Avaaz – A Group that Inspires Change

It has been said that it takes a team to make a great dream. Certainly the founders of the activist group Avaaz knew this when they achieved their dream of creating an online activist community meant to stamp out the many evils that exist in our world.

In order to make this dream a reality the best of the best had to be brought together. To make this work, a partnership was formed between go organizations that promote goodness and civic virtue. Those partners ate Res Publica and MoveOn.org. These two groups strengthen Avaaz in its attempt to change the world.

The specific people who push this organization forward are Ricken Patel, former congressman of Virginia Tom Perriello, Tom Pravda, Eli Pariser, who is the Executive Director of MoveOn, and a progressive entrepreneur from Austrailia named David Madden.

Together these masterminds push forward to achieve great things with Avaaz. They have dedicated their lives to dealing with issues spanning from climate change to human rights to animal rights to ending poverty and stopping global conflict. Because of their great work they have received recognition by the Guardian who has correctly called them “the globe’s largest and most powerful online activist network.”

As of its founding in January 2007 it has succeeded in uniting the world’s most practical idealists and empowered them to make a difference on this sod of evil we call home. They have not dedicated themselves to any one specific ideal but rather support the idea of goodness for all no matter where they may be. They unite many by their focus on online petitions and for those who cannot get active any other way they use email campaigns. There is no need to criticize this wonder group who is making a positive change for us all.

For more information follow Avaaz on Twitter.

Geoffrey Cone’s Clarification New Zealand’s State Regard as a Tax Haven by the Media

Geoffrey Cone is an alumnus of the University of Otago in New Zealand. He graduated with an LLB honors degree and a post graduate diploma in trust law and tax. He began his career in Auckland, New Zealand before proceeding to work in Christchurch in a leading law firm as the Chief of Partners. His work at Christchurch involved practicing commercial litigation, advisory, and taxes. He also appeared in various courts as a chief counsel of different levels, including the Privy Council. Geoffrey returned to Auckland in 1997 after two years as a litigator in the British West Indies.


In 1999, Mr. Cone launched Cone Marshall Limited, a legal firm providing trust and tax services. The company holds the title as the first one to focus on providing global trust and tax strategizing exclusively. It also offers managerial services to trusts and trustees through its various subsidiary companies.


Cone Marshall Limited has expanded its services to Spain and Italy.


Geoffrey recently corrected a report that misrepresented the New Zealand foreign trusts and tax. The previous information, made by the media, labeled New Zealand as a tax haven. Geoffrey clarified in the article that to be considered a tax haven, a nation had to impose no or minimal taxes and restrict transparency of information on tax. New Zealand doesn’t qualify as a tax haven since its regulations do not match the required standards. The 2002 OECD Model Agreement requires that countries openly exchange information on taxing matters and lawfully execute domestic taxing laws. New Zealand became one of the earliest members of the OECD and agreed to enforce the global taxation standards.


New Zealand adheres to the OECD agreement by exchanging information with other governments about foreign trusts and other relevant information, transparently. After an extensive research conducted by Micheal Cullen, a new law was passed in 2006, to require New Zealand’s citizens’ submission of the Foreign Trust Disclosure form (IR607) to the IRD. The citizens are however required by law to withhold financial records among other documents such as the trust deed, settlement details, assets, and liabilities trust details and money spent and received by a trustee, for the taxation processes by New Zealand.


An example would be the information details such as the accounting system, codes of account and charts of a business transaction between a trust and a trustee. Unlike a tax haven, New Zealand has 39 double tax agreements and 20 tax information exchange agreements that reduce fraud cases.


Another transparency requirement is the mandatory use of English to record all the details. New Zealand is a recognized convenient investment destination internationally for its use of trust lawyers and accountants in the OECD taxation process. Geoffrey concluded to note that New Zealand only competes with nations using a similar transparency regulation, such as Britain, US, and Singapore.