8 Apr 2013

NZ links in off-shore tax havens to be investigated

10:00 am on 8 April 2013

Inland Revenue is to investigate New Zealand links in off-shore tax havens after receiving information from a group, the International Consortium of Journalists.

Freelance investigative journalist Nicky Hager is part of the group which says it has more than 2.5 million files on suspected tax dodgers, including a company founded by a New Zealand lawyer in the Cook Islands.

He says a Cook Islands company called TrustNet founded by Mike Mitchell, is one of the suspected tax culprits in these leaks.

The company is no longer owned by Mr Mitchell, but has continued to operate since the days of the Winebox Inquiry in 1994.

Revenue Minister Peter Dunne said Inland Revenue will investigate any allegations relating to tax avoidance.

Mr Hager said the Cook Islands is one of 60 countries that are tax havens.

He told Morning Report that while it would be hard for New Zealand to convict people, the government needs to shut it down.