Key says after reports from TVNZ, RNZ and Hager on Panama Papers that Hager a 'left wing conspiracy theorist'; says NZ just a 'footnote' in latest revelations; says Govt may reform foreign trust if Shewan recommends

By Bernard Hickey

Responding to more detailed reports of New Zealand's role as a tax haven in the Panama Papers, Prime Minister John Key has attacked one of the local reporters looking at the papers and described the 61,000 mentions of New Zealand as nothing more than a 'footnote.'

Key told TVNZ, NewstalkZB and Newshub in interviews this morning that New Zealand was hardly mentioned in global news reports about the Panama Papers.

"My officials have gone all over the world looking at all the things around the Panama Papers. New Zealand is barely even mentioned," he told TVNZ.

He was not asked about reports by the Australian Financial Review's Neil Chenoweth, who has seen the Panama Papers, describing New Zealand as a 'quiet tax haven achiever' and that Key had fought to retain the current tax rules. Chenoweth also detailed the role of Key's personal lawyer, Ken Whitney, in giving a reference to Mossack Fonseca. Whitney successfully lobbied Key and then Revenue Minister Todd McClay to block IRD plans to review New Zealand's foreign trust regime, as detailed here on April 28.

Key said the reports showed the journalists had not found any New Zealanders using the trusts to avoid tax, which was different to the period before 1988 when the Cook Islands was being used for such purposes. He described the non-appearance of New Zealanders as a sign of the robustness of the tax system.

He denied that New Zealand was at the centre of the tax haven activity.

"There are 215,00 entities identified, about 350 in New Zealand. The investigative journalists around the world have listed the top 10 tax havens in the world. We're not on it," he told Mike Hosking on NewstalkZB.

"Nicky Hager says we're a tax haven, but with the greatest respect Nicky Hager is a left-wing conspiracy theorist," he said.

"We have complied with every single request for information this country's had. We proactively, by the way, give that information to Australia and we were already working on a Bill that will allow us to have even greater automatic release," he said.

'If we need to we'll change the rules'

Key said John Shewan was conducting a thorough review of the foreign trusts, "and if it shows anything we'll change it."

"If more is required, if there should be better information, if there is things that will enhance the process, then we will do it," he said.

Key also spoke to Paul Henry on TV3, but refused to do a previously agreed interview with RNZ's Guyon Espiner.

Venezuelan bankers and Israeli drone dealers

This morning Radio New Zealand's Patrick O'Meara, Jane Patterson and Gyles Beckford, TVNZ's Andrea Vance, Lee Taylor and Jessica Mutch, and Nicky Hager published reports after having been behind the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists' (ICIJ) firewall protecting the Panama Papers for a week.

TVNZ reported "tens of thousands of Panama Papers documents reveal how New Zealand, Niue, The Cook Islands and Samoa have become prime destinations for the rich to hide their financial secrets."

RNZ reported New Zealand was "at the heart of a tangled web of secretive shelf companies and obscure trusts being used by well-heeled South Americans to organise their private wealth, business affairs, and channel their funds around the world."

RNZ and TVNZ detailed the central role of Bentley's tax partner Roger Thompson at the heart of Mossack Fonseca's activities in New Zealand and deals involving the creation of New Zealand foreign trusts by a Venezuealan banker and an Israeli supplier of drones to the Mexican Government to target drug cartels.

Key denies responsibility for Cook Islands' tax affairs

Over the weekend Key was the only politician named by the Panama Papers' leaker, John Doe, in his or her's first statement. See more here in Gareth Vaughan's piece on Doe's criticisms over John Key's actions, or lack of them, over the role of the Cook Islands.

Key responded to reporters in a stand-up on the fringes of a National Party conference later on Saturday, saying the leaker was confused about his role in relation to the Cook Islands.

"I have as much responsibility for tax in the Cook Islands as I do for Russia," he said, adding New Zealand tax officials had worked with Cook Island authorities over the years to ensure 'best practice', but New Zealand did not run the Cook Islands' tax affairs.

"That's why I'm quiet about it because I don't have any responsibility for it," he said.

New Zealand signed a tax information sharing agreement with the Cook Islands in 2009 under then Revenue Minister Peter Dunne.

Andrew Little then told Q+A a Labour Government would ban the use of foreign trusts.

"If we want to talk about economic development, there's other things we should be doing. So right now my point is I see no value in them; I'd be getting rid of them. And I think what we'd do is have a close look. If there is no convincing reason, then they will go," Little said.

"It is this sort of stuff — us appearing to harbour the tax avoiders of other countries — that undermines our integrity and reputation," he said.

'Knee-jerk and dangerous move'

Key said Labour's plan to get rid of foreign trusts would be a knee-jerk and dangerous decision.

"If you're going to ban that, what about a foreign company that operates in New Zealand? What about a foreign partnership that might operate in New Zealand? If you talk to the Inland Revenue Department they will tell you we have a very good tax system," he told reporters on Sunday.

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

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I don't see any reference to Ken Whitney's Antipodes group in this mornings article. Clearly he is involved in this activity but has no dealings with Mossack Vonseca. As he was leading the charge to preserve the trust activity, this suggests that there are other networks around the world working in the dodgy trust/tax avoidance industry with which he and one suspects by association Key are involved.
While these papers have revealed extensive activity, it is highly unlikely that they reveal it's full extent globally. When you think about it, it is highly unlikely that just one player, Mossack Vonseca, would have this market cornered. It is obviously lucrative so you can be pretty sure that there will be a whole bunch of similar groups at it.

As soon as I see Nicky' Hager's name associated with an issue , I know that its driven by left wing spin, so I switch off and stop reading , he is in the same league and John Minto , and has no cred at all .

He will flog this dead horse hoping it may show some life , and eventually give up when everyone just ignores him


Just the Rabid Right calling the Looney Left names again.


Whether it’s Nicky Hager on Dirty Politics, or Jane Kelsey on the TPPA or GCSB bill or John Campbell on anything. It doesn't matter how many rock solid facts are collected, collated written down and documented, because the authors are denounced as dirty “left wingers” even if they apolitical like John Campbell. It doesn't matter if thousands of people protest nationwide against the GCSB bill because they don’t want New Zealand to turn into a surveillance state. Equally irrelevant are the thousands who protested against the TPPA because those guys are portrayed as “fringe elements”. It doesn't matter that the Human rights commission and Law society denounced the GCSB bill because those guys were “ill informed”. In fact John Key threatened to cut the law society’s funding after they made their negative submission. Seriously you can’t make this stuff up – read here.

But if any ultra right wing supporter of the government like Cameron Slater, Mike Hosking, or Paul Henry, Audrey Young, (or pretty much anyone at the Herald) utters any right wing crap….. its gospel.

I’m getting pretty tired of this sort of thing.


How about a proper discussion on the risks and benefits of running foreign trusts in New Zealand? Reputational risk and potential complicity in tax evasion versus $24 million collected by a few private companies/individuals. No need for ad hominem attacks.


Time for you and the rest of the Key sock puppet team to learn what critical thinking really is.

Yes, why bother with 'reading', or 'thinking' or 'analysis' when you can save so much time and effort by relying on mindless prejudice instead. Efficient!

Chris-M, MossFon files, although revealing in terms of what was long known but seldom actually seen, are not even the speck on the tip of the iceberg. With an estimated 5% or so of the market, they're one of the biggest half dozen or so wholesalers, so although for some client they were closely involved, for vast numbers they will have established the structures and passed them on, with little further involvement. Tens of thousands of other firms also set up various opaque corporate structures for their clients directly. Many will know the ultimate beneficial owners, and what the structures were used for. Especially those used for legitimate uses. But many will know only one, or neither. Especially those intended for illict purposes.

Thanks Ron. That is very important information that people need to appreciate. If the total activity is 20 times what is revealed in the Panama Papers, then it is a very significant world wide and New Zealand problem. From that perspective, John Keys claims that it is not significant and not worth wasting the IRD's time reviewing are not true. It suggests that perhaps he was more interested in protecting this activity that he had previously enthusiastically promoted. (and protecting his friends and colleagues who are involved with it).

Rawdon Christie came across this morning as a wanna be journalist.
He was awful especially when Key questioned the word TAX HAVEN being used by a few journalists .
Chrisities reply was it's being used by several journalists.
Rawdon,that don't make them correct
More facts required.

Rawdon Christie is a disaster on TV1 Breakfast.

He never researches anything properly, develops his views on the run , his opinions lack the balance needed by an impartial reporter, and he makes all sorts of off- the cuff comments which show his incompetence .

After many years I don't watch TV1 Breakfast any longer , Christie is just pompous and he annoys me

I normally could not defend Rawdon Christie.
However this morning he did at least stop Key as Key ranted multiple times about Nicki Hagar with no acknowledgement that NH is only one of a team of people doing the investigation. OK , NH is the one with the greatest experience but Key went off the deep end in accusing him as if he was the prime respondent.


JK keeps saying that NZer's aren't using offshore trusts to avoid tax. That's a diversionary tactic. That's not what the problem is at all.

NZ facilitating and enabling offshore criminals to launder money, and hide from their tax obligations in their home countries is the issue. If they can have a trust here, without disclosing who owns the funds or is the beneficiary or settlor of the trust offshore - as is the case - then we are open to becoming a haven for foreign criminals to launder money and evade tax.


Ninety % of the Cook Islands working population are employed by the Government
NZ funds most of the Rarotongan Government's expenditure
NZ could, at any time suspend the flow of funding until the Rarotongan Govt cleaned house
By remaining silent the NZ govt is both condoning and funding the Cooks tax haven

Spot on rp.


Classic Key executing his Crosby Textor game plan to perfection. Step one, discredit the messenger. Nicky Hagar " left wing conspiracy theorist". Step two downplay and deploy strawman argument......


and its not even lunchtime yet.

Whilst i agree that hager is not to be listened to, that does not take away from the hundreds of other overseas reporters trawling through the papers finding NZ links.
couple of things struck me, he would only be interviewed by friendly media.
he is using the line we give out any information asked for, that would be like him asking about a certain investment in his own blind trust, if you dont know how can you ask for specifics or information needed?
we have a special relationship with the cooks and to wipe your hands of them either means he does not know this or is hoping others do not know the details of the relationship
To put it bluntly this has turned into a mess and he had the chance to tidy it up years ago but did nothing, it has become standard for this government to turn a blind eye and not be proactive when needed

everyday more and more like Berlusconi, whose connection with offshore tax havens is not a secret at all.

Bit off topic, but I've wondered for a while if Crosby Textor, P.W.C.,KPMG, and other attendant government advisors pay tax in N.Z. Or does it go offshore?


Key full of fallacies, which doesn't make him look good. I am not convinced all of this should fall on his shoulders, although in the end "follow the money" applies.


When good men do nothing, evil happens

As grandma said to her grand-daughter - remember dear - silence is consent

Hager is indeed a dweeb. But there is still a case for JK to answer.


That comment is like a modern remake of the Winebox soap opera
Winston Peters was ridiculed and ridiculed - 20 years later he is vindicated
A lesser man would have folded his tent and disappeared

I agree, but what if we get to a point where good men must use violence to end corruption because all other avenues have been blocked or corrupted ? That's what happen way back then....and is likely to happen again

Should have learned the 1st rule of holes..."if you're in one, stop digging"

"Nicky Hager is a left-wing conspiracy theorist" Actually he's wrong, Hager is an extreme left wing conspiracy theorist. But that doesn't mean he is wrong in this case, too many others are making the same claims and they aren't conspiracy theorists.


How's he extreme exactly? Like the rest of us he wants political transparency and accountability


In the case of Hager, I see plenty of attempts at ad-hom smears, but only avoidance of discussing the content of his work.

And do people really want to argue the position that opposition to corruption and transnational crime and money-laundering is a left-wing thing? Really??

I couldn't give a damn about any mindless left-wing/right-wing tribal bollocks. Give me facts.

Hager has a reputation of being very careful to get his facts straight, in this day and age is it acceptable to just label any investigative journalist a left wing conspiracy theorist now?

He's not immune to having a crack and left wing political parties either, remember he wrote the book about GM that embarrassed the Clark government, were people calling him a right wing conspiracy theorist back then? I don't think so, key just loves to play that man rather than the ball, it's one of his most common tactics.


Humm.. Well even Transparency International have been repeatedly warning the NZ Government for years as to how it handles and regulates Trust structures in regards to 'facilitating' money laundering. Hence why we've been slipping in their league tables.

As Mr Key is so proud to quote that 'Transparency International regards us as being one of the most uncorrupted countries in the world', though I think we're going to fall even further once this all comes out in to the open.


Hager is accurate with what he documents. If he wasn't the police wouldn't have spent so much time trying to illegally search for his sources. This is just a simple attempt to smear his name. The smear might work for those who don't read books or are extremely lazy.

For some reason John Key is very focused on this issue. Even during a live Q&A he focused on it when no one was asking questions about trusts and no one was even interested. He seems completely obsessed to the point where it looks like he's hiding something. It's it's a non-issue he should stop making such a big deal about it, and smearing Hager makes it look like something is wrong.

Nonsense , Hager.... Accurate ? Do me a favour his book could not connect any dots anywhere , it was a random collection of e-mails that made no sense whatsoever , with silly little narrations , full of innuendo and nonsense

Hager's most recent attempt at smearing the Government backfired spectacularly , the Green party all but collapsed at the polls and the Labour party vote was abysmal.

New Zealanders are largely tax compliant from what I can see , and we are not a likely destination for terrorist funding or drug cartels.

If a foreigner buys a New Zealand home or a farm in a trust , is that even illegal ?


Wow... Keep sipping that Kool-Aid mate.

If you can attack the messenger enough you might be successful in getting people to miss the message. Here I was thinking we've just had a huge leak of international documents which have implicated New Zealand as a tax haven. Furthermore an associate of Key appears to have lobbied against a tightening of the law on foreign trusts. Perhaps we should focus on the issue at hand eh?

"and we are not a likely destination for terrorist funding or drug cartels."

How would we know?

@ Plutocracy; Yes I very much agree with you. Lots of politicians around the world have taken action over tax havens, since they do have a direct impact on a countries well being. We still seem to be twiddling our thumbs and hoping that it can be pushed under the carpet.

It would appear that under the current rules we're offering everything a terrorist organisation or drug cartel could want.

Don't forget that previous investigations into our notoriously lax companies registration process have revealed links to all kinds of shady business, and been of great interest to international law enforcement. Remember SP Trading Ltd?

It's more that New Zealanders don't care, others don't like the options available with the other parties. Just mix in some fear of Dotcom and people voted for National.

I don't see why anyone is spending time defending Key as nothing significant has been released. By all means go on to defend tax evasion by setting up a strawman but that's just ripping the country off. We all lose with tax evasion.

Also the only one being smeared is Hager. If the Government acts guilty every time Hager publishes something then maybe there's something to it. Where has the calm dismissive Key gone?


We could always wait and see if the NZ police raid the Antipodes offices of Ken Whitney and Roger Thompson's Bentlieghs and seize their computers - like they did with Nicky Hager - a rule for one and a different rule for others


As soon as I read that Hagar was one of the journalists investigating this I knew what Key's defence would be. Seems that paying tax is sooo left wing!

It's impressive to see how knowledgeable our prime minister is, imagine the labour or greens leaders being faced with these questions...


yes they might be able to answer them instead of talking in circles whilst saying very little


Someone should patent a look-alike robot for Key for use during interviews, program it to randomly repeat the following lines constantly:

"I can't recall the exact details"
"I don't recall the event in question"
"At the end of the day"
"It's a left-wing conspiracy"
"The people of New Zealand are not worried"
"Actually, I'll think you'll find"
"We need more information before making any decisions"

Seriously, mix those lines up and try it and you'll see it would interview just like Key.This could save him more time so he can concentrate on important matters like the flag design rather than on trivial matters like corruption, the housing crisis (non-existent of course), employment or immigration.

I wonder who pays Nicky Hager ?

His publisher perhaps?

And who would that be ?

Craig Potton Publishing.

I was going to say the labor party but they are broke? Perhaps RNZ & TVNZ are helping him.(ironic given they are both state broadcasters)..or could it be last elections paymaster ..the fat german waiting extradition?
Its all about perception ...apparently..

I'm still not convinced from today's interview that things are squeaky clean.

This whole thing is a waste of time .

We have always welcomed foreign private Capital here , and if they use our laws to establish trusts , its not illegal now and never has been.

Secondly . the is no evidence New Zealanders are using offshore tax havens for illegal money, there is little incentive to do so , we don't have massive drug cartels , there is almost no corruption and we have a stable Government so the risks associated with being "rich" don't exist here like they would do in South America or the Middle East or Asia .


See RP's comment up-thread.

JK keeps saying that NZer's aren't using offshore trusts to avoid tax. That's a diversionary tactic. That's not what the problem is at all. NZ facilitating and enabling offshore criminals to launder money, and hide from their tax obligations in their home countries is the issue. If they can have a trust here, without disclosing who owns the funds or is the beneficiary or settlor of the trust offshore - as is the case - then we are open to becoming a haven for foreign criminals to launder money and evade tax.


New Zealand Foreign Trusts do not bring capital to new Zealand. You must have worked this out by now. The whole point of them is that they are not conducting business in New Zealand

Haha shows how much he really knows about this, but he is an expert in saying how there is no problem.

You seriously think we don't have drug cartels? Naive or in denial?

Tip of the iceberg.

I don't like paying tax, but I try to be responsible about it and keep it straight. And I know the IRD might come by and ask me for that receipt for parking from years ago and it will cost me if I misplaced it.
It really bugs me then, that this same government avoids intervening in this trusts fiasco. And allows the multinationals to rip our nation off using cross border methods, that whilst 'legal' are truly exploitive.

I see no reason why if trust wish to set up here there should not be full disclosure of all interests involved.

Beneficiaries Trustees - everyone !

Pretty simple - If they don't agree to this then you have to ask why they are here.

Yes it is simple

Every entity involved in a Foreign Trust should be required to establish their bona-fides by providing at the very least the following - be they an individual, a corporation, or a trust, be they resident or not for tax-purposes in NZ

(a) Country of which they are resident for tax-purposes, and
(b) Their tax-identification-number (IRD Number) for that country

John Key misrepresents what Andrew Little says in this interview:

Andrew Little then told Q+A a Labour Government would ban the use of foreign trusts.

"If we want to talk about economic development, there's other things we should be doing. So right now my point is I see no value in them; I'd be getting rid of them. And I think what we'd do is have a close look. If there is no convincing reason, then they will go," Little said.

"It is this sort of stuff — us appearing to harbour the tax avoiders of other countries — that undermines our integrity and reputation," he said.

'Knee-jerk and dangerous move'

Key said Labour's plan to get rid of foreign trusts would be a knee-jerk and dangerous decision.

It's quite clear watching the full interview that Andrew Little isn't talking about making a knee-jerk reaction.

Also, as part of this article, Bernard Hickey states that "Andrew Little then told Q+A a Labour Government would ban the use of foreign trusts.", which is also misleading.

Little and Labour have had the heads up weeks if not months in advance to get their shit together...but he,s still not sure if they (foreign trusts) are good or bad"..we need to have a close look..." (gives him an out clause if it turns out no case to answer)
Interfering in the cook islands govts tax affairs or Australia's handling of expat kiwi criminals in detention centres also undermines our "integrity and reputation"..points lost on the current labour leader.
Its pretty hard to misrepresent someone like Little when they don't know their position in the first place .

The I hate John Key are out in force again today chasing hot air

Really, it's hardly hot air when it has a direct effect on our economy and the well being of this country.

Here what the impact of Tax Havens has had on major cities like London:

But at least Britain has woken up to a nightmare and is willing to do something about it, that takes guts:

And if you don't think shady goings on are happening here then perhaps you should read this article:

So is it possible to buy Auckland property anonymously through a foreign trust?

Sure, many are doing this already.

Well, if that's true, it's another reason to be angry at John Key and the National party

Hmm, from my own point of view 'hate' just doesn't describe what I feel about the guy.

It was foolish of JK to calling Nicky Hager "left-wing conspiracy theorist" is just playing into Nicky Hager hands. Respectfully disagree but don't give him more ammunition - attacking the person rather than arguing the topic makes JK seem like a right wing nutter (or he has struck a nerve). Reminds me of "red under the beds" style politics.

JK "s reply would be that ..."they started it by calling Hager an ' Investigative Journalist'...
instead of .... a receiver and manipulater of stolen material..

If both Key and Hager were to drop dead tomorrow (the sinister operatives of S.M.E.R.S.H could disguise it as a doomed lovers suicide pact for the best conspiracy theory ever) it wouldn't make any difference at all to the real issues here. This is a hell of a lot bigger than a couple of small fry in NZ.

True - big fish in a small pond.

That's what petty wee narcissists do though eh?


John Key orders the Zero tax policy for foreign funds etc back in 2010
Frustrated by Govt officials

It's all quite deliberate. If you go on the IRD website it says that funds may have 0% tax. All of the rules relating to tax havens are out in the open and written into law. I'm not sure where the lefty plot is given that these are laws passed by National. I guess there's some revisionist history going on.

If someone investigated and unraveled the complex web of the funds I think they'd find a lot of back taxes are owed somewhere.

I recommend playing any of the Tropico games if you want to run an island nation and send funds overseas to a secret bank account.

No one is questioning that, What we are questioning is why are we allowing tax dodging foreigners to hold their dodgy cash and assets here without at the very least insisting on their names and reporting back to their own nation to investigate?

That's what a good ethical international citizen would do, particularly one wanting/seeking UN credibility

You'd think there would be checks and regulation wouldn't you? You'd also want tax evasion to be caught. Yet the same thing goes on in the UK, US and various places that have an official 0% income tax.

There must be a reason beyond the minimal fees that are received. You'd think that something else is going on given there's no jobs or economic benefits other than a tiny amount of fees.

Another thing - what if we're enabling human rights abuses and repressive regimes like Syria and the Sudan? Is New Zealand complicit in hiding stolen funds for corrupt, genocidal kleptocrats like Assad? No idea if anything like that will be found in NZ-based foreign trusts, but we have to consider the possibility. Because the UN and the world are going to take a very dim view if we are.

Read the article. National passed this new legislation, purportedly to attract back office funds into NZ. However foreign Trusts also benefit.

"Key is confident New Zealand will be able to attract financial funds to place their back office administration here saying a chief executive of one of the world's most powerful banks had told him: "If you are prepared to zero-rate foreign funds that are not invested in NZ, we're going to move billions here ...."

interesting how people connect, who is this Craig Stobo that had the PM's ear and does he know some really really wealthy NZrs

Thanks MortgageBelt that's a damning link.

"There's been a whole series of advice coming from MED which basically says 'if you want to do this, you've got to deliver the Magna Carta of documents'," Key told the International Business Forum audience. You've got to do all these things and need bipartisan support' and [so] it goes - on and on and on."

Key went on to say MED's approach was "absolute rubbish".

"I don't need the Magna Carta of documents - just get on and do something - which is why I have told Gerry to deliver me a paper that has zero rating of funds and we'll work on that."

Craig Stobo - who chairs the Government-appointed group which was tasked with working out how an international funds services industry could be created here - is delighted the proposal has got Government approval.

Stobo said if a zero rating for the relevant funds (international funds which are not invested in New Zealand but are administered out of NZ) is incorporated in the November taxation bill, "it will be a signal to the rest of the world we are serious".

Stobo's group reported to Brownlee in May. But he noted the minister has had other urgent issues to deal with including the Canterbury earthquake and Pike River disaster.

Key told the Business Herald he had "got the numbers" to get the legislation passed and Inland Revenue and the Treasury had signed off that it would not affect the tax base.

Key is confident New Zealand will be able to attract financial funds to place their back office administration here saying a chief executive of one of the world's most powerful banks had told him: "If you are prepared to zero-rate foreign funds that are not invested in NZ, we're going to move $2.5 billion of funds here in two years because you're 50 per cent cheaper than Australia."

Visiting Hong Kong Financial Secretary John Tsang welcomed the Prime Minister's intention saying if New Zealand develops a financial services hub it will help to grow the worldwide industry.

Earlier reports to the Prime Minister suggested the administration of financial services could become a billion-dollar industry and create 3000 to 5000 new high-paying jobs."

Of course it was all Labours fault!

so the whole plan was to compete with tax havens, how without becoming one
The financial services hub proposal emerged after banker Craig Stobo told the Government's 2009 Jobs Summit an economic boost would result if the Government created a zero tax rating for foreign investors who invested in international funds based here.
In March 2010, Stobo was appointed chairman of an advisory group whose tasks specifically included determining what incentives were required by financial firms to implement the financial hub proposal by then Economic Development Minister Gerry Brownlee.

Cabinet papers from the time note $500,000 was allocated to fund Stobo's group. Brownlee awarded group members fees he characterised as "top of the range" of up to $655 a day.

Stobo's appointment came after the Government's Capital Markets Taskforce expanded the initial zero-tax idea into an ambitious plan to compete directly with tax havens Luxembourg, the Cayman Islands and Ireland to host international funds investing in the Asia-Pacific region
Meanwhile, concerns within Inland Revenue and Treasury were crystallising over several aspects of the financial hubs proposal. Officials advised the PIE zero tax proposal be deferred indefinitely soon after the Jobs Summit as it concluded it would cost $10m a year in lost revenue for negligible benefits, possibly breach international tax treaties and open up tax-dodging loopholes
Treasury analysts also noted potential hub competitors Ireland and Luxembourg were being forced to change their financial hub regimes after an OECD crackdown on tax havens.

This is most definitely a Lefty beat up...look at what these Eastern Bloc countries are doing...

EU Largest Economies To Tackle Tax Evasion

"Britain, Germany, France, Italy and Spain say they will now work together in a bid to lift the veil of secrecy that facilitates tax evasion..."

This government when challenged just bad mouths the questioner, witness question time in the house. The worst proponent is jk and he must be stupid to realise how weak he appears when he goes this route. It is amusing to see his toadies such as Smitty, Mccully, Brawnlee and co try and emulate dear leader.
Hopefully we will actually see jk do something about this pile of manure although I doubt it.

It's the same as the last resort for a lawyer. Don't have sufficient evidence to win, or lack of evidence to convict then attack the reputation of witnesses or experts.