The IRD was so ready to review foreign trusts it had the review on its action plan in November 2014, just before the Revenue Minister met with John Key’s lawyer, says the Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little.
“The IRD had already started work on the review of foreign trusts. It was in the action plan given to the Minister in November 2014, with a report due to go to him in December.
“That was just before John Key told his lawyer to talk to Todd McClay the Minister of Revenue. became involved. After the December meeting between Todd McClay and Ken Whitney the Minister ordered a halt to the review.
“It is remarkable how quick this review was scrapped. There is no way Todd McClay – a new minister – would not have felt pressure from above. That’s shown by the impressive speed with which Ken Whitney and his lobby group got a meeting with the Minister.
“This review was scrapped because the government is in donkey deep with the foreign trust industry. Too often they are looking after those at the very top rather than the interests of most New Zealanders. To say it wasn’t a priority – when the IRD clearly thought it was – is farcical.
“Most New Zealanders are concerned about the mega-wealthy parking their money here in secret trusts to avoid tax. It seems the IRD was worried as well. That’s why it’s so surprising the minister scrapped the review so quickly.
“There has been far too many smokescreens around this issue. New Zealanders want clear answers and they want them now,” says Andrew Little.