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Government should stop defending tax avoidance

The Prime Minster today should have come out and promised he’d throw everything he’s got at cleaning up foreign trusts, and stamping out the tax avoidance industry, the Green Party said today.

 

“It is extraordinary to see our Prime Minister call a press conference to defend tax avoidance and dodgy practices in the New Zealand foreign trusts industry,” said Green Party Co-leader James Shaw.

“We are calling on the Prime Minister to come clean about New Zealand’s role in international tax avoidance, stop defending tax avoiders, and commit today to cleaning up the foreign trusts industry.

“The rest of us pay our taxes and try to do what’s right, but the Prime Minister seems to think there is a different class of person who doesn’t need to.

“Each day, the Prime Minister appears to become more and more involved in the Panama Papers fiasco than he has previously let on. His story has shifted as new bits of information have come to light over the last few weeks.

“Till now, the Prime Minister had told us that his lawyer, Ken Whitney, had guaranteed that he had nothing to do with Mossack Fonseca. Now we discover that Whitney had written reference letters to them. That looks more than just sloppy.

“Tax avoiders rob their country of tax income, and exacerbate poverty in their home countries. Our Government is aiding and abetting them.

“This shows why the Shewan inquiry needs to be led by a panel, not just a single industry insider. In order to restore our good name we need a range of experts, including those from the anti-corruption sector, and the opportunity for public submissions.”