Who cares about papers from Panama?

The big Panama Papers revelations promised for this week seem to have fizzled out quickly.

Does anyone part from a few journalists and opposition MPs and a political activist care much about them?

Jane Paterson asks at RNZ: Panamania – do Kiwis care about the Papers?

The Panama Papers story is a hard one to tell, but underneath the tales of Brazilian online gambling tycoons, world leaders and Venezuelan bankers are important issues that need to be addressed.

But are they being addressed adequately? Sensible? Non-sensationally?

One problem now is that if something genuinely damning emerges all the wolf wailing may dampen the public response.

One of the questions repeatedly asked is why should New Zealanders care about this story, prompted by a massive leak of documents from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca.

That largely remains unanswered.

New Zealand warranted some mention, but the real focus on this country has only been since a team of journalists from RNZ and TVNZ, and the investigative journalist Nicky Hager, was given access to the Papers about a fortnight ago.

No, RNZ and TVNZ tried to give it real focus and most people’s vision went fuzzier.

If you can be bothered read through Paterson’s insistence there are important and worrying aspects in there somewhere.

I skimmed to the bottom.

The government has ended the week relatively unscathed as a result of the Panama Papers but the story was never intended to target the government and specific ministers, but rather to highlight how the system operates and the effect that potentially has on New Zealand’s reputation.

Perhaps it wasn’t the intention of RNZ or Paterson, but Hager and Labour and the Greens were hard out targeting the government, with the assistance of RNZ and TVNZ.

In the end it is up to New Zealanders to decide how much they care, and whether they want to see this kind of activity continue in their country.

It’s also up to New Zealanders to decide how much they care about objective and unbiased investigation and reporting.

Using Nicky Hager as the main messenger is not a great way to make the country care about an issue.

In answer to the headline question, here are the current most read articles at NZ Herald:

  1.  The 14-year-old boy who turned down $44 million
  2.  Bachelor break-up: Jordan’s friends come to his defence
  3.  Duncan Greive: The hot mess that is The Bachelor NZ
  4.  Shane Watson: Kate Middleton needs a style update
  5.  Interactive: What CEOs of top NZ companies earn

And if I look right now on the One News main page I have scrolled down to see about a hundred stories and can’t see a single one on the Panama papers.

If you look hard you might see a link in the top right to THE PANAMA PAPERS. But not even One News seems to care about the big stories they were pushing earlier this week.

Maybe if the Batchelor had a trust it might make the headlines over and over and over.

Leave a comment

69 Comments

  1. David

     /  13th May 2016

    Bit cheeky of Patterson to try and convince everyone now it was all about foreign trusts when the whole thrust as per usual of RNZ etc.is how can we nail the PM with this story. Does she really think that we believe RNZ is impartial ? Look your hit job hasn’t worked, you look very stupid so just own it.

    Reply
  2. Blazer

     /  13th May 2016

    most read list confirms the average Kiwi cares very little about most things that require any thought.This govt with the guidance of Crosby/Textor has utilised this fact to great effect.

    Reply
    • Iceberg

       /  13th May 2016

      Who is Crosby/Textor? What have they used to such good effect?

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  13th May 2016

        The average Kiwi is not that dim, but really, this was such a non-story that I suspect that everyone else was groaning with boredom every time it was gone over and over without saying anything new. It really was a case of ‘Change the record, the needle’s stuck on that one.’

        Reply
      • Blazer

         /  13th May 2016

        comprehension not your forte frosty.

        Reply
        • Iceberg

           /  13th May 2016

          Correct.

          I’m an “average Kiwi who cares very little about most things that require any thought”

          Whilst you keep believing in, and pushing, Bradbury’s slogans, you will keep losing.

          Reply
          • Blazer

             /  13th May 2016

            you said it!Grammar and spelling are what you care about.

            Reply
    • Dougal

       /  13th May 2016

      Speak for yourself, “Blazed”

      Reply
    • There’s one of those little over used cliches the left love to use.
      “Crosby/Textor”.
      Seriously Blazer that’s very lazy and expected. To many of us, rather than a crafty poll driven government waxing and waning, it’s a sluggish, thuggish left who understimate public intelligence and acumen.

      They’re taking us for fools with their gasping hyperbole, their endless dramatising and never substantiated claims of corruption and graft. The idea is that throw enough dirt and some will stick. It’s not working.

      Reply
      • Blazer

         /  13th May 2016

        Not really T…I admire Lynton Crosby.He is forthright,straight up, even gave free advice to the Greens.You can easily access his strategies,they are not secret.

        Reply
  3. Questions need to be asked as to how many taxpayer dollars were spent by TVNZ and RNZ on this attempt to bring down the Government based on information which was flimsy at best. And whilst he cares very much for his own privacy and that of his sources, Mr Hager seems not to give a tuppeny damn about the privacy of the people whose names and residential addresses have been released to the public this week, despite the fact that none has done anything illegal or unlawful.

    As my late boss CJ was wont to say “I didn’t get where I am today by being a hypocrite”. It’s all been a bit of a cock-up on the catering front.

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  13th May 2016

      you should be more worried about the increased powers of the GCSB if you’re concerned about privacy,unless of course you are a …hypocrite.

      Reply
      • My communications are boring enough to be a cure for insomnia Blazer. I have nothing to fear from the GCSB 😀

        Reply
      • alloytoo

         /  13th May 2016

        Blazer,

        The GCSB are constrained by law to protect my data and have a number of (recently strengthened) checks and balances in place to ensure my rights.

        The media apparently only have to claim “Public Interest”, Claim, not prove and all my privacy rights go out the window.

        Reply
        • Blazer

           /  13th May 2016

          Are you talking about ‘mass surveillance ‘ or…’bulk collection’ allytoo?

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  13th May 2016

            Bulk collection appears to be Gezza Brownless job.

            Reply
            • Gezza

               /  13th May 2016

              lol. There ya go Blazer … typo … get stuck in mate.

          • alloytoo

             /  13th May 2016

            I’m talking about dissemination of information collected.

            The GCSB collects information legally under provided guidelines and has further guideline around the use of that information.

            The press collect information, in this case obtained illegally, and disseminate it based on their political agenda.

            Reply
      • Oh look Blazer found a squirrel!!!! Look at the squirrel run – Run Squirrel Run!

        Reply
    • duperez

       /  13th May 2016

      Is there an accepted list of actions which are defined as being “attempts to bring down the Government”?

      Reply
  4. Gezza

     /  13th May 2016

    I’m just waiting for the next Roy Morgan poll results. Even if the poll doesn’t pick up the Hager fizzle, it should give an indication of whether kiwis care about this schmozzle at all or whether any of the parties take a hit over it.

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  13th May 2016

      sounds exciting gezza,anticipation of a poll.Try getting out more.

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  13th May 2016

        I’m definitely hetero B. Happy for you to do your own thing though … 😎

        Reply
  5. artcroft

     /  13th May 2016

    In aligning themselves so closely with Hager, RNZ and TVNZ have nailed their political colours to the mast. The Watermelons know they don’t need private funders anymore; TVNZ and RNZ will providing hours of campaign messages on their behalf. All courtesy of the taxpayer. Sickening.

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  13th May 2016

      Amazing the left see the MSM as favouring the right and the right vice versa.

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  13th May 2016

        True.

        Reply
      • No less than SEVEN RNZ and TVNZ journalists spent a week in a bunker with Nicky Hager, who can only be described as hostile towards the right. Their purpose? To find information which would damage the reputation of John Key, hopefully to the point of forcing him to resign.

        And the outcome? Greenpeace, Amnesty International, the Red Cross all mentioned in the database, a Green Party donor fingered, and absolutely nothing found which would even come close to incriminating Key. What a waste of time, effort, and taxpayer dollars.

        It wasn’t however a complete waste of time. We now know that RNZ and TVNZ have waved goodbye to any claims of political neutrality.

        Reply
      • artcroft

         /  13th May 2016

        When I see TVNZ handing over the editorial floor to Hooten or De Fresne I’ll know there’s balance. Never happen but it would be great to hear the outrage from the left.

        Reply
  6. The left and the Media shooting themselves in the foot yet again. It seems to me they go to work merely to eat their lunch.

    The combined voice on this was the usual The Key Derangement Syndrome singers. It still astounds me that nobody in the Opposition or Media sees we hear only a constant whining and just turn off. There’s not one audible Opposition or Media voice framing “issues” in relatively apolitical terms, i.e. using dignity, common sense or studied reason to discuss issues. Everything is just cliches that do not resonate. “1% doing it for themselves”, “Key and all his rich mates”, “Chinese this and that xenophobia”, “Racists”, “Neolibs eat babies” mantras. Had they investigated the issue of offshore trusts thoroughly, using an expert that wasn’t their last election’s Labour candidate, Ms Russell. Everybody knew who she was and saw her bias, but the media refused to mention it. Another example of how they take the public’s intelligence for granted. When we quickly worked out that NO KIWI tax was avoided or evaded we went back to worrying about the Warrior’s lineup. Mr Shewin will investigate and a tweak or two will happen, but it’s a nett loss to the left. As I said the other day, when tax comes up the left are seen as plunderers, spenders and welfare-soft redistributors. Tax discussions always reminds people how the Left are out to nab anyone’s money. Another fai,l as the issue gathered no traction, was when some desperados were framing the issue as a duty. Apparently we had a duty to assist in international revenue collection and the functioning of government’s coffers worldwide. How widely have they travelled I wondered, had they visited countries outside their first world bubble?

    The Left and a Media complicit with the Opposition style of journalism continue to underestimate the intelligence and perception of the Kiwi voter. They ultimately do this at the peril of democracy. Hager is electoral poison to the centrist voter. He is indelibly stamped with the bigoted, agendaised activist brand and his “privacy” hypocrisy is now fixed. Considering his well-publicised battles to protect his own privacy, despite a career of activism using stolen information was rich. If anyone was on the fence, then Hager’s upfront involvement in disseminating more stolen information put an end to that. Stolen is Stolen to most of us. His highly selective morality is not in dispute in my opinion.

    The obsession with Key and relentless muckraking continues to sap energy from the Left. They’d better put their efforts into in presenting us with a credible Opposition lineup. Show us just one of them that matches Key’s passion for NZ and his grasp of issues. Show us one who could command the respect he has or our last PM, Ms Clark had. Outwardly it seems hatred and jealousy to be their only ploy and all that is holding them together.

    Reply
    • Gezza will have punctuation and typo apoplexy with that one. Sorry Gezz.

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  13th May 2016

        Second paragraph was a bit long trav, probably needed splitting into 3, “fai,l” wasn’t a great look, but such a bloody good read if there were any more I’ve missed them – all is therefore forgiven, and overall I’ve marked it 9.97/10. 😎

        Reply
    • Blazer

       /  13th May 2016

      just pin this and you won’t need to post again T…endless regurgitation.

      Reply
  7. alloytoo

     /  13th May 2016

    As privacy week draws to a close, we must needs consider the wanton privacy breeches this week by our supposed guardians of democracy, the mainstream media.

    People have had their personal private details released to the public for no other reason than they MAY, may be conducting illegal activities, and most certainly (in somebody’s unconsidered opinion) unethical activities.

    For crying out loud we grant people accused by a proper authority stronger privacy rights.

    The panama papers are no different from the Salam Witch trials or the Spanish inquisition or indeed not very different from terrorism.

    A long bow perhaps, but the hysterical frenzy surrounding this event could lead to our country being mislabeled as an economic rebel and result in diminished economic activities.

    At the end of the day in so far a New Zealand is concerned, the Panama papers are a shark frenzy over a dead stinky sardine.

    The only positive that has come out of this is that James Shaw.
    By attempting to distance his masters at Green Peace and by association his own party Shaw both proved the Prime Minister’s point about Panama “Smear” by association and has demonstrated just how singularly dense he is by not agreeing with the PM.

    Reply
  8. Iceberg

     /  13th May 2016

    Dumping this in the same week as The Bachelor final. How as that ever going to work?

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  13th May 2016

      I am a little disappointed that YNZ doesn’t (or doesn’t yet) have a few more commenters who support other parties. I’m not aligned to any particular party and I’d love to hear from people who’re, say, NZ First supporters, or even the Greens, or Labour. I suppose they fear too much of a savaging from right wing commenters here.

      I understand why few Labour supporters post here. I was one, more or less, for a very long time, even during the Lange / Douglas years when I accepted that Muldoon had left the economy in a disastrous state and radical changes were needed to rescue it. I think they flogged too much of the family silver off at bargain basement prices though. Then I went right off HC in her last term, & I’ve just got utterly exasperated with Labour’s incoherence since, and with the inability of their leaders to recognise they have to develop feasible, credible policies that will resonate with a cross-section of society

      IMO Little is now dooming Labour to irrelevance.

      Reply
      • Iceberg

         /  13th May 2016

        “I am a little disappointed that YNZ doesn’t (or doesn’t yet) have a few more commenters who support other parties”

        Maybe they’ve not been able to get a word in edgeways Gezza?

        Reply
      • Pantsdownbrown

         /  13th May 2016

        When your party bounces from one disaster to another who’d admit being a Labour supporter at the moment (except for the insane).

        People would probably say on here that I’m far right wing but to be honest I’m really centre-right. What makes me appear more right wing is the fact that I’ll continually defend Key when he is forever getting smeared and made a personal target by the left with no evidence of any wrongdoing on his part.

        This failed 8 year strategy of the left is at the expense of going head to head with the govt over policy and direction. This govt is far from perfect but currently there is no viable alternative.

        Reply
        • PDB, according to external assessors I am immediately LEFT of Centre. But I too am completely in step with your approach to smears withut evidence. Well done!

          Reply
          • Blazer

             /  13th May 2016

            Thanks for informing readers as to your particular political leanings you 3…(who ever would have guessed?);)….as for smear campaigns,you do relise that the Nats wrote the book and it is a lynchpin of their strategy.The evidence is everywhere ,from Muldoon/Moyle smear to this day.When Little became leader the Nat smear machine began cranking…first by trying to assign the ludicrous ‘Angry’ label and then subsequent derogatory narrative ,endorsed and promoted by you very same 3 and others.Give yourselves an uppercut.

            Reply
            • Pantsdownbrown

               /  13th May 2016

              “When your party bounces from one disaster to another who’d admit being a Labour supporter at the moment (except for the insane).”

            • Gezza

               /  13th May 2016

              The Andy Angry smear label charge is true & fair comment Blazer.

              Not a label I particularly liked or have, to my recollection, ever used as he’s never struck me as particularly angry – more like just a constant whingeing critic of everything John Key or the government ever does or says. My irritation with Little’s style & political substance have developed & grown ever since he revealed through that approach that he has no idea when to speak up, and when to shut up & just get on with policy.

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  13th May 2016

        It’s that damn intelligence test, Gezza. I told you it would stop the Left from getting in here.

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  13th May 2016

          I don’t think the pass mark is set too high Alan. I managed to slip through quite easily.

          Reply
          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  13th May 2016

            Come off it, Gezza. You would leave them twenty points behind and counting. Most of them don’t even have a sense of humour so would trip out before they started.

            Reply
          • Blazer

             /  13th May 2016

            ‘The Andy Angry smear label charge is true & fair ‘


            ‘ as he’s never struck me as particularly angry – ‘

            no test for contradiction of terms then !

            Reply
            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  13th May 2016

              a) You’ve misinterpreted Gezza’s comment. He was agreeing with you.
              b) You posted this in the wrong place.

            • Gezza

               /  13th May 2016

              FGS. Blazer, while I always appreciate reading your carefully constructed, well-reasoned and thought-provoking analyses of the issues, don’t you have some friends who could also maybe come here and give us something really challenging to work with?

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  13th May 2016

              Gawd, Gezza, you are trying to nudge the pass mark higher?

            • Gezza

               /  13th May 2016

              I’m worried that Blazer is Andy’s lawyer.

  9. Hall

     /  13th May 2016

    Here’s a guide for those of you who are slow and need help trying to comprehend what’s wrong with foreign trusts. I’ve used simple language so that even PDB will understand.

    1. The use of deliberate complex structures designed to disguise the names of those who owned the assets or the money. What that means is the one page document the Inland Revenue (IRD) receives as a record of the trust tells it nothing about who is behind those trusts. If there is nothing to hide, why go to such great lengths?

    So all of the talk about New Zealand having a full disclosure regime, one of the government’s main defences of the foreign trust regime, is disingenuous.

    2. The is the question for New Zealanders – do we want this country to be used by people whose motives and source of income are not always clear, to at – the least – minimise their tax obligations?

    Is this a double standard when the flip side of New Zealand’s tax system rigorously requires citizens to meet their tax obligations?

    Let it sink in… If John Key is forced to look in to it then that tells you that this is an issue to be concerned about. Feel free to go back to watching the Bachelor now, I know your brain must be hurting after learning something new.

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  13th May 2016

      1. There is nothing complex about a foreign trust. It simply has a settlor, beneficiaries and trustees like all others. Full details of its activities and setup can be obtained at will by the IRD. Neither settlor nor beneficiaries must be NZ residents.

      2. There can be good reasons for requiring secrecy in very many countries which are more corrupt and tyrannical than NZ and no reason why NZ should not serve them well. Sherwan will look at the disclosure issues and make balanced judgement calls on whether they need tweaking. Our monumentally ignorant, self-serving and manipulative opposition politicians are the last people to rely on to make such judgements excepting only their rabid supporters.

      Reply
      • Ratty

         /  13th May 2016

        Trustees must be NZ Residents (hence the use of Trustee Companies), ignore the Income Tax Act, and use The Trustees Act..

        If Settlor and Trustees are not NZ Residents then there is no Foreign Trust

        Reply
    • Gezza

       /  13th May 2016

      I reckon the Shewan review will conclude more disclosure is needed. That will be implemented, and the number of foreign trusts will drop away.

      Reply
      • Hall

         /  13th May 2016

        I think you’re right Gezza. We have seen a steep increase in foreign trusts lately. Once more transparency is required by law – the number of foreign trusts will dramatically decrease. This decrease will be a good indication that foreigners were only setting up trusts here to avoid detection. And why are they avoiding detection? if you have nothing to hide then why hide?

        Reply
        • Pantsdownbrown

           /  13th May 2016

          Halliver: “And why are they avoiding detection? if you have nothing to hide then why hide?”

          Might pay if you look in your own backyard first and maybe come ‘clean’ yourself……..

          Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  13th May 2016

          It won’t make much difference if the disclosure is just to the IRD. It will certainly end the NZ industry if the disclosure is to the world. That would probably also result in quite a lot of deaths by government around the world’s despotic regimes. Not that that would concern the Left or they would admit to the consequences of their actions.

          Reply
        • Hall

           /  13th May 2016

          “It will certainly end the NZ industry if the disclosure is to the world” so you agree that the only reason most of these guys use NZ is because they can hide their assets anonymously. I knew you I could persuade you to come to your senses.

          Reply
          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  13th May 2016

            I expect that is a principal requirement and in many cases a valid one for those who have good reason to fear their government. The reason for choosing NZ over other options is likely to be competence, honesty and integration into international commerce.

            Reply
            • Blazer

               /  13th May 2016

              I suspect it is in fact the very easy compliance regime .

      • Blazer

         /  13th May 2016

        Very much doubt your conclusions Gezza….and ‘I’m worried that Blazer is Andy’s lawyer.’…no need to worry…I worry that Al is your…Doctor…!

        Reply
    • Ratty

       /  13th May 2016

      Let me use simple language with you when it comes to trusts..

      When someone sets up a Trust, you need three basic elements:

      1) A Settlor or Settlors
      2) A Trustee or Trustees
      3) A Trust Deed

      When you apply for an IRD number, the IRD requires all the information regarding the above three..

      It has… A Settlor or Settlors
      It has .. A Trustee of Trustees
      It has … A trust Deed

      The disclosure of what has been settled into a trust initially is in the Trust Deed.

      At no point in the future does the IRD ever ask for details of Assets and Liabilities (indeed with Companies, Partnerships etc etc) in the Tax returns, except for dollar values in an IR10, and thats whether the Trust is a Foreign Trust, A Complying Trust, and Non Complying Trust or a Charitable Trust.

      When they do ask for details , its usually in regards to information provided through the Tax Return..

      As far as Transparency, any Asset where legal title is undefeasible , that is a transparent asset , eg Property, Cash, Vehicles etc etc

      Reply
      • Blazer

         /  13th May 2016

        so what information do foreigners need to provide to set up a tax avoidance trust in NZ?

        Reply
  10. Ratty

     /  13th May 2016

    *Indefeasible

    Reply

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