Former Revenue Minister Peter Dunne told TV One’s Q+A programme, ‘if the label ‘tax haven’ is being bandied about now as it is, sticks, then that’s extremely damaging. You think of the way we perceive other countries that we’ve historically labelled as tax havens. We don’t view them credibly, and I think that’s the big risk to New Zealand. As you said, we’ve had a very good reputation for a long period of time for a very robust, very transparent and a very open tax system – good rules, a clear guidance, etc’. That is being potentially misused in these situation.
Mr Dunne told the programme, ‘ we’ve got to get to the bottom of is the extent of the activity, what the profile of people using these trusts is, what the implications are for our reputation, and how we work in concert with other countries to make sure, as I say, a robust international system can be developed to combat them.’
Mr Dunne said had the IRD had concerns about this country’s international reputation when he was in the job he would have taken them ‘very seriously’.
‘And the way it works is that they report on a series of issues that are both current in the New Zealand tax environment or the international tax environment, and clearly the Government would be foolish not to take heed of that advice.’