Little smears, defames and lies and then blames it on relying on a media report


John Shewan, the tax expert appointed to review New Zealand’s foreign trust laws, has flatly rejected a claim that he advised the Bahamas government on ways to protect that country’s tax haven status.

The claim was made by Labour leader Andrew Little, who is attacking Prime Minister John Key for appointing Mr Shewan.

In parliament on Wednesday, Mr Little asked Mr Key: “Does he not see that there is a fundamental problem with appointing a person to review our foreign trust laws who has advised a government on how to protect its tax haven status?”

Mr Little said Mr Shewan, and former Reserve Bank governor Don Brash, were asked to go to the Bahamas by Mr Key.

At least he got Mr Shewan’s name right.   The truth however, is a totally different matter.  

“The allegation by Mr Little I take very seriously, because the assertion is that we made recommendations to protect the Bahamas’ status of a tax haven and that is 100 per cent incorrect, totally wrong,” Mr Shewan told RNZ’s Checkpoint programme.

“For that statement to be made, without any consultation, is to me quite alarming.

“It’s a complete red herring, and very disappointing.”

That’s as close as he dared to go to “a complete lie” and “highly defamatory”.

Mr Shewan also rejected claims by Mr Little that he and Dr Brash had recommended that the Bahamas should protect its offshore services industry by zero-rating it for VAT.

He said the legislation had been drafted when they arrived, and they recommended extending the zero rating to domestic services.

What a grubby little smear.  No problem throwing a good professional and highly respected man under the bus because it’s the only path Labour can see to keeping the Panama Papers issue alive in a Key context.

Little, for his part, could explain it all away:

…Mr Little told reporters his information about the visit came from a local newspaper report, which he later tabled in parliament.

Wasn’t me Sir.  The obligation for it to be true rests with the media.  This is the same media that misreports everything a politician ever says, but in this case, it was considered unassailable.

Another backfire, and more importantly, another issue that will make voters’ eyes glaze over as Little’s preferred Prime Minister numbers are heading south for winter.


– NZN via Yahoo!


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  • Sally

    Increasing the opposition quote from media sources to backup their claims. If it is from the media than it is true. Don’t they realise they are being manipulated.

    Can see how this played out in Little’s office. Hey Matt, go and google Mr Shewan, he must have don’t something dodgy somewhere. Five minutes later up can a newspaper article in the Bermuda, ah that will do. No more fact checking, let’s play gotcha at QT today.

    Wonder what media report Little will quote today?

    • Dan

      Its a very frightening thought to think that if they ever came to power, NZ’s policies will be determined not by rational thinkers but by 5 minute flicks through Google and Wikipedia with smatterings of Twitter and Facebook

      Too often we see the opposition, especially the Greens, waving or attempting to table newspaper articles like they are scripture.

      • Ruahine

        You left out Katy and Mum Sue Bradford.

  • iera

    Maybe Little just reads headlines – like the Herald earlier headlined an article as
    TAX EXPERT HELPED BAHAMAS STAY TAX HAVEN, while the item clearly says Shewan states that is not the case, and has now changed the headline to

    Little needs to read a bit more, but doesn’t seem to. Kind of like reading just ten percent of the TPPA Agreement, and not the right 10% at that.

    • Orca

      I have also noticed a lot of articles in the Herald in which the headline bears no resemblance to the text, which is often diametrically opposed, or about another topic. Again, they just seem to be working on the “click-bait” concept.

      • Bud

        Try reading Stuff headlines, you are forced to click the article just figure out what they say…

    • Ruahine

      There is no Labour Party but for the lying Media Party.

  • R&BAvenger

    How low can Little go? Only 1% to equal Goff and 2% to beat him in his ‘preferred PM rating’. I read somewhere that St John Campbell got a spanking from Shewan on his programme (that I have never watched, but would watch that segment if there is a video somewhere), similar to spanking Key gave him in his last ‘job’.
    Coupled with the disgraceful performance by Deborah Russell with her non-declaration of a massive conflict of interest when interviewed as an ‘expert’ on tax matters, the whole thing stinks as the usual left-wing dirty politics hit job.

    • Second time around

      It’s on the radio nz site, look under programmes then checkpoint. Campbell started off on a high horse but realised that Shewan knew his stuff. Little and, I think, Peters came out very badly.

      • Christie

        Peters doesn’t like Shewan because he didn’t agree with him over the Winebox inquiry, 20 odd years ago. Winston Peters sure knows how to bear a grudge.

        • Wheninrome

          Its the Maori in him, think treaty claims you and I are paying for at least 3 -4 generations later

    • pzkpfw
      • R&BAvenger

        Thanks – great listening. Shewan put his case well. Campbell was left floundering, as you’d expect.

    • D.Dave

      How low can he go? Anything around 3% is in the range of margin of error. That could mean no one voted for him. That’s pretty low.

  • Nooman

    The stench of desperation around Little is getting stronger by the day. Something has to give. He needs a scapegoat for this series of recent debacles. Who will he throw under the bus to keep the caucus wolves at bay?

    • Orca

      Well, he seems to be working on Mr Shewan at the moment, if he can’t manage to push him under the bus, he will go for the reporter that Little took the story from. He has at least learnt one trick from Aunty Helen.

  • oldmanNZ

    So the media can make any allegation, true or not. And Mr Little can ask such question based on untruthful media allegations and table it as to avoid it as his own fault for not checking.?

  • Orca

    Andrew Little-Support doesn’t even seem to care about the quality of the muck that he throws, he seems to figure it is all about the quantity, and if he throws enough, then surely some of it will stick? He needs to stop a moment and look down at his own hands to see where it is sticking.

  • Isherman

    So the day after his poll of doom, he stated that he and the Party needed to take responsibility, learn the lessons, and move forward…must do better by not repeating the same sort of silly mistakes that have come to characterize both Labour and Andrew Little in particular. It’s looking like that itself was just another empty statement from this genius. You’d think a so called Lawyer would be at least somewhat smarter than this latest ill informed outburst suggests.

  • jaundiced

    Its all in the innuendo – ‘Key forced to admit he has a bank account’

  • Dave

    Lets look back in history for a few minutes. Angry Andy is a union man, a very angry man with a temper, and a bad history of abusing people he disagreed with.

    Attack is all he knows, and i refer you to every piece of seriously bad press, every drop in the Polls, Angry Andy comes out like a rapid dog attacking anything that moves, grasps at anything he can to beat up or lash out at.

    I hope Mr Shewan sues Little, and if Little ever visits the Bahamas, he is held in custody for defaming the country with his comments.

    • Dan

      The problem here is that Shewan’s name was used on the floor in parliament and so Parliamentary Priviledge would apply, making Little untouchable. Am I correct? However, if someone should ever report on Little’e comments in the media, is that exempt from prosecution? Can someone clarify?

    • kayaker

      We have rellies who live in The Bahamas. They think the carry on over here is a huge joke. In their words, ‘NZ doesn’t even get close to scratching the surface’ and is regarded as a highly ethical country with a government (current) to match.

      • Dave

        Yup, even here in Aussie, NZ is highly regarded, even our PM, Turnbull has asked advice of John Key, so it begs the question……. I wonder if any of the Aussie leaders, of the Aussie Labor party have EVER asked Angry Andy for advice outside Anger Management issues, or asked Cunliffe about hiding trust funds

  • john Doe

    Ah well….little will just write it off as another “bad week” at the office.

  • Keeping Stock

    I wonder if someone from Grant Robertson’s office found the Bahamas newspaper report, then fed Little a dud line of questions to ask. This could well be the latest iteration of the infamous Snapper Moment that sunk David Shearer.

    Just take a look at the “I-can’t-believe-he-fell-for-it” look of unabashed delight on Robertson’s face…

  • Just me

    There should be a prosecution. That’s ridiculous… All the lefties on social media will be spreading this around and calling it “truth” and that’s just wrong.

  • George Carter

    Had a listen to this and Campbell’s interviewing technique is highly frustrating. He kept trying to create a tenuous link by saying “I guess the nub of this is that you were involved in the Bahama’s tax process” or words to that effect. This is exactly the cloudy, non specific sort of comment Little and his team are making in an attempt to fool the masses. Good on Shewan for standing his ground and not taking it!

  • Jono

    And this man wants to be Prime Minister… yeah, nah.

  • Wheninrome

    So Little’s research comes from what he reads in a local newspaper. Good God, are we paying for a researcher in the leader of the oppositions office, what a lazy individual they must be. Surely the labour party can do better than taking as gospel something from the local press. It didn’t even come from a newspaper in the Bahamas which would be closer to the action, innuendo, innuendo again and again, no facts to speak of.
    (I am assuming by local he meant NZ newspaper, not that it makes it any better if he didn’t as by the time he read it in the newspaper it would be fish and chip wrapping)

  • Aucky

    My gut feeling is that when the political analysts write about Little’s sacking as Leader they will record that Little’s statement about John Shewan was the tipping point. John Shewan is very widely respected on both sides of the political spectrum and Little will probably live to regret his latest outburst.

  • In Vino Veritas

    Having dealt with, and for a while being his neighbour, John Shewan is straight as an arrow and has an unimpeachable professional record. Little on the other hand, is just bottom feeding scum from a Union. A Union I might add, that doesn’t have an unimpeachable record, and is full of people who do not have unimpeachable records.

  • kiwiinamerica

    Little has admitted to barking at every passing car but seems to be unable to give the habit up. Seeing the discomfort of UK PM Cameron over Panama Papers disclosures and seeing nothing concrete in those disclosures to pin on Key, he’s used the Shewen trip to the Bahamas to somehow anyhow make some link between Key and tax havens and discredit the review. Watching the Opposition and the Media Party try and make something sinister out of Key’s lawyer putting some of the proceeds of the sale of a private residence into a NZ trading bank (a practice undertaken by thousands of ordinary kiwis) demonstrates their [edit] desperation to say anything to smear Key. John Campbell tried hard to find some angle to tie Shewen to the Bahamas status as a tax haven and, to his credit, Shewen pushed back very hard and made Campbell seem like the grasping lefty he is.

  • Cadwallader

    Well, if in the addled minds of the Labour caucus Mr Shewan isn’t the man for the job who would appeal to them for the task? David (High-Flying Man of International Commercial Repute) Cunnliffe? The Little-led party has all the considered ethos of a bunch of 4th-formers scrapping over nothing. The more this inane rubbish continues the less chance anything resembling a policy is likely to be spewed forth from their caucus. Today’s cartoon really does depict a sinking non-party.

  • one for the road

    Little should engage brain before engaging mouth- shameful!! He didn’t even bother to check facts independently, how could anyone trust him on anything he says…

  • zotaccore

    Without a doubt, Little is in deep do-do. But it also has MccccCarten’s dirty fingers all over this issue regarding Shewan. This won’t be forgotten down the track and Little will be the victim of his own circumstance. And btw, the photo of him in this post – its the devil incarnate, really scary.

  • Keanne Lawrence

    The question really must be “what is happening inside the Labour party?” They have slid to the bottom of the bowl and from what they are throwing out could not be flushed because of not paying their water bill.
    Angry Andy is totally out of control with the party under the dominations of the unions. They are stuck with him but as in previous situations more and more voters are choosing not to be. But don’t hold your breath waiting for random act of kindness from the party towards the country, the people and the individual by giving him the push.

  • benniedawg

    Little’s attack on Shewan shows just how unsuitable he is for any form of leadership. Even whats left of the labour party need someone who can demonstrate some leadership skills. To those overseeing what is left of it must be getting that sinking feeling of ‘we got it wrong again’.