National, Labour clash over Shewan report

  • 28/06/2016
Labour Party leader Andrew Little (file)
Labour Party leader Andrew Little (file)

Prime Minister John Key and Labour leader Andrew Little have clashed in Parliament over the Shewan report on foreign trusts.

Mr Little today questioned Mr Key about tax expert Mr Shewan's report, released yesterday, and told the Prime Minister to "stop playing silly buggers" and admit the government had been "harbouring foreign tax dodgers for far too long".

The Government commissioned the report after the release of the Panama Papers, which revealed details of foreign trusts world wide.

Mr Shewan concluded New Zealand's rules weren't strong enough to protect New Zealand's reputation and has proposed changes which the Government says it will implement.

Mr Key countered Mr Little's "silly buggers" comment by recalling the Labour leader had previously admitted he was wrong when he said Mr Shewan had once advised the government of the Bahamas on ways to maintain its tax haven status.

Mr Shewan was offended by that, and Mr Little issued a brief statement on June 18 saying he accepted it didn't happen.

In Parliament, Mr Key accused Mr Little of deliberately issuing the statement just before the second test match between the All Blacks and Wales in the hope no one would see it.

"He should have the guts to get up and say in parliament that he's sorry," Mr Key said.

Earlier today Mr Little said he wasn't going to apologise because Mr Shewan didn't ask for an apology - he had wanted the statement corrected.

He said the alternative to issuing the statement when he did was to release it during the fallout from the Orlando killings.