are correct, especially that NZ is (and always has been) a money launderers paradise, but your mad desire to pin everything bad on the personal intervention of John Key is in this case plain wrong. I could just as easily claim the 2007 law passed by Michael Cullen was the genesis of this issue. That would be equally wrong. the reality is that this is just business as usual since the 1980’s or before. If you want to blame anyone you could start with a well known NZ investment bank of the 1980s run by yachting enthusiasts, but all they and everyone has done is exploit out of date legislation.

      Cleaning up this is easy. Just force every trust to collect passport info on all beneficiaries and settlers and file a set of annual accounts. Problem solved.

      • pat 38.3.1

        ‘This change in 2011 was much more boring and so far has had no unintended consequencers as far as I am aware”

        except that following the taxation changes on disbursements from trusts introduced in the 2011 review the number of non resident trusts based in NZ grew exponentially…between the 1980s and 2011 there were approx 4,000 non resident trusts formed in NZ….now there are in excess of 12,000…that sort of growth curve doesn’t happen by accident

        • nadis 38.3.1.1

          That wasn’t caused by the 2011 change……….

          I know that because there are not 8000 PIE’s in NZ.

          • pat 38.3.1.1.1

            the number of PIE’s in NZ is irrelevant, multiple non resident trusts could invest in any or all of them.

            ​ ​.

      • r0b 38.3.2

        Your view is rather difficult to square with the Chapmann Tripp quote “The tax change, which came into force in September 2011, should make New Zealand managed funds an attractive alternative to funds resident in Luxembourg, Ireland or the Caymans.” The international attention “the PM will nudge it through without too much meddling from the country’s left wing camp.” Comment from Craig Elliffe, professor of Taxation Law and Policy “this country’s foreign trust structure effectively provides a vehicle for foreigners not to pay tax and therefore, in a broad sense, we are a tax haven.” The IRD’s warning that “our foreign trust rules continue to attract criticism, including claims that New Zealand is now a tax haven in respect of trusts”. The Financial Review’s description of us as ‘the quiet tax haven achiever”, and so on, and so on. Clearest statement is the Nippert piece quoted in the post:

        The financial services hub proposal emerged after banker Craig Stobo told the Government’s 2009 Jobs Summit an economic boost would result if the Government created a zero tax rating for foreign investors who invested in international funds based here. … Stobo’s appointment came after the Government’s Capital Markets Taskforce expanded the initial zero-tax idea into an ambitious plan to compete directly with tax havens Luxembourg, the Cayman Islands and Ireland to host international funds investing in the Asia-Pacific region.

        It makes it clear that the 0% tax change was central to both the financial hub proposal and plans to compete with tax havens. Hardly the minor technical change you are describing.

        • nadis 38.3.2.1

          No not at all. You’re confusing two things that ar actually quite separate. The whole idea of zero rate pies for offshore investors, and Keys “South Pacific Fund Hub” where that this 2011 tax change would create a vibrant funds industry in NZ, where managers would come and set up PIES targeted at offshore investors, in the same way that most UCIT’s retail funds in NZ are set up in Luxembourg and sold to investors across Europe.

          Clearly, the whole “South Pacific Fund Hub” never happened. Number of PIE funds set up in foreign currency to take advantage of the new 2011 law – pretty much none. I can’t think of any – if it is more than single digits I will eat a hat of your choice.
          The plan was that the likes of Blackrock, Vanguard, Templeton etc etc would all set up large offices in Auckland, and build funds that would be sold to investors in Asia, America and Europe (and there would be no taxation in NZ, but would be in the investors’ country). At the time, almost everyone in the NZ savings industry said “Tell em he’s dreaming”. Surprisingly, what Key and the Govt didnt understand was the complete disinterest that senior finance staff would have in living in a global backwater like NZ. Holiday home or holiday sure, but live here? No way. Too provincial and taxes too high relative to HK/Singapore. Plus the lack of a significant network of support business and relevantly skilled back office workers.

          Again -you are confusing two things. 1. The 2011 rule change for PIES – no effect. 2. The fact that NZ does (and always has) required very little proof of identity – big problem.

          #1 is not an issue and you are flat out wrong to claim it is. I would be very surprised if there was a significant number of investors using that treatment. Anyone that does use it is most likely to be a NZ expat living overseas, amnd they should be liable for tax in their host country but wouldnt be liable in NZ. But bear in mind they have had to identify themselves proeperly ton invest in a PIE and this data could be shared by the IRD to offshore.

          #2 is however a huge issue and means NZ is a significant money laundering destination (and has bee since the 1980’s). And facilitated mostly by several large NZ law firms who do not have to follow the recent anti-money laundering law.

          • nadis 38.3.2.1.1

            No. They list all their investments as well as report tax paid, and file audited accounts. So no.

            Although kiwisaver is a little bit more complex. PIE funds (which all kiwisavers are) pay no tax. They do however with-hold tax based on the tax rate declared by investors. But as every investor in a PIE must have an IRD number, you would under-report your tax rate at your peril as it is perhaps the easiest thing in the world for the IRD to check.

          • nadis 38.3.2.1.2

            Furthermore your quotes say it all.

            All the quotes about foreigners investing in funds here would have to be via PIES. (not a problem)

            The Craig Elliffe quotes talk about foreign trust rules refer to the business as usual business of non- domiciled foreign trusts held with no identy information. That facilitates money laundering and tax evasion, the PIES do not and structurally cannopt.

          • r0b 38.3.2.1.3

            Nadis, I’m guessing you’re involved in the financial sector and know a whole lot more about this stuff than me. And I’m sure you believe what you’re saying. But once again when you say “The 2011 rule change for PIES – no effect” you seem to be simply wrong, given the number of quotes we see about the significance of that change. I do acknowledge that I could be wrong here, but if I am an awful lot of other people are wrong with me…

            • nadis 38.3.2.1.3.1

              you’re not reading your quotes correctly. the massive change stuff was pre the change in that people thought it would be massive. It wasn’t. Seriously, read your quotes more carefully. They are generally talking about two completely different issues. I dont think they are wrong with you, they are generally talking about something completely different to what you are. For instance show me one quote or link anywhere about where the 2011 law is designed to make NZ trusts for foreign domiciled investors tax free (as opposed to making qualifying PIEs tax free for non-resident investors.) I tell you now you wont be able to, because those NZ trusts targeted at foreigners have ALWAYS been tax free.

              Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying we don’t have a problem (the fact I broadly agree with you should show I’m not trolling you). We do have a problem, and it is called money laundering via anonymous NZ trusts (not PIEs) and law firm trust accounts facilitated by NZ law firms, and it has been happening for 30 years.

              But what your claiming about the 2011 law change and PIE funds is completely wrong. And I am happy to argue that till the cows come home as I know I am 100% correct. As you surmise, this is my day job.

              • pat

                If as you say there is no advantage to non resident trusts in the changes re PIEs 2011 what then is your explanation for the rapid growth in said trusts post those changes in comparison to the two previous decades…coincidence or some other cause?

                • nadis

                  The explanation is simple. the 2011 changes relate to PIE funds, not non-resident trusts.

                  If numbers of non-resident trusts have grown as you suggest I suggest it reflects general growth in global trans-border trust type business combined with the fact NZ is a “top tier” OECD country perception wise yet it is easy to establish a trust with anonymous settlers and beneficiaries.

              • r0b

                For instance show me one quote or link anywhere about where the 2011 law is designed to make NZ trusts for foreign domiciled investors tax free (as opposed to making qualifying PIEs tax free for non-resident investors.)

                The Chapman Tripp quote which heads up the post is about the 2011 change in the law with respect to PIEs (as are other parts of the main posts). So yes the post is intended to be about PIEs not “NZ trusts”.

                From that CT piece:

                New Zealand now an attractive tax location for offshore managed funds

                10 October 2011

                Foreign investors in a New Zealand fund with only foreign investments will now bear no New Zealand tax on their income, whether or not the fund distributes that income. The tax change, which came into force in September 2011, should make New Zealand managed funds an attractive alternative to funds resident in Luxembourg, Ireland or the Caymans.

                We were previously an unattractive location, now we are an attractive location. An “attractive alternative” to other tax havens. How to square this with your statement that “The 2011 rule change for PIES – no effect”?

                In 2008 when the PIE tax regime was introduced, it did not treat non-resident investors well. They could not be zero rated. Instead they had a PIR equal to the top tax rate (currently 28%). This made them unattractive to foreign investors, especially for a fund with income from non-New Zealand sources.

                The Government recognised that this tax treatment was not sensible from a policy perspective. … Accordingly, the tax change now allows a New Zealand fund to elect to pay tax at 0% on foreign income attributable to foreign investors.

                The PIEs were previously taxed at 28%, now at 0%.

                The fund will treat the foreign investor as if it were a New Zealand company or trust. However, unlike a New Zealand company or trust, the foreign investor will have no New Zealand tax liability on the income attributable to it, either when earned by the fund, or when distributed.

                The foreign investor no longer has an NZ tax liability. How to square this with your statement that “The 2011 rule change for PIES – no effect”?

                I appreciate the offer to discuss until the cows come home, but I’ll be done for the night, and will check back tomorrow (evening).

                • Lanthanide

                  r0b, basically nadis is saying (I think) that overseas investors have been able to set up trust funds of type A since 1988 on which they paid 0% tax. In 2007, the new PIE funds of type B came into existence, and they charged 28% tax. In 2011, the PIE funds of type B now charge 0% tax, just like the funds of type A have been since 1988.

                  In other words, the 2011 law change didn’t give overseas investors an ability to pay 0% tax – they already had that ability. It just meant a PIE fund (which seems to have certain rules or advantages compared to regular ones) now also had that ability to pay 0% tax.

                  So I think that Chapman Tripp article is really talking about the context of PIE funds – in 2007 they were made useless for foreign investors, and in 2011 they were made useful for foreign investors.

                  But tax evaders were always able to get a foreign fund and pay 0% tax on it ever since 1988, and hence why the 2011 law change had “no effect” for tax evaders.

                  nadis – does that sum it up?

                  • nadis

                    Absolutely correct.

                    PIE funds (and hence the 2011 law) aren’t part of this whole Panama papers discussion. but everything else, fer sure. And also by definition , you cant anonymously invest in a PIE fund.

                  • nadis

                    And also the other big difference. A single person or entity can control a trust of type A. PIE funds cannot be controlled by a single entity. In fact no entity or related parties can control more than 20% of a PIE fund.

                  • r0b

                    Thanks for your contribution Lanthanide, as is often the case a third person has the clearest view.

                    So Nadis let’s see if I have this right.

                    • A is NZ trust targeted at foreigners 0% tax since 1988
                    • B is PIEs targeted at foreigners 0% tax since 2011
                    • There are similarities between A & B (0% tax)
                    • There are practical differences between A & B.

                    OK so far?

                    Now your argument is that the change to a 0% B had no effect on our tax haven status. “The 2011 rule change for PIES – no effect”.

                    My argument is that it did have an effect – as per all the quotes above – but let’s take the one I have repeated several times as the main example – Chapman Tripp:

                    Foreign investors in a New Zealand fund with only foreign investments will now bear no New Zealand tax on their income, whether or not the fund distributes that income. The tax change, which came into force in September 2011, should make New Zealand managed funds an attractive alternative to funds resident in Luxembourg, Ireland or the Caymans.

                    So because of the practical differences between them A was regarded as an unattractive option for tax haven seekers, but when 0% B was created in 2011 it was regarded as attractive for haven seekers. (If this is not correct, can you explain why CT are wrong?).

                    In short you seem to be arguing that when I say “the 2011 law change created the NZ tax haven” I should be saying “the 2011 law change created the practical and accessible NZ tax haven”. (Combined with all the secrecy stuff of course.)

                    You further say that the CT quotes and the like was initial excitement and this never actually happened. So from your point of view perhaps I should really be saying “the 2011 law change tried to create the practical and accessible NZ tax haven but failed because no one could be bothered”.

                    • Lanthanide

                      I think the point is that trust A is not a “managed fund”, so the Chapman Tripp statement doesn’t apply.

                      In other words, managed funds didn’t exist until 2007, at which point they had 28% tax and were useless. Then in 2011 the tax rate went to 0% and “[made] New Zealand managed funds an attractive alternative to funds resident in Luxembourg, Ireland or the Caymans”.

                      CT aren’t, and never were, referring to the trusts of type A that have been possible since 1988. This is further backed up by nadis’ two replies to me above, where he says that no-one would be using PIEs for tax evasion anyway, so again the change from 28% to 0% tax, while nice for people who wanted to invest in PIEs, is irrelevant to the people who were using NZ trusts of type A for tax evasion.

                      That’s my reading of it anyway.

                    • pat

                      you are almost there rOb….it is a case of “but wait,theres more!”….we have had the lax oversight of FTs since the 80s and they provided an unspectacular option for those seeking to hide and launder funds as they had multiple trust options around the world in various other havens and there was nothing exceptional about the NZ offering so consequently there was a limited use of NZ as a destination…..add in the 2011PIE changes however and they become a marketer’s dream resulting in the supercharged growth in NZ as a FT destination…..now you can launder you funds AND receive a tax free gain.

      • mikesh 38.3.3

        “Prior to this change Portfolio Investment Entities or PIE’s were unable to match the (always in existence) 0% tax rate for offshore investors who invest in a NZ PIE that sources all of its income from offshore.”

        Prior to the change overseas investors would have had no reason to invest in such a trust. After the change tax evasion provides a pretty good reason, and probably the only reason, to invest.

        • nadis 38.3.3.1

          Mike. Please read more closely. You are really missing the point. No one invests in a PIE fund for reasons of tax evasion. You cant invest in them anonymously, therefore anyone thinking of tax evasion would never use one. Do you understand yet?

          Put another way. Lets say I am abelgian dentist that wants to avoid taxes in Belgium.

          Here are two choices:

          1. Invest in a NZ managed fund set up as a PIE that invests in global equities. Great, since 2011 I can do this and declare a zero tax rate. But I have to provide passport and other proof of ID materials, which the IRD can now share with Belgian tax autorities if asked. Or,

          2. My Luxembourg based lawyer sets up an anonymous NZ trust with a couple of rent-a-trustees as trustees that will then own various offshore bank accounts and brokerage accounts in Asia or Central America on my behalf. I invest my money in global shares, anonymously.

          Which option will I use for tax evasion? Option 1 is the thing I can do after the 2011 law change. Option 2 I can have been doing since the 1980s.

          Do you understand now?

          • pat 38.3.3.1.1

            “1. Invest in a NZ managed fund set up as a PIE that invests in global equities. Great, since 2011 I can do this and declare a zero tax rate. But I have to provide passport and other proof of ID materials, which the IRD can now share with Belgian tax authorities IF asked’

            To become a notified foreign investor, the investor must provide the following additional information:

            date of birth, if applicable
            home address in their country or territory of residence
            their equivalent of a IRD number or a declaration that they are unable to provide this number.

            http://www.ird.govt.nz/industry-guidelines/pie/being/notified/pie-being-nfi.html

            It appears to me that is the crux of it…as has been noted by various commentators the past week the IRD only releases the very limited information they hold (and don’t appear to audit with any vigor) IF specifically requested from a foreign regime that has a tax sharing agreement with NZ…the whole set up is full of loopholes by design

            • nadis 38.3.3.1.1.1

              It is the FMA that audits money laundering info, not the IRD.

              Look I get it. The narrative you are desperate to “prove” is that John Key personally made tax law changes in 2011 which created NZ as a tax haven.

              It appears despite this being provably, logically wrong, because the truth doesn’t fit your desperately hoped for narrative you are prepared to ignore all facts and information to the contrary.

              Ok lets assume (wrongly) that a money launderer/tax evader wants to use a PIE. Which one do you think might make sense for a European or Asian based tax evader? I’ll give you a clue. There is no PIE fund in NZ that would make sense.

              there are so many money laundering issues in NZ to solve – the fact “you guys” get fixated on the one thing that is not broken (PIE’s), just because it fits the “John Key is a crook” narrative, is great news for the real money laundering industry in NZ.

              Solve these:

              1. – Law firms don’t have to comply with the new AML law
              2. – Accounting firms don’t have to comply with the new AML law
              3 – Real Estate agents don’t have to comply with the new AML law

              Fixating on this clearly irrelevant (in terms of money laundering/tax evasion) 2011 law is fantastic news for the lobby groups representing those three sectors. It is beautiful, beautiful misdirection. Fix a problem that doesn’t exist while ignoring those that do, and continue allowing billions of dollars of money laundering through law firms trust funds.

          • pat 38.3.3.1.2

            http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/morningreport/audio/201796672/trusts-for-foreigners-thorough-checks-undertaken

            It would appear the whole system relies upon the integrity and due diligence of the lawyers involved ….I also note the zero tax regime is mentioned as a driver of the setting up of foreign trusts in NZ

            • nadis 38.3.3.1.2.1

              “the whole system relies upon the integrity and due diligence of the lawyers involved”

              Excellent. Should be no problem then with lawyers self certifying this. I can’t think of a single case where lawyers have cut corners for a large enough payoff.

              That zero tax regime you refer towould be the zero tax regime in place since the year always, not the one in place since 2011.

  38. byd0nz 39

    The Panama Papers.
    Byd0nz

    The Panama Papers, Capatalist capers,
    What’s new,
    NZ has joined the sleeze scale.
    Under corporate Key and a Bill English fee’
    Stinky poo,
    NZ has been set up to fail.

  39. anom 100 41

    So won’t the tax departments around the world want their cut of tax avoided ?
    It’s not just people getting outed, and losing their jobs, the bureaucrats will be out with their flashlights ? … or will they
    Has ACC/Cullen Fund/Kiwisaver/ or other investment groups been involved in this sort of stuff?
    Surly the global tax departments are demanding a copy of these leeks?

    • nadis 41.1

      No. They list all their investments as well as report tax paid, and file audited accounts. So no.

      Although kiwisaver is a little bit more complex. PIE funds (which all kiwisavers are) pay no tax. They do however with-hold tax based on the tax rate declared by investors. But as every investor in a PIE must have an IRD number, you would under-report your tax rate at your peril as it is perhaps the easiest thing in the world for the IRD to check.

  40. upnorth 42

    Hi why is there not a post on the TV One polls last night – apology if in wrong post to ask that question

    [lprent: Moved to OpenMike. ]

  41. Drowsy M. Kram 43

    Comprehensive post, goes well with the RNZ Mediawatch item on the Panama Papers.
    RNZ Mediawatch 10Apr2016 Panama Papers

    Does the TPPA mention use of tax havens and trusts by corporates (and individuals) to avoid paying their FAIR SHARE of tax? Why are our public services now so strapped for cash in fair go/shake/share NZ?
    Answer: Power corrupts, and love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.

    Weeks parliament has to ‘consider’ 3000+ TPP submissions: Was FOUR, now 1.
    Number of NAct party dismissals of NZ’s tax haven status: 15+ (nothing to see here)
    Number of times NZ is mentioned in the Panama Papers (PP = TPP?): 60,000+
    The % tax honest John pays on income: ~3% (Who wants to be a billionaire?)
    A FAIR NZ taxation system – PRICELESS.

    It’s all a big joke to Shonkey and mates, including TPP corporate CEO vampires. They’re laughing at us because under National there’s no chance their shady tax dodges (and worse) will be exposed to the light.

  42. Incognito 44

    I have been thinking about this post, which is brilliant IMO and based on good sound research.

    I think the title is possibly misleading as it seems to suggest, to me at least, that John Key almost (?) single-handedly changed the Law to suit him and/or his backers (his “Masters”). It also seems to portray John Key as some kind of Mastermind. I think he’s pretty clever but by no means a genius; he’s a ‘pragmatic opportunist’. To me, it starts to evoke overtones of KDS.

    The thing is that Key mobilised a large and complex ‘apparatus’ to get the Law changed: Cabinet, Ministers, MPs, coalition partners, etc., and a small army of Civil Servants to do ground- and leg-work and so on.

    What the Panama Papers show is that NZ is part of a larger global network. So, is there anybody who pulls the strings? Somebody at the very top?

    I don’t think so. I think all this is a symptom of a self-cannibalising system. I think it was Bill who asked what’s in it for NZ? The question could be re-phrased, with all due respect, to what’s in it for all those many people who contributed to these things happening, who made it possible?

    Many simply follow orders or instructions – where have I heard this before? Many are willingly and knowingly complacent and thus complicit. Why? Because they all think they’ll get something for or from it in return, either directly or indirectly; let’s call it “trickle down”.

    A similar line of thinking can be used to explain polls and election results IMO.

    This is how the current ‘system’ works and its feedback loops function; there’s no ghost in the machine!

    Now, I could be completely wrong and miles off-target but I am unconvinced that all this can be pinned on one man. Replacing John Key will not make these problems go away. In fact, many already existed even before he came on the NZ political scene.

    Are we missing the point in all this?

  43. I think John Key qualifies for all three!

    Conspiracy (civil), an agreement between persons to deceive, mislead, or defraud others of their legal rights or to gain an unfair advantage

    Conspiracy (criminal), an agreement between persons to break the law in the future, in some cases having committed an act to further that agreement

    Conspiracy (political), an agreement between persons with the goal of gaining political power or meeting a political objective

    https://aotearoaawiderperspective.wordpress.com/2016/04/12/jp-morgan-merrill-lynch-panama-bankers-and-john-key/

  44. Lee 46

    Who was the person who allowed NON full disclosure to be legal?
    THAT is the crux of the matter.

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  • Data-for-funding move hits Privacy roadblock
    The Government’s much-criticised grab for private client data from social service organisations has suffered another defeat after the Privacy Commissioner’s damning report, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. “This is a defeat for the Government’s plans to force social ...
    3 weeks ago
  • New research shows need for government-led house building
    Research by economist Shamubeel Eaqub shows the need for the government to lead the building of affordable starter homes, as would happen under Labour’s KiwiBuild policy, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Kiwis need answers on typhoid outbreak
      The Ministry of Health wasn’t told about the typhoid outbreak until 11 days after three people from the same church were admitted to hospital, says Labour’s spokesperson for Health David Clark.   “It is no longer credible for the Minister ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Maori Party gets it wrong again on RMA
    The Māori Party is missing the big picture on National’s Resource Management Act reforms by supporting a fundamentally flawed Bill, says Labour’s Local Government spokesperson Meka Whaitiri. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Maori Party error own goal on GM
    The Maori Party amendment to the Resource Legislation Amendment Bill does not achieve what they say it does on genetic modification, says Labour’s Environment spokesperson David Parker. “Their amendment relates to the new powers given to the Minister to over-ride ...
    3 weeks ago