New Zealand Labour Party

Ministers sought no advice on level of multinational tax avoidance

The Government has dropped the ball with Michael Woodhouse admitting in the House today that Ministers have never sought any advice from Treasury on the extent and impact of multinational tax avoidance on the Government’s finances, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. 

“It is extraordinary that a Minister would say investigating tax avoidance from major overseas corporates is ‘a waste of time’ as he did at Question Time. It’s a stunning admission given the loss of revenue could run into the billions of dollars


“He doesn’t seem to understand that it’s a basic issue of fairness that companies that operate here should pay the right amount of tax. 

“He is completely out of touch with the views of New Zealanders and people around the world who know that large scale tax avoidance is just plain wrong and is robbing New Zealand of potentially billions of dollars in revenue. 

“The government also does not seem to realise that our credibility in discussions at an international level on tax avoidance is now totally compromised thanks to revelations of our position as a tax haven, as outlined in the Panama Papers. New Zealand has now been lumped in with the Bahamas and Jersey and our international reputation is taking a hammering. 

“Thanks to the lack of leadership from National we are in no position to demand major multinationals pay tax here when we are allowing overseas earners to park their billions in secret trusts in New Zealand. 

“National needs to get a grip on these issues immediately. Right now we have the worst of both worlds – we are being branded a tax haven while multinationals operating here are avoiding paying taxes. 

“When the government is not even asking its chief financial advisor the right questions, New Zealanders are right to wonder if the government is on their side, or the side of tax dodgers” Grant Robertson says.