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Douglas White QC to conduct Tamihere inquiry

18 October 2004 Media Statement

Douglas White QC to conduct Tamihere inquiry

Douglas White QC will conduct an independent investigation into allegations surrounding John Tamihere and the Waipareira Trust.

Announcing the appointment, Acting Prime Minister Michael Cullen said Mr White was to report back to the government by 26 November at the latest.

Dr Cullen also released the terms of reference for the inquiry, which were signed off by the Cabinet today.

“Given the high public interest and the significance of the issues involved, it is important that the matter is dealt with as expeditiously as possible.”

Attached:
Terms of reference.

Inquiry into matters relating to
Te Whanau o Waipareira Trust and Hon John Tamihere

The Acting Prime Minister has invited Douglas White QC to investigate a number of allegations which have been made with respect to Hon John Tamihere.

These allegations include matters relating to payments made by the Te Whanau o Waipareira Trust to Mr Tamihere, and the failure to pay tax thereon; remuneration from Westland, a Trust subsidiary; the return of election expenses with respect to a campaign donation made by the Trust; and related matters.

Because of the public interest in ensuring that Ministers of the Crown act and have acted in ways that do not bring them into public disrepute, the Acting Prime Minister has determined that an inquiry should be held.

This inquiry will:

1. Investigate and determine the full circumstances surrounding the payments made by the Trust, including their timing, nature, tax characteristics and to whom they were made;

2. Identify whether appropriate tax was paid on the payments, and if so, by whom that tax was paid;

3. Examine any other payments that may have been made by the Waipareira Trust to Hon John Tamihere at or after the end of his employment in 1999;

4. Establish what Hon John Tamihere believed to be the tax status of the payments and what the basis for his belief was;

5. Examine the return of election expenses made by or on behalf of Hon John Tamihere and determine whether it was in conformity with the requirements of the Electoral Act; and

6. Investigate any other matters referred to him by the Prime Minister with respect to the relationship between the Hon John Tamihere and the Trust or any organisation to which the Trust is or was connected.

Douglas White QC will report the findings of this Inquiry to the Prime Minister in the first instance. He may also report on such other matters arising from or during the Inquiry, as he considers desirable.

Douglas White QC will report the findings of this Inquiry to the Prime Minister by 26 November 2004.

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