There have been recent spat of news coverage of FATCA in New Zealand media after a long drought!
It is coming on the back of the Select Committee consideration of FATCA IGA implementation legislation buried in a “Remedial Matters” bill. This has been blogged about here with analysis, and here with a plea for comments. The comment submission process closes tonight.
The media coverage started at Wellington Dom Post by Journalist Ben Heather of firstname.lastname@example.org
It was reported on a NewZealand Stuff report, Move to Alter Privacy Laws to help US and has generated 176 comments so far.
There then followed Radio National coverage, a close parallel to CBC News and there are several audio links.
FATCA Top Story on the Radio National website
It was the first story on 8pm news last night:
There was a segment on the Afternoon panel:
(Note: Segment starts at 08:10. FCC lawyer from PWC gives the party line. As Osgood says, they still seem to think it is about Americans living here.)
Also there was further discussion with Select Committee members…
Interview with David Parker:
Another clip with quote from David Clark, also on Select Committee:
Now we wait to see if the NZHerald in Auckland, the nations largest newspaper, picks up the story and expands on it. I have written both the News Desk and the Editor asking for public coverage.
Factors that helped with awareness is the tireless efforts of @Osgood and the support we have received from James Jatras with this posting about the notice being sent to Ambassador Mike Moore about RNC repeal efforts.
New Zealand Ambassador Alerted to Repeal FATCA Movement, Others to Follow
In the RepealFATCA.com posting is included the text of Solomon Yue’s message to Ambassador Moore. Needless to say, he has received several tweets about it from me.
Also, today, just out, is this press release by CF&P
CF&P Urges New Zealand to Reject FATCA Compliance Legislation
(Washington, D.C., Tuesday, February 4, 2014) The Center for Freedom and Prosperity submitted testimony in response to open solicitations from the Parliament of New Zealand regarding tax legislation to implement compliance with the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). Authored by CF&P Director of Government Affairs, Brian Garst, the testimony warned that appeasement of U.S. demands is the wrong approach, suggesting instead that New Zealand should join in efforts to repeal FATCA.
Link to Testimony: http://freedomandprosperity.org/2014/testimony-and-speeches/testimony-to-parliament-of-new-zealand-on-fatca/
So, it has been a busy time working the FATCA awareness side of the equation and it is gratifying to see all this attention that frankly we have Osgood’s efforts to thank for.
Further contact information:
Osgood just sent these other email address for those who might want to communicate directly to Radio National…
email@example.com (a generic news email address)
James Jatras has written to Ben, the journalist that broke the story originally at the Dom Post and got indications of interest in an interview in the future, which would be good.
A couple observations James made to Ben about the Radio National coverage that bear noting.
Some of the commentary and discussion on RNZ was excellent, while others (with all due respect, especially from Mr. Nightingale from PwC) was inaccurate. Note:
· FATCA does not just apply to “Americans living in New Zealand,” but would violate the personal privacy of an unknown number of New Zealanders in your own country.
· The pending FATCA agreement is not a “treaty” and is not just an extension of existing tax treaties (as Mr. Nightingale stated) but a new set of obligations imposed on NZ with at best questionable legal status, and no legal obligation on the US side.
· FATCA is not just about people who are avoiding taxes, and in fact not a single provision in the FATCA statute targets actual tax evasion activity; rather, it is an NSA-style data dragnet.
· Whatever meagre amount IRD claims enforcement of the pending NZ would cost, it would be far dwarfed by the millions of dollars per financial institution that will be passed on to Kiwi consumers.
· New Zealand would not receive any useful tax information in return from the US.
· The trump argument for agreeing to FATCA – the threat of 30% withholding – has no legitimate basis in international law or norms of state-to-state behavior. It is a threat of extrajudicial reprisal against your citizens, your consumers, and your national sovereignty.
These and other problems with the pending NZ law are addressed in my submission to the relevant NZ parliamentary committee, here.
That’s all for the moment. Now, back to proofing my own submission to the Select Committee and get it up loaded. 13 hours left until the comment ability is removed.