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Damned by his own words

Written By: - Date published: 2:40 pm, September 23rd, 2008 - 53 comments
Categories: corruption, john key - Tags:

Michael Cullen’s office has just released a damning exchange between John Key and Richard Prebble that shows John Key not only fully understood the requirement for him to disclose potential conflicts of interests such as his shareholding in Tranzrail, but even used ownership of Tranzrail shares as a hypothetical example of the need to disclose such a conflict.

I think the Hansard transcript speaks for itself:

John Key: ‘May I say that, prior to my coming into Parliament, I was on the record publicly as supporting this legislation.. But I, for one, will not be hiding my assets . If a few people run through my balance sheet and take delight in it, I say “Good on them!”. I am not going to back away from it. I am proud of it, and I am going to stand up and defend it .

‘…whether or not parliamentarians want to accept it, in taking on this position we have a huge amount of influence in the change of public policy in this country. It might be a bit uncomfortable, but if I am a shareholder of Tranz Rail and I want to get up in this House and start talking about that company, then my shareholding is relevant.

Hon Richard Prebble: You have to declare that, anyway.

John Key: Yes, under Standing Order 165 I have to declare it; I accept that, but within that Standing Order is a whole lot of things for which that would not be the case. I simply say there are risks, and they are genuine risks.’

transparency is an important part of the society we live in. We, as members of Parliament, have a great deal of responsibility, and even if it is uncomfortable to do some things, we nevertheless sometimes have to do them’

The hypocrisy is breathtaking.

53 comments on “Damned by his own words”

  1. randal 1

    the postmodern Shonkey Johnkey…the only things that count are his own truths. If he believes them then they are true. well whaddaya know.

  2. vidiot 2

    Hansard Dated: 16/10/2003
    John Keys Shareholdings in Tranz Rail Sold: 12/06/03

    And the issue is ?

  3. r0b 3

    And the issue is ?

    Insider trading, and lying about it. That’s pretty much how it looks at this point.

  4. Matthew Pilott 4

    And the issue is ?

    Go back to playing connect-the-dots, laddie. You’re not ready for real-world situations yet.

  5. smokie 5

    The issue vidiot is that John Key knew he had to declare his shareholdings, but didn’t.

    So he’s admittied he breached Parliament’s standing orders. I wonder if there’s a legal issue here too. Anyone?

    captcha: swindling holds

  6. vidiot 6

    Insider Trading is using knowledge that is only available to a select few to take advantage of that situation.

    Insider Trading is not selling shares in a company that you asked questions about in a public forum (parliament) a couple of days after asking those questions.

    Now if had of asked the questions behind closed doors, different story.

    Edit: Smokie – at the time 2003, he did not have to declare his holding in that company. The pecuniary register didn’t come in to effect till after that date. He did however have a ‘conflict of interest’ and shouldn’t have asked the questions.

  7. monkey-boy 7

    “The hypocrisy is breathtaking.”
    For once, I am in complete agreement with what Tane wrote.

  8. Billy 8

    Insider trading…

    r0b, no-one (expect apparently you and Draco TB) are suggesting that this amounts to insider trading. Not even Cullen. To suggest that this is the issue makes you guys look a little shrill.

  9. Smokie 9

    vidiot: He did have to declare his interest under Standing Order 165… that was the point Prebble was making. That standing order must be independent of the pecuniary interest register if didn’t exist then.

    I guess theoretically then Key could be taken to privileges. Wouldn’t that be a sight!

  10. Rakaia George 10

    So a newbie first year MP had some conflict of interest issues, realised it and rectified it in June 2003. Four months later he declares that he intends to be completely transparent.

    Sounds to me like someone who has made some rapid progress up his MP learning curve – I’m with vidiot, where’s the problem?

  11. vidiot. he had to declare his interest when he sat on the select committee, just a Prebble had done. That’s what Prebble points out and Key agrees.

    I just saw Cullen saying that Key said he bought the shares for profit on their resale or words along that line.. does anyone remember the quore?

  12. Billy 12

    Cullen was saying that is Cullen bought for resale at a profit then he is a share trader and the profit should be on the revenue accoutn rather than capital account. That is, he should have to pay income tax on them.

    Cullen’s dreaming.

    [I think ‘is Cullen’ is meant to be ‘as Key’. SP]

  13. Tane 13

    Four months later he declares that he intends to be completely transparent.

    Yet he goes on to lie repeatedly about the nature and extent of his holdings in Tranzrail.

  14. Smokie

    I guess theoretically then Key could be taken to privileges. Wouldn’t that be a sight!

    Maybe Cullen could nab Rodney’s seat, the one he managed to score every day, that puts him right in the background for the cameras. The one I think Farrar was claiming he just happened to end up in each day, as mps had the privilege of being able to skip the queue and get in first.

  15. Vanilla Eis 15

    KITNO: I’m pretty certain that Rodney has bullied at least one member of the public out of that seat. It could be hearsay, but knowing the source I seriously doubt it.

  16. Tim Ellis 16

    Goodness me. The Labour Party has had so much time to dredge through the share registers of John Key’s shareholding five years ago, but Helen Clark didn’t have the time to ask Winston Peters to substantiate his claim that he didn’t have any knowledge of the Owen Glenn donation. Further, Helen Clark didn’t have the time to ask Owen Glenn to substantiate his claim.

  17. r0b 17

    r0b, no-one (expect apparently you and Draco TB) are suggesting that this amounts to insider trading.

    Billy, vidiot asked a short dumb question, I gave a short dumb answer in the same spirit. To pretend that there is no issue here (as vidiot did) is one extreme, so I set out the other.

    And the law – that Key should have declared his interest under Standing Order 165 – the law exists for a purpose. Because conflict of interest and the potential for “insider trading” exists. Prebble knew that and acted on it. Key knew it too and he kept quiet.

    To suggest that this is the issue makes you guys look a little shrill.

    After the Winston Peters witch hunt I find that accusation mildly amusing. (I haven’t the energy for the usual “hilarious” today).

  18. Rakaia George 18

    He has a broker who has power to trade on behalf of his trust, without reference back to him.

    How many trades do you think were made on his behalf in 2003? It’s hell of a lot more believable that he didn’t know the precise details than Clark and Peters’ denials.

    The mistake he made was that after the initial questions in the house he didn’t ante up with the information he’s put out today, but then I would probably have taken the decision that the debate had moved on and no point re-opening it too.

    [he knew when Mold asked him but he didn’t wnat anyone to know, because he repeated the lie to Mold before she exposed him. SP]

  19. vidiot 20

    Any idea when 165-167 Stand Orders were added ?

    Reason I ask is 166-2 makes mention of the ‘Pecuniary Interest Register’

    There were two amendments to the orders:
    Amended : 16 December 2003 (with effect on 10 February 2004)
    Amended : 2 August 2005 (with effect on 12 August 2005)

    Ok, digging shows that 2005 the Register bit was added, however of note I see the phrase: “Previously only ministers have declared their interests but Parliament’s rules were amended last year to cover all MPs.”

    iirc John Key wasn’t a Minister (still isn’t) so 165 (at the time) would not apply.

  20. Rakaia George,

    John Key is a smart man. The only thing he’s stupid about is that he thinks he can get away with lying.

    Investment bankers are notoriously secretive because a lot of what they do is borderline ethical or not ethical at all (Merrill Lynch and Enron comes to mind)and as time will show (Coming economic collapse) most of them have absolutely no scruples. Conflicts of interest are very important in the Banking world too so he was not a rookie as far as conflict of interests were concerned.

    If this interaction is true than John Key was well aware that he had a conflict of interest. Hell, he was even given a real good example on the moment when it counted by Richard Prebble for how to deal with it.
    He lied for months and hoped it would go away and now a journo finally did her job and he got caught out.

    And then this one ” transparency is an important part of the society we live in.” Come on guys can we at least agree that John Key and national are as transparent as a lead wall.

  21. Crank 22

    Key put this all to bed in his press conference where he gave Winston Peters a lesson in how to honourably deal with these situations. Admit that you didn’t handle it properly and lay the books open to scrutiny.

    Not that I expect the crazies here to let that get in the way of a good smear and fair enough as well. This campaign for Labour is going to be based on trying to undermine John Keys huge popularity. As Steve P said earlier today, it is a shame that they can’t base a campaign on new iniatives for the prosperity of NZ but I guess they have just clean run out of ideas.

  22. “Vanilla Eis
    September 23, 2008 at 3:23 pm
    KITNO: I’m pretty certain that Rodney has bullied at least one member of the public out of that seat. It could be hearsay, but knowing the source I seriously doubt it”

    He should have left it up to the market, auctioned Rodneys seat to the highest bidder, afterall he was practically using it as advertising.

  23. Tim Ellis 24

    Travellerev, how many investment bankers do you know personally?

  24. Billy,

    Perhaps you shouldn’t comment when you are inebriated. LOL.

  25. gobsmacked 26

    Rakaia George

    And yet, as soon as he was challeneged by the One News reporter, he had instant recall of the number of shares – a new number, not previously acknowledged.

    If he’d said “Blimey, I dunno, my broker handles all that stuff, I’ll get the exact numbers for you later, OK?”, then he would have sounded a bit sloppy on detail, but nothing worse than that – in fact, he would have sounded like most of us.

    But he knew the true story, and he knew that he’d been caught out.

  26. Actually Billy, I also find his behaviour akin to insider trading.

  27. Crank 28

    “Actually Billy, I also find his behaviour akin to insider trading.”

    You suprise me Eve. You are the last person I would expect to believe a baseless bullshit conspiracy…oh wait.

  28. Draco T Bastard 29


    no-one (expect apparently you and Draco TB) are suggesting that this amounts to insider trading.

    I never said it did so I suggest you take a remedial reading course and go back and re-read what I did say.

  29. gobsmacked,

    Hear hear

    Tim Ellis,

    you would be surprised. However you don’t have to know a liar to recognise a lie and you don’t have to know a criminal to know crime and you don’t have to know a banker to know that investment bankers on Wall street and London are a bunch of crooks.

    All you need to do is use your brain, read a lot and bob’s your uncle.
    Three years of following international banking, reading the Wall street journal, Financial times and about oh a 110 other news publications varying from the Pravda, der Spiegel, le Monde to the Washington post, Roubini’s website to name a few. And seeing events unfold as they do in Wall street predicted by many well versed Finance guru’s years ago. You get were I’m coming from Tim?

  30. Crank 31


    One of those 110 publications wouldn’t be the National Enquirer would it?

  31. Billy 32


    1. ‘sod said: Billy – WTF?

    Not sure I understand the question. Why am I defending John Key? Dunno. Just felt particularly contrary today.

    2. Travellerev said: Actually Billy, I also find his behaviour akin to insider trading.

    Astounding. But then, don’t you also believe George Bush is responsible for 911?

    3. Draco T Bastard: I never said it did so I suggest you take a remedial reading course and go back and re-read what I did say.

    Alright, you said it “bordered” on insider trading. Even there, you are well ahead of what Cullen is prepared to accuse Key of.

  32. Matthew Pilott 33

    The Labour Party has had so much time to dredge through the share registers of John Key’s shareholding five years ago, but Helen Clark didn’t have the time…yada yada yada

    She did, they had conflicting answers. Usually you try and argue on the point, Tim, this one’s caught you on the hop eh? Don’t worry, I’m sure your lines will come through soon. Why not lie low till then?

  33. Tim Ellis 34

    No I don’t know where you’re coming from travellerev. What material have you got from these publications about the truthfulness of investment bankers?

    I appreciate that you seem to have done a lot of research. Wouldn’t it have saved time to just go and meet an investment banker in person to find out for yourself what all investment bankers are like? Unless you have very compelling material that says investment bankers are ethically challenged, then I don’t think you can slur John Key like that.

  34. Draco T Bastard 35

    Rakaia George

    He has a broker who has power to trade on behalf of his trust, without reference back to him.

    How many trades do you think were made on his behalf in 2003? It’s hell of a lot more believable that he didn’t know the precise details than Clark and Peters’ denials.

    No, it’s not credible that he didn’t know. His broker may have had authority to trade on his behalf but I expect he would have been informed of those transactions within hours.

  35. Crank,

    He was quizzing Cullen two days before he sold them and was lying about possessing them. In other words he was using his position as an MP to get information about Cullens plans and if he sold the shares because he got the idea from what Cullen said that the shares were going to drop because the train infrastructure was bad and would need millions to be repaired than he had information that could limit the shares damage and that if that is why he sold them than that would constitute insider dealing.

    Just because he asked those question in public doesn’t make a jot of difference. He was able to do so because he was put in that position by his electorate to fight for their interests and not to ask questions that could make or save him money.

    I call it misuse of power, lying, and yes if he sold the shares to limit damage after what he heard from Cullen insider trading. A typical corrupt behaviour which should alert voters that John Key might possibly put his own interest before theirs.

    You should really not even begin with me crank.
    He lied not just for a day but for months, he attacked Cullen about the fact that Cullen wanted to buy the tracks while owning shares and that too is a conflict of interest by the way, and when he should have disclosed he didn’t. Facts mate, facts.

  36. Billy 37

    You should really not even begin with me crank.

    Actually, Crank, that’s pretty good advice.

  37. vidiot 38

    travellerv – turning this one around slightly.

    If he (Key) asked a question in Parliament, say with regards to Air New Zealand, and based on the public response to the question he then went out brought shares (at a later date) in that entity is that insider trading ?

    Yes, he had a conflict of interest in asking questions about a company that he had either knowingly (or unknowingly) held stock of. But that’s all it is, a ‘conflict of interest’.

    Any idea on how often they need to report their holdings to the Register ? Is it a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly or annual thing ? Would be a real prick of a thing if his ‘authorised agent’ was trading on his behalf on an hourly basis.

  38. Billy – “WTF” was a critique of your rambling incoherent comment…

  39. Billy 40

    Yeah, only just caught up with it. Typinng too fast. Steve has helpfully untangled what it was I was trying to say.

  40. vidiot,

    I have to go but I’ll get back on you on that one.
    One thing though. If your costumer is a 50 million rich guy you do a lot for him trust me.

  41. Billy 42

    Can we have edit back, lprent?

    [lprent: getting there… It is the work I’m doing for the girlfriend and the NZLP who are preventing it. Tell you what vote for the left and I’ll move it up the schedule. ]

  42. gobsmacked 43

    John Key on Checkpoint (Radio NZ website) has just tried to explain himself, and ended up making a pretty convincing case for not being Prime Minister. Not on the basis of dodgy ethics, but sheer hopelessness in the real – and rough – world of politics.

    Excuses included blaming National’s research unit for the details he hadn’t checked himself, and not being ready for the questions asked on One News because he hadn’t been told about them in advance.

    Underlying all this is the core problem: every other leading politician (Clark, English, Peters, etc) has experienced dealing with tough sh*t, and being unpopular. Key never has (in politics) and seems to just want to be liked.

    Got news for you John: if you’re Prime Minister, it’s going to be much, much worse. Why does he want the job?

  43. Felix 44

    Tim you colossal fool, do you think you’re the only person who listens to parliament?

    If not, why are you commenting here almost word for word something John Key said in the house today?

    At least you kept it under 1000 words. That’s something I suppose.

  44. randal 45

    according to wendy on tv1 just now, keys admitted he should have been ‘more’ honest. well it is only possible to be honest or dishonest. there is no honester or honesterer unless in lala land.

  45. Billy,

    I never said Bush was responsible for 911 because that would be theorising because we don’t know who perpetrated 911. All we want is a new and independent investigation. Frankly Bush doesn’t seem to have the brainpower to turn off a light bulb to be honest.


    I have a few amazing and ethically unchallenged Investment Banking friends. They exist. So meeting one Investment banker does not mean you know them all.

    Tomorrow I will give you some links from where I get my info I’ve had a couple and really I don’t want to do any commenting right now.

  46. Danny 47

    I admit, when the latest chapter in this saga broke I thought it was merely a well timed beat-up. However, by day two there are actually serious questions that Key needs to answer.

    1. What was that lie all about? I now know it was not a mistake.

    2. How can he mention a TR holding as a hypothetical in a discussion on duties to disclose? What the hell is that all about?

  47. Danny 48

    It could only have been an attack of a guilty conscience.

    I would think twice before employing him.

  48. I took a look at the hansard link – tks for that.

    First, let me say I don’t often have the time to go there.

    Second, having done so and found the relevant Q&A it occurs to me that even then JK’s going on about it shows a guy troubled between what he called ‘risks’ – (meaning personal risks from the look of it) – and the responsibility (he might actually prefer obligation) of transparency.

    Anyone else spot that? I suppose I’m getting at the fact of his regular mindset.. which would be akin to guys folding their arms over their chests in apelike defensive body language.. as a first and perhaps prevailing attitude.. hardly dispensing confidence to informed audiences..

  49. the sprout 50

    and so begins the inexorable and terminal decline of Mr Key.
    there will be plenty more where that came from.
    let us pray that it’s merciful and quick.

  50. Pascal's bookie 51

    And let’s not forget about his meeting with those railway men from America. That wasn’t public information. Can we have the minutes please John?

  51. Pascal's bookie 52

    “let us pray that it’s merciful and quick.”

    Ya big heart on yer sleeve, squishy kumbaya singing mofo liberal sprout.

    Whatever happened to ‘I’ll hold, you kick’

  52. the sprout 53

    pb, you’ll blow my cover. that’s my prayer like Key won’t go negative 😉

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