Little unrepentant, Shaw sensible

Andrew Little is so far unrepentant after attacking tax expert John Shewan in Parliament, although has tried to shift the focus of his attack onto John Key.

In contrast Green co-leader James Shaw has taken a much more sensible tack. However his sort of reason is drowned out by the Little storm.

Radio NZ: Tax reviewer allegations a ‘storm in a teacup’

The Labour Party is not resiling from its latest attempt to discredit the man appointed to carry out a review of foreign tax rules, John Shewan.

In Parliament, Labour leader Andrew Little accused Mr Shewan – appointed to review the rules on foreign trusts – of giving the Bahamas advice to preserve its status as a tax haven.

Mr Little was asked what evidence he had, other than a newspaper article from the Bahamas.

“I can go on the reports that we have got, the government here has set up a review of our foreign trusts regime, but that review is being conducted by somebody who is now associated at the very least with advice to the Bahamas, a well known tax haven who following that advice has sought to preserve their tax haven status.”

Mr Little made no apology for his comments about Mr Shewan.

“John Shewan is a highly competent tax specialist and tax expert.

This is about John Key’s judgement, this is about his decision-making. He and his cabinet made the decision to appoint John Shewan to do a review into this area that is causing a lot of consternation amongst a lot of New Zealanders.”

Except that Little clearly targeted Shewan – 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.”

In contrast Green co-leader James Shaw is taking a much more reasonable and sensible approach to the controversy.

Green Party co-leader James Shaw said he did not see anything untoward about Mr Shewan’s trip to the Bahamas.

“Well I’ve been very careful not to target John Shewan personally, and I don’t think that somebody like that should be caught up in the political shenanigans.

That’s something that Little should take on board as an example of leadership with integrity.

“I think the really important thing here is to focus on what does the public need in order to have trust in the credibility of the review that’s been undertaken.”

Mr Shaw said Mr Shewan was obviously a tax expert, but it would be good to have a broader group doing the review.

I agree with Shaw, it would have been better to have had a broader group doing the tax and trust review, but sensible suggestions have been overwhelmed by Little’s lurch into attack politics.

The Greens must despair at Labour’s approach, because it is unlikely to help the chances of a credible Green-Labour coalition.

And I suspect more than a few Labour supporters will be concerned by Little’s line of attack. I’m sure more than a few ex-Labour voters will be disappointed in their ongoing lack of choice.

If the current Opposition gets a shot at forming a coalition it’s likely to be long time political attack mongrel Winston Peters competing with new pup Little for the top dog position of Prime Minister.

It’s no wonder more and more people are being turned off by dirty politics and are turning away from voting.

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  1. Ray

     /  14th April 2016

    Heard Johh Shewan answer Little’s accusations on John Campbells show yesterday. Campbell was in full “slimy creep ” mode but was answered fully and competently
    I know which one I trust, especially as the accusations apparently came from a Bahamas news paper!


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