Shearer declared bank account to IRD but not Registrar

March 19th, 2013 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Claire Trevett at NZ Herald reports:

Labour leader says his failure to declare a US-based bank account with more than $50,000 in it on the MPs’ Register of Pecuniary Interests was simply an oversight. …

Mr Shearer would not reveal how much was in the account, but MPs are required to include accounts with more than $50,000 in them.

He had included his UN pension scheme in the register since becoming an MP, but Mr Shearer said he realised, while he was doing his tax paperwork recently, he had not included the bank account in the register. Inland Revenue had known about the account, for tax purposes.

This is the puzzling part. You are filing a tax return every year where you include the bank account and interest earned, but it never twigs that you should also include that is your Register of Pecuniary Interests.

I am sure it is a genuine mistake, but it is very sloppy.

Prime Minister John Key yesterday would not comment on Mr Shearer’s omission, saying it was up to Mr Shearer.

Could you have imagined what would have happened if the situation is reversed.

We already have the precedent that Trevor Mallard called for Chris Finlayson to be stood down over a non-substantive omission.

If John Key had forgotten to include a foreign bank account, I have no doubt that Labour MPs would be calling him corrupt and a liar. They would be demanding an inquiry into what other bank accounts he hasn’t disclosed, and they would have filed contempt of Parliament charges with the Speaker to refer to the Privileges Committee.

Rather than be a minor story in the Herald (and it seems no mention at all at Stuff), it would be the lead item for at least a week.

Personally I’m glad National MPs are acting like decent human beings and not accusing Shearer of anything. I believe it was a genuine sloppy mistake. But I have no doubt at all that if the situation was reversed there would be hysterical language used against Key by Labour MPs.

Scott Yorke adds a typically humourous touch to the issue:

Labour Party leader David Shearer has moved quickly to discipline one of his MPs for failing to declare a pecuniary interest.

“I expect high standards from my MPs” said Shearer, as he announced that MP David Shearer would be stood down from all duties. …

Labour’s leader said he hoped the move would be a “wake-up call” to members of Labour’s caucus.

“These rules exist for a reason, and we have to take them seriously” Shearer said.

Shearer agreed that the failure by one of his MPs to follow the rules was a “bad look” that “let the side down”.

But he refused to be drawn on whether he would reinstate the MP for Mt Albert after a spell on the backbenches. …

The demoted MP last night refused to comment on the decision by his leader. But he confirmed that he still fully supported David Shearer as leader of the Labour Party.

Heh.

John Banks has also pointed out Labour’s double standard:

Labour Leader David Shearer should apply his own ethical standards to himself and stand down, ACT Leader said today. 

“Shearer is on record as saying those who suffer from a memory lapse aren’t fit to hold office,” Mr Banks said.

“But yesterday, Shearer admitted he ‘forgot’ to declare more than $50,000 he has stashed away in an overseas bank account.  

“Worse, he didn’t forget once, he forgot four years in a row.   Shearer’s hypocrisy is staggering.    

The Local Electoral Act amendment bill will be debated soon. It was going to be open season on John Banks, but now when Labour point out his failure to disclose, they’ll have their own leader’s failure thrown back at them.

An updated story has John Key saying:

“In the end it’s a matter for him,” Mr Key said today.

“People make mistakes. I make mistakes and when I do, I try and tell people I’ve made them. It’s just that you don’t get cut any slack from the Labour Party when you say you’ve made a mistake, but when they make one they don’t want anyone to have a look at it.”

Again, incredibly mild.

You can vote in my sidebar poll on What are you least likely to forget?

The options are:

  • A 5 second mention of Kim Dotcom in a powerpoint briefing
  • The existence of a foreign bank account with at least $50,000 in it, for three years
Tags: , , ,

43 Responses to “Shearer declared bank account to IRD but not Registrar”

  1. In Vino Veritas (138 comments) says:

    Hmm. I think the main problem for Shearer is that he is being led by the nose by a rabid bunch of ex unionists and activists with regard to what he should say on certain things. The Banks donations, Key & dotcom etc. The likes of Little, Fenton and others are nothing but confrontational and are trying to school Shearer to being the same. I suspect if he got rid of these hacks he’d be more himself and rise above the petty.

    Vote: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  2. Pete George (23,479 comments) says:

    Just last October Shearer was reported:

    If it exists, he says John Key should release the video to clear up what has happened once and for all.

    “This cuts directly to John Key’s credibility, he keeps forgetting things.”

    Being in quibbly gotcha attack mode as seems to be the Labour/Shearer strategy leaves plenty of boomerangs around the blogosphere waiting to whack you in your own credibility.

    Shearer – “he keeps forgetting things”

    Vote: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  3. hinamanu (2,352 comments) says:

    “Personally I’m glad National MPs are acting like decent human beings and not accusing Shearer of anything.”

    How many NAT MP’s could be in the same position or have been

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 10 You need to be logged in to vote
  4. Pete George (23,479 comments) says:

    In Vino Veritas – I agree, but Shearer has gone in the opposite direction. When he became Labour Leader he promised to be different and not lower himself to gotcha politics.

    But the Labour mallardy overwhelmed Shearer and he quickly became a poorly executed version of the old school political mugs and thugs.

    Vote: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  5. Pete George (23,479 comments) says:

    Funny, from question time:

    SHEARER to PM: Does he stand by all his statements?

    Katie Bradford-Crozi ‏@katieabradford

    Saw that one coming a mile away. The PM responds to Shearer: I stand by all my statements, including my bank statements

    Vote: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  6. JeffW (326 comments) says:

    I can’t believe that in your poll some people are voting for the 50K bank account to be the less likely to be forgotten cf the 5 sec briefing. Either the language of the choices has them confused, or these people are so blind in their support of the left it is impossible for them to see straight.

    Vote: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  7. SHG (312 comments) says:

    I guess we’ll find out soon enough how much is in the account. Betcha it’s a lot more than 50K if that’s where his UN paycheques were going.

    Vote: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  8. dime (9,867 comments) says:

    lol @ the sidebar poll.

    its hard being the good guys sometimes. must be tempting for national to really mess with him.

    nothing stopping banks filing a complaint though

    Vote: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  9. RRM (9,838 comments) says:

    I thought it was a helicopter ride to the fabulous Dotcom Mansion that was “forgotten” by Liar Banks?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 9 You need to be logged in to vote
  10. RF (1,380 comments) says:

    Trust old Shearer to divert attention from the Roy Morgan Poll. Useless prick…. but great for National.

    Hard core Labour must be banging their heads on their desks.

    Vote: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  11. rangitoto (241 comments) says:

    Forgetting seems reasonable excuse. Being a rich prick, he wouldn’t notice $50,000+ lying around here and there

    Vote: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  12. dime (9,867 comments) says:

    rangitoto – i would remember 50k.. but i know lots of blokes who wouldnt.

    is shearer trying to hide just how wealthy he is?

    did he get wealthy “helping people”?

    after all, “john key went overseas to make money and i went overseas to help people”.

    Vote: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  13. Dennis Horne (2,388 comments) says:

    What does Shearer think we are? Sheep?

    Vote: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  14. BeaB (2,119 comments) says:

    Shonky Shearer. This really does have the whiff of corruption.
    Why won’t he tell us how much is in the account?
    Is he worried that a second millionaire as leader of Labour may not be a good look?

    Surely Shonky Shearer is now shafted – by himself.

    Vote: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  15. greenjacket (460 comments) says:

    In Vino wrote: “Hmm. I think the main problem for Shearer is that he is being led by the nose by a rabid bunch of ex unionists and activists with regard to what he should say on certain things…I suspect if he got rid of these hacks he’d be more himself and rise above the petty.”

    So Shearer is just a hapless fool being manipulated by the Union faction in Labour.

    I suspect if he got rid of those hacks he’d be more of himself, and we’d all see that Labour have got Chance the Gardner as their leader.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  16. mikemikemikemike (324 comments) says:

    Political leanings to the side – I think that all of our politicians need to take a good look at themselves. Shearer – for someone who is asking the government to back the economy having a sum of money like that off shore is a bit rich(prick). You could likewise argue that Bill English is about as straight and narrow as a hairpin at Monaco given how they have leveraged their earnings. John Banks/Rodney Hide……nuff said.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  17. BeaB (2,119 comments) says:

    Love this about Shonky Shearer on another blog:

    “Humm-a-little – strum-a-little – umm-a-little”

    Typical rich prick??

    And how does this sit with Kiwi taxpayers loyally paying their fair share here without the benefit of hidden stashes overseas? He should be ashamed of himself.

    Vote: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  18. Pongo (371 comments) says:

    No surprise Stuff didn’t cover it, Shearer got a free pass from the herald with the last third of the article saying it happens all the time. Can you imagine the daily media spewing if it was John Key !
    Still with his letting off Jones which is quite staggering Shearer has left Labour looking like utter hypocrites and will dent any future attacks they may mount.

    Vote: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  19. Christopher Thomson (376 comments) says:

    “I can’t believe that in your poll some people are voting for the 50K bank account to be the less likely to be forgotten cf the 5 sec briefing.”

    Or we could be just really taking the piss .

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  20. Black with a Vengeance (1,836 comments) says:

    Of course the govt and their lapdog media hounds are gonna give Shearer an easy ride. The last thing they want is a halfway competent opposition leader.

    This is just a warning shot across the bows to take some heat off Key and English shit stirrings in Solid Energy.

    I imagine General Rumblefuck Joyce has heaps of dry powder on Shearer stashed away for the election.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 8 You need to be logged in to vote
  21. davidp (3,580 comments) says:

    Questions:

    1. How much is in Shearer’s secret overseas bank account?

    2. The UN salary deposited in the account was apparently untaxed… Did Shearer ever feel guilty about children growing up in poverty while he avoided his social obligations?

    3. Why is Shearer supporting foreign bank profits, rather than helping to ensure the viability of KiwiBank which is owned by the people of NZ?

    4. The foreign owned bank would have invested Shearer’s money in foreign business opportunities. Does Shearer feel even slightly hypocritical about being an indirect investor in foreign business while he claimed to support NZ ownership of NZ land and infrastructure?

    5. Will Shearer apologise to John Banks?

    Vote: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  22. BeaB (2,119 comments) says:

    Of course he is staunch in his opposition to foreigners buying anything in NZ. Why?
    Why is he allowed to invest in foreign businesses? Why does he want to?

    HOW MUCH IS IN THAT ACCOUNT?

    Shifty, shonky and credibility all shot to bits, Mr Shearer.

    Vote: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  23. backster (2,152 comments) says:

    Banks was crucified for months by the media for disclaiming knowledge of payments made into an account he didn’t control. Shearer forgets for four years a personal account for tens of thousands on which he received regular statements. The Whale commented a couple of days ago that a Patrick Mower cottoned onto the situation and I wonder if it was after that that Shearer fessed up. Just as Shearer didn’t believe Banks, I don’t believe Shearer in his explanation on this secret overseas bank account. How many more has he forgotten. Odd as it seems the return of Shame Jones to the shadow cabinet may have raised its’ integrity level rather than lowered it as at first seemed apparent.

    Vote: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  24. Pete George (23,479 comments) says:

    Stuff does have somethingm a blog post by Colin Espiner, Shearer’s own ‘brain fade’

    Does it really matter that Shearer didn’t tell Parliament about his offshore bank account? Well, yes, actually, it does. Here’s why:

    * It makes the Labour leader look like a hypocrite. Much fun was had by all taunting Prime Minister John Key about his faulty memory over the Kim Dotcom fiasco last year. Indeed, Shearer himself laughed that Key had “the year of the brain fade” and that “the PM’s memory went Dotgone”. He also accused Key of “not telling the truth”. And Labour mercilessly pilloried ACT leader John Banks over his memory about receiving donations from Dotcom, claiming he had “lied to New Zealanders”.

    * It undermines the picture Labour has painstakingly assembled of National as the party of easy money and loose financial morals. In 2010, Labour’s attack dog Trevor Mallard was calling for Attorney-General Chris Finlayson to step down over a non-disclosure in his own pecuniary interests. And who can forget the mud slung at Key by Labour over his ownership of shares in TranzRail, which he did not declare before rising in Parliament to ask questions of the company while leader of the opposition?

    * It knocks Shearer off his pedestal as Parliament’s “anti-politician”, a position he and Labour’s PR flaks have been keen to occupy since his election in 2009. Shearer, and Labour, have played up his credentials as the former aid boss and humanitarian worker who has no time for politicians’ lies and silly games. And yet he appears to have been doing precisely the same thing as everyone else.

    So he’s no better than the rest, but we’d already got the impression, this is further confirmation.

    Not surprising Shearer wants to keep his wealth a closely guarded secret, but then he’s not alone amongst high earning MPs on the left claiming we should close the wealth gap and pay the poor more.

    Vote: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  25. davidp (3,580 comments) says:

    Pete George>Not surprising Shearer wants to keep his wealth a closely guarded secret

    This is an important point. People are talking about Shearer’s secret foreign bank account containing $50k, but that is nothing other than the minimum amount that required disclosure. Shearer spent the best part of 20 years with the UN, earning a large tax free salary. For a lot of that time he would be living in situations where the UN were paying for housing an expenses. He might have been saving $200k a year from his salary, in which case the secret account might have several million bucks in it. Why were the Shearer millions being kept offshore, rather than brought back to NZ?

    Vote: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  26. hmmokrightitis (1,586 comments) says:

    Some smart journo – yeah, oxymoron afternoon – should ask Mr Shearer about house sales and tax avoidance, timing thereof, etc.

    Nope, thats it. Just sayin :)

    Vote: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  27. davidp (3,580 comments) says:

    Oh, and another thing…

    Shouldn’t Shearer have disclosed his offshore wealth when he and Norman were talking about devaluing the NZ dollar via quantitative easing? We’d all have the real value of our incomes and savings devalued, but Shearer’s savings would retain their value. That is a clear conflict of interest.

    Vote: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  28. Cunningham (843 comments) says:

    Haha this guy is just a gift for National. Please, please, please Labour don’t remove him from leader!

    Vote: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  29. BeaB (2,119 comments) says:

    I suspect it is millions otherwise he would have told us because ‘at least’ he is being honest!

    Perhaps millions and millions.

    Vote: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  30. calendar girl (1,216 comments) says:

    DPF: “I believe it was a genuine sloppy mistake.”

    I wouldn’t be quite so charitable, at least not without more detailed information on which to base a conclusion. You probably know Mr Shearer personally, and feel able to make a sound judgement on his character, whereas I have to rely on how the man is packaged and presented publicly by a Labour Party which at times has worked impressively hard to earn my distrust.

    The only way Mr Shearer can now convince me – belatedly – that he has simply made a mistake, is for him to issue a statement in which he declares a number of hard facts, such as:
    – where the bank account is held (I think I read it’s the USA; I hope for his sake it’s not Cyprus!);
    – what is the value of the account today;
    – what was the value of the account on each of the three (four?) earlier occasions when he personally overlooked inclusion of the account in the Register of Pecuniary Interests

    This would give me an opportunity to see a broad-brush picture of any pattern of annual movements within the account, thereby indicating whether or not the relevant assets are likely to have been actively accessed / added to / traded – a critical issue in my deciding whether this was a “bottom drawer” issue and easily forgotten, or not.

    I don’t much care if Mr Shearer has to endure a little inconvenience or embarrassment to reassure me, as a member of the general public, of his personal integrity. After all, he’s running for the most powerful office in the country, one in which his future actions and decisions could have profound effects on my personal welfare and that of my family.

    Vote: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  31. HC (154 comments) says:

    Well could it perhaps not be, that Shearer thought, that this was an account containing income received before he became and MP and later Labour leader, and thus made the presumption, that he would not need to declare it as pecuniary interest. He may have thought it was not relevant, as not received during his time as an MP.

    Apart from that it is a bit “sloppy” perhaps, but it is not the same as receiving a large donation, that the recipient asks to be split in two equal lots falling under amounts not requiring to be declared in an identifiable way.

    What Shearer clearly should have done is, to ask for expert advice on whether he would need to declare that account or not. Him saying it was an oversight is certainly not a good look, as it raises the concern, that he is indeed sloppy in handling certain affairs. I have the impression he does also not receive very good advice at times.

    In any case, it will not help Shearer, and hopefully it will convince more in that Labour caucus, to look at a more competent, more alert, more articulate and forceful and convincing leader to replace Mr Mumbles.

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  32. Colville (2,261 comments) says:

    I cant believe that even Shearer is such a numpty to leave a large sum of cash sitting in a bank account in the USA for years on end.

    Vote: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  33. Doc Holliday (36 comments) says:

    Interviewer: What do you think is your greatest weakness?
    Candidate: Honesty.
    Interviewer: Honesty? I don’t think that’s a weakness…
    Candidate: I don’t give a fuck what you think.

    Vote: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  34. PhilP (163 comments) says:

    Parliament’s General Debate after Question Time tomorrow might be worth a watch……

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  35. Tauhei Notts (1,692 comments) says:

    Tax returns are due on the 7th of July in each year.
    What’s this man muddling about on taxes in March for?

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  36. stigie (1,109 comments) says:

    Yes PhilP, General Debate could be very interesting tomorrow afternoon, might have to take some time off work !
    Hope big Gerry gets a crack at them.

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  37. Paul Marsden (996 comments) says:

    Oh for heavens sake DPF, spare me and don’t be so naive. You must know full well Shearer is lying.

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  38. Nostalgia-NZ (5,119 comments) says:

    Old Banksie has got the bit between his teeth, he thinks having your own money in a bank account is different from soliciting funds for an electoral campaign, flying about in helicopters filled with promise, speech making in the process and then forgetting about it all.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 5 You need to be logged in to vote
  39. Chuck Bird (4,848 comments) says:

    I think the public should have the facts before they make up their mind. We should know how much money was in the overseas bank account. If it was just $50k then dropping the exchange rate would not amount to much. However if it was 1 or 2 mil then there could be a real conflict of interest.

    Also if someone has a nett worth of say $2.5 and $2.1 is in an overseas bank account it would be less credible to say they forgot to declare it than say if it was just $50k.

    Parliamentary questions should be interesting in the next couple of days.

    Vote: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  40. davidp (3,580 comments) says:

    People have asked why Shearer was doing his tax return in March. The implication is that he was making up an excuse for having magically discovered his secret offshore account. But there is a simpler explanation… Was Shearer completing a US tax return?

    Does Shearer have investments in the US apart from his secret bank account? Is he required to file a US tax return? Why is he paying tax in the US, rather than repatriating his investments and savings to NZ and paying tax here?

    Also… Why does he maintain his secret account with Chase Manhattan rather than transferring his savings to a NZ bank? Does he expect to return to the US at some stage? In what circumstances? If he fails to win in 2014 then will he be resigning and moving overseas?

    Lastly… Does Shearer own real estate in the US? If he used to but sold it to return to NZ, then were the proceeds deposited in to a NZ bank, or in to the secret offshore account?

    Oh, and one more thing… Shearer was apparently on a $500k tax free salary. It is quite possible that there is $5million sitting in the secret Chase Manhattan account. If Norman and Shearer manage to devalue the NZ currency by, say, 20 percent the that would be a windfall profit of $1million for Shearer. I can’t believe he wasn’t up front about this when he was promoting the random creation of NZ currency. I hope someone asks about this in parliament, and then tells him he needs to resign.

    Vote: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  41. bc (1,367 comments) says:

    While Shearer deserves all that he gets, it’s a bit rich of John Banks to be coming across all high and mighty.
    Banks has had plenty of “brain fades” of his own (not to mention outright lies).

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IhBf3T3HPKw

    That politician’s got amnesia again!!

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 6 You need to be logged in to vote
  42. Mark (1,480 comments) says:

    Shearer has blundered but Banks is a pathetic critic given his antics which have effectively destroyed the Act party. Sadly I used to think Banks had something to offer but he has proved otherwise. I have never had any such expectation of shearer.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  43. b1gdaddynz (279 comments) says:

    Shearer is the best Labour leader National have ever had!

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.