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Amazing coincidences

Written By: - Date published: 2:07 pm, November 23rd, 2010 - 35 comments
Categories: accountability, john key - Tags: , ,

You remember John Key’s ‘blind trust’ that turned out not to be so blind. Key denied all but anyone could easily see into the ‘blind trust’. Key certainly knew of his wine and dairy interests, giving him a conflict of interest he failed to declare. Now, after the furor, the ‘blind trust’ has sold the shares. Funny things, coincidences.

The ‘blind trust’ scandal broke in May of this year. We found out that Key had been participating in government decisions affecting the wine industry without declaring his large interest in a winery. Despite this interest being held by a supposedly blind trust, a clearly pissed PM knew all about it in a taped interview.

Then there was his interest in the Dairy Investment Fund. Like the interest in Highwater winery, the shares in the Dairy Investment Fund had been transferred to the ‘blind trust’ but to find out what the trust held all you had to do was enter its name, Whitechapel Ltd, on the Companies Office website. Key had sat on important government decisions that benefited the Diary Investment Fund too.

It was while researching one of these decisions (the subject of a future post) that I went to double check on the ‘blind trust’s holdings.

Funnily enough the holdings are gone. Whitechapel sold the Dairy Investment Fund shares on July 19th and the Highwater shares on August 18th.

So, Key had owned these shares for years (over six years for the dairy shares, two years for the winery) and then they are suddenly sold off after the revelation of the conflicts of interest that Key denies exist because he claims he doesn’t know what’s in his blind trust. Odd that the trustees should make those decisions when they did, if it were true that there’s no conflicts.

Also in my research, I discovered that Key used to be the major shareholder in another dairy company along with the trustee of his supposedly blind trust. Yep, funny things, coincidences.

35 comments on “Amazing coincidences ”

  1. toad 1

    If you have time for this sort of research Marty, how about some more on the Jenny Shipley, Sammy Wong, Pansy Wong connection. I’m sure there’s more to that story than we have heard so far.

    And it would be very interesting indeed to learn what Shipley has been using her international travel perk for since she stepped down as PM, although given the Parliamentary Service doesn’t come under the OIA that’s not something any amount of research could find out unless there is a whistle-blower in the Parliamentary Service who is prepared to spill the beans.

    • higherstandard 1.1

      It wouldn’t be interesting, it would be nauseating.

      We’re such a pathetically soft cock little country that no one has the balls to tell these pricks that their perks are gone and that we’ve legislated so they can’t sue for recompense.

      Another sickening old boys/girls club.

      • Robert Atack 1.1.1

        Yeah what these creeps are doing, should be classed as treasonable, and they should be seen as the treasonous bastards that they are, Key knows and understands money, yet he is running NZ like a Greek conman, selling us to his mates @$200 + million a week.
        Lets all join the Europeans on Dec 7th and withdraw all our money from the banks. If they see us doing it before them, NZ could be the world leaders in sticking it to Key and his mates. … oh that would mean a % of the idiot masses caring … sorry forgot, they don’t, they vote for the clowns instead.
        As George Carlin says -Fuck Hope – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4W9Cs6KPTus
        And don’t vote http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xIraCchPDhk
        ‘hope’ it is ok posting these links.

    • toad 1.2

      I meant “stepped down as an MP”. She didn’t step down as PM – she got booted out.

  2. higherstandard 2

    Re the another dairy company – i think this has always been out in the open.


    “Haunui Dairy

    Another dairy investment company. Key owns 64 per cent of the company, which is being wound up. Haunui Dairy owned and operated a 200ha farm milking 650 cows at Tapanui, in Clutha. The company’s original owners were Key, dairy entrepreneur Geoff Taylor, ANZ National rural banking head Charlie Graham and farmers Craig Burgess and Jean Lawson.

    Burgess and Lawson had been sharemilkers on the farm when the previous owner decided to sell. They took a stake of about 40 per cent, and entered into an equity partnership arrangement with the other investors. The company owned the land, improvements, cows and machinery.

    Burgess and Lawson later sold their stake to the others. Lawson says they met Key once and found him “very nice, down to earth”. It had been a good arrangement for them, she said. The farm was bought in 2000-2001 for $3.4 million and was sold in 2006 (with a settlement date of May last year) for $5.4 million.

    With the sale of the farm, Haunui Dairy has been placed into liquidation. The liquidators say all machinery has been sold and most of the company’s affairs have been tidied up. No debts are owed, and the liquidator is simply waiting for the IRD to issue a small refund (about $900) before the company is officially wound up.”

  3. felix 3

    Marty, you might want to check that “doesn’t drink” link – it pretty clearly says that he does drink.

    Great post though.

  4. tc 4

    No surprises here and loving the intelligent/practical responses to our credit downgrading from a bloke who made millions dealing in international markets that react to these sorts of actions.

    Much like the blind trusts it’s all in the past and he can’t recall a thing.

    We are an international laughing stock with sideshow and blinglish sailing us towards oblivion.

  5. vto 5

    How is it that Key can get away with this bullshit? And what about Carter? and Creech? and the list goes on.

    How can government ministers make decisions on issues they have a vested financial interest in? It is completely and utterly wrong and it leads to just one conclusion…

    New Zealand’s government is corrupt – simple as that. Never thought I would say that but it is the ONLY conclusion given their circumstances and their actions. Some sort of judiciary action must be required surely.

    • insider 5.1

      So ministers can’t make any decisions on housing, cars, boats, clothing, farming etc etc? Pretty impossible standard you impose there. Only indigents should apply to be MPs in future eh?

      • felix 5.1.1

        Are you trying to equate owning a car with, say, owning a car sales yard?

        It sounds like you’re having trouble with the actual concept of a “conflict of interest” as opposed to disagreeing on the existence of one.

        • insider

          No, and you and marty and vto seem to have issues with the concept of degrees of conflict as exemplified by “How can government ministers make decisions on issues they have a vested financial interest in? It is completely and utterly wrong…”

          You don’t seem to think owning a car is a vested financial interest. Well for me it is as it is the second most valuable thing I own.

          But I don’t think the existence of a potential conflict is always an issue – it is the relative level of risk that is important, and the specificity of the conflict.

          Using your car yard example, if a rule affecting the profitability of car yards was being made by me it would be a clearer conflict if I operated the yard than if i just owned the land underneath it. But the risk would increase if I owned a series of such properties even if I didn’t run the yard.

          Blanket statements that any vested financial interest is akin to opening the door to corruption ignore the subtleties of what real conflicts of interest are and lead to stupid ‘where there;s smoke there must be fire’ type posts as Marty’s.

          • felix

            Yeah ‘cos the post was about how Key has a vested interest in eating steak & cheese pies and using grapeseed oil.

            Oh no hang on that’s bullshit – it’s about him owning dairy companies and vineyards.

            You’re the one having trouble with degree.

  6. tc 6

    ‘Some sort of judiciary action must be required surely.’

    yes after they’ve passed some more ‘laws’ under urgency which sees black become white or shades of grey it’ll be for the AG to decide, corruption as we knew it declared standard operating procedure and parliamant only sits when the weathers not so great in Hawaii.

  7. Jeremy Harris 7

    I’d like to see the cabinet manual amended so all cabinet members interests are listed and an independent thrid party (Clerk of the House maybe) decide if you should be recused…

    • Lanthanide 7.1

      Seems the only sensible way to do it.

    • Kevin Welsh 7.2

      I would like to see something even simpler Jeremy.

      If you decide to take the route of Public Service, then you divest yourself of your business interests. This is the only way you can be seen as having no conflict of interest.

      • insider 7.2.1

        Why stop there Kevin? Why only business interests? Why not say Labour members can have no legitimate views on union issues because of the almost obligatory membership of and alliance with unions. Can you imagine the furore if they were forced to renounce their membership of unions?

        • higherstandard

          Perhaps we could lobotomise and neuter all elected representatives ?

        • felix

          “Why stop there Kevin? Why only business interests? Why not say Labour members can have no legitimate views on union issues…”

          Because the object of this exercise is to ensure that elected officials are not directly profiting from the decisions they’re supposed to be making on behalf of the rest of us.

          Sheesh, it’s not that difficult a concept innit?

          • insider

            Kevin said “This is the only way you can be seen as having no conflict of interest.”

            He said no conflict of interest at all, not just financial benefit as a business owner. Conflicts occur everywhere; it’s unavoidable when you begin to own assets. Just because you own a house, shouldn’t mean you can’t get involved in discussions on rules about house ownership even though you have a material interest.

            Adn of course none of this covers the future advantage that changing a rule might give. So it’s how you manage conflicts that counts, not trying to eliminate them.

            • Kevin Welsh

              The article was about COI from a financial standpoint and that was what I commented on. Don’t put words in my mouth Insider.

            • felix

              insider, that’s a feeble man of straw you’re attacking.

              When you’ve finished perhaps you’d care to comment on the topic at hand.

      • insider 7.2.2

        AN asset register means that the people can see and judge for themselves whether there is any conflict. They did exactly that over Marty’s so called scandal and demonstrated they just don’t accept that Key had done anything unusual or had a COI. No doubt Marty’s next scandal will be another H Fee fizzer to all but the Keystoned Cops

        • Kevin Welsh

          Unless, of course, you have a so-called ‘Blind Trust’. Then there would be no reason for an Asset Register, Insider.

          • insider

            No because a blind trust is a management tool – it would be foolish to assume you have no knowledge of what was initially in the trust, because it would be your actions that created the trust and transferred assets into it. That of course may change over time as assets move. So listing the initial assets of such a trust is important.

      • Vicky32 7.2.3

        An excellent idea, Kevin!

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