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John’s Key’s “lawyer” is not a lawyer

Written By: - Date published: 9:00 am, April 21st, 2016 - 199 comments
Categories: brand key, Economy, john key, Minister for International Embarrassment, national, same old national, slippery, tax, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags:

John Key, explaining why he had an account with tax avoidance specialists Antipodes Trust Group, said he used the firm because his long-term friend, Ken Whitney, is a principal at the firm and has been his private lawyer for many years.

Trouble is Whitney is not a lawyer.

According to the NZ Law Society, Whitney surrendered his legal practicing registration in February.

“If you provide any legal services without a current practising certificate you must not describe yourself as a lawyer, law practitioner, legal practitioner, barrister, solicitor, attorney-at-law or counsel. To do so is an offence under Section 21 of the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act,” the Law Society’s Senior Solicitor Regulatory, Charlotte Walker, told TS.

When TS contacted Whitney to ask him if he was Key’s lawyer, he said: “Yes.”

Later he conceded he was retired from legal practice, although he said he was a consultant with Alexander Dorrington Lawyers, the practice that bought Whitney’s practice, Ross & Whitney, in February 2014, which he shared with Ian Ross.

Whitney said he was aware he was not registered. “I’m not calling myself a lawyer, Mr Key is.”
Alexander Dorrington do most of the actual legal work on his advice, he said.

Asked if, given the publicity generated by the revelation that Key had an account with Antipodes, which specialises in offshore trusts, that Whitney did not have a responsibility to clarify the situation, Whitney said: “No, I didn’t feel any need to comment.”

Key, who surely is also aware of Whitney’s non registration as a lawyer, has also seen fit not to clarify the situation.

Michael Macaulay, Director of Victoria University’s Institute of Governance and Policy Studies told TS that anyone can take legal advice from whomever they you want to – a friend or a former lawyer – “but when it comes to matters of such national importance as the trust issues, which is clearly going to have ramifications for a long, long time to come, it is just common sense to use transparent, legal advice.”

“Anyone who uses a firm for serious legal advice, they should be aware of the status of that person in that firm, particularly if you are the prime minister.”

“If you are taking legal advice and you are using that to make your public and political judgements, you want to be aware of that status of that person in that firm.”

Key said Whitney was “highly ethical” and that was why he chose him as his lawyer.

“I don’t deal with people unless they’re highly ethical and they do things well. He’s changed firms and that might get everyone else excited but from my point of view it’s situation normal.

“I have to look down the barrel of the camera and make sure everything’s right”.

“I’ve covered my affairs the entire time I’ve been Prime Minister exactly the same way. My lawyer’s changed firms; that’s the end of the matter.

“It wasn’t embarrassing seven years ago, it’s not embarrassing today.”

Whitney letting his registration lapse is not a simple matter of oversight. He surrendered his law practicing registration when he set up Antipodes, which clearly was done with the intention of cashing in on New Zealand’s tax haven status, that John Key has been instrumental in maintaining.

Whitney openly told TS he specialises in setting up trusts for foreigners. On its website, Antipodes describes itself as “a specialist provider of trustee services for foreign trusts using New Zealand as their jurisdiction of choice.” Such trusts offer “a well-established vehicle for carefully managing the inter-generational transfer of wealth”.

It points to the tax-free benefits, as well as the lack of inheritance taxes and laws that protect client confidentiality and “limited” reporting requirements which mean the identities of settler and beneficiaries do not need to be disclosed.

Whitney said Antipodes doesn’t give tax advice at all. “We are simply trust administrators.”
The aim of his “discreet personal service” is to carve out a slice of the $25 million to $50 million in fees that John Key thinks is an important part of the economy, whereby foreigners are able to use New Zealand’s legal tax-free status for foreign trusts to dodge tax at home.

The Companies Office registry show Whitney and Ross are directors of scores of firms, a good proportion of which have offshore owners and many of which are no doubt taking advantage of NZ’s lax disclosure laws and the no tax provisions for foreigners that Key says do not amount to being a tax haven.

Key said foreign trusts are a legitimate business and aren’t “the devil incarnated”.

Given the release of the Panama Papers, where 11.5 million documents have revealed a pandemic of tax dodging, Whitney’s timing may have been inopportune.

There are very serious questions raised about Key’s relationship with his “lawyer” and long-term friend Whitney, who is running what amounts to business that facilitates tax avoidance.

Given that Key says he has been friends with Whitney for many years, and Whitney says on his Linked-in profile that he has had expertise in offshore trusts for years, presumably Key has been fully aware of Whitney’s dark skill sets.

And to what extent is Key influenced in his belief that New Zealand is not a tax haven and has adequate disclosure rules by the fact that his mate and lawyer has just established a business that is dependent on such a regime continuing.

As well, following the public uproar about his claim that New Zealand is not a tax haven, did it sway his decision to appoint John Shewan, a declared proponent of low tax and an adviser on the Bermuda tax haven, to review New Zealand’s offshore tax and disclosure rules?

Key was blindsided when Parliament’s Register of MPs’ Pecuniary Interests showed he had a short-term deposit with Antipodes.

He insisted last week that if the Panama Papers included anything that showed him in a bad light, it would be out by now, not the most convincing declaration of innocence.

Since becoming Prime Minister, Key has put his investments in a blind trust, the Aldgate Trust. He is also a beneficiary of the Key family trust. Whitney is a director of Whitechapel, the corporate trustee of Aldgate.

Questions have been raised about how much Key knows about his blind trust. Having as a director of the trustee someone who heads a business which proclaims to be a specialist provider of trustee services for foreign trusts using New Zealand as their jurisdiction of choice, makes you wonder if some of Aldgate/Whitechapel’s funds have been invested in foreign trusts.

Macaulay said the Panama Papers exposure, which has revealed people in high places around the world using tax havens to dodge taxes, had raised immense issues of ethics and justice and these papers were likely to be just the beginning.

“I think this is the tip of the tip of the iceberg. The Panama Papers are just one set of papers – god knows what exists in other tax havens around the world,” he said.

“People need to be transparent about these things because the whole issue is about secrecy.”
Macaulay noted that Key said one of the reasons why people use trusts is that they don’t trust the system “but that doesn’t seem a good reason to go and hide things offshore, does it?”

Using offshore trusts may not be illegal in a concrete sense, “but the question then becomes, how fair are the laws? There you have a massive ethical gray area because some laws are skewed towards the benefit of some rather the benefit of all – that’s not an ethical issue, that’s a justice issue.”

“When you look at the trillions and trillions of dollars stashed away, we probably could have solved most social problems many times over.

“The majority of people in New Zealand have enough to have a reasonable life, but a lot of people have absolutely nothing and it’s absolutely wrong.”

Simon Louisson formerly worked for The Wall Street Journal, NZPA, Reuters and was most recently a political and media adviser to the Green Party

199 comments on “John’s Key’s “lawyer” is not a lawyer ”

  1. save NZ 1

    Great post! It just gets more and more dodgy and it all points back to John Key.

    John Key’s best friend is not a practising lawyer rather a tax avoidance specialist trustee for Antipodes Trust Group.

    • ianmac 1.1

      A great factual post thankyou Simon.
      Wonder if the revelations will muddy the Key China waters?

    • Colonial Viper 1.2

      Uh, but ask what is the point of this post.

      Key’s expert lawyer of many years experience has retired from formal practice and gave up his practicing certificate two months ago.

      Key still calls him a lawyer, and the the guy himself still hasn’t gotten out of the habit of thinking of himself as a lawyer.

      So what? We’re going to sharpshoot this now because we think that Whitney is misrepresenting himself to new and existing clients?

      Or do we think that Whitney has pulled a fast one on his old friend John Key and Key’s interests need to be protected because key doesn’t know that Whitney no longer has a practicing certificate?

      Are we saying that Whitney gave up his practicing certificate because he had become incompetent or unable to give proper advice to clients?


      • Sabine 1.2.1

        maybe you want to raise the issue about the formalities around calling oneself a laywer with these guys.

        “If you provide any legal services without a current practising certificate you must not describe yourself as a lawyer, law practitioner, legal practitioner, barrister, solicitor, attorney-at-law or counsel. To do so is an offence under Section 21 of the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act,” the Law Society’s Senior Solicitor Regulatory, Charlotte Walker, told TS.

        • Colonial Viper

          So the point is that this experienced legal expert called himself a lawyer 2 months after retiring and giving up his practicing certificate, yes?

          Are the Greens or someone else going to lay a complaint to the Law Society then?

          • Bill

            My pharmacist is actually just a drug dealer. They used to have a pharmacists cert, but now they just deal smack.

            • Colonial Viper

              Ahem. They used to deal smack before too.

              That’s the point. Not the paper pharmacists cert ffs.

              • Bill

                Fine. So settle on a different comparison CV- one where ‘Mr Nice Guy’ says he’s real good mates with some upstanding member of a profession – who is no longer a member of the profession, but is indulging in dirty little grubber activities.

                I’m actually a wee bit curious as to why a lawyer would give up their certification.

                Speculating…they got word they been sprung on some shit that would see them hauled before the professions ruling body? Or are they aware that the territory they’re moving into makes such an eventuality much more likely and so are probably better off to cut those ties now?

                • Et Tu Brute

                  Lawyers give it up all the time. In this case the guy retired. The Law Society actively encourages lawyers to drop the practicing certificate if they no longer need it or use it.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Lawyers who end up taking a management, business or academic direction to their careers often ditch their practicing certificates if they decide they are unlikely to go back to practicing law.

      • lprent 1.2.2

        I suspect that the point was to give a bit of a stir.

        But John Key made a specific statement and explanation about one part of his statement of interests to the house. It turns out that one part of that was in error. Albeit in a current sense.

        Perhaps other parts are also in error?

        • Colonial Viper

          Indeed, Key is likely doing his usual tap dancing on the head of a pin routine.

      • alwyn 1.2.3

        You will have to watch it CV. They will be after you next. After all you are on record as one of the vast horde of contributors to this site who have described Andrew Little as a “lawyer”.

        Open mike 26/01/2016

        What a ridiculous non-story this is. Desperation rules among the sufferers of KDS.
        Now, for a more interesting topic. Have the Labour Party made any progress on their study of a UBI or was that last months subject of interest and has it been dumped, like most of the last election’s policy in the too-hard basket?

        • lprent

          Better KDS than your wee group of KBL (Key butt-lickers)

          You can get some serious diseases doing that too much!

        • Colonial Viper

          You will have to watch it CV. They will be after you next. After all you are on record as one of the vast horde of contributors to this site who have described Andrew Little as a “lawyer”.

          Ha good point.

          That bad Andrew Little, he hasn’t done a single thing to clarify in the media that he is in fact not a “lawyer.” That’s not allowed you know, getting “prestige” from being referred to as a “lawyer.” Nawdy nawdy.

          This is all fucking inane.

        • Is CV a poltician using a non-transparent trust arrangement and Andrew Little his supposed-lawyer? No? Then it doesn’t sound particularly relevant to the PM’s situation and simply a huge distraction.

          • alwyn

            Yes dear.
            I think this whole fuss is simply a stupid distraction. Have a look at the people commenting here who seem to be raving about the fact that John Key’s long time lawyer gave up his practising certificate a couple of months ago.
            Key should be hung because he still calls him a lawyer. How stupid can you be?
            Besides the comment was specifically addressed to CV. He seemed to find it funny.
            As for the comment in the original post that “Key was blindsided when Parliament’s Register …..”. How silly can that be. Key provides the material for the register. Is the author of the post trying to say that Key didn’t know what was in it?

            • Tricledrown

              Poor old Alwyn desperate to confuse and difuse the bomb Key a senior commodities ponzi scheme trader.
              Chooks come home to roost.

    • Hongi Ika 1.3

      Maybe Winston was right in the “Wine Box Enquiry”?

  2. M. Gray 2

    John key talking about ethic but he doesn’t have any

  3. Pat 3

    Will be interesting to see what the MSM do with this

  4. Adrian 4

    The question that has to be asked is about when Mossac Fonseca set up in Nuie, a NZ dependency, it must have got top level advice from someone well versed in NZ tax law.
    Was that John Shewan?

  5. Sam C 5

    This is really desperate stuff. I’m struggling to fathom the depths you’ll go to to smear Key. There really is nothing to see here.

    “It just gets more and more dodgy and it all points back to John Key”. Really? How?

    • Sabine 5.1

      Well then you know its just ramblings of lefties that have got nothing better to do all day, and you can rest easy.

      See, it’s all good.

    • ianmac 5.2

      I guess the Right Wing team are meeting in a dark place somewhere at this moment. Sam C is just a faint pop, but wait for the big guns like Puck to get their big guns primed.
      “Labour did it too” won’t work.
      “Nothing to see here” won’t work.
      “Look over there at the flag” won’t work.
      “We will sue you” won’t work.
      Waiting now.

      • Sam C 5.2.1

        I probably (definitely) didn’t express myself very well.

        For me, CV nails it in his post at 1.2. I’m an ex-lawyer (no longer hold a practicing certificate), but that doesn’t mean that friends, acquaintances, clients and colleagues don’t still refer to me as a lawyer from time to time. There is no intention on their part or mine to misrepresent the situation.

        • Sabine

          again, you can raise the issues with these guys here

          “If you provide any legal services without a current practising certificate you must not describe yourself as a lawyer, law practitioner, legal practitioner, barrister, solicitor, attorney-at-law or counsel. To do so is an offence under Section 21 of the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act,” the Law Society’s Senior Solicitor Regulatory, Charlotte Walker, told TS.

          • Sam C

            So make a complaint then. See where that gets you. Isn’t your gripe that John Key referred to Whitney as “my lawyer” or something similar?
            You may as well include me and umpteen other ex-lawyers in the complaint too. Make it a class action, if you will.

            Jesus Christ, you really are clutching at straws.

            • Sabine

              nope i am not clutching at straws. You are.

              I am happy with the definition put forward by the Law Society.

              So no, John Key’s lawyer is not a lawyer and should only be referred to as a former lawyer.
              Or else, it is an offence under Section 21 of the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act.

              Nothing to do with me.

              Poor thing. hopless Mr. English would say, all that education and he still can’t read.

              • Sam C

                As I said above, make a complaint to the Law Society then. Go on.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  Perhaps I can help you out. Your Prime Minister explained that his lawyer was holding some cash for him, and it’s a pure coincidence that he’s working for a firm that legally enables money-laundering. Then it turns out that legally enabled money-laundering is this particular (in fact ex-) lawyer’s speciality.

                  So there’s absolutely nothing to see here. The Prime Minister personally fostered a law change that enables money laundering, and that’s all ok by you.

                  Is that a fair summation?

                  • McFlock

                    don’t forget that the guy can’t actually be Key’s lawyer now, because he’s no longer a lawyer. So Key’s business relationship is strictly to hold the cash for him, no lawyering involved.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Look, since the Prime Minister successfully pushed his law change through, it’s all legal and above board. Everyone does it, anyway.

        • Ross

          Sam C, I presume that none of your “friends, acquaintances, clients and colleagues” are the Prime Minister. Please note that nobody has voted for your friends, acquaintances, clients and colleagues, but plenty of people have voted for the PM. I think you’ll agree the PM should be held to a higher account than your friends, acquaintances, clients and colleagues.

          Why doesn’t the PM simply use the services of a bona fide lawyer?

        • Instauration

          Something to see here – Sam C ;

          “And to what extent is Key influenced in his belief that New Zealand is not a tax haven and has adequate disclosure rules by the fact that his mate and lawyer has just established a business that is dependent on such a regime continuing.”

          Key says “adequate” – Whitney says “limited” – Whitney advises Key and Whitney’s perspective is evidently from that of a settlor – yep, limited is adequate – if you want to hide stuff.

          So will Key shaft his mates business (with which he is engaged) and approve disclosure changes to effect sunlight on dodginess ?

          That question – is a “point” in this post.

    • dv 5.3

      You think its a smear- Interesting.

      Key sais he was his lawyer.
      Hardly a smear.

    • lprent 5.4

      Do you mean that it is like making a fuss about a signature on a painting?

      Ummm. I wonder why we might consider that the kind of stupid smear that Farrar jerked off on for months for the pleasure of the residents of the sewer in 2007 might be of use now.

      Especially considering that this one actually has a legal point to it.

      Perhaps you should save your fathoming for the fuckwits (probably like yourself) who first used this kind of tactic.

      • Sam C 5.4.1

        So I’m a fuckwit now for having a viewpoint (based on personal experience) contrary to yours? Interesting.

        • adam

          Your lot started it with the whole KDS, and calling anyone mentally ill who disagrees with you?

          I would have thought calling you a f*&#%&t was actually nicer.

          • Sam C

            My lot? What on earth are you talking about? Where have I mentioned KDS?

            • Observer (Tokoroa)

              . Hi Sam

              I have always thought people called Sam are pretty good blokes. Leaving that aside, which firm and in which specialty did you practice.

              Thanks Sam

              • Sam C

                Hi Observer
                I worked for a Magic Circle law firm in London for a number of years (Commercial Real Estate), then the NZ Govt for a few years (administration of Crown Land), then a large energy generator (wind farm development), then a private property consultancy (general property advisory). Then I elected not to new my practicing certificate.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  Did you ever come across any situations where a client wanted a legal way to launder money? They say commercial real-estate, for example, is a favourite for washing drug money.

                  Can you offer us any insights?

  6. dv 6

    BUT BUT look over there- Billy LIU.

  7. Jim 7

    How about some policy from labour.
    No mention from you about little and his stuff up with hagamans .
    I have friends that used to vote labour who will not now because all they see is anti Key and no answers on how to run the country.

  8. Pat 8

    “I have friends that used to vote labour who will not now because all they see is anti Key and no answers on how to run the country.”

    and I have friends who used to vote National and now won’t due to their dodgy dealings…think they may cancel each other out?

    • Colonial Viper 8.1

      Winston is the winner. And I expect to see that reflected in the RM tomorrow.

    • North 8.2

      Odds are that Jim is bullshitting about his ‘once labour friends’. They’re likely an invention to bolster Jim’s bullshit fantasy that the National party is clean. The lie much like tory troll Alwyn’s bullshit claim to have been active in Left politics once upon a time.

      • maui 8.2.1

        Or how the lost sheep was a left wing activist back in the 60s until the movement started going off the rails or some such 😆

      • alwyn 8.2.2

        “Alwyn’s bullshit claim”.
        You have that completely the wrong way around you silly little fellow.
        The accurate statement would be “North’s bullshit claim about Alwyn”.
        I have never, and I have pointed this out to you on previous occasions, claimed that I was active in Left politics.
        Produce some evidence or apologise and shut up you prat.
        The strongest thing I have ever said was that I had voted Labour 5 times out of the last 12 elections. That is certainly not being “actively involved”.
        I, like the Hagamans apparently, admired Roger Douglas.

        • Hanswurst

          Produce some evidence or apologise and shut up you prat.

          Do you feel slighted, do you? That’s a shame.

          • alwyn

            “feel slighted”.
            Not in the slightest you German sausage.
            I am just getting sick of the foolish little boy’s repeated lies about me.
            It is often the case on this blog that repeated comments without making any attempt to provide confirmation of the claims gets you banned.
            I have on occasion been told I risk banning for that reason. I have on each occasion produced references for my statements.
            North on the other hand, despite repeating this stupid statement, has never even tried to justify his rubbish.
            Come on North. Put up or shut up.

          • alwyn

            “feel slighted”.
            Not at all you German sausage.
            I’m just sick of his lies about me.
            He continues to repeat this claim and when challenged never gives a reference.
            People have been banned from this blog for making statements that they are quite unable to justify. I have been threatened with that fate but have always produced evidence for my statements.
            Come on North. Put up or shut up.

            ps if this shows up twice can an administrator remove one of them. With my name and mail vanishing from the comment area I mistyped the email and when I submitted the comment it vanished into the ether.

    • Rodel 8.3

      I have friends who used to vote Labour. Now they still vote Labour.

      • Sabine 8.3.1

        Heck i have friends that have voted for the Greens and still do so.
        I also have friends that have voted for Labour and still do so.
        And i have friends that have voted for National, and did so last time around, and now they are worried that their kids can’t finds jobs or houses. Maybe they still be voting National next time, maybe not. 🙂

      • Richard McGrath 8.3.2

        Proud to say I voted Labour in 1987

    • Keith 8.4

      I knew a man who knew this man who voted Labour until they criticised John Key for being constantly dodgy. Here in lies the latest familiar narrative for April 2016 to leave the corrupt National Party alone.

      Try harder National, the script is dull and so very predictable.

  9. TC 9

    If you dont use a practising lawyer he cant be called in front of any peer group or council to answer questions

  10. Jim 10

    Really desperate.

    • save NZ 10.1

      Not as desperate as all these new trolls circling around this post.

      • save NZ 10.1.1

        Not being part of a professional body worked for Dr Alan Reay when he was under investigation…

        “The man who oversaw the design of Christchurch’s ill-fated CTV building has stepped down from the Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand (IPENZ).

        Dr Alan Reay resigned from the professional body in a letter sent to the president and the board on February 28, chief executive Andrew Cleland says.

        The measure has put yet another spanner in the works for IPENZ, who was investigating work the engineer carried out between 1986 and 1991.

        The probe was launched after a complaint from a relative of one the 115 people who died when the CTV building collapsed in the February 2012 quake.

        IPENZ does not have jurisdiction to discipline an engineer who is not a member of their institution and the move could force them to abandon the investigation altogether. The group is now taking advice as they prepare to make their next step.”

        In the meantime, Dr Reay can still work in the industry as a Chartered Professional Engineer and an International Professional Engineer.

        Dr Reay tried to block IPENZ’s investigation in July last year, filing papers in the High Court at Christchurch. He argued the group had no jurisdiction to investigate his actions before December 2, 2002, when their rules were updated, and asked the court to prevent the probe from going ahead. IPENZ has filed papers in response but a date for a hearing is yet to be set.”

        • Colonial Viper

          IPENZ does not have jurisdiction to discipline an engineer who is not a member of their institution and the move could force them to abandon the investigation altogether. The group is now taking advice as they prepare to make their next step.”

          They should continue their investigation on the basis of serving the public interest, and also for developing materials and evidence that can form the basis of any future action against this engineer.

    • TC 10.2

      Facts tend to do that with you rwnj’s

  11. johnm 11

    ” John Key, explaining why he had an account with tax avoidance specialists Antipodes Trust Group, said he used the firm because his long-term friend, Ken Whitney, is a principal at the firm and has been his private lawyer for many years. ”

    This statement alone indicates our NZ PM is corrupt: He should resign.

    The whole World has been robbed blind for trillions by people like Antipodes Trust Group and aiders and abettors such as Key. Key has absolutely no moral compass in the financial world which is parasitically feeding of real functioning societies.

    Re: Michael Hudson Killing the host http://rethinkingprosperity.org/finance-as-class-warfare-a-review-of-killing-the-host-by-michael-hudson/

    And: Treasure Islands Uncovering the damage of offshore banking and tax havens

  12. The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 12

    Key’s lawyer has retired and gone into trust administration.

    Key called him his lawyer.

    Why is this a story?

    • Colonial Viper 12.1

      How the fuck would I know, mate.

      The story should be – Key used a firm specialising in international tax avoidance, and is still using a firm specialising in international tax avoidance.

      Not: Key’s long time lawyer has retired but still thinks of himself as a lawyer. As you imply: so fucking what.

      But you know, it’s not like the Left can keep their eye on where the ball in play actually is. WOOOSH

      • Pat 12.1.1

        the question is what advantage is it to a lawyer (and by extension his/her clients) involved in FTs to no longer be bound by the requirements of the profession?….he has surrendered his practicing registration for a reason…he hasn’t “retired” as Gormless states, he is continuing in the field he has always been involved in.

        • Colonial Viper

          But so what? There are tonnes of tax avoidance specialists in these firms who aren’t qualified lawyers. There always has been. The big accountancy firms and investment banks are full of them.

          Again, so what?

          The point remains that Key uses a firm specialising in tax avoidance. All this other detail of why and when this guy gave up his practicing certificate, and what he is doing now…so what?

          At the risk of sounding like a broken record. It’s all about Key continuing to use a firm specialising in tax avoidance. Not this other stuff about some lawyer/ex lawyer guy that the public doesn’t give two hoots about.

          • Pat

            “It’s all about Key continuing to use a firm specialising in tax avoidance. Not this other stuff.”

            and you think the actions of the person he has selected to manage his affairs are unconnected?….come on, get real

          • miravox

            As far as I can tell the public accepts Key uses the firm because he said his lawyer is there.

            You can’t get any traction on arguing that Key should not be using a firm that specialises in overseas trusts if they public believes Key is simply going where his lawyer is.

            This is a point that must be countered if you’re going to argue that Key should not be using this firm.

            • Colonial Viper

              So you think focussing on his lawyer retiring from legal practice 2 months ago is the way to get traction with the public?

              OK, let’s see how that goes, I suppose it’s as good as any other tack might be, but not for me.

              • miravox

                No, I don’t thing focusing on the lawyer is going to get traction with the public.

                However, I also think allowing Key’s explanation of why he is using an company that specialises in offshore tax havens to stand (i.e. it’s just a place his lawyer practices from) blocks the public from listening to the problems with said tax havens. Therefore this half-truth must be exposed for the public to at least half-listen.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Maybe I just have a different sense of what the public is looking for from the Opposition. No doubt you are probably right about this.

          • johnm

            100% 🙂

      • Sabine 12.1.2

        again, its not the left that makes the rule.

        Read it again, and then go and complain to these guys that set the business standard

        “If you provide any legal services without a current practising certificate

        you must not describe yourself as a lawyer, law practitioner, legal practitioner, barrister, solicitor, attorney-at-law or counsel.

        To do so is an offence under Section 21 of the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act,” the Law Society’s Senior Solicitor Regulatory, Charlotte Walker, told TS.

        • Colonial Viper

          Jeeezus. In brief: no one gives a shit that a long time lawyer who very recently left practice has been called a lawyer. Not even the law society, I bet.

      • weka 12.1.3

        The story should be – Key used a firm specialising in international tax avoidance, and is still using a firm specialising in international tax avoidance.

        Not: Key’s long time lawyer has retired but still thinks of himself as a lawyer. As you imply: so fucking what.

        But you know, it’s not like the Left can keep their eye on where the ball in play actually is. WOOOSH

        WOOSH is exactly what I was thinking reading your comments.

        The thing that interests me is that you still believe that your perspective on what ‘the Left’ do or don’t do, or should do, has any relevance. When opinion drips with as much resentment, invective and bias as yours does, it’s hard to take it seriously.

        I read the post quite differently than you. Maybe you could take a step back and try engaging with people and seeing what they are talking about instead of making a whole bunch of assumptions from your coal tinted glasses and then spraying shit around the place on the basis of that.

        • Colonial Viper

          Hey weka: not here to convince you one way or the other.

          Neither am I here to prove my relevance to you.

          • weka

            Sure. You’re just expressing your thoughts, as am I.

            • Colonial Viper

              Also note that whenever I make an observation which can be interpreted as saying ‘what the Left should do’ I have zero expectation that it can or will ever happen.

              • weka

                That’s one good definition of a troll. As I’ve said, if you have a strategy, that’s a different story, but all I can see is you often (not always) seeking to spray shit around.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Nah, it’s a good definition of realism. Some people think that there is still hope that our political parties will get their Wellington heads around the problems we face in time. I have zero expectations of that.

      • Shifty 12.1.4

        Actually that was my take home point. The lawyer/non-lawyer is a secondary, somewhat interesting point. Of course, such people are above rules and regulations that’s the whole point of 1% membership. Rules are for chumps, my friends didn’t intend to misrepresent the situation, end of. But the issue is: Why can’t these people just be clean and honest, is it really that difficult? Like for real?

      • International Rescue 12.1.5

        “The story should be – Key used a firm specialising in international tax avoidance, and is still using a firm specialising in international tax avoidance.”

        Why is that a story?

    • lprent 12.2

      Probably because it gets the desperate RWNJs all worried.

      It is fun watching them piddling themselves with indignation.

      • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 12.2.1

        Lprent, why so obsessed with the renal system?

        • alwyn

          Once men get to a certain age………….

        • lprent

          Pretty obvious. When I see you dickheads spraying “Arden’s dad” everywhere like dogs with an acute urge to mark everything, and then watch you calling exactly the same tactic in reverse a “smear” – well I have to regard it as toilet humor.

          Of course I could just start banning for hypocrites astroturfing rather than drawing attention to it.

          Should I just do that?

          • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell

            You reference male genitalia and urination quite a lot. I am not sure your above explanation adequately explains the fixation. Nor is the alleged link between the behaviour of others and these obsessions obvious, to me at least.
            Perhaps neither of us is qualified to unravel that, though.

            • McFlock

              Well, it seems pretty apt if you’ve ever walked a dog…

              • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell

                It’s not just the odd reference. Elsewhere today he talks about “wanking grafitti”. Every time he needs to put someone down (and he feels the need often, it seems) he goes straight to the male genitalia. Odd.

                • McFlock

                  never really noticed it, myself.

                  You sure there’s not an observation bias at play? 😉

                • Hanswurst

                  He talks about your wanking because you are wanking. Seems pretty obvious to me.

                  • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell

                    It would be nice to receive some abuse not directed at the penile area. That’s all I am saying. Attack my love handles or my haircut once in a while. For the variety.

    • maui 12.3

      Basic Mind must have given you some commenting tips before he went off for school holidays.

    • International Rescue 12.4

      It isn’t. It is another example of the obsession the left has with John Key. They’re not learning.

  13. tinfoilhat 13


  14. North 14

    No disrespect CV but all I’m seeing in you is bitter bitter bitter bloody double bitter. Hoha !

    • Colonial Viper 14.1

      With a touch of hops and a bit of body it makes a great Autumn brewski heh.

      Again my point stands – why are we diverting from the point that Key is using a firm specialising in avoiding tax, in order to focus on a lawyer who retired 2 months ago but is still in the habit of thinking himself a lawyer?

      • weka 14.1.1

        ‘we’ aren’t doing anything. Simon Louisson put up a single post about one aspect of the situation. I found it useful and information.

        You’re on your ‘the left is fucked’ hobby horse again and doing a great diversion there pot.

      • Olwyn 14.1.2

        I think the point is that Key’s “but the guy’s been my lawyer for years” is not as benign as it sounds if the guy actually gave up his registration so as to specialise in off-shore trusts and take advantage of NZ’s tax haven status.

        • tinfoilhat

          I think this fellow has been in this sort of legal area for years – I tend to agree with CV it’s a distraction to be talking about him.


          • Pat

            he’s been involved in this sort of legal area for years ….all the time with a practicing cert….and now although still involved in this field he suddenly decides he doesn’t want a practicing cert?

            • Colonial Viper

              Might be as simple as he’s decided that he can keep doing his job without forking over a couple of grand a year to the Law Society.

              • adam

                Nope no point in going for layers of evidence, nope none at all.

                Nor the fact it is not logic that changes peoples minds in politics – no sir.

                Sorry Colonial Viper but your analysis and solution just don’t hold water. When things are this complex and when people are invested, it is a long drawn out process to make them see reason or change their minds – especially in politics. Hence why polls can discolour events, especially when used as often as they are in this country. No one is going to start disliking this government instantaneously, it will be slow and gradual.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Yeah what do you want another 8 years

                  • adam

                    I think the slow change has begun. The worm has turned – so to speak. My point was if we keep layering up the evidence, then people will change their minds. It’s not a case of one thing pulls down this bloody awful national government. But death by a thousand cuts.

                    I don’t think this government will get another term, and I think the majority of national party supporters are waking up to the fact a faction has taken over their party. That is the national parties biggest headache, nothing the left can throw at them. The nat’s have open factional warfare, and it is getting ugly.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      I propose a counterfactual. That people will vote for Labour when Labour returns to its founding principles and presents true, relevant alternatives to the last 30 years of neoliberalism.

                      And not when we add even more to the sky high pile of – look at how shit John Key is!

                      National’s factional warfare is apparent, but in some ways it is also very well controlled compared to Labour’s factional warfare.

                    • Bob

                      CV, it seems you are one of the only ones around here that seems to have had a moment of clarity and seen the current political landscape for what it is.
                      The people I talk to want something to vote for, all they see currently is an opposition that has got so comfortable getting paid well to complain that that is all they do.
                      Thinking and offering solutions (maybe even some policy) doesn’t seem to be on the agenda at present, and the reaction to posts like this (with next to no substance) just go to highlight the fact that it is becoming endemic among opposition party supporters.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      New Roy Morgan should be out shortly.

                    • adam

                      And another poll, that in itself is a problem.

                    • Pat

                      “I propose a counterfactual. That people will vote for Labour when Labour returns to its founding principles and presents true, relevant alternatives to the last 30 years of neoliberalism.’

                      I propose a counter counterfactual….this has nothing to do with the election or voting for a particular party but is an issue around corruption of politics…..the results of which are being witnessed around the world with the rejection of the old guard and refusal to participate.

                      for me at least , the desire is to remove a party that is corrupt to its core before they do more damage, not the salvation of the Labour Party.

            • tinfoilhat

              Because he’s retired from legal practice ?…at least that’s what the article by TS states…whoever TS is ?

              • lprent

                “The Standard” == TS

                Simon uses that rather than saying “When I asked”. I think it is something that journos get trained to do

          • Colonial Viper

            From a purely political PR point of view, making an old lawyer the point of the argument is futile. It needs to be about why Key has been, and is continuing to do business with a firm specialising in tax avoidance.

            • johnm

              100% 🙂

            • Pat

              like the Panama papers , it is one thing to know its happening….it is another thing altogether should detail emerge….where does that detail reside?

            • Observer (Tokoroa)

              . Hi Colonial Viper

              Look I want to congratulate you on getting a $200 Bursary to University. it makes you a national treasure.

              Just a little bit infantile though, don’t you agree Viper? – sorry Snake- I mean Viper.

              You said, drawing yourself to your full bursary height:

              .”From a purely political PR point of view, making an old lawyer the point of the argument is futile. It needs to be about why Key has been, and is continuing to do business with a firm specialising in tax avoidance.”

              Don’t you think by claiming that a reputable Lawyer looked after his many secret interests, MR Key was using the prestige of a man still claiming to be a Lawyer ?

              The man happens however to be a person full time sheltering people who hide their wealth and avoid Tax …to the tune of Millions. Even though they make those millions off the backs of much less fortunate persons. It’s sickening.

              • Colonial Viper

                Don’t you think by claiming that a reputable Lawyer looked after his many secret interests, MR Key was using the prestige of a man still claiming to be a Lawyer ?

                No idea what you think the point of your comment is here: why on Earth you would think that the title “lawyer” is where that man’s “prestige” comes from, or why you think John Key would have any interest in trading on that “prestige” or the prestige of the title “lawyer”.

                I mean, wtf.

        • Anno1701

          “if the guy actually gave up his registration so as to specialise in off-shore trusts and take advantage of NZ’s tax haven status.”

          if any thing it indicates there is maybe more money in this offshore trust business than lawyering, which is a LOT !

  15. Rich 15

    I guess a lawyer who isn’t registered doesn’t have to comply with the various ethical and legal requirements that an actual lawyer would.

    • alwyn 15.1

      Rather like a lot of our politicians.
      Have a look in the Register for all the politicians who say that they were lawyers.
      There a number of party leaders in the New Zealand Parliament like that. They aren’t registered any longer. Little, Peters and Turei included.
      You say
      “doesn’t have to comply with the various ethical”.
      Now I understand why they have dropped out of the profession.

      • Sabine 15.1.1

        if you have any issues with whom is a Lawyer or not please take it up with these guys

        “If you provide any legal services without a current practising certificate

        you must not describe yourself as a lawyer, law practitioner, legal practitioner, barrister, solicitor, attorney-at-law or counsel.

        To do so is an offence under Section 21 of the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act,” the Law Society’s Senior Solicitor Regulatory, Charlotte Walker, told TS..

        • Roflcopter

          Hey dimwit, it was Key who mentioned it… where did this guy describe himself as a lawyer since he’s no longer practising?

          Desperate much?

          • McFlock

            from the post:

            When TS contacted Whitney to ask him if he was Key’s lawyer, he said: “Yes.”

            More to the point, if Key’s dealings with this firm are not because his long-time family lawyer does his family law stuff alongside the firm’s core business of enabling tax avoidance, why does Key have business dealings with them?

            • Magisterium

              It seems quite obvious that he was Key’s lawyer. TS should have asked if he IS Key’s lawyer.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                It seems quite obvious that English language comprehension isn’t your strong point.

                TS: Are you John Key’s lawyer”

                Legalised Money Laundering Expert: “Yes”.

                Later that day…

                TS: when I asked if he was John Key’;s lawyer he said “yes”.

                Don’t thank me, just remember my charitable donation to your incomprehension fund.

    • Pat 15.2

      ….and it also may be a specific advantage in this field that Im sure someone with intimate industry knowledge will be aware of.

  16. Keith 16

    If I recall correctly Peter Dunne did away with the Inheritance tax not all that long ago. It was all so sensible, nothing to see here, it’s s silly old tax that never raised any revenue worth talking about, so it’s just a bit of house keeping. But like anything with these shifty bastards, it’s what they had planned namely tax haven creation that was the real reason. Lie, lie,lie!

    Subtle, seemingly insignificant changes mask a far greater and much more dark reality which is s hallmark of Keys government.

  17. weka 17

    Good work Simon. I’m also interested to see who else picks this up.

    Can you please clarify, where you are quoting Key what is the source? Press conference?

  18. Venezia 18

    Rich has got it……..Just as Alan Reay could not be held accountable by his professional body for the collapse of the CTV building after he resigned from IPENZ, by unburdening oneself from the legal and ethical constraints of his professional body as a lawyer, Whitney is free to do all sorts of dodgy stuff. And there is the point which seems to escape many pundits. These Foreign Trust businesses may be “Legal” but they are morally and ethically wrong on a number of counts. Many of us will be watching carefully as this saga unravels for John Key.

    • Colonial Viper 18.1

      So you’re going to make this all about Whitney now?

      Fine, but what has that got to do with pressing home the point that Key should not be using a firm specialising in tax avoidance???

      • Puckish Rogue 18.1.1

        Lemme give you some advice…you aren’t going to change anyone’s views on this. You just can’t, their minds are made up and this, this one revelation is (in their minds at least) finally what will bring John Key down

        They’re absolutely convinced that finally the public will see what they already know and its all so obvious that anyone disagreeing must be a tory troll seeking to derail the righteousness of the crusade (because we’re worried see) right up until it won’t but the next thing definitely will

        Whereas you raise points and differing views that should be considered and, as such, are vilified

        The irony is as a National voter I’m glad your viewpoints (except for homeopathy) aren’t widely distributed because then National would be in trouble

        • Reddelusion

          + 1

        • Colonial Viper

          Heh. Chur for this, PR.

          As for homeopathy. I reckon its still going to be as popular as ever in 40 to 50 years when the practice of conventional medicine as we know it can no longer be maintained due to financial and energy constraints.

          • McFlock

            smoke blown up arse, bait firmly taken, diversion complete.

            • Colonial Viper


              Technologies dependent on complex economic structures and global logistics are going to slowly break down as fossil fuel energy surpluses become increasingly marginal over the next few decades.

              But you know that, no matter how much you keep your blinders on.

              • McFlock

                all completely relevant as to why john key would be maintaining financial relationships with his “family lawyer” who not can’t do family law stuff but still specialises in enabling tax avoidance.

                Topic might be an issue for the tories if it gets followed and leads to something that’s indicated by the smell, so PR pulls CV’s strings to disrupt the thread. Good for you, cassandra.

        • Magisterium

          their minds are made up and this, this one revelation is (in their minds at least) finally what will bring John Key down

          Just like the last one, and the one before that

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            Personally I doubt it will bring him down. I note however, that you can be hoist right up your own flaccid flagpole, “paintergate” trash.

  19. Puckish Rogue 19

    Its just too easy sometimes:

  20. MARY_A 20

    Brilliant concise post Simon.

    Many thanks for exposing more dirt clinging to this government’s devious lying leader! Be interesting how “honest” John responds to this one. That’s if there’s a credible journalist out there with the guts to dare question most grubby leader!

    Nothing in msm about it is there? Hmmm ….

  21. AndyC 21

    He did? I think you might be confused, and mean gift duty?

  22. Neil 22

    Don’t worry Steven Joyce thinks it’s “Pretty legal”

  23. Nick K 23

    Quite possibly the most desperate and pointless smear post I’ve read on TS, and that’s saying something.

    • Expat 23.1

      Then don’t read it, there you go, fixed!

      The argument is that a person holding a relatively high position in society should at least try to articulate responses factually, problem is, this person has a significant reputation for deceptive behavior, which in turn lends it’s self to some criticism.

    • lprent 23.2

      Reminds me of “Paintergate”

      • Nick K 23.2.1

        Goodness, we agree on something. That was pathetic also.

        • Tricledrown

          Painter gate was about Helen Clark raising funds for charity.
          Money laundering panama papers etc about selfish greedy charlatans.

        • Tricledrown

          Shifting the blame instead of taking personnel responsibility.
          Helen Clark admitted what she did was wrong and faced the consequences.
          Shifty ShonKey is spinning and trying to sell us a Derivative of the truth.
          As a Derivative salesman for Merrill Lynch he does know what’s going on.
          Tui moment.

  24. reason 24

    The big issues are both that John key has set up New Zealand as a tax haven And that he uses the services of people and firms who utilize them ……… But the cast and characters involved along with their actions and careers also need to be known on the basis of ‘know your enemy’.

    I feel that the status of Keys Lawyer is just another small dodgy detail in the big picture …………. worth noting and recognizing as another rotten cog for sure but not a defining point.

    Tax Havens and other corporate tax rorts and various other big money scams are stealing up to 25% of our Government revenue …………

    Think of all the extra funding for health, education and other social services which are starved due to the greed of the richest …… and the politicians like John key/judith collins* who ‘legalise’ their theft ………………

    Why should we let the rich use tax havens and why should New Zealand be one??.

    That is the main issue and Keys ‘lawyer’ mate is just a grubby player in this big scam.

    * We are all attaching blame to key for changes the nats made to gain us entrance into the tax haven club ……………… but collins was a tax lawyer and could have been more involved than jk for all we know.

  25. Once Was Tim 25

    I must resign myself to the idea that there is now no such thing as ethics, or ethical behaviour – as Sam C, and no doubt many others (even CV ffs!) seem to attest to.

    Yea Nah, next

    • Hanswurst 25.1

      What do you mean “even CV”? That’s typical nowadays. CV seems to have been overwhelmed with disillusionment at some point, and ever since has spent most of his time here popping up with, “Won’t work! Won’t work!” whenever anybody who considers themself left-wing makes a point or suggests anything. It’s tragic, really, since he used to be one of the more insightful posters here. Now all we get is routines like this one, smugly repeating the fairly stock-standard and non-incisive, “Please tell me, how is this a story about x“. Whenever another poster chimes in with, “It isn’t a story about x, but I’m interested in what it might say about y“, he comes back with, “Yeah, but how is it a story about x?… and by the way, so’s yer mum. Nyer.”

      • Once was Tim 25.1.1

        I mean (from my intermittent visits, and recent reluctance to comment – having witnessed various comments from folk such as Phil Ure who seems to have also decided to give it a break)….. I mean C.V has become bitter (rightly or wrongly), but it’s beginning to affect his logic, and maybe even ….
        But you know – I’m quite happy to sit back and watch – the dancing egos, the experts (often self-appointed), the good, the decent, the ugly, but worst of all the obvious trolls that so often get a wet bus ticket.

        We’re probably in agreement Hanswurst. I wish he’d get over his disappointment – I’m sure he feels he paid his ‘dues’ – just that it didn’t pan out as he expected

        • Colonial Viper

          It’s not about me, just as it’s not about John Key.

          The guts of it is about spotting losing strategies and losing assumptions from a mile away.

          The strategic change here is that the NZ electorate is now following the trends which have been evidenced in the last few years in other western electorates.

          Voters are no longer getting tired of one side of the coin and then automatically voting for the other side of the coin.

          There are massive opportunities here as a result of this change, but they are not the same ones as those 20 or 10 or even 5 years ago, nor can they be gotten at in the same time tested ways.


          Labour has been waiting for the ‘tide to go out on National’ and the ‘tide to come in’ for them.

          But that’s not the way it works any more.

          • Kiwiri

            I’ve been following your recent comments with a great degree of interest.
            Seems like you’ve had an epiphany.
            There are still many amongst those of us who regard ourselves as Left or Progressive who are yet to wake up to making real sense of the changes and significant shifts that we are witnessing.

            • Colonial Viper

              if we are not careful the Left is going to become relegated to all the relevance of spectators and rubber neckers to these massive shifts.

              • Hanswurst

                I agree with you on that, and I actually think that that has happened to a considerable extent already. Nonetheless, your comments over the last few months have provided me with almost no food for thought, whereas they previously always gave me something to think about. I realise that the above is a purely personal view, but I think it’s a shame when someone goes virtually overnight from posting things that make me think to writing comments that I could essentially have predicted in advance, even with a hangover and before the morning coffee.

                • Colonial Viper

                  And that’s a good observation. I went with the broken record routine – basically any time Labour fucked up I simply went back to the same themes about how they are externally out of touch and internally organisationally stagnant.

                  Sabine and weka for instance describe this repetitiveness as “boring” while McFlock runs his typical sarcastic smartlines whenever he can.

                  Nevertheless I felt (feel) that directly provoking the cognitive dissonance which comes from the mental idea and feeling that Labour Loyalists have about what their political party has been/could be and the reality of what it actually is today – was very important.

                  Make no mistake – I feel that Labour could have been a powerful and positive force to take NZ successfully through the very difficult times coming up. Instead, they will definitely be a core part of the ruling establishment’s games of “pretend and extend” and making problems worse.

                  TL/DR: the Left has progressed nowhere because it orbits around these political parties, and around common ideas about what an MSM fed NZ public will accept.

                  • McFlock

                    The only people who had cognitive dissonance about the party they were members of is you. You joined a party based on what it was seventy years ago, and then bitched that it wasn’t the same.

                    You then thought that loudly calling everyone in the party “neoliberals” was going to change that party, and then got pissy when all that happened was they stopped listening to you.

                    You then used a bureaucratic move to resurrect a branch from which you could continue your attacks – quite a good move, that. But then you failed to continue the bureaucratic manoeuvering and just kept promising big things and bitching before you wound it up a few months later. If you didn’t want it why did you get it?

                    You could have kept submitting remits as per the constitution, following the remits throughout the process, and documenting (for future publication) exactly how this massive conspiracy against the left manages to stifle democratic voices within the Labour party. But all you did was whine.

                    So now you think you’re on some voice-in-the-wilderness campaign to cure party supporters of their “cognitive dissonance”? Fuck off. You’re actively helping tory trolls divert threads in a left-wing forum that maintains a clear separation between itself and the Labour party. Your hubris fucked up your grand plans, and now you piss all over anyone else who tries to get something done.

                    With that self-absorption you’ll be voting National in 20 years.

                  • Drowsy M. Kram

                    I accept that the registration issue may not get much traction with the public, but it is whiffy.

                    For a NZ lawyer to surrender their “legal practicing registration in February” makes little sense. ALL NZ Law Society Practising Certificates (I’m looking at a current one now) run until 30 June each year. “Any practitioner who has not completed the renewal process by the close of 30 June will automatically be de-registered.”

                    ‘Why did Ken Whitney de-register himself in February?’ is a valid question. The post provides an answer. And those ‘professionals’ that knowingly serve the corrupt class are as morally and ethically bankrupt as their masters. Key, as a member of the corrupt class, and having manipulated NZ law to serve it, deserves special attention. Political corruption that is not rooted out will spread first to the obvious professions, and then the less obvious. It must not be allowed to become the NZ norm (too late?)

                    Greedy, mean-spirited money grubbers.

  26. Pedant 26

    You should have kept googling before showing such ignorance. It seems a simple process to hand the certificate back and score a refund. If you wait until June you get no refund do you?

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