Can we trust MPs while they have secret trusts?

Written By: - Date published: 1:08 pm, August 20th, 2010 - 10 comments
Categories: accountability, john key - Tags: , , ,

Registrar of Pecuniary Interests Margaret Bazley, the country’s busiest pensioner, has presented recommendations for improving the transparency of MPs’ financial interests. It seems like good stuff, but it ignores the elephant in the room.

As has been repeatedly shown these last couple of years, the Register of Pecuniary Interests can be worked around by MPs, such as John Key, who want to keep assets while not revealing that those assets create a conflict of interest in their official duties.

To address this, Bazley recommends that MPs be obligated to reveal share transactions whenever they take place, rather than providing a once annual snapshot of assets held on a single day. She also recommends that the trusts, which MPs use either for tax avoidance or hiding their conflicts of interest, be partially broken open by requiring MPs to list all real estate holdings regardless of whether they are held by a trust or not. She also said MPs should have to disclose all their directorships, voting rights, and business interests no matter the companies’ trading status.

Unfortunately, Bazley hasn’t recommended breaking open the trusts entirely. It will still be possible for MPs to follow in John Key’s footsteps – get their lawyer mates to set up a ‘blind’ trust with them as a beneficiary, and have that trust own a sub-company to hold their assets giving them the ability to monitor their assets without anyone else knowing that they own them, and hide conflicts of interest.

10 comments on “Can we trust MPs while they have secret trusts?”

  1. tc 1

    What a waste of time… sideshow’s going to agree to the good folk he governs and voted him and his mates into power in having their affairs scrutinised.

    His atitude is classic US republicanism….you voted for us, now bow down and be ruled like the peasants you all are.

  2. cough cough 2

    Unlike all the Labour and Green MP’s who gift all their assets to the poor and leprous. Not.

    • bbfloyd 2.1

      cc.. i can understand why you put this comment on. and i can say with no fear of being discredited when i say that, yes you do exist in the real world. your not just a figment of an overloaded imagination.
      i hope you feel better after getting this confirmation. now piss off and leave the discussion to the grownups,,

    • Ari 2.2

      I don’t care if MPs are giving their money to the Baby Seal Clubbing Club or the Millionaires for Class Warfare Society, they’re perfectly within their rights so long as people can see it and raise an uproar if it’s a conflict of interest, or if it doesn’t fit with their campaign persona. We are smart enough to judge for ourselves what matters, and if an MP feels the public is wrong in their reaction, they’re welcome to say why.

      Labour MPs will probably be caught out by better disclosure rules too, and so they should be. I don’t want corrupt MPs working for “any” party or government, whether it’s the one I support or not.

  3. tc 3

    What’s your point cc? I’d think the greens/labour would be quite relaxed if such transparency existed or was proposed.

    • Ari 3.1

      I’m not so sure all of Labour would be onside, but they’re certainly friendlier to the idea than the Nats are.

  4. bbfloyd 4

    i don’t think (don)key is going to be kept awake at nights worrying about any attempts to deal with this. whatever new rules are introduced, you can guarantee that his accountants will have found new hidey holes by the day they are enacted.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 4.1

      Hes not that clever, remember when he was caught out with his claims about when he sold off his Tranzrail ? shares.
      It was just ‘one of those things’ it was claimed or it was a mistake by his accountant/lawyer/broker/mother in law… whatever.
      The same about his claim about where he was living when he signed a statuary declaration on his enrolment form.
      Theres is still a coverup over this because its a bare faced lie which carries a judicial punishment.
      There are many others when hes been caught out, but has bluffed his way out of it.
      But as ‘our Rachel ‘ used to say – It wont happen overnight, but it will happen.

  5. Jum 5

    What I want to know is why JKeyll is lending a million dollars to the Bank of America?

  6. KJT 6

    It is time the whole legal fiction of trusts was removed. Originally the reason for trusts was for philanthropic charities. The only reason for trusts existence in most cases are for tax avoidance, avoidance of responsibilities to creditors and ripped off customers or avoidance of liabilities for rest home care.

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