Journalists from 1News and the NZ Herald have teamed up with hundreds of journalists around the world to investigate leaked documents revealing the secrecy of tax havens.
The 2016 leak resulted in changes to New Zealand’s disclosure and transparency rules, and now we’ll bring you more stories from the release of the Pandora Papers.
Closing a tax loophole that could allow global elites with foreign trusts in New Zealand to avoid paying taxes is not a priority for the government.
Revenue Minister David Parker told 1News that there is still a small tax loophole for foreign trusts in New Zealand, and acknowledged that “the concern is that there might be people who pay no tax nowhere “.
“We don’t think this is a risk to New Zealand’s tax base, it’s a question of whether the tax system is broadly fair internationally.”
David Parker Source: 1 NEWS
Parker called the tax loophole “small” and said it was nowhere near as big as it used to be.
However, with Covid-19, the government has other priorities “so it has not been completely removed from the (government) work program but it is not a current priority”.
Speaking ahead of the release of the Pandora Papers, Parker said the government was confident that the vast majority of “dubious” people with foreign trusts in New Zealand “left town” after the introduction of ground rules in New Zealand. disclosure and transparency in 2017 after the publication of the Panama Papers.
“It’s pretty obvious that the whole foreign trust industry was based on some pretty shady people doing shady things as the Panama Papers revealed,” Parker told 1News last week.
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1Political journalist Benedict Collins explains. Source: Breakfast
“And of course, because we didn’t have transparency as to who the underlying beneficial owners of these trusts were, they could get away with it in New Zealand as soon as we had transparency or the light was on. enlightened and as information-sharing agreements with other tax jurisdictions have been triggered, they just left town. “
There were nearly 12,000 foreign trusts operating in New Zealand in 2016 before the Panama Papers.
Parker said there are now less than 2,700.
The former national government moved quickly to pass the laws which saw greater transparency and disclosure introduced and its former Revenue Minister Judith Collins told 1News it was “probably a good thing” that many foreign trusts had decided to leave New Zealand as a result of these changes.
She said National had no time to close the loophole given that year’s general election, adding that the government had four years to shut it down.
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The Pandora Papers are the world’s largest collaboration between journalists and have uncovered millions of documents revealing the secrets of tax havens. Today, it brings together 150 media partners and more than 600 journalists in 117 countries.
An anonymous source shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists 2.94 terabytes of confidential financial files, representing over 11.9 million documents and other records, from 14 offshore financial service providers who set up and operate shell companies and trusts in tax havens around the world.
The investigation reveals the secret holdings, secret deals and hidden fortunes of the super-rich – among them more than 130 billionaires – and the powerful, including more than 30 world leaders and totaling trillions of dollars.
The confidential documents also feature a global group of fugitives, convicts, celebrities, football stars and others, including judges, tax officials, spy bosses and mayors.
New Zealand’s involvement
Journalists from 1News and The New Zealand Herald have been scouring the documents for months and will tell you stories about those who operate foreign trusts right here in Aotearoa, New Zealand.