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.