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Panama Papers "Disappoint!"

Duncan Garner said it all tonight on Newshub Story - "Is that all there is?" 

Considering the brouhaha that has surrounded the Panama Papers revelations over the last two weeks, one would have thought that the redoubtable Nicky Hager – interviewed by Katherine Ryan this am would have been able to produce more than the gilded hysteria that added nothing to what we already knew.

Hager, Radio New Zealand and TVNZ appear to have become the ‘go-to’ left-wing media on this issue, and John Key refused an interview this am by Guyon Espiner, much to latter’s indignance, preferring a jolly rollicking time with Paul Henry.

What do we now know from all this??

  • Since the enabling legislation for foreigners to have trusts registered here was introduced by Helen Clark’s Government, several specialist law-firms have taken advantage of it, and it is claimed, earned $24m in fees last years by acting as ‘go-betweens on behalf of Panama City law firm Mosack-Fonseca, and others.
  • Eventually, around 2012, the advantages of using the NZ vehicle became clear, and were widely advertised on the net and elsewhere, leading to over 12,000 trusts being registered here – probably many more if the truth is known.
  • All operated totally legally if in an opaque manner which the legislation allowed. Beneficial ownership, accounts, substance, earnings, receipts and payments were totally hidden as is the case with trusts in a hundred other jurisdictions.       
  • We offered advantages related to our good name, lack of corruption, and of course, legal protections.
  • The records of Mossac-Fonsecca were illegally hacked, and are now being drip fed to the media through the International Consortium of Investigative Joumalists, which I incidentally joined severaal years ago. 
  • This has only caused a feeding frenzy in this country because of the almost pathetic desire of vast numbers of left-wing journalists to establish a link between what has been released, and John Key’s private business affairs – a link that would in their view bring him down.
  • That such has not emerged appears to be the cause of immense frustration leading them to seek other ways in which to excoriate Key, but accusations of him falsely denying that New Zealand was a ‘tax haven' as the result of our lax laws appears to be the full extent of their charges.
  • The list of dubious characters alleged to be conducting their business under the protective umbrella of NZ Trusts law hardly warrants the incendiary statements that have emerged through a compliant media over the last few days. 
  • For some curious reason, Key's name does appear on its own in the press release that accompanied the release of the documents.It is conceivable that its insertion was engineered in order to condemm by association. Could someone here have organised this piece of "dirty politics'? Of course, and who could that possibly have been? You point, and I'll sing!
  • The names of neither Key, nor any other New Zealanders appear anywhere in the actual documents so far, so calm down lads and lasses, otherwise your credibility may be at even greater risk. 
  • Whether is true or not will surely be established by the current Shewin enquiry and the necessary provisions put in place to bring us into line with all other similar jurisdictions almost certainly within 12 months – that is what Key has promised.
  • Little on the other hand has simply taken the easy way out politically, and stated that he (yes, he!) would remove the provisions enabling foreigners to register trusts here from our statute books altogether. Quite apart from anything else, he appears to be ignorant of our international obligations that would make such an action extremely difficult.
  • Tighten up, ensure transparency as to beneficial ownership, and ensure that financial records are filed in this country, and passed on to the country of residence of the beneficial owners – that would appear to satisfy the needs of all concerned, and mimick measures planned in other similar jurisdictions - perhaps harder than obvious at first glance, but not impossible.

Nicky Hager, and Campbell etc. should stop frothing about us being a ‘tax haven’ – it is simple unproven that this is the case and all the evidence would appear to indicate otherwise. Despite all the smoke and fire here, we don’t figure on the media horizon of any of the other similar countries that are examining their own role in these revelations, and regardless of some tut-tutting from across the ditch, it doesn’t amount to much more than a ‘hill of beans.”  

The attempt by Nicky Hager et. al. to castigate their bete noir – John Key, has failed, again, on every level. It is a pity that the left continue to concentrate their efforts on bringing him down in the somewhat dated belief that without him, National is history. It is unfortunate that he is therefore able to continue on his merry way with what is in the main a bunch of incompetent and discredited ministers.

He needs to clean house before the run-up to the Election, otherwise he will certainly be at risk of taking an earlier retirement than he had planned. Little may not offer much by way of comparison, but the Government’s third term blues may well irrationally inflate his chances. 




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