John Key has just issued a press release answering questions no one asked. Mr Key says he doesn’t have a beneficial interest in Whitechapel – the ‘key hole’ to seeing his blind trust. But Key doesn’t answer the central question surrounding this issue. Why does Whitechapel clearly seem depict the interests of his so-called ‘blind’ trust?
Key says in his statement:
“The advice from the law firm that established Aldgate, my blind trust, states I don’t have â€˜any ownership or other interest in Whitechapel’, and that it is not correct for Mr Hodgson to claim the assets I did own were â€˜transferred’ to Whitechapel Ltd. They were in fact sold to Whitechapel.
“All this means that I have no beneficial interest in Whitechapel Ltd, which is central to Labour’s claims of a conflict of interest.
But that’s not the point. The point is why do Mr Key’s private interests appear to be perfectly visible through Whitechapel, making his trust anything but blind? Labour MP Pete Hodgson says the following in reply to Mr Key’s statement:
Prime Minister John Key’s statement refuting conflict of interest allegations has taken the debate precisely nowhere, Labour MP Pete Hodgson said today.
‘The central question remains â€˜How can John Key prove that he could not see into his own blind trust through viewing Whitechapel Limited’,’ Pete Hodgson said.
‘Mr Key’s lawyers have not addressed that question.
‘Incidentally, their advice in paragraph two would seem to suggest that they have a different view of what is meant by â€˜blind trust’ than does the Cabinet Manual in paragraph 2.70(f).
If Mr Key’s trust is not blind, which it appears not to be, then serious conflict of interest issues arise. The PM has said nothing so far to clear up that crucial point.
Misdirection is not answering the question.