web analytics

Pecuniary interest

Written By: - Date published: 6:24 pm, September 26th, 2009 - 10 comments
Categories: uncategorized - Tags:

John Key has repeatedly said Bill English did not have a”pecuniary interest” in the house he lives in in Wellington with his family. It was apparently the Richard Worth test No 1 – Bill told him so.

The Auditor-General’s website deals with the issue of pecuniary interest in offering guidance to Local Authorities regarding conflicts of interest.

The following is taken from their advice:

The Act does not define the term ‘pecuniary interest’. Its meaning is a matter for legal interpretation according to the circumstances of the particular situation. However, there is a significant body of relevant case law which offers some guidance. The most significant cases are summarised in this appendix….

Downward v Babington [1975] VR 872

This case concerned a councillor of a shire in Victoria, Australia, who owned and leased certain shops. At different times, the council or its committees had before them:

  • a project to allow the establishment of a supermarket in the immediate vicinity of the councillor’s shops;
  • a proposal to compulsorily acquire land adjoining those shops and the supermarket site for off-street parking;
  • a proposal to permit development of vacant land adjoining the councillor’s shops as a retail shop; and
  • a proposal to buy land in the immediate vicinity for off-street parking.

The case did not involve any finding of fact as to whether the member had a pecuniary interest in those matters, but did produce a useful definition of the term ‘pecuniary interest’:

a councillor should be held to have a pecuniary interest in a matter before the council if the matter would, if dealt with in a particular way, give rise to an expectation which is not too remote of a gain or loss of money by him.

We have chosen to adopt this definition as appropriate in the New Zealand context, although acknowledging that our Act deals separately with the element of remoteness in section 6(3)(f).

The particular ways in which the matter has been dealt with by Bill English would seem to give rise to an expectation which is not too remote of a gain of money by him. That would certainly be how the average punter sees it.

The Auditor-General will also have to investigate all the documents and their dates to be certain as to how remote the pecuniary interest in the Endeavour Trust declared by Bill English in 2008 has become in 2009 – oh, and when it happened.

10 comments on “Pecuniary interest ”

  1. burt 1

    So it looks like Key might be acting like Helen did over Winston Peters – I was told “NO” by the honorable member and I have taken him at his word….

    Funny, it was good enough to keep a govt limping along when Labour did it, even after the privileges committee found Winston to be less than honorable. However I’m getting the feeling that National will not be so well defended for taking this stance.

    Why do myopic supporters of political parties need to be in opposition to see that accountability is something that is constant ?

  2. Westminster 2

    I can’t wait until Burt brings out one of his “retrospective” zingers. Talk about a stuck record.

    • burt 2.1

      Westminster

      If you type the following ‘<b>retrospective</b>’ it will come out bold and then you can at least take the piss with some degree of dignity.

      • mickysavage 2.1.1

        The wingnuts must be in trouble over this. Any time they are caught they resort to “Oh but Helen did xyz”.

        The way I see it the situation is quite clear. Allowing one’s spouse or children to benefit from a decision is to gain a pecuniary advantage. A financial gain by a spouse during a relationship has to be shared equally, and the increase of wealth of a trust by the addition of relationship property also results in a legal expectation that the addition is shared equally.

        Bill would appear to be caught. He should disclose all trust documents and then if in breach pay the money back and face the opprobrium of the public.

        Dare I say it but Peters was a different issue. He belonged to a different party and received the payment of funds which was perfectly legal. He chose to tell a porkie to the public and to Parliament and eventually was caught out. If telling porkies is such a hanging offence then why isn’t Nick Smith before the privileges committee?

      • Craig Glen Eden 2.1.2

        Its you Burt who has no dignity look at your first post. You admit English is in the wrong and then because of your obsession with Helen you start making a comparison out of the allegations made at Winston ( which had nothing to do with ripping of the tax payer nor was his actions illegal). Have some self respect man.

      • Westminster 2.1.3

        Keep it up, Burt. You might be a stuck record – but in a topsy turvy World of uncertainty and general craziness, I guess we need your boring as batshit repetition to keep our collective feet grounded, ay? On the editing side, maybe I can get Klark and Kullen to pass RETROSPECTIVE legislation to allow me to go back and re-edit that comment, whaddya reckon? You know socialists do that kind of thing….

  3. r0b 3

    This is an excellent post. Bill is really hiding behind the shield of this phrase “no pecuniary interest”. It sounds impressive doesn’t it! But what does it mean? Bill is depending on the fact that not many of us know (I certainly had only a vague idea). So let’s get it out in the open.

    The Downward v. Babington case you cite John A does seem to be the crucial one. It is also cited as the “The benchmark legal decision in this area” in an Australian local government “Pecuniary Interest Handbook” (PDF), which quotes the same crucial phrase “give rise to an expectation which is not too remote of a gain or loss of money by him”. It also states:

    The principles underlying pecuniary interest relate to a person’s interest in a matter being based on the probability that the person stands to gain or lose financially from it … [and refers to] .. outcomes of which will or may affect their personal financial interests or those of their close associates.

    Here’s another interesting document. It’s specific to the topic of securities, but it again gives a flavour of what is usually meant by “pecuniary interest”:

    i. The term pecuniary interest in any class of equity securities shall mean the opportunity, directly or indirectly, to profit or share in any profit derived from a transaction in the subject securities.

    ii. The term indirect pecuniary interest in any class of equity securities shall include, but not be limited to: A. Securities held by members of a person’s immediate family sharing the same household…

    Interesting. So “pecuniary interest” seems to be typically taken to include direct, indirect or shared profit, to the individual or to immediate family sharing the same household. In what possible world does Bill English not have a pecuniary interest in his own family trust? Some enterprising reporter needs to ask Bill what definition of “pecuniary interest” he is using…

  4. BLiP 4

    There seems no doubt that Blinglish has changed his relationship with the Endeavour Trust to maximise entitlement and that his legal position in this matter is little more than a contrivance.

Links to post

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • NZ announces a third P-3 deployment in support of UN sanctions
    The Government has deployed a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion (P-3) maritime patrol aircraft to support the implementation of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions imposing sanctions against North Korea, announced Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters and Minister of Defence Ron Mark. “New Zealand has long supported ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Pacific trade and development agreement a reality
    Pacific regional trade and development agreement PACER Plus will enter into force in 60 days now that the required eight countries have ratified it. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker welcomed the announcement that the Cook Islands is the eighth nation to ratify this landmark agreement. “The agreement represents ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Securing a pipeline of teachers
    The Government is changing its approach to teacher recruitment as COVID-19 travel restrictions continue, by boosting a range of initiatives to get more Kiwis into teaching. “When we came into Government, we were faced with a teacher supply crisis,” Education Minister Chris Hipkins said. “Over the past three years, we ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Border exceptions for a small number of international students with visas
    The Government has established a new category that will allow 250 international PhD and postgraduate students to enter New Zealand and continue their studies, in the latest set of border exceptions. “The health, safety and wellbeing of people in New Zealand remains the Government’s top priority. Tight border restrictions remain ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • First COVID-19 vaccine purchase agreement signed
    The Government has signed an agreement to purchase 1.5 million COVID-19 vaccines – enough for 750,000 people – from Pfizer and BioNTech, subject to the vaccine successfully completing all clinical trials and passing regulatory approvals in New Zealand, say Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods and Health Minister Chris Hipkins. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • International statement – End-to-end encryption and public safety
    We, the undersigned, support strong encryption, which plays a crucial role in protecting personal data, privacy, intellectual property, trade secrets and cyber security.  It also serves a vital purpose in repressive states to protect journalists, human rights defenders and other vulnerable people, as stated in the 2017 resolution of the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Ministry of Defence Biodefence Assessment released
    The Ministry of Defence has today released a Defence Assessment examining Defence’s role across the spectrum of biological hazards and threats facing New Zealand. Biodefence: Preparing for a New Era of Biological Hazards and Threats looks at how the NZDF supports other agencies’ biodefence activities, and considers the context of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Approaches to Economic Challenges: Confronting Planetary Emergencies: OECD 9 October 2020
    New Approaches to Economic Challenges: Confronting Planetary Emergencies: OECD 9 October 2020 Hon David Parker’s response following Thomas Piketty and Esther Duflo. Good morning, good afternoon, and good evening, wherever in the world you might be. I first acknowledge the excellent thought provoking speeches of Thomas Piketty and Esther ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Kaipara Moana restoration takes next step
    A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed today at Waihāua Marae between the Crown, local iwi and councils to protect, restore and enhance the mauri of Kaipara Moana in Northland. Environment Minister David Parker signed the document on behalf of the Crown along with representatives from Ngā Maunga Whakahī, Ngāti ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand and Uruguay unite on reducing livestock production emissions
    Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor and Uruguayan Minister of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries Carlos María Uriarte have welcomed the launch of a three-year project that will underpin sustainable livestock production in Uruguay, Argentina, and Costa Rica.  The project called ‘Innovation for pasture management’ is led by Uruguay’s National Institute of Agricultural ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • 3100 jobs created through marae upgrades
    Hundreds of marae throughout the country will be upgraded through investments from the Provincial Growth Fund’s refocused post COVID-19 funding to create jobs and put money into the pockets of local tradespeople and businesses, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta have announced. “A total ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Health volunteers recognised in annual awards
    Health Minister Chris Hipkins has announced 9 teams and 14 individuals are the recipients of this year’s Minister of Health Volunteer Awards.  “The health volunteer awards celebrate and recognise the thousands of dedicated health sector volunteers who give many hours of their time to help other New Zealanders,” Mr Hipkins ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Community COVID-19 Fund supports Pacific recovery
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio says a total of 264 groups and individuals have successfully applied for the Pacific Aotearoa Community COVID-19 Recovery Fund, that will support Pacific communities drive their own COVID-19 recovery strategies, initiatives, and actions. “I am keen to see this Fund support Pacific ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Community benefits from Māori apprenticeships
    Up to 50 Māori apprentices in Wellington will receive paid training to build houses for their local communities, thanks to a $2.75 million investment from the Māori Trades and Training Fund, announced Employment Minister Willie Jackson today. “This funding will enable Ngāti Toa Rangatira Incorporated to provide its Ngā Kaimahi ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Training fund supports Māori jobseekers
    Rapidly growing sectors will benefit from a $990,000 Māori Trades and Training Fund investment which will see Wellington jobseekers supported into work, announced Employment Minister Willie Jackson today. “This funding will enable Sapphire Consultants Ltd. to help up to 45 Māori jobseekers into paid training initiatives over two years through ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Ruakura Inland Port development vital infrastructure for Waikato
    The Government is investing $40 million to develop an inland port at Ruakura which will become a freight super-hub and a future business, research and residential development for the Waikato, Urban Development and Transport Minister Phil Twyford, and Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced today. The funding has been has ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Appointments made to Defence Expert Review Group
    Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today the establishment of an Expert Review Group to review a number of aspects of the New Zealand Defence Force’s (NZDF) structure, information management and record-keeping processes.  The Expert Review Group’s work arises out of the first recommendation from the Report of the Government’s Inquiry ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • No active community cases of COVID-19
    There are no active community cases of COVID-19 remaining in the country after the last people from the recent outbreak have recovered from the virus, Health Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “This is a big milestone. New Zealanders have once again through their collective actions squashed the virus. The systems ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Clean energy upgrade for more public buildings
    More public buildings will be supported by the Government to upgrade to run on clean energy, the Minister for Climate Change James Shaw announced today. Minister Shaw announced that Lincoln and Auckland universities will receive support through the Clean-Powered Public Service Fund to replace fossil fuel boilers. Southern, Taranaki, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Schools back donations scheme for the second year
    More schools have opted in to the donations scheme for 2021, compared to 2020 when the scheme was introduced. “The families of more than 447,000 students will be better off next year, with 94% of eligible schools and kura opting into the scheme,” Education Minister Chris Hipkins said. “This is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Ruapehu cycle trails gets PGF boost
    The spectacular Mountains to Sea cycle trail in Ruapehu District will receive $4.6 million in funding from the Provincial Growth Fund for two additional trails, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. “This is an exciting development for the local community, and one that will provide significant economic opportunities ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago