Shearer ‘forgets’ he had a bank account with more than $50k in it…really?

It all started with a little Tweet from Patrick Gower:

…and has snowballed from there. David Shearer has apparently forgotten all about a UN provided bank account for over 4 years.

Labour Leader David Shearer’s dobbed himself in for forgetting to declare a foreign bank account held in his name.

The New York-based Chase cash account, which was used to collect Mr Shearer’s United Nations salary, hasn’t been included on the Register of Pecuniary interests since he became an MP in 2009.

The register is being amended after Mr Shearer realised his mistake.The register is designed to improve political transparency and many MPs have had to make corrections in the past – including gifts, superannuation schemes, and free lunches.

David Shearer has a little problem…how on earth do you forget the off shore bank account that has all those lovely US dollars you were paid by the UN in it.

Malcolm Harbrow is quite harsh and points out that?the?account must have $50k in it for him to have to register it

A “mistake”? Looking at the Standing Orders, bank accounts only need to be declared if they contain more than $50,000. Obviously, that’s the sort of trifling sum people forget about all the time. Its a mistake anyone could have made…

OK, I’ll can the sarcasm now. Shearer clearly knows the rules around bank accounts, because he already declares one (a term deposit with Westpac). So he can’t claim ignorance as a defence. If he deliberately tried to deceive the New Zealand public about his assets, then he’s morally unfit to be leader of the Labour Party, or an MP for that matter. But even if we accept his excuse, and ascribe it to sheer forgetfulness (something which I think the New Zealand public would find extremely difficult to believe), then he’s too incompetent for the job.

Meanwhile, its worth pointing out: knowingly making a false return is Contempt of Parliament, and the argument that this was not knowing requires superhuman credulity. Will Parliament hold its own to account? Or will they once again collude in their cozy conspiracy of silence around these matters?

With a balance of more that $50,000 presumably it would have attracted some income…one wonders whether or not David Shearer also forgot to declare this little nest egg and the associated income to the Inland Revenue Department when he was completing his tax returns for all those years.

Man of the people – not.

Selfless Service to the UN – my arse.

Time for Shearer to come clean and publish his tax returns.

UPDATE: Farrar points out that Trevor Mallard should be front and centre calling for his leader to stand down:

Trevor Mallard?blogged in 2010 that Chris Finlayson must be stood down?for a minor non-disclosure that year. I can only presume that Mr Mallard regards failing to disclose an entire bank account as far more serious and also warrants a stand down. Also note that the Finlayson incident was entirely technical and?non-substantive. What we are still awaiting is how large was David Shearer?s forgotten bank account.