Panama Papers – Nat U-turn complete

Written By: - Date published: 1:11 pm, July 13th, 2016 - 28 comments
Categories: accountability, business, john key, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags: , , ,

Remember back in April?:

Greens’ “Barking Mad” Bill Blocked

The big question in Question Time arose from the allegation in leaked documents called the Panama Papers that New Zealand is a tax haven. Prime Minister John Key says tax havens are secret and New Zealand cannot be one because it has disclosure rules. Greens member’s bill opening trusts to scrutiny is blocked by the government. John Key calls Greens finance spokeswoman, Julie Anne Genter, “barking mad” for supporting it …

As I have previously observed, this was typical reflexive aggression from Key (and offensively stigmatising to boot).

Today the Nats’ U-turn is complete:

Govt accepts Shewan’s foreign trust advice

The government will formally accept all of the recommendations made by tax expert John Shewan relating to New Zealand’s foreign trust laws, except the proposal to roll-out anti-money laundering laws faster.

Long overdue – the IRD told them this was needed in 2013.

Finance Minister Bill English said the government had always been open to making improvements to New Zealand’s trust and tax laws if that was shown to be necessary.

No, you opposed and ignored, until you were forced to make changes by the public scrutiny that followed the Panama Papers.

28 comments on “Panama Papers – Nat U-turn complete”

  1. One Anonymous Bloke 1

    All those bribes wasted. Mr. Morally Whitney shown in his true colours. An avenue for National Party money-laundering partially* closed.

    Well done Nicky Hager. How the impotent frothing wingnuts must hate to hear your name.

    *of course the corrupt scum haven’t closed it completely. We’ll have to wait for a non-corrupt, non-criminal, pro-New Zealand government for that.

    • Chuck 1.1

      “All those bribes wasted. Mr. Morally Whitney shown in his true colours. An avenue for National Party money-laundering partially* closed.”

      Of course OAB you have proof of this?

      “Well done Nicky Hager. How the impotent frothing wingnuts must hate to hear your name.”

      If you call outing an Elvis impersonator or a Green party donor as “well done” go for it! It was yet again another flop…

      The story was already out, it did not require the tax payer to fund Hager to be involved. Maybe Hager called in a favor or 2 to get onto the pay role?

      Has Andrew Little apologized to Shewan yet?

      • Pasupial 1.1.1

        Chuck
        It’s best to stick to just the one line of diversion when you attempt to threadjack. Your comment is just all over the place.

        Perhaps the professionals are busy elsewhere, and they are leaving this post to the amateurs for now?

        • the pigman 1.1.1.1

          +1 I couldn’t follow it at all. He lost me somewhere around “Elvis impersonator”.

          We move on.

        • Chuck 1.1.1.2

          Pasupial if you are unable to follow more than one line at a time I suggest you need to focus a little more.

          Apart from asking if Andrew Little had apologized yet, the content of my post was poking holes through OAB fantasy piece.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 1.1.1.2.1

            Why would Little apologise to a partisan whitewash journeyman*?

            *that’s another word for “hack”, Chuck, in case you’re having reading difficulties.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 1.1.2

        Why would Little apologise to the patsy jobsworth? Even a Green voter like me can see that Shewan’s shonky whitewash is a shonky whitewash. Read NRT to get up to speed*.

        Your ethics are showing, projection-boy: they’re smeared all over your little hate-a-thon 😆

        *that’s not very politically correct of me: I know perfectly well that dimbulb slugs can’t get up to speed.

        • Chuck 1.1.2.1

          “Why would Little apologise to the patsy jobsworth? Even a Green voter like me can see that Shewan’s shonky whitewash is a shonky whitewash.”

          Get up to speed mate…Little accused Shewan of advising the Bahamas on being a tax haven.

          Which Little had to admit was factually incorrect, but still managed to cock it up and keep it in the headlines by not apologising also, as Shewan had asked.

          On the Shewan report it seems your Green party MP’s love it…better OAB that you start sending them an expletive laden email or 2.

          From Green party website re – The Shewan Report: “The Green Party has been pushing for similar disclosure measures around foreign trusts since 2012” Julie Anne Genter MP.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 1.1.2.1.1

            You haven’t read NRT’s post, or you can’t get up to speed? You’re slow and dull.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 1.1.2.1.2

            PS: “my” Green party? It’s the worst possible party apart from all the other ones.

            • Chuck 1.1.2.1.2.1

              Wow, so we can agree on something then OAB – “PS: “my” Green party? It’s the worst possible party apart from all the other ones.”

              No argument there…

              So why do you vote for the Green Party OAB ? “Even a Green voter like me” from 1.1.2

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                Can you read, Chuck? I only ask because the second sentence of my comment answers your question and yet you still asked it. I guess English comprehension must be a bit of a struggle when you can be replaced with a sign saying “doo doo doo doo…right…good.”

                Have you read NRT’s post yet? Can you read NRT’s post? Your “reading” of your shonky jobsworth’s failed hit on Little suggests not. Diddums.

                • Chuck

                  OAB why do you vote for the Green Party?? when you say “its the worst possible party apart from all the other ones.” (post 1.1.2.1.2).

                  I have read the NRT post.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    Do you really not understand what the phrase “apart from all the other ones” means?

                    What’s the matter, does that not gell with the slavish obeisance you pay the party you vote for? Let alone ring any Churchillian bells?

      • reason 1.1.3

        Is chuck talking about the national party joke? …… where john key sends don brash and the $2.2 billion dollar man shewan to a tax haven ……….. where brash and shewan were going to teach this tax haven Gst ……… exclusive brethren style.

        It sounds very funny and what other tax havens are we teaching Gst to ?

        When is shewan going to apologize for the aussie banks trying to underpay $2.2 billion dollars to New Zealand citizens with a tax vehicle he sold to them?????

        “Foreign banks deliver $2.2 billion Christmas bonus to taxpayers in tax avoidance settlement

        By Pattrick Smellie

        Dec. 23 (BusinessWire) – New Zealand’s four largest foreign-owned banks have thrown in the towel and settled tax avoidance disputes with the Inland Revenue Department for more than $2.2 billion in what is believed to be the largest commercial settlement in New Zealand’s legal history. ”

        *******************************************************

        More national humor …

        “David Seymour: In what century did the wine-box inquiry take place?

        Rt Hon JOHN KEY: One so far back I can hardly remember it.”

        ***********************************************************

        “Rt Hon Winston Peters: How can he stand by his statements yesterday that New Zealand “is not a tax haven” and that we “also have an extensive disclosure regime”, when specialist law firms on trusts for foreigners point out there is no need for disclosure of identity, or trust registration, or for any such trust accounts to be audited?

        Rt Hon JOHN KEY: Because I am right.”

        ************************************************************

        Julie Anne Genter: How does an overseas tax department access all of that information if it does not know the name of the foreign trust registered here or the trustee?

        Rt Hon JOHN KEY: It asks for it.”

        ******************************************************************

        “Andrew Little: How proud is the Prime Minister of the company he is now keeping when the Panama Papers lump New Zealand in with such auspicious company as Belize, the Seychelles, and Costa Rica in the list of 21 tax havens?

        Rt Hon JOHN KEY: I think New Zealand can stand quite proudly on the regime that it runs here”

        ————————————————————————————————

        Rt Hon JOHN KEY: I cannot confirm whether the Bahamas is a tax haven or not—I simply do not know.

        Rt Hon JOHN KEY: This Government keeps its promises

  2. Enough is Enough 2

    This is how National works.

    Bill English famously called it swallowing dead rats. They adopt policies they are fundamentally opposed to, in order to keep the punters out in punter land happy.

    WFF, interest free student loans, Kiwisaver, paid parental leave, nuclear free NZ…

    Now they are doing it with housing and foreign trusts.

    The problem for us is that it is a very effective strategy. They concede the debate in order to stay in power. You can’t debate them on those issues because on the face of it they agree.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.1

      You can’t debate them on those issues because on the face of it they agree.

      We have to show that what they’ve done doesn’t address the problem. In many cases we could probably prove that it’s actively made things worse.

  3. Andre 3

    I’ve asked this question a few times in a few places and so far haven’t got any useful answers so hopefully someone with actual expertise can cover it here (mickysavage?).

    According to Deborah Russell’s Spinoff piece, a major difference between NZ and the rest of the world is we decide tax liability of a trust based on the residency of the settlor, whereas most of the rest of the world decides based on the residency of the trustee(s). This difference is what really opens the door for “legitimate tax avoidance”.

    http://thespinoff.co.nz/featured/10-05-2016/foreign-trusts-101-a-plain-english-introduction-amid-the-panama-paper-haze/

    As far as I can tell, Shewan doesn’t recommend changing this. Am I being too cynical in thinking this is so we can “appear to be doing something” while leaving the framework for “legitimate avoidance” intact?

    • That would take a rewrite of the entire way we tax trusts, Andre. It might be something worth looking at in the longer term, but it would be sledgehammer-to-crack-a-nut stuff for this particular problem. One of the problems with going the other way and basing taxation of trusts on where the trustee lives would be that NZers could then squirrel their assets away overseas in jurisdictions we don’t have a tax treaty or information sharing agreement with. So we would solve the foreign trusts problem, but we would create a new way for NZers to shift assets around and avoid tax.

      Hence my preference for solving the foreign trusts problem by collecting more information, and disclosing it to our tax treaty partners. It solves the immediate problem without huge disruption to our entire framework for taxing trusts.

      • Andre 3.1.1

        Thanks for that Deborah. I’ve still got a nagging feeling that there’s some structural problems with our different treatment that won’t get solved just with a better disclosure regime. If I get clarity on what my reservations really are, I’ll put up another reply.

        • Pasupial 3.1.1.1

          NRT is good on the limitations of the Shewan recommendations. Hopefully the opposition parties will be taking the time until next election to craft more rigorous legislation:

          Oddly, National’s register won’t be available to IRD, and it will still be searched only in response to inquiries, rather than automatically shared with foreign tax agencies. Meaning that we’re still in the absurd situation that in order to discover tax cheating, other countries have to ask (and know the specifics). It’s a catch-22 seemingly designed to prevent enforcement.

          http://norightturn.blogspot.co.nz/2016/07/national-protects-tax-cheats.html

  4. Draco T Bastard 4

    The government will formally accept all of the recommendations made by tax expert John Shewan relating to New Zealand’s foreign trust laws, except the proposal to roll-out anti-money laundering laws faster.

    Bold mine.
    Which of their rich mates are so important that they need longer protection from being found guilty of money laundering?

    Finance Minister Bill English said the government had always been open to making improvements to New Zealand’s trust and tax laws if that was shown to be necessary.

    Oh, look at that – Bill English lying again.

  5. adam 5

    So does this mean a full and unbridled apology to Julie Anne Genter?

    She not a slug, so my guess – just won’t happen.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 5.1

      No. The Prime Minister will take absolutely zero personal responsibility for his deliberately dishonest character assassination, because he has the ethics of gutter low-life trash.

      He is the perfect embodiment of National Party values.

  6. Gristle 6

    And for all those who defend the trusts on the basis that no “gotcha” moments occurred, MF is only the fourth largest supplier in this bullshit business. Being the 4th largest would mean that would have a maximum of 10% of the clients at best. The remaining 90%+ of people hiding away money have yet to be smoked out.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 6.1

      An easy way to get a head-start on identifying them would be to go to Cabinet Club and write down number-plates.

  7. Henry Filth 7

    Good.

    A good start. The devil will be in the detail, but it looks promising.

    Far less kneejerking than I had feared.

    Now let’s see what filters through to the domestic trust situation. Fingers crossed!

  8. Mosa 8

    Thanks again Nicky Hagar.
    And who ever leaked the Monsecca papers.
    The Nats were never going too act on this scandal without pressure too do so.
    Its also once again highlighted the actions of Key who has failed again too act properly and in the country’s intrests.

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