Shearer failed to disclose his offshore bank account

Patrick Gower has tweeted:

has corrected after not disclosing United Nations bank account. Says it was mistake.

This means that his declaration to the Registrar has been incorrect for 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012.

Mistakes of course can happen, and maybe it only had a trivial amount of money in it, such as $50.

But it would be good to know how material the non-disclosure was and how it was over-looked.

UPDATE: Trevor Mallard blogged in 2010 that Chris Finlayson must be stood down for a minor non-disclosure that year. I can only presume that Mr Mallard regards failing to disclose an entire bank account as far more serious and also warrants a stand down. Also note that the Finlayson incident was entirely technical and non-substantive. What we are still awaiting is how large was David Shearer’s forgotten bank account.

UPDATE 2: NRT on Twitter has pointed out the bank account must have had at least $50,000 in it to be required to be disclosed.

UPDATE3: I/S at NRT has blogged:

 Shearer clearly knows the rules around bank accounts, because he already declares one (a term deposit with Westpac). So he can’t claim ignorance as a defence. If he deliberately tried to deceive the New Zealand public about his assets, then he’s morally unfit to be leader of the Labour Party, or an MP for that matter. But even if we accept his excuse, and ascribe it to sheer forgetfulness (something which I think the New Zealand public would find extremely difficult to believe), then he’s too incompetent for the job. 

Meanwhile, its worth pointing out: knowingly making a false return is Contempt of Parliament, and the argument that this was not knowing requires superhuman credulity. Will Parliament hold its own to account? Or will they once again collude in their cozy conspiracy of silence around these matters?

I’m not as harsh as NRT. I am assuming it is an honest mistake. But it is a pretty big omission, so there is a need for David Shearer to fully explain the omission.

UPDATE4: Cactus Kate has raised an interesting point. Did Shearer declare the bank account to the IRD? If he did not, then that is even bigger trouble. If he did, then how was it included for tax compliance but not for transparency requirements? If every year you are filing a tax return that includes income from the foreign bank account, that should prompt you to remember it for the Register of Pecuniary Interests.

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