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Call for wider inquiry after revelations foreign trust specialist made approach over possible tax crackdown.
Revelations John Key's personal lawyer lobbied a minister about a potential crackdown on the lucrative foreign trust industry has sparked calls from the Labour Party for an inquiry into the sector to be widened.
Ken Whitney, the executive director of boutique trust specialist Antipodes, wrote to then-Minister for Revenue Todd McClay on December 3, 2014, over concerns Inland Revenue were sizing up the sector.
"We are concerned that there appears to be a sudden change of view by the IRD in respect of their previous support for the industry. I have spoken to the Prime Minister about this and he advised that the Government has no plans to change the status of the foreign trust regime," Mr Whitney wrote in an email.
"The PM asked me to contact you to arrange a meeting at your convenience with a small group of industry leaders who are keen to engage to explain how the regime works and the benefits to NZ of an industry which has been painstakingly built up over the last 25 years or so."
Labour Party finance spokesman Grant Robertson said Mr Whitney's appearance leading the lobbying efforts for offshore finance specialists showed the appointment of tax expert John Shewan review of the sector was "wholly inadequate".
"It needs to be led by a judge, above and beyond this industry, for the sake of New Zealand's reputation and the fairness of our tax system. We need an independent inquiry," he said.
New Zealand's trust regime recently made international headlines with the leak of the Panama Papers revealing the abuse of trust structures internationally by those seeking to launder money or avoid tax.
Mr Key subsequently downplayed his links to Mr Whitney's firm saying he only held short-term deposits with Antipodes.