Geoffrey Cone is a respected lawyer who understands tax law in New Zealand in detail, which makes him more than prepared to give out an expert opinion on the matter. Cone actually graduated from the prestigious University of Otago in New Zealand. He received LLB honours for his many accomplishments, not to mention post-graduate diplomas in both tax and trust law. Cone has years of experience when it comes to these types of matters; in fact, he is considered an expert on international trust and tax planning.
It makes sense that an expert on taxes in New Zealand might get a little irked about some of the information that is hitting the newspapers regarding his home country. One thing that Cone pointed out was the fact that New Zealand is not on the OECD list of tax havens. The list is comprehensive and considered detailed, which means that New Zealand was investigated and did not make the list. It should be noted that New Zealand has never made the list nor has the country ever come close to it. This is definitely something that should be celebrated, at least in Cone’s perspective.
Cone points out the characteristics that are common in tax havens like how nominal taxes are treated. Tax havens have little to no nominal taxes, and New Zealand does have these taxes. It should also be noted that New Zealand’s tax transparency was placed on the OECD white list. The white list includes some of the most transparent tax policies around the world, and New Zealand has been on that list for ages. Cone also points out that the country’s banking system is quite transparent when the time is right, of course. This means that the country freely exchanges information regarding their banks from governments to governments should disclosure be necessary and legal. According to Geoffrey Cone, there are many reasons why the rumors circulating around are just wrong.