Tamihere to be suspended

I was somewhat tied up last night and missed blogging the breaking news about John Tamihere.

I understand that Dr Cullen will suspend (or stand down) John Tamihere from his portfolios today, according to the 9th floor spin machine. This indicates how very concerned Helen is.

As far as I can tell there are four main issues. They are

1) The propriety of a $195,000 or greater golden handshake when your party was campaigning against them and when you had said you would not accept one.

2) Why tax was not paid on it. If it truly was a net amount, them Tamihere must show on his tax return that he declared the gross amount which would be a staggering $319,672. One has to suspect that if it was declared by Tamihere, but not paid by Waipareira, that IRD would pick up such a large discrepancy, but that is speculation.

3) The timing of the payment, being paid in 2001 – two years into his term as an MP. That looks bad.

4) The payment by the Trust of $18,648 of election campaign expenses. If this includes expenses in the 90 days before the 1999 election, then it may be a breach of the Electoral Act to have not declared it. Further the amount, if seen as declarable expenses, would push Tamihere over the legal limit of $20,000 you can spend on a local campaign.

So all up this is very serious and very bad news for Tamihere. I can’t see an easy way to ride this out, but time will tell. If he was a member of the sisterhood all defences will be deployed, but I have a feeling that Helen will not die in a ditch for John.

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