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Who’s sorry now?

Written By: - Date published: 9:46 am, September 23rd, 2008 - 41 comments
Categories: john key, slippery - Tags:

Anyone remember back in July Key accused Clark of misleading the house over his involvement in Tranzrail and asked for an apology? Just in case you don’t here’s what John Key said to TV3 said at the time:

“Can I assure her that neither I, nor my family trust, was an owner of shares in Tranz Rail at that time, and she has misled the House.”

Miss Clark made no comment, taking the back route out of Parliament. Through a spokesman she says she accepts Mr Key’s word. He now wants her to say sorry.

“Sorry would be nice, but I won’t hold my breath,” says Mr Key.

He’s got balls, I’ll give him that.

Hattip: Bill

41 comments on “Who’s sorry now?”

  1. Jeeves 1

    What was “that time” in the context that he made the reply. It will seriosuly affect my view of him either way.

  2. coge 2

    Any chance of Dr Cullen making a full & frank disclosure of what his BNZ unit trust invests in exactly? Philip Morris perhaps?, Blackwater PMC?, Tranzrail?

  3. Jeeves, from the tv3 article “”Mr Key, as associate transport spokesperson, owning shares in Tranz Rail at the time, which he never disclosed, said publicly that shareholders were telling him they supported Toll’s offer for Tranz Rail over the Government’s,”

    …..

    “Can I assure her that neither I, nor my family trust, was an owner of shares in Tranz Rail at that time”

    of course, we now know he had owned the shares while making public statements.

  4. Tim Ellis 4

    Can we get on to discussing how to raise wages, whether we should break up ACC, and how to protect our environment now? Hide will miss the attention, but I suspect Kiwis will welcome coverage of issues that affect their lives instead of the latest gossip about who knew what when regarding some legal donations.

    I realise you guys write independently, but it is obvious many of you will be ignoring SP’s plea and will try to beat this up for the next six weeks.

    [lprent: That is the nature of a coop. It has its upsides and it has downsides. On the other hand to see the truely obsessional you just have to look at single author blog sites. I lost count after about 50 ‘posts’ in kiwiblog on NZF (a minor party and issue) within a space of two weeks. Most of them said exactly nothing but were just quotes and links to journalist articles. Most of the latter were just repeats of stuff that was already public. Now that is a truly obsessional behavior. Have a look at the word clouds that Bryon Clark did of some sites a few weeks ago to see what I mean.
    http://lossenelin.livejournal.com/109311.html
    It is an interesting technique, and I plan to have a closer look at it to monitor what the media are obsessing on.]

  5. coge. desperate. you can do better than that.

    captcha: ‘secretly Jeaves’. Jeeves’ real identity revealed?

  6. Bill 6

    Jeeves.
    Cullen released documents showing Key was an undisclosed shareholder during the buy back process. Key denied it saying the government ‘had the dates wrong’. You can hear it all for yourself here
    http://www.3news.co.nz/Video/Business/tabid/369/articleID/61684/cat/67/Default.aspx#video

    2002/2003 comes up towards the end.

  7. coge 7

    Steve, until evidence to the contrary is produced, questions will continue to be asked. Surely you would expect the same of every politician?

  8. Matthew Pilott 8

    coge, there is no reason to suspect Cullen has done anything wrong in using information to make a proofit or attenuate a loss, nor reason to suspect Cullen failed to declare interests relevant to his elected position.

    You can’t say the same for Key, can you?

    Well Tim, after hearing Key wax lyrical over Clark not revealing a conversation with Glenn because no one asked her, some of us are going to quite enjoy Key explain why the “no one asked me” defence is alright for him to use.

  9. NeillR 9

    Wait a minute – according to the 3News article, Labour knew about Key’s shareholding at the time:
    “Mr Key, as associate transport spokesperson, owning shares in Tranz Rail at the time, which he never disclosed,

    So what’s changed? The timelines aren’t any different to what they were then – the trust’s shares were already known and the dates were known then. The shares that he owned in his own name were during the timeline put forward months ago. I’ve seen some beatups, but this is almost as desperate as the “60 bodybags”.

    [lprent: Just fixed the moderation trap that you were getting caught in. ]

  10. IrishBill 10

    The difference is thay only knew about the 30,000 he had disclosed as belonging to his family trust. There were sill 70,000 he had failed to mention including 50,000 in his own name.

  11. Bill 11

    I’m still waiting for the right wing to beat up on HC for deceiving the NZ public and defending JK over his share holdings.

    She ‘knew’ he had shares. He denied it. She took him at his word and made no comment to the media/ NZ public.

    At least her deviousness is consistent. She acted in the same fashion towards Peters and Key….so, are the right wingers going to be equally consistent in their rationale of condemnation?

    Not holding my breath.

  12. Tim Ellis 12

    This is just another example of the biased foreign-owned right-wing media spinning National Party research as news. Oops. Hard to say that with a straight face now.

    Key’s form on TVNZ last night was pretty shabby. He was clearly rattled by the question. The issue itself is a stupid beat-up, but Key needs to realise that the Labour Party are determined to throw as much mud as they can between now and the election. They don’t do it to win more support on its own, but to rattle John Key and throw him off course.

    Key has to get a thicker skin on these things. They’re going to come at him again and again. It isn’t good enough to give unequivocal, semi-truthful responses. Nobody actually cares how many shares Key had in Tranzrail. He wasn’t involved in insider trading, and wasn’t required to disclose his interest. The same thing happened over the Ashcroft question with Garner. Helen Clark would never let herself be ambushed like that. It is just sloppy.

    Matthew, I think the press release John Key issued afterwards does give a very satisfactory explanation. Had he been on-form, then the press release is what he would have said straight away.

    People react in different ways when their integrity is called into question. Winston Peters’ reaction is to feign outrage, indignation, abuse the questioner, and generate confusion. John Key doesn’t seem to have developed a satisfactory response to ambushes on questions of his integrity yet. I don’t think Helen Clark had any particular expertise in this either, until after she’d gone through the ringer by being ambushed by John Campbell over Corngate.

    Key’s reputation among the media is that he’s straight up and gives direct, immediate answers. My view is that when he’s challenged in an ambush situation like this, he needs to say to the journalist: “Let’s sit down and talk this through. Where are you coming from? What do you want to know? You’re asking questions about my private affairs. If you want detail then I will have to check with my broker for all of the facts so that I’m not misleading you, and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.”

    Barry Soper made an insightful comment on newstalk ZB this morning, and I’m surprised to be saying this because I very rarely hear him say anything deep or original. He said that Key’s instinct, honed after many years in his previous career, is to give instant, snap-responses and judgements to issues. That’s fine if you’re making a currency trade, but it doesn’t work when somebody is ambushing you with a smear campaign.

  13. Crank 13

    Sorry for the off topic but I wonder if anyone here can point me in the right direction.

    IrishBill: no need to apologise.

  14. RedLogix 14

    Crank,

    1. No don’t give it directly to the Minister. It’s kinda obvious and has to be declared.

    2. Picking up expenses is cool; it never National do it all the time and never declare them so you should be sweet with them.

    (Various major legal firms have incurred considerable expenses in administering various Trust funds for National. Seen those declared anywhere?)

    3. Using party trust is no longer acceptable according to the PC report. See p20. Of course you may want to make the gift retrospective back to 2005 when the practise WAS acceptable so as you are not caught out by the standard being applied in 2008.

  15. Bill 15

    Tim

    “Nobody actually cares how many shares Key had in Tranzrail. He wasn’t involved in insider trading, and wasn’t required to disclose his interest.”

    Your first claim is patently false; lots of people care about it. Your third point begs the question as to why Richard Prebble declared his conflict of interest at the same meeting where Key dug for information.

    “I think the press release John Key issued afterwards does give a very satisfactory explanation.”

    What!? The press release completely fails to mention the 50 000 shares he bought in his own name, held for a few weeks while he talked up prospects and sold for a handsome profit.

    But, Tim. What do you think of HC misleading the NZ public on this issue and allowing JK to hide behind her skirt tails of ‘no comment’ a couple of months back? Do you think we should have a rerun of the condemnation that was poured on HC and WP in the exact same scenario? If not, why not?

  16. Crank 16

    Thanks Redlogix. It makes this lobbying lark so much simpler now that we know we can straight out bribe ministers and the PM doesn’t mind.

  17. appleboy 17

    and I see Key had the audacity to use the “no one asked me” line in defending his lie – what a total hypercrit…exactly what he had a go over Helen on…he gets worse…

  18. r0b 18

    08Wire asks a pertinent question: Consistency or Partisanship – Which Will the Right Choose?.

    Tim has provided us with his answer: The issue itself is a stupid beat-up. Is it indeed. Just snip a bit from 08Wire:

    John Key has done all of the following:

    1. Sought, in his official capacity, details of secret meetings concerning a company in which he had a personal financial stake;

    2. Made a 126% profit over the course of 35 days trading in shares in TranzRail while asking official questions about it and privately meeting with it (even meeting with potential buyers / competitors) in his official capacity;

    3. Minimised a large loss in a share deal involving TranzRail after asking parliamentary questions about its financial health in his official capacity.

    4. Told repeated, public untruths about the extent and timing of his personal interest in the company.

  19. Bill 19

    appleboy.

    he ain’t going to get any better. I think it was on a post about the Herald write up that I commented the man comes across as an emotional cripple. I hold to that line. He can deal with the dynamics of inanimate objects (money in his case) but falls over when he has to relate to the living world of humanity.

    My perception was only reinforced when right wing comments on the ‘Hand in the till’ post seemed to claim he would not have acted dishonestly over his tranzrail shares because the money involved was quite small by his standards.

    But they miss the fact that the man has a single track emotional and intellectual train of thought. ( sorry. ) He wins/loses on financial transactions and gets the bulk of his emotional needs met by that and that alone. He might get more emotional satisfaction from participating in a run on the Kiwi dollar, but he gets it from any win/lose financial situation, be it 10c or a million bucks.

    I don’t believe the question is to whether NZ wants a money trader in charge of the country, but whether NZ wants an individual so desperately in need of psychiatric help in charge of the country.

    I don’t say that in a way of ‘having a go’. I’m being sincere.

  20. Jeeves 20

    I wonder if someone could do a timeline for me of what was brought and sold when, and what was said when, because I am kinda confused. Farrar did a similar thing for Peters. You guys should do it for this.

  21. randal 21

    yeh and I guess I should take up tapdancing as well. any other demands that you would like to add to the list while we are here?

  22. insider 22

    Key has issued a release saying no shares were owned in his name. They were all in the family trust’s name.

  23. r0b 23

    I wonder if someone could do a timeline for me

    The Herald has this one:
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10533576&pnum=0

  24. Matthew Pilott 24

    Jeeves – try the front page of the Dom Post! Quite a few online articles detail it all.

    Tim – it’s not a silly beat up. Buying shares while asking for confidential information is not a beat up. Saying it is a beat up does not make it a beat-up. That goes for you, and John Key’s, and his piss-weak and pathetic attempt at a press release. Instead of explaining his actions, he has a wee cry and blames Labour. What kind of a leader would he make? Starting to get quite concerned. “no one asked me”… Well shit, incase you missed it, no one asked Clark about Glenn, quite a few people asked Key about his shares.

  25. gobsmacked 25

    “Key has issued a release saying no shares were owned in his name. They were all in the family trust’s name.”

    But yesterday he said he owned them. If he wants to claim the Trust is not him, he’s Winston-ing.

  26. lprent 26

    insider:

    Key has issued a release saying no shares were owned in his name. They were all in the family trust’s name.

    That isn’t good enough. That says he doesn’t ‘own’ them, but does he control the trust?

    To avoid allegations of a serious conflict of interest (from what I’ve heard so far). He’d really have to show that it was a blind trust – that he didn’t have any say in the purchasing or sales of the shares. Because of the lack of protection from ‘chinese walls’, he’d probably be best to show that he didn’t even know what specific shares were in the trust.

    The standard for the investigation should be in the same order as Winston and NZF. It doesn’t matter how small the amount is. It doesn’t matter who owns the asset. It simply matters that it doesn’t look good.

  27. insider 27

    I think the “asking for confidential informaiton” is a beat up. You don’t have to look at too many PQs to know they are regularly asking for information from meetings and reports.

    You would be seriously deluded if you thought anything remotely interesting would come out of such questions and anyone that did reveal confidential information would be rightly lambasted for disclosing it. Even CUllen says there is no issue here so why flog it?

    As for blaming others and having a cry, HC blamed the SFO for leaking information about the WP inquiry just two weeks ago, then blamed another govt agency when a very strong denial was made, and it was all done with no evidence. Last night she blamed the SFO for not seeking Crown Law advice on an issue there was no requirement for them to seek such advice. Cullen did seek advice but the Govt are not releasing it…

  28. insider 28

    lynn/gob

    I;ve got no view on this. It’s a point of information. but more the issue is that he has been attacked for having 50k shares in his own name, but he now appears to be denying that. I am just more confused now.

  29. NeillR 29

    Gobsmacked, do you have any reference for this new meme? I haven’t seen anywhere that he’s denied owning the shares in his own name.

    [until yesterday, he had never admitted owning the shares in his own name and even now he is trying to distance himself by blaming his broker. SP]

  30. Jeeves 30

    So having looked at the timeline, which is very useful, it still doesn’t seem clear to me that Key did have shares in tranzrail at the time he made the statement Steve referred to at 9.37am.

    When John Key made the statement “that shareholders were telling him they supported Toll’s offer for Tranz Rail over the Government’s” he couldn’t have had any shares personally, since (as I understand it) the government offer was made on 10 June. John Key had already sold his shares by then and the Key Family Trust sold its shares on June 13. I wonder, what day was the statement Helen Clark referred to actually made? If it was made on June 11, 12 or 13 then John Key lied. If not, then Steve is being very naughty in his 9.37 am post.

    I was going to say Steve would have lied, but I re-read his post he said “of course, we now know he had owned the shares while making public statements.” not of course the relevant public statement in respect of which he demanded an apology from the PM, but public statements generally.

    You can’t go around accusing someone of being clever with the truth and then use dirty tactics like that!

  31. Anita 31

    What the Fairfax summary linked to above doesn’t contain is when Key said what to whom. If someone had the spare time to trawl back through the media from July and the pecuniary interests registers there would be a really useful timeline of when Key said what how many lies, how many skirting-around-the-truths, how many times has he been caught out?

  32. gobsmacked 32

    NeillR

    Key has put out a statement today:

    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA0809/S00467.htm

  33. Jeeves 33

    gobsmacked: that’s good enough for me! (though I am a tory)

  34. Bill 34

    So Key initially denied he had any shares (in the TV3 piece), saying that the government ‘had the dates wrong’.

    Now he says he did not personally own any shares and that “all the shares were owned by the trust and information on the share register that he had personally bought 50,00 shares was incorrect.”

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/4701953a6160.html

    How feasible is it for the share register to be so wrong?

    And on TV 1 he’s asked…”Did you personally buy 50 000 tranzrail shares in 2003 and sell them five weeks later..”

    Did he say “No. Not personally.”?. Nope. Why not? ‘Cause he did.

    And the press release from the Nats can be screamingly silent on the 50 000 shares, and he can say the register was wrong…I guess because he has to since he has been caught with his trousers well and truly down.

    Question is, how deep is he going to dig this hole he’s digging?

  35. johnny be good 35

    What on earth are the actual facts!??!

    The story has changed four times now, either he does not know what the hell he is talking about or he is digging himself a hole. And why?

  36. Bill 36

    johny be good

    He’s digging a hole because he has to avoid the fact he used his position to influence people and get info and that these two things in combination allowed him to buy 50 000 shares and make over 100% profit on them….cutting his losses on the other trust held shares that he had had for some time.

    simple

  37. Bill 37

    Here are the sums.

    Feb 2002. trust buys 30 000 shares for $108 000 ($3.60 each)

    Feb 2002. trust buys 20 000 shares for $72 000 ($3.60 each)

    July 2002 Elected in to parliament and digs for info on rail.

    May 2003. JK buys 50 000 shares for $22 500 (45 c each)

    Meets Rail America (potential buyers). Share price rises on the back of their interest.

    June 10 Then sells those 45c shares at $1 each

    June 11 Select committee where Roger Douglas declares his conflict of interest but JK does not and grills Government on rail.

    June 13 $3.60 trust shares sold.

    So on June 11, JK is told of the liabilities in the company and realises he will never get his $3.60 returned, so dumps them at a loss….mitigated somewhat by the profit on the 50 000 shares sold.

  38. June 11 Select committee where Roger Douglas declares his conflict of interest but JK does not and grills Government on rail.

    Um – I think you mean richard prebble…

  39. Bill 39

    Yeah, well all those wee Napoleons look the same to me. There was one not quite so short one, though can’t remember which one that was.

  40. Billy 40

    Bill,

    Be careful. ‘sod is very sensitive about his height.

  41. r0b 41

    As requested above, a more complete timeline is here:
    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA0809/S00475.htm

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    1 week ago
  • Taita College to benefit from $32 million school redevelopment
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  • Redeployment for workers in hard-hit regions
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  • New District Court Judge appointed
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  • $206 million investment in upgrades at Ohakea Air Force Base
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    1 week ago
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    1 week ago
  • New Principal Environment Judge
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  • Digital connectivity boost for urban marae
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  • Investment in New Zealand’s history
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    2 weeks ago