Jenny Ruth has the best comment I’ve seen on Philip Field’s sentence in today’s Sunday Star-Times – not available on the paper’s website or on Stuff.co.nz.
Taito Philip Field was a pompous twit over the Thai tilers’ affair, particularly in his inept attempts at a cover-up, but his six -year jail sentence is outrageous.
Ruth contrasts Field’s sentence, where she says “the Crown estimates the free labour Field received from eight Thai tradesmen was worth $58,000”, with the near six-years meted out to Allan Hawkins for the Equiticorp fraud, where $327 million in 1987 dollars was involved, and the victim was the taxpayer.
She then lists others who had “a much easier ride.” They include Sir Robert Jones, who sold 105 million Robert Jones Investment shares between mid-1989 and November 1991 for prices above $1 each and should have filed substantial shareholder notices during that period at the same time as he was exhorting mum and dad shareholders to buy the shares. Jones was ordered to forfeit six million shares and pay $250,000 to cover the Securities Commission costs of prosecuting him. The more than $105million worth of shares were worth $8.4m at the time of the judge’s decision. the mum and dad shareholders were the victims then.
And Michael Fay and David Richwhite, who sold 17.5 million Tranzrail shares for $3.60 in 2002 just ahead of a profit warning which sent the shares plummeting to “well south of $1”. Fay and Richwhite settled out of ourt with the Securities Commission for $20 million in 2007 on a no-fault-accepted basis. “The victims in that case were the institutions who bought the shares and the savings of many thousands of mums and dads those institutions are charged with managing’, said Ruth.
And Tim Hunter, in the same edition of the SST, likewise not available on the website, passes imaginary sentence on Westpac after wondering what a judge might have said to Westpac after finding that “yes, it did dodge $586 million in tax.” He starts:
Westpac, I find you have committed a most serious offence. Our society is built on a collective shouldering of the burden. while we all have our individual interests, we nevertheless pull together to achieve benefits for the country as a whole – the Kiwi iwi, if you like.’..
You, however, decided to avoid your responsibilities, to freeload on the society in which you earn your living. Wilfully, and with barely a thought for the harm you were causing you constructed a series of arrangements with various accomplices overseas to deprive this country of $586m.
In summary, your action showed extreme selfishness, greed and a careless disregard for your fellow man.
You deserve the maximum penalty this court can award. I hereby fine you “use of ”money interest of $375m. Non of your executives or accomplices will go to jail and none will face a sanction of any kind.
You are free to go.
The fools go to jail and the moneyed go free. This puts the faux outrage of the right-wing blogs over Field into perspective – Taito was a fool. But it’s the moneyed going free that’s the real outrage – it’s happened too often in this country.
And Stuff should publish this stuff on Stuff.co.nz – might save a few more mums and dads.