Public excluded from foreign trust inquiry

The Government has ruled out public input into the inquiry into New Zealand foreign trusts which will undermine public confidence in any of the inquiry’s findings, the Green Party said today.

Finance Minister Bill English ruled out public input into the foreign trust inquiry during question time in Parliament today.

“Excluding the public from an inquiry into foreign trusts will further weaken the inquiry’s credibility,” said Green Party Co-Leader James Shaw.

“Without public input, inquiry head John Shewan will have complete control over what evidence he chooses to hear and what evidence he chooses to ignore.

“The Finance Minister also refused to widen the inquiry’s terms of reference to require input from transparency and anti-corruption experts.

“Any review of our foreign trust tax settings would be stronger if there were balanced perspectives represented on the inquiry.

“John Shewan is a tax insider and has not fought for the other side, defending the public interest in ensuring big companies and wealthy individuals pay their fair share of tax.

“At a time when the world’s leaders are working hard to restore confidence in the integrity of their tax systems, our Government last week denied there was a problem and, when that didn’t work, set up an inquiry that now lacks integrity,” said Mr Shaw.

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