Labour screws up by attacking Shewan

Labour skewered their own attack with dodgy information and defamed John Shewan in the process.

Radio NZ reports:

With the release of the latest pecuniary register, a surprise addition with Mr Key declaring a short-term deposit with a firm specialising in foreign trusts; a company that talks up the benefits of New Zealand’s “tax-neutral” environment and disclosure regime as being conducive to “carefully managing the inter-generational transfer of wealth” – exactly the type of arrangements the government has agreed to review.

Mr Key mounted a “nothing to see here” response.

His long-time lawyer moved firms and took the deposit, that now sits in a bank account, to his new company Antipodes Trust Group Limited, Mr Key said.

Nothing illegal, nothing unethical, but a gift to the opposition nonetheless, which could have used the mid-week question time to link Mr Key with foreign trusts, even in a superficial way.

Just muck racking, but nothing illegal or even unethical. All Labour does is chuck muck.

Instead, Labour went off on a tangent with the following lengthy narrative; the man appointed to carry out the tax review, John Shewan, had been sent to the Bahamas (along with former politician Don Brash) in 2014 to advise that government on introducing GST.

In the end, Labour argued, their advice was aimed at helping the Bahamas preserve its status as a tax haven, raising questions about the suitability of Mr Shewan to carry out the review of foreign trusts and therefore Mr Key’s judgement in appointing him.

Its evidence? One line containing the opinion of a reporter who wrote a story at the time for the Bahamas newspaper, The Tribune.

As well as pursuing a dubious and confusing line of attack against both Mr Shewan and Mr Key, Labour diverted attention away from the Antipodes Trust story, which it should have tried to exploit to the fullest.

It also raises questions about impugning the reputation of political “civilians”, and whether they should be collateral damage in such debates.

At the start of the week, Labour leader Andrew Little talked about focusing on the important issues New Zealanders care about – after a poll showed his party at 28 percent – and the need for his caucus to lift its game.

The Bahamas story was an own goal, and one which has left Labour effectively sidelined this week when the government could have expected to come under real pressure.

Labour has a bad habit of attacking civil servants and technical experts in their attempts to hit National and John Key.

They botched this but haven’t had the temerity nor grace to apologise to Mr Shewan.

Labour are a bunch of political retards, doing retarded things. No wonder they can’t lift in the polls.


– Radio NZ


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  • Jaffa

    I shudder to think what would happen, if they ever got into power!

    • Wheninrome

      They don’t want power, it is obvious, I have just seen the light. The treasury benches require you to actually do something. Far easier to have a slightly lesser pay check and just sit and complain. An ex union hack has to have a thick hide so can deal with any comments so no problem for Little. The others are so used to the opposition benches it would take a stick of gelignite to move them in any direction.

      • Miss Phit

        Agree entirely. Much easier to sit on the opposition benches and criticise and moan than to actually assist in keeping the country afloat.

        Those that can, do; Those that cant, teach or become labour politicians?

        • Uncle Bully

          or union delegates…

  • Aucky

    Labour just can’t do anything right. What possible good could come from impugning the character of a man so widely respected in the corporate world and right across the political spectrum? You couldn’t dream this stuff up.

  • Clutch Cargo

    I heard Little on ZB earlier in the week. He stated Labour has to stop barking at every car going past and pick their battles. No sign of that so far. They will continue to be the dopey dog snapping at blowflies.

    • Alloytoo

      With Labour barking at every car, small wonder JK bought one for them to bark at.

  • Rick H

    I still for the life of me am amazed this joke of a party is polling anywhere over 10%.

  • Dog Breath

    The really dumb part is if by some miracle AL and Labour actually gain the treasury benches they will have to face all the people of high standing in our communities, employees of all the government departments and explain their abuse, mistruths, lies to all these people face to face. What kind of relationship do you think they would have, toxic springs to mind.

  • Graham Pilgrim

    Although this Radio New Zealand item purports to be about a balls up by Labour and Little in criticising John Shewan, when one reads it, it is far more about attempting to discredit John Key, and show National, and National MPs in a dodgy light.

    Political journalism in this country really has fallen to an all-time low.

    • RockinBob625

      I listened to this Last night. It was a review of the week and the process. Given a natural bent to Labour on Radoo NZ, this is a slap in their face, and a direction to “Get it right, stupid!”.

  • Justme

    Labour’s antics are making the Green’s look sane.

  • XCIA

    Hope is a more powerful emotion than hate and I hope (with many others) that Mr Angry and his ship of fools are wrecked against the rocks of election 2017.

  • Cadwallader

    From the pointless, graceless and unethical attack on Mr Shewan it is not beyond the range of possibilities that Labour’s tilts could impugn expert witnesses in Court proceedings. I am sure that Mr Shewan and his ilk are requested to fulfill that role from time to time. Given Labour exhibit little understanding of processes and boundaries I can imagine one of their parliamentary gang sounding off about expert evidence and thereby destroying a set of proceedings. As Little Angry appears not to possess any leadership skills he’d be hard pressed to avoid this. Labour really is a gang of unthinking losers who offer the world nothing (other than despair and the odd bit of humour.)

    • biscuit barrel

      Impugn expert witnesses in court ?

      In the Christchurch surgeons tax case where Shewan appeared, the Judges at both Appeal and Supreme Courts ‘tore strips off ‘ Shewan, exactly because he wasnt a tax expert in the legal sense, and was just offering ‘commentary’ rather than ‘expert evidence’
      Of course he is a highly regarded accountant and very knowledgeable about business practices, a tax expert , not so much.

      He has appeared in a number of tax cases for the losing side, perhaps that is why he shouldnt be doing this review.

      • Cadwallader

        I read the Court of Appeal decision a year or so ago. I can’t find any Judicial commentary which can rationally be described as “tore strips off.” If you have a copy of the Judgment please point to the numbered paragraphs you refer to. I would be interested to re-read the Judgment in light of your observations. Thanks.

        • biscuit barrel

          Supreme court
          ” It should, however, be observed that it is undesirable and wasteful of time and effort of both parties when such material appears in expert briefs of evidence[ Shewans evidence]. The practice of including it should stop. If it persists, courts should require amended briefs to be filed.

          Court of Appeal
          “Mr Goddard was critical of much of the content of Mr Shewan’s evidence, submitting that it went well beyond the role of an expert witness. I agree that substantial parts of Mr Shewan’s evidence amounted to legal submission or advocacy which should have no place in the evidence of an expert witness.

          It seems that having had evidence rejected by COA it was included again ( why?) at the Supreme court.
          For an experienced expert witness to be roasted like this very very unusual, so my words were ‘tore strips off’ because only the paperwork is seen by the judges here not the witnesses themselves. As Shewan is very self assured Im certain it was his idea that the lawyer continue with his rejected evidence in the hope the SC would vindicate him.

          waste of time. practice should stop. These are fighting words at this level.

  • one for the road

    John Shewan is a very successful, smart and experienced individual, it is no wonder John Key and National appointed him to do this review! The same cannot be said for Andrew Little, in fact the opposite can easily be said! Yet Little has to hid behind behind innuendo and parliamentary privilege to attack Shewan…that about sums up Little – what a weaselling grovelling muppet!!

  • Aucky

    The Opposition know full well that they are on a hiding to nothing with the upcoming enquiry and their only option is a character assassination of John Shewan so that they can question the integrity of the findings. It’s just more baseless innuendo and accordingly will have the full backing of the Media Party.

  • Left Right Out

    I didn’t see the Nats run a full on attack on Jane Kelsey like Mr 7% has done on Shewan….. if I remember correctly they put up facts about the TPPA and didn’t attack her personally…… I would say the reds should learn from this…… but they won’t

    They will lurk waiting for the next bus