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Key foreign trust questions remain unanswered

Key questions remain unanswered about the Prime Minister’s role in his Government’s stopping an IRD review of our secretive foreign trust industry, the Green Party said today.

Prime Minister John Key told National Radio this morning that his lawyer, Ken Whitney, misrepresented his exchange in an email to then Minister of Revenue Todd McClay by saying, ‘I have spoken to the Prime Minister about this and he advised that the Government has no plans to change the status of the foreign trust regime applying in New Zealand.’

“The Prime Minister has made it clear that Ken Whitney, his personal lawyer, misrepresented his conversation with him when he lobbied then Revenue Minister Todd McClay to stop an impending review of the foreign trust industry,” said Green Party Co-leader James Shaw.

“There are further questions that the Prime Minister has left unanswered.

“Key also said in the interview on Morning Report today that he later informed Revenue Minister Todd McClay that he’d been approached by Ken Whitney on the topic of foreign trusts.

“Previously, Key told journalists earlier that he’d had no other involvement in the issue other than his conversation with Ken Whitney.

“I’d now like to know exactly what the Prime Minister told Todd McClay about his meeting with Ken Whitney.

“Did the Prime Minister tell Minister McClay to expedite the meeting with the foreign trust industry?

“Did the Prime Minister tell Minister McClay to ditch the IRD’s impending review of the foreign trust sector?

“Is Key troubled by the speed with which his Revenue Minister responded to Ken Whitney’s request given IRD’s concerns about the foreign trust industry and the damage they were doing to our reputation?

“Finally, will the Prime Minister now broaden the review of foreign trusts to restore public trust in government processes and kill the suspicion that the foreign trust industry has a privileged relationship with the National Government?”

Link to the Official Information Act request on foreign trusts: