Sunday, 10 April 2016

Winston Peters calls for a commission of inquiry on NZ as a tax haven

New Zealand apparently is mentioned 60,000 times in the Panama Papers (which, as we know represents only a small part of the picture. We have a prime minister involved in corruption up to his teeth (and as a banker he can’t profess not to understand what this about).

Winston Peters is serious about this and not just politicking. He has been onto corruption (and its coverup) in this country ever since the Winebox Inquiry in the 1980’s, details of which are difficult to find now. He has more institutional memory than most and if he can’t bring out the truth of the matter then no one can.

He is the first politician in this country to say (in this interview) that politics in the United States is corrupt.

People in Britain are very, very angry and Cameron has been seriously embarassed. Who knows where this will go in coming days.

As far as New Zealand is concerned all I can say is, “watch this space”

'We know that this country has been used as a tax haven' - Winston Peters on Panama Papers
New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says the country risks huge reputational damage in the wake of the release of the Panama Papers and a commission of inquiry is needed to get to the bottom of the matter.

NZ First leader Winston Peters is calling for a inquiry into NZ’s involvement into the Panama papers saga. He was interviewed by our political editor Corin Dann

The massive leak of documents linked to Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca has shed light on the shadowy world of offshore banking and tax havens, and has already seen the Icelandic Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson step down.

British PM David Cameron is also coming under fire over his family's links to offshore bank accounts. 

Speaking to TVNZ's political editor Corin Dann on Q + A this morning, Mr Peters said there is certain to be more fall out as more information is revealed.
"With the number of references to New Zealand we know that this country has been used as a tax haven," Mr Peters says.

"Now that's enormous reputational risk for a country like our.

"Remember the Cooks Islands, we know what the Cayman Islands do, the Jersey islands and all round the world. But we're not a country with that reputation and that's why there is going to have to be a serious commission of inquiry."

Prime Minister John Key says New Zealand is not a tax haven as it's a "full disclosure" regime.

Close to 12,000 foreign trusts have been established here, the Panama Papers revealed. 

Remember the Cooks Islands, we know what the Cayman Islands do, the Jersey islands and all round the world"”
Winston Peters

John Christensen of the UK's Tax Justice Network, which advocates for transparent tax regimes, said New Zealand's reputation had been harmed, but not fatally. 

"Happily for New Zealand it isn't a huge player, it's not very high up on the financial secrecy rankings, it isn't nearly as big a player or frankly as somewhere like the British Virgin Islands.

"But none-the-less, we kind of looked to New Zealand as a place where you have responsible government, co-operative government, it's a place we'd like to think had great integrity.

"This is an area where there is a great deal of room for improvement" 
He said information exchange agreements were "pretty useless" as they work on an on-request mdoel

He said there should be automatic information exchange when trusts are set up.

Watch the TVNZ segment HERE

This is the ABC Four Corners documentary I've been waiting for

The Panama Papers: Secrets of the Super Rich - Monday 4 April 2016

It's the shadowy world of secret international finance and tax avoidance.

"What we're looking at here is really a parallel universe."

This Four Corners investigation will reveal how the rich and powerful exploit the system.

"What this really says is a lot about the system itself and how broke the system is and how crazy the whole thing is."

Our reporter Marian Wilkinson follows the money trail and it's worth trillions of dollars.

"I was on their immigration stop list. But we've gotten in." Marian Wilkinson, Reporter

The Panama Papers: Secrets of the Super Rich, reported by Marian Wilkinson and presented by Sarah Ferguson.

This story was produced in collaboration with Suddeutsche Zeitung and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

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