PM must apologise for attack on charities

The Green Party is today calling on the Prime Minister to apologise for smearing some of New Zealand’s leading charities, as well as a Green MP, in Parliament in an attempt to take the heat off his Government over the foreign trusts tax-dodging scandal.

Yesterday John Key used Parliamentary privilege to wrongly claim that Amnesty, Greenpeace and the Red Cross had been implicated in the Panama Papers leak, and that Green MP Mojo Mathers had a foreign trust.

The charities named had been the victim of an earlier scam where fraudsters used their names as a front to hide their money in foreign trusts and were not named in the papers.

Mojo Mathers is one of several beneficiaries in an ordinary family trust in the UK that owns her Grandmother’s home.

“It’s a new low for the Prime Minister to use Parliament to defame hard working charities and innocent backbench MPs in order to take the heat off himself,” Green Co-leader James Shaw said.

“If he’s going to use Parliament to slander these people, he should use Parliament to apologise to them today.

“While other world leaders like President Obama and Prime Minister Cameron are using the Panama Papers as an opportunity to crack down on international tax dodging, John Key is still defending it and hitting out at innocent charities instead.

“The Panama Papers leak shows that New Zealand’s secretive foreign trust industry has played an active and growing part in international tax avoidance.

“The National Government helped facilitate this tax dodging when it stopped Inland Revenue from clamping down on foreign trust regulation in 2014. It should clean up New Zealand’s reputation by expanding the one-man John Shewan review into a proper inquiry, that includes a panel of experts and is open to the public,” Mr Shaw said