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Nats still getting money from trusts

Written By: - Date published: 12:15 pm, September 11th, 2008 - 79 comments
Categories: election funding, national - Tags:

One of the great things about the EFA is that donations over $20,000 must be declared within 10 working days. Because of that, we have today learned National received $30,000 from something called the Road Transport Trust on August 27. The Trust is clearly a front – there is no record of it on the web other than its appearance on the donations declaration.

Wait, a trust? Isn’t funneling funds through trusts to hide the identity of the actual donor banned under the EFA? Yup. Section 24 requires that when donations are funded from contributions the identities of the contributors who gave over $1000 be revealed too. That information does not accompany the donation report. Perhaps some journo will ring the Electoral Commission (04 474 0670) and find out why the contributors to the Trust’s donation are not identified pursuant to the Act.

So, who’s behind the Trust? Going by the name, the obvious guess is Tony Friedlander, head of the Road Transport Forum who organised the pro-National truck strike (which, incidentally, involved just 20% of trucks), former National Cabinet Minister, major donor to National’s Free Speech Coalition, and brother of Hollow Men star Michael Friedlander.

The address of the Road Transport Trust given on the return is Level 3, 93 Boulcott Street, Wellington. That’s just ten minutes walk from Parliament. So, doubtless, some enterprising journo will pop down to see if they can’t discover who is behind this trust, why they are using a trust to hide their identities, and what they expect from National in return for the money.

[Update: Tane’s interweb skills show that the Road Transport Forum is registered at the same address as the Trust.]

79 comments on “Nats still getting money from trusts”

  1. Tane 1

    A quick Google search confirms it is indeed the Road Transport Forum.

    Road Transport Forum NZ Inc
    Level 3, Newspaper House 93 Boulcott Street Wellington Central Wellington City Wellington
    PO BOX 1778
    Wellington

    http://www.finda.co.nz/business/listing/ynrc/road-transport-forum-nz-inc/

  2. burt 3

    National should have learned that if they deny it, bluster about it and produce no evidence to back up their outrageous claims that the PM would rush to their defense and calim they are honourable.

    Fools, declaring things so people know who is backing them is so not how to impress the Labour-led govt.

  3. burt. you opposed the EFA, which is the reason these donations have to be declared.

  4. burt 5

    Steve P.

    Yes, I opposed the EFA along with the Human Rights Commission and others. Your point ?

    Clearly National have done things differently to Winston becasue you were able to find out about it without a PC hearing to spead the filthy laundry all over the front page of every paper for weeks. How stupid National must be to not be using “Labour-led govt approved” ways of hiding donations in trusts.

  5. Tim Ellis 6

    Yes it does appear to come from the Road Transport Forum. Other entities on that floor, in that building include the Heavy Haulage Association and the NZ Taxi Federation. But it clearly appears to come from the Road Transport Forum.

    I don’t see what the issue is here. This doesn’t appear to be a very large donation from a group of donors intending to hide their individual identities by hiding behind a trust structure: it was a $30k donation from a lobby group, which was appropriately declared. I don’t see it as any different to a union contributing to the Labour Party. As long as it’s declared, I don’t see the problem.

    One of the few things I do like about the EFA is that there is much greater transparency on disclosure like this. Disclosure is pretty much immediate, as it should be.

  6. Yeah – it’s definitely the RTF – their accountant, Deirdre Doyle, registered the address of the trust with the companies office.

  7. higherstandard 8

    Tim

    “I don’t see what the issue is here”

    Tim how many times do you need to be told anything to do with National or their donors (or any other party not supportive of Labour) = evil, hidden agendas and a plot to overthrow those bastions of truth justice and all things lovely the Labour Party of NZ.

  8. Phil 9

    So, its taken 20 minutes on the internet to discover who is behind the trust, and what they do… which makes your allegation of ‘secrecy’ look rather stupid

  9. If I were you Phil – I’d be the last one to be talking about stupid…

  10. Phil. they’re still using a trust to hide the identity of the actual donors. Was the donor the Forum? Was it Friedlander? Could be it others?

    But I agree that at least it is good that we can see this kind of info and demand to know who is giving to these secret trusts thanks to the EFA.

  11. Tim Ellis 12

    The Trust is clearly a front – there is no record of it on the web other than its appearance on the donations declaration.

    No it’s not a front, SP. It is clearly the Road Transport Forum. A number of people have tracked it as such, through the internet.

    Wait, a trust? Isn’t funneling funds through trusts to hide the identity of the actual donor banned under the EFA?

    Yes it is, and you don’t have any evidence that the Road Transport trust was used to hide the identities of individuals who otherwise would have been declared. The Road Transport organisation is very large, with many thousands of members. It has a reasonably large staff list, and a big board. It is a lobby group representing commercial road transport users, with 80% of those users as members of the forum. This is not about ten individuals throwing in more money than they would otherwise be able to do if they made the payments individually.

    So, who’s behind the Trust?

    The Road Transport Forum is not just Tony Friedlander, any more than the EPMU is just Andrew Little.

    SP this is really just a beat-up and quite a sloppy one at that.

  12. Why haven’t people who have given via the trust simply given in their own names? what are they trying to hide?

  13. I have the donation return. It identifies no contributors, but that’s because it doesn’t have to. Section 24 requires trusts to identify contributors to parties, but parties only have to publicly disclose that information in their annual returns, and they only have to identify individual contributors if they have exceeded the $10,000 threshold (which is consistent).

  14. Billy 15

    Hey Steve, get with the programme. Everyone is bored by election funding issues. Instead of this irrelevant stuff, let’s have a few more posts on the things that really matter to the people.

    And ‘sod: registering a trust with the Companies Office? Wha’?

  15. lprent 16

    Phil: They are still inferring. Currently there are a number of possible groups.

    I’d be interested in finding out who the office holders (trustees?) in the organization are. Are they lawyers etc..

    Anyone know where trusts are registered? I’d guess that it isn’t the companies office.

    Tim: Think of it as an exercise in testing the EFA. We’re all after transparency in political donations aren’t we?

  16. burt 17

    Steve P.

    As long as the Labour-led govt still has confidence in Winston who has not even declared any donations it makes you look pretty sick making a post like this.

    Do an edit on the original post and declare that National should have denied all donations and called in lawyers guns and money to defend themselves like all good Labour-led govt poodles do. Be consistent for a change, stop calling out national for doing things legally while your own team is under the cosh for looking like complete liars.

    It’s not about how much money they get, it’s about it being declared and transparent – transparency is not only important for the other team.

  17. I have the donation return. it identifies no contributors, but it does not have to; they only have to be identified to the party, and they only have to be declared to the public if their sumulative annual donations exceed the $10,000 annual threshold.

    The RTF is unavailable for comment, sadly.

  18. Tim Ellis 19

    SP I apologise but I don’t understand your question. Why didn’t the trust members donate in their own names? Because the road transport forum is made up of many thousands of members. For the same reason, if the AA made a donation to a political party, you wouldn’t expect the AA to provide the entire membership list.

    Or, for the same reason, why you wouldn’t expect the EPMU to declare its membership list when it makes a donation. I don’t think the EPMU should have to declare the names of all of its members when it makes a donation to the Labour Party, and nor does the legislation require it. Do you think this should be changed?

  19. burt 20

    Steve P.

    Why haven’t people who have given via the trust simply given in their own names? what are they trying to hide?

    Why don’t all people (myself included) post on bloggs with their own name – what have we got to hide Steve? Clinton?

    You should think this stuff thru before you try and use it to denigrate yourself others.

  20. Tane 21

    I/S. Sorry, you keep getting caught in the spam trap. I don’t know why that is, maybe Lynn can help.

  21. djp 22

    heh

    Winnie lying about trusts = boring
    National declaring trusts = interesting

    its a funny ole world

  22. Stephen 23

    Why haven’t people who have given via the trust simply given in their own names?

    Seems you’re assuming that individuals gave? Couldn’t say, two or three unions give to a trust in the same way?

  23. Tane: ah, so that’s what it was. Apologies for the duplicate post, and please delete the first one.

    For those who are interested, the donation return is here [PDF]. Legal thoughts (IANAL) here>

  24. frog 25

    Nice work Steve and Tane, this is an important story.

  25. burt 26

    djp

    Winnie lying about trusts = boring – Labour-leg govt good!
    National declaring trusts = interesting – National bad!

    It’s easy to understand the game when you know the rules.

  26. read his speech 27

    For consistency – how do you feel about Labour recieving money through the trust accounts of law firms from “undisclosed clients” of which they recieved $230,000 in total in 2007

    http://www.elections.org.nz/record/donations/party-donation-returns-2007.html

  27. Phil 28

    If I were you Phil – I’d be the last one to be talking about stupid…

    If I were you ‘sod – I’d be the internet equivalent of the fat kid always picked last for team sports.

  28. And ‘sod: registering a trust with the Companies Office? Wha’?

    Yeah – I cocked that up (lack of sleep). It’s the forum that’s incorporated and of course it’s incorporation documents are supplied by its accountant. Kinda makes me look stupid for calling Phil stupid too…

    On the other hand it begs the question why donate from the trust rather than directly from the forum and the question of why the forum hasn’t listed any financial documents since 2006…

    Edit: Phil – I’m sensitive about my weight. Please desist from such jibes.

  29. higherstandard 30

    Sod

    According to Lord Ashcroft you’ve got a fine robust figure.

  30. Strathen 31

    Section 24 doesn’t apply to this contribution, section 24 is for ‘Election Campaigns’. The relevant sections are 54 & 57 under ‘Disclosure of Party Donations’. This is a party donation, hence the title ‘Returns of party donations exceeding $20,000’.

    The appropriate amount of disclosure has been met and I agree with Tim Ellis, this is just a beat up and a poor one. Please apply the relevant legislation if you’re going to stir something up.

  31. randal 32

    sp…you are asking for a miracle for a journo to get off their bum and do some legwork. never in the recorded history ( that is before the advent of style magazines) has a journo actually got a scoop on their own initiative.

    captcha…’fixing national’…I believe they are shooting themselves in the foot right at this very moment!

  32. Draco TB 33

    For consistency – how do you feel about Labour recieving money through the trust accounts of law firms from “undisclosed clients’ of which they recieved $230,000 in total in 2007

    The same way I feel about National receiving $2.3m from such trusts in 2005.

    There was obviously no need for the trust – the Road Transport Forum could have made the donation directly. Unless they made a donation of several million dollars it would not have gone above the $1000 limit per donor for declaring names. Of course, the Road Transport Forum probably has its members list as public information so making the donation openly would have had all those names connected to the donation. This would indicate that the trust was specifically set up to hide that information therefore we need to ask the question – What favours was the Road Transport Forum trying to buy from National?

    Obviously, the EFA needs to be changed to ban donations from trusts to political parties completely. Of course, I happen to think that trusts should be banned completely. So, although the first needs to happen I would prefer the latter course of action.

  33. read etc. i think they shouldn’t have been given money that way but i note that labour voted to outlaw that practice and national voted against it

  34. burt 35

    Steve P.

    Didn’t Labour re-introduce the clauses into the EFA to allow anon donations up to the same threshold they received in 2005?

    They were completely outlawed in the original drafts and added back in. Interestingly added back in to allow expat NZ people (like Owen Glenn) to still donate – fat lot of use that amendment did for labour though. It might have helped them if they were not hell bent on hiding his donations and called him “confused” when he revealed them.

  35. Tim Ellis 36

    Robinsod said:

    On the other hand it begs the question why donate from the trust rather than directly from the forum and the question of why the forum hasn’t listed any financial documents since 2006

    At the risk of incurring your wrath Robinsod, I listened to a rather arcane point from Max Cryer on the wire about a month ago about the use of the expression “to beg the question”. Cryer is one of those disparaging folk, who would say what you really mean is that it raises the question, rather than begs it.

    That’s just an aside. I don’t know why there is a trust structure, if there is at all. It doesn’t beg the question whether there is a separate trust, but to my mind it raises the question whether this is a separate trust. It is quite conceivable that there isn’t a separate trust structure with trustees at all. It is quite possible that the money was donated directly by the Road Transport Forum, which happened to have a bank account named The Road Transport Trust Account.

    If there was a separate trust created to make donations to the National Party on behalf of the clearly identifiable Road Transport Forum, given that the Road Transport Forum was perfectly entitled to make a donation of $30,000 to the National Party directly, without having to declare the individual money, since it presumably came from the many thousands of members of the Road Transport Forum, it would beg the question why a separate trust structure was created for this purpose.

  36. ghostwhowalks 37

    In other words the Road Transport Trust is what is called a slush fund, the RTF doesnt have to show in its accounts what it goes for. When s single heavy truck can be up to $0.5 mill doesnt 30k seem a bit ‘light’.
    Since the ‘details’ of nationals heavy trucks policy is still up in the air the rest comes in after the bacon

  37. Oh my god. Tim Ellis is correcting the ‘sod! I could argue that the English language is and always has been an evolving beat and that correct phrasing is simply a matter of truth consensus (or we’d all be talking in ye olde). But I won’t. Ah sweet praeteritio…

  38. burt 39

    Perhaps the Road Transport Trust and National are just doing this to show Winston & the Labour-led govt how it can be done without involving the PC, front page news on every newspaper for weeks and lawyers etc.

    I guess the when it’s done legally and openly declared it saves a lot of time defending it – funny old thing that.

  39. I meant “evolving beast”. I am so having a bad day for mistakes…

  40. Tim Ellis 41

    I actually agree with your view of socio-linguistics Robinsod. But since SP took a swipe this morning at Tracy Watkins for her use of “parting shot”, which appears to be in far more common use than the traditional expression, it was worth a try!

  41. Billy 42

    Ah sweet praeteritio

    Fcuk, you’re right you are more clever than me. Or, as the Nats would say, I am fewer clever than you.

  42. randal 43

    okay youse dudes. talking time time is over. funds are needed so put your hands in your pockets for the party.

  43. Ari 44

    Cryer is one of those disparaging folk, who would say what you really mean is that it raises the question, rather than begs it.

    There’s a good reason. Begging the question is a technical philosophical term for making an argument that implicitly assumes its own truth/validity.

  44. Tim Ellis 45

    Billy, Robinsod is clearly a scholar of rhetorical devices, to say nothing for his penchant for kangaroos that can be mistaken for asses.

  45. John Dalley 46

    $100 thou from Allan Gibbs to ACT. i wonder what Gibbs expects for his money?
    Should Rodney be asked to explain?

    Is there a difference between OG & AG in terms on what they may expect?

  46. burt 47

    John Dalley

    What the hell were ACT doing declaring their donations? The fools – don’t they know they don’t need to do that and then they can have great fun grinding parliament to a standstill. Then of course ACT could take 3 weeks to not explain something that can be all cleared up in a matter of minutes and we could all bag the person who suggested they have done something very wrong.

    ACT could then take a break to prepare for the election on full pay and the PM would be supporting their highest standard of ethical conduct.

    Simple eh, follow the high standards as set by the Labour-led govt.

  47. burt 48

    John Dalley

    Is there a difference between OG & AG in terms on what they may expect?

    Probably not, but we knew about Allan Gibbs, there has been no “NO” saga, no nill donation returns and no denial that he ever donated, well that Rodney asked him, that Rodney meet him at [xyz-place] etc. No list of denials that have been successively shown to be wrong.

    I still think about the undeclared donations from the Vela family and the tax cut for the racing industry in the 2006 budget and think – this is why we have transparency. Yet apparently Winston’s Firsts behaviour has been of a standard acceptable to the Labour-led govt.

    As a point of interest, do you support the Labour-led govt with all this disrepute surrounding their ethical conduct?

  48. SPC 49

    Perhaps burt could timetable NZF party policy on the racing industry and show at what point Vela donations were received to influence that policy.

    The fact is, Peters is a fan of racing and has always supported favourable tax lws for it. Donations came after the party policy.

    Perhaps burt will next claim that the donations of rich people like Gibbs induced ACT to have a tax cut policy. ACT have always have had a tax cut policy and the money came after the policy. Just like with NZFirst.

    Stp preaching double standards burt.

  49. Pascal's bookie 50

    burt, has the ACT party lived up to your high standards in regard to the Shawn Tan business?

  50. burt 51

    SPC

    Perhaps burt could timetable NZF party policy on the racing industry and show at what point Vela donations were received to influence that policy.

    There is no need for me to do that, the fact NZ1 didn’t declare it gives us grounds to speculate that there was some hidden agenda in not doing so. This is why we have rules around transparency of such things – so that twats like myself don’t need to ponder the possibility of the unthinkable and so that the party can defend it’s policies in an open and transparent way. Which NZ1 cannot do with regard to the tax cut for the racing industry, sure there may be no connection between the donation and the tax cut – but we must wonder why NZ1 was at such pains to hide the donation.

    Pascal’s bookie

    Please explain the relevance of the Labour-led govt being supported by a political party that appears to have been highly imaginative in it’s accounting for donations and a person fired by a Union for not declaring their political interests?

  51. Draco TB 52

    bah, humbug

  52. Paul Robeson 53

    gee so they are griping about having to pay $500 a year yet have $30,000 for the Nats?

  53. Pascal's bookie 54

    Please explain the relevance of the Labour-led govt being supported by a political party that appears to have been highly imaginative in it’s accounting for donations and a person fired by a Union for not declaring their political interests?

    I’m surprised burt. I thought that the connection would be obvious to you. After all these months and probably hundreds of comments from you about how we should hold politicians to a strict and rigid set of principles as the only moral way of determining our allegiance. Was that all just partisan hackery? Sure seems like it.

    But then you don’t seem to have a clue about what went on so perhaps you are unaware of what Rodney had cooking in the offices of the EPMU. I strongly suggest you read the recent post on it here at the Standard, or at least the attached documents that go into exhausting detail about this plot, that I am sure you will find v. disturbing. Delicate adjectival flower that you are.

  54. burt 55

    Pascal’s bookie

    I’ll read up on that as I was completely unaware that Rodney, as you put it, had some cooking in the deal.

    I generally write off stories about the EPMU based on the premise that using fees deducted from low paid workers to fund high paid politicians advertising is not something I agree with.

  55. Pascal's bookie 56

    I generally write off stories about the EPMU based on the premise that using fees deducted from low paid workers to fund high paid politicians advertising is not something I agree with.

    That explains it then. It’s like turning the ad hom’ fallacy into a lifestyle choice. Good for you.

  56. Bill 57

    ACT cynically and gleefully lead a naive Shawn Tan (read the emails, he’s a bubby) up the garden path, ruin him without a second thought and all for the sake of having a go at the EPMU.

    Rodney Hide goes Winston Peters attempting to ruin him and NZF, while (JK hopes) inflicting damage on Labour in the process.

    After Owen’s grandstanding…the talk shows, the press conferences…I’m thinking he’s piqued at not getting his Monaco number and the ego puff that would have gone with it. But that’s an aside.

    Is there any proven connection between C&T and ACT? Has anybody looked?

    ACT appear (at the moment) to be Nat’s attack dog. The Nats have done nothing pro-active of late, contrary to expectations given they have employed C&T, unless you allow that ACT are part and parcel of the C&T Nat campaign.

    So ACT get NZF binned while the Nats target their (NZF) constituency (look at the Nats health policy for an example of this).

    And the fact that JK has written off working with NZF before everything blew up? The hard right economics that the Nats would unleash wouldn’t have been supported by NZF. There was no possible coalition there. So from a Nat perspective it’s better to discredit NZF in any way you can (enter ACT and Rodney) and punt for their constituency while playing the moral high ground…we are honest, WP cannot be trusted, so we will not work with them post election…as though that had hitherto been a possibility.

    You need to do that from arms length if you want to look at all clean. You need a front, an attack dog, an ACT Party. From the Shawn Tan episode it is abundantly clear that ACT will stoop to any level and inflict any level of damage on whoever merely to score political points.

    So what wont they do to get to cabinet?

  57. burt 58

    Pascal’s bookie

    That is hilarious.

    “Delicate adjectival flower that you are.”

    Followed by;

    “It’s like turning the ad hom’ fallacy into a lifestyle choice”

    Hypocrite springs to mind, by the way, you clearly responded to my question, perhaps you could also answer it;

    As a point of interest, do you support the Labour-led govt with all this disrepute surrounding their ethical conduct?

    Or was your question about ACT all just partisan hackery? Sure seems like it.

  58. burt 59

    Bill

    Apply the PM’s level measure of acceptable to your take on the behaviour of ACT & National.

    Was it illegal?

    If the answer is no – then move on – it’s politics. 🙂

  59. Bill 60

    burt.
    morality and legality are not linked. Immorality and illegality are also disparate concepts.

    What’s your point burt?

    Oh, and burt? HC never has and never will speak for me. Why should I apply her measures of acceptability over my own?

  60. Pascal's bookie 61

    That is hilarious.

    “Delicate adjectival flower that you are.’

    Followed by;

    “It’s like turning the ad hom’ fallacy into a lifestyle choice’

    Hypocrite springs to mind

    Hypocrite might spring to mind for you burt, but only in error. Ad hom’ attacks are what I suspect you were thinking of. The ad hom’ fallacy is a different thing. An attack is where you just say something nasty about a person, this may or may not be legitimate, see?

    I called you a delicate flower based on your constant rushing for the feinting couch at any sign of what you consider unprincipled behaviour. Thus, the ‘abuse’ was what is known as a conclusion.

    The ad hom’ fallacy on the other hand is where you discount a person’s argument based on who they are, rather than on the argument they present. For example, when you use something nasty about a person as a premiss, in order to conclude that any position they hold is false. Another example would be your discounting of anything the EPMU has to say, because of your princilped views on unionism. This is a usually considered to be an error of logic, because the percieved nasty thing about the person is actually unrelated to an argument the person is making. See the difference?

    conclusion/attack

    premiss/fallacy

    Or was your question about ACT all just partisan hackery? Sure seems like it.

    Again, no. I was trying to work out how your principles would apply to the EPMU business. I’m just interested in the way you think burt.

  61. burt 62

    Bill

    I well understand the fact morality and legality are not one in the same. This is why I was surprised when Helen Clark said that she will act if there is evidence of illegal behaviour with regards to Winston.

    He’s still a minister in the Labour-led govt isn’t he? He’s got his baubles? Do we need to wait for ‘illegal’ behaviour to be proven before he is stripped of his baubles for sub optimal ethical behaviour?

  62. Bill 63

    I’m not aware of her saying that burt…that Winston would have had to have acted illegally.

    Didn’t she simply prefer to see due process being done before acting?

  63. r0b 64

    Apply the PM’s level measure of acceptable to your take on the behaviour of ACT & National.

    So Burt – your defence is that “they did it too”? Shall I read you your whole “like a two year old” and “chocolate on their faces” speeches? You know, the ones that you’ve made here a dozen times? Pathetic!

    Starting to sound like ACT have been up to very scummy tactics here. Looks good on you Burt.

    He’s still a minister in the Labour-led govt isn’t he

    No, never has been. According to the terms of the coalition agreement, he’s a minister outside government.

  64. burt 65

    Pascal’s bookie

    Having had two bad experiences and one incompetent experience dealing with my ‘union’ as a low paid worker under compulsory unionism I don’t have a lot of faith in the concept of unions. Having been stranded sleeping in a car on the wrong side of cook straight because of school holiday ferry strikes many years ago I don’t have a lot of faith in unions or state run infrastructure management. Admittedly now the public service is possibly a better employer than it was a few decades ago but that improvement also coincides with the overall decline in unionism. I don’t think it’s a good thing that organisations take fees from low paid workers and donate them to political parties that extend the ability of the same organisations to take fees from low paid workers and donate them to political parties.

    So yes I’m living the ad hom’ fallacy with regard to unions, I have no problem admitting that. I have never pretended to like unions or their management or to value much of what they say.

  65. burt 66

    rOb

    “So Burt – your defence is that “they did it too’?”

    Did you notice the ” 🙂 ” rOb? Did it suggest anything to you? Anything at all?

  66. r0b 67

    So what then Burt, you condemn ACT for its behaviour after all?

  67. SPC 68

    burt:”There is no need for me to do that, the fact NZ1 didn?t declare it gives us grounds to speculate that there was some hidden agenda in not doing so. This is why we have rules around transparency of such things … so that the party can defend it?s policies in an open and transparent way.”

    So you support the EFA moves to make politial donations more transparent and would support National going further in that direction.

    IMO every single donation to a political party should come from an identified individual source (no unions, no groups and no trusts). Your take is?

  68. burt 69

    rOb

    I need to read some more detail about it, but if it’s as bad as Bill paints it then I’m concerned about it.

    I’m very glad you noticed me doing the “they did it too” thing though. I’m disappointed that the 🙂 didn’t give it away I was taking the piss however there is pleasing signs from you that the “they did it too” line is not an acceptable defense. Next we shall work on the “it’s OK when Labour do it” defense but I suspect I will need to take baby steps with you on that one.

  69. burt 70

    SPC

    So you support the EFA moves to make politial donations more transparent and would support National going further in that direction.

    Hell yes. Totally.

    IMO every single donation to a political party should come from an identified individual source (no unions, no groups and no trusts). Your take is?

    Ditto with the exception that companies & unions are OK as long as they are declared openly and transparently.

    In the past I have seen the anon donation as a good thing as it allows for people who want to donate to do so without exposing themselves. As the EPMU case also points out, political affiliations are not only a personal thing in some employment situations. However the Winston debacle has really made me stop and think about that aspect and I think full transparency is more important.

  70. r0b 71

    I need to read some more detail about it, but if it’s as bad as Bill paints it then I’m concerned about it.

    I’ll see if I can remember to ask you how that’s going every now and then Burt.

  71. Draco TB 72

    Burt:

    Do we need to wait for ‘illegal’ behaviour to be proven before he is stripped of his baubles for sub optimal ethical behaviour?

    Yes, actually we do. If the PM removed him without that proof then she would be acting arbitrarily and unethically. Such an act would rightly be seen as a massive abuse of power. It was because of such acts by the king that the Magna Carta was written and became the basis for our entire justice system.

    This should give you pause for concern about how ethical JK is as he’s been saying, for the last couple of weeks, that he would engage in such abuse of power – that he would act unethically.

  72. Matthew Pilott 73

    I need to read some more detail about it, but if it’s as bad as Bill paints it then I’m concerned about it.

    So you’re not going to rush out and pass judgement on ACT before you have the facts before you, Burt. Is that what you’re saying?

    Sounds like, umm, ‘due process’ to me. So you clearly support Clark waiting for the facts to come out about Winston before she judges him to have acted at a morally sub-optimal level?

    I agree.

    It’s a shame that Key and Hide don’t have the moral decency you do, Burt.

  73. burt 74

    Matthew Pilott

    The facts about ACT have not been plastered all over the papers for weeks.

    Look at the facts sunshine… I was not at the Karaka sales in 2006… Oh I was there but didn’t talk to Glenn… OK I was at the same table but didn’t talk to him… OK I talked to him….

    I have never received money from Owen Glenn… OK I have but I didn’t know about it…. I don’t know about the Spencer Trust… OK I do but I’m not aware of what it is for…. OK I’ve know about it for years…..

    I never phones him…. OK I did but I didn’t talk about money… My Lawyer sent him bank account details a few minutes after a conversation I had with him (which I previously denied) but it wasn’t because we talked about money….

    Get a grip Matthew, Winston can’t even keep his story straight for the 5 minutes it takes to clear the whole thing up. There is no comparison between the two events but there may be something about Rodney’s behaviour I don’t agree with all the same.

  74. Matthew Pilott 75

    Burt, whether it has been in the papers for a while is immaterial.

    Or are you saying that morality is only to be judged by the level of publicity given to it?

    You’re giving ACT ‘due process’ on their particularly scummy treament of an individual (aren’t they meant to respect them, as opposed to manipulate?), so I assume you’re doing the same for Peters, for which I commend you. Maybe you should let Key and Hide know that you would expect the same from them and that their conduct is not acceptable.

    That was quite a touchy reply, by the way. Whether Winston says the same thing or not doesn’t change the fact that he should be given due process.

    There is plenty of comparison between the two events – we’re talking about morality, not law, remember? Or are ACT immune from moral judgements in your eyes?

    ACT – Good, Winston – Bad? I know you’re better than that!

  75. burt 76

    Matthew Pilott

    Maybe you should let Key and Hide know that you would expect the same from them and that their conduct is not acceptable.

    I have always done exactly that Matthew. I commented on Rodney’s blog several times in 2006 about how disappointed I was that ACT was caught up in the theft of tax payers money scandals that Labour gave them a get out of jail free card for. I called for Rodney to pay it back immediately and he bagged me for that after he had it investigated and had the total reduced. He pointed out to me how my approach would have seen him pay thousands more than he was required to because due process had to be followed to verify the total. I have posted other comments expressing my displeasure with his actions in the past. I support ACT because they do normally put principle before expediency rather than normally do exactly the opposite. .

    Due process is what people get when there is a case to answer, so far I’m not convinced there is a case to answer with regard to the EPMU and the outrage the supporters of the EPMU are casting onto Rodney. It’s unusual for me to agree with Chris Trotter but his comments about the EPMU being a bad employer in this instance are also factors I’m thinking about. However we can hold the union blameless and blame Rodney for it all if we try but I’m not convinced about that. IE: Is there a case to answer? If there is who needs to answer, Tan? the EPMU or Rodney? All of them?

    Winston’s case is less confusing, undeclared donations, inconsistent stories and of course the typical Winston BS and bluster and psychotic behaviour (They are all out to get me ) .

    Winston has had some due process, but the best way to clear it all up would be to give it to the courts to sort out. I appreciate that the Labour-led govt and due process in the courts are not something people normally associate together. However I don’t think precedent of avoiding the courts at all costs should stop the ultimate in due process for sorting this out.

    Do you agree the courts are the best place for due process with regard to alleged breaches of the law or do you think that parliament should just validate Winston and we should move on?

  76. burt 77

    Matthew Pilott

    Compare the way ACT handled Donna Huata vs How Labour have handled Taito Field, Benson-Pope or Winston.

    The major difference is ACT put their hand up quickly and called for the police and the courts to sort it out openly and transparently. There was no “nothing to see here people move on’, “only guilty of trying to help people’, “I need to take her word that nothing wrong occurred’. This is the difference Matthew, noting to do with he said she said BS and I need to take her word on it smoke screens.

  77. Matthew Pilott 78

    I think we’re largely in agreement – if there is evidence of wrong doing then the courts should judge, where it is a matter for the courts. At present I gather several organisations are investigating whether the matter should be brought before the courts. So yep, no problem there Burt.

    To take action based upon a he said-she said series of statements wouldn’t be the best course of action.

    You’re taking a very one-sided view of the Peters case though – the inconsistencies aren’t all his.

  78. I emailed the Road Transport Forum about this; the response is here.

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