Shewan reccomendations all go

When the Panama Papers were pushed publicly John said there was nothing wrong with how we allowed foreign trusts to use New Zealand, and he claimed that there was nothing wrong with disclosure requirements (as I remember it).

Under pressure Key appointed John Shewan to investigate and report. His recently released report said that our foreign trust laws were not fit for purpose and put New Zealand’s reputation at risk.

Today the Government responded and said they would implement all of Shewan’s recommendations, albeit with a few tweaks.

The official response: Government to adopt Shewan recommendations

The Government is acting on all recommendations from the Shewan Inquiry into foreign trust disclosure rules, Finance Minister Bill English and Revenue Minister Michael Woodhouse announced today.

The Inquiry made a number of recommendations which propose improvements to registration and disclosure of information, anti-money laundering rules and increased information sharing between government agencies.

“The Government has always been open to making improvements to New Zealand’s already strong tax settings if that was warranted,” Mr English says.

“The Shewan Inquiry’s recommendations are sensible and well-reasoned and by acting on all of them, we will ensure that our foreign trust disclosure rules are strengthened and New Zealand’s reputation is protected.

“The changes to the foreign trust rules are a matter that the Government intends to move quickly on.

“The Government intends to introduce legislation to require a register that is searchable by Internal Affairs and the Police, and annual disclosure requirements in the coming months.”

Mr Woodhouse says that while the Government agrees with all of the recommendations from the Shewan inquiry, the way in which a small number are implemented will be tweaked.

“We have already committed to a course of action for strengthening New Zealand’s anti-money laundering rules, which will bring in more comprehensive requirements for lawyers, accountants, real estate agents and others,” Mr Woodhouse says.

“For example, lawyers and accountants will be included in AML/CFT requirements as soon as practicable, However due to issues around legal privilege and regime supervision this will form part of the more substantial AML/CFT reform programme already underway, which is being expedited.”

The good thing about this is that New Zealand’s foreign trust regime and reputation should both be strengthened.

And a lesson to learn is to not take too much notice of Key’s initial reaction to issues foisted on him. Wait to see what he will actually do once he has properly assessed things like need and political risk.

Leave a comment


  1. Corky

     /  13th July 2016

    This is going to make a lot of people unhappy.

    • Gezza

       /  13th July 2016

      Fark, Corky – these days—what doesn’t?

      • Corky

         /  14th July 2016

        There’s a difference to pisssing someone off who has 50 dollars in his pocket versus someone with a billion dollars. The wealthycan, in many little ways do something about it.

  2. Strong For Life

     /  13th July 2016

    Despite media over reactions and objections the government has handled this well. They have taken their time, got all the facts and then taken action to strengthen the faulty legislation initially enacted by Labour’s Dr Michael Cullen.

  3. When one looks back at what has happened here, it is that we had a PM with a vision of turning NZ into a “Switzerland of the Pacific”. The dream was inspirational and aspirational, but instead of playing by the Swiss rules for ethics, NZ went ahead and followed what I call “Hongkong ethics”. It was fraught, and needed fixing so that our NZ ethics met our rhetoric about how good we were in financial matters. Well, we learned that lesson, no free lunches for external and internal investors, and we have to be able to demonstrate that our home base is clean before we can go rabbit hunting for the bunnies who don’t pay their fair share of tax. In other words, if you want to occupy the ground of strategic importance, make sure your defences are in order first.

  4. Blazer

     /  14th July 2016

    ‘And a lesson to learn is to not take too much notice of Key’s initial reaction to issues foisted ‘…some…’lesson’…Key called Genters critique,now endorsed by Shewan…’barking mad’….and@BJ…stop trying to sugar coat Keys m.o which was looking after a few tax ‘consultancies'(being generous),and little deserving of being labelled…’inspirational’!

  5. Blazer

     /  14th July 2016

    Mr Shewan also recommended the second phase of anti-money laundering (AML) laws, covering individual lawyers, accountants and real estate agents be rolled out immediately”

    However …..(theres always an However” )
    “Revenue Minister Michael Woodhouse said that was a more complex matter.”

    I’m sure : )


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