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Finlayson’s undeclared company

Written By: - Date published: 12:22 pm, June 22nd, 2010 - 51 comments
Categories: accountability - Tags: ,

Hidden assets seem to be a dirty little secret of the National Party. There was John Key’s Tranzrail shares and there’s the ongoing issue of his blind trust. There’s Jonathan Young’s undeclared company. And, now, we learn that Attorney-General Chris Finlayson has apparently been failing to declare his interest in a company for years.

These disclosures are important. Transparency is needed so we can trust and ministers can avoid conflicts of interest.

David Parker stood down as Attorney-General when he thought he had signed a false declaration. Will Finlayson?

Trevor Mallard writing on Red Alert has the details:

Finlayson helped set up a company in 2006, after he became an MP,  and became a director then and has failed to declare it on any return since that date.

Standing Orders page 128 are very clear.

4 Contents of return relating to member’s position as at effective date of return

(1) Every return of pecuniary interests must contain the following information as at the effective date of the return:

(a) the name of each company of which the member is a director ..

Stuff reports:-

An Office of the Clerk of the House spokeswoman said the rules were clear. ‘Members are required to declare the name of each company of which the MP is a director or controls more than 5 per cent of the voting rights. At the very worst, it could be contempt of the house if an MP has knowingly provided false information to the House.’

For most members people don’t get too upset if a genuine error is made once. But the Attorney-General is special. There is a clear precedent. Dr Don Brash (Leader of the Opposition), 21 March 2006 :

Lawyers are the professionals we depend on in our society to ensure the accuracy of the documents that they sign. They should not sign documents knowing them to be false under any circumstances. For the most senior law official in the land, the Attorney-General, to have done so not once but on several occasions, is a serious matter. Mr Parker was right to tender his resignation. I commend him for that.

Rodney Hide (Leader—ACT), 21 March 2006 :

I say to Helen Clark that her Government now lacks integrity and honesty. I think that filing a false statement, a statutory document, when one is the Attorney-General and a Minister of the Crown is unacceptable. I think this issue does need a full investigation. I say to the House that it is an important job to hold Ministers to account. That is what Parliament does—that is our Westminster parliamentary democracy.

David Parker stood down because there was doubt as to whether he signed a false statement. As it turned out he hadn’t and was reinstated.

Finlayson appears to have signed a false statement every year since March 2006.

He needs to go to the sin bin and not be allowed out until he can prove that each of his declarations have been factual. Given the other problems he has it might be an easy way out for Key.

Finlayson is still a director of this company, Te Puhi Trustee (2) Ltd. As recently as March he updated his directorship details. It seems highly unlikely that failing to declare his interest in the company year after year is just an error. Finlayson has some explaining to do.

And Key needs to show that he will hold his ministers to the kind of standards that Phill Goff has held his people.

51 comments on “Finlayson’s undeclared company”

  1. burt 1

    If this is true then he must resign immediately. (and not come back under natural justice once we are told to move on)

    Oh and don’t forget the full details of the Parker debacle, the inaccurate company return was just one thing. There were a raft of allegations including that he sold a commercial air con unit from a development that was in recievorship.

    Imagine if you knew the person who purchased it from him !!!!!! His denials that he cheated the recievor would seem pretty dishonest wouldn’t they….

    As it turned out he hadn’t and was reinstated.

    This is also untrue. The companies office decided not to prosecute, the return was clearly wrong and I’m pretty sure he admitted that.

    • BS Burt

      Parker was completely vindicated. He actually did do the think that he did not think that he had done and the letter on the Companies file showed that he had done nothing wrong.

      Must … divert … attention.

    • burt 1.2

      So you don’t know the chap who purchased the Air-Con unit in Dunedin…. Keep your head in the sand Micky, being a socialist it will help you believe your ideology works and that the people you trust deserve that trust.

      • Herbert 1.2.1

        Air-Con Unit sold in Dunedin…. WTF? Are they selling open windows now?

        • Bright Red

          who knows what burt is on about. It’s a pretty strange land, burt-world.

          Meanwhile, an actual current minister with an actual undisclosed interest.

          • burt

            Wishart did a write up on the whole affair, he named people in his article, including the person who claims to have purchased the Air-Con unit from under the receivors.

            • Bright Red

              Wishart. lolz.

              Personally, i get my info from chicken entrails. At least as accurate.

              • burt


                One of the people named by Wishard is a person I know, I called him after reading the article partly to warn him he was named and partly to see what he had to say.

                In this case Wishart seems to be 100% accurate. The air conditioning unit sold for cash by Parker allegedly sold by Parker is one issue Parker refused to give direct answers about, he never actually denied it although he did deny the circumstances surrounding it in a wish-washy weasel words way.

            • lprent

              I’m afraid that Wishart would have to be the nutbar fantasy lubricant of choice. His facts are about as believable as the underlying premises in the film 2012 – attempts to plaster a degree of rationality over a rich fantasy life.

              But non-one sensible goes near his ‘facts’ because he appears to suffer from delusions. Burt – I’m surprised at you. Despite your retrospective fixation, I’d generally regarded you as being reasonably rational but with odd opinions. Ummm….

            • Galeandra

              Burt, was that the guy from the UFO or Wishart’s medium’s brother?

    • Pascal's bookie 1.3


      Companies office sez:

      On the question of whether false statements had been made to the Companies Once, the Crown Solicitor has concluded: ”there is no basis whatsoever for a prosecution of Mr David Parker for an offence or offences under section 377(1) of the Companies Act of making or authorising the making of a statement in an annual return that is false or misleading knowing it to be false or misleading.”

      The Crown Solicitor has also noted in relation to the more minor matters of the maintenance of company records and the late filing cf annual returns that the non-compliance identified did not warrant the intervention of the criminal law.

      The Registrar has considered and accepted the advice from the Crown Solicitor, A copy of the opinion of the Crown Solicitor is attached. It is not common practice to provide copies of legally privileged communications. In this case, however, the Registrar is releasing the opinion in light of the complexity of the issues and the public interest considerations


      • burt 1.3.1

        Two Laws In Parker Inquiry

        Rodney Hide
        Wednesday, 26 April 2006
        Press Releases – Other

        ACT Leader Rodney Hide said today that the Companies Office failure to prosecute David Parker was a disgrace, and that business laws now mean nothing in New Zealand if you’re a Minister in Helen Clark’s Government.

        “David Parker has already admitted that he did wrong, and that he knew it was wrong – even as he did it”, Mr Hide said.

        “The Companies Office, after that admission, has come up with an excuse that there was some confusion. There was no confusion.
        “David Parker knew that it was wrong, but for several years in a row, he signed the returns anyway.

        “Once again, we see that Helen Clark and her Ministers put themselves above the very laws they expect every other New Zealander to follow”, Mr Hide said.

        That was of course before Hide found the baubles of office himself.

        • Pascal's bookie

          Of course, Hide isn’t a partisan hack or anything, and the Companies Office wasn’t relying on legal advice based on documentary evidence showing there wasn’t a case to answer.

          They didn’t say there was ‘confusion’ about the legal position, they said ‘no basis whatsoever’.

          But that was before you fell out of love with Hide, so whatever he said then must be the truth of it.

          • burt

            The Registrar has considered and accepted the advice from the Crown Solicitor…

            They came to their conclusion without any political pressure….

            • Pascal's bookie

              Of course. If someone says a Labour MP didn’t break the law then they must be corrupt, it’s the only explanation! All that evidence and comparing known facts to the law stuff is strictly for the fucking birds mate.

              Wishart sez it, Hide agrees, case closed.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.4

      Still trying to rewrite reality to conform to your delusion I see burt. As well as the delusional “Labour did it as well defence” of Nationals corruption.

      • burt 1.4.1

        Ahhh no. I said he should be sacked just like I said about Parker. I have been totally consistent but I do enjoy pointing out how it was different when Labour did it.

        • Draco T Bastard

          But what you said about Parker was wrong and, as you should have known this, delusional.

  2. Rharn 2

    I wonder how long it will take for the media to pick this one up and give it it’s full attention as it did to Jones and co. Jeeeeeeeeeezzz I just saw a flying pig………………should I hold my breath? I don’t think so.

    • Adolf Fiinkensein 2.1

      A very long time indeed. Your problem is that there is no story here except that the Labour Party has not learned yet that grovelling for dirt on Gnat party ministers is not conducive to the good health of the Labour Party.

      Your own supporters are heartily sick of hearing this sort of nonsense.

    • Cnr Joe 2.2

      These pigs at this trough can’t fly far….

    • Grapethroat 2.3

      Just post it on Facebook, then they’ll run with it.

  3. A Hypocrite 3

    Undeclared interests must be exposed. Eddie should declare his undisclosed political interests, otherwise he’s being a hypocrite.

    [eddie isn’t an MP and not subject to the rules an MP is subject to. Neither are you or any commenter here. Hence, you are allowed to keep your ID private]

  4. randal 4

    this lots just makes up its own rules as it goes along.
    much easier that way.

    • burt 4.1

      Just liike the last lot eh. The rules are confusing and others were also doing it – ask rOb he’ll always defend status quo over accountability… well he use to but something might have changed in Nov 2008.

  5. Ooh he was also a director and shareholder of Diana Bremner Trust Nominees Limited until he resigned on March 9, 2006. The 2006 RPI (as at January 31, 2006 does not disclose this interest either.

    I wonder what this can mean?

    • burt 5.1

      It means he should be sacked and charged for breach of the rules/law. But he’s an MP so we should probably change the rules because they are confusing and others were also doing it….

      SACK HIM !

      • mickysavage 5.1.1

        I reckon we should give him a chance to respond first and then consider the severity of any confirmed breach before taking any action. Natural justice requires this. Even Tory Ministers should be afforded this.

      • burt 5.1.2

        I’m sure even if there is a confirmed breach he will not be prosecuted then dim-bulb partisans will say he did nothing wrong and forget the actual details while they defend their man.

        SACK HIM ! He has no defense for not following the rules given his position – the same was true of Parker, who should have been sacked and charged like I would almost certainly be if I did what he did.

        • Daveosaurus

          The huge difference here being that Parker did follow the rules, and only once he was able to prove that he had done so was he reinstated. If the only backing you can find for your further allegations against Parker finds its basis in one of Wishart’s works of fiction, then you don’t really have any backing at all.

  6. randal 6

    what does it make or does it just provide a service?
    a company service?

  7. exbrethren 7

    “Will Finlayson stand down?”

    With the standards Key sets for his ministers he’s more likely to get a promotion.

  8. Adolf Fiinkensein 8

    Oh dear oh dear.

    When you grow up you might learn a little about the difference between a corporate trustee company and a company which holds assets.

    Your anti spam word for this post is ‘dreams.’

    How appropriate.

  9. eye saw 9

    burt,you said you knew the person,so name him so we can ring him and confirm your statement.
    Put up or shut up.

    • burt 9.1

      Read the Wishart article and ring all the named people if you feel so inclinded. I’m not goping to cause my friend any more grief than the first time the whole debacle was white-washed.

      • Ari 9.1.1

        Why would I waste perfectly good time reading Ian Wishart when I could just watch paint dry?

        If I want to be entertained by outlandish conspiracy theories, I’ll read a good thriller. At least those authors realise they’re writing fiction.

  10. clandestino 10

    So sick of this crap. WHO CARES if he is a director of a corporate trustee set up to oversee family interests, he’s not exactly making money off it, might have f*cked up on a technicality but really, does it matter come election time?
    How about the time we beat them on POLICY?!! No wonder Goff is nose-diving, you can smell the desperation coming from Labour. This US-style smear sh*t is doing my head in.

    • Craig Glen Eden 10.1

      Who cares about corrupt behavior aye clandestino so where have you been while the dirty National smear machine attacked Labours past ministers over what amounts to very lilltle in money terms.

      National is without doubt the dirty tricks party, that is one thing they are very good at just ask Don Brash.

  11. This isn’t just inappropriate behaviour, for an AG to do this is criminal behaviour.
    Charges should be laid.

    • J Mex 11.1

      this is criminal behaviour.

      Um, no, it’s not.

    • burt 11.2

      Criminal behaviour… did you learn nothing from Labour’s 9 years of tyranny? When an MP is up to something that lesser beings like Auditor Generals think is illegal the MPs get the final say because they know what they intended the law to say. Many silly lesser beings make bad calls on MP behaviour and we just need to move on

  12. I dreamed a dream 12

    What do you think of Finlayson’s response? — “Finlayson says he didn’t declare it because he had no interest in the company, which was a corporate trustee incorporation for a friend’s trust.’

    • Possibly but he should have declared his directorship.

      Open … and … shut

    • Armchair Critic 12.2

      I think it is not up to Mr Finlayson to determine whether he has a conflict of interest (apparent or real), it is up to others and this can only be done if they know what he has an interest in. On these grounds he should have declared an interest.
      I also think that his statement that he “…had no interest…” is, at best, disingenuous and more likely deliberately misleading. As a director he has a number of responsibilities, and as respected lawyer he must take these responsibilities seriously, rather than dismiss them with words like “…no interest…”. By agreeing to be a director he agreed to have an interest and to be interested.

      • burt 12.2.1

        I agree. It seems likely from the structure he described with the corporate trustee (as a non trading company) that he is loosely describing a trading trust. The finer points of law may waver from the real world reality that as a director of that company, which is a trustee in a family trust, he has a trustee role in the trust. Who gave him the right to make that call on the pecuniary interests register?

        However if he’s broken the law it’s back to the eternal question. Do we say it’s not in the public interest to prosecute and move on OR do we call for his head?

      • burt 12.2.2

        Additionally the concept of ‘can’t benefit from’ is significantly blurred in a family trust, more so in a trading trust. There is no real world ‘can’t benefit’ in a well managed family trust of your own family. I seem to recall that the legal separation is absolute in terms of trust law however I’m happy to be corrected if I’m talking crap on that one.

  13. Tigger 13

    Why would he only now check to see if he needed to declare this? It’s like turning up at customs with prohibited goods. Only a doody or crook would do so.

    Wow those Nats really have issues with trust(s).

    • burt 13.1

      All parties seem to have issues with trusts. The whole shit box could have been blown wide open when the Spencer Trust came to light with Winston Peters. Labour preferred to not disclose that they knew of the Owen Glen donations that Winston denied. The chicanery to have Winston found wanting but not chargeable was a disgrace of the most self serving nature from the Labour-led govt.

      That’s not giving National a ‘they did it too’ card although that was acceptable currency for a move on under Labour.

      If he’s broken the law he should stand in court, none of this not in the public interest BS this time thanks.If he is found guilty of a crime where the punishment makes it unacceptable for him to continue his current role then ‘hello – welcome to what your laws mean to us Mr MP!’

  14. I dreamed a dream 14

    Dame Margaret Bazley has ruled that Attorney-General makes pecuniary interest breach.

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