Thousands of bank accounts are frozen and at risk of being closed because customers aren’t disclosing enough information.
New Zealand is one of 60 countries signed up to an Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) agreement to share customer information with other countries in an effort to combat tax evasion.
One day, somebody, or a group of people, are going to lose their life or liberty because a New Zealand bank disclosed their financial information to a corrupt government (There is a few of those on the information sharing list).
Think that’s a conspiracy or an unlikely story? Let’s see what a current NZ MP has to say about her experience:
Refugee MP Golriz Ghahraman on love, loathing and entering New Zealand politics
Here in New Zealand, it’s easy to be unaware a lot of the rest of the world has human rights problems. But authoritarian regimes are not stupid. More often than not, they have a convenient explanation for the masses to justify their actions and attacks on political dissidents and politicians of opposing parties.
Accusations of malfeasance and tax evasion are top of the Autocrat’s list of justifications.
Such accusations are also used as commercial weapons. Don’t like someone? Ask your friend or family member who works in the tax department to do some looking. Overseas tax departments can and do leak like sieves.
Sorry to say, New Zealand is no longer a safe option for non-citizens.
Left a 3rd world country for better opportunities? Want to escape corruption and human rights abuses? Are you a refugee? How inconvenient. Your New Zealand bank will now report back about you to the ‘powers that be’ wherever you have left.