Key was disgraceful in parliament yesterday, doing his buffoon act to try and trivialise the tax haven issue, and lashing out with the smears:
John Key used “discredited allegations” to link Greenpeace to foreign trusts
Greenpeace boss and former MP Russel Norman says John Key is using “discredited allegations” that Greenpeace gained from a foreign trust to score political points.
During Question Time on Tuesday the Prime Minister told Green Party co-leader James Shaw, who replaced Norman last year, that he should speak to Greenpeace about why they’re implicated in the Panama Papers.
Key said there were “quite legitimate reasons why people have a foreign trust” and told Shaw to leave the House and “ring Greenpeace, Amnesty International and Red Cross because they are implicated in the papers”.
But Norman says the reference is to old papers from 2013, which have already been “discredited” after it was revealed rich investors had been naming charities as trust beneficiaries to avoid scrutiny by tax authorities. …
Yes that’s right, some dodgy foreign trust owners list charities as their “beneficiaries” and Key uses this as evidence that the charities are “implicated”. In the same rant he also had a go at Green MP Mojo Mathers, a woman with more integrity in her left little toe than Key has accumulated in his entire life. Andrew Little is right:
Panama Papers: Andrew Little accuses John Key of trivialising issues
Mr Key also tried to turn the tables on the left, arguing it was not only the rich named in the documents but also groups such as Greenpeace, Amnesty and the Red Cross.
Mr Key’s example may backfire. Greenpeace and Amnesty were both in an earlier 2013 leak when it was reported the charities’ names had been used without their knowledge or consent to hide the true identity of the beneficiaries.
The lack of a smoking gun did not appease Mr Little, who said Mr Key was not addressing the primary issue of New Zealand allowing foreigners to stash their money in New Zealand to avoid taxes in their homeland.
“This is typical John Key, minimising, trivialising. The National Party will be desperate to shut this down, minimise it, trivialise it. It is not good that we have just under 11,000 foreign trusts and we are part of a small group of countries that helps the mega-wealthy avoid tax responsibilities in their own countries. That’s just not something New Zealand should be doing.”
Exactly – NZ should not be in the business of exporting poverty.
In related reading, a good anonymous Herald editorial: NZ needs to assure world of trust scrutiny, and a summary by a long time observer: Gareth Vaughan argues PM John Key is failing in his role as promoter and custodian of NZ’s international standing and reputation over the Panama Papers.