Well, this is pretty embarrassing for the Attorney-General Chris Finlayson. He’s the (big g) Government’s top lawyer, and he’s just been taken to school by one of those former teachers in Labour’s ranks that National is always mocking.
Yesterday, Trevor Mallard showed that Finlayson had not declared his directorship of a company as required in his declaration of pecuniary interests, meaning Finlayson had been signing false documents for years.
Finlayson responded with that oddly weak anger he does, snapping about Mallard’s “psychopathic rant” and saying he had no pecuniary interest in Te Puhi Trustee (2) Ltd, which he claimed had no assets.
But the rules are clear. An MP must declare all directorships in all companies. It’s simple rule. One you might have hoped the top lawyer could understand. Like Mallard says “I would have thought frankly the Attorney-General is someone who should be able to understand what’s written down in black and white.”
And it turns out the company does own assets. Oops.
Now, Registrar of Pecuniary Interests Dame Margaret Bazley (possibly the country’s busiest superannuitant) has confirmed that Mallard has the rules right and Finlayson has been breaking them: “Parliament’s Standing Orders stated that all company directorships needed to be declared and there were no exemptions”
Finlayson, in what is a pretty humiliating about face considering just hours before he was calling Mallard a psycho, now says he will correct his declarations as soon as possible.
As Mallard says “the question now goes to (Prime Minister John Key) as to whether he thinks it’s satisfactory to have someone who has now apparently admitted making four years of false declarations as attorney-general”.
Oh, I see Key is “relaxed“. I don’t know what the guy’s on but they should use it to treat constipation.