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Key’s Blind Trust vs Our Blind Faith

Written By: - Date published: 4:19 pm, April 29th, 2016 - 29 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, capital gains, john key, same old national, slippery, tax, treasury - Tags: ,

“I am writing to you on behalf of a group of industry professionals operating in the New Zealand foreign trust industry. We are concerned that there appears to be a sudden change of view by the IRD in respect of their previous support for the industry. I have spoken to the Prime Minister about this and he advised that the Government has no plans to change the status of the foreign trust regime.

“The PM asked me to contact you to arrange a meeting at your convenience with a small group of industry leaders who are keen to engage to explain how the regime works and the benefits to NZ of an industry which has been painstakingly built up over the last 25 years or so.

“I would be most grateful if you could advise what dates and times you may have for a meeting with perhaps 3 or 4 of us to put the industry’s case and clear up any misconceptions which may be changing the current change of view at IRD.”

That’s the email from John Key’s lawyer Ken Whitney to Revenue Minister Todd McClay pressuring him into a meeting around a proposal that Whitney believed would make life a little more difficult for the trust industry. A meeting was hurriedly arranged. Ultimately, no change was made to the rules around trusts.

Whitney won. Transparency lost.

In my experience, lawyers are careful with words. So what are we to make of these words:

“The PM asked me to contact you to arrange a meeting at your convenience with a small group of industry leaders … ”

Well, no. According to the PM, he did no such thing. He merely suggested to Mr Whitney that he (Whitney) have a personal chat with McClay. According to the PM, in no way did he suggest Whitney go in mob handed to lobby the Minister. Hell, it was such a casual matter, he initially neglected to mention that it was his long time personal lawyer who asked him about the possible tightening up on trusts. It was just ‘somebody’ he ‘bumped into’ and that sort of thing happens all the time.

If Mr Whitney is to be believed, any citizen can write to a Minister of the Crown, say the PM reckons a cuppa and a chat would be a fine thing and I’ll be in your office tomorrow at 10. See ya then.

In the real world, McClay saw Whitney and the others because he felt he had to. Perhaps McClay contacted Key and checked whether he really did have to meet with his mate. Perhaps he didn’t and just took the lawyer at his word when he wrote that it was a direct request from the PM. Either way, we should be told just why a Minister would go along with such an unusual arrangement.

But to be frank, McClay’s weak deferring to Whitney isn’t the matter I really want answers to.

Here’s the nub of it as I see it:

Key’s a rich man. He’s got mega bucks, but none of us know how much or where its stashed. So ….

Did New Zealand Prime Minister John Key profit from the meeting between his lawyer and his Minister?

Did Key financially benefit from the apparent decision not to tighten up the rules about trusts that appears to have directly followed on from his lawyer lobbying the Minister?

If so, has John Key abused his high office in order to make money?

Last question:

Is our Prime Minister a crook?

I don’t know the answers, but I do know we need to be told. There absolutely needs to be an enquiry into this matter.

A criminal enquiry.

Show me the money, John. Show me the money!

 

29 comments on “Key’s Blind Trust vs Our Blind Faith ”

  1. Mad Plumber 1

    There are some interesting comments by Andrew Geddis on Pundit about this.

  2. Anne 2

    Did New Zealand Prime Minister John Key profit from the meeting between his lawyer and his Minister?

    Course he did. Maybe not directly but he no more wanted the IRD poking it’s nose into the Trust scene than Whitney did. He’s got his own fingers in the Trust pie.

    Did Key financially benefit from the apparent decision not to tighten up the rules about trusts that appears to have directly followed on from his lawyer lobbying the Minister?

    Course he did. He didn’t want the IRD poking it’s nose into his financial affairs.

    If so, has John Key abused his high office in order to make money?

    Course he has. But the abuse will be well hidden. Probably non- traceable.

    Last question:

    Is our Prime Minister a crook?

    A white collar crim. Yes.

    There ya go. No more need be said. 😉

    • Sacha 2.1

      “He’s got his own fingers in the Trust pie.”

      They are *foreign* trusts, so this point seems really unlikely to be true. He’s dodgy, but that should not be the focus.

      The PM’s class are doing immoral things most NZers would never approve of. Let’s not do any more foot-shooting like Labour did over Shewan’s actions. Focus on the broader point, not trying to ping the guy after 7 years of utterly failing to do so.

      • Anne 2.1.1

        See the winky face? That denotes a tongue-in-cheek response to TRP’s questions. I expected a bit of sniffing and snorting, but one can be a little light-hearted about these things sometimes? Lets face it, JK has made questionable accusations about his opponents – in a light hearted manner of course – so nothing wrong with a bit of reciprocation.

        What’s more, some of it might turn out to be true!

  3. Paul 3

    How can this information be used to unseat this corrupt government?

    • Chuck 3.1

      It can’t because Anne is trying to link dots that simply don’t exist.

      If you want to unseat this government, you need to do it the hard way…convince NZ that you have a better option to offer.

      • Paul 3.1.1

        You mean saying you’ll clamp down on tax havens?

        • Chuck 3.1.1.1

          The left kicking National out come 2017 (however remote it maybe) will have nothing to do with tax havens.

          Clamping down on tax havens is outside my sphere of influence…but thanks for thinking I have that power.

  4. b waghorn 4

    I don’t know if key is a crook, but he certainly operates in manner not fit for a political leader, to many times he’s been shown to operate in a nudge nudge wink wink manner, we are not in wall street now trying to turn tricks for a dollar!!

  5. Sacha 5

    “According to the PM, he did no such thing. He merely suggested to Mr Whitney that he (Whitney) have a personal chat with McClay.”

    Gee, who to believe?

  6. gsays 6

    “In my experience, lawyers are careful with words. ”
    coincidentally so are habitual liars.

    their korero is littered with qualifications, obfuscations, red herrings and very particular wording.

    also in this latest (i want to say litany of lies) effort, the omissions (key information) are as important as what is said.

  7. greywarshark 7

    Great title TRP. Says a lot in those few words.

  8. Keith 8

    A lawyers number one job and reason for being is to speak on behalf of their client. So anyone who thinks that McClay was going to do anything other than comply with this messengers wishes believe in the Tooth Fairy!

  9. Graeme Stanley 9

    But Wasn,t it reported somewhere that Mr Ken Whitney had let his Lawyers practising certificate registration lapse in February this year? If that’s is correct what does that all mean?

    • Anne 9.1

      Well, it happened in 2014 did it not? Whitney was still a “practising lawyer”.

      • Ed 9.1.1

        I’m not sure about the timing there – wasn’t it early 2014 that Whitney stopped being a lawyer? But whenever it was, the continued reference to John Key’s lawyer is perhaps a little surprising. Also surprising is the statement that Whitney had “changed firms”- apparently he has been involved with Antipodes Trust for 20 years, so Whitney was probably leaving his law practice to concentrate on a different part of his long-standing business activities. Given that, there is the question of why John Key had an investment (or deposit) with his lawyer previously, and why that amount would have been transferred to a company with quite different activities. I am surprised that a lawyer would retain money from a client – weren’t the days of lawyers trust accounts supposed to be largely over – money held is usually paid over fairly quickly. If indeed it was money held for legal services, wouldn’t it have been passed on to his new (practising certificate holding) lawyer? Or was the money in some way part of services offered by Antipodes Trust?

        The efficacy of the work of the “trust industry”” – or at least this part of that broader industry, can perhaps be gauged by the group who Whitney organised a meeting for estimated that the industry was worth 300 jobs and $10 million – whereas IRD estimated actual tax receipts at only $3 million . . .

        • Anne 9.1.1.1

          Yes, I did note when this story broke that different online news outlets were coming up with slightly different stories about both the timing and status of this Whitney fellow. My understanding overall is that Whitney continued to be Key’s personal lawyer after he “changed firms” and (presumably) only ceased to be Key’s (official) lawyer when he relinquished his practising certificate – which I read somewhere was early this year. All a bit murky from my standpoint.

          John Key is also on record as claiming Whitney is a personal friend whom he has known for many years.

  10. Et Tu Brute 10

    I don’t see anything wrong with the email. The guy is lobbying the minister. Ever see how lobbyists play off two people against the other? “So and so said…” I can think of three times at least this week when such a tactic was used against me.

    Now John Key might have told him to speak to the Minister. He could also have shrugged off his lawyers approach and told him to speak to the responsible minister instead. I mean what is the politest way to get rid of a lobbyist? Send him to someone else.

    • Keith 10.1

      For the purposes of pointing out the bloody obvious for National Party supporters he’s not a “lobbyist”, he’s John Keys lawyer and despite all the publicity and even this blog you’ve missed that? John Key pays this man to represent him!

      But with John Key its always just a coincidence, just one after the other after the other etc, etc.

      • Et Tu Brute 10.1.1

        So as a private citizen as soon as he provides services to a minister or prime minister he loses his freedom to act as a private individual and business person? Sure, I’d rather if I was a politician that people I dealt with didn’t try to influence me or speak their mind. It would be easier. But it is highly unlikely to happen.

        • Pat 10.1.1.1

          It is the context and success of the lobbying…and the facilitation by those in power. It is not as if he made a public submission to a select committee…and Key then lied about it to ice the cake.

          I believe in legal terms it’s called undue influence.

          If you think its acceptable it shows how quickly we are sinking into the slippery sided pit of corruption.

          • greywarshark 10.1.1.1.1

            Brutes don’t understand the finer points of philosophy, politics and pusillanimous behaviour in private and public.

            Note that on google there is a graph showing that the pusillanimous word was used much more rarely in 2010 than 1900. Which, to me to shows that we have now embedded behaviour that would have been remarked on with scorn in the 1900s.)

        • Aidan 10.1.1.2

          Here’s the thing, John key had inside knowledge that ird was considering clamping down on foreign trusts, and gave his lawyer a heads up about it to shut it down. Sureley key wanted to protect new Zealand’s status as a tax haven and sent witney to do it so as to provide some space between himself and the issue.the interesting question is why was key so concerned about it? And yeah the whole thing stinks to high heaven

  11. Draco T Bastard 11

    In the real world, McClay saw Whitney and the others because he felt he had to. Perhaps McClay contacted Key and checked whether he really did have to meet with his mate. Perhaps he didn’t and just took the lawyer at his word when he wrote that it was a direct request from the PM. Either way, we should be told just why a Minister would go along with such an unusual arrangement.

    Or the other one – FJK contacted McClay ‘unofficially’ and told him to have the meeting and reassure the Trust Fund People that the laws weren’t going to be changed.

  12. Paul Campbell 12

    So a blind trust is something where the owner has no knowledge of how their money is being invested – it’s supposed to be a very hands off affair – but in this case the guy running Key’s trust is coming to him and asking for favours, and Key is hooking him up with the minister who can get things done for him. This doesn’t look like it’s all hands off to me

  13. NZJester 13

    The whole thing with John key and his no longer lawyer mate is very shady.
    This guy should not be referred to as John Key’s lawyer as he is no longer one.
    It is my understanding that he retired as a lawyer and voluntarily gave up his legal right to practice law in New Zealand, so can no longer legally call himself a lawyer.
    He is John key’s mate who gives him legal advice and not his lawyer.

    Also why is it that it was not him that went to the ministers to lobby them but in fact it was the ministers that went out of their way to visit him?

    Every little fact that comes to light makes it look even more a #Shonkey business.

  14. save NZ 14

    PM’s should not even be allowed “blind trusts’.

    PM’s financial affairs should be open to the public so that it is clear if they have conflicts of interest or not.

    It is clear JK runs NZ like his private crony piggy bank. Want to embezzle money and hide it, no problem, have we got the offshore trust for you, JK’s personal lawyer will make sure that rule never changes! Have insurance shares, no problem, EQC will assess everything at pre quake standards to save insurance money. Need foreign aid, no problem, just donate $101,000 and voila 7.5million awarded to Scenic hotel! Everything is to benefit the 0.1%

    I just don’t know how you can just use this cop out of ‘blind’ trust and ‘offshore’ trust to get away it!

  15. Byd0nz 15

    You poor capitalist voters never learn,
    You’ll go to the polls again,
    And again, you take the pain,
    Capitalism is so inane.

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