Herald Editorial on Shearer’s memory hole

The Herald Editorial is scathing of David Shearer, but first they have a flick at Banksie:

Act leader John Banks did himself few favours this week by pouncing on David Shearer’s failure to include details of a New York bank account when he declared his financial interests to Parliament, as required under the MPs’ Register of Pecuniary Interests. In calling for the Labour leader to stand down, Mr Banks refocused attention on his own memory lapse over a political donation from Kim Dotcom. Equally, the difference between the two cases was instantly recognisable. Mr Shearer corrected the record off his own bat when he realised his mistake. There was no such candour from Mr Banks.

What rubbish. In politics you give as good as you get and when the person who was poking the borax at you is caught pants down then you hit back hard. Good on Banksie for ignoring the more squeamish Nats who were telling him to shut up. If they weren;t going to call out Shearer’s hypocrisy because they lacked balls then good on Banksie for doing it. 

Nevertheless, the incident, viewed in isolation, was a blow to Mr Shearer’s credibility. At best, he could be accused of untidiness. At worst, informing Inland Revenue about the American account, which contains payments from his time with the United Nations, yet somehow forgetting his obligations to Parliament, suggested an inattention to detail unworthy of an aspiring Prime Minister.

Mr Shearer was also shown to have failed to adhere to the highest of standards after demanding that very thing from others. Inevitably, the episode invited accusations of hypocrisy such as that levelled by Mr Banks.

David Shearer still needs to explain how he came to be doing his end of year tax returns two seeks before the tax year ended? he needs to explain just how much is in those accounts so we can assess the quantum of his forgetfulness. He also needs to tell us how he remembered his bank account for tax purposes but not for disclosure to parliament. Fortunately for David Shearer the media are in his lap and all he got was a light tickle up. If the same had occurred for John Key I imagine we would never hear the end of it.

If Mr Shearer wants an extreme example of how potentially damaging that can be, he need only refer to the case of one of the Act leader’s predecessors, perk-buster Rodney Hide. The incident also undermined his ability to criticise memory lapses by others, not least John Key. What we forget we do, indeed, we often come to regret.

Sanctimony never gets there and always trips you up. The worst thing David Shearer is he has destroyed Labour’s main attack plank for next year which was to paint John Key as clueless, forgetful and prone to brain fades. That strategy is now in tatters…perhaps they might like to address National’s popularity with some policy ideas.

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.