National’s response to my revelation on The Standard that John Key owned shares had undisclosed conflicts of interest with Fletcher Challenge Forests is to deny the conflict. Let me restate the core conflict suscinctly:
John Key owned shares in Fletcher Challenge Forests. Fletcher Challenge Forests was a major user of Tranzrail, it depended on Tranzrail for its operations, and it was campaigning for the Government to purchase the rails from Tranzrail. John Key was asking questions about that prospective purchase. Fletcher Challenge believed it would benefit from that purchase. As an owner of Fletchers, Key stood to benefit.
Did Key directly mention Fletcher Challenge Forests? No. But just because he was lucky enough not to give the game away does not mean the conflict did not exist. Key was using his privileges as an MP to ask questions about a government action in which he had a special finanical interest. That is a conflict of interest.