If there is one thing that is going to sink New Zealand’s prospects in the mid to long-term future, it sure won’t be anything to do with a government stuffed-full of industry-friendly, buffoonish ministers avoiding the hard issues.
No siree. Nup. Instead, as I see it, a bigger problem is looming. It’s a major, but none of us have cottoned onto it yet, probably because many of us can’t afford to see lawyers for more than a 15 minute, $1500-a-time basic document signing.
Opponents took their chance during Question Time to hammer the Prime Minister over the role he played in his lawyer’s lobbying of the government.
Source: 1 NEWS
But those who have, say, an offshore investment – or an offshore investment industry – to protect, are the victims of this continuous crime, perpetrated by the legal fraternity.
That is, our lawyers have a habit of making stuff up, and not only that, putting their damn-fool lies in sloppily-written emails.
I mean, if five years-plus of studying every technicality of the law can’t prepare you to brief officials in two cogent sentences, quit your damn post and take a job at Burger King already.
And that’s a message to all lawyers; to the best asset-protecting legal mind working for the Prime Minister downwards.
In fact, it’s aimed directly at the Prime Minister’s lawyer Ken Whitney. It’s emerged this week that it was Ken’s ambiguous, confusing email that’s dumped the Prime Minister in the excrement in a way that’s totally unfair.
Check it. Ken said: "We are concerned that there appears to be a sudden change of view by the IRD in respect of their previous support for the [foreign trusts] industry.
"I have spoken to the Prime Minister about this and he advised that the Government has no plans to change the status of the foreign trust regime."
The pressure stays on John Key over documents released by the Green Party over a review into foreign trusts.
Wow, way to misinterpret a conversation, Ken. What the Prime Minister actually said to his own personal lawyer who works as a lobbyist for foreign trust companies was “go and talk to junior minister Todd McClay about this, because I know jack sh*t about it”.
(He says he told McClay that he was referring his lawyer to him about it, but McClay didn’t remember that bit. Unsurprisingly! He’s a busy guy.)
That’s not to say John Key hasn’t previously championed New Zealand’s pioneering, world-beating position in the ‘legitimate’ world of tax-avoiding foreign trusts, and doesn’t mean he hasn’t his own intimate understanding and use of various financial instruments that maintain and grow taxed and untaxed wealth.
It just means he knew nothing much about a review underway by one of his own agencies into foreign trusts, is all.
So, to cadge a timeline from Hansard: Key’s personal lawyer writes to revenue Minister Todd McClay claiming that the Prime Minister had told him that foreign trusts would stay protected; shortly thereafter, Todd McClay immediately meets the Prime Minister’s personal lawyer and says that foreign trusts will be protected; and, finally, Todd McClay directs the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) to drop its existing review of foreign trusts.
True as it goes, but clearly all a misunderstanding; the fault of a mindless email written by someone who supposedly understands the English language, and the law.
Fix your email etiquette and basic comprehension please, New Zealand lawyers, before you cause any more uncomfortable questioning around Parliament.