John Key’s lawyer goes under the bus

It appears the John Key’s lawyer has been told he needs to take one for the team.

Lawyer didn't speak for me

Lawyer Ken Whitney “misrepresented” John Key

Prime Minister John Key says his lawyer misrepresented him while lobbying another minister about a potential crackdown on the foreign trusts industry.

It emerged last week that Mr Key’s personal lawyer, Ken Whitney, had lobbied the Government in 2014 because of concerns that the foreign trusts regime was about to change.

In a letter to then-Revenue Minister Todd McClay in December 2014, Mr Whitney said the Prime Minister had told him the Government had no plans to tighten the rules for the industry.

John Key’s Lawyer “misrepresented” him

Speaking to Radio New Zealand this morning, Mr Key said this was a misrepresentation of what he had said.

Mr Key said that he had told his lawyer that he was not aware of any changes being planned by the Inland Revenue Department, and referred him to the minister for further discussion.

Mr Whitney and seven other members of the foreign trusts industry later met with Mr McClay.

Mr Key said he had nothing to do with the Government’s decision not to review the way foreign trusts operated. But he understood that it was unrelated to the lobbying by his lawyer and his associates.

The Government opted not to change the rules for foreign trusts because there would be no benefit to New Zealand, he said.

“It was nothing to do with whether they were highly effective in lobbying them, it was what was the higher priority for the tax department,” he told Radio New Zealand.

Not sure this will make much difference to the criticism coming Key’s way from the opposition and the Media Party over the Panama Paper smear campaign.  The link was already tenuous, and distancing himself from his foreign trust lawyer won’t make any difference.

Question Time tomorrow will still be wall-to-wall Panama attacks, and saying “whatever Ken Whitney said wasn’t representative” won’t make a bit of difference.


– Isaac Davison, NZ Herald



THANK YOU for being a subscriber. Because of you Whaleoil is going from strength to strength. It is a little known fact that Whaleoil subscribers are better in bed, good looking and highly intelligent. Sometimes all at once! Please Click Here Now to subscribe to an ad-free Whaleoil.

  • metalnwood

    Certainly when I read the letter it read like someone taking some liberties with what was probably said.

    I certainly see JK referring him to the correct minister if he wants further information, that turned up in writing as ‘the prime minister has asked me to set up a meeting’.

    When I read that I thought immediately it was probably stretching the conversation.

    • Quinton Hogg

      I agree.
      Mr Whitney’s letter over-egged the pudding to gain traction with Mr McLay.
      What is the problem?
      Everyone does it to get leverage.

  • Keyser Soze

    Still good strategy by Key though… People will have heard this today meaning tomorrow’s Media / Labour attempt at a hit job will be dead before it gets started and seen for what it is… a desperate opposition without a fresh idea between them trying to score points with a smear.

  • Pluto

    Dear Andy, Robbo, Winnie, and James,
    The public has moved on. You’ve had your “gotcha” moments, ably assisted by your lapdog media, and nobody except yourselves care any more. At least you didn’t rent the town hall for this.
    Here’s an idea though, demand that nasty lying Mr Key hand over his passport. Just maybe there’s a Panama stamp in there – now that would be something.

    • OT Richter

      I wonder how many opposition MPs will be ejected from parliament this week as they push the limits of the Speaker’s patience. No loss when all of NZF walks out.

      • XCIA

        We pay these mongrel’s very fat salary’s. Far from being the powerhouse that runs our country, what passes as a parliament is more akin to a kindergarten. The three strikes and your out should apply to these Muppet’s too.

  • Kiwi Sapper

    “…….a misrepresentation of what he had said.”
    Are we to believe that Key retains a Lawyer who misrepresents him?

    Most unlikely. More likely that the teflon coating is wearing down to the sack cloth in places and as suggested, under the bus goes the Lawyer.

    Expect a situations vacant sign to pop up in the Law Journals soon.

    • biscuit barrel

      He doesnt hold a practicing certificate anymore, so he cant offer ‘lawyering’ for anyone.
      Which makes you wonder ‘exactly’ what services he does do for Mr Key

      • Kiwi Sapper

        Did we we just found out?
        Is the word “stooge” familiar?
        Does the phrase, ” Well , here’s another nice mess you’ve gotten me into ” spring to mind

  • Isherman

    Whatever the truth of the matter, now that Key has opened his mouth on it and implicated the lawyer in an act of misrepresentation, unless the Lawyer were to come out and acknowledge that, the opposition and more particularly the nasty side of the left will just use it as an example of how low and despicable Key is, that he will sacrifice anyone to deflect any blame from himself.
    Given the opposition were floundering with this whole campaign anyway, without anything really sticking he would probably have been better to say nothing further at all. All he’s done here is squeeze the bellows and give a slow dying fire more oxygen.

  • XCIA

    The PM would not be the first, nor will he be the last who has instructed his legal representative to do or say one thing and they have gone off and done or said their own thing in what they perceived was to your best advantage.

  • Dog Breath

    The only reason this has any traction is because no one in the opposition has accumulated enough wealth to warrant having a personal lawyer and I am sure personal accountant looking after their affairs. The crime here apparently is JK is a very successful person who has earned wealth through his efforts unlike anyone in the opposition who incidently had exactly or better opportunities in life to do the same thing but didn’t because they either did not have the talent or were not prepared to risk it all. So because he is a tall poppy let’s feed the inevitable jealousy by slandering and implying evil simply because JK is rich.

  • kayaker

    Why should JK forever take the rap for his lawyer choosing to misrepresent – or, if we’re charitable – misinterpret JK’s comments to Todd McClay. The lawyer needs to clear the air and soon.

  • Bryan

    well Paddy Gower must have had a brain fart this morning trying to claim that John keys lawyer approaching a govt minister was insider trading !! ignoring that nothing is being bought or sold