Written By: - Date published: 6:36 am, February 23rd, 2010 - 85 comments
Categories: Conservation, corruption, Mining, national/act government - Tags: conflict of interest, murray mccully, widespread portfolios
Heedless to all opposition, the Government is driving ahead with its plans to open up our National Parks and other protected environments to mining. The excuse, that this destruction and exploitation of our natural environment will make us wealthy, is laughable. The only ones to win will be National’s mining mates, and National ministers with mining interests.
The Standard can now reveal that Murray McCully has shares in a company that stands to benefit directly from National’s mining policy. As a member of Cabinet deciding this policy McCully has a significant conflict of interest.
The company that McCully has a stake in, according the the MPs’ Register of Pecuniary Interests, is Widespread Portfolios (almost sounds like a front company for a Bond villain, eh?). Far from being “widespread”, its investments are exclusively in mining and oil. These include New Zealand-based mining operations.
Its subsidiary Widespread Energy is a petroleum and phosphates company. It owns prospecting permits over land north of Lake Brunner in the South Island and large areas of the seabed. Widespread Energy and Widespread Portfolios have jointly applied for a permit to prospect for phosphate on the Chatham Rise. The phosphates are found around hydrothermal vents – unique and fragile ecosystems that we are barely beginning to understand. They are the basis of some of our most important fisheries.
Widespread Portfolios describes Widespread Energy as “our most exciting investment“. And why not? The mining conservation land policies being pushed by McCully and Cabinet could see its profits go through the roof. Profits that will eventually find their way into McCully’s pocket.
Another company is Glass Earth, a mineral exploration company. It is currently focused on hunting for gold deposits in Coromandel, the Central Plateau, and Central Otago. Much of the land it wants to get at is in National Parks and other protected lands.
McCully is a member of the cabinet making vital decisions on the protected status of these lands. If the government he is a member of opens the floodgates for mining on protected land, McCully’s investments in Glass Earth will really pay off.
McCully has some serious questions to answer: