Take action on tax haven corruption? NZ says – meh

Written By: - Date published: 3:04 pm, May 14th, 2016 - 51 comments
Categories: capitalism, corruption, john key, Judith Collins, tax - Tags: , , , , ,

In London Cameron’s anti-corruption summit made some modest progress:

World leaders pledge to tackle corruption at London summit

David Cameron and John Kerry have warned that corruption and terrorism are dual threats to the world’s economy and security, at a summit aimed at tackling graft featuring heads of state and business leaders.

Six countries, Britain, Afghanistan, Kenya, France, the Netherlands and Nigeria, have agreed to publish registers of who really owns companies in their territories, a so-called register of beneficial ownership. This is a key goal of anti-corruption groups. Six more, including Australia, will consider doing so.

Eleven countries will join the now 29-strong group where lists of beneficial owners are drawn up and shared between governments, although not publicly. Those countries include Cayman Islands, Jersey, Bermuda, the Isle of Man and the UAE. …

Other coverage here, and here. You can read the declaration here:

Global Declaration Against Corruption

Published 12 May 2016

Corruption is at the heart of so many of the world’s problems. We must overcome it, if our efforts to end poverty, promote prosperity and defeat terrorism and extremism are to succeed.

Today’s Summit has demonstrated the deep commitment of a significant number of countries, businesses and members of civil society to work together to tackle this scourge.

To do this we will build on and implement existing international agreements – but also go much further, making this a top priority at home and abroad and building capacity to tackle the problem.

We commit to expose corruption wherever it is found, to pursue and punish those who perpetrate, facilitate or are complicit in it, to support the communities who have suffered from it, and to ensure it does not fester in our government institutions, businesses and communities. We will fulfil our shared commitment to ‘substantially reduce corruption and bribery in all their forms’.1

1. Corruption should be exposed – ensuring there is nowhere to hide:

By ending the misuse of anonymous companies to hide the proceeds of corruption.
By driving out those lawyers, real estate agents and accountants who facilitate or are complicit in corruption and denying the corrupt the use of legitimate business channels.
By increasing the transparency of government budgets, tax information and procurement to deter tax evasion and expose the theft or misuse of taxpayers’ money.
By making it easier for people to report corruption without fear of reprisal.

2. The corrupt should be pursued and punished and those who have suffered from corruption fully supported:

By actively enforcing anti-corruption laws and working together to pursue the corrupt, prosecute and punish them.
By tracking down stolen assets and returning them safely to their legitimate owners.
By sending a clear message to the corrupt: there will be no impunity. We will restrict their ability to operate in our countries.

3. Corruption should be driven out – wherever it may exist:

By targeting entrenched corruption, linking up institutions and professions around the world to build capacity and foster a shared culture of integrity.
By ensuring transparency and governance in key areas including sport, extractives and the security sector.
By using innovation and new technologies to empower citizens to fight corruption.
By encouraging and supporting the international organisations to increase their focus on fighting corruption and to coordinate their work more effectively.

Sounds pretty good, right? So were does NZ stand? Meh – we’ll think about it:

An anti-corruption summit in London has been assured New Zealand is committed to tackling corruption despite not yet signing up to new international agreements.

All talk no action.

Around 40 nations gathered to put together some kind of agreement and six countries have signed. Police Minister Judith Collins was at the summit but says New Zealand wants to know more. “But we are certainly going down the track of far more transparency particularly around the beneficial ownership,” Ms Collins said.

Are we “going down the track”? When? Does John Key know? He’s been saying we already have full disclosure called the idea of taking action “barking mad“. The Nats are all over the place on this, and they’re trashing our reputation in the process.

51 comments on “Take action on tax haven corruption? NZ says – meh”

  1. One Two 1

    David Cameron and John Kerry leading on corruption

    Those who control the puppet show must be cracking themselves up by ridiculing the other 7bn inhabitants on planet earth

    The charade is over, it’s finished

  2. Keith 2

    And we piss on the grave of anti corruption by sending Judith Collins. Shows you how serious NZ is!

    Anyway hows Oravida going in Europe?

    • Stuart Munro 2.1

      I guess none of the Madoffs was available.

    • Mosa 2.2

      Sending Judith shows they are not serious in tackling corruption,in fact once again the govt looks like a bunch of clowns,its no wonder we are seen as a joke worldwide.
      It will make Helens pitch for the Secretary Generals UN job just that bit more difficult.
      Money is power and those that have it will always find safe havens to hide it and there will be people like Key to help them do just that.

    • Jack Ramaka 2.3

      And the Swamp Kauri Recovery in Northland ?

  3. Richardrawshark 3

    We really need a constitution i think it should include things like the right to bare arms. Just saying . No particular reason I would want that, none what so ever, honest.

    One must be able to protect themselves from civil unrest and gang members, RW politicians, National, you know everyday safety issues.

  4. Penny Bright 4

    So is NZ Minister of Police Judith Collins going to support the establishing of a genuinely Independent Commission Against Corruption?

    Penny Bright
    2016 Auckland Mayoral candidate.

  5. Penny Bright 5

    PRE-PANAMA PAPERS…..

    The investments that built Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s wealth | HeraldSun

    http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/national/the-investments-that-built-prime-minister-malcolm-turnbulls-wealth/news-story/ff0611a70a9a908066229f6d4e5910a5

    “….What could be politically problematic for Mr Turnbull is his millions of dollars tied up in a global tax haven — especially as the Government attempts to force multinational companies to pay their fair share.

    His parliamentary register of interest lists four funds Bowery Opportunity, CVC Global Credit Opportunities, Zebedee Growth & 3G Natural resources — domiciled on the Cayman Islands — where many global hedge funds base themselves to avoid paying capital gains tax.

    …..”

    Penny Bright
    2016 Auckland Mayoral candidate.

  6. North 6

    Well one thing we do know is that on her way back she’ll be popping in for a cup of tea in Beijing.

  7. Reddelusion 7

    So the great left hit job, bigger than Ben hur we where told now attracts 6 comments after only 5 days after the release of the paper, go figure another damp squib

    • Blue 7.1

      Reddelusion, ring the Guinness Book of World Records because you have just created the world’s biggest doughnut by sticking your head up your own arse. Someone must have told you that you had dinner with John Key!

      • Reddelusion 7.1.1

        Interesting proposition Blue requiring a some what disturbed thinking but if it floats your boat……irrespective however I am struggling in logically linking your two premises beyond KDS that requires Jk to be incorporated in every post no matter how tenuous the link

        • Blue 7.1.1.1

          Speaking of tenous links, why do you even bother to comment here? Is you KDS (Key Doughnut Syndrome) clouding your World view? Wouldn’t you be better spending your time saving a breached (suppression order) whale or rescuing an Orivida princess (OMG I hope they don’t notice I don’t have a moral compass) from the Anti-corruption conference/junket. Explaining the demented rantings of the JoKer would seem too easy for you.

    • r0b 7.2

      I get that you personally don’t give a toss about corruption delusion, but you can hardly describe an initiative being led by David Cameron as a “left hit job”.

      • Reddelusion 7.2.1

        Your last paragraph is where you loose it Rob, all we hear is crisis after crisis , jk this jk that , our international reputation…… as per Tory, Trotter eloquently explains most of the comment and postings on this site The amount rhetoric expoused is inversely proportionate to the facts, the public see it, the left do not and are simply lost in a mist of KDS red rage that no one is buying thier Kool aid

        • Stuart Munro 7.2.1.1

          No mate – Key is pure shit. No redeeming features. Not a shred of lingering human DNA – nothing worth saving.

          Bugger your spin and the fake polls – Key is a complete failure as a PM. No growth. No jobs. No houses. No hope. No future unless we make him gone and every slithering sycophant who supports him.

          The protocols of Westminster style democracy, like answering ministerial questions honestly, and resigning for failure or dishonesty are what tells the ordinary person that they have a trustworthy, mature government.

          Under Key we have a vile pack of treacherous weasels who break those rules as often as they breathe. This is not a democracy now – it is totalitarian – and it is profoundly dystopian: “Make NZ abandon the rule of law to facilitate tax evasion by foreign assholes.” You know what – let’s don’t.

          Let’s have a parliament that works. Let’s have a PM that answers questions frankly, and cabinet ministers whose raison d’etre is not to steal public assets.

          As for the Key government – feed them to the gle affina. They are of no value to our society.

          • Chuck 7.2.1.1.1

            At any point in time over the last 7 – 8 years between 44% to 53% of your fellow NZers think John Key and National are pretty dam good.

            Now your comment of “No future unless we make him gone and every slithering sycophant who supports him.” is whats wrong with the rapid left (which you are one) and why support has been and still is falling away for you and your mates. At any point in time up to 50% of the voting public fall into your “slithering sycophant” category.

            Chris Trotter understands this clearly…

          • Molly 7.2.1.1.2

            +100

            • greywarshark 7.2.1.1.2.1

              Molly
              I imagine that your 100+ is for Stuart not Chuck. It is a good idea to put the intended recipient’s name so it is clear. The way that comments get interlaced can often lead to discontinuity.

          • Redelusion 7.2.1.1.3

            Stuart your response simply backs up everything I just said , thank you 😀

          • greywarshark 7.2.1.1.4

            Idly glancing through I saw Redddelusion dissing Stuart so of course I traced back to your comment. Which was direct honest correct and forthright and says it all for the believers in good democracy and government for and by the people, not just the 1% and their ‘comfortable’ entitled servants and hangers-on.

  8. Tory 8

    It’s called Key Derangement Syndrome and it’s alive and well on this site.
    So far the only smoking gun from the “Panama Papers” is the Greens received a dodgy donation, that all on this site (including the author of this post) have somehow ignored. Instead we see post after post about John Key personally responsible for everything and anything.
    Chris Trotter again nails it, but no doubt many on this site will view him as a herotic rather than a commentator who can see through the faux outrage.
    http://bowalleyroad.blogspot.co.nz/2016/05/the-number-of-beast-new-zealand-lefts.html

    • One Anonymous Bloke 8.1

      So now you’re saying there is evidence of wrongdoing. I expect you’ll be clamouring for the IRD investigation to be reopened then. Unless you’re a crim-cuddling hypocrite, that is.

      Nothing to fear, nothing to hide.

    • Drowsy M. Kram 8.2

      KDS have released KDS Neo(con) – you couldn’t make this up!

      http://www.kds.com/ “Beat your competitors”

      The PM’s normalisation of political and corporate corruption is redefining ethical standards, and our corporate politicians are “pretty comfortable with that.”

      “In other words you are very well aware that you are a B**S. There is absolutely nothing that justifies the lies you so routinely spout. Liar, liar, liar.”

      “A lying SOB like you is quite incapable of any honest behaviour.”

  9. Incognito 9

    The über-pragmatic Key will hold off the boat and first see where the wind blows and then only make some soothing sounds, as usual. IMO he has zero inclination to make any real changes to the current situation.

    I am not at all impressed by the ‘policy paper’ Global Declaration Against Corruption. To me, it reads like something between a political propaganda pamphlet and political grandstanding.

    It creates an illusion that corruption is something that should and can “be driven out” by punitive measures and by enforcing strong-handed policies & regulations from top-down. It completely fails to acknowledge that corruption is both a cause and a consequence “of so many of the world’s problems”.

    I’d also imagine there is widespread cynicism about the top-down approach ‘advocated and executed’ by people that have skin in the game; the hypocrisy is oozing out when their lips are moving (I won’t need to exemplify this by naming people).

    I often wonder why so few politicians talk about bottom-up approaches when discussing problems such as corruption. Is it to ‘protect’ the voters from being confronted by inconvenient truths about themselves (paternalism)? Is it because they don’t trust the people to do the right thing and people should therefore not be given (that much) autonomy (vote of no confidence)? Is it because politicians don’t want to relinquish control & power to the people, the same people that they are supposed to represent (selfishness)? Is it politically too sensitive to discuss ethics & morals despite that we and certainly politicians cannot escape it (fear of embarrassment or something else …)! Likely, it is a combination of the above, but regardless, it is not a good situation to be in if (or when?) we’re trying to tackle the problem of corruption or any other major problems for that matter.

    I guess what I’m trying to elucidate is whether corruption is inextricably connected to our current socio-economic and political system. And if so, and if the summit attendees know this – and why wouldn’t they? – are we presented with an elaborate smokescreen (again), a masterpiece of social engineering? Alternatively, do (these) people genuinely believe that the mores of our society are such that corruption can be “driven out” altogether and that society can be ‘cured of this cancer’?

    Personally, I am hugely sceptic about the fight against corruption, which has similarities with the fights against domestic violence and against drug & substance abuse, for example. We don’t seem to make much real progress with these fights either, which begs the question: why not?

    Perhaps it is all to do with “a very human failing” and we do indeed lack the “intellectual” capacity to process it all, which is why we cannot deal with current and coming disasters? [with thanks to greywarshark]

    I am not terribly satisfied with this comment of mine but will post it anyway in the hope of receiving helpful feedback or (well-argued?) opinions from the TS community.

      • Incognito 9.1.1

        That is an excellent read, thank you very much Pat!

        I will follow up the links and references in it plus the 129 comments so far!

        • Pat 9.1.1.1

          your welcome……this may be of interest as well, though not directly related.

          “But if markets are based on exploitation, the rationale for laissez-faire disappears. Indeed, in that case, the battle against entrenched power is not only a battle for democracy; it is also a battle for efficiency and shared prosperity.”

          https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/may/13/-new-era-monopoly-joseph-stiglitz

          • Incognito 9.1.1.1.1

            Thanks again Pat for a very deep and perceptive article, as you would expect from Joseph Stiglitz.

            The last sentence stood out for me:

            But if markets are based on exploitation, the rationale for laissez-faire disappears. Indeed, in that case, the battle against entrenched power is not only a battle for democracy; it is also a battle for efficiency and shared prosperity.

            So, on the one hand we have the markets that tend towards monopolies and, on the other hand, we have the consumers/voters who believe they (still) live in a (true) democracy. When corporates start to take over whole nations (Brazil?) and to invade and influence the political process (NZ?) through “pretty legal” avenues (ratification of TPPA) I think the latter assumption becomes increasingly untenable, which also means that our elected representatives are in on it (complacent/complicit and thus corrupt or corruptible) or they are as ignorant as most of us (incompetent). Either way, our current system is not set up to ‘fight the enemy within’ just like Reserve Banks cannot cope with deflation. I hope it is not too late before the BorgCorp assimilate us …

          • greywarshark 9.1.1.1.2

            Pat
            Just unpicking a few words from the 12.17 a.m. quote. If markets are based on exploitation and laissez faire is redundant, does that mean that we should all be exploiting each other equally and that produces a fairer system?

            And then having a battle for efficiency and shared prosperity might fit the quote –
            “Be careful what you wish for, you might get it.”
            Which is a warning – which could be against possibly unintended or unconsidered consequences.
            This Mark Twain quote could be an example:
            Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint. Mark Twain
            Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/be_careful.html

            On efficiency, Aldous Huxley commented on George Orwell’s 1984 book and it’s message for the future, and said in his book Brave New World that the idea of importance of efficiency, was the more damning for mankind.

            Huxley to Orwell: My Hellish Vision of the Future is Better Than Yours …
            http://www.openculture.com/…/huxley-to-orwell-my-hellish-vision-of-the-futu...
            Mar 17, 2015 – In 1949, George Orwell received a curious letter from his former high … was none other than Aldous Huxley who taught at Eton for a spell … The change will be brought about as a result of a felt need for increased efficiency.

            Within the next generation I believe that the world’s rulers will discover that infant conditioning and narco-hypnosis are more efficient, as instruments of government, than clubs and prisons, and that the lust for power can be just as completely satisfied by suggesting people into loving their servitude as by flogging and kicking them into obedience.

            In other words, I feel that the nightmare of Nineteen Eighty-Four is destined to modulate into the nightmare of a world having more resemblance to that which I imagined in Brave New World. The change will be brought about as a result of a felt need for increased efficiency. Meanwhile, of course, there may be a large scale biological and atomic war — in which case we shall have nightmares of other and scarcely imaginable kinds.

            There are no simple answers that can be summarised in a few lines of script. And it seems that only people who seek their own and the goodness of others and conserve the world around, kindly, thoughtfully and practically, can carry good humanity forward and protect the values and responses that assist us in controlling our base impulses.
            edited

            • Pat 9.1.1.1.2.1

              “Just unpicking a few words from the 12.17 a.m. quote. If markets are based on exploitation and laissez faire is redundant, does that mean that we should all be exploiting each other equally and that produces a fairer system?”

              I would suggest the words “equally” and “exploitation” are oxymoronic.

              markets do not need to be exploitative….and if all parties truly equal cannot be.

              • greywarshark

                I think you miss the point I am making. The google meaning for exploit is –
                “1. make full use of and derive benefit from (a resource)”.

                People trading with each other are exploiting each other, and if done in a fair and equal way, this will lead to shared prosperity.

                When people can get good wages for their labour, good prices for their produce, then they exploit, derive benefit from their resource, and those buying exploit their resource of cash or items for barter.

                But efficiency doesn’t have to be paramount for shared prosperity. I
                put the warning about efficiency because it leads the way to the recent talk on future work and robotisation referred to in this recent Auckland lecture.
                http://bowalleyroad.blogspot.co.nz/2016/05/a-very-good-reason-to-keep-friday.html

                • Pat

                  fear you may be correct…must have misunderstood as I read it as exploitation…the action or fact of treating someone unfairly in order to benefit from their work.

                  I followed your link and reread the post (i saw it previously) and found myself agreeing with Jack Scrivano’s comment (once I googled Flesch score)…….I like my lectures succinct

                  • greywarshark

                    pat
                    I was confused by the sentence of Stiglitz containing laissez faire which seemed not applicable because of exploitation, which has two levels of meaning. Economists reshaping our financial ideas is one thing, but they have gone further to do so with our human values and understandings of our societies. So I look on them as con-people spinning ideas and us with them, until I know what they are talking about and whether they understand the real effect their statements will have, if the action is carried out. Economists I think, need to be taught the need for humility to prevent a feeling of irresponsible omniscience.

                    Getting an idea of how and what can be done to help ourselves after a crash is on my mind. Also the glowering onset of robotisation and the means of earning/making a living being withheld from us. Were the ‘homelands’ of South Africa a forerunner for a world practice. Are we watching a real reality show in Palestine that the world leaders have no intention of ending fairly because they don’t care to change what is secretly decided is a TINA situation for us all?

                    Thinking how to conduct a citizen-led economy that allows for a degree of diversity in income but ensures that basics are there allowing a simple secure lifestyle with preparations for stress times, harvests before weather change, preparation of the crop for storage, hard winters, high winds, floods, unbearable heat etc. ?

                    Thinking too, if we manage to build our village economies trading with each other, exploiting our and each others resources fairly, of the need also for time for self, family and enjoyable sociability. Also that we don’t appreciate our own individual agency, and usually aren’t encouraged to develop our own initiatives. For example, when I was part of a group seeking ways to find work for older people, a meeting that was supposed to brainstorm was presented with ideas by the leader, that were already fleshed out thus limiting the individuals’ consideration of ideas leading to their own possible initiatives.

    • Olwyn 9.2

      I would go further and say that they will use the public disquiet about corruption to make things uncomfortable for their opponents while increasing “security” to protect their own activities from prying eyes. Take this comment from NZjester on Open Mike, for example, about the impeachment of the Brazilian PM on grounds of corruption, with a clip outlining the moves in a sadly familiar game:

      Open mike 14/05/2016

      • Incognito 9.2.1

        Thanks Olwyn, today I read an article about Michel Temer in the NZ Herald (actually, syndicated from the Washington Post) and it did not make for happy reading.

  10. Neil 10

    From 2014, Key on tax avoidance

  11. Nick 11

    ShonKey has been put in place to protect these Neocon crims and all the other crims as well who have jumped on the offshore hidden trust bandwagon. When he’s not doing that, he’s been told to make more money for them by selling NZ. He’s doing a bloody brilliant job….. And the best way to deal with the right wing natzi foot soldiers who post here is to ignore them completely….. They are here only to bait and annoy, they have no ideas, just like their leader.

  12. mikesh 12

    Peter Dunne is being disingenuous. If clients are not paying the tax, that they owe, to their own governments, then it is tax evasion, not tax avoidance.

  13. Incognito 13

    Meanwhile, IRD is going after the ‘big fish’ student loan defaulters living in Australia.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11637264

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/education/79949711/ird-hopes-to-squeeze-extra-100m-a-year-from-student-loan-defaulters-in-Australia

    Where there’s a will, there’s a way, obviously. The immoral inaction of this Government on perceived or alleged corruption and tax havens speaks volumes. I am so happy that Key dobbed in Greenpeace though. [extreme sarcasm alert]

  14. Tautoko Mangō Mata 14

    This article by Frank Macskasy written in May 2012 gives the background on the tax changes in 2011.
    Which is why it totally beggars belief that Key was planning to invite those very same Global Corporatists to New Zealand to set up some kind of “zero tax rated financial services hub”. The proposal was led by banker, Craig Stobo, who told National’s 2009 Jobs Summit that “an economic boost would result if the Government created a zero tax rating for foreign investors who invested in international funds” in New Zealand.

    The then-Economic Development Minister Gerry Brownlee, appointed Stobo as chairman of an advisory group the following year to determine what incentives would draw financial corporates to New Zealand to participate in the proposed “financial hub” proposal. Brownlee paid Stobo’s group fees ranging up to $655 a day, on top of an up-front allocation of $500,000.

  15. Chuck 15

    I admit up until last week to know nothing of the ICIJ…Graeme Wood a very wealthy Australian give them an $1.5 million donation.

    “Sydney philanthropist and businessman Graeme Wood, founder of the online publication The Global Mail, has pledged $1.5 million to ICIJ over the next three years to bolster its cross-border investigative reporting capacity.”

    http://www.smartcompany.com.au/growth/42721-graeme-wood-s-140-million-payday-nine-things-you-didn-t-know-about-the-wotif-founder/

    Funny how many people on TS think if someone is wealthy they are either criminals or scum (or both).

    Wood also gave the largest ever political donation in Australia to the Green Party in 2010 $1.6m.

    I wounder if Graeme Wood has a trust or two…if so then no doubt he will join all the other rich pricks (wealthy, avoid tax, use trusts, etc etc).

    • framu 15.1

      thats the way.

      Ignore argument and detail, focus on the self invented slogan, apply liberally to all and sundry

      you fool no one with such silly and false stereotypes

      • Chuck 15.1.1

        “you fool no one with such silly and false stereotypes” I don’t need to…

  16. Observer (Tokoroa) 16

    .
    . The strange Vanity of the Trotter

    So Trotter has written a piece about poor John Key and how he is suffering like Nero at the hands of Christians. The labour Party is, according to grovelling Trotter, the reincarnation of the catacombic Christians. No less.

    Have you ever heard such total crap in all your life ?

    Comparing tiny New Zealand with Imperial Rome is a monstrous conceit in itself.

    It is not funny witnessing the mental deterioration of Trotter. Anyone who is besotted with Key as is Chris Trotter, is in a piteously weird trap indeed.

    The common man, as distinct from the wealthy man, is evilly being denied resources by many of the Parliaments of the Western World including the parliament of New Zealand.

    And why? So that greedy wealthy misfits like key and Trotter may enjoy a disgusting trough of a life.

  17. I personally think that at the end of the day, the banks and financial institutions want to earn money. If some politically exposed person brings his entire wealth of finances to you, it’s not their prerogative to question whether they’ve done their necessary disclosure to the respective parties or not.

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