John Key must come clean on offshore trust loopholes

John Key must come clean about what he knew and what he has done about New Zealand becoming a haven for rich foreign investors looking to hide their fortunes in secret trust accounts, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says.

“New Zealand’s reputation is at risk from the reports emerging from the so-called Panama Papers. International media stories today directly mention John Key and his discussions with the Malta Prime Minister at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in November 2015.

“The question for John Key is how long he has been aware that New Zealand is becoming a favourite investment location for foreign companies looking to keep their profits tax-free, and what has he done about it.

“The Prime Minister must address claims he has fought to retain the loophole whereby foreign trusts that hold offshore property and earn offshore income have no tax obligations in New Zealand and don’t have to file an annual income tax return here.

“John Key must also reveal whether any of his Ministers currently utilise any of these foreign trusts.

“The Prime Minister must take urgent action to close this loophole to protect the integrity of New Zealand’s tax system and our international reputation for honesty and transparency,” Andrew Little says.