Break open the trusts

Written By: - Date published: 7:05 am, September 2nd, 2008 - 25 comments
Categories: election 2008, election funding, national, nz first - Tags:

As we’ve discussed earlier, it would be highly surprising if the investigations into NZF’s finances find any serious illegality. At worst, a failure to declare donations might be found, an offence for which charges cannot be laid more than 6 months after an alleged offence. Now, TV3 was shown accounts by the Spencer Trust which show that money was funnelled through it to NZF (a legal practice at the time) and the donations from the Trust were never declared by the party. So, looks like NZF failed to declare those donations. Rodney Hide, who wants to know who the other donors to the Spencer Trust were in addition to Bob Jones, says “The whole trust now needs to be broken open by the serious fraud office and looked at because it’s clearly a device to break the law.”

Fair enough, but what’s good for goose is good for the gander. To restore trust, we also need to be assured that the other secret trusts have also correctly passed on the money given to them and if we are to know who made donations to the Spencer Trust, we should also know who gave the millions to National’s secret trusts. Sound fair?

25 comments on “Break open the trusts”

  1. higherstandard 1

    SP

    Diversion on a Tuesday morning.

    For the millionth time the issue is not about donations the issue is about lying to the public and parliament which WP did on a number of occasions.

    The efforts to try and smear National, the SFO and God knows are looking more and more bizarre.

    And rather than commenting on the previous post regarding ruling out Winston Peters from a possible coalition I see even the extraordinarily polite Jeanette Fitzsimmons doesn’t want to have anything to do with WP.

    Perhaps Hone Hawira called it exactly right.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/sundaystartimes/4675177a6442.html

  2. dave 2

    So, looks like NZF failed to declare those donations
    You forgot to say that Helen Clark forgot to tell the country that she knew that NZ First had broken the law and that Peters had lied to her saying that he had committed no illegality.

    Theres only one thing we need to restore trust: change the Government and get rid of the lying Helen Clark and her band of thieves.

  3. lprent 3

    There you go again dave – prejudging things.

    At this point no-one knows if NZF did anything illegal. That is why the SFO and PC are looking at the matter. It is perfectly feasible for NZF to be completely legal, but morally wrong, just like the Nat’s are. It’d have been hard for Helen to instantly know about illegalities without access to the book.

    Anyway for preemptive judgement I hereby award dave the dishonour of being “A lynch mob zombie – dangerous to democracy

  4. BeShakey 4

    While your wiping the froth away from your mouth dave – even if your characterisation that Clark “forgot to tell the country” is true (and you seem to be the only one, including the Nats, who believes it), how does that make her a liar?
    More importantly, she didn’t know that NZF had broken the law or that WP had lied. She knew that there were two different versions of events. Given that Glenn has clearly stuffed up timelines before (e.g. when he claimed that he had donated to Labour because of the Brethen fiasco, when in fact the records show that hadn’t been made public yet), she probably had more reason to believe WPs story.

    And on the issue of trust, surely not telling the media something when not asked (a common practice amongst politicians) is better than actively misleading them (ie when Key said (when directly asked) that he thought maybe someone from his party met with Lord Ashcroft, and then being forced that the ‘someone’ was in fact him).

  5. lprent 5

    SP : You forgot to mention that I’d like to know who has been contributing to Act as well. They have had significant amounts of large anonymous donations.

  6. Jeeves 6

    You’re so funny equating not breaking the law with not being able to bring a prosecution! NZF has clearly failed to declare donations. If I recall correctly, NZF would not submit their donations register until Winston okayed it. Winston obviously knew that the declaration was fraudulent but also knew there was a six month statute of limitaions. That is not only illegal but a highly cynical dupe of the New Zealand public. It’s just that there’s nothing we can do about it now.

    However I agree with you – if National’s donors came forward and say “well hey, in 2006 I gave $500,000 to the Waitemata Trust and told the Trust to give it to National and it hasn’t been declared” I would say that the SFO should investigate them too. That hasn’t happened. Winston lied and now Helen is going bananas and accusing the SFO, the police and Crown Law of leaking. What a hypocrite.

  7. Nice try Steve and Lynn. But the big differences are these:

    * National, Labour and Act have disclosed anonymous donations in their electoral returns, completely in accordance with the law applicable at the time. New Zealand First disclosed NO anonymous donations and NO donations in excess of $10,000.

    * National, Labour and Act are not being investigated by the Serious Fraud Office for potential “serious and complex fraud”. New Zealand First is.

    And speaking of the Serious Fraud Office; why can’t Helen Clark bring herself to apologise to them?

    http://keepingstock.blogspot.com/2008/09/note-to-pm-just-say-sorry.html

  8. higherstandard 8

    BS

    “Even if your characterisation that Clark “forgot to tell the country’ is true (and you seem to be the only one, including the Nats, who believes it)”

    Really ? Do you really believe that ?

    It’s getting very odd that some people here continue to clutch WP to their bosom.

  9. slightlyrighty 9

    One question, The TV3 news item showed the paperwork that was presented to the SFO and this clearly shows Tirohanga Holdings’s (Bob Jones) $25000 donation to the Spencer trust. However this donation is highlighted in the accounts as a D/C. This is shorthand for a direct credit.

    Didn’t Bob Jones write a cheque?

    Just a thought.

  10. Very perceptive slightlyrighty. And who was the other donor, considering that NZ First doesn’t accept “big money”?

  11. coge 11

    Being old school, by his own admission Bob Jones wrote a chegue out. The direct credit could be easily tracked back to it’s origin, but is clearly not a cheque deposit, as any banker will tell you. So we have been provided with a smokescreen. Hardly surprising. Winston & the PM need to buy time, so in all likelyhood there will be more of this. Rest assured they will be scrutinised very closely.

  12. monkey-boy 12

    Inventory2 Helen will not apologise to the SFO for suggesting they ‘leaked to the opposition’, she will rather keep repeating it in the hope that the completely groundless rumour will gain traction – it politics 101:
    “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”
    (Goebbels)

  13. Billy 13

    Winsome made much of the “fact” that he took no money from the evil “big business”. A best case for him is that he is a liar manipulating the prejudices of old duffers.

  14. r0b 14

    Helen Clark forgot to tell the country

    Tell the country about all apparent discrepancies – that’s a standard I would love to see applied to all politicians! Key should remember to tell the country that there is a discrepancy between Nationals publicly released Labour-lite policies and their true back to the 90’s secret agenda. Key should remember to tell the country that there is a discrepancy between his criticism of NZFs use of secret trusts and his own party’s use of exactly the same tactic. Key should remember to tell the country that there is a discrepancy between National’s rhetoric on free speech and their cynical attempts to shut down the EPMU and critical journalists.

    Oh and just in passing, Key should himself ponder the fact that there’s a bit of a discrepancy between himself and Barack Obama!

    And as to break open the trusts – yes – it’s the first step to cleaning up politics, and removing the undue influence of private money on policy (as per The Hollow Men with suggestion of National Party policy for sale to the insurance industry – and here they go again attacking ACC). But Steve you didn’t follow it through to the logical next step, as you did here: http://www.thestandard.org.nz/?p=2862

    Will all this finally create a political consensus that we need to rid politics of the messy business of large private donations and replace them with partial public funding, which is fair, transparent, and impartial?

  15. r0b 15

    monkey-boy: it politics 101: “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.

    A lesson that National, Crosby Textor, and right wing shills apply every day, as they spread all sorts of lies. We are experiencing a massive exodus to Australia – lies. National can cut taxes even further without borrowing – lies. The economy is falling apart – lies. The EFA restricts free speech – lies. National will just be Labour-lite they won’t sell Kiwibank or mess with Working for Families – lies. We didn’t know it was the Bretheren – lies. Our donors are anonymous – lies. We will run a positive and ambitious campaign – lies.

    Oh and my favourite at the moment – John Key is like Barak Obama – lies!

    National – ambitious for telling us the big lies.

  16. Bill 16

    Ever heard of an MP ( or anyone else)giving a straight answer to a potentially awkward question?

    Ever heard of an MP (or anyone else)offering up info without a question being asked?

    Do you believe an MP (or anyone else) should engage in ‘he said, she said’ tittle-tattle?

    So, HC didn’t engage in gossip. Big fucking deal. You prefer she had!?

    Donations. There are hidden cash flows all over the place. It’s normal. You don’t like it? Then question and blow apart ALL party funding. That would be the honest approach.

    As I said on a previous thread, JK will either successfully widen this whole WP ‘trust and accountability’ crap to encompass or at least taint Labour or he won’t.

    If he fails, he’s fucked. If you feed the conflagration he has created you aid his potential success. Your choice.

    WP is being investigated (rightly or wrongly). The people involved in the various investigations either have an axe to grind or haven’t. That’s life.

    Where are the issues these days?

    That the British Chancellor of the Exchequer reckons international economic conditions are arguably the worst for 60 years is of no significance for NZ and it’s election?

    No. Apparently not, no mention anywhere that I’m aware of in the NZ media. Instead, a politician who all and sundry reckon to be a tad unsavoury is centre stage….again.

    This is tantamount to school yard crap. Isn’t it about time someone rang the school bell and got all the kiddies back to class to concentrate on more substantive topics?

  17. lukas 17

    r0b, I thought Helen Clark’s lie of the SFO tipping off National would be the best lie going around at the moment.

    She is a class a hypocrite, John Key has said no to the allegations. Helen has still said she thinks something is going on! However when Winston tells her something, she asks no further questions under the guise of honoring a member of parliaments word. Cake and eat it too?

  18. slightlyrighty 18

    To all you individuals pouncing on the Key compares himself to Obama comment. Key said that he was like Obama in that he had not spent a large amount of his working life in political circles. He said that he was not indoctrinated into the Wellington system and that his approach was likely to be “Pragmatic”

    Don’t make the mistake of leaping on a soundbite and drawing your own erroneous conclusions. Look at the whole statement. Key outlined what he perceives to be similarities with him and Obama, that’s all, nothing to see here.

  19. Felix 19

    sr:

    It’s a monumental piece of bullshit however you read it. I may as well compare myself to Madonna as neither of us have ever been married to an Eskimo.

  20. Tim Ellis 20

    This is pretty shoddy spin SP, even by your standard. There is clear evidence now that New Zealand First broke the law by failing to declare the donation. Writing that off as minor because the time for prosecuting breaches is disgraceful. I further don’t agree with your “but we must not prejudge the issue” line. This is as clear-cut as it gets. You cannot reasonably contemplate any scenario in which the Spencer Trust transferred that money, and New Zealand First should not legally declare it.

    To say we should not prejudge the issue is like saying, if somebody stabs you, that you should not prejudge whether the person you saw stabbing you was guilty, because he hasn’t been convicted yet.

    Winston Peters assured the public, the media, and the Prime Minister that New Zealand First did not do anything illegal. That now appears to be a lie.

    I don’t understand SP how you can equate evidence of illegal behaviour within one party’s affairs as justification for investigating every other political party’s affairs. This is a diversion tactic.

    On the issue of the direct credit from Tirohanga Holdings, I think this is a non-issue. Bob Jones didn’t personally write out a cheque: he said he gets his assistants to do that. Bob Jones is a traditional guy; he would equate a cheque with a direct credit transfer.

  21. djp 21

    Felix, you need to slow down.

    first of all you aren’t part of the same class as Madonna (singer/performer). second, singers and performers aren’t known to be commonly married to an Eskimo.

    JK & Obama are both politicians, both are also relatively new to the scene (ie not long time career polys)

    If you cant handle a simple comparison like that without jumping up and down then I feel sorry for you

  22. slightlyrighty 22

    Tim, a cheque was written, and a copy of that cheque was published in the DomPost.

  23. jaymam 23

    In 1996 the ACT party refused to supply a breakdown of the party’s election expenses to the Electoral Commission. They were taken to court a number of times, ending on 11 June 1999 with the Court of Appeal Case CA149/98, where ACT were found to be in breach of their obligations. They never did supply the required information, and were not penalised for that.
    So Rodney Hide, clean up your own party’s accounts before you criticise others.

  24. Tim Ellis 24

    Idiot savant thunders far more eloquently than I could:

    The records appear to show that there was no fraud – the money was indeed laundered through the trust and paid to NZ First. But they also show absolutely clearly that NZ First violated the Electoral Act by not declaring donations. This isn’t a violation of the spirit of the law, like National’s laundering of millions through a series of trusts to prevent the public from learning who was buying influence in their party – it was a clear and blatant violation of the law, which would have been obvious to anyone with even a passing acquaintance with the Electoral Act.”

    Ouch.

  25. Felix 25

    djp

    I am a singer and performer so on that basis my comparison is just as valid as that of Obama and Key.

    And just as with Obama and Key that is pretty much where the similarities end, although I could raise any number of similarities which, while true, would never disprove that we are overwhelmingly different in every important respect.

    The Eskimo thing was a bit off, I admit to a crippling fear of Eskimos which sometimes surfaces in unexpected ways. If you pity me for anything, let it be that.

    Anyhow there’s another thread about this topic which is probably a better place for these sort of trivial and pointless discussions.

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