A deeply cynical act

October 25th, 2008 at 9:54 am by David Farrar

Few acts are more cynical than NZ First’s giving $78,000 to The Susan Couch and Crime Victims Charitable Trust (trustee: ) instead of repaying the taxpayer the $158,000 of taxpayer money illegally spent by NZ First in the 2005 campaign.

What is even worse, is that the $78,000 isn’t really from the members and grossroots of NZ First. The donated $80,000 to NZ First in late 2007, to allow this donation to be made.

So what you actually have is a very wealthy, foreign domiciled, racing industry family has donated $80,000 to NZ First (whose Leader has forced the Government to pur massive funding into the racing industry) so they could give the money to the trust – and claim this is somehow paying the taxpayer back.

I joked at the time that they had probably donated the money to the Spencer Trust. Instead it has gone to a trust partly controlled by Winston’s lawyer. Ms Couch will be Patron of the Tust which suggests she won’t even be a Trustee herself – are there other Trustees?

To be fair to Brian Henry, he has been acting for free for Ms Couch in her fight to sue Corrections, and he is definitely on the side of the angels on this occasion for his actions to help Couch. While critical of Henry’s statements and actions over Owen Glenn, I make no such criticism in regards to this issue.

But that doesn’t change the fact that NZ First should be paying the taxpayer back, not making charitable donations on our behalf, and that having decided to make such donations they are ill-advised to make the major donation to a trust controlled by their lawyer.

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42 Responses to “A deeply cynical act”

  1. Glutaemus Maximus (2,207 comments) says:

    What about the Interest and tax?

    Very odd that Winston thinks he is off the hook.

    Wonder whether he has any special Chinese Friends?

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  2. Pascal (1,969 comments) says:

    He has the best friends possible if you want to be above the law. Helen Clark and Jeanette Fitzimmons.

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  3. reid (16,632 comments) says:

    Last line of the Herald story: “Mr Peters said he regretted publicly revealing the recipient of the money.”

    Yeah right.

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  4. pdm (844 comments) says:

    DPF I don’t agree with you regarding Henry’s ethics in this instance.

    Henry as Lawyer for NZ First had a responsibility to advise them to repay the money to Parliamentary Services. When Winston decided he wouldn’t if Henry had any morals he would have resigned as their lawyer . Instead he has chosen to get `donkey deep’ into the corrupt practices of Winston and his party.

    I would not want him as a trustee, let alone possibly sole trustee, of any trust I was involved with.

    As an aside have United Future paid the full amount back? Todays DomPost suggests they have but the last I heard there was $50K plus outstanding.

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  5. Viking2 (11,550 comments) says:

    GM.
    Refer back to a post I made earlier in the week about Northland hui’s, friends, Koreans, Condy “Nice”, scampi and fish. Might get you thinkin’.

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  6. Murray (8,847 comments) says:

    This is bullshit, you don’t get to pay your bills by giving money to someone else. He can give all the money he likes to anyone. He still owes US $158,000, please pay now past due.

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  7. Patrick Starr (3,674 comments) says:

    As much as I hate to admit it, its bloody clever electioneering. In fact I’ve seen the left and their friends undertake some fairly smart moves this election and it’s pissing me off because I’ve yet to see any smart electioneering from the Nats – why?

    On the footpaths, on the web, everywhere I see that smug bloody airbrushed face on her red billboards. Hello ! National – Wakey wakey. Time to start doing something smart!!!!

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  8. kiwipolemicist (393 comments) says:

    Brian Henry may have been acting for Susan Crouch without charging her, but trustees can find ways to spend trust money in ways that benefit the trustees. When Winston gives money into the control of one of his cronies I smell a week-old fish.

    http://www.kiwipolemicist.wordpress.com

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  9. Lindsay Addie (1,587 comments) says:

    Unfortunately we can all bitch and grump about the Poodle but there still a handful of idiots who will vote for this tosser and his friends.

    He still has a very faint outside chance of getting back to Parliament.

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  10. Rod (180 comments) says:

    I still want to know whether Susan gets this money or Brian Henry, as her lawyer.
    The case against Corrections looks like a long shot to me – she might come out with nothing, while Henry now gets paid for his time (at a very good rate of pay, no doubt).
    Maybe Henry is indeed being charitable over this, but after what we have learned about he and Winston I remain suspicious.

    PS Now might be a good time for National to make some policy statement about support for the victims of crime. If ever there was a case for a settlement of sorts Susan must have one.

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  11. Viking2 (11,550 comments) says:

    GM, found the posts for u. Probably more appropriate on the blog of the Chinese squeeze.

    The missing link?
    Do Dover, Jones et al do anything fishy in Northland without the rest of the whanau knowing?
    No not really cause we hui about everything!!! (you pay of course.)
    Now who else would hui in Northland. Not yet a cabinet minister but; “Mum says go with Labour sonny boy”
    Could well be out of the loop of course but how would we know?

    Just acknowledging the Pita Principle.

    2.My, my Well now Dover has good mate that hails from the far North, who likes racehorse owners, but until recent times was a resident of much sunnier climes in a plentiful area. Again one of the whanau.
    There appears to be a series of dots here starting to join up.
    Perhaps whaleoil could find some fish oil to pass onto Raw Prawn for LIARBOURS SALAD. Well the excuses are getting about as limp as week old lettuce.
    I never did like sushi.
    time to Scampi off and earn some meoney to pay the socialists tax. Not too much of course.

    3.Oh, I forgot to ask!
    Do North Korean’s eat fish?
    And has anyone seen Condy lately?

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  12. Michaels (1,318 comments) says:

    I hate to be cynical but…… Winston is no fool, he knows there is a very big chance he may not reach 5%…..
    So Peter’s knowing damn well were a good story is, and knowing how the entire population felt for Susan Couch……
    Did Winston help with this story getting out?
    I heard him say he was being hounded so told all….. Since when did Winston ever just give up a story?

    However it’s still not good enough, the money should be back in OUR coffers!!

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  13. Glutaemus Maximus (2,207 comments) says:

    Looks like the Trust has yet to be established, or did I read that wrong?

    How come Winston First can just pass taxpayers money across and nothing ever happens?

    This is very odd.

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  14. burt (8,305 comments) says:

    This is a very valid cause. Had Winston donated his own money to this cause he would have the high ground to shout about his principles. He broke the law, stole money from the tax payers, voted to retrospectively validate that theft and keep himself from being charged (like a criminal should be eh Winston).

    Now he refuses to pay back the stolen money and seeks to make political capital by giving our money to a worthy cause.

    He’s a proven liar who should not be in politics, he should be in the circus.

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  15. gomango (98 comments) says:

    the trust deed is online at companies.govt.nz

    click on the link to “other registers”, select “charitable trusts”, use keyword search Susan and Couch

    Trust was incorporated on September 10. Trustees are Brian Henry (Partner at Hesketh Henry, Grant Coburn (partner at Hesketh Henry), Dennis Gates (variously described in the media as Winnie’s personal lawyer, also the instructing solicitor to Hesketh Henry on various Peters related cases).

    Standard trust deed language -trustees can do anything like with capital or interest as long as it doesnt conflict with the very vague objectives of the trust. Clause 4.2 specifically deals with the payment of fees nfor professional services provided by a trustee – plain english translation – anything goes. I’m not overly familiar with trusts – perhaps Cactus Kate might like to run her withering eye over this.

    The shame of this structure is that the real victim – Susan Couch – is totally absent from anything to do with the running of this trust – apart from providing her name. Contrary to the piss weak story in the NZ Herald there is no role of Patron in the trust. All functioning of the trust is performed by the board which consists of the the three tightly linked trustees. There is no mention of Susan Couch in the trust deed nor a role for Patron. She has zero ability to influence the trust (in a legal sense). If she even wanted her name removed from the
    Trust, the trustees could ignore that request.

    Smells very much to me like a useful vehicle to disguise donors. beneficiaries and legal service payments.

    Poor Susan Couch, her name should not be linked tik this blatantly political structure.

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  16. Glutaemus Maximus (2,207 comments) says:

    Gomango

    “Smells very much to me like a useful vehicle to disguise donors. beneficiaries and legal service payments.

    Poor Susan Couch, her name should not be linked tik this blatantly political structure.”

    It’s all about using up the money in fees!

    Susan Couch may indeed get some benefit, but I am positive that it won’t be money!

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  17. JC (968 comments) says:

    There’s two lawyers involved here (three if you count Winston, who got the other $2000 of the $80,000?).

    Winston’s solicitor, Denis gates, is a trustee of the Couch Trust, and Henry of course is Couch’s lawyer.

    Basically I see this as a perversion of charity in which three lawyers are hiding their smelly activities behind a distressed victim. It’s immoral.

    JC

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  18. homepaddock (408 comments) says:

    NZ First doesn’t seem to be spending much on their campaign, probably because they don’t have much to spend, but every cent they do spend is a cent they owe us, and until they repay it all they’re telling us getting re-elected is more important than repaying debts.

    In the meantime they’ll be loving all the free publicity.

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  19. Pita (374 comments) says:

    So it’s ok to offset a debt that I have by putting into a trust that I control or have an interest in…I’d like to see it stand up in court

    “I’ve put the money (student loan, fine, any debt owing to the crown) into a trust your honour…I understood that if it was OK for Mr. Peters it would also be the right and proper thing for me to do too?”

    What was it that Peters once said about “one rule of law for all New Zealanders”

    I won’t be satisfied until the $158,000 is prized from his venal little hands.

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  20. Hagues (703 comments) says:

    “Trust was incorporated on September 10. ”

    And how long ago was it that Winnie gave a list to Maggie Wilson stating the charities he had given (our) money to? How could he give (our) money to a charity that didn’t exist at the time?

    This sounds like a cynical attempt for Henry to get paid for what was supposed to be Pro-Bono work. There seems to be a pattern emerging for Henry doing work for free (or with “no bill”) and then getting paid for it.

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  21. Andrew W (1,629 comments) says:

    As people above have suggested, Susan Couch won’t see a cent of this money. You can bet it’s all been spent on legal fees.

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  22. beautox (422 comments) says:

    I just don’t understand how this fucker Winston can get away with all the blatant lies and dishonesty that he does. It says a lot about NZ and how much like a banana republic it has become. I wouldn’t be surprised to see blatant election fraud and his smug face at the cabinet table again. Turd that he is.

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  23. Glutaemus Maximus (2,207 comments) says:

    So really it is a Lawyers charity to pay for fee debit paperwork rendered at some point in the future. Yet the cash can be spent now.

    Wow very convenient.

    They really are Crooks!

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  24. gomango (98 comments) says:

    Actually it has been pointed out that of course Brian Henry is a Barrister and as such is self employed. Which is true. And he does have a history of taking non fee paying cases – also true, though that’s less clear now with Winston. If you read comment about Henry, a recurring theme seems to be “courageous lawyer often let down by bad judgement”.

    Funny to read the bio of Brian Coburn on the Hesketh Henry website. Shows that Winston is truly a great man and accepting that someone who has specialised in giving advice on selling NZ property to foreign investors can do his penance by working as a trustee on the Couch trust. Shows how magmanimous and principled Winston really is that he would trust someone so diametrically opposed to his core beliefs.

    “Brian Coburn is a specialist in commercial property and securities law.

    Brian is experienced in all aspects of commercial property and development law with particular expertise in negotiating commercial agreements, share/asset sales and acquisition and providing general commercial advice.

    Brian has particular expertise in all aspects of the law relating to the acquisition, funding, development and operation of retirement villages and is one of the country’s leading experts in this area. He also advises in respect of public offerings of interests in retirement villages. For over 18 years he has been the principal adviser to Metlifecare Limited, a leading retirement village operator, as well as advising numerous other village operators. He has also advised the Retirement Villages Association of New Zealand Inc.

    Brian advises foreign investors in relation to the acquisition and management of premium commercial office buildings. Examples of the properties acquired by such investors are the BNZ Centre (Wellington), Mobil on the Park (Wellington), Old Bank Arcade and Chambers (Wellington), Downtown House (Auckland), and the Customhouse (Auckland) AUT Building, Auckland and a portfolio of four office buildings in Viaduct Harbour, Auckland. He also advises foreign investors in relation to the acquisition of privately owned islands and coastal sensitive land in New Zealand and is experienced in dealing with the Overseas Investment Office on such matters.”

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  25. DMS (54 comments) says:

    You guys on the right amaze me. You rave on about Peters and Labour and all sorts of malfeasance, but have you paid your GST from the last election? It is that sort of hypocrisy that will mean Peters will bolt in to reinforce a centre-left coalition that deserves a fourth term.

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  26. burt (8,305 comments) says:

    So it’s official then, Winston funds his political grandstanding with money he never declares to the public.

    Keeping them honest – year right. $9m bucks of govt funding to the racing industry with undeclared racing business donors. We believe everything you say Winston, few minutes and this can be all cleared up eh.

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  27. burt (8,305 comments) says:

    DMS

    You may have forgotten, the GST couldn’t be repaid because National would have needed to break the law to repay it. Labour didn’t think making a law change retrospective for 1 year to enable that was OK. Instead they canceled the Darnton VS Clark court case, validated their own illegal spending over a period of 14 years and told us to move on. It seem you took the ‘move on’ message on board a little too literally.

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  28. Pita (374 comments) says:

    DMS…Can you tell us why the GST hasn’t been paid…your answer lies in a little background detail.

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  29. Glutaemus Maximus (2,207 comments) says:

    Axis of Hydra deserves a fourth term because…………?

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  30. Glutaemus Maximus (2,207 comments) says:

    Retrospective legislation to cover multiple donations not declared by any party from Chinese Triads?

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  31. burt (8,305 comments) says:

    DMS

    Do you think if Labour win this election they will retrospectively validate any claims of illegal spending under the EFA? Just imagine if they won in 2011 as well and did the same – we could stand proud that for 20 years we have had no accountability under our electoral campaign funding laws. How many leaders could claim such a long tenure of rorting the pubic for their own self interest – Castro perhaps, maybe Mugabe will get there one day.

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  32. getstaffed (9,186 comments) says:

    burt, it’s no use. folks like DMS will defend Labours corruption to their last breath. he/she was probably raised in a Labour-voting household, hasn’t checked recently what Labour actually to stands for, and would continue the family voting tradition even if Comrade Clark legalised infanticide.

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  33. Hagues (703 comments) says:

    DMS “You guys on the right amaze me. You rave on about Peters and Labour and all sorts of malfeasance, but have YOU paid YOUR GST from the last election?”

    Ummm don’t know anyone here on this board that owes any GST from an election.

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  34. DMS (54 comments) says:

    Getstaffed…your poor fellow. Wrong on all counts. I once knocked on doors on behalf of the Blue team whose Tongan lawyer candidate was up against a cloth cap unionist, Roger Douglas’s Dad. How things change!. Clive is now a revolutionary in Tonga trying to peacefully give some democracy to an out-of-date monarchy.
    The National Party used to know what it stood for in the days of Holyoake and Marshall. It would be ashamed of the ad hominem arguments practised in this column, all in defence of the organ grinder’s monkey you call a leader.

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  35. Pita (374 comments) says:

    DMS…the days of Holyoake and Marshall were pre MMP when parties (including Labour) could indeed stand for something.

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  36. NeillR (351 comments) says:

    I seriously doubt that Henry is donating his time for free. I don’t expect he’s submitting any invoices, just that he’s getting paid from time to time when the trust feels like flicking some money at him. Unfortunately Susan Couch won’t see a cent of it.

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  37. DMS (54 comments) says:

    Pita, Labour still stands for clear policies that it has stated, and has been putting into practice, with some variation in success for the last nine years. Key keeps to his Labour-lite policies because the Nats know that is where NZ is right now. My very deep concern is that NZ, in feeling that it is time for a change, is in fact giving the right a blank check to change whatever because the Nats have no clear policy enunciated for what they intend to change. We don’t want to go back to the 90s, or even worse, the Roger Douglas days of old.

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  38. mistywindow (27 comments) says:

    Some of your points are valid DMS. National are too timid by far. However, the Tsarina and her trained poodles have hardly provided the answers.

    It’s time National told the voters what is really needed to get this country off its collective backside. Instead of retreading Labour’s failed policies they should be telling voters the hard truths: blood, sweat and tears are needed for a few years. Swinging voters aren’t stupid. They’ve shown in the past that they can understand reality. Anyone else old enough to remember the rejection of the cynical “Baby Bonus”?

    The average Luxembourger earns almost 3 times as much as the average Kiwi. Slovenia and South Korea are now richer than we are. We’re about to be overtaken by Portugal. Why?

    Productivity.

    In my lifetime we’ve sunk from amongst the top three nations in standard of living to about 50th. Portugal are poised to overtake us. And Turkey!

    National have been so frightened of scaring the horses that they’ve backflipped on damn near everything. Working for Families is a prime example. It’s a disgusting piece of Socialism which turned my hard-working kids into welfare beneficiaries and created yet another layer of sponging bureaucrats dependent upon the Gummint for their cushy jobs.

    What was wrong with replacing it with tax cuts? Gutless buggers. National have an opportunity to make real change and they’re blowing it.

    I’ve been a National voter for nearly 50 years, apart from in the wake of Think Big, but this time I’m thinking “A plague on all their houses.”

    National – too damn gutless. My only hope is that they have a cunning plan.

    Labour – I can’t bear the thought of another 3 years of the Tsarina’s fearsome visage. DMS and his ilk seem to have forgotten the EFA, the emasculation of the unarmed forces, the anti-smacking fiasco, the drinking age stupidity, and so on ad infinitum…

    A question DMS:
    If Rogernomics was such a bad thing, how come a 3-term Labour Government has retained ALL of it’s major components?
    We still have GST, we haven’t restored subsidies and trade barriers, we’ve left the Kiwi dollar to float, all of the most important privatisations are still private.

    The only thing wrong with Rogernomics is that Lange didn’t have the guts to let it run.

    What to do on election day?

    The Greens – Watermelons. How can you take seriously anybody who thinks that raising the minimum wage 20% is a clever idea? Do the stupid buggers want to save the world or not?

    Winston First – Yeah, right. But he’ll get back in. There’s a lot more than 5% of folk out there stupid enough to swallow his cynical manipulations.

    The Maori Party – often talk a lot of sense, then Turiana lets slip the dogs of war.

    Act – Rodney’s in denial.

    Somebody help me out here! I might have to vote for Jim Anderton.

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  39. expat (4,050 comments) says:

    NZ has been turned back into a nation of hand out dependent socialists. After years of trying to remove the commie taint post Muldoon Labour loses their gumption to reform and reverts back to type. Fucking weak.

    Do National have the guts to do anything necessary?

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  40. DMS (54 comments) says:

    Mistywindow, I have some sympathies with your acknowledgement of Anderton. He has been unfairly treated for years as the convenient whipping boy for all and sundry. Yet he has stuck to his guiding star with principle. I concede the Rogernomics reforms after the Muldoon interventionism have not changed. However, it is his unswerving belief in market forces and the trickle down nonsense that goes completely against any sense of community or governing for the best interests of all.I tend to agree with Ralph Nader:”Ours is a system of corporate socialism, where companies capitalize their profits and socialize their losses…in effect, they tax you for their accidents, bungling, boondoggles, and mismanagement, just like a government. We should be able to dis-elect them.”
    Douglas on the other hand would remove the governing hand and leave it up to Adam Smith’s market.

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  41. mistywindow (27 comments) says:

    Mistywindow, I have some sympathies with your acknowledgement of Anderton

    Oh dear DMS!
    My acknowledgement was facetious I’m sure you understood. Jim’s a nice enough bloke on the surface. But if he hadn’t spent his career, like Winston First, tossing his toys out of the cot he could have been Labour PM and spared us 9 years of the Tsarina.

    The way National are heading, it’s looking like maybe 12 years.

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  42. DMS (54 comments) says:

    Misty, you have a problem. Facetious or otherwise, you have chanced upon a fellow with the courage and determination to follow through. No-one else fits your criteria, except perhaps Helen Clark who has put up with so much crap over the years. But you would indicate she does not fit the bill. It has always amused me that the bloggers of the right hark back to the strength of Muldoon, but then deem Helen “Helengrad”! It does not follow.
    Anyway, best wishes in your hunt for a place to put your vote. Please do not leave it to the last minute in the booth. I would agree Key is history. Even his potential cabinet colleagues do not like the way the campaign has been run. Key’s body language with Dunne last night was classic John Cleese as in “I don’t really want to be here!”

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