Andrew Little’s integrity and reputation

Will Labour leader Andrew Little reconsider the accusations he made against John Shewan in Parliament yesterday? Little has attacked Shewan’s integrity but it might be his own reputation that’s more under threat.

See Little slams Shewan who slams Little and John Shewan on Radio NZ where Shewan says “And it’s very disappointing to hear the statements made today because they’re completely and utterly inaccurate.”

Little has talked about integrity in the past. Last week:

“New Zealand’s reputation is at risk from the reports emerging from the so-called Panama Papers.”

“The Prime Minister must take urgent action to close this loophole to protect the integrity of New Zealand’s tax system and our international reputation for honesty and transparency,” Andrew Little says.

Posted by on April 04, 2016

Integrity. And reputation. Two things that Little could do well to reflect on – both for himself and for the country he wants to lead.

Also from Labour’s website: Meet Andrew Little

My whole life, I’ve had a deep and abiding intolerance for injustice. The injustice I mean is when the powerful and the privileged abuse their position to take advantage of the weak.

Yesterday Little used his privileged position as a party leader in Parliament to attack and criticise Shewan.

It sticks in my craw and I am compelled to stand up to it, to fight it and to end it.

And ironically considering recent suggestions that Little is acting like a dog yapping at every passing car:

It takes a long term view, keeping your eyes on the prize, not being drawn into every battle and skirmish and never giving up on what matters.

In response to Little’s attack in Parliament Shewan said “I absolutely reject any suggestion that I’ve acted in anything other than a totally professional way, and I do object to some of the very misleading so-called facts which are complete myths that are now being perpetrated in Parliament.”

Little  attacked Shewan’s reputation from his powerful and privileged parliamentary pulpit. But his reputation and his future may be at greater risk.

How Little responds to this is a test of his integrity.

Leave a comment

27 Comments

  1. Strong For Life

     /  14th April 2016

    Little has no integrity and once again has shouted without checking the validity of the claims he makes. His behaviour in the House with a cowardly and slanderous attack on a dedicated, hard-working public official is unacceptable. Little must tender a public apology to Mr Shewan and then resign his position as Leader of the Opposition.

    Reply
    • @SFL – Shewan is “a dedicated, hard-working public official …”? What’s your definition of public official?

      “In mid-2012 he was appointed an adjunct professor of accountancy at Victoria University.”

      By the standards often espoused here on YourNZ, this makes him a trougher doesn’t it? Auckland University Law Professor Jane Kelsey’s a trougher apparently.

      “In 2009 he was appointed to the Tax Working Group, which was charged to advise the government on the broad design of the tax system. It said the tax system was broken and needed a significant revamp, including a land tax, closing of loopholes, a higher sales tax but lower income tax.” [From recollection, Gareth Morgan and one other dissenting voice said TWG had effectively isolated review of taxation from review of welfare?]

      So Shewan’s a private policy advisor to the government? Isn’t this a form of troughing? In a more enlightened age, this sort of policy advice was provided by senior (genuine) Public Service ‘professional administrators’, with due consideration to social issues. Today this formerly respected of employment is considered the very worst form of troughing? (I can’t use the ‘b’ word as it would auto-invalidate my opinion)

      “Since he left PWC, Mr Shewan has picked up several company directorships … He is an established commentator on tax and policy matters, and has been involved also in a number of high-profile tax cases.”

      http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/301274/who-is-john-shewan

      To exaggerate for effect: Surely the central issue is whether it’s appropriate to employ a Wolf to review the activities of the Wolf Pack?

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  14th April 2016

        Nice red herring. The central issue is that the opposition’s candidate as the alternative prime minister proved himself to be a nasty, ignorant fool – yet again.

        Reply
        • @ Alan – Strictly speaking I suppose you’re correct, but this very topic right here is itself a symptom and perfect example of what happens. Allow me to coin a name for it – “subjeversion” – the diversion of a subject. [New word # 52]

          Divert the subject away from ‘the appropriateness of industry self-regulation and self-review” e.g Cerco reviews Cerco, and make it about a politician’s integrity, or something else.

          Then anything other than the politicians integrity (or whatever) becomes a red herring.

          Reply
          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  14th April 2016

            The UK tax legislation comprises 17,000 pages. I doubt NZ’s is much less. If you want someone to review it you had better choose a very wise old wolf. Lambs won’t know where to begin and would be eaten long before lunchtime if they ever tried to fiddle with it. Little being a prime case in point.

            Reply
            • Analogously speaking Alan, a Maremma Sheepdog – Canis lupus familiaris – would be the appropriate canine to review the situation, yes? An animal that lives to protect the Lambs and Sheep from the Wolves.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  14th April 2016

              Obviously Labour don’t have one. Little lamb got eaten.

              Seriously there are none. The only candidates are IRD staff and at the top level there is an exchange between private sector and IRD that would invalidate them as independent reviewer on both counts since the private sector experts are all paid to be wolves in your parlance.

            • Okay, well, if it is the case that there are no other candidates, this in itself is proof something’s rotten in the state of ‘government by corporate private sector’. You are justifying the nation not having the capability to independently review tax law, a bit like having a US Constitution without the ‘removal of corrupt government’ clause? A Monarch or Governor General who cannot dissolve Parliament under extreme circumstances?

              To paraphrase, “at the top level there is an exchange between the corporate private sector and government that ‘should’ invalidate them as policy makers and reviewers.” The word “independent” simply doesn’t enter into this equation.

              A Wolf shall therefore review Wolfen Law without necessarily having to reference Lambs and Sheep, the prey they share the Land with, who sustain the lives of Wolves.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  14th April 2016

              Yep, that’s a consequence of having such complex tax laws that only full time professionals can understand and keep up with them.

              That said, I think Shewan is professional, competent and as independent as anyone else. I don’t see a real problem.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  14th April 2016

              I would guess that NZ’s tax laws are a fair bit shorter as we don’t have to comply with EU ones as well as our own, and their VAT ones were and possibly still are hideously fiddly with all the different amounts according to what things were classified as.

              I have heard a number of people from the UK saying how they appreciate our much simpler rules and regulations, which makes one faint at the thought of what the UK ones are like.

            • @ Alan – Yes, the consequence of complex tax laws, which I understand have been increasingly written by private sector, contract policy makers since about 1986, expressly for the purpose of embedding ‘financialisation’ and its maintenance across successive governments.

              We certainly do need to simplify tax law, and we need to put the humanity, natural ethics and social policy values back into them as well.

              ” … the state and society are locked into a governance regime and a financialised economy that are dysfunctional but hard to dismantle.”

              http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL1507/S00101/the-fire-economy-new-zealands-reckoning-by-jane-kelsey.htm

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  14th April 2016

              Kelsey is full of preconceptions rather than analysis and her opinions come way before facts in priority and sequence. I’m not impressed.

              Tax law is complex because business is complex and because tax treads a fine line between milking the golden cow and killing it.

              @Kitty, yes NZ tax legislation will be a bit simpler but of the same order of magnitude as the UK. Certainly many thousands of pages and continually being added to and revised..

  2. Reginald Perrin

     /  14th April 2016

    Little needs to apologise, and to do so immediately. Not to put too fine a point on it, he has cocked up, and as my former boss CJ was wont to say, “I didn’t get where I am today by cocking up”.

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  14th April 2016

      How often can you apologise for being an utter fool and nasty with it?

      Anyone who knows anything about tax, which is probably half the country but almost no-one in Labour, knows that Little was spitting ignorant and malevolent crap.

      He has opened his mouth and proved himself a fool too often to be remedied.

      Reply
      • Iceberg

         /  14th April 2016

        Surely their finance spokesman Robertson knows something about GST? If he doesn’t, well, he’s fucked. If he does, then he’s let Little get crucified.

        Reply
        • Dougal

           /  14th April 2016

          “then he’s let Little get crucified” Precisely Iceberg. This is Robertson’s MO. He is gleefully standing by and watching another “leader” being fed to the lions in the hope he will eventually fill the spot.

          Reply
        • Gezza

           /  14th April 2016

          Robertson would send Labour’s polling into the negative. Has he ever been included in leaders’ polling? It’d be hopeless. He’s never going to appeal to middle NZ.

          Reply
          • Pantsdownbrown

             /  14th April 2016

            I’ve made the prediction before: A ‘role reversal’ – Ardern for leader with Robertson riding on her coat-tails and pulling the strings.

            There is no ‘locked-in’ alternative from either major party for PM once Key gives up the job, no alternative for finance minister either once English steps down.

            Reply
            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  14th April 2016

              English is doing an outstanding job and not just in finance. He will want to finish it. However others could do a merely normal job of it.

              It’s hard to know who in National could take over from Key but unlikely we would know until it happened.

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  14th April 2016

      Or by having chairs that didn’t make rude noises when people sat in them, RP.

      Andrew Little is starting to sound like those chairs.

      Reply
  3. Kitty Catkin

     /  14th April 2016

    It takes a big man to say ‘I’m sorry, I was completely wrong and out of order, I apologise.’

    What has come over Andrew Little ? He’s not an idiot; why is he acting like one ? It’s as if he thinks that if he says it often enough, it will become true.

    If he’d apologise, one would think a lot more of him.

    Reply
    • @ Kitty – Yes indeed, an apology from Andrew Little would set him apart from every other politician! He should do it for that reason alone. Stand out from the ‘madding crowd’ or, one might say, the crowd of madmen …!?

      Reply
      • Pantsdownbrown

         /  14th April 2016

        Cunliffe apologised for being a man…….did him a world of good!

        Reply
        • @ PDB – People readily forget that Cunliffe’s ‘apology’ had a context –

          “Cunliffe made the apology at a Women’s Refuge symposium today, where he also pledged to invest an extra $60 million into family violence services. He spoke of the “bullshit, deep-seated sexism” still prevalent in New Zealand. “It needs to stop,” he said. “I don’t often say it – I’m sorry for being a man,” Cunliffe said, “because family and sexual violence is overwhelmingly perpetrated by men.”

          Even in this Stuff article, Key is given several paragraph’s precedence after one introductory line – http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/10232457/David-Cunliffe-I-m-sorry-for-being-a-man

          Reply
          • Iceberg

             /  14th April 2016

            A politicians quote being taken out of context? Who knew?

            Reply
          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  14th April 2016

            The context made it even more of an insincere grovel for votes than it would otherwise have been. Most men were just revolted by his obsequious lie.

            Reply
          • Pantsdownbrown

             /  14th April 2016

            Cunliffe thought he would become some sort of ‘statesman’ by making the remark but all he did was piss off the majority of blokes who felt they had nothing to apologise for (and even if they did Cunliffe would be way down the list of people apologising on their behalf).

            Maybe he would have been better advised to apologise to his ex-partner Karen Price………

            Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s