The National Government helped facilitate Mossack Fonsecca’s tax avoidance business in New Zealand when it put a stop to Inland Revenue’s proposed review of foreign trust regulation, the Green Party says.
The Panama Papers show companies connected to the Prime Minister’s lawyer, and others who lobbied the Government to get the IRD off their backs, were involved with Mossack Fonsecca’s world-wide tax avoidance network.
“Instead of helping the world crack down on tax avoidance, the National Government helped make New Zealand a magnet for people looking to hide their money from their countries’ governments,” Green Co leader James Shaw said.
“Over the past few years the IRD has warned the National Government that New Zealand was being seen as a tax haven, but instead of doing something about it, the Government told the IRD to back off.
“While other world leaders have used the Panama Papers as an opportunity to crack down on global tax avoidance, John Key’s first instinct has been to defend it and the network of secret trusts that allows it to take place.
“John Key’s defence of the global tax avoidance problem has to stop. Today the Prime Minister should signal he takes this fiasco seriously by broadening John Shewan’s one-man Trust Review into a proper inquiry that involves a panel of experts, and public input.
“The Government should be using every available power to stop New Zealand being used as a tax haven. If it doesn’t, the National Government is effectively saying to the world that it’s OK for someone not to pay their fair share of tax if they have the means to get out of it, while everyone else continues to do their bit,” Mr Shaw said.