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Obama calls for international tax reform – what will Key do now?

Written By: - Date published: 6:31 am, April 7th, 2016 - 122 comments
Categories: accountability, Ethics, International, john key, law, tax - Tags: , ,

John Key’s evasions on our country’s role as an international tax haven have been truly shameful, his usual mixture of outright lies, half-truths and evasions. Yesterday Vernon Small took him apart in this strongly worded piece:

Panama Papers: New Zealand’s trusted reputation demands changes to foreign trust rules

And to claim that the required level of record keeping is “full disclosure”, as Prime Minister John Key did this week, is a bleak joke. To claim it negates accusations NZ is a tax haven – because we do not have such levels of secrecy – is equally laughable. If it doesn’t make New Zealand a “tax haven” – and it sure looks like one – it at the very least makes it “a haven” from scrutiny. Just look at the advertisements spruiking New Zealand’s advantages to foreign trusts.

However you look at it, Key made a significant political blunder this week by instinctively defending the tax and trust regime (and by extension those who might exploit it) in the face of domestic and worldwide suspicion. Don’t ask me, ask the supporters of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders.

To make matters worse he cited the benefit to New Zealand – some $24 million in fees harvested by lawyers and accountants setting up and managing the funds. What price New Zealand’s reputation – something IRD and other officials had already warned about? And is it morally defensible to effectively say any loss of revenue from trusts here is some other country’s issue and we are focused on defending our own tax base? An “each country for itself” approach hardly sits well with international steps, which New Zealand has enthusiastically joined, to deal with corporate profit shifting and base erosion.

Yes, the Nats simply deny that we have a responsibility to do anything about tax havens. English says “the Mexican tax base is interesting, but its not our main priority”. Key literally shrugs the issue off. Here’s one of the excuses we have used for doing nothing:

[Key] said in 2013, after warnings from the IRD about possible damage to New Zealand’s reputation from its foreign trust law – that could see income “not being taxed either in New Zealand or offshore”- the new Revenue Minister Todd McClay had sought advice. “The advice they got was that it would require a lot of work from IRD officials, because this stuff is so complicated, and the argument was ‘was it worth it in terms of all the other issues on the IRD work programme?’ “

So that’s it. Not our problem if we’re running a tax haven. Shrug. We are happy to be a poor global citizen.

Unfortunately for John (ht Gordon Campbell) in 2011 Commerce Minister Simon Power was a whole lot more honest in describing the problems with our regulations:

… 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”. Mr Power also said a lack of enforcement of current company law meant New Zealand authorities had been unable to help international agencies in trying to combat international fraud. 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”.

Even more unfortunately for John, a much better man than he is prepared to take show some actual moral leadership on this issue. President Obama yesterday:

Obama calls for international tax reform amid Panama Papers revelations

Barack Obama has called for international tax reform in the wake of the revelations contained in the Panama Papers.

In an unscheduled appearance in the White House briefing room, Obama described the revelations from the leaks as “important stuff” and said the issue of global tax avoidance was a “huge problem”.

“We shouldn’t make it legal to engage in transactions just to avoid taxes,” he added, praising instead “the basic principle of making sure everyone pays their fair share”.

Do you hear that John? That’s the American President, your old golf buddy, calling for your action. When The Greens called for action you called them “barking mad” (another of your petty and offensive insults). But now it’s Obama – is he mad too?

What are you going to do now John?


According to the IRD:

Whether the rules surrounding foreign trusts should be changed was a “political question” and not up to Inland Revenue, Littlewood said. “It would be technically very easy for the Government to close this down.”

So it only requires the political will.



Far too much to read on this fast developing story:

Gordon Campbell on living in denial about the Panama Papers. “So now we know why New Zealand won all those awards for being the ‘easiest place to do business.’ Evidently, foreign firms that register in New Zealand can operate with impunity when it comes to complying with (a) our money-laundering and terrorism financing laws and (b) our international obligations on such activities.”

Toby & Toby on … the Panama Papers, NZ and ‘tax haven’ ridiculousness. Contains a list of quotes from various sources over the years describing us as a tax haven.

Liam Dann: Government has big questions to answer. “Perhaps, most worryingly, it is because we don’t require any detailed disclosure about those trusts and don’t have any capacity to share information with regulators in countries that might be seeking to chase trustees for tax.”

Panama Papers: Key defends offshore banking comments. “When the Panama Papers made global headlines on Monday, Mr Key was forced to defend his vision to model New Zealand on a country known for its secretive financial system and tax haven activity.”

NZ trusts prone to abuse – tax expert. “Overseas trusts such as those operating in New Zealand are by their nature prone to abuse and are a common method for tax evasion, an international tax expert says.”

David Cameron left dangerously exposed by Panama Papers fallout. 4 different stories in 2 days from Cameron, who is suddenly a big fan of privacy when it comes to his family finances.

122 comments on “Obama calls for international tax reform – what will Key do now? ”

  1. Paul 1

    Check his share prices?

  2. Paul 2

    Blame Labour.

    • McGrath 2.1

      We can blame Labour actually . See Dr Cullen’s statement in 2004 about the trust amendment act 2005

      “Under New Zealand law, foreign income derived by non-residents is outside the New Zealand tax base, and rightly so. The government has no intention of changing that. Because they are not taxed here, foreign trusts that are set up here do not have to file New Zealand income tax returns or keep records if they receive only foreign-sourced income.

      http://taxpolicy.ird.govt.nz/news/2004-07-27-new-requirements-foreign-trusts-nz

      Personally I’d like to see an IRD investigation into foreign trusts, with any discovered loopholes closed accordingly.

  3. Paul 3

    Say “I’m comfortable with that.”

  4. Murray Simmonds 4

    Yes, but see this comment on Zero Hedge:

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-04-05/rotschild-admits-america-biggest-tax-haven-world-obama-slams-tax-evasion

    Key and Obama apparently have more in common than I thought!

    (The point being: The USA is now the Tax Haven Of Choice for foreign investors, and Obama was speaking from a position of total hypocrisy.)

    The above paper is well worth a read.

  5. Jester 5

    It is concerning that Nz resident tax cheats seem to act with impunity here.

    All this hooha over other nationalities ripping off their own countries, we should be prosecuting the local scumbags for stealing off us off as a first priority!

    • Draco T Bastard 5.1

      We need to do both but we can’t do it by just changing a few bits of legislation here and there.

    • NZJester 5.2

      We can’t prosecute him while he is still Prime minister! ;-p

    • Tautuhi 5.3

      But if you steal a Pinky Bar from 4 Square you will get 6 months inside.

      • Colonial Viper 5.3.1

        And if you steal $100M from the nation, you get a knighthood and lots of board seats.

  6. Murray Simmonds 6

    And by, the way, Thanks Anthony Robins for an EXCELLENT summary of the situation. Its important to keep this issue on the front burner. It is Key’s “Achilles Heel”, in my opinion.

  7. TepidSupport 7

    Yep. It’s non action and lack of agreement of the issue that will isolate JK from “mums and dads” and “middle income NZ” who like a fair system where everyone contributes.

    • Nessalt 7.1

      appealing to middle new zealand after running them down as benny bashers? labour and the left have lost that ground except the dripping wet sub set

  8. Incognito 8

    Key will do what he always does: lots of rhetoric, spin, and bluster, etc., but no real action of any importance or with real impact.

    We, New Zealand that is, have earned a well-deserved reputation as a ‘clean’ country in many aspects. Being a small nation is often seen as non-threatening in geo-politics and you don’t have to be big to be big in global ‘finance’.

    NZ is now a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council. Helen is going for the top-job. We consistently rate as one of the least corrupt countries in the world. John Key has got skin in the game and he will do nothing to upset the apple-cart.

    Key is Obama’s innocent-looking little nephew and butter wouldn’t melt. Yeah right!

    • Draco T Bastard 8.1

      Key will do what he always does: lots of rhetoric, spin, and bluster, etc., but no real action of any importance or with real impact.

      I’m of the opinion that he’ll make a bit of fuss and then make some law changes that will make it even easier for international entities to hide their money while promising to do the exact opposite. The same as he did for Zero Hours contracts.

      We consistently rate as one of the least corrupt countries in the world.

      NO, we’re consistently perceived as being one of the least corrupt countries in the world – by ourselves. I suspect that that perception is taking a hammering.

      • NZJester 8.1.1

        NO, we’re consistently perceived as being one of the least corrupt countries in the world – by ourselves. I suspect that that perception is taking a hammering.

        The smoke and mirrors game keeps fooling a lot of the sheeple. Especially with the help of their tame MSM.

      • Incognito 8.1.2

        NO, we’re consistently perceived as being one of the least corrupt countries in the world – by ourselves. I suspect that that perception is taking a hammering.

        No, it is not ourselves that we have to worry about so much; those ratings are entirely subjective.

        The international rankings published by Transparency International – the global coalition against corruption are also based on perception:

        ”Based on expert opinion, the Corruption Perceptions Index measures the perceived levels of public sector corruption worldwide.” http://www.transparency.org/cpi2015

        Perceptions matter, a lot, which was the point I was trying to make as well.

    • Tautuhi 8.2

      Most popular PM ever.

  9. AB 9

    Local law and accountancy firms doing nicely from facilitating the foreign trust scams – they’re National supporters/donors most likely.
    That’s all that matters

  10. Murray Simmonds 10

    “Key will do what he always does: lots of rhetoric, spin, and bluster, etc., but no real action of any importance or with real impact.”

    That’s right Incognito. He’ll do what Obama is doing (see above).

  11. vto 11

    Obama: “important stuff”

    Key: “I’m relaxed”

    what a most pathetic man, cowardly, weak, liar, selfish, uncaring, lazy …

    when was the last time such terms were ladled onto a prime minister?

    pathetic

  12. Whispering Kate 12

    Somebody wrote in reply to a Liam Dann post in the Herald yesterday “why do people who are so rich go to such great lengths to avoid tax” and to me it was quite a profound statement. Why do they? – they have extraordinary amounts of dosh that they could feed the planet forever, what on earth can they do with it, is it a game, or a vindictive sort of thrill that they can get away with it. Are they mentally unwell and need treatment. You would think it would become a burden for them to have to make sure it’s safely stashed away in these tax havens or laundered if its dirty – whatever. What sort of human beings are they with such black souls. Even when they do spend some of their fortune for humankind its because its a tax break – nothing is given freely.

    I am watching “The Night Watchman” on TV right now and the rogue in it is a world-class arms dealer. He is involved with government at a high level and is leading a risky life. He has so much money he doesn’t know what to do with it, he is unhappy, trusts no one and and is vicious to boot. How can having that much money give you peace and a happy life. Something to think about today.

    • Anne 12.1

      why do people who are so rich go to such great lengths to avoid tax” and to me it was quite a profound statement. Why do they? – … Are they mentally unwell and need treatment.

      From observing a couple of relatives who are ‘reasonably comfortable thank-you’, I would say so. It is an all pervading obsession (not unlike rugby mad Kiwis 😉 ) and they become incapable of thinking about anything else. And as the millions mount up, it spawns further obsessive behaviour until a time comes they are no longer in any sort of real world. A good example of the extent of the madness that envelops the most seriously afflicted is Donald Trump. He should be removed from society and kept in an isolated institution where his particular brand of maniacal egotism is no longer a threat to mankind.

    • RedLogix 12.2

      “why do people who are so rich go to such great lengths to avoid tax” and to me it was quite a profound statement. Why do they?

      Usually because:

      They are trying to work out childhood trauma inflicted by a parent who made them the family scapegoat; they are still trying to win the approval of the unpleasable.

      Or for emotional reasons their ability to trust other people has been damaged, so they are using money to create an illusion of control in over their lives.

      Because our system is set up so that money generates more money most very rich people very early on learn the habit of not spending money if at all possible.

      While it is true there are some people who will invest into their business and community in order to build wealth; they are a minority who face substantial head-winds. In my experience many very rich people are emotionally damaged individuals whose behaviours make the ‘trickle down’ theory a risible, driveling lunacy from the outset.

      • Gangnam Style 12.2.1

        A hoarding disorder I have always thought.

      • Colonial Viper 12.2.2

        There is a kind of emotional obsession which makes people dedicate their lives, time and energy to ever more $$$. Money that in the final analysis, they can’t ever spend or enjoy.

        A billionaire can’t eat ten dinners in an evening. So they end up doing crazy shit like going to $10,000 dinners instead, hobnobbing and impressing other members of the oligarchy.

        • Olwyn 12.2.2.1

          I think the point is almost as much about ensuring that those not allied to their own circles don’t have as it is about having. They want their dominance to go unchallenged, and if others start getting comfortable, they might start posing challenges. Of course, if too many others get too uncomfortable, their challenges may become more menacing than they would otherwise have been, but as long as that possibility has not yet become a reality, it can be kicked down the road.

        • grant elmsly 12.2.2.2

          obsession with getting money is based on a vindictiveness that ignores the fact that NZs infrastructure, people and peaceful culture allows one to make money.
          If one can ignore all who were stomped on for one to accumulate vast wealth one can then put it in a NZ trust, Then one can conveniently deny people who did contribute to your fortune in your lifetime and get a name as a goody good philanthropist after you die

    • alwyn 12.3

      You are aware that “The Night Watchman” is fiction I hope?

      • Whispering Kate 12.3.1

        That is with tongue in cheek I hope. Arms dealers like in “The Night Watchman” exist today and the USA and other countries who make military hardware couldn’t manage without them wheeling and dealing to keep the arms industry in business. The world is filled with filthy investment dealers dealing in filthy money making and laundering. Its a laugh that we are meant to be clean and green – we are experts at doing laundering that’s for sure.

      • McFlock 12.3.2

        Ever hear of Victor Bout or Adnan Khashoggi?

        • alwyn 12.3.2.1

          Khashoggi, at least didn’t seem to fit the image that RedLogix has about the rich. He proposes “Because our system is set up so that money generates more money most very rich people very early on learn the habit of not spending money if at all possible”. Khashoggi seemed only to willing to spend it most lavishly and appeared to greatly enjoy it.

          What can one really say about Bout? One countries hero is another countries traitor. He was rather like Snowden, wasn’t he? I confess I had to look Bout up on Wiki. Only after seeing the post did vague memories of him drift back into my memory.
          Sic transit Gloria mundi

          • McFlock 12.3.2.1.1

            Like most of Le Carre’s ouvre, there are solid real-world examples of his characters, even if the work itself is fiction.

            Why are you talking about what RL said when your comment You are aware that “The Night Watchman” is fiction I hope? was directed at WK (FWIW I think you’re both referring to the show “The Night Manager”)? Oh, that’s right, I forgot – your objective is to disrupt, rather than contribute.

            • Whispering Kate 12.3.2.1.1.1

              Oops McFlock, it was “The Night Manager” I was referring to. A pretty grim series but obviously based on what is happening in the world. Lots of filthy money being laundered through trusts and overseas accounts. The people who peddle in it and live off the earnings could live under a hot shower and never be clean.

              • alwyn

                Yes, I was meaning that show too.
                If you really want grim, of course watch the Blacklist.

    • miravox 12.4

      Because they can. They’re highly competitive and it’s a game. 20 cents or 20K, it makes no difference – they’ve beaten the taxman.

      They also lack empathy and lack understanding. Have you seen some of these people on their tropical holidays making a game of bargaining down some poor market seller to the lowest possible price rather than a ‘fair’ price. just so they can brag they outdid their mates? Nevermind the seller needs the 20 cents they ‘saved’.

      Winners!!! all of them.

    • AB 12.5

      They are utterly convinced of their own superiority – and believe they deserve their wealth and that it is a sign of their superiority. Taxation is just inferior people trying to steal their money.
      Whether it is a mental disorder on its own or a complex of others – narcissism, paranoia, sociopathy, who knows?
      What I would suggest is that neoliberalism’s cult of hyper-individuality gives these sort of people licence to indulge such tendencies. Much in the same way that when you have violent, authoritarian governments a constant supply of willing torturers seems to become available from within the general public.

      • Halfcrown 12.5.1

        “Taxation is just inferior people trying to steal their money.”

        So right. Didn’t Bob Jones refer to tax as theft

        • Gangnam Style 12.5.1.1

          From the Night Watchman ‘I am my own man, no one is my boss’ about sums up how the rich see themselves & their attitude towards others.

          • Paul 12.5.1.1.1

            They see themselves as the archetypal Ayn Rand hero, John Galt.
            They are above others.
            It’s impossible to reason with them.
            More radical solutions are necessary.
            1789 comes to mind.

    • Incognito 12.6

      Hah! Happiness comes from freedom and freedom means being detached; the last thing we want to give up is ‘our’ (illusionary and fragile) Ego. Money, wealth, riches, and all hedonistic behaviours and rituals feed Ego and this vicious circle goes round and around.

  13. roy cartland 13

    Don’t forget NRT in your research, this is pretty stinging:

    “The 1% are the common enemy of every country in the world. They loot, they pillage, they steal, and they don’t pay their way. We should be clubbing together against them in collective self-defence. Instead, Bill English wants to defend them. And the reason why is obvious: because he’s one of them, not one of us.” [my emph.]

    http://norightturn.blogspot.co.nz/2016/04/poor-global-citizenship.html

    • Draco T Bastard 13.1

      +1

      We cannot afford the rich.

    • seeker 13.2

      Thatcher, as soon as she was elected PM famously and repeatedly asked, “Are they one of us?”
      I could not understand what she meant for quite a long time. I had never heard a leader of my country ask such an unnerving, divisive or indeed hideous question.
      Then I began to find out for real that that was who she was. Gross (and not in the economic sense).

  14. Colonial Viper 14

    LOL what a joke; Obama is utterly owned by the big investment banks, and the USA is effectively one of the biggest and longest standing tax havens in the whole world.

    They even managed to get Obama to sideline Elizabeth Warren from the White House economic team, while all the former Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan cronies stayed on whispering in Obama’s ear.

    I can’t believe that people can even take Obama preaching about international tax havens seriously.

    This is the man looking to make mega-corps even less accountable through mechanisms like the TPPA.

    This shit is just the 0.001% trying to placate the public through PR. Don’t be so easily bedazzled.

    • alwyn 14.1

      Are you really that keen on Elizabeth Warren? She is surely one of those mad people with a passion to hang on to every penny she has ever earned isn’t she?
      There are a variety of estimates of her net worth but they are generally in the $4 – $14 million US dollar bracket. Say $6 – $20 million New Zealand dollars. This is a middle of the road estimate of $US7.5 million.
      http://members-of-congress.insidegov.com/l/143/Elizabeth-Warren
      As for ” get Obama to sideline Elizabeth Warren” .
      Just when did this happen? It wouldn’t have been when she became a Senator would it?
      A rather less flattering, although probably accurate review is here
      http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2012/01/worth_14_million_elizabeth_warren_thinks_shes_not_a_wealty_investor.html
      Doesn’t it rather remind you of Cunliffe, who considered a multi-million dollar hose to be just a “do-upper” rather than a mansion?

      • Hami Shearlie 14.1.1

        David Cunliffe said that when he bought his house it was a do-upper – he never claimed that it still was – I saw it and it was a very nice house but hardly qualifies as a mansion – John Key’s little beach house was just as flash inside!

      • Colonial Viper 14.1.2

        Are you really that keen on Elizabeth Warren? She is surely one of those mad people with a passion to hang on to every penny she has ever earned isn’t she?
        There are a variety of estimates of her net worth but they are generally in the $4 – $14 million US dollar bracket

        Warren is upper middle class, and deservedly so. She is not a member of the Investment Bank Goldman Sachs oligarchy which is why they screwed her over in the White House.

        And she is an economist who understands how fucked up most economic theory is.

        She grew up during a time when you could get ahead with intelligence and hard work.

        She is very clear that in the USA, those times are over now and inherited and corporate wealth rule the roost.

        The fact of the matter is that if you are a single digit millionaire, the oligarchs are out to take your minor wealth in order to add it to their big pile.

        • alwyn 14.1.2.1

          “Warren is upper middle class”
          You certainly have high standards for actually being rich then.
          Consensus would be that Warren (and husband) would be in the top 0.3% of Americans and the top 0.02% of people in the world.
          https://www.quora.com/Is-being-worth-10-million-USD-considered-rich
          Sanders at least really is in the middle class, although you might consider him to be incompetent because he hasn’t saved more

          • Colonial Viper 14.1.2.1.1

            At Warren’s net worth of US$4M to US$14M even John Key is probably 5x to 10x richer than Elizabeth Warren.

            And that’s the issue here. The real problem are the 0.001%. The oligarch class.

            Single digit millionaires fly first class with the rest of the cattle.

            Oligarchs fly their own G650 Gulfstream.

      • Paul 14.1.3

        Here to distract not contribute again…..

      • North 14.1.4

        Well done there Trolwyn……..trying the hackneyed and risible “Metiria’s Got A Flash Coat !” screech on Warren.

        • greywarshark 14.1.4.1

          Careful North – your clever portmanteau word is close to our esteemed commenter Olwyn who is far away from that moniker!

          • North 14.1.4.1.1

            Yeah, sorry about that Olwyn. Esteemed as you say GWS. No I mean that bullshitty one who claims the authority of having been historically active on The Left at some point but won’t when asked come up with the provenance.

            • alwyn 14.1.4.1.1.1

              Don’t be mean to Colonial Viper.
              He really was involved, and quite effective as well when they really were the “left”.

  15. Murray Simmonds 15

    ” . . why do people who are so rich go to such great lengths to avoid tax” ”

    I’ll take a simplistic approach:

    They are consumed by their own greed.

    • greywarshark 15.1

      Perhaps a short clip from Eat the Rich would be instructive?
      (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oKLA4K5WyZE
      or
      Peter Greenaway’s The Cook the Thief his Wife and her Lover – what an analogy for the way our world is going!
      (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cP-VumkuYHY

      It has just been announced that there is a scientific breakthrough in transferring body parts between different species. This will help the rich live longer. For the last two years scientists have been developing their expertise and now can successfully transplant pig hearts into baboons.
      http://www.radionz.co.nz/audio/player/201796116

      However we have had this experiment under wraps for almost thirty years and can demonstrate working models in a central location in Wellington. The address will be publicly announced at a later date, but the information is well known among the cognoscenti.

  16. One Two 16

    Global Taxes

    Managed by the same mob like cartel who are currently destroying life on this planet, through the very systems they designed and control

    The ‘leak’ is as managed as Obamas predictable response

  17. Ralf Crown 17

    What Obama calls for is an international tax cartel to maximize the rip-off by tax. People must understand that corporation do not pay any tax at all, tax is a cost like other costs they add to the price, paid by you and me. As far as individual taxes, they just want to rip-off anyone who got savings. Money easy to take, just call it tax. New Zealand already has one of the worst reputation in the world of “snoopers” running the errands of the Big Brother in Washington.

    • Draco T Bastard 17.1

      And a stupid libertarian wonders in to call tax theft.

      • travellerev 17.1.1

        Actually I agree with him. Money is created out of thin air by privately owned banks and we pay interest on everything we borrow. It is a system set for looting and wealth transfer. Here is Money as Debt I explaining money creation for dummies (Which by the way you are not)

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jqvKjsIxT_8

        Here is the link to the Bank of England stating exactly that:

        http://positivemoney.org/how-money-works/how-banks-create-money/

        • Lanthanide 17.1.1.1

          That youtube video still doesn’t explain:
          1. Why this is bad
          2. What an alternative good system would look like or how it would work

        • Draco T Bastard 17.1.1.2

          Actually I agree with him.

          Why?
          What has the creation of money got to do with his idiotic assertion that tax is a “rip-off”?

          And, yes, I’m quite aware that money is created ex nihilo.

          • Ralf Crown 17.1.1.2.1

            This is difficult to grasp, once money is created out of thin air, it is moved around, this is the opportunity to fleece the system with tax. Once the money is in the control of the bureaucratic mafia, they need much of it for their fat salaries, fine offices, ivory towers, nice cars, fat parachutes, nice travel, and fat pensions. If the tax is 60% to 80%, which it is in some countries, if the guy needs $20 for food, he first has to earn $80 to feed the system with tax, the politicians and the bureaucrats. Same for corporations, even if the tax is lower. To go to the doctor you must pay the GP about $100, he has to pay tax and expenses too, then eventually you can get the hospital care, which in New Zealand is third world standard (WHO). The more money floating around in the system, the more profit for the parasites. I am often in China, there is hardly any tax, and you go straight to the hospital, no GP to pay, no bureaucrats, and it costs you $4. That is what tax is about. The more they can get their hands on the more they want and the more they spend.

            • Draco T Bastard 17.1.1.2.1.1

              Wow, you talk shit.

              This is difficult to grasp, once money is created out of thin air, it is moved around, this is the opportunity to fleece the system with tax.

              No, once it’s created by the private banks it’s an opportunity to fleece the rest of the population part of which is by not paying the taxes that they’re supposed to.

              If the tax is 60% to 80%, which it is in some countries, if the guy needs $20 for food, he first has to earn $80 to feed the system with tax, the politicians and the bureaucrats.

              So, tell me, which countries in the world have a 60 to 80% flat tax?

              The more money floating around in the system, the more profit for the parasites.

              That bits true – the parasitical banksters and corporations.

              I am often in China, there is hardly any tax, and you go straight to the hospital, no GP to pay, no bureaucrats, and it costs you $4.

              $4 in a country that pays about $2/hour is pretty high but it’s still got nothing to do with tax.

              That is what tax is about.

              Tax is payment for services rendered. Doing it directly would cost more and we’d get less service. We’ve seen this over and over again since the 1980s and the imposition of neoliberal bollocks and privatisation as an economic system. If we still owned Telecom as a state monopoly we wouldn’t have to subsidising it to get FTTH – that would have been part of the service and we wouldn’t have lost more than $20 billion dollars in dividends to the bludging shareholders.

              • Ralf Crown

                *Yes, it is an opportunity to fleece the system, you fleece the ones that been saving and planning, to feed the lazy and incompetent.
                *In countries as Norway, Sweden and Denmark, the official average tax is 52%, for a successful one man business it hits 80%. People have been charged over 100% in tax. This is including all money the state take, many taxes has, as in New Zealand been renamed “fees”.
                *Parasites, I am talking mostly of nonproductive as lawyers and accountants, who are the center of the tax planning. Lower the tax, simplify the system, and they will be out of work.
                *In China an engineer is earning about four times as much as an engineer in New Zealand. *Nobody works for 2 dollars an hour as some people have to do in New Zealand.
                *Services, what services. Third world health care. No trains. In China I pay 20 cents for a bus ride, in New Zealand it costs 8 dollars.

    • Paul 17.2

      Are you really that stupid?

      • Ralf Crown 17.2.1

        The corporates are not stupid, the tax maffia increase their cost, aka tax, they just all increase the price to cover it, and you pay. Where would otherwise the money come from.

        • Colonial Viper 17.2.1.1

          Corporate mega-profits and the oligarchy they support are the true theft from society.

          Huge transnational corporations, like Apple, are also the worst abusers of tax haven schemes which steal directly from public services like health and education.

          Not that you care about stuff like that, but just saying.

          • Draco T Bastard 17.2.1.1.1

            +1

          • Ralf Crown 17.2.1.1.2

            And what do you think the oligarchy is doing with the money, they invest it, and that creates jobs. What they hand over to the politicians and bureaucrat mafia is creating jobs too, for the like-minded of the mafia. More bureaucrats. Apple, as everyone, minimizes their tax costs, otherwise they go out of business and others take over and place jobs in Africa or Laos, not in you hi-tax neighborhood. All corporations just have to do it to keep the prices down in the competition with the next corporation. Politicians force up the tax cost, fine, they can do it, same for everyone, and they just stick it on top of the price and you pay. All prices go up to pay the increased taxes, nothing gained, except for the mafia.

            • pat 17.2.1.1.2.1

              good grief

            • Colonial Viper 17.2.1.1.2.2

              you dick head, the “wealthy” “invest” their money in “financial instruments” in offshore tax havens.

              What kind of fucking jobs do you think that kind of pseudo-economy produces, if you arent a waiter in a five star restaurant, a Ferrari dealer, or a crooked tax haven accountant?

              • Ralf Crown

                Right, they do, and those financial instruments finance jobs. But I agree with you, they don’t invest in rip-off anti tax havens as New Zealand. So to attract those investment, to create jobs and welfare, why nor be a tax haven, or – of course – kiwis can carry on fighting the windmills.

            • Draco T Bastard 17.2.1.1.2.3

              Apple wouldn’t exist without all the research paid for by the US Federal government because they don’t do shit. Apple then repay the US taxpayers generosity by not paying the taxes that they should do because of their greed.

  18. Draco T Bastard 18

    The advice they got was that it would require a lot of work from IRD officials, because this stuff is so complicated, and the argument was ‘was it worth it in terms of all the other issues on the IRD work programme?’

    It would be a lot of work. Designing and creating an entire new tax structure fit for purpose would take a lot of time and effort but that is what needs to be done. These Panama Papers are proof of that.

    • greywarshark 18.1

      Well DTB we have got all the time left in our world. Soon it may become some other entities world if we don’t change our thinking and behaviour.

      I think that you are right and we must do something serious about reforming the tax system. It must be (as in the phrase used I think in Key’s Budget speech) ‘fit for purpose’, that meaning it brings in centrally and locally enough money or credits to aid all people to live an enjoyable, simple life in harmony (as much as humanly possible) with each other and the planet.

      We are clever humans, if we want it so, we can do it. Between dystopia and utopia there is a plateau that is right for us, livable and manageable where we can be gracious people, not snarling, snatching, sneering cheap copies of our potential form.

      But we are up against entrenched, embedded thinking.
      The Mafia’s treasury sounds caution.
      http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/300862/taxing-foreign-trust-income-could-end-industry-ird
      We must keep a flow of money into the country to make it appear that at any time the credit agencies look, we seem to be in balance sufficient to meet their criteria of a financially stable country. According to their criteria, which will be reviewed if the financial sector and economy collapse in the next 24 hours.

    • Mike S 18.2

      Not difficult in relation to the foreign trusts as per this comment in the article, from IRD

      “Whether the rules surrounding foreign trusts should be changed was a “political question” and not up to Inland Revenue, Littlewood said. “It would be technically very easy for the Government to close this down.”

      • Draco T Bastard 18.2.1

        That’s playing at the edges. More needs to be done. As I said: Designing and creating an entire new tax structure fit for purpose

        What we have is something that’s been tampered with for centuries and nobody really knows how it works any more nor its purpose. This is why it has so many loopholes in it and why it needs compete replacement.

  19. alwyn 19

    If anyone wants to read a balanced view of the situation they might care to read this opinion piece in the Herald.
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11617423
    Have a look at the comments about what the Chinese could do to Fonterra.
    International taxation is like Global Warming. To solve it every country has to buy into it.

    • Draco T Bastard 19.1

      And the RWNJ pops in to tell us that it’s just too hard.

      • alwyn 19.1.1

        You appear to have clicked on the wrong “reply” icon when you put this comment in.
        Nothing in what you say has any relevance to my views or comment. Try harder in future.

        • Draco T Bastard 19.1.1.1

          You’re the one who said: International taxation is like Global Warming. To solve it every country has to buy into it.

          Within context that’s implying that it’s something that’s simply too hard to do and therefore we shouldn’t do anything. Especially in light of what you said about China and Fonterra.

          Does every country in the world have to take action against this theft? Well, it would make it easier but we could do our part without waiting for everyone else.

          This comes back to my idea of setting standards for who we trade with having to meet rather than having FTAs. A tax haven wouldn’t meet those standards and thus we wouldn’t allow trade with them. Of course, this does mean that NZ would have to meet those standards as well, i.e, we couldn’t be a tax haven.

          • alwyn 19.1.1.1.1

            “Within context that’s implying that it’s something that’s simply too hard to do and therefore we shouldn’t do anything”.
            Rubbish. That may be your view but it isn’t mine. To make it work we need to get general agreement on the rules. That isn’t impossible and although it may be hard it isn’t “too hard to do”.

            “Does every country in the world have to take action against this theft”.
            Who is the theft from and what do you want us to do? Do you really think that all trusts are for the purpose of theft?
            If I was an Opposition Singaporean Politician I would probably want to get ownership of any property or assets out of the country. Upset the Lee family there and a compliant judiciary will force you into bankruptcy.

            However, what do you see as the major problem with International Tax and New Zealand? It makes a huge difference whether you think it is supposedly insufficient collection and dissemination of information about a trust or whether you think we should start taxing people who do not live in New Zealand, do no business in New Zealand, but have set up a New Zealand registered trust which actually has no property in New Zealand and has beneficiaries who also don’t live in New Zealand.
            Which is the subject of your concern.

            • Draco T Bastard 19.1.1.1.1.1

              hat may be your view but it isn’t mine.

              So, now you’re saying that your view is contrary to what you wrote?

              Who is the theft from and what do you want us to do?

              The theft is from communities and nations and we need to do our bit to stop it.

              Do you really think that all trusts are for the purpose of theft?

              Considering that’s what they’re inevitably used for – yes.

              If I was an Opposition Singaporean Politician I would probably want to get ownership of any property or assets out of the country. Upset the Lee family there and a compliant judiciary will force you into bankruptcy.

              Then the Singaporeans need to do something about that. We may be able to help with that through diplomatic channels but what we shouldn’t be doing is helping people dodge their local laws.

              However, what do you see as the major problem with International Tax and New Zealand?

              I see NZ tax laws helping international criminals escape justice.

              whether you think we should start taxing people who do not live in New Zealand, do no business in New Zealand, but have set up a New Zealand registered trust which actually has no property in New Zealand and has beneficiaries who also don’t live in New Zealand.

              I think such a person shouldn’t have a trust in NZ as the only reason for such a trust is nefarious purposes.

              • McFlock

                Do you really think that all trusts are for the purpose of theft?

                Considering that’s what they’re inevitably used for – yes.

                Interesting point. Trusts are used to keep assets away from situations like bankruptcy – assets that would otherwise be used to clear the debts. What is an ethical reason to have a family trust?

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  For example, a family might set up a trust to ensure that offspring exhibiting National Party values would not be able to sell family assets for personal gain.

        • McFlock 19.1.1.2

          Interesting: you can’t see the relevance, therefore you believe the relevance must not exist.

          Tory worldview right there…

      • Reddelusion 19.1.2

        And the guy who pontificates endlessly, simply pontificates leftie dribble with his desired outcome, never backed by a workable or the mechanics of a practical solution, simply wacky proposal that work in his world, ie his living room and Pc

        • adam 19.1.2.1

          It’s been a bad few weeks, I know, and it’s hard to be smug when you are on the end of such a kicking.

          But Reddelusion, if you put in the effort, and give up on the diet of infallibility you just may survive the fact that this national government are the protectors of uber rich criminals, and those who practice tax avoidance as sport.

        • Draco T Bastard 19.1.2.2

          I’ve backed all my words with a workable solution. You, on the other hand, merely exclaim that we need to continue with the present failed system and offer no solutions at all.

    • miravox 19.2

      A balanced view? or self-interested view? From a partner and director of an accounting – oops ‘professional services’ – firm caught up in the LuxLeaks, that is.

      According to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), files used for the LuxLeaks revelations come from employees or former employees of Luxembourgish subsidiaries of the international accounting firms: PwC, EY, Deloitte and KPMG (the “Big Four”).

      Between December 2014 and April 2015, three people were indicted in Luxembourg in connection with LuxLeaks revelations. No multinational corporation faces charges in any country or at the international level, due to the so far legality of tax rulings.

      Your last sentence – yup it seems the accountant/authors agree with with Obama. As the heading of this post says, Obama is calling for international tax reform. That these arrangements are legal is the problem.

      • Colonial Viper 19.2.1

        The Big Four make a shit tonne of money administering these tax haven regimes for major corporates and their wealthy shareholders. And the big banks have been caught doing similar for drug cartels.

        They’re the last people who want tax laws tightened up and simplified.

  20. Murray 20

    John Key seams to have said that NZ having having shelters to facilitate the wealthy evading tax and criminals laundering money doesn’t really mater very much because it’s legal in NZ. What does that say about his mind set ?.

  21. Murray Simmonds 21

    This is absolutely astounding:

    A must-watch video for all Bernie Sanders fans (I’m one!).

    He’s speaking out on America’s free trade deal with Panama and how its all about assisting that country’s endeavours to acquire tax-haven status.

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-04-06/blast-past-%E2%80%93-hillary-clinton-vs-bernie-sanders-panama

    The interesting bit is that he gave this speech to Congress in – wait for it – 2011.

    No, not this week, but 2011.

    I’m impressed.

  22. Murray Simmonds 22

    P.s.

    You get a free trade deal with the USA if you agree to keep your country’s tax-haven status alive and well.

    Sounds familiar?

    No wonder the TPPA was negotiated in such secrecy!

  23. Murray Simmonds 23

    According to the US-based “Automatic Earth” website, “The Financial Times” has an article on John Key (if I read it right.)

    Unfortunately, its behind the paywall.

    My curiosity is killin’ me. Any subscribers among TS reader?

  24. Murray Simmonds 24

    Sorry – misread that its john Kay (not Key). May’ve been wishful thinking on my part.

    Time for that trip to Specsavers, i think.

  25. rod 25

    NZ is not a tax dodgers Haven. It’s a tax dodgers Heaven. Three cheers for John Key .
    Nothing to see here!

  26. Tautuhi 26

    Is John Key a New Zealander and is he working in the best interests of all New Zealanders?

    He was head hunted out of New York and the Federal Reserve by the mother of the National Party and Fay Richwhite, Michelle Boag for what?

    Can anybody answer this question?

  27. Tautuhi 27

    Why are we worrying about this minor issue I am more worried about these lazy dole bludging [r0b: A week off for drive-by racism. Bye], if they would get off their asses and do some work the country wouldn’t be in such a mess.

  28. Goon 28

    No this is bigger than WikiLeaks and Snowden. With our robot comrades doing all the work and money shuffling turning into a drag on productivity there is increasing idleness. The only acceptable answer to this for the large moderate vote seemingly wealth redistribution. Voters are increasingly going to apply pressure for a fairer tax system. Any politician who doesn’t understand this simply shouldn’t be in the game.

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