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Kiwis to be implicated by Panama papers

Written By: - Date published: 7:13 am, April 10th, 2016 - 120 comments
Categories: accountability, capitalism, class war, tax - Tags: , , ,

Yesterday The Nation interviewed the Centre for Public Integrity’s Peter Bale about the Panama Papers. The full video is here. A summary is here:

‘Strong NZ connection’ to Panama Papers

A Kiwi journalist at the heart of a huge leak of documents from a Panama-based law firm says some New Zealand names could be dragged through the mud.

Or – you know – exposed to the sunlight.

More than 11,000 foreign trusts have been set up in New Zealand and opposition parties are accusing the Government of allowing the country to be used as a tax haven.

Which it is.

“You can be absolutely certain, I think, or as near to certain that there will be significant numbers of New Zealanders and of New Zealand entities, certainly New Zealand entities, within this data set.”

“The history of New Zealand’s position on offshore companies, people registering trusts there from offshore and also things like New Zealand’s relationship with Niue and some of the other places that we know Mossack Fonseca has used, means that you should assume that there is a very strong New Zealand connection.”

It will be interesting to see what emerges as the data is analysed. I wonder if there will be any NZ politicians on the list. I wonder what the records of the top three offshore law firms would reveal (Mossack Fonseca is only the fourth largest).

key panama lie

120 comments on “Kiwis to be implicated by Panama papers ”

  1. fustercluck 1

    As the Panama Papers continue to produce results and the trial of a prominent NZer nears its conclusion, one wonders if our bankster-in-charge will feel compelled to call an early election in the hope of salvaging an electoral result before his reputation is fully in tatters.

    • saveNZ 1.1

      @Fustercluck – well John Key is escalating TPPA so he clearly needs those tax haven exemptions kept in there – why should the rich answer to government courts! That’s not how the mega rich work, they have their own lawyers, accountants, ways to hide money and politicians. Even there own migration laws. Under TPPA a new arsenal of their own ‘tribunals’ to fine governments who dare curb their powers or profits.

    • lprent 1.2

      Remember that court orders apply to the “prominent NZer”, and I don’t like going to court without a good reason. My view is that if I see people trying to send me to court to defend their indiscretions, then I’d prefer to eliminate their comment and to ban them from the site.

      Of course if I had a good reason to decide to violate court orders, then I’d do so. To date that hasn’t happened. And I’d be likely to do it outside this site.

  2. saveNZ 2

    The Natz have set this up to be the worst of both worlds. We legally hide the money in NZ but there is no incentive to domicile here to pay worldwide taxes here. If you live here you pay normal taxes!!

    We are the world’s worst tax haven, more a way to hide and launder money for the world’s rich who have something to hide from other governments!

    Meanwhile as usual, Kiwis do not benefit apart from a paltry $24 m for ‘wealth lawyers’ to do the paperwork and legally hide the money.

    That’s what happens when you get ‘financiers’ and ‘accountants’ in charge running bizarre scams to help their dodgy cronies and corporations make even more obscene profits while the paid MSM tell us how amazing they are and how we could not do without these pillars of the community.

    I hope for more leaks in particular the other 3 larger firms so we can find out for our ourselves how much of the world’s wealth is being hidden and by whom.

    Since many of the governments leaders and cronies are hiding money and putting in legislation that allows them to hide money, I think it will be ‘leaks’ not governments that find out what is really going on.

    And more importantly it will flush out the more ‘honest’ politicians who don’t feel the need to hide their assets in ‘blind’ trusts that we can vote for.

    • John Schmidt 2.1

      It was Labour who setup and ammended the current trust laws. You cannot blame the National for that. NZ is not a tax haven, there is no huge sums of money hidden under rocks or anywhere within NZ. NZ involvement is in paper only and that is not illegal under the laws setup by Labour. The really shifty things that you think is occurring in NZ is actually occurring in the real tax havens overseas. Yes some Kiwis will be embarrassed morally but not by the rule of law. Absolutely let sunlight shine all over this and once all the facts are known then it will be time to see if the laws setup by Labour need changing or amending.

      • Arthur 2.1.1

        NZ is not a tax haven and it’s Labour’s fault.

      • saveNZ 2.1.2

        Even if what you say is true John Schmidt, National has been in government 8 years, they can not blame Labour for not changing the law.

        In addition I think it highly unlikely Helen Clark uses trusts to funnel money while she was a PM, while John Key has already revealed he has ‘blind’ trusts so therefore benefits from the laws.

        • The Chairman 2.1.2.1

          “Even if what you say is true John Schmidt, National has been in government 8 years, they can not blame Labour for not changing the law.”

          +1

      • John, you can set up a law with good intentions according to best practice at the time, and still have it cause trouble five or ten years down the track due to trends that hadn’t been revealed at the time the law was passed.

        I don’t think anyone’s trying to blame National for the tax law that we have. Rather, they are saying that the signs have been there to read that it has needed to be updated, and that they are to blame for ignoring the warnings from the opposition that New Zealand is becoming a nation that, at best, enables class war. The government isn’t just responsible for the laws it actually passes, it is also responsible for the opportunity costs of those laws- that is, say, tinkering with licensing laws for the RSA instead of addressing the very real concerns that our rules around foreign trusts are causing us to be a destination of choice for tax avoidance by people from countries where the benefactor of a trust is taxed, as opposed to our regime where the settler is taxed. (which means that unless the country asks or the settler is Australian, then there will be no disclosure that the trust’s assets are held in New Zealand and effectively untaxed)

        That is of course also ignoring the possibility that there are actual revelations from the Panama Papers for New Zealand figures, which there likely will be.

      • r0b 2.1.4

        It was Labour who setup and ammended the current trust laws. You cannot blame the National for that.

        I have a detailed post about this coming up tomorrow morning. Short version, National changed the law to make us a tax haven.

      • pat 2.1.5

        “It was Labour who setup and ammended the current trust laws”
        Wasn’t aware we had a Labour led government in 2011 ?….

        http://www.chapmantripp.com/publications/Pages/New-Zealand-now-an-attractive-tax-location.aspx

        • BM 2.1.5.1

          That was a interesting link you posted, from the article

          Making New Zealand funds attractive to non-resident investors

          The Government recognised that this tax treatment was not sensible from a policy perspective. New Zealand should not be imposing tax on foreign source income derived by foreign investors, simply because that income is derived by a New Zealand fund. Furthermore, a Government appointed task force, the International Financial Services Development Group, pointed out that if New Zealand can make itself attractive as a residence location for foreign funds, there is an opportunity to create additional jobs and income.

          After seeing that I thought it would be a good idea to go read about the International Financial Services Development Group.

          From the International Financial Services Development Group website

          The International Funds Services Development Group was established by Cabinet in March 2010 to look at the benefits of establishing a funds domicile and investigate the broader financial services opportunities for New Zealand.

          The Group comprised top-level private sector experts from the financial services sector. Their report released on February 15th 2011.

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

          Seems that changes made in 2011 were the direct result of The International Funds Services Development Group recommendations for developing and growing the NZ financial sector.

        • The Chairman 2.1.5.2

          Pat, your link relates to who is responsible for paying tax. Not who allowed the setup of such trusts.

          • pat 2.1.5.2.1

            That is true but those changes saw non resident trusts grow exponentially since then

            • The Chairman 2.1.5.2.1.1

              @ Pat

              As Winston highlighted in his interview with apologist Corin Dann, it is the lack of info those trusts require (which comes back to how they were allowed to be set up) that largely drove the growth after the change.

              If full disclosure was required and the info automatically passed on to the related tax jurisdiction, they would have little appeal to those looking to hide their funds.

              The question is was this an incompetent unforeseen consequence of the change or an intentional ploy?

              As National are now well aware of this consequence, yet don’t seem willing to correct it, moreover are trying to defend it, suggests the latter.

              However, it was Labour that initially allowed these trusts. Did Labour raise concern regarding this change? And if not, did their silence make them complicit?

              • pat

                I think it would be naive in the extreme to believe that someone with Keys background had no understanding of the implications of a loosening of disbursement treatment around non resident trusts……and as RoBs piece this morning shows it was but one action of many

        • Leftie 2.1.5.3

          +1 Pat @ 2.1.5

      • Kelly-Ned 2.1.6

        And you now that for certain because……….?

      • dave 2.1.7

        your lying national changed the law in 2011 john key and natz get that right please stop lying!

      • Dialey 2.1.8

        it was an alien party, not Labour at all in my mind, hijacked by Roger Douglas and Richard Prebble, and we all know what those 2 went on to do.

      • Plan B 2.1.9

        Tax havens do not actually have the cash/assets. They are there to provide the bits of paper to hid the cash, assets that will be in other countries.New Zealand provides one of the bits of paper.
        We probably didn’t do this on purpose, what has happened is that the Tax Haven industry has found out about this particular , strange unfathomable legal entity called a Foreign Trust and have gone about exploiting it. It is up to the government of the day, in this case National, to be all over this sort of thing and fix it. It is a Red Queen race. Saying the word Labour 3 times in your post , I get it.

      • Smilin 2.1.10

        Yeah ? we’re are just sitting hear watching the money go round and round I really love to watch it flow ………we just have to let it go …..too big to deal with just put up with more incompetence and stupidity until the countries time and money is wasted to buggery
        Why have the facility created in the first place if in your view its benign in the realms of tax havens ?

    • Keith 2.2

      You take Keys very unreliable word that $24 million is income. The truth is it is probably far less than that and the way the wealthy operate they may even have some kind of rebate system operating that sees them costing this country money.

      How do we tell the world that the ex Merrill Lynch trader and current Bank of America shareholding crook running this country, the same one who is fighting tooth and nail to preserve this money laundering sham, does not represent the real NZ?

      Electing some immoral unethical rich boy along with similar minded wannabe National Party elites was always going to bite us in the arse at some point. Bribe money to “change the flag” anyone?

      • Plan B 2.2.1

        The $24 Million number is simply unknowable, a bit like the net worth of the current PM.
        For some reason he wants to tell us this number, I wonder why?

        • Leftie 2.2.1.1

          Because it sounds better than the truth.

        • miravox 2.2.1.2

          24 mill – less than the cost of the flag referendum, which the PM considered was bugger all in the big scheme of things.

  3. saveNZ 3

    Hope JAY1 does not mind, this was their comment on daily blog, but I think it sums up what has been going wrong with world economics!

    “Indeed, the Panama Papers is a clarion call for revolt against a neoliberal world economic order that favors (1) privatization of public assets, (2) deregulation of governmental influence, (3) free trade in secret, and (4) austerity measures for public welfare. This nonsense started in earnest in the 1980s with President Reagan and PM Thatcher, called Supply-side economics, which preached tax cuts for the wealthy that purportedly incentivizes job creation, thus trickling wealth down to the masses. Problem is, after more than 30 years, all of the wealth gushed upwards whilst wages trickled down. The exact reverse of how it was sold to the American public. Politicians, mostly Republicans, continue making the same lame claims today. Cut taxes to create jobs is their mantra. Well, what they really mean to say is “cut taxes to cut wages” because that’s how it works in real life.

    Frankly, the Average Joe has been getting shafted, hosed, bamboozled for decades. Now, the results are exposed in full living color. Billions if not trillions of stolen money and hidden assets removed from the public domain to enrich a few already rich people. This is as low as lowliness gets; it’s below scum.

    “Rich individuals and their families have as much as $32 trillion of hidden financial assets in offshore tax havens, representing up to $280 billion in lost income tax revenues, according to research,” Super Rich Hold $32 Trillion in Offshore Havens, Reuters, July 22, 2012. This enlightening discovery was four years ago, well before the recent Panama Papers incident.

    So, how does neoliberalism, or today’s socio-conomic order, dovetail into the Panama Papers scandal?

    Neoliberalism is the legal equivalent of the Panama Papers.

    It robs the public legally by changing regulations, trade policy, and taxation to enrich the wealthy class at the expense of the middle/lower. For example, America’s “15% carried-interest” taxation rate available to people like Mitt Romney but not available to his gardener. This is joylessly known as “reverse Robin Hood economics,” or taking from the poor to enrich the rich, and it works miracles, just look at how rich Mitt has become and at how his gardener’s wages suck dust.

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/04/08/the-panama-papers-oozing-slime/

  4. saveNZ 4

    For those who want to know how to hide money here is how it works…

    Some of it is very funny especially the anonymous names used like Harry potter..

    http://www.theguardian.com/news/2016/apr/08/mossack-fonseca-law-firm-hide-money-panama-papers

  5. Paul 5

    In and out of the loop on the biggest leak ever
    It was the biggest ever leak of newsworthy information and the biggest ever collaboration between media organisation for a single investigation – but the New Zealand media were out of the loop on the publication of The Panama Papers.

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/audio/player/201796151

    • Richard Christie 5.1

      NZ media such as NZ Herald, Mediaworks are too close to National Ltd.
      Seems they couldn’t be trusted.

    • RedLogix 5.2

      Or you may want to consider how the NZ Police were illegally seizing information from Nicky Hagar and tracking his movements and contacts.

      And we know Hagar was involved in the story at some stage. I suspect more is to come.

      Altogether a very damning moment.

      • Whateva next? 5.2.1

        Agree, it explains why SO MUCH energy and money put into investigating him, avenging WO was hardly worthy. Listening to Nicky on Daily Blog tonight, I didn’t get a sense of anything in particular though?

  6. Nick 6

    Be nice if Key is on this list.

  7. Mouse 7

    Where is Cactus Kate on all of this… the silence is deafening!

  8. Penny Bright 8

    What are the links (if any) between NZ Prime Minister John Key, Lord Ashcroft, the Bank of America ( in which John Key is a shareholder), and Lord Ashcroft’s banks in (tax haven) Belize?

    Will the Panama Papers provide any information?

    ……..

    Penny Bright
    2016 Auckland Mayoral candidate.

    • BM 9.1

      Why do we need a inquiry?

      • The Chairman 9.1.1

        Really?

        To establish whether there is any criminal activity and identify those responsible.

        • BM 9.1.1.1

          What makes you think there’s any criminal activity going on, do you have any evidence?

          Mossack Fonseca is a business that provides legal and trust services, it’s not a criminal organisation.

          You can read their statement addressing all the media misinformation.

          http://mossfonmedia.com/

          • The Chairman 9.1.1.1.1

            Clearly you didn’t watch the link provided.

            Peters claims to have evidence of illegal activity.

            • BM 9.1.1.1.1.1

              That’s 10 minutes I won’t get back.

              Stupid old fool just talked nonsense and blathered on about the wine box inquiry and accused all the Australian banks of tax evasion without any evidence.

              Wouldn’t be surprised if he got a ring from a few lawyers.

          • Macro 9.1.1.1.2

            You should hear some of the released internal emails BM – Oh yeah – they (M’F’) knew alright what they were doing; and what some of their clients were up to, and what they were doing was very shady indeed. But as true to their profession they shut their eyes and pretended it wasn’t them, or they didn’t know. The media release is typical of their “Nothing to see here, and nothing to do with us” approach. There is too much dirt on their hands and it won’t wash off.
            https://panamapapers.icij.org/20160403-panama-papers-global-overview.html

      • Das 9.1.2

        John Key and the National Party do not need and definitely do not want an inquiry. Can everyone please stop going on about the Panama Papers and NZ?!

        • The Chairman 9.1.2.1

          “Can everyone please stop going on about the Panama Papers and NZ?!”

          No. There is far more to come out. And work to be done to put it right. Including prosecutions if need be. We may even see resignations.

      • Stuart Munro 9.1.3

        I agree – let’s use a more pragmatic system:

        Whenever a subject was accused of a crime of sufficient importance to interest the king, public notice was given that on an appointed day the fate of the accused person would be decided in the king’s arena,

        Directly opposite the accused, on the other side of the enclosed space, were two doors, exactly alike and side by side. It was the duty and the privilege of the person on trial to walk directly to these doors and open one of them. He could open either door he pleased; he was subject to no guidance or influence but that of the aforementioned impartial and incorruptible chance. If he opened the one, there came out of it a hungry tiger, the fiercest and most cruel that could be procured, which immediately sprang upon him and tore him to pieces as a punishment for his guilt…

        The decisions of this tribunal were not only fair, they were positively determinate: the accused person was instantly punished if he found himself guilty… ~ Frank Stockton

        We should do our bit to support endangered species like tigers.

    • Paul 9.2

      Corin Dann sounds like an apologist for criminal bankers and our banker PM.

      • The Chairman 9.2.1

        It was good to see Winston take control of the narrative (as he often does) and set him straight.

        • Paul 9.2.1.1

          I agree.
          it does show how compromised the media are, though.
          The owners of these media corporations may indeed be compromised by the Panama Papers.

          • Colonial Viper 9.2.1.1.1

            Seriously, where do you think companies like Fairfax and News Corp are actually incorporated? Tax haven states like Delaware, is where.

            I have no idea why the Left think that these corporations, their shareholders, their CEOs would be “compromised” by revelations that they use extreme tax avoidance/tax evasion methods.

            Everyone in investment and professional corporate circles has known for decades.

    • Leftie 9.3

      +1 The Chairman, thanks for that link. Good stuff. Dann is an appalling suck up apologist for John key.

  9. The Chairman 10

    Will this Government act to increase trust transparency and make the sharing of such info automatic?

    http://tvnz.co.nz/q-and-a-news/panama-papers-fallout-video-6456538

  10. Dave 11

    If only John Key could link the Panama Papers to a new zealand investigative journalist and then claim it as being a left wing conspiracy theory then things will panama out….

    • whateva next? 11.1

      …..working on it right now I imagine, shouldn’t be too hard!
      UK tories trying to go with the line….. “the rabble” who are daring to question our leaders and suggesting #resigncameron #resignDavidCameron.#ResignyMcResignFace

  11. Shifty 12

    About time. The 1% are completely uneconomical and unsustainable

    • BM 13.1

      Did you know that families who earn under 50k pay no net tax at all.

      • BM 13.1.1

        They receive around $4.40 in benefits for every $1 of tax they pay, which costs the country around 6 billion a year.

        At the other end of the spectrum households who earn over 150k pay around 70% of the income tax collected.

        • Paul 13.1.1.1

          Yes, the poor rich people are having such a hard time…..
          Can you hear yourself?
          Are you a total fool?

          • BM 13.1.1.1.1

            Just pointing out that the well off pay most of the income taxes and the less well off don’t really contribute anything to the NZ tax take.

            Certainly puts that whole rich pricks not paying their fair share argument to the sword.

            • Stuart Munro 13.1.1.1.1.1

              And who does the bulk of the tax evasion? Unspeakable vermin like the current PM. If he’s not in the Panama papers it’s not because he was honourable and wouldn’t, it’s because he has a different way to cheat. Unfit for office.

              • BM

                Are you stating that John Key is personally involved in tax evasion?

                • Stuart Munro

                  I’m stating that nothing in John Key’s character is inconsistent with constant and sustained dishonesty.

                  If I were a betting man I certainly would not put much on a proposition that Key was not evading tax. Would you?

                • Leftie

                  Its a sure bet that he is BM.

            • dave 13.1.1.1.1.2

              tax envision is a crime BM it is jail-able or is jail only for poor people ???????

            • RedLogix 13.1.1.1.1.3

              @BM

              And why? Because wages suck dirt in this country anyone near or below the median needs extra support via the state in order to live a half-decent life.

              Yes the largest chunk of income tax is paid by everyone above the median, but that is how it works. Your paying more tax because you have more money. You can grumble about it, but regardless you are still better off.

              But at the very top of the income/wealth spectrum the picture changes again. It’s this top 1% (or less) that have access to ways of cheating on their taxes, and while numerically there aren’t all that many of them, these scams they’ve been running for decades means as a group they have now hoarded an amount of cash ($30T at least) which exceeds the collective debt of all the governments of the world.

              So yes … rich pricks who cheat.

              • BM

                My beef is with the plebs who think they’re getting hard done by but lack the intelligence to realize that their current life style is being supported by people who actually pay tax and without them they’d be in shit street.

                Also politicians like Andrew Little who play to this ignorance and encourage it.

                • RedLogix

                  Here’s a simple answer then. Employers should pay wages that don’t need topping up with tax transfers to keep them off shit street.

                  Because you don’t want desperate people constantly hanging around your boss’s door offering to do your job for half your pay. Do you?

                  • BM

                    Think back to when WFF was introduced, was it really needed or was it just a massive election bribe by Labour?

                    I do know a lot of families have become complete reliant on it therefore it can’t be gotten rid of.

                    Labour really fucked the country with that one.

                    • RedLogix

                      Let’s put it this way BM.

                      Here in Aus I’m earning about 70% more for a similar role. (Actually less responsible in some ways.)

                      And we don’t seem to need WFF here.

                      Still if you know families who’ve become ‘completely reliant’ on it, then I think you just answered your own question.

                    • Stuart Munro

                      It wasn’t smart – they should have brought in rent control. Cost free, and wouldn’t have contributed to housing inflation.

                    • BM

                      They weren’t before, the free money allowed them to take on more debt and live a slightly better lifestyle.

                      Unfortunately they now need WFF to pay the bills, certainly wouldn’t vote for a party that’s going to put them on the streets.

                    • RedLogix

                      So if you give ordinary people they just spend it on a ‘better lifestyle’?

                      And yet if you give really rich people the chance to cheat on their taxes they seem to just hoard the extra cash.

                      Interesting.

                    • lprent

                      …a lot of families have become complete reliant on it…

                      The problem was that it was getting to be impossible to raise a kids on the wages available. After the 1990s and the way that the increasing costs of raising them, I’m surprised that anyone could afford them.

                      In my siblings this was becoming a real issue. While one had raised kids mostly as a solo parent in the late 1980s and 90s, she was glad to retrain and escape into the workforce as soon as the kids were old enough. The other held off (in my view) until well after getting married because it was too frigging expensive. WFF provided room for him and his wife to have a first kid. This wasn’t uncommon. Many of my relatively well paid workmates through the 1990s and the 2000s had exactly the same problems with being able to afford to have and raise kids without having to starve themselves to do so.

                      The whole point, that you appear to be too blind to see, is that it meant that families with kids were able to have them economically. The whole point of having WFF was to cover the gap between the incomes of couples easily able to maintain themselves on their incomes, to those same couples also being able to raise some kids as well. By

                      Now speaking as a childless adult, it was a damn good idea. If it hadn’t been put in, then we’d have gone even further below the replacement rate than we are now. It is good that we have kiwi raised kids to help pay for my superannuation in the same way that I have tithed via taxation to pay for my parents, grandparents, and great grandparents. Immigrants without family here would have been quite unlikely to have been so positive about that political task.

                      Historically, what WFF did was to fix National’s studidity in 1991 of abolishing the Family Benefit (originally enacted in 1946) that was put in for exactly the same reasons.

                      The alternatives would have been to have been to

                      1. Only allow rich folks to have kids, and not allowing the middle classes to have them.
                      2. Raise wages across the lower and middle income group, effectively requiring a much higher taxation on the affluent.
                      2. Increase immigration.

                      Sure we could have maintained our taxpayer base by vastly increasing immigration, but that comes with its own set of problems – like the increasing level of urbanisation into Auckland where the vast majority of them settle, and the people deserts of provincial centres. Not to mention the abrupt shifts in kiwi culture that would have occurred.

                      So the whole point of WFF was to target working couples who wanted to have kids to be able to have them. By its very nature it meant that while they were raising them, those couples were most likely to become “dependent” on WFF while they had kids. In exactly the same way that my parents and grandparents were dependent on the family benefit.

                      What’s your problem with it? You only want the rich to have well raised kids? That if you aren’t rich you are only able to raise kids stunted by diet and disease? Or that you want the distinctive kiwi culture to be rapidly swamped by immigration?

                    • sabine

                      Is that why National has kept WFF? Cause Labour fucked up?

                      Really? Got nothing to do with WFF going to middle class family as much as to lower income families. Nothing to do with National loosing voters if they were to abolish WFF as it would cut directly into the income of their middle Nuzillind voters?

                      And your grandparents raising your parents, were they depended on the Family Benefit that was abolished by National in the early 90’s, or is that different?
                      You sure that it was Labour that fucked up and not National who fucked?

                      History is a funny thing, people could learn from it. At least they could stop sprouting dumb shit.

                    • HI BM,

                      Here’s a link to a Reserve Bank paper on Household debt.

                      Note Figure 2 (on page 2) shows that around 2003-2006 the rate of growth in household debt drops sharply. It has started to rise again in the last few years, however. WWF was effectively in place on 1 April 2005.

                      Your perceptions of people going on a debt-fuelled binge after WWF was introduced seems mistaken.

                • Stuart Munro

                  They are being hard done by. Real wages have fallen. Real growth is at 0.3% – real estate costs (and the lower quartile no longer own their own homes) increase with the inflation of real estate prices. The poor have been screwed badly by this useless lazy corrupt non-performing government. They have every reason to be angry – even vindictive. Not the best time to be discovered in a tax rort – or to be a complete non-performing mass of corruption like Gerry Brownlee.

                • Whateva next?

                  Funny that, it’s exactly what I think about the 1%ers, imagine if none of us payed tax and believed people enjoyed serving us whilst we contributed nothing to society?

                • Plan B

                  Trouble is Tax is a bit more complicated than your shoebox theory.
                  Governments ( with their own currency) spend money into the economy and tax it out.
                  Not the other way round.
                  We don’t like to talk about it as it seems a bit weird. But that is what they do. They are not actually waiting around till BM pays his/her tax and then hands it out to the undeserving masses.
                  Tax is really a way of maintaining the value of our currency.

            • Colonial Viper 13.1.1.1.1.4

              Just pointing out that the well off pay most of the income taxes and the less well off don’t really contribute anything to the NZ tax take.

              Oh fuck right off.

              The ones who really benefit from the economic system in NZ as it currently stands is the top 1% to 2%. They hold all the net worth of this country, hundreds of billions of dollars of it.

              So stop making it sound like its the under class in NZ who is receiving all the benefits of the system as it is currently structured. That’s just utter BS spin.

              Simply put, if you want the underclass to pay more in taxes, then organise an economic system which gives them more income, more employment, better paying jobs.

              Its not rocket science FFS, a smart guy like you can figure it out, right?

            • Psycho Milt 13.1.1.1.1.5

              Just pointing out that the well off pay most of the income taxes and the less well off don’t really contribute anything to the NZ tax take.

              Big fucking dog’s bollocks. Most of the income tax isn’t paid by “the well-off,” it’s paid by people on salaries, ie employees. The rich don’t pay income taxes, unless they have a particularly strong sense of personal morality.

            • Paul 13.1.1.1.1.7

              You appear deranged or you are sadly ill-informed.
              Read this article.

              Tax havens hold $7.6 trillion; 8% of world’s total wealth
              http://boingboing.net/2016/01/01/tax-havens-hold-7-6-trillion.html

            • Draco T Bastard 13.1.1.1.1.8

              Just pointing out that the well off pay most of the income taxes and the less well off don’t really contribute anything to the NZ tax take.

              And the research shows that the really well off don’t pay a thing. This is how they got rich in the first place.

            • Mike S 13.1.1.1.1.9

              “Just pointing out that the well off pay most of the income taxes”
              – The well off don’t pay income tax because they are able to organise their affairs so that they declare no income.

              “the less well off don’t really contribute anything to the NZ tax take.”
              – Really? So you’re saying a person on say $30,000 p/a doesn’t pay income tax or GST or any other of the myriad of indirect taxes? Love to see evidence of that?

              “Certainly puts that whole rich pricks not paying their fair share argument to the sword.”
              – ahh no. Idiot.

        • joe90 13.1.1.2

          At the other end of the spectrum households who earn over 150k pay around 70% of the income tax collected.

          Salmond called bullshit on that particular Farrar/English lie.

          Income taxes are a big part of overall taxation, but they are not the only taxes households face. GST is another large tax bill that all people face. It is a tax that is regressive with respect to income. It accounts for 26% of all tax. And it is excluded from the English/Farrar calculations. In order to do a proper comparison of “net tax,” GST needs to be included.

          […]

          Using these more complete figures, the proportion of net tax paid by $150,000+ households drops further to 43%, a far cry from the 71% touted by English and Farrar.

          http://pundit.co.nz/content/tax-burdens-some-facts-for-a-change

          • RedLogix 13.1.1.2.1

            Thanks. I had that in mind as well, but over the years I’ve learnt to only do one fact at a time with some people. 🙂

            And also an especially good example of selective misdirection. Whenever someone trots out a stat, it’s a good habit to stop a moment and ask yourself “Is this the whole story?”

        • Nick 13.1.1.3

          Wonder if they have trusts in tax havens?

      • dv 13.1.2

        GST?

        • Paul 13.1.2.1

          He knows that.
          He’s just shilling for the 1%.

        • BM 13.1.2.2

          Every one pays GST, the article where I got the data from mentions net tax, I think that means income tax.?

          • Stuart Munro 13.1.2.2.1

            The weak premise in the ‘net tax’ argument is that the poor somehow benefit from corrupt uses of tax money like Groser’s WTO bid, ministerial limos, equipping police with tasers or flying sheep to Saudi. It’s certainly true that the Key junta waste a great deal of money – to assert that the poor receive anything approaching adequate value for their contribution is laughable.

  12. BM 14

    You can read the article here.

    It was a post David Farrar put together related to a question Michael Woodhouse asked Bill English in the debating chamber.

    http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2011/07/net_taxpayers.html

  13. Stuart Munro 15

    Why would anybody read anything there? Farrar is fulltime PR for Key – Woodhouse competes with Brownlee for being the dumbest hick in parliament, and Bill certainly won’t be giving a straight answer. It will come down to investigative journalism. Plenty more to read from Panama – let’s wait for the facts.

    • Colonial Viper 15.1

      Except the journalist and news organisations who received the Panama hack information – that’s what RT has reported it can be more accurately described as – have been very selective about who and what they report on. Mostly enemies of the western imperial sanctions: i.e. those who are in, or who deal with, Russia, Iran and China.

      • Stuart Munro 15.1.1

        Surely there are Russian & Chinese hackers too? Let them get busy.

        • lprent 15.1.1.1

          There are. I see them all fo the time trying to break into this site.

          • Stuart Munro 15.1.1.1.1

            Somehow I get the impression that supporting investigative journalism is not a priority in either country – though if they were smart they might take a leaf from Bellingcat’s book.

      • lprent 15.1.2

        Just from my little bit (about two hours) of observation on via BBC, CNN and Bloomberg; it also appears to be Iceland, UK, and Argentina.

        As someone pointed out, the paucity of Americans and Canadians in the files is probably because they have tax haven states like Delaware instead.

        I think that you are just seeing what you want to see.

        I even had a look at RT who seem to be spending all of their time replaying Putin and his spokespeople. Somehow they are completely ignoring the rest of the world apart from their friends and allies. Reeks of propaganda to me..

        • Macro 15.1.2.1

          The Press Release from the ICIJ is well worth the read. Each country – apart from NZ has had its own investigative journalist or team working on the mammoth task of working through and analysing the papers and then reporting on how it affects their country. The news of NZ’s involvement comes initially from Australia.

          • AmaKiwi 15.1.2.1.1

            “Each country – apart from NZ has had its own investigative journalist or team working on the mammoth task of working through and analyzing the papers.”

            Nicky Hager is our investigative journalist. He’s been successfully tied up by our “non-political” police.

            “Actually, at the end of the day I’m comfortable with that.”

      • AmaKiwi 15.1.3

        One international news source (I read so many I forget which one) speculated that the Russian government did the Panama hack to render a few thousand of their wealthy western enemies powerless.

        It would be a brilliant strategy.

        If the Russians didn’t do this hack, maybe they should hack the three or four other biggest Panama law firms. A lot of their favorite enemies could end up disgraced, out of office, and possibly in jail. They’d love to get Rupert Murdock, the Koch brothers, a lot of right wing legislators . . . The list is endless!

      • nadis 15.1.4

        David Cameron. The Icelandic PM. King of Spain. Hosni Mubarek. Saudi Crown Prince. Various British MP’s. Various Hungarian, Botswanan, French, Polish, Maltese politicians.

        Have I missed any other enemies of western imperial sanctions?

        The full list of companies and people will be released in early May anyhoo. Until then, naturally we are going to get what journalists believe is most interesting ton write about, but I hardly see the conspiratorial hand of the Koch Brothers/CIA/Skull and Bones Society directing what stories get written…….

  14. Penny Bright 16

    FYI – more information from the Tax Justice Network explaining ‘secrecy jurisdiction’ / ‘tax haven’:

    http://www.financialsecrecyindex.com/faq/what-is-a-secrecy-jurisdiction

    “We use the term ‘secrecy jurisdiction’ interchangeably with the term ‘tax haven’ – depending on which aspect we want to emphasise.

    So for this project we generally prefer the term ‘secrecy jurisdiction.’

    We sometimes use the term ‘offshore financial centre’ too.

    There is no generally agreed definition of what tax havens or secrecy jurisdictions are: the phenomenon has many different aspects and no definition can capture them all.

    So we do not offer our own formal definition – though we do take a broad political-economy view of what the phenomenon is.

    Loosely speaking, a secrecy jurisdiction provides facilities that enable people or entities escape(and frequently undermine) the laws, rules and regulations of other jurisdictionselsewhere, using secrecy as a prime tool.

    A ranking of jurisdictions by secrecy score is provided below.

    The Financial Secrecy Index focuses on secrecy (escape from disclosure) but these jurisdictions also often offer escape from tax, from financial regulation, from criminal laws, from corporate governance rules, from inheritance rules and more.

    The offshore system is an interconnected ecosystem of different jurisdictions offering different mixes of these escape facilities and of the various different ‘flavours’ of secrecy.

    ……”

    ________________________

    Penny Bright
    2016 Auckland Mayoral candidate.

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