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Key tells parliament about Panama links

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 10/05/2016

Prime Minister John Key has told parliament that less than 200 foreign trusts registered in New Zealand have links to Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca.

"IRD has cross-referenced them all and all of them are disclosed to ensure they pay their fair share of tax," he said on Tuesday.

Under questioning by opposition MPs following the leaked Mossack Fonseca papers going online on Tuesday, Mr Key said incrimination by insinuation could be dangerous.

"I took a moment to look at the data base and guess who is a beneficiary of one of the trusts - Greenpeace International," he said.

"And guess who else is mentioned - Amnesty International."

Mr Key told Labour leader Andrew Little and Green Party co-leader James Shaw that he stood by his statement that New Zealand was not a tax haven.

The Panama Papers that went online are under scrutiny around the world.

Mr Key said IRD had looked at them.

"People should go and have a look at the data base and make sure they understand what is happening in New Zealand," he said.

Questioned about New Zealand trusts and the way lawyers who ran them had lobbied the government against changing the rules, Mr Key said he didn't have a problem with that.

"People who work in an industry might actually want to talk to the government about it - do you want to hang them for that?"

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