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The Standard

Amy Adams has some explaining to do

Written By: - Date published: 12:12 pm, March 12th, 2014 - 32 comments
Categories: Conservation, national, same old national, water - Tags:

If Judith Collins’ difficulties with endorsing promoting while overseas on a Ministerial Trip the products of a firm of which her husband is a director and which has given significant amounts of money to the National Party was bad enough there is breaking news which will have John Key reach for the emergency phone line to Crosby Textor.

James Dann of the Rebuilding Christchurch blogsite has posted information of what looks like a significant conflict of interest for Amy Adams and questions on how it was handled have to be asked.

From the post:

Adams owns a number of properties, but the ones of most interest are in two blocks. The first is in 9 titles, at Charing Cross. It totals 1,992,440m2, and has a rateable value of $4,700,000. The second is at Darfield, is in one title of 502,154m2, and has a rateable value of $1,050,000. What is interesting about these two blocks is that they are both within the area to be covered by the Central Plains Water (CPW) scheme. This is a controversial project that will take water from the Rakaia River and use it to irrigate an area of the Canterbury Plains between the Rakaia and Hororata Rivers.

Government action in Canterbury over the past few years has caused major concern.  Elected representatives to ECAN were dismissed and replaced by Commissioners.  Instead of there being recent elections the term of the commissioners was extended to 2016 and Adams had a direct role in this decision as Minister for the Enviroment.  The intention appears to be to bed in the irrigation proposals.  And part of the fast forward fund, representing some of the sale proceeds of our company shares, has been tagged to be spent on irrigation in Canterbury.

It appears that Adams was directly involved in changing the environmental protection status for the Rakaia River, one of the rivers involved.  Again from Dann:

… when the bill went to parliament to replace the ECan council with commissioners, it also made it much easier for the Minister to amend a Water Conservation Order (WCO) in Canterbury. A WCO is often compared to a “national park” for a water way – it recognises the environmental, cultural and recreational significance of the body of water, and makes it more difficult for it to be exploited. WCOs are the domain of the Ministry of the Environment – not the regional council; by tacking this clause onto the bill which was nominally designed to resolve the “dysfunction” at ECan, the government showed what they were really trying to do. A WCO was placed on the Rakaia River in 1988 – the river which CPW needed to draw from to ensure the viability of their scheme. This was lifted in 2013.

Where difficulties may arise is that it appears that Adams’ land will benefit from the proposes irrigation scheme and improve in value.  And she is a part owner of AMDON Farms Limited which owns shares in Central Plains Irrigation Limited which is involved in the project.

Rob Salmond sums up the situation as follows:

This raises very serious questions about Amy Adams’ conduct as Minister for the Environment. It is possible, of course, that there is a perfectly innocent expanation for these unlikely coincidences. But before believing that, I think the public needs to know:

  1. Does Amy Adams stand to benefit, either through increased land value for her farms or from increased share value in her firms, from the government-funded irrigation work in the Canterbury Plains?
  2. Did Amy Adams recuse herself from all cabinet and caucus discussions that were related to ECan and the Central Plains Water scheme?
  3. Did Amy Adams delegate authority to another Minister to make all decisions in the environment portfolio that relate to ECan, the current government-appointed commissioners, or the Central Plains Water scheme?

If the answer to (1) is “yes,” and the answer to either of the other questions is anything other than “100% yes,” then Amy Adams has been taking part in government decision-making that directly benefits her and her family.

If she has taken part in those decisions, and stands to benefit from them, then she has to resign.

Update.  Amy Adams’ Press Secretary Nathan Beaumont has responded below.  Good to see that the Beehive reads the Standard!

32 comments on “Amy Adams has some explaining to do”

  1. Sanctuary 1

    get rid of democracy and crony capitalism and corruption follows as night follows day. Such as it always has, so it always shall be.

  2. McFlock 2

    but but but … changetheFLAG!

  3. tricledrown 3

    Amy Adams and Nick Smith and his brother are guilty of corruption and insider trading this should Go to the commerce commission and the fraud office.
    Penny Bright Mc Cready where the hell are you.

  4. Naturesong 4

    There is no corruption in New Zealand;
    there are no cows on our farms,
    There is no corruption in New Zealand;
    we can all keep perfectly calm.

    etc …

  5. Tracey 5

    Keep knighthoods but change the flag.

    Helengrad

    The democratic republic of Key

  6. Nathan Beaumont 6

    Minister Adams and her husband own Amdon Farms Ltd, which operates their farm. Amdon Farms owns shares in Central Plains Water Ltd, the company that will run the Central Plains Water irrigation scheme. Therefore, Minister Adams has declared that she has a pecuniary interest in the Central Plains Water scheme.
    Accordingly, to avoid any actual or perceived conflicts of interest, Minister Adams has transferred her responsibilities as Environment Minister to Minister Brownlee. This was done after she became Environment Minister in April 2012.
    Minister Adams transferred to Minister Brownlee, under section 7 of the Constitution Act 1986, her responsibilities as Minister for the Environment for making decisions affecting the Central Plains Water scheme. Environment officials report directly to Minister Brownlee on matters concerning the Central Plains Water scheme.
    I understand there has only been one Cabinet decision made regarding the Central Plains Water Scheme. On this occasion, Minister Brownlee took the paper to the relevant Cabinet committee. When this issue was discussed, Minister Adams excused herself from the Cabinet committee where it was discussed, and took no part in the discussions.
    Here is a press release from Minister Brownlee that relates to that Cabinet decision – http://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/ecan-rakaia-river-recommendation-accepted

    Thanks
    Nathan Beaumont
    Press Secretary
    Hon Amy Adams

    • Lanthanide 6.1

      Thanks for posting, Nathan.

    • lprent 6.2

      Thanks for the prompt clarification…

      If you read the post and the articles that it derived from, you’ll see that it wasn’t just the the ministerial issues that were of interest.

      Simply owning land within those irrigation areas and being part of the cabinet and government that dumped ECan because it was getting between farmers and the water they wanted is a questionable conflict of interest. As the quote from Rob Salmond said

      Does Amy Adams stand to benefit, either through increased land value for her farms or from increased share value in her firms, from the government-funded irrigation work in the Canterbury Plains?

      Bearing in mind the massive subsidy given to dirty farming for this irrigation project, I’d say that the answer would have to be yes.

      • Tracey 6.2.1

        That wld be the brownlee that svhmoozed up at the pike river opening but passed over the job of resigning to wilkinson? Yup he’s sure shown his neutrality where the environment is concerned.

    • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 6.3

      @ Nathan Beaumont
      Press Secretary for Hon Amy Adams

      Amy Adams has been promoting ‘streamlining’ in the RMA, shifting the balance of economic considerations vs environmental considerations in the RMA toward economic considerations, she has been promoting the irrigation schemes:

      “I will also talk briefly about water, because water is very, very important to the economy in Canterbury and particularly to the region of Selwyn. I for one am not an apologist for the fact that New Zealand should make the most of its natural advantages if we do so well and sustainably. The $35 million that the Government has set aside for the investigation of irrigation projects is to be commended, but there is a rider that we have to do it well. That is why it is important that we have also set aside a further $15 million for the Fresh Start for Fresh Water Clean-up fund, taking that fund to well over $260 million. That is going into the clean-up of fresh water.

      I am very excited about the future for Canterbury, I am very excited by the fact that this National-led Government is standing behind it, and we have a very, very bright future ahead of us while we have the Minister of Finance, the Hon Bill English, in charge. He has taken this economy from the cot-case that it was when we inherited it in 2008 and has put it back on a projection where we have 4 percent growth forecast for next year, and, in fact, that is conservative. The Reserve Bank—Amy Adams, on 21 June 2011

      From: http://www.parliament.nz/en-nz/pb/debates/debates/speeches/49HansS_20110621_00000734/adams-amy-supplementary-estimates-%E2%80%94-imprest-supply-debate

      …and appears to have continued to be involved with the irrigation issues in Canterbury:

      “Canterbury’s elected leaders recently met Environment Minister Amy Adams to discuss the Crown’s ECan review this year and several have confirmed they want an ECan made up of both elected and appointed members.” [by Glenn Conway, last updated 1.1.2014]

      http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/9567909/Mayors-not-keen-for-fully-elected-ECan

      [emphasis added]

      All the above-mentioned issues she stands to benefit from personally.

      It appears that your communication with the Standard readers is not ‘clarification’ it is simply more obfuscation of the issues that we have come to expect from this National Government.

    • shorts 6.4

      Well played Nathan

      More of this from MPs and Parties please (within reason)

  7. RT 7

    Thanks Nathan – talk about a non-story.

    [lprent: Because the comments are threaded your response is going to wind up well away from Nathan’s comment. You’ll find that using a reply button and responding directly to the comment you’re referring to makes your comment more relevant. ]

    • Ross 7.1

      That’s what the Nats said about Judith Collins’ having a glass of milk. I’m not sure why she would apologise over a “non-story”.

    • framu 7.2

      nathan only partially answers points 2 and 3


      1 Does Amy Adams stand to benefit, either through increased land value for her farms or from increased share value in her firms, from the government-funded irrigation work in the Canterbury Plains?
      2 Did Amy Adams recuse herself from all cabinet and caucus discussions that were related to ECan and the Central Plains Water scheme?
      3 Did Amy Adams delegate authority to another Minister to make all decisions in the environment portfolio that relate to ECan, the current government-appointed commissioners, or the Central Plains Water scheme?

      If the answer to (1) is “yes,” and the answer to either of the other questions is anything other than “100% yes,” then Amy Adams has been taking part in government decision-making that directly benefits her and her family.”

      so still a story

  8. Ross 8

    But let’s say Amy Adams is beyond reproach and has recused herself from all discussions re the water scheme. How is it that a junior minister can spot a conflict of interest a mile off but a senior minister (Collins) cannot?

    Would Nathan consider working for Judith Collins? :)

  9. Skinny 9

    This looks very sketchy indeed. A Minister of the Environment, her large land holdings and an irrigation scheme. But hold on let’s stifle democracy by first sacking the eyes and ears, not have a election etc.. and on it goes. 

    How many more perks of the job are going to be exposed? Anything Gerry ‘pork pie’ Brownlee is involved with usually turns up trumps for his own team regards of rights and wrongs.

    I bet Key wanted to go to the polls earlier. It will be a snap election or thrown out of office.. for you guess what!     

  10. One Anonymous Bloke 10

    When she’s gone from parliament, she can still benefit from the personal interests her corruption has enriched. Confiscate them.

  11. MrSmith 11

    She is a nasty piece of work isn’t she, the Nats give a farmers Daughter the job of gutting our RMA and also lets not forget her trying to override the Commerce Commerce ruling (which proposed a 25% cut in Chorus wholesale copper line pricing) http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/outrageous-adams-planning-private-sit-down-chorus-go-through-numbers-coalition-ck-p-148189 last year, and now it looks like she being found out, great.

    But hang on Amy is now shouting out for our new Environmental champions!

    “Environment Minister Amy Adams has today announced that entries are open for the Government’s premier environmental awards, which honour those dedicated to protecting and improving our environment.” http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1402/S00181/environmental-champions-sought.htm

    She makes me sick!

  12. Kahukowhai 12

    Same thing for David Carter when he was a minister in charge of sacking Ecan and he owns land in an area to be developed – North Canterbury

  13. Descendant Of Sssmith 13

    Yeah well it’s too hard for the bastards to steal directly from Maori now – that leaves the rest of us to steal from.

  14. JK 14

    Does this story on Stuff News today have any connection with Amy Adams as outlined above ?

    Chinese company to buy public land
    MARTIN VAN BEYNEN
    Stuff News 12/03/2014

    A Chinese-owned dairy company wanting to buy Synlait has received Government approval to buy public land Synlait occupied “informally”.

    The Overseas Investment Office (OIO) has approved an application by SFL Holdings Ltd to buy or lease a stewardship area, a Crown-owned part of the bed of the Rakaia River and a paper road vested in the Selwyn District Council.

    SFL Holdings, 74 per cent owned by Shanghai Pengxin, the company which bought the Crafar farms in the North Island, has made a takeover offer for all the shares in Synlait Farms Ltd.

    The OIO said the takeover application revealed Synlait Farms was “informally occupying certain areas of Crown and territorial authority owned land”.

    “The applicant has therefore sought consent to regularise the occupation of these areas.”

    It ruled SFL had satisfied criteria under the Overseas Investment Act regarding creation of jobs, increased export receipts, greater productivity, additional investment for development purposes, increased processing and indigenous vegetation.

    Synlait Farms chief executive Juliet Maclean said the area involved was about 10 hectares in the Rakaia/Dunsandel area and not regarded as significant.

    The paper road had been farmed by the company, which was not unusual for paper roads in the area. The stewardship area was in the middle of one of the farms and just “green grass”.

    The part of the bed of the Rakaia River in issue was a block to which the boundary pegs had been lost or misplaced.

    The takeover has received 90 per cent Synlait Farms shareholder approval and New Zealand’s Overseas Investment Office approval but awaits approval from several Chinese authorities.

    © Fairfax NZ News

  15. mickysavage 15

    My wood for the trees response is that Adams may have handled the conflict perfectly but why is her Government making decisions that will make her even wealthier?

  16. millsy 16

    Of course, what is really needed is for irrigation schemes to be owned by the Crown.

    Like they were before 1990.

    This whole private ownership of everything is really getting to be a drag…

  17. tc 17

    Wow those higher standards are so lofty I can’t make them out, oh hang on I was looking up not down there they are next to their performance on the economy, unemployment, child poverty, closing ghe gap and the environment.

  18. captain hook 18

    she should explain why she thinks that money grubbing is a substitute for being ugly.

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