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Someone should keep a Talley

Written By: - Date published: 7:51 am, February 26th, 2020 - 15 comments
Categories: election 2017, election funding, elections, Environment, Media, nz first, Shane Jones, stuart nash, uncategorized, winston peters - Tags:

This site has been following the Talley Brothers for a while.  Whether it is the atrocious treatment of their workers, or the appalling way they have destroyed the environment they have been the subject of intense negative criticism.

Helen Kelly’s last published post on this site was about them.  It was titled “Take the Power back” and she urged support for local body candidates who were working class people standing up for better jobs and a better environment in wards that Talleys owned AFFCO operated in.

Yesterday Guyon Espiner at Radio New Zealand published a further article sourcing leaked NZ First Foundation financial data indicating that the Foundation/Party had been donated $27,000 by the Talleys or associated entities.  From the article:

One of the country’s biggest fishing companies, Talley’s, and its managing director donated nearly $27,000 to the New Zealand First Foundation, which has been bankrolling the New Zealand First Party.

The foundation received $26,950 from seafood giant Talley’s and from managing director Sir Peter Talley between 2017 and 2019, according to records viewed by RNZ.

It received the money from Talley’s in four amounts – all of which were below the threshold for public disclosure and so have not been publicly revealed until now.

The details of the donations are as follows:

On 4 April, 2019, Talley’s deposited $2500 into the foundation bank account. The next day Peter Talley personally made a $15,000 donation – one cent under the level at which donations are made public.

Talley’s followed that up with a “fast deposit” of $2000 on 29 July, 2019.

Talley’s also donated to the Foundation during the 2017 election year, making a donation of $7450 on 25 May, 2017.

This is slightly cute reporting.  And the steady drip drip drip of shock revelations is starting to resemble a campaign and not critical reporting.  The donations were multi year and from two different entities, so there was nothing illegal about them or, apart from the use of the Foundation, any sign that the way the donations were made was designed to avoid disclosure.  But it makes you realise how generous our donations regime is.

NZ First have been implicated in the hold up of various policies designed to protect the Marine environment.  As noted in the article:

[Greenpeace head Russell] Norman said it was important the donations to the foundation were disclosed, so the public could judge for itself whether the seafood industry had influence on government decisions.

Norman wrote to the prime minister last October expressing concern that Jones was “unduly involved” in fishing industry interests.

One of the concerns Norman outlined to the prime minister was that Jones commented on a case that was before the court, which went against the Cabinet Manual.

“He said that the Crown prosecution of Talley’s fishing company for illegally fishing in a protected area was a ‘mere technical issue which would be ironed out when common sense prevails,'” the letter says.

The letter also expressed concern that in early 2019 New Zealand First had blocked plans for a panel to advise on a fisheries review, after already blocking appointments to the same panel.

“These are indications of a predilection to interfere in matters that impact the fishing industry and inference of influence over decisions made that affect that industry far beyond Minister Jones’ official remit.”

Fisheries minister Stuart Nash told RNZ at the time that he had decided an independent panel was not needed, as Fisheries New Zealand was capable of running the review themselves.

And Talleys are normally not reticent in publishing who they support.  I wrote this after going through the 2017 donations returns.

New Zealand First’s returns are interesting.  Shane Jones received $10,000 from Talleys and $2,000 from Tony Gibbs.  Winston Peters declared only the one donation, from NZ First for $20,000.

Other recipients of Talleys generosity include Amy AdamsPaula BennettSarah DowieNikki KayeTodd McClayMaureen Pugh, and Stuart Smith who each received the sum of $5,000 from Talleys.

I should also mention that Labour’s Rino Tirikatene also received a donation of $2,000 from Talleys.  I don’t think it was worth it.  He should have turned it down.

This again shows the importance of having a more transparent donations regime.  Or of state funding of political parties.

15 comments on “Someone should keep a Talley ”

  1. It amazes me how little it costs to buy politicians. Less than the price of a brand new SUV here. In the United States you can get them to vote in your favour for major legislation for as little as $100,000 or so

  2. Climaction 2

    the donations aren’t the problem. It’s how they are treated and the following actions of those who they are donated too are.

  3. bwaghorn 3

    2008 all over again while national are up to al sorts of shit in the shadows the press are helping them destroy nzf .

    I am in no way condoning nzfs fund raising shenanigans but we've seen this before .

  4. Anne 4

    … the steady drip drip drip of shock revelations is starting to resemble a campaign and not critical reporting.

    Indeed, it is obviously a campaign being waged against NZ First, and I would suggest it is, in part at least, an attempt to distract from National's own donation woes.

    What annoys me is: this method of circumventing the electoral laws has been around for decades now. National is the principle culprit, and ACT got into the act in the 1990s at the least. It would seem NZ First has been dipping its toes into a variation of the same theme.

    The laws around donating to political parties not only need to be tightened but they should be afforded a hefty degree of seriousness that acts as a deterrent to future attempts to skirt around them.

    But will it happen? Not if National win the election – a point to be 'laboured' in the upcoming campaign.

    • Rapunzel 4.1

      Is the sale of public assets and donations seen as a conflict of interest even if the person conducting the transfer doesn't directly gain financially?

      Public profile & approval to someone already wealthy means that should apply because postive and high respected recognition is something money can't normally buy and that should be considered as gaining an "asset" as well

    • Sacha 4.2

      The laws around donating to political parties not only need to be tightened but they should be afforded a hefty degree of seriousness that acts as a deterrent to future attempts to skirt around them.

      But will it happen? Not if National win the election

      Nor if Winston retains any leverage. A Lab/Grn govt on the other hand would be woefully stupid to not fix the mess in its first 6 months in office.

  5. Adrian Thornton 5

    Good piece Micky, thanks, and thanks of reminding me of Helen's fighting spirit…still miss her sorely.

    Once many years ago when I was doing quite a bit of work for the Mongrel Mob (various chapters) which of course got complicated and messy (and not just a bit scary), I started to complain to a good pal of mine…he turned to me and said something which I have never forgot..you lay down with dogs you get up with fleas.

  6. Adrian Thornton 6

    You would like to think so, unfortunately I think Labour would have made benchfellows of a dead dog if it meant getting into power.

    That's the problem with liberals, they don't seem to have any firm moral or ethical bottom lines…no lines in sand.

    Infact it is hard to pin point what they actually stand for at all, now I think about it.

    • Rosemary McDonald 6.1

      "Hard to pinpoint exactly what they stand for…"

      Yes. Sad that. Even cynical old me harboured a little hope.

  7. Tiger Mountain 7

    There is a literal pile of reasons Talleys should be excised from NZ commercial and public life. Unions particularly have had to spend vast sums of members money dealing with Talleys various abuse of workers, denial of democratic rights, the judicial system, Worksafe, and now it seems the political system.

    Their managers laugh in the face of mediators and Judges, and go to the last appeal–they know they will not win, they lose 99% of the cases where workers are maimed and killed and human rights transgressed–but they do it tie up Union resources and money.

    This Govt. could easily make a case for ceasing their ability to trade with the viciously anti worker Talley family still in place. But they won’t, just like the NZCTU, despite all Helen Kelly’s sterling work, would not impose a crippling consumer “Talley Ban” and bring them to heel–legal costs.

    Back in 2009 at a lock out of Dairy Workers Union members at then Open Country Cheese, Waikato, Talleys imported scabs from the deep South and a few from Morrinsville. A nasty bunch. They are the neanderthals of the business world and a hazard to go anywhere near.

  8. mosa 8

    When will RNZ give us a breakdown of all those donors who are under the Waitemata Trust umbrella ?

    Just in the interests of fairness and transparency.

  9. adam 9

    With more players entering the fray – it's starting to feel more like a campaign to remove NZ1st rather than good journalism.

    https://horizonpoll.co.nz/page/567/73-think-fishing?

  10. Cinny 10

    Re donations…. I'd like to see a change, any donations over $1k to be declared. All of these undisclosed donations currently under the spotlight seem to have links back to the nats, all of them.

    Re PT (Peter Talley)….. He's always been quiet about donations, he's donated some large ammounts to different community projects and nine times out of ten requests that said donations remain confidential. That's just how PT rolls, he's a very private person. Not sticking up for him, just stating the facts.

    Re Camera's on fishing vessels….. This is massively needed, one can listen to all the excuses and spin in the world but until one has worked in that industry, one has no idea at how much they are needed. What goes on at sea stays at sea, one of the laws of the sea, but the planet has changed and part of what goes on at sea needs to change as well.

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