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Don’t take stock tips from Murray

Written By: - Date published: 10:18 pm, February 23rd, 2010 - 18 comments
Categories: business - Tags: , , , ,

Isn’t it funny how every time a minister is caught in a shares conflict of interest it happens the holding is relatively small?

Brownlee’s Contact shares. Key’s Jackson Mining. Turns out McCully’s shares in Widespread Portfolios are worth 20 cents a pop. $31 total.

He paid a grand for them at $5-odd each. Ouch.

Doesn’t eliminate the conflict of interest. Makes it pretty trivial though.

Maybe it’s no coincidence the shareholdings in their own names are small. These are the shareholdings that it wasn’t worthwhile transferring to trust ownership. What did get hidden away in those trusts? Break them open.

Labour and Greens should lead the way. Shame the Nats into following. Maybe get a majority on the Business Committee for it (they decide the Register of Interests, eh?).

Apart from questions over what did get secreted in the trusts, National’s latest share controversy raises two more questions.

  • Are these guys really so sh*t hot at business?
  • If mining companies are such a poor investment, why does National think they’re going make NZ rich?

18 comments on “Don’t take stock tips from Murray ”

  1. sk 1

    beautiful! A good question for John Key would be how much he lost on Jackson Mining. The point is that this group (the cabinet) are clueless when it comes to business. The mining idea is just something to cover up the fact that they do not have a thought in their heads as to what will make NZ grow. Which, of course, was the genesis of Think Big. A populist PM needing to be seen to be doing something. Sound familiar?

    • Eric C. 1.1

      These guys are not clueless and it is a danger to think they are. They are actually quite sharp, just not very honest.

      I mean why does a multi-millionaire like McCully hold on to a $31 shareholding in a mining investment company for years, but declares little else in his interests? There is something very odd about that. Where are his investments and why only declare an ‘insignificant’ one?

      If his investments are in his trust, then just because they are there does not mean he doesn’t have a conflict of interest. It just means no one can find the conflicts. And, he can use his superior media handling skills to close down a story like this one. Does his trust have any shares in Widespread? If he says “no”, he should prove it by opening the trust.

      • Ron 1.1.1

        “Does his trust have any shares in Widespread?”
        Except no-one in the media – least of all Espiner or the people working for Joyce’s company has any interest in making this government answer for anything.
        Notice how the credit card story was third or fourth on TVNZ and TV3?. It was about sixth in the Radio Live evening bulletin. If that had bee Labour or Green pollies before the last election (or now probably) it would have led alomg with clips of Tories yelling “corruption!” across the floor.

      • sk 1.1.2

        My point about being clueless is that these are all failed business investments. These guys are street-smart, which is a different thing. Look at the story that John Key offered his shares to his son. His son is a related party, and therefore the shares would still be part of John Key’s ‘portfolio’ in a legal sense. Even for McCully, Max Key is not an arms length party.

        http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=10628128

        What needs to happen is that we have full disclosure, including what is held in trusts, with a range for net worth disclosed. As in the US.

        • Eric C. 1.1.2.1

          That’s right. In the US politicians are even expected to release their tax forms. Obama did it just a few months ago. Maybe, Key should follow Obama’s lead. Then we would see exactly how much Key is going to get in tax cuts.

  2. Draco T Bastard 2

    What did get hidden away in those trusts? Break them open.

    Trusts should have their holdings open to public view any way. Actually, so should businesses. Should probably have their financial transactions open to public view as well to try and eliminate fraud, tax dodges, and other nefarious dealings.

    Turns out McCully’s shares in Widespread Portfolios are worth 20 cents a pop. $31 total.

    He paid a grand for them at $5-odd each. Ouch.

    Doesn’t eliminate the conflict of interest. Makes it pretty trivial though.

    Does shine a light on it though. Losing that sort of money is going to hurt so if he could get it so that the shares went back up in price he wouldn’t lose as much and maybe gain. Which is exactly why he shouldn’t have anything to do with the mining decisions going through parliament.

    * Are these guys really so sh*t hot at business?

    Nope, Key especially is little more than a “yes” man.

    * If mining companies are such a poor investment, why does National think they’re going make NZ rich?

    They don’t but they do think it will make some rich people richer.

  3. Seti 3

    “Does shine a light on it though. Losing that sort of money is going to hurt so if he could get it so that the shares went back up in price he wouldn’t lose as much and maybe gain. Which is exactly why he shouldn’t have anything to do with the mining decisions going through parliament.”

    So all the millionaire McCully had to do to recover his $969 and stop the ‘hurt’ was to convince his colleagues to push through legislation to open Doc land to mining, then hope that Widespread was one of the potential myriad of companies who would bid for permits.

    I wonder if he’s had to go to the bank to cover the loss and put food on the table.

    • Lanthanide 3.1

      Seti, the idea is that he may have many more $$$ tied up in Widespread, and related companies, hidden in his trust.

      captcha: hiding

  4. Herodotus 4

    I can see the left just starting to p… away the electon with posts like this. Sorry chaps you are doing no good for an alternative to the current government. If this is what the MSM and blog contributors are putting their effort into then you have dissappointed me, there is a sense of pannic with the lack of traction Lab is getting. I couldn’t care if a minister from any govt (For that matter a MP, or even a civil servant) held a few shares in an industry as if you /I think that that would change the basis of a policy then we have attracted the wrong type of person into politics. There posts are becomming increasingly petty and so are some responses from some contributors who I thought had more to offer!!!

    • Sam 4.1

      Keep on dreaming buddy. If you say it long enough and loud enough, eventually someone might believe you.

      • Herodotus 4.1.1

        Look how the posts are becomming less relevant, no real discussions on real issues just an attempt (For me very poor) to try this death by 1000 cuts. Did many not get the signals before the election regarding minor & insignificant attacks e.g. Pressy of Labour Party? Guess not !!
        And Sam great response almost KB in appearance

        • sk 4.1.1.1

          Labour’s approach in 2008 was flawed, because they mis-read the electorate’s desire for change. John Key held out the prospect of a generational change, while maintaining a centrist approach to the economy. Those hopes have been dashed. What we have is pathetic, more reminiscent of National in the 1960’s or 1970’s. That is what makes this ‘thousand cuts’ appropriate. Because this government does not have a thought in their head. John Key runs a perpetual campaign, which is working well for the polls, but not for the economy. . .

  5. Nick 5

    Did either Chris Carter or Helen Clark own shares in New Zealand Oil and Gas or Pike Rive Coal when Carter gave Pike River its permit to mine the DOC estate on the West Coast in 2004?

    • Marty G 5.1

      I doubt it and if they had they would have excluded themselves form the decision-making.

      It’s not sufficient just to throw around accusations with no evidence, Nick.

      Herodotus. There’s a blend of deeper issue posts and politics of the day posts, it goes in waves.

      For instance, the last round of important stats was out a few weeks ago and I covered them a lot, and I’ll cover the next round. Other have been writing about climate change.

  6. The Chairman 6

    Bust open those trusts, it’s the only way we’ll know if any other conflicts of interest exist.

    Indeed, Labour and the Greens should lead the way.

  7. Jeepers 7

    McCully has a huge conflict of interest. He only bought those shares to enrich himself. He voted to open up conservation land so he could increase the value of his $31 in shares. This is a scandal. He could have made a couple of dollars at least out of this government decision. He should resign!

    • The Chairman 7.1

      Do you ‘trust’ them?

      As it happens, the holding is relatively small. Nevertheless, the issue has brought the matter of MPs trust ownership into the spotlight. What other investments are hidden away in those trusts? Who else has mining interests or interests that relate to current policy?

      If it were revealed that Judith had a vested interest in a private prison that was to be given a contract, would that not be of significance? If trusts remain closed to public scrutiny the public would never know. The public needs to be assured our political leaders are aboveboard. And in this regard, transparency is key.

      Opening those trusts to public scrutiny is the only way we’ll know if any other conflicts of interest exist.

      Do you ‘trust’ them?

      Recent and past events have shown up the oversights, the greed, and the poor caliber of choices some of our MPs have made.

      Moreover, the public trust in our financial markets is lacking. The Government is in the process of making the markets more transparent and accountable.

      However, accountability and transparency must go all the way to the top. Investors must be assured the Government isn’t covertly picking winners.

      Scrutiny and accountability has been lacking for far too long. However, shining light on our MPs is no easy task. It was hard enough getting them to open their expense accounts so you can imagine the resistance to opening their trusts.

  8. reddy 8

    yep, but at the moment it’s a fizzer. The intention may have been there, we can’t prove it. But at the moment it doesn’t look like there is much to gain, and the amount is not a significant amount at all.

    The appearance of a conflict of interest is there, but it’s an over reported one…

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