Andrew Little maligned tax expert John Shewan when he was first appointed to examine New Zealand’s trust rules more than two months ago.
Last week Little retracted his statement. He didn’t say he was sorry and did say he hadn’t been asked to apologise.
Shewan said that was misleading and he had asked Little for an apology because Little had dilly-dallied so long in setting the record straight.
Little shouldn’t have to have been asked to apologise for what he said.
He was wrong to make the unfounded accusation in the first place. He compounded that by waiting so long to admit he was wrong and compounded his error again by not apologising when he made the admission, regardless of whether or not an apology was requested.
His original attack was an attempt to discredit the government, just as his misguided and misinformed attack on Earl and Lani Hagaman who have now launched defamation proceedings against Little.
They too were caught in the political crossfire.
Personal attacks on politicians aren’t edifying but they are unfortunately accepted as a normal part of parliamentary discourse.
Politicians casting aspersions on people outside parliament is fortunately more unusual and even more unacceptable.
An MP who does that and is subsequently proven wrong should not only admit the mistake s/he should apologise, and do so at the earliest opportunity.
Little’s refusal to apologise shows he isn’t sorry and therefore probably hasn’t learned from his mistake.