Trump tape shows up the Donald's tax talk
Donald Trump claimed he was virtually out of debt while trying to get New Zealand's first casino licence - then 16 months later posted a US$916 million loss.
In a tape from the Newshub archive, Mr Trump said in a 1993 interview that his debt issues were "virtually over". In fact, he said 1993 had been "the best year I've had in business".
"The debt is virtually over," he said. "I mean, every company has some debt - I'll always have debt, I wanna have debt because if you don't have certain levels of debt you're not maximising your leverage, you're not maximising your company or what you can do."
Mr Trump is refusing to release his tax records, but his 1995 tax return was recently leaked - the US$916 million loss could have allowed him to avoid paying any federal income taxes for 18 years.
Donald Trump's 1995 tax return
The TV3 interview was in August 1993 when he said it was "the best year I've had in business", while the tax return was for the year starting January 1995 - 16 months later.
Mr Trump's financial record was an issue in New Zealand in 1993 because he was competing with other consortiums to get the casino licence, and the Casino Control Authority was concerned he was technically bankrupt under the law.
"My debt's way, way down, and I'm at a point where I can do just about anything in the world I want to do," Mr Trump said.
In the end Mr Trump lost out, and the casino license eventually went to the group that became SkyCity.
His comments about being "virtually" debt-free were made in the same interview he said it was "fortunate" he wasn't in politics because of his views on women.
Mr Trump has been under fire for his views on women and not paying tax in recent weeks.
The full Donald Trump quote from 1993 :
TV3 question: Divorce and debt - are they things of the past?
Donald Trump: The divorce is over and the debt is virtually over. I mean, every company has some debt. I'll always have debt, I wanna have debt, because if you don't have certain levels of debt you're not maximising your leverage, maximising your company or what you can do. So if you look at GM, Exxon, any company that's successful in the world, they have debt, but my debt's way way down and I'm at a point where I do just about anything in the world I wanna do. The Taj Mahal just broke the all time casino record. It won 44 million dollars in the month of July, which is the highest in the history of the casino business. And it's going on a yearly pace that's gonna make it the number in the history of the casino industry. So all of the things I've done over the last number of years have culminated and this has been the best year I've had in business.
The election is four weeks away.