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Dunne questions IRD's attitude to trusts

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 9/05/2016

A former revenue minister says IRD should have told him about an "explosion" of foreign trusts in New Zealand.

Peter Dunne, who held the portfolio from 2005 to 2013, says the just-released Panama Papers show the number of foreign trusts set up here increased four fold in the last decade.

"That explosion inevitably raises perceptions that New Zealand is being used as a tax haven, and that is not good for our international reputation," he said on Monday.

"These revelations challenge the identity of New Zealand - we do not want to be seen as a country that enables tax evasion."

Mr Dunne says he can't recall receiving any advice from IRD during the time he was revenue minister which indicated that the foreign trust regime was a problem, or that New Zealand was becoming a tax haven.

"That concerns me too, in the light of current revelations," he said.

"Was Inland Revenue not aware of what was going on, or did they genuinely perceive the issue to be unimportant?"

There are more than 11,000 foreign trusts in New Zealand.

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