As the Pandora Papers has shown, and the Panama Papers showed us five years ago, the world of white-collar crime is riddled with language designed to soften the impact of the crimes alleged to be involved.
We talk of evasion, laundering, layering, havens and Smurfs - all words that hide the impact of behaviours that hurt real people.
In most cases, it's hard to avoid the opinion that the people who decide to abuse offshore financial practices are thieves at best, and sometimes much worse.
Our tools for dealing with these problems spread across many laws and treaties. That fragmentation is not entirely an accident. The industries that thrive on these practices adopt the strategies of big tobacco, oil and pharma, creating a confusopoly to divide and conquer, pitting nations against one another.
Tax evasion is code for stealing from our community. It's like robbing the KidsCan charity box on the counter of a cafe – it's not clear who the theft is against, but we know who suffers in the end. Supporting money launderers can be even worse, assisting slavers and child pornographers; those who prey on the weak and defenceless.
There are genuine reasons for some of the techniques involved and only some of the people who use these techniques abuse them and are devoid of ethics.
In the same way that encryption enables freedom of speech, there is an ideological argument that helping, say, a businessperson get their profits into a jurisdiction where they won't be stolen by a corrupt government justifies the entire industry. But who gets to decide what is acceptable?
At the moment that judgment is largely made by the lawyers, accountants and banks. And they are just ordinary people with school fees to pay.
The other problem is practicality. What can we, as a nation, really do about what I have come to believe is abuse of our laws from overseas? As reported this week by the Herald and its partners at the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, we often don't know it is happening: we are being used as an unwitting tool - especially if we don't look too hard.
Internationally, we are regarded as having a massive hole in our tax system; our almost unique lack of a capital gains tax - justified as too hard to administer, despite every other developed nation seeming to manage to do so.
Remember those who said the digital services tax couldn't be enforced? Here we are, collecting millions in revenue from it.
We often see the same argument applied to money laundering, that there is no point in passing laws that are easy to ignore; they don't have any effect; we are too small to have an influence; we should wait for the international consensus and move with them.
The cynicism ignores that someone has to go first, to show leadership. There is nothing wrong with a principled stand, and the absence of a silver bullet does not justify inaction.
Our country is the envy of the world in many regards. We still have a reputation for going our own way and leadership. Why not in this area? There are things we could do. Launderers and tax cheats are almost more frightened by visibility than losing their money.
The Financial Action Task Force has recommended New Zealand beefs up visibility of who controls companies and trusts: Let's do it. We could get on with passing a Modern Day Slavery law. We should implement the recommendations of the 2016 inquiry into foreign trusts and close the hybrid loophole that enables them to avoid paying taxes anywhere.
Perhaps most importantly it is time to look again at the industry that supports these practices.
Globalisation has democratised access to concealment of wealth: What used to be the tool of royalty and the upper classes has become accessible to the masses. Once a problem is allowed to get too big, systems lose integrity, and that includes democracy. "Everyone does it" becomes a self-fulfilling statement.
The industry of concealment and facilitation represents an extraordinary amount of money and, with that, comes power. The favourite tools of this power base are abuse of law and secrecy. The victims of this abuse are often people of less-developed nations, weak and voiceless.
It's my firm belief that the corruption and extortion behind dirty money often facilitate terrible environmental and social crimes.
People of the developing world rely on us to speak for them but we must keep our own house in order, for hypocrisy is the fastest way to lose the high ground.
That means sorting out the fragmentation in our regime for tackling financial crime, increasing transparency of trusts on-shore and off, and stepping up our regional leadership, even if it means annoying trading and security partners.
It also means letting politicians know we want them to stand up to the industries that create these problems.
Having these foundations empowers the caring majority of business and government leaders to take a stand and do the right thing.
• Adam Hunt established the strategic intelligence functions of Inland Revenue and the Financial Markets Authority. He founded New Zealand's leading anti money laundering service provider, and is a member of the panel of experts of the International Monetary Fund working with developing nations, and is a member of the board of Transparency New Zealand.