The full extent of the political damage caused by David Shearer’s “forgotten” stash of cash in an offshore bank account became all too apparent in Parliament yesterday.
That’s because Shearer got absolutely owned by John Key in question time in a classic stones-in-glass-houses scenario. Absolutely owned.
Shearer was trying to pierce the Key Government’s defence that the EQC privacy leak was down to “human error”. Putting it down to a human error wasn’t good enough, according to Shearer.
It was a tactic doomed for failure from the get-go.
Because Shearer himself was just a week before defending “forgetting” to declare a figure that could be anything north of US$50,000 – possibly even US$1 million – in the MPs Register Of Pecuniary Interest.
I have never before seen Key given such an easy hit in the Parliament.
Shearer himself took to his feet and actually uttered the words I was thinking: “This is unbelievable” – although we were both thinking of it for different reasons.
So Key smashed Shearer not once, not twice, but five times from what I saw.
Key’s line was that the EQC worker made a mistake – just like the mistake Shearer claims he made. Over and over and over again.
Was it “human error” that led Shearer to think he could attack Key over “human error”?
This is the real significant of the error in not disclosing the foreign bank account for four years. It negates the ability of the Labour Party Leader to attack the Government over lesser errors.
And highlighting Government errors is a major part of what being in Opposition is about.
Part of the problem for Shearer is that there has been no real explanation of the error. If the explanation was he was aware of the bank account but didn’t realise he had to disclose it – then that would be understandable.
But it seems to be merely that he forgot he had the bank account, despite including it in his tax returns every year.