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Call for more transparency on MPs' trusts

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 12/04/2016

The Green Party wants greater transparency around MPs' trusts.

MPs are required to disclose any trusts they have on the register of pecuniary interests, but they don't have to say whether the trusts are in New Zealand or offshore.

Green Party co-leader James Shaw is calling on all other political parties to support a change to the rules so where the trust is registered also has to be stated.

"Dozens of MPs have trusts recorded in the pecuniary interests register but what's not known is whether they are registered in New Zealand or if they are foreign trusts," he said.

"It is important the public knows because no New Zealand MP should be exploiting tax havens."

Mr Shaw said the best way to deal with concerns about trusts and secrecy is to have more transparency.

"By requiring MPs to declare the location of their trusts, it will act as a deterrent for current or future MPs to abuse tax haven loopholes to maximise their incomes."

Prime Minister John Key says it wouldn't bother him if that information had to be provided, but said it's ultimately a matter for parliament's standing orders committee to decide.

He pointed out, however, that people could go and search for that information, based on what's already provided in the register.

The latest register of pecuniary interested was released on Tuesday.

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