Tax Havens and the Rule of Law

Written By: - Date published: 9:55 pm, June 18th, 2013 - 10 comments
Categories: tax - Tags:

Fabian Society presents Nicky Hager on “Tax Havens and the Rule of Law” at Connolly Hall, Guildford Terrace, Wellington, at 5:30pm on Friday 21 June 2013.

Nicky Hager recently participated in a multi-country investigation of a huge leak of tax haven information. He will speak about what they discovered and the implications for New Zealand and other countries. He believes that tax havens play a central role in undermining the rule of law internationally: facilitating corruption and crime, hiding unethical activities, assisting powerful countries and companies to rip off poorer countries and enabling wealthy individuals and companies to avoid paying their share of taxes.

More information about the huge scale of tax evasion is available here.  It has been on the agenda of the G8 on 18 and 19 June 2013.  It should be a fascinating lecture.

If you would like to attend, please register here.

10 comments on “Tax Havens and the Rule of Law”

  1. So what is the rule of law, exactly?

    Rule of law. A legal principle, of general application, sanctioned by the recognition of authorities, and usu­ally expressed in the form of a maxim or logical proposition. Called a “rule,” because in doubtful or unforeseen cases it is a guide or norm for their decision. The rule of law, sometimes called “the supremacy of law”, provides that decisions should be made by the application of known principles or laws without the intervention of discretion in their applica­tion. See e.g. Rule against perpetuities, supra; also, Shelley’s Case, Rule in. (Blacks 5th)

    The maxims can be found here.

    Ziopedia spins it this way:

    The rule of law generally refers to the “authority and influence of law in society,” especially as a constraint upon behavior, including behavior of government officials.[2] This phrase is also sometimes used in other senses.[3]
    In its general sense, the phrase can be traced back to the 16th century, and it was popularized in the 19th century by British jurist A. V. Dicey. The concept was familiar to ancient philosophers such as Aristotle, who wrote “Law should govern”.[4] Rule of law implies that every citizen is subject to the law. It stands in contrast to the idea that the ruler is above the law, for example by divine right.
    Despite wide use by politicians, judges and academics, the rule of law has been described as “an exceedingly elusive notion”[5] giving rise to a “rampant divergence of understandings … everyone is for it but have contrasting convictions about what it is.”[6]

    And some background on the Fabians….

    In the first few decades of the twentieth century the Fabians were the biggest advocates of eugenics. Leading Fabians and founders of the LSE, Sidney and Beatrice Webb believed “What we as eugenicists have got to do is to ‘scrap’ the old Poor Law with its indiscriminate relief of the destitute as such and replace it by an intelligent policy of so altering the social environment as to discourage or prevent the multiplication of those irrevocably below the National Minimum of Fitness.”

  2. karol 2

    Was looking at the list for NZ on the ICIJ site while TS was offline this morning:

    This is the list of “Officers and Master Clients” that resulted from my searching these key words; “New Zealand”:

    New Zealand Trust and Investment Corp.
    DBS Trustee H.K. (New Zealand) Limited
    HSBC International Trustee (New Zealand) Limited
    New Zealand Trust & Investment Corporation Ltd as trustee of The Secure
    New Zealand Clean Energy Investments Limited
    Nexus Trust (New Zealand) Limited as trustee of the Winston Grant Trust
    Endeavour Investments (New Zealand) Ltd.
    New Zealand Wireless Limited
    Hantec Financial Services (New Zealand) Limited
    Master Foods New Zealand

    And here is the list of “Offshore entities”

    Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited
    Cape Breeze Ltd
    Arthur Anderson New Zealand
    New Zealand Wireless Limited
    Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd
    Master Foods New Zealand
    New Zealand Wireless Ltd
    Ascot Holdings Management Inc.
    Peak Group Management Inc
    Apex Management Group Inc
    Capital & Asset Management International Limited
    Capman Holdings Limited
    Asset Allocation Advisory S.A.

    Please note also the ICIJ disclaimer that any searcher needs to check before doing such a search:

    There are legitimate uses for offshore companies and trusts. We do not intend to suggest or imply that any persons, companies or other entities included in the ICIJ Offshore Leaks Database have broken the law or otherwise acted improperly. If you find an error in the database please get in touch with us.

    • Veutoviper 2.1

      Karol, you may also be interested in NRT’s take on this – here is his latest post. He links to another earlier post in Nov 2012 which is also worth reading. (The last link “a bit of an industry here”.)

      • karol 2.1.1

        Thanks, Veuto. Yes it was NRT’s post that directed me to the ICIJ’s latest uploads and search mechanism.

        • phillip ure

          that’d be that story/link i had up on whoar back on the 15th..?

          ..quite often first with the best/interesting whoar..

          phillip ure..

    • Colonial Viper 2.2

      Each of nz’s top 5 international law and accountancy firms probably use these offshore structures. Specifically, Bermuda is one country I have heard about. Anyway, taxes are things that PAYE serfs, ma and pa businesses and beneficiaries are saddled with. Not the true “wealth creators” of the world.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Cameras on vessels to ensure sustainable fisheries
    Commercial fishing vessels at greatest risk of encountering the rare Māui dolphin will be required to operate with on-board cameras from 1 November, as the next step to strengthen our fisheries management system. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Fisheries Minister ...
    1 week ago
  • Greatest number of new Police in a single year
    A new record for the number of Police officers deployed to the regions in a single year has been created with the graduation today of Recruit Wing 326. Police Minister Stuart Nash says the graduation of 78 new constables means ...
    1 week ago
  • Ensuring multinationals pay their fair share of tax
    New Zealand is pushing on with efforts to ensure multinational companies pay their fair share of tax, with the release of proposed options for a digital services tax (DST). In February Cabinet agreed to consult the public on the problem ...
    2 weeks ago