- 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: guyon espiner
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.
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.