The Prime Minister and Land Information Minister are remarkably complacent about an overseas investment land application that involves Mossack Fonseca, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson.
“Mossack Fonseca is now an international byword for tax evasion and New Zealand’s reputation has been seriously damaged by being mentioned 60,000 times in the Panama Papers.
“That Mossack Fonseca is involved in an application to buy sensitive New Zealand land will be a concern to every New Zealander and, if successful, could further undermine our reputation.
“That the Prime Minister doesn’t even know which country the application comes from shows he doesn’t understand the importance of this issue and is seriously out of touch.
“He and the Land Information Minister must show urgency and, at the very least, demand regular Cabinet briefings on the status of this application. We can’t risk a further erosion of our reputation.
“Serious questions also emerge from figures showing over $300m of foreign investment came into New Zealand from well-known tax haven the Cayman Islands over the last four years – more than Russia, India, Italy, Spain and Sweden combined.
“That’s an astonishing amount for one territory with less than 60,000 people.
“The Overseas Investment Office needs to take a close look at future investments to ensure New Zealand land and business aren’t being used as a vehicle for the global mega-rich to secretly park their money.
“This is yet more reason why we need a full and independent public inquiry into the nature of foreign trusts and tax avoidance in this country,” says Grant Robertson.