You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Opposition demands tighter tax laws

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 4/04/2016

Opposition parties are calling for tighter tax laws following the revelation that New Zealand is being used as a haven by foreign politicians.

Papers leaked from one of the world's largest offshore law firms, Panama-based Mossack Fonseca, mention more than 214,000 offshore companies in more than 200 countries and territories that are being used for tax avoidance.

High profile presidents, prime ministers, sports stars and business people with connections to the secret companies are named in the documents.

They show Malta energy minister Konrad Mizzi and the prime minister's chief of staff, Keith Schembri, set up two offshore trusts in New Zealand in 2015 through Mossack Fonseca.

Labour leader Andrew Little says New Zealand's reputation is at risk.

"The question for Prime Minister John Key is how long he has been aware that New Zealand is becoming a favourite investment location for foreign companies looking to keep their profits tax free," he said.

"Urgent action must be taken to close this loophole to protect the integrity of New Zealand's tax system."

NZ First leader Winston Peters says "dirty money" is being washed through New Zealand.

"We are now known as one of the world's `quiet tax havens' as the leaked documents reveal," he said.

"Because of our weak laws, over 12,000 trusts pay no tax here on their overseas earnings."

The Greens say the government must stop foreign trusts operating secretly in New Zealand.

"Up until now the government has been happy to allow New Zealand to become a significant tax haven," said finance spokeswoman Julie Anne Genter.

"It's time to break open our foreign trust industry to help fight global tax evasion."

Mr Key will answer questions about the Panama Papers at his post-cabinet press conference later on Monday.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon