Waatea 5th Estate – The Panama Papers Special


Joining us to discuss the political ramifications of the Panama Papers…

Leader of NZ first – Winston Peters

Labour Party Finance Spokesperson – Grant Robertson

Investigative Reporter – Nicky Hager


  1. seems Mr ‘Nothing to Hide / Nothing to Fear’ Keyster doesn’t like transparency or accountability all of a sudden, I thought Paying ones Fair Share of Tax would be the cry of the personal responsibility party, its the height of arrogance & Hypocrisy coming from the NZ Nat$i Party, as usual those of the bottom of the ‘trickle down’ pyramid that has to pay to cover the upcoming whitewash. just like how the taxpayers bail out multi national companies.
    it past Time to lift the Veil of Secrecy,
    if only all the people who store money in the banks realised they become unsecured creditors for those banks, if only they realised those Bank issued debts can be fully paid back simply using the very same instrument of debt – just by sending them 5 magical letters

  2. The slippery slope has begun for NatZ and anyone who has been dragged into his greedy trough Key reveals in, and that will be many we assume since NZ has a larger amount of millionaire’s than we had under Labour.

    Burn baby burn,

  3. Great episode and great panelists!

    One bug bear is this use of the 1% that politicians and media use to describe the super rich. Personally I feel it is highly unlikely that 1 out of 99 New Zealanders are worth 50 million plus! (Can anyone provide statistics).

    We are really talking about a very small fraction of that 1% like the 0.001% who are earning that sort of money and have that sort of assets. Therefore one would hope no radical reforms are necessary to change that (apart from the idea that they will fight dirty and have extreme power already to keep their dirty dough).

    It is the billionaire Indonesian palm tree oil trader paying no local taxes and stopping money getting into Indonesia for aid while at the same time destroying the environment for locals and the world (remember those fires you can see from space). These are truly evil morally repugnant people and not just rich people of the 1% (think Gareth Morgan who is probably in the 1%).

    My point is the left should not be against wealth, but against the illegal and morally repugnant actions of the wealthy using their wealth to gain more wealth while leaving others poorer and the environment destroyed.

  4. To illustrate the Global Reach of stolen money salted away into tax havens and the devastating social impact.

    The Corruption Revealed in the Panama Papers Opened the Door to Isis By Patrick Cockburn

    Anybody discussing the Panama Papers and the practices of the law firm Mossack Fonseca should think about the ultimate destination of the $7bn not spent on the Baghdad drainage system. There will be many go-betweens and middle men protecting anyone who profited from this huge sum, but the suspicion must be that a proportion of it will have ended up in offshore financial centres where money is hidden and can be turned into legally held assets.

    There is no obvious link between the revelations in the Panama Papers, the rise of Islamic State and the wars tearing apart at least nine countries in the Middle East and North Africa. But these three developments are intimately connected as ruling elites, who syphon off wealth into tax havens and foreign property, lose political credibility. No ordinary Afghans, Iraqis and Syrians will fight and die for rulers they detest as swindlers. Crucial to the rise of Isis, al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan is not their own strength and popularity, but the weakness and unpopularity of the governments to which they are opposed.

    In Iraq earlier this year, a financial specialist, who wished to remain anonymous, said that the government of prime minister Haider al-Abadi held files on corrupt individuals, including “one politician who has amassed a fortune of $6 billion through corrupt dealings.”

    The danger of citing extreme examples of corruption from exotic and war-ravaged countries like Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria is that these may sound like events happening on another planet. But the political and economic systems in Iraq and Afghanistan were devised under the tutelage of the US and allies like Britain. They were proponents of free market economics which in the West may increase inequality and benefit the wealthy, but in Kabul and Baghdad were a license to steal by anybody with power.

    Neo-liberal economists have a lot to answer for. A few days after Isis had captured Mosul in June 2014, I was in Baghdad and asked a recently retired four-star Iraqi general why the much larger and better-equipped Iraqi army had been defeated so swiftly and humiliatingly. He replied that the explanation was: “Corruption! Corruption! Corruption!”

    For example, the entire military procurement budget of $1.2 billion was effectively stolen in 2004/5 when the Defence Ministry was substantially under US control, raising questions of the competence, or even collusion, of the US authorities.

    The situation has got worse, not better. “I feared seven or eight years ago that Iraq would become like Nigeria,” said one former minister in 2013, “but in fact it is far worse.”

    The use of offshore financial centres by the moneyed elite in the oil states and much of the rest of the world is not always to avoid taxes which they would not pay if they kept the money at home, but in some cases to conceal what they have stolen and later to legally launder it.

    Some of this can be done by buying property in places like Baghdad, which explains why property prices in that dangerous city are as high as London. But it is safer and better to buy property in London itself, something that will ultimately require the services of a company like Mossack Fonseca – though these services will be far removed from the original toxic source of the investment.


    • +100 JAY1

      These so called ‘legal’ tax havens are actually being used to deprive both individuals and developing countries their assets and supporting corruption at both the highest and lowest levels.

      Even hiding money so you can deprive your spouse of their rights under the matrimonial acts is wrong. Someone was even saying these trusts have been used to loot Nazi paintings and stop their return to their rightful owners.

      I for one hope they are banned.

  5. Awesome, thanks everyone. Great show, wish it was longer to give the panelists an opportunity to speak further.

  6. An excellent program, once again, thanks Martyn and guests.

    I agree, Key can eat a cat, and people will blame the cat for not resisting.

    But Grant is right, this can only be addressed through resolute international action, where governments across the UN and so agree to stamp out these secretive letter box companies and investment vehicles. There is no other way this can be resolved.

    And to start that process, people in all countries need to stand up, go out onto the streets, write to their MPs and government, and tell them, basta, we had enough, we want honesty, transparency and accountability.

    Only by a common code of tax and other standards that applies to all nations can this be stamped out, otherwise there will always be some offering exceptions and do nice business out of it.

    Also name and shame the rich, the companies and corporations, who used the Panama legal firm, and others, to get away with all this, they must be blamed, named and shamed, so that others get discouraged to take similar actions.

    Thanks for an excellent discussion on TDB, Mike.

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