For the first time in a while we have in Parliament the sight of Prime Minister John Key being actively hounded by the Greens, New Zealand First and Labour. And more interestingly, they clearly have their tails up as the Prime Minister finds himself for once indisputably on the wrong side of New Zealand opinion over tax havens.
The public are angry and understandably so. For the first time in a long time too, I have seen a written opinion giving credit to all three of the opposition parties for tackling Mr Key on this. They want to know what the Government will do about it – which is currently nothing, since Mr Key thinks all is hunky dory. Obviously this is not the answer New Zealanders want. The answer is simple in theory – not so in practice: change the law on tax havens because it is clearly obvious New Zealanders think they need an over haul.
And yet, there IS a review of tax haven laws in progress. But that has been “in progress” for nearly four years now and is no closer to being completed in my book, than when it was started. And there is a simple reason for that – it was just to get the public off National’s back, and the party was never serious about completing it.
But now, National – if it does not want to suffer a hit in the polls – has no choice but to complete that review fastest and enact changes accordingly. Letting the status quo stand is not a solution New Zealanders, including myself are willing to comprehend. New Zealand, a nation that has long prided itself – for the most part quite justifiably as being clean in terms of corruption looks tainted. We have a rating by Transparency International of #4 in the world for being free of corruption, with only Sweden, Denmark and Finland ahead of us. A rating I would very much like to keep if not better.
Because if we do not, Prime Minister John Key might take note of the trouble befalling his Icelandic counterpart, who was forced to resign after massive protests rocked Reykjavik.