Why was John Key singled out by Panama Papers hacker?

Written By: - Date published: 1:03 pm, May 7th, 2016 - 166 comments
Categories: capitalism, class war, International, john key, national - Tags: ,

john-key1

Why, out of all the  rotten, corrupt and unprincipled nations of the earth, did the Panama Papers hacker single out New Zealand’s John Key for special mention?

After all, New Zealand consistently ranks nearly top of the ladder as the least corrupt, most transparent of  countries.

Hacker “John Doe”, who has now released his “manifesto” of why he hacked Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca, only mentioned one world leader in this explanation – John Key – who he noted  “has been curiously quiet about his country’s role in enabling the financial fraud Mecca that is the Cook Islands.”

Key has been similarly silent about Niue, virtually a dependent of state of New Zealand, where, according to Doe,  Mossack Fonseca used its influence to write and bend laws, favour the interests of criminals and “essentiall ran a tax haven from start to finish”.

On the explosive release of the Panama Papers, a dump of 11.5 million Mossack Fonseca documents exposing worldwide tax evasion, Key initially denied that New Zealand was a tax haven and said foreign trusts had to fully disclosure – statements that were shown to be untrue by Inland Revenue, which said disclosure was inadequate and New Zealand would be perceived as a tax haven and  its reputation would suffer.

Why were people concerned? Because New Zealand had set up a regime whereby any foreigner could set up a company or trust her to take advantage of a law which said they did not have to pay tax on earnings from outside of New Zealand.  Foreigners could set up a foreign trust and a Look Through Company (LTC). So long as the LTC had no income or beneficiaries here, it legally had no liability to pay tax.

Then foreigners could claim that technically the LTC had been taxed as its New Zealand entity tax rate was set at zero. The papers reveal how one French investor shifted his holding from Luxembourg to New Zealand because he knew he would pay no tax despite New Zealand having a double tax treaty with France.

Allied to this scam is that the fact that New Zealand has possibly the laxest regime in the world for setting up companies and trusts, so multitudes of foreign shell companies and trusts have been set up using a nominee office in New Zealand, run by a local front lawyer or accountant, where it is virtually impossible to trace the true ownership.

It is now coming to light through the Panama Papers that a torrent of foreign cash including wads of dirty, laundered and plain criminal money came flooding into New Zealand trusts to take advantage of this regime. Yesterday, the Australian Financial Review revealed how Mexican tycoon, Juan Armando Hinojosa Cantu, dubbed “the Duke of Influence”, and others used this lax regime.

As outrage in New Zealand and the world grew with the Mossack Fonseca revelations, Key had to be seen to take action on his clearly spurious claim that New Zealand was not a tax haven. He announced that tax expert John Shewan would review the issue. Shewan is almost certainly a Key supporter politically, is on record as supporting the concept of less tax is best regime, and he has advised the notorious tax haven of Bermuda on tax matters. Don’t expect a hard hitting report.

Key has resorted to the well-tried and often successful tactic of appointing an “investigation” that will not rock the boat, and will take as long as possible to complete the task.

Then it was revealed that the firm of Key’s lawyer, Antipodes Trust Group Ltd, is in fact running an operation that is one of the foremost, if not the foremost, firms involved in the business of setting up foreign trusts and companies so they can avoid tax.

Key said his relationship with Ken Whitney is long-standing, and that is likely true, but Whitney has been involved in the foreign tax racket for years. He even sold his law practice in 2014 so that he could set up Antipodes, which essentially focuses only the foreign trust business. He even gave up his law practicing certificate this year so he is no longer legally entitled to call himself a lawyer.

When the Green Party obtained papers through the Official Information Act showing Whitney and Antipodes had a key role in stymieing Inland Revenue from attempting to tighten up the disclosure and tax rules on foreigners things got even murkier.

On hearing of IRD’s plans, Whitney approached Key. Different versions of what was said have emerged with Key claiming Whitney’s recollection as “sloppy” and Key also having a different version of what he told Revenue Minister Todd McClay, than what McClay recalled.

The upshot was that McClay had a meeting with the “industry”, incredibly in offices of Antipodes, where the industry put the case that the $25m-$50m earned by the industry was worth the resultant sullying of New Zealand’s reputation. IRD’s plan was stamped on.

John Doe, explaining why he has gone to such trouble to obtain the Panama Papers and expose the pandemic of tax evasion, of which New Zealand, Niue and the Cook Islands are just one small part, says that “income inequality is one of the defining issues of our time”

“It affects all of us, the world over.”

He says the Panama Papers provide”compelling answers to these questions about why nothing is done about the clear and massive corruption engendered by tax havens, which essentially legalise the crime of tax evasion”.

“The Panama Papers show beyond a shadow of a doubt that although shell companies are not illegal by definition, they are used to carry out a wide array of serious crimes that go beyond evading taxes,” writes Doe.

He notes that whistleblowers and activists such as Edward Snowden, rather than being given immunity or supported, have been jailed or exiled.

Bradley Birkenfeld was awarded millions for his information concerning Swiss bank UBS—and was still given a prison sentence by the Justice Department.

Doe makes the point that tax evasion cannot possibly be fixed while elected officials, such as Key,  represent the very elites who have the strongest incentives to avoid taxes relative to any other segment of the population.

Key’s personal background is as a senior executive at former US investment bank Merrill Lynch, whose role was to screw as much money as possible out of people and businesses without themselves producing a single thing.

Having made a fortune, he has chosen to represent the party that believes the less tax the better society is.  His new role as a legislator and leader is to ensure that laws are passed or not passed, that ensure his constituency pays as little tax as possible.

Hence we support tax havens, or do nothing to stop them in places like Niue, despite the fact that if collective action was taken worldwide, tax in most countries would be dramatically lower.

Key and his ilk use their wealth to take full advantage of tax specialists to legally reduce their tax. Hence their hatred of such things as capital gains taxes, inheritance tax, or gift tax and their support for tax havens.  One of the world’s richest men, Warren Buffet, has famously noted that he, like most in his position, pays less tax than his receptionist.

Why do Key and his colleagues do nothing about the likes of Facebook, Google, Apple and the rest rorting the system so they pay no virtually tax, instead of forcing them to pay their fare share which would allow us all to pay less? Because  Key and his friends will be invested through their blind trusts and so on in the likes of Google and Apple et al.

Why will John Key do nothing about tax havens and even support efforts to “bring to justice” the likes of John Doe? Because it suits him to allow tax havens to exit despite the fact that criminals, the mafia and the rest use them?

Doe castigates the legal and accounting professions for their collusion in these tax avoidance regimes saying “the term ‘legal ethics’, upon which codes of conduct and licensure are nominally based, has become an oxymoron”.

Interestingly, Key has called Ken Whitney a “highly ethical” lawyer.

Doe says:  “The collective impact of these failures has been a complete erosion of ethical standards, ultimately leading to a novel system we still call Capitalism, but which is tantamount to economic slavery.”

“Historians can easily recount how issues involving taxation and imbalances of power have led to revolutions in ages past.”

(Simon Louisson formerly worked for The Wall Street Journal, NZPA, Reuters, The Jerusalem Post and was most recently a political and media adviser to the Green Party)

166 comments on “Why was John Key singled out by Panama Papers hacker?”

  1. UncookedSelachimorpha 1

    Because everything Key does and says is for the benefit of the 0.1%.

    NZ is perfect for his type – maintain low corruption on the ground level (so the servants don’t steal the master’s silverware), while allowing mass theft by the super rich at every higher level.

  2. Macro 2

    Wow! an excellent synopsis of the whole matter Simon. This needs wide promulgation.

  3. dave 3

    article is john key to a letter whole blasted national party are as dirty as hell and act holier than thou sir this dame that right hon what ever corrupt the whole bloody lot.

    national government need to be sacked now labour nzf and greens will be left to clean up this mess and national party voters this is on your heads and don’t think the revaluations of corruption are going to stop there not. you lot don’t have control of media beyond these boarders .nz media was not trusted with these documents for very good reason this is a corrupt dirty country in grip of the plutocrats.

  4. Pat 4

    what odds the hacker is a Kiwi?

    • Colonial Viper 4.1

      Pretty solid chance “the hacker” is part of or enabled by, the US intelligence/surveillance community.

      • Pat 4.1.1

        perhaps a Snowden type but see too much downside for US for it to be sanctioned

      • Chuck 4.1.2

        A guess it could be CV…but more likely its someone who has either been wronged (worked in the industry) and this is payback… OR simply a person who just thinks tax havens should not be allowed.

      • Stuart Munro 4.1.3

        Meh – could easily be one of the many ripped off by one of Key’s scams over the years. There are plenty of sources for old intelligence folk (Key’s dad was one) – or under-employed IT folk not pacified by fake statistics telling them there’s plenty of work.

        Seeing as about 70% of maritime biomass is amoniacal fishes, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the Panama Papers had battered but still very lively fin prints all over it.

    • AmaKiwi 4.2

      Pat

      “What odds the hacker is a Kiwi?”

      My thoughts exactly. Another possibility is John Doe has seen enough to surmise that “respected world leader” Key is using these trusts to evade taxes himself.

    • Et Tu Brute 4.3

      The hacker released the ‘manifesto’ to a German paper so unlikely to be a New Zealander. But the hacker is working with ICIJ (ref: manifesto) so that would put him in touch with Nicky Hager. This is evidenced by the reference to John Key by name where other countries were just called “United States”, “United Kingdom” etc. The sounds from Labour Party might indicate that they have been briefed by someone as well so I’d say Nicky Hager would be the link there as well. Prepare for Dirty Politics 2.0.

      • Pat 4.3.1

        the hacker released to a german paper after trying others that rejected…not that the nationality of the publication is of any import..and by all accounts NZ members of ICIJ were not involved (reason unknown by me at least) so reference to Hager appears superfluous….as is the Labour long bow.

        the reason for the comment (which was rhetorical) was it seemed odd to me that Key would be the only political leader named given the number of potential candidates so was suggestive of a personal connection….nothing more

  5. Pat 5

    Will this post appear in MSM Simon?

    • Chuck 5.1

      No.

      At least not as its written above, too much over reaching by Simon. For example to suggest John Key supports tax havens so the Mafia can use them.

      • Puddleglum 5.1.1

        Because it suits him to allow tax havens to exit [sic] despite the fact that criminals, the mafia and the rest use them?

        ‘Despite’, Chuck.

        Your rendition is that Louisson said “Key supports tax havens so the Mafia can use them“.

        You have misread the relevant sentence.

  6. Rocco Siffredi 6

    Mostly because he didn’t want a Litvinenko Breakfast from Putin.

    • Raff 6.1

      And possibly also because of Key’s cheerily delivered threat that that pants will be sued off anyone who dares besmirch the reputations of the elite

      • Sid 6.1.1

        Let’s not forget he’s been groomed by Merrill Lynch on being unaccountable – seen Inside Job?

  7. Tautoko Mangō Mata 7

    The only positive point I could think of immediately after the re-election of this corrupt government was that maybe the chickens might come home to roost- ie bigtime karma.
    Matt Hooton is obviously equating being questioned about hidden trusts as akin to the Salem witch trials.

    His tweet_“but same people when it’s the “rich” just shout “burn the witch, burn the witch”!

    • Macro 7.1

      I think the cry needs to go up in our Parliament right now “Resign!” Resign!” whenever “dear leader” stands to speak.

  8. Paul 8

    Maybe he was named because they have concrete evidence on him and this is a threat of future leaks.

    • North 8.1

      That was one of my thoughts……..named as a teaser for later disclosures where will figure much deeper.

    • Jones 8.2

      My thought too… especially as he’s been relatively quiet on the whole matter. He’s on the back foot, doesn’t know what to say because he has a good idea what may come out.

  9. AmaKiwi 9

    It needs to be published in the main stream media. Yes, perhaps it needs to be cleaned up a little bit, but not much.

    People need to understand what’s happened. Simon’s piece is so well-written that average readers will understand.

    • Chuck 9.1

      It needs to be cleaned up a lot AmaKiwi to appear in the MSM.

      Cook Islands have had IBC (International Business Corporations) since at least the 1980’s. And from the 1990’s Cook Islands have been a favorite of our American friends, like doctors / dentists and business owners to protect themselves from US based lawsuits and angry ex-spouses etc.

      And yes they are also used by criminal types. If the World is serious about cleaning up tax haven abuse, it needs to be done by all. Americans / Europeans / Chinese / Russian etc etc…together united. Which means it won’t…too many opposing forces.

      • Pasupial 9.1.1

        Chuck

        I don’t imagine that the author needs your advice on what is publishable in the MSM. In case you didn’t read through to the end before; mounting your high horse to ride down Louisson’s supposed “over reaching” (with nary a word for the substance of this opinion piece):

        Simon Louisson formerly worked for The Wall Street Journal, NZPA, Reuters, The Jerusalem Post and was most recently a political and media adviser to the Green Party

        • Chuck 9.1.1.1

          I was not directing my comment to the author, rather to Pat and AmaKiwi.

          Of course the author knows he would not get the above article past any MSM editor, without substantial modifications.

          Hence it is written to maximize its impact on a blog like this.

      • adam 9.1.2

        Oh look the same sad meme they use for climate change. “It’s to hard, everyone has to do their shear, it’s to much to ask New Zealand to do it, we need the same form other people.”

        What a bunch of lame, no hope, out of ideas – such a bunch a bull from a sad apologist. They all just repeat the same lies over and over – what a bunch of hog wash.

        Is it so they can feel comfortable with helping criminals in the mean time? Is it so we don’t look to close at this government, and maybe folk will work out it really is more corrupt than anyone thought?

        • Chuck 9.1.2.1

          Adam if you want to get serious on criminals and tax cheats you need a coordinated multi nation / law enforcement approach. Other wise shit all is going to happen.

          • Stuart Munro 9.1.2.1.1

            Not necessarily – you can deal with it locally.

            You give them a short sharp shock – and then you give them a series of longer and longer extended shocks until the buggers roll over. Iceland did it – good practical people – and so can we.

            For all the crap they talk about the economy you’d think they’d be concerned about organised corruption, and corruption of public institutions. Both are fatal to healthy growing societies – and healthy economies.

      • Draco T Bastard 9.1.3

        And yes they are also used by criminal types. If the World is serious about cleaning up tax haven abuse, it needs to be done by all. Americans / Europeans / Chinese / Russian etc etc…together united. Which means it won’t…too many opposing forces.

        Which means that a country must strike out on it’s own so as not to be overcome by corruption itself.

      • SARAH 9.1.4

        “And from the 1990’s Cook Islands have been a favorite of our American friends, like doctors / dentists and business owners to protect themselves from US based lawsuits and angry ex-spouses etc.”
        People seem to think this behaviour is a legitimate use of foreign trusts, but personally I think angry spouse has every right to know the assets of their former partner (there are usually children to care for here), and if I want to sue someone for negligence etc they need to have that money available if I prove my case in a court of law.
        How are those two scenarios not the same as criminal types? I have heard John Key saying this same sort of thing and I am astounded it’s gone unchallenged.
        I hope your last paragraph is wrong and we will all benefit from this ‘clean up’ somehow. I guess the crims will find other ways but we don’t need to be making it quite so easy for any of them.

        • Et Tu Brute 9.1.4.1

          Sarah, your raising of point 1 is directly related to point 2. As we become more litigious it is important for people with assets to protect them. Not everything “you” “own” is really “yours”. For example the family home. Your family has saved up and bought a house, or inherited the place you grew up, and why should the mistakes of one family member with the name on the deed mean everyone looses? The family home should be in a trust for spouse and children, untouchable. There are plenty of examples like this.

          The courts don’t always get things right and by being able to protect these assets you dissuade vexatious litigants. It isn’t like it effects justice either. Plenty of people get sued who can’t afford representation, let alone the compensation awarded when they mess up their own defense. It is the society we have become.

  10. Treetop 10

    Key appears to be a conduit, his background in corporate banking would be helpful to the mega rich.

    The only way to settle how involved NZ is in being used as a tax haven is to have an inquiry and a person from overseas to be appointed to head the inquiry. I’m sick of the government using an independent person from overseas when it comes to a person having to prove their case and when the government are caught out, they use one of their employees.

  11. Richardrawshark 11

    john come out and basically said he has as much control over the cook isl, as he does of aussie or Russia’s tax regime, fair enough John.

    Why has the leaker mentioned you over everyone, a mistake?, hmm, a carefully planned hack that took an international community to achieve would just make a simple mistake in a rare manifesto they publish, I read the whole Manifesto 2 names are mentioned in the whole thing.

    The question remains John.

    Can I ask, have there been any resent developments in appointments in the Cook isl

    I noted trust laws were reformed in 2012, starting this whole thing, that same year one Hillary Clinton visited the Cook islands aug 2012.

    As cooks is a multi party political system we are represented by the queen and take care of defence and foreign policy, this allows us much leverage I think it would be interesting to have a look at what’s been going on there, I got a feeling.

    • Salsy 11.1

      +1 Without a doubt there is something there…

      Bernard Hickey has also asked: “Has NZ pressured the Cook Islands to change its trust secrecy/info sharing laws? If not, why not? The Cook Islands uses the NZ dollar and Cook Island citizens are NZ citizens. Also, NZ runs some of Cook Islands’ foreign policy”

      http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/key-responds-cook-islands-allegation

      • Richardrawshark 11.2.1

        +1 think that means thumbs up.

        Anyways I read that, it’s like wandering into the rabbit hole isn’t it. Just gets deeper and deeper.

        Surely the moral question is if parliament is passing legislation or pressuring governments to assist in illegal activities like tax evasion it becomes a police matter.

      • Richardrawshark 11.2.2

        I also think I missed the era of the wine box, I returned in 98 it was an interesting read that we seem to have definitely travelled this trusts road before, This Spencer bloke seems a right piece of… and Winnie involved eh…

        Politics, more excitement than sex.

        • reason 11.2.2.1

          Thanks for the reply Richardrawshark and the story I linked to lead to a group of nationals dirty politics crew to try and endanger Nicky Hager …… Hooten, Slater, odgers & co.

          Its detailed in his book Dirty Politics https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dirty_Politics

          Since that stuff article which Nicky wrote was published, John Key and national entrenched the legalized tax haven status of New Zealand ………….. And the police have illegally raided Nicky Hager house stealing his daughters computer and all of Nickys work equipment.

          The criminals seem to be running the show alright…… and with judith collins back as police minister …… the only good thing I can think of is at least she’s not Mike Sabin

          She’s the Most corrupt police minister I’ve ever seen though ………… and being a ex tax lawyer herself I wonder of her input into the spread of tax haven disease that national have been legalizing.

  12. John Shears 12

    MMMM!!!???? No Trolls so far.

    • Sabine 12.1

      the 101st Keyboard Brigade is still waiting for its marching orders.

      they will come marching in soon enough.

  13. Mosa 13

    Great article Simon.

  14. You want to know why John Key was singled out?

    Because he is Prime Minister of a country that has long prided itself on being one of the most transparent, least corrupt countries in the world. Given our very high ranking in Transparency International’s last report, it is all the more striking that such corruptive practices as those outlined in the Panama Papers are happening here.

    And this is why I told Transparency International it should look at downgrading our rating, because I did not believe – and have not believed for years – New Zealand to be as squeaky clean as Mr Key says we are.

    Once upon a time we were the second cleanest nation in the world for corruption. We still rank very highly, but as Transparency International show, we have been better.

    http://www.transparency.org.nz/docs/2016//CPI-2015-TINZ-Media-Release.pdf

    • Draco T Bastard 14.1

      And this is why I told Transparency International it should look at downgrading our rating, because I did not believe – and have not believed for years – New Zealand to be as squeaky clean as Mr Key says we are.

      NZ has been corrupt for as long as I can remember. A lot of it is minor corruption here and there. Stuff that gets done because it’s easier than following the rules and people over look it but the end result of that consistent little bit of corruption is a corrupt society that doesn’t recognise corruption when it’s staring them in the face.

    • Raff 14.2

      100% NZ Pure …

  15. NZJester 15

    Don’t forget in his time at Merrill Lynch that John Keys hands are all over the paperwork that helped set up Ireland as a tax haven that is being taken advantage of by Apple for instance.

    Maybe that also has something to do with why he was singled out by john Doe?

    • Jack Ramaka 15.1

      Fay Richwhite were deeply involved with Ireland during this period also any links I wonder ?

  16. Nick 16

    @NZJester, yes I agree, the Ireland Merrill Lynch connection. Although I do hear him claim he’s quite ignorant of how these technical tax haven thingees work…..he must have forgot.

    • Fireblade 16.1

      Key and National can’t deny not knowing about Cook Islands Tax Havens.

      10 July 2009
      MEDIA STATEMENT
      Cook Islands tax info agreement big step forward
      The Tax Information Exchange Agreement signed by New Zealand and the Cook Islands today provides for full exchange of information on criminal and civil tax matters between the two countries, Revenue Minister Peter Dunne said.
      Prime Minister John Key signed the agreement on behalf of New Zealand at a ceremony at Avarua, Rarotonga, this morning New Zealand time.
      “We welcome the signing of this important agreement with the Cook Islands, with whom we have a close historical, economic and cultural relationship,” Mr Dunne said.
      “The agreement will enable the tax authorities of both countries to gain access to information about income and assets that would-be evaders try to hide in the other country,” he said.
      “Having access to that information is especially important at a time when countries everywhere are doing all they can to protect their tax bases.”
      Mr Dunne said the agreement will cover “not only information held by banks and other financial institutions but also information on who benefits.

  17. katipo 17

    It is interesting to read through the PMs speech in cyber security from a couple of days ago in-light of this story…

    “…..First, the perpetrators.
    In New Zealand we are dealing with state-sponsored espionage by foreign countries and organised criminal groups.
    We’re attacked by extremists and terrorists, and issue-motivated activists.
    Others include lone cyber hackers and disgruntled insiders.
    There are multiple kinds of threats and cyber harms.
    These include targeted spam or emails aimed at fraud or theft.
    Malicious software to disrupt and damage systems.
    And espionage for economic or strategic advantage.
    These perpetrators are aiming at a range of targets.
    Victims can include anyone — from individuals or small businesses that lack the capability to address these issues, right up to large corporations.
    They target key industries and critical infrastructure.
    Even government agencies aren’t safe……

    …..Within that announcement was the Government’s intention to establish our own national Computer Emergency Response Team, or CERT, to defend businesses and infrastructure against cyber-attacks…..”

    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1605/S00075/john-key-speech-to-cyber-security-summit.htm

    I take it the PM considers John Doe, the Panama Papers source an “issue-motivated activist” and/or “disgruntled insider” and just the kind of person the C.E.R.T will be targeting.

    • Draco T Bastard 17.1

      I take it the PM considers John Doe, the Panama Papers source an “issue-motivated activist” and/or “disgruntled insider” and just the kind of person the C.E.R.T will be targeting.

      Pretty sure he specifically mentioned the Panama Papers at the press release about it. About how dangerous these things were but, IMO, what he’s really concerned about is the crimes of the rich being found out because if there’s one thing that you can be assured of – the money trail from Mossack Fonseca and other such organisations will reveal huge crimes.

    • Raff 17.2

      Yes, Key’s trying to invoke the same anti-hacker outrage that was whipped up against Assange & Snowden in the hope that it will similarly divert attention away from the extraordinary crimes exposed. Sadly for him, I think the mood has changed.

      • AmaKiwi 17.2.1

        Draco & Raff

        +1

        I was reading Katipo (17) above and thinking, how about we change words like “extremists, cyber criminals, etc.” and replace them with “tax evaders.” For example:

        (Tax evasion brings) “multiple kinds of threats and economic and social harms”

        “tax evasion for economic or strategic advantage”

        “Victims can include anyone” and “Even government agencies aren’t safe” (I didn’t have to change those two.)

        A typical scare mongering diatribe from the PM, except he and I disagree about who the enemy is.

  18. Richardrawshark 18

    Herald main page, an article on “The Healing power of adult colouring books.”

    The billionaire owners of NZ’s media have actually thought hard and come up with the essential crux of what we all need as commoners.

    Pass the crayons please.

  19. heather tanguay 19

    Great article Simon, the Herald will be running to publish it.
    You have covered everything so clearly, all can understand it. Me thinks that there are many who have benefited by no tax payments will not want to understand it.

  20. Treetop 20

    This is not a good look internationally, I really hope that this does not taint Clark’s application for the head of the UN.

  21. Draco T Bastard 21

    Doe says: “The collective impact of these failures has been a complete erosion of ethical standards, ultimately leading to a novel system we still call Capitalism, but which is tantamount to economic slavery.”

    Economic slavery is exactly what capitalism is. It’s all about getting others to work for you so that you don’t have to work and so that you become rich and using economic means to make that happen. Attacks on beneficiaries by government are one aspect of this slavery.

    • Richardrawshark 21.1

      I know of the state of Beneficieries mate, no need to tell me.

      To fix it we need to get rid of National, to get rid of National we will have to target what they got elected and keep getting elected for, they maintain an incredible rise in house prices pandering to their mum and dad homeowner in a major city fan base. They attack those lazy bludgers who’ve taken the piss for all their lives, have 9 kids and one on the way via being arses at WINZ. The public love it.

      But no one like a crooked rich man lining his pockets. If the market of buyers crashes and prices stagnate that’s good. to do that shut down oversea’s money billions hidden in trusts is also banked in property and hidden in trusts.

      It’s an excellent idea to apply mass pressure on trusts and force him to change the laws on it.

      Coca cola apple etc not paying tax is a good focus as a bad look.

      The fact we would also all be paying less tax if they did is a game changer and frankly they have had a ride to long.

      This could be beautiful people’s microsoft paying taxes, shit, I see good times.

  22. Margalit 22

    So frustrating. Thank you Simon for clarifying the scandal.

  23. What is this going to do for Helen’s bid?

  24. Anne 24

    It beggars belief! Corin Dann defending John Key on TV.

    He claims there will be a “crack IRD team” standing by this week and they will be working through the new material as soon as they are released. He went on to say… if they find any irregularities he has no doubt John Key will expect the IRD to take immediate action. (I paraphrase but will link as soon as the video goes online).

    This is the Prime Minister who used his influence (either directly or through one of his office minions) to have the Minister of Revenue close down the IRD’s investigations into precisely the same subject matter about a year ago and who has been defending this behaviour ever since.

    How’s that for brutal and staggering arrogance on the part of John Key.

    Edit: Here we go:
    https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/cook-islands-tax-has-nothing-do-me-key-tells-panama-papers-leaker?autoPlay=4882631087001

    Listen to the last 30sec in particular.

    • ScottGN 24.1

      TV3 used almost exactly the same terms Anne, ‘Crack IRD team on standby’ to sift through the doc released on Tuesday morning etc. The spin lines have been issued.

      • Anne 24.1.1

        Okay. I did listen to part of the TV3 version so maybe so that was where I heard that term being used. Still doesn’t take away from Dann’s attempt to either defend Key or sit fair and square on the fence.

  25. Well well well….

    Time for a wee song… here’s one that’s kind of appropriate …

    A real beauty from Sherbet from the 1970’s…enjoy.

  26. Colonial Viper 26

    “Historians can easily recount how issues involving taxation and imbalances of power have led to revolutions in ages past.”

    Successful revolutions are led by the middle and upper middle class.

    It ain’t happening in NZ.

  27. Ant 27

    Read John Doe’s manifesto if you’ve not done so already. It is extremely well written, cohesive and sane. Carries the same conviction and imprint of quiet authority of a Monbiot, Pilger, or Chomsky.

    https://panamapapers.icij.org/20160506-john-doe-statement.html

    • Incognito 27.1

      I fully agree; the manifesto has a ring of familiarity to it.

      It was well-written, well-structured, without technical lingo and ‘difficult’ long words. It was a rational statement that would (should) appeal to many moderate thinking people. It was matter-of-fact and lacked hyperbole and emotional or even radical (political) statements (‘outburst’).

      In fact, it was so familiar that it almost felt like a déjà vu, a sense of recognition. This was not written in the spur of the moment and intended for public ‘consumption’.

      I’d like to think that I have a few things in common with John Doe but I don’t have his courage, that’s for sure. I think he’s right that the next revolution has already begun.

      This is much bigger than John Key or even New Zealand; it’s a global issue that knows no borders and almost no limits. Indeed, “[I]t affects all of us, the world over”.

    • Ben 27.2

      Interesting insight Ant. Had the same thought after having a read, had a real Chomsky feel to it. Have always wondered how Noam remained so calm despite spending his life looking at the depressing failures of civilization, perhaps this could be his way of appealing to the mainstream. It is a nice thought that maybe someone of his stature would do this, maybe it isn’t such a farfetched theory.

  28. Tautoko Mangō Mata 28

    Cook Islands, a Paradise of Untouchable Assets

    But a cache of documents obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based in Washington, reveals the owners of about 700 Cook trusts. The Cook data were among 2.5 million documents containing information about customers of offshore havens throughout the world.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/15/business/international/paradise-of-untouchable-assets.html?_r=0

  29. Richardrawshark 29

    I’ve had a good look around now, all I can think of is the obvious, it was a shot across John keys bow, in 2 days, err maybe three, 9th May the united journalists are going to release a 90’000 page searchable database of company tranactions from memory.

    The manifesto has come out 2 days before the database goes live.. got to be.. a sweaty John Key couple days anyways, as he probably figures the same thing.

    all I can now think. Why else would they mention his name like that prior to a release of data…

    • Chuck 29.1

      So your investigation has determined that John Key has a few tax haven trusts / IBC’s to hide his taxable income from the IRD?

      Or he has master minded the tax haven industry and his finger prints will be all over the database?

      As you point out in 2-3 days we will know. It reminds me of “The moment of truth” via our very own tax dodger KDC (as Hong Kong and Macau are pretty good places to use as well).

      • One Anonymous Bloke 29.1.1

        Transparent attempt to pre-define the issue as one of the Prime Minister’s personal tax avoidance arrangements, which are unlikely to be organised by Mossack Fonseca.

        Establishing a money laundering factory for your morally white lawyer mate, on the other hand, nah, you don’t want to talk about that.

  30. maui 30

    So, what should New Zealand be doing about the Cook Island’s foreign trusts? What kind of political pressure can we exert? That is after we’ve cleaned up the foreign trusts here first.

  31. International Rescue 31

    “Why, out of all the rotten, corrupt and unprincipled nations of the earth, did the Panama Papers hacker single out New Zealand’s John Key for special mention?”

    Oh I think that’s going to become obvious. This is another dirty politics ‘hit’ on Key. It, like all previous attempts will fail.

    • McFlock 31.1

      bwahahahahaha!

      So agents of the opposition hacked a mexican law firm to get millions of documents relating to secret money of some of the most disreputable and powerful people across the globe and distributed those documents to a variety of international media organisations, all to throw more mud at john key.

      Ain’t we such rotters. 🙂

      • International Rescue 31.1.1

        Oh you are a conspiracy theorist. It’s much simpler than that. The left, aided and abetted by the media, are making ludicrous claims that will bite it on the bum in the same way this did prior to the last election.

        • maui 31.1.1.1

          Defying reality again, don’t spose you live on the same planet as Hyde and Brash per chance?

        • McFlock 31.1.1.2

          International media, aided and abetted by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, are making ludicrous claims that John Key was the only world leader individually identified by the hacker who has exposed hundreds of corrupt individuals.

          Fixed it for you.

          • International Rescue 31.1.1.2.1

            Actually no. It’ the left accusing Key of wrongdoing. I suspect the whistle blower is just confused. Like DotCom was. Oh and most of his left wing lackies.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 31.1.2

        I see the trolls have all got their lines.

        • Paul 31.1.2.1

          It took a while to work them out.

          • McFlock 31.1.2.1.1

            probably got the same memo that went to dunnokeyo: the hacker who accessed millions of documents from an international law firm was “confused”.

    • Tricledrown 31.2

      500 international journalists. Yeah right .
      Irrational rent boy.

    • Tricledrown 31.3

      Mm ask the prime minister of Iceland.
      John Key has singled himself out by Dirty Dealings.
      He is a film flam man,narcissist.
      Key has lost a huge amount of credibility.
      As Matthew Hooton says Key is New Zealand’s biggest bullshitter.

      • International Rescue 31.3.1

        Key has lost no credibility at all. Can you link Key with anything untoward? No. Unless he’s responsible for Cook Islands tax policy now.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 31.3.1.1

          Sure: he personally instigated and oversaw the 2011/12 tax law change that brought us into full-blown money launderer status, and he has a highly ethical, morally white sloppy ex-lawyer who misrepresents him.

          It’s ok sweety, I know you disagree, and that you probably don’t know the meaning of the word status. There’s no need for you to post any subsequent comment.

          • International Rescue 31.3.1.1.1

            No, that law did nothing of the sort. I have challenged you many times to come up with a single example of hat you claim and you have failed to do so.

              • International Rescue

                From your reference:
                “You must remember that New Zealand is not a tax haven.”
                “So the country can provide all the advantages of traditional “offshore” jurisdictions and even more because it is not blacklisted by any jurisdiction or authority in the world and has no connotations as a tax haven. New Zealand is a full member of the OECD, FATF and World Trade Organization.”

                Thanks for the link.

            • One Anonymous Bloke 31.3.1.1.1.2

              Specifically the ‘zero-rating’ it established. I expect you pronounce that Pacifically.

              And I expect you can’t pronounce Konrad Mizzi at all.

              • International Rescue

                Still not a single example eh?

                I also find it really funny that you think investors in overseas assets should pay tax in NZ as well as overseas. I’m guessing you’ve never heard of ‘double tax agreements’.

                • Paul

                  You are a dreadful troll.
                  Looking forward to the 10th May.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  There are no examples, apart from Konrad Mizzi.

                  There is one example: Konrad Mizzi, and Rafael and Federico Grozovsky.

                  Fish, meet barrel.

                  • International Rescue

                    Your claims have been about NZ. Now back them up.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      My claims:

                      Sure: he personally instigated and oversaw the 2011/12 tax law change that brought us into full-blown money launderer status, and he has a highly ethical, morally white sloppy ex-lawyer who misrepresents him.

                      Do you know what the word “white” means in this context?

                    • International Rescue

                      “Sure: he personally instigated and oversaw the 2011/12 tax law change that brought us into full-blown money launderer status, and he has a highly ethical, morally white sloppy ex-lawyer who misrepresents him.”

                      “full-blown money launderer status”

                      Back it up. And remember, the current trusts law was put in place by Labour in 2007.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  PS: Google “double tax agreement” and “Konrad Mizzi”, then clutch at your straw.

                  • International Rescue

                    What does Konrad Mizzi have to do with the actions of the NZ govt you are fantasising about? That’s right, nothing.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Pay attention. Your money laundering Daddy set up the zero-rating arrangement that Mizzi used to avoid tax in France, despite the double tax agreement between France and NZ.

                      Do you know the meaning of the word “despite”?

                    • International Rescue

                      “Your money laundering Daddy set up the zero-rating arrangement that Mizzi used to avoid tax in France, despite the double tax agreement between France and NZ.”

                      The current trusts regime was established by Labour in 2007. Interesting that Mizzi is a Labour man, eh?

                      BTW…http://www.ethicalconsumer.org/ethicalcampaigns/taxjusticecampaign/taxhavenlist.aspx has a list of tax havens. NZ isn’t mentioned. But keep that tin foil hat on OAB.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      The tax change, which came into force in September 2011, should make New Zealand managed funds an attractive alternative to funds resident in Luxembourg, Ireland or the Caymans… the tax change now allows a New Zealand fund to elect to pay tax at 0% on foreign income attributable to foreign investors.

                      Chapman Tripp.

                      Why do you tell so many lies, trash?

                    • International Rescue

                      “The tax change, which came into force in September 2011, should make New Zealand managed funds an attractive alternative to funds resident in Luxembourg, Ireland or the Caymans… the tax change now allows a New Zealand fund to elect to pay tax at 0% on foreign income attributable to foreign investors.”

                      The current law was put in place in 2007.

                      “In 2007 by the Income Tax Act 2007 the New Zealand government legislated that any non resident that establishes a trust in New Zealand can utilise the trust to hold assets or invest in transactions or even trade and pay ZERO TAX IN NEW ZEALAND provided that the settlor is a non-New Zealand resident and the trust does not conduct any taxable activities in New Zealand.”

                      http://www.trust-nz.com/offshore-trusts.html

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Who to believe, the feeble trash who says it isn’t happening and Labour did it too, or Chapman Tripp?

                      I believe Chapman Tripp, that well known nest of tinfoil hat wearing Lefties. Not someone who doesn’t know the meaning of basic English words.

                      Do you know the meaning of the word “feeble”, other than viscerally?

                    • International Rescue

                      “I believe Chapman Tripp,”

                      Oh so do I. You just don’t understand what they’re saying, which is why you have not provided a single example of any wrongdoing affecting NZ. Managed Funds is a legitimate business activity. You may not like it, you probably don’t understand it, but that’s only your problem.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Yes, everyone knows that you don’t think money-laundering is wrongdoing. You failed to convince anyone of that days ago.

                    • International Rescue

                      “Yes, everyone knows that you don’t think money-laundering is wrongdoing.”

                      I’m simply asking you to provide evidence such a thing is going on in NZ as a result of the trust law. You keep making claims…

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      There are no examples, apart from Konrad Mizzi.

                      There is one example: Konrad Mizzi, and Rafael and Federico Grozovsky.

                      Fish, meet barrel.

                    • International Rescue

                      “There is one example: Konrad Mizzi, and Rafael and Federico Grozovsky.”

                      Of money laundering? Do you even know what ‘money laundering’ means OAB?

                      “Money laundering is the generic term used to describe the process by which criminals disguise the original ownership and control of the proceeds of criminal conduct by making such proceeds appear to have derived from a legitimate source.”
                      http://www.int-comp.org/careers/a-career-in-aml/what-is-money-laundering/

                      Now, what criminal conduct are you accusing Mizzi of that led to his acquiring these funds, OAB?

  32. Richardrawshark 32

    Yes IR, you cannot claim it’s the so called left’s dirty politics this time.

    Imagine if the best lawyers in the whole planet, got together with some other useful people did something that made them bring your name up and shine a spotlight on you.

    Everyone’s looking at you john.

    • International Rescue 32.1

      ‘It’s’? What is “it’s”? There is nothing here. The dirty politics is the left using this to smear Key. The people of NZ will see through it, again, and Key’s popularity will rise. Again.

  33. Graeme Thompson 33

    With apologies to Blam Blam Blam.
    Sing along everyone !

    “There is no corruption in New Zealand.
    there is no collusion with foreign banks.
    There is no corruption in New Zealand,
    we can all keep perfectly calm.

    Everybody’s talking about nice John Key
    everybody’s talking about nice John Key,
    but he’s as nice as nice can be,
    there’s no unrest in this country.
    We have no corporate lobbyists,
    they are not tax dodgers,
    they are not dictating policy,
    we are not a tax haven, tax haven, no, no.

    There is no corruption in New Zealand,
    we have changed those laws.
    There is no corruption in New Zealand,
    Corporates sleep in well-made beds.
    Oh, but everybody’s talking about nice John Key,
    yes, everybody’s talking about nice John Key,
    but he’s as nice as nice can be,
    there’s no unrest in this country,
    because it’s a clause in the TPP.

    There is no corruption in New Zealand;
    there are no bones in our closets,
    there is no corruption in New Zealand;
    oh we can all keep perfectly calm,
    perfectly calm,
    perfectly calm,
    perfectly calm,
    perfectly calm…

    GT 29/4/2016
    Like · Reply · 1 hr

  34. Tricledrown 34

    This brings the Hagman donation back to the forefront.
    Niue being identified as tax haven.

    • Gangnam Style 34.1

      Ching ching! Yes, & the Hagamans were going to sue Little weren’t they? Still waiting…

    • alwyn 34.2

      Do you ever allow facts to intrude on you comments.
      Hagaman’s company got a contract to manage a hotel that was financed by New Zealand aid money. What on earth does that have to do with tax havens.
      It is roughly on a line that says Glenn gave money to the Labour Party, and to Winston because Glenn lived in the tax haven of Monaco.
      Right, that proves Labour and New Zealand First both promote tax avoidance.
      This wild premise you have adopted is just as silly as your claim the other day that Joyce has shares in MediaWorks.
      Why don’t you try talking about facts, not fantasies. You might find it refreshing.

      • Tricledrown 34.2.1

        Alwhynger Hagman makes a $125,000 donation to the National party 48hrs later gets awarded contract with an $11 million dollars NZ taxpayer funding to go.
        Monsack Fonseccas South Pacific offices and tax haven is in Niue.

        • alwyn 34.2.1.1

          Well that certainly answers my first question.
          “Do you ever allow facts to intrude on you comments”
          A resounding NO.
          In two lines you manage 3 lies.
          (1) The Hagamans did not make a donation of $125,000 to the National Party.
          (2) Their firm did not get a contract to manage a hotel in Niue 48 hours later.
          (3) There was no $11 million NZ taxpayer funding, either to the Hagamans, which you imply, or to the Niue Government owned hotel following that date.

          Apart from that the comment is up to your usual standard. I’ll repeat my final question.
          “Why don’t you try talking about facts, not fantasies. You might find it refreshing.”
          Are you also going to admit your claims about Stephen Joyce and Mediaworks are also bullshit?

          I suggest you follow Abe Lincoln’s advice in future
          “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt”.
          You have removed all doubt. You are a fool.

      • Incognito 34.2.2

        Dear alwyn,

        The facts are that there’s an ever increasing moral and ethical vacuum or perhaps wasteland is a better word for it. Like the ozone hole this vacuum seems to be particularly deep and widespread in 100% pure and innocent little New Zealand. The ozone hole leads to high incidence of skin cancer (melanoma); the ethical vacuum is responsible for societal decay & death. Both ‘diseases’ are preventable and possibly even curable but at an extremely high price.

        The facts are that we encounter the names of the same people operating in this wasteland. In fact, they created this wasteland and rule it; some even get knighted for this.

        The facts are that this relatively small group of operators all seem to know each other quite well and in fact collude and conspire collaborate with each other. Ironically, they claim to adhere to the highest ethical standards.

        I honestly wish this to be a “fantasy” but I’m afraid the facts are too abundantly clear that something is rotten in the state of Denmark.

  35. save nz 35

    Why was John Key singled out by Panama Papers hacker?

    Answer – because when politicians steal and get away with it, it they destroys a country and future generations, it enables other corrupt politicians, makes illegal acts legal through their own law changes and makes a mockery of the international community and politicians as a whole…. Politicians should and need to be held to account.

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/may/07/10bn-dollar-question-marcos-millions-nick-davies

    “Marcos was one of the first to exploit the rats’ nest of secret jurisdictions and hidden ownership then in the early stages of being built beneath the floorboards of public life.

    But what is most important about Marcos is that he committed his crimes as a politician. His career starts with a cynicism that now seems familiar – manipulating electorates, using money to buy power and power to make money. But he went one big step further in merging politics and finance, converting the instruments of government into one vast cash machine. A handful of other autocrats were also busy stealing from their people in that era – in Haiti, Nicaragua, Iran – but Marcos stole more and he stole better. Ultimately, he emerges as a laboratory specimen from the early stages of a contemporary epidemic: the global contagion of corruption that has since spread through Africa and South America, the Middle East and parts of Asia. Marcos was a model of the politician as thief.”

    • International Rescue 35.1

      What on earth are you on about? John Key hasn’t ‘stolen’ anything from NZ. He hasn’t ‘destroyed’ the country. On the contrary we are far better off today by international standards than we were in 2008.

      • RedLogix 35.1.1

        I’m a senior editor of this site and have been supporting it from within a week or two of it’s beginnings many years ago. I’ve seen many, many right wingers come and go.

        There’s been plenty of trolls

        There’s been the bewildered, naive and deliberately obtuse

        There’s been the sycophants and John Key arse-lickers

        There’s been a handful who’ve made their case honestly and despite the natural head-wind they face on a left-wing site; they’ve won respect

        There’s been some who through many the ding-dongs and battles have adapted and learned. Their viewpoints have changed.

        Now I’ve been reading your comments IR for some months now and avoided responding. There is a bit of all of the above in you; and a much of it unattractive. The above little hit and run is from the troll dept.

        This isn’t about politics. It’s about how people view and evaluate the world, what is important and why. It’s about our experiences and how they shaped our brain wiring … and how this projects into our collective social life. You may want to think about what it is that enables humans to live together as a species, and what are the conditions which enable us to thrive and the conditions which lead to distrust, dysfunction and disorder.

        And conduct yourself accordingly.

        • Incognito 35.1.1.1

          Well said.

        • International Rescue 35.1.1.2

          Bollocks. It wasn’t a ‘hit’ and I aren’t ‘running’. I was responding directly to very specific claims made that are unsupportable.

          You want to take sometime to read the bile some of your psycophants post here before lecturing me.

      • Tricledrown 35.1.2

        Setting up a tax haven for terrorists Drug Cartels corrupt peddlers of influence that no other tax haven would touch with a 40′ barge pole.
        Has seriously damaged NZ.

        • Richardrawshark 35.1.2.1

          Does this mean if I go to Mexico I can get free drugs and Tequila! I’m joining the National party for the next Mexico trade negotiations.

        • International Rescue 35.1.2.2

          Well it would, if it had happened. Meanwhile, there is no reputation damage ot NZ, because only you and handful of other tin foil hat wearers actually believe this shit.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 35.1.2.2.1

            There is one sort of person who believes this. Tin foil hat wearers.

            Tin foil hat wearers, and the New Zealand Herald.

            There are two people who believe it: tinfoil hat wearers, the New Zealand Herald, and Transparency NZ.

            The three who believe this are tinfoil hat wearers, New Zealand Herald, Transparency NZ, and the Australian Taxation Office.

            Money laundering trash apologists like you bring nothing to this debate, other than revealing just how shit is your ability to comprehend reality let alone English or ethics.

            • International Rescue 35.1.2.2.1.1

              You seem to confuse ‘believing’ something with reporting it to sell newspapers. Can you provide the link where the ATO calls NZ a tax haven, or that any specific action is damaging NZ’s international reputation?

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                It’s OK, sweety, don’t worry your empty little head about it,
                The grown-ups are talking.

                • International Rescue

                  I’ll ask again. Can you provide the link where the ATO calls NZ a tax haven, or that any specific action is damaging NZ’s international reputation?

                  Posting a link about investigations into the actions of MF isn’t fooling anyone.

                  • International Rescue

                    Oh, and by the way:

                    “In 2007 by the Income Tax Act 2007 the New Zealand government legislated that any non resident that establishes a trust in New Zealand can utilise the trust to hold assets or invest in transactions or even trade and pay ZERO TAX IN NEW ZEALAND provided that the settlor is a non-New Zealand resident and the trust does not conduct any taxable activities in New Zealand.”
                    http://www.trust-nz.com/offshore-trusts.html

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      PS: what sort of witless wanker claims “it isn’t happening” and “Labour did it too!”

                      Feeble trash.

                    • International Rescue

                      “PS: what sort of witless wanker claims “it isn’t happening” and “Labour did it too!””

                      No-one. Least of all me. Labour passed the current law, and it was slightly modified in 2011. You still haven’t given a single actual example of any harm it has done to NZ.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      🙄

                      So you don’t know the meaning of the word “slightly” either.

                    • International Rescue

                      “So you don’t know the meaning of the word “slightly” either.”

                      I know you’ve made claims you can’t substantiate.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      There are no examples, apart from Konrad Mizzi.

                      There is one example: Konrad Mizzi, and Rafael and Federico Grozovsky.

                      Fish, meet barrel.

                    • International Rescue

                      “There are no examples, apart from Konrad Mizzi.”

                      Konrad Mizzi is not an example. Konrad Mizzi has not even done anything illegal, that I know of. So I ask again. Provide an example of an activity arising from the current foreign trust law that has caused reputation damage to NZ.

                    • RedLogix

                      The simple problem here is the Panama Papers provide documentary evidence that these tax-haven arrangements … however narrowly legal they may be at present … have been extensively used for ethically bankrupt tax avoidance and outright criminal money-laundering.

                      And because most of these arrangements have been until very recently secret, or at best exceedingly opaque, we do not know which ones are legit and which ones are not. This is called a ‘loss of trust’.

                      If faced with ten glasses of water, and one has an undetectable poison in it, which one do you drink? The answer is none of them.

                      Same with these deals; until proven otherwise we must assume they are all tainted with criminality.

                    • The lost sheep

                      So, if you are spending so much of your time engaging with someone you believe is a ‘witless wanker’, what does that say about you oab?

                      Found your natural level of engagement or what?

                      This blog gets the quality of trolls it deserves.

                    • International Rescue

                      “have been extensively used for ethically bankrupt tax avoidance and outright criminal money-laundering.”

                      Do they? So you can now trace illegal activity with the proceeds, and then follow the trail of that cash to NZ trusts? Gee that’s a claim I haven’t heard even the media make. It’s also a claim that could have applied before this Gvt took office.

                      I get the concern, and yours seems to be genuine. However from where I sit all I see is the same over-reach from the left that I used to call out from the right during the Clark years.

      • Paul 35.1.3

        Clearly you would defend anything your hero does.

      • whateva next? 35.1.4

        With power comes responsibilities, Key, as someone else commented has used his power for (his own) opportunities, that makes him dishonest, lacking in integrity and unworthy at the very least, maybe you are “pretty relaxed” about such things?

        • International Rescue 35.1.4.1

          Example?

          • One Anonymous Bloke 35.1.4.1.1

            There are no examples, apart from Konrad Mizzi.

            There is one example: Konrad Mizzi, and Rafael and Federico Grozovsky.

            Fish, meet barrel.

            • International Rescue 35.1.4.1.1.1

              Konrad Mizzi is not an example of how “Key, as someone else commented has used his power for (his own) opportunities, “. Keep up OAB.

  36. Richardrawshark 36

    Red in IR’s defence, yes it was a troll post, but in some parts of his statement I agree, John Key has not been proven to have stolen anything.

    However, we can all agree his wish was to create money in NZ by encouraging a tax regime that supported a tax haven status like Switzerland, he’s been quoted somewhere in the past that it was an attractive idea for him.

    I presume he figured all that money held in our banks would somehow benefit the nation, perhaps holding tax IDNK.

    The question remaining to be judged is wither the public accept it, or react to it.

    That will depend on what were the consequences of these changes and how the negative consequences are judged by the people of NZ.

    So far they have tolerated a multitude of past shockers.

    • Muttonbird 36.1

      You agree that the jury is still out on the negative consequences for New Zealand and whether the public accept those consequences.

      If the consequences are negative for New Zealand could not Key be accused of stealing New Zealand’s reputation?

      Those who vote for his government clearly do not mind the thought of New Zealand becoming ‘the Switzerland (or Bahamas) of the South’, but I wonder if they’ve really thought it through.

  37. stigie 37

    Good lord, the conspiracy’s above without any evidence. Mind blowing !

    • Pasupial 37.1

      stigie

      Which comments and conspiracies are you referring to specifically? The evidence that the Key government has been instrumental in; facilitating NZ (and its territory’s) operation as a tax haven, seems to be mounting, and conclusive.

      My personal conspiracy theory is that; the troll hive has finally awoken to the existence of this post (I imagine that they’ve had a lot of fires to try piss out this last week). An obvious tactic would be for one of them to make a disparaging comment at the tail of the thread to try dissuade casual readers from reading any of the preceding discussion.

      • International Rescue 37.1.1

        “The evidence that the Key government has been instrumental in; facilitating NZ (and its territory’s) operation as a tax haven, seems to be mounting, and conclusive.”

        No.

        “In 2007 by the Income Tax Act 2007 the New Zealand government legislated that any non resident that establishes a trust in New Zealand can utilise the trust to hold assets or invest in transactions or even trade and pay ZERO TAX IN NEW ZEALAND provided that the settlor is a non-New Zealand resident and the trust does not conduct any taxable activities in New Zealand.”
        http://www.trust-nz.com/offshore-trusts.html

        Who was in Gvt in 2007?

  38. Ed 38

    – Key said his relationship with Ken Whitney is long-standing, and that is likely true, but Whitney has been involved in the foreign tax racket for years. He even sold his law practice in 2014 so that he could set up Antipodes, which essentially focuses only the foreign trust business. –

    From http://www.antipodestrust.co.nz/#introduction :
    “Antipodes Trust Group Limited is an independent New Zealand owned and operated trustee company with its origins in the legal practice formerly carried on by its principals. From small beginnings over 20 years ago . . .”

    I believe Whitney has been involved in Antipodes since its inception”; the reasons for his voluntarily giving up his legal registration are to concentrate on the Antipodes part of his previous work.

    • Graeme 38.1

      Also a small matter of witnessing Rob Neilson’s signature in absentia and being sprung in the High Court, also found to be wanting in other areas of the same case. Maybe he resigned before the Law Society threw the book at him.

      I’m also struggling with the concept of our PM’s “personal” lawyer having Neilson as a longstanding client.

  39. Paul 39

    Papers being released at 6 a.m. tomorrow according to Bryce Edwards.

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  • Labour will get tough on loan sharks
      Labour will take a tough stance on loan sharks and make sure that the Commerce Commission is properly resourced to protect Kiwi consumers, says Labour’s Consumer Affairs spokesperson Michael Wood.   “People on low incomes must be protected from ...
    6 days ago
  • GP letter more evidence of failure in mental health
      A letter of complaint by medical practitioners to the Ministry of Health and Capital and Coast District Health Board underlines how badly patients are being let down by mental health services in Wellington, says Labour Leader Jacinda Ardern.  “The ...
    6 days ago
  • GP letter more evidence of failure in mental health
      A letter of complaint by medical practitioners to the Ministry of Health and Capital and Coast District Health Board underlines how badly patients are being let down by mental health services in Wellington, says Labour Leader Jacinda Ardern.  “The ...
    6 days ago
  • Tax cuts when kids go hungry shows National’s lack of moral compass
    National’s campaign of tax cuts that give $400 million to the top 10 per cent of earners, at a time when 120 Kiwi kids every year are being hospitalised for malnutrition, shows they have lost their moral compass, says Labour’s ...
    7 days ago
  • Freight being shifted off planes as fuel crisis worsens
    Export freight is being shifted off flights because of the Government’s failure to manage the risk of disruption to jet fuel supplies, says Labour’s Economic Development spokesperson Stuart Nash. “It has been revealed to Labour that non-perishable export freight is ...
    7 days ago
  • Apologise now Jonathan
    Health Minister Jonathan Coleman must apologise for his part in a $2.3 billion shortfall that has contributed to delays in cancer diagnosis and treatment, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark. “All the Minister could say in an interview this morning ...
    7 days ago
  • National’s health report card shows need for new plan
    From increased GP fees, to kids getting sick from cold homes, to denial of important surgeries, National’s underfunding of health has hurt Kiwi families, says Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern.   “It’s time to invest in the health of ...
    7 days ago
  • Eye clinic wait downright dangerous
    The fact that 9,500 Kiwis are waiting one and a half times longer than they should to get follow-up eye appointments is unacceptable and dangerous, says Labour’s Health Spokesperson David Clark. “These people are entitled to the reassurance that if ...
    7 days ago
  • National has serious questions to answer over Auckland fuel crisis
    Thousands of air travellers looking for answers to Auckland Airport’s fuel crisis should be demanding the National Government come clean over its failure to secure fuel supply for the airport, says Labour Leader Jacinda Ardern.  “There are serious questions the ...
    1 week ago
  • Come clean on trade before the election
    In the two days before the election, New Zealand MFAT negotiators will attend a negotiations meeting in Japan on the successor to the failed Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), now called the TPP-11. The negotiations are shrouded in secrecy but we ...
    GreensBy Barry Coates
    1 week ago
  • National unravels on transport
    The release of extraordinary information showing that the East-West link could be the most expensive road in the world, at $327 million per kilometre, shows that National is fiscally reckless and out of ideas on transport, says Labour’s Transport spokesperson ...
    1 week ago
  • Saudi cover-up a perversion of democracy
    The Government has been exposed as dishonest after it was revealed that  they were wrong to claim they paid out $11 million dollars to a Saudi businessmen after legal advice, says Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Parker.  “OIAs revealed on ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour supporting Te Reo Māori in schools
    Labour will support a future where New Zealanders from every background will have the ability to use Te Reo Māori in everyday conversations, says Labour’s Deputy Leader and Māori Development spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “Labour will commit to a target that ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Is National planning a secret fuel tax?
    Sources suggest National is considering a secret fuel tax to fund its controversial Roads of National Significance (RONS) programme, says Labour’s Transport spokesperson Michael Wood. “While the Government keeps up its stream of lies about Labour’s tax policy, sources indicate ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s plan for West Coast prosperity
    Labour’s regional development plan for the West Coast will build on its strengths in engineering and tourism, while delivering a much-needed upgrade to the Buller Hospital, says Labour Leader Jacinda Ardern.  “Labour’s vision is for a thriving regional New Zealand, ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour committed to fair and progressive tax system
    Labour is committed to a tax system where everyone pays their fair share and where we start to address the imbalances that have fuelled the housing crisis, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson and Labour’s Revenue spokesperson Michael Wood. "Today ...
    2 weeks ago
  • A challenge to Bill English
    ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Flavell’s fake news an insult to Māori voters
    A desperate Te Ururoa Flavell has resorted to fake news about Labour’s position on his unpopular Ture Whenua reforms, says Labour’s Ikaroa-Rawhiti MP Meka Whaitiri. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • National’s tax cuts reckless and irresponsible
    It is time for Bill English and Steven Joyce to stop the scaremongering and lies, and front up to New Zealanders about the impact of their tax cuts, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “Bill English has no credibility on ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Calculator shows Labour’s Families Package delivers
    Labour has launched a new online calculator that show how much extra families with kids will get from Labour’s Families Package, says Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern. “Families can go to www.labour.org.nz/calculator and see how much better off they ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Strengthening New Zealand’s identity through Labour’s media and film policy
    Labour has today launched its media and film policy aimed at strengthening New Zealand’s identity and providing sustainability for the industry, says Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour to invest in parents and babies
    Labour will fund an additional 100 Plunket and Tamariki Ora nurses to increase the help available for vulnerable parents and babies, says Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern. “It’s so important that our children get the best start in life. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour to build affordable homes and state houses in Hawke’s Bay
    Labour will build a mix of 240 affordable KiwiBuild starter homes for first home buyers and state homes for families in need in Napier and Hastings, says Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern. “In 2016, the populations of Napier and ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour pledges more for Whānau Ora
    Labour will strengthen the oversight of Whānau Ora and provide an extra $20 million over four years to improve outcomes for whānau and families, says Labour’s Deputy Leader Kelvin Davis.    “We’ve created a new position of Whānau Ora Reviewer ...
    2 weeks ago
  • National’s housing band aid
    Throwing subsidies at an under-supplied housing market is one last desperate bid by National to be seen to do something about the housing crisis, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “First home buyers have been the collateral damage of National’s ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Housing, families, education and environment top priorities in Labour’s first 100 days
    Labour will take urgent action in its first 100 days in office to expand support for families and students, make rental homes warm and dry, find solutions to the mental health crisis and accelerate efforts to clean up our waterways, ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour pledges to unlock funding for Te Hiku sports hub project
    The Labour Government will inject nearly $3 million into the Te Hiku Sports Hub project, to help realise a much-needed health and recreational facility for the Far North, says Labour Deputy Leader and MP for Te Tai Tokerau Kelvin Davis. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s plan to get job seekers into better work
    Labour will provide real support for people looking for work by increasing the amount of money someone can earn before their benefit begins to reduce, reinstating training incentives, and putting a renewed focus on upskilling and training, says Labour’s Social ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Labour sets strong target and plan for climate action
    Labour will set a target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050 and take the necessary steps to achieve it, says Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern.  “Climate change is my generation’s nuclear-free moment. We have to take our place ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Are education cuts missing in National’s Fiscal Plan?
    National needs to explain why its plans for cuts to school transport have not been announced in its fiscal plan, says Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins.   “Buried in the Pre-election Budget update is a $5m a year cut to ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Joyce must come clean on Health and Education funding
    Steven Joyce needs to front up to New Zealanders and tell them whether he will fund health and education to meet increasing cost pressures, or risk seeing services cut and costs increase for parents, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson.  ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Housing crisis is National’s legacy
    Reports of tenants languishing in boarding houses for years because they cannot get a state house is yet more evidence National’s legacy is the housing crisis, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “We used to pride ourselves in this country ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Labour calls for release of report into civil defence flaws
    The National Government must stick by its word given to other political parties and release a technical report before the election addressing critical flaws in New Zealand’s civil defence capability, Labour Civil Defence spokesperson Clare Curran said today.  “Cross party ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Credibility shot as Government runs out of steam
    New Zealanders are witnessing the desperation of a government clinging to survival, evidenced by policy on-the-hoof, dodgy maths and dirty politics, says Labour MP Phil Twyford. “New Zealand had been hoping we’d seen the end of dirty politics, but what ...
    3 weeks ago