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Panama vows action – NZ closes its eyes

Written By: - Date published: 7:03 am, April 8th, 2016 - 18 comments
Categories: accountability, capitalism, class war, john key, national - Tags: , , , ,

Essential reading on the tax haven scandal, Dita DeBoni:

NZ needs to get out of the cycle of corrupt money

The current Government does not understand, or simply rejects, the idea that housing the wealth of the global elite is an immoral activity. It prefers to bash beneficiaries than trust fund babies – or their enablers.

The charge that the practice of creating offshore trusts isn’t illegal is true, but no one is under any illusion about these trusts, especially someone who had a career in finance like John Key.

They are, at the least, vehicles that allow people to avoid paying tax. At worst, they provide cover for of all sorts of criminal activity – industrial-scale drugs and arms dealing, money laundering, extortion and so forth. That is why other countries have moved to tighten the rules around them.

It’s all part of the same picture, of a corrupt grab for resources that is completely out of control. It’s a picture that begins with obscene wealth and at its end, sees war, hunger, violence and death.

On a mild scale perhaps, but New Zealand is participating in perpetuating this cycle. We need to stop.

More essential reading, Raybon Kan:

Welcome to NZ – 100% Pure tax haven

Our PM and Tax Minister have both said there’s full disclosure in our foreign trust regime. I think full disclosure means zero disclosure. My impression is that the only disclosure required is the name of the NZ puppet (who I’ll call “the stooge”) who agrees to play the role of trustee. The NZ Government doesn’t want to know what assets (I’ll call it “loot”) are vested in the trust; who the beneficiary is of the trust; or the identity of the person (according to me, the “criminal”) who transferred those assets to the trust.

This information exists, written in the trust deed, but this document is secret and untouchable within the the office of the lawyer (my technical description, the “scammer”) who set up the foreign trust (“scam”).

It seems to me it doesn’t matter if the loot is containerloads of cash, dripping in blood from the exit wounds of your competing drug cartel, or an arms deal that would be illegal if anyone found out, or if the money comes from the treasury of that country of which you are president – the New Zealand Government won’t embarrass you with questions. Apparently none of these details are our business. After all, it’s not like anyone’s accusing you of infringing Hollywood copyright.

Instead, I believe our tax regime politely and discreetly offers you a bucket of soapy water, a sponge, and after you’re done, an opaque, temperature-controlled box to keep the money dry. Welcome to New Zealand: 100% pure.

In other news Panama is creating “an international panel to help improve transparency in its offshore financial industry”. John Key’s NZ is determined to close its eyes and let the dirty money flow.

For the geeks among us – an analysis of the multiple security vulnerabilities in the Mossack Fonseca web portal.

18 comments on “Panama vows action – NZ closes its eyes ”

  1. Gristle 1

    Reviews are often used to park issues. “Yes, we are so concerned that we have set up a review that will take 2.4 years to complete its work. Until then we will wait and see, and please don’t ask me any more questions about it.”

    What remains unexplained is what benefit foreign owned trusts are to NZ. If all there is $24m of fees to lawyers and accountants, why would you bother.

    John Key’s Switzerland of the South idea doesn’t work with the FOT as the people would have to have NZ resident status. And with that comes tax obligations. My bet would be that a new class of resident status was in the offing. A class that gave you access without tax obligation. No doubt the PM’s office has done work on this. And it

  2. Bearded Git 2

    Chris Trotter is good on the Panama Papers today. Especially:

    “It was F. Scott Fitzgerald who wrote: “Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me.”………. It’s not something those of us who are not very rich care to admit, but the Panama Papers prove beyond all reasonable doubt that Fitzgerald was right. The very rich are very different from us.
    John Key’s reaction to the global release of the Panama Papers has been interesting. Where the Opposition parties have greeted the news that their country’s less-than-robust tax laws are being exploited by the likes of Mossack Fonseca with demands for official inquiries and swift legislative action, New Zealand’s Prime Minister has evinced a lofty nonchalance.
    There were many, perfectly legitimate, reasons that a foreign investor might set up in New Zealand, Mr Key told journalists. It was quite wrong, he insisted, to call his country a “tax haven”.
    A very different response from the one people like you and me might expect. But, then, Mr Key is very rich.”

  3. Sabine 3

    We live in interesting times

    from James Corbyn FB
    Quote: He’s up to his neck in it: David Cameron intervened personally in 2013 to block an attempt by the EU to make the beneficiaries of offshore trusts a matter of public record, thereby creating a potential loophole for tax evaders to exploit Quote end.

    leading to this article in the Guardian


  4. Ralf Crown 4

    Snoopers, one more good reason to dump New Zealand as a tourist destination, and its products. Privacy, including financial, is written into the Human Rights charter. New Zealanders don’t like others privacy. Bye Bye then.

  5. alwyn 5

    I wonder if this was the Law Firm used to hide the rather large bank account David Shearer “forgot” about.
    He sounds rather like their type of client doesn’t he?
    Perhaps he will finally come clean on what he was up to.

  6. greywarshark 6

    George Carlin punches his words at you, and they all hit home.

    Finis – The reason for now is in the American Dream – because you have to be asleep to believe it!

  7. The Other Mike 7

    From the USA but applies here (and everywhere else!)

    The Panama Papers prove it: we can afford a universal basic income
    Colin Holtz

    “If the super-rich actually paid what they owe in taxes, the US would have loads more money available for public services

    But while working and middle-class families pay their taxes or face consequences, the Panama Papers remind us that the worst of the 1% have, for years, essentially been stealing access to Americans’ common birthright, and to the benefits of our shared endeavors.”


  8. kieron 8

    Time for the rich tax evaders to be jailed

  9. Gangnam Style 9

    Rayban Kan is required reading, & very funny too! Like a lot of comeidans he can get to the nub of an issue very quickly & sharply.

    “Every country is in on it, at the expense of every country.” _ Rayban Kan.

    Ha! Just noticed comments were closed at 59, I have seen comment strings run into the 100s but I guess only when critical of Labour or benes.

  10. saveNZ 10

    The worst is that the neoliberal’s are not just avoiding taxes, they are stealing the assets of the countries in plain sight and making it legal through loopholes and misinformation and transfers to do so. They are also polluting the countries and oceans at the same time in most cases.

    That is why the inequality figures are so shocking – something like 50% of the world’s wealth is owned by a select group of individuals operating through trusts and tax havens to disguise the theft and give themselves legislative power to do so or make it legal.

  11. doug stuart 11

    In 2005 Labours finance minister Michael Cullen tightened up reporting requirments for the trusts but emphasised that their activities would remain tax free unless the owen{s} of the trust are liable for tax in nz.

  12. saveNZ 12

    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, as if you live here you pay normal taxes!!

    We are the world’s worst tax haven in fact we are not really a 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 MSM tell us how amazing they are and how we could not do without these pillars of the community.

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