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Restrictions On Privilege Long Overdue- Peters

26 October 2000

The Rt Hon Winston Peters MP, Leader of New Zealand First, today applauded the Law Commission’s report Tax and Privilege: Legal Professional Privilege and the Commissioner of Inland Revenue’s Powers to Obtain Information, which was released this afternoon.

“It is long since time we put a stop to lawyers hiding their clients’ illegalities behind privilege - from being hired by criminals who have broken the law and are looking for loopholes that will get them off.

“Privilege was never intended to be used this way and it is something that has been unacceptable in other western countries for some time. In the United States, for example, not only can lawyers and accountants be disbarred for this practice, but so too can their firms if they continue to employ the accountant or lawyer in question,” said Mr Peters.

Mr Peters said that it was another example of accountability standards in New Zealand lagging well behind the rest of the western world.

“Whilst the Tax and Privilege Report is to be applauded time will only tell to what extent accountability standards in this country will be improved as a result,” said Mr Peters.

ENDS

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