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!