Goff smear fails

December 5th, 2012 at 6:48 pm by David Farrar

In Parliament today Phil Goff asked:

When he appointed as director of the Pacific Forum Line in July 2009 was he aware that Mr Kiely was, from November 2008, listed under the Companies Register as a shareholder in a competing shipping company, Sofrana, and that he held those shares right through until 10 August 2012?

Was it appropriate for Mr Kiely to have been a shareholder in Sofrana and not disclose that information to his Minister or to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade when Mr Kiely was involved in giving advice to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade on the sale of the Pacific Forum Line and when the preferred bidder was in fact the Sofrana shipping line?

But Kiely is not a shareholder. McCully says:

Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully has called allegations made by MP against former Pacific Forum Line director Peter Kiely “reckless, cowardly and wrong”.

“By attacking Mr Kiely without checking the facts Mr Goff has impugned the reputation of a highly professional individual without any justification.

“Central to Mr Goff’s allegation is that Mr Kiely held shares in shipping company Sofrana at the time PFL, of which he was a director, was considering an offer from Sofrana.

“Mr Kiely has never owned shares in Sofrana. The shares referred to by Mr Goff were held by Mr Kiely as a non-beneficial trustee for a Sofrana employee. Practising lawyers like Mr Kiely commonly hold shares for clients as non-beneficial trustee. If Mr Goff had asked he could have been told this.

Goff could have found this out by setting down a written question. He thought he had a gotcha, but failed.
Just a big as fail was in Q5:

(Labour) to the Minister for Social Development: When was she first aware that the Transition to Work Grant had been used to pay for flights to Australia for job seekers who had an offer of employment?

Hon PAULA BENNETT (Minister for Social Development) : It was just after 1 p.m. yesterday that I was advised there might be cases where payment had been granted for flights to Australia. I am aware that there has been the odd request for airfares to Australia via correspondence to my office. I have been clear that my expectation is that they would not be paid. Transition to Work grants were introduced in 2007 under Labour. That year there were 16 cases where airfares were granted to Australia, and I have been informed that there have been six cases this year at a combined total cost of $4,600 approximately. I will be removing any ambiguity in the programme by a direction to the chief executive that will be tabled in this House.

And just for good measure:

Rt Hon John Key: Does the Minister find it unusual that a party that set up the fund and used it 16 times in the first year now finds in Opposition that it is opposed to its very own policy that it established?

Again, this could be avoided by good planning. Seek the information under written PQs and then you know whether your attack will backfire or not.

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42 Responses to “Goff smear fails”

  1. Keeping Stock (10,092 comments) says:

    “Gotcha” politics backfired again. David Shearer needs to review the strategy.

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  2. toad (3,669 comments) says:

    Surely a lawyer holding shares on a client’s behalf would do so via their or their law firm’s trust account, not personally in their own name.

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  3. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    KS

    Ya can’t put brains in a statue, simple as that

    Toad

    Nice lead with the chin mate, someone will be along any minute to tap it for you.

    Even Goff figured out that he was fucked and sat down and then you come along, noice.

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  4. Key is our man (783 comments) says:

    Good to see the Ministers of the 2014 Labour-Green Government don’t have any brains. This country leads such ministers to get ahead.

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  5. Pete George (22,753 comments) says:

    Norman ‏@OurBigNorm

    @DavidShearerMP @ruskins24 Owning their own home gives a person pride. You can see it in the way they walk. Now, who would deny them that?

    Airfares to jobs in Australia so they get off the dole is out, but giving everyone a house…would anyone deny them that?

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  6. thedavincimode (6,526 comments) says:

    Surely a lawyer holding shares on a client’s behalf would do so via their or their law firm’s trust account, not personally in their own name.

    Surely? Why? Do you now what a trust account is Toad? What it’s used for?

    I’m surprised that given your melons spent so much time rorting parliamentary housing allowances with trust arrangements that you seem so lacking in knowledge in this area.

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  7. Nick K (1,065 comments) says:

    According to Toad, the trustee should have been 02-0456-9876543-02.

    Halfwit.

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  8. bhudson (4,734 comments) says:

    @toad,

    A pathetic attempt to salvage the smear. Assets in a Trust must be registered under the name of the trustees. Just a few minutes on Google would have confirmed that for you and negated any ‘need’ to try to besmirch Kiely further.

    Legal ownership of the trust assets is transferred to the trustees under the directions laid out in the trust deed. As a result, from the time the trust comes into existence, trustees are always registered as the legal owner of trust assets.

    http://www.findlaw.co.nz/articles/4238/what-is-a-trust.aspx

    In my view the attempt shows a great deal about your character. And about the party you support.

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  9. The Stepper (2 comments) says:

    Toad.

    The online Companies Register doesn’t show trusts as a shareholder. It only shows companies or individuals, and trusts are shown by listing the trustees as the owners of one block of shares.

    Phil Goff really really really should have known this. Or his office should have. Is this inexperience in the real world rearing its ugly head?

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  10. toad (3,669 comments) says:

    thedavincimode 7:30 pm

    Oh, do try to keep up.

    The Green Super Fund you are referring to was wound up several years ago. The Greens decided it was best to be totally rid of the perception that anything could be awry (even though it wasn’t, apart from the Fitzsimons/Delahunty mistake which was promptly rectified).

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  11. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Toady

    What’d I tell ya

    tap, tap, tap, tap, kapow – result severe bruising to the chin

    Perhaps you’ll get finance instead of Russell

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  12. joe bloggs (126 comments) says:

    @Toad

    you’re damned near as dumb as Goff

    when Sofrana expressed interest in PFL, Kiely ensured that the PFL chairman was made aware of the non-beneficial trustee holding, and took the further step of ceasing to act as trustee. This is more than he was obliged to do.

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  13. Pete George (22,753 comments) says:

    Ardern is getting a hammering at The Standard on her questions, but for stopping people on benefits getting jobs in Australia.

    As I mentioned before, everyone’s jumped all over this without understanding what it’s really about and it’s all ended with a micro solution to help address what’s a macro issue that in fact can do not a jot to fix that macro problem, and in fact makes things worse for everyone – more beneficiaries get to miss on on a job and stay on benefits and the government gets to shell out more than what it’d otherwise have to. Thanks Jacinda.

    http://thestandard.org.nz/who-in-the-house-is-for-beneficiaries/comment-page-1/#comment-558990

    There’s a ‘Mary’ commenting there now, seems knowledgable and makes very good points.

    And

    Does the wider commentary, which from Jacinda is quite well tuned to social justice, nevertheless excuse tactical political ineptness.

    Because she’s help make a non-issue into another excuse to beat beneficiaries up with.

    http://thestandard.org.nz/who-in-the-house-is-for-beneficiaries/comment-page-1/#comment-558946

    At least Winston got the headlines.

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  14. Pongo (371 comments) says:

    And afterbthatbin the general debate that wanker Mallard crapped on about what a good and long term mate he was of Keighly and then knifed him in the chest. What is it with Goff and his bitter smears, surely he should have learned after all the fuck ups he had as opposition leader.

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  15. thedavincimode (6,526 comments) says:

    Toad

    The fact that your rort got sprung and you beat a hasty retreat under the sterilising influence of publicity is quite independent of the point that I was making which is that it is surprising, given that background, that you have revealed such ignorance in your 6:54pm.

    I’m not having any trouble at all in keeping up, but thankyou for your concern.

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  16. smttc (689 comments) says:

    Toad, I’m a lawyer and I can tell you that you don’t know shit if you think a solicitor’s trust account has anything to do with holding shares on trust on behalf of a client or beneficiary.

    Nick K – lol.

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  17. scrubone (3,044 comments) says:

    Sweetie got hammered on the airfares thing on Checkpoint.

    Quite why it’s a bad thing to get people into jobs is beyond me…

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  18. big bruv (13,210 comments) says:

    Come on guys. You all know what Toad is really saying.

    Ripping off the tax payer is fine as long as it is somebody from the left doing it. Delahunty and Fitzsimons only fessed up when they were caught red (pun intended) handed.

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  19. toad (3,669 comments) says:

    smttc 8:14 pm

    Okay, I’ll plead ignorance as to the law in this regard.

    But surely if shares are registered in someone’s name personally, that person has the right to trade them, and therefore has a potential pecuniary interest, regardless of whether they are being held on behalf of someone else.

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  20. dime (9,367 comments) says:

    I know jacinda is this great hope for labour but she really just doesn’t have “it”.

    Joyce toyed with her on an this morning. She is out of her depth. I suspect she will make a crap minister when she gets given the chance.

    I know she worked in the uk for a while (some left wing trough no doubt), but she should have tried her luck in the real world.

    It’s amazing how out of touch she is. Course that doesn’t stop labour as portraying her as young and hip. What a joke.

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  21. Pete George (22,753 comments) says:

    toad – Greens must be getting worried about the lack of reliable coalition partners?

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  22. Nick K (1,065 comments) says:

    Toad – you let me own your shares so that when creeps like Red Russell go through share registries looking for smears on you they can’t find them.

    We sign a document that says although I legally own them, the financial interest in them is all yours. The document further says if you don’t like what I’m doing, you can fire me and put someone in my place who will.

    All pecuniary interests are yours. I can have a pecuniary interest if you want to give me one, but usually, as a professional trustee, I just hold your assets on your behalf. Nothing more.

    Welcome to the law of trusts. I’m very surprised you haven’t heard of trusts. They feature prominently these days.

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  23. dime (9,367 comments) says:

    Pg – the prostitute you’re in love with will happily be in coalition with he greens. As long as his pay stays the same

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  24. Cato (1,094 comments) says:

    Come, come dime – are you really saying it’s prostitution for a political party’s first (and only enduring) policy principle is that its Parliamentary leader be retained as the Minister for Revenue?

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  25. toad (3,669 comments) says:

    Nick K 8:52 pm

    So it is a sham to avoid transparency as to who the real owner is?

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  26. Pete George (22,753 comments) says:

    Mutually beneficial but no love there dime.

    There’s some common ground with Greens but too many differences to be close. But as now with Act, UF and MP it’s possible to have a common coalition partner.

    But it would still depend on two things – Whether Greens become the dominant partner over Labour, and whether Labour put together a credible package of policies. Even more so than last year it’s not looking bright at the moment, but two years is a long time.

    Funny that an MP gets dissed for trying to have as much to do as possible, preferably in Government. Do none of the others aspire to anything like that? I don’t hear any of them saying “ok, we’ll only try and do something worthwhile every second term in case dime calls us a prostitute”. Does dime value half assed over ambition?

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  27. Cato (1,094 comments) says:

    PG – are you sure there’s not a third bottom line?

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  28. smttc (689 comments) says:

    I know that it is your natural inclination to think the worst of anything to do with capitalism Toad. But in fact, there are many reasons for trust relationships and very few of them have anything to do with shams (quite the opposite) and I doubt very much that Peter Kiely’s trusteeship was a sham or intended to create a sham. The last thing any trust relationship needs is an allegation of sham.

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  29. toad (3,669 comments) says:

    smttc 9:27 pm

    Okay, leave the “sham” word out.

    Just answer this: Are these arrangements (not Kiely’s in particular, but in general) designed to avoid transparency so the public find it difficult to discover who the beneficial owner actually is?

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  30. Cato (1,094 comments) says:

    Toad – there are all sorts of reasons why a trust might or might not be appropriate. Trusts can be used to manage succession planning, to protect a family asset from business risk, to provide for spendthrift children or to make other provision for some family person. I can tell you what trusts are not reliably good for – escaping taxation and other obligations to the state.

    The reality is that if Kiely held these assets in a capacity as a trustee then he was under what is known as a fiduciary duty to act for the SOLE benefit and interest of the beneficiary at all times. That would include not disclosing to third-parties the reason for the trust’s existence – an ethical obligation he would also have under solicitor-client confidentiality also.

    Is every use of a trust squeaky clean? Of course not – but the concept is indispensible to our legal system. Do you know what the most common trust arrangement is? Your everyday, common will – which is simply a trust created on the occassion of the testator’s death.

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  31. Nookin (3,033 comments) says:

    Toad
    There is any number of reasons why these shares were held in trust. It is entirely possible that the beneficial owner, in this case, did not want anybody to find out about his/her ownership of the shares. The person concerned may well have had some nefarious motive not disclosed to the solicitor. He may not have wanted his wife to find out! Equally, the person concerned may have won Lotto and may not necessarily have wanted his luck publicised.

    It may have been a matter of convenience. The beneficial owner may have had an extensive share portfolio and the solicitor may have been acting as an investment manager. This is not uncommon. ICSL (trading as Aegis) owns large portfolios as trustee and there are many other similar companies.
    The trust could have been a bare trust where the solicitor was obliged to do what he was instructed with the shares. It could have been a discretionary trust or the solicitor may have been holding them as an executor of an estate of which the beneficiary was the ultimate recipient. There are so many different possibilities. Goff was being particularly mean-spirited and reckless. Then again, he is prone to that.

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  32. Simon Arnold (98 comments) says:

    Amused me but didn’t surprise me that senior Labour politicians and their support staff are so remote from business that they don’t know that trusts can’t be entered on the share register and so the trustees are all included.

    While driving I listened to question time (I know, but it stops me aiming at cyclists) and my immediate thought was “lawyer on share register = trustee, I hope they checked”.

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  33. toad (3,669 comments) says:

    @Cato 9:45 pm @Nookin 9:54 pm

    I don’t have a problem with the use of trusts. What I do have a problem with is the lack of transparency as to who the beneficial owner of assets held in trust actually is.

    I am not suggesting that anything untoward has happened in this case, but a lack of transparency sets the scene for fraud and corruption, and for allegations of fraud and corruption that may be without foundation.

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  34. Nick K (1,065 comments) says:

    Toad, the sham has been around for about 500yrs. But no doubt your lot will try to pass a law to try and ban them.

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  35. Cato (1,094 comments) says:

    The separation between legal and equitable ownership is of the essence of a trust, really – so if you’ve got a problem with the “lack of transparency” as to the identiy of the beneficial owner then you’ve got a problem with the use of trusts.

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  36. Simon Arnold (98 comments) says:

    Actually strolled over to the Companies Office site and had a look, and lo and behold a couple of documents up from the document showing Kiely’s entry onto the share register (alongside a couple of other trustees as joint shareholders) is the 2009 Financial Statements that give the game away completely. It makes no mention of Kiely as a shareholder but lists the Fibema Family Trust instead.

    I suspect a sting on Goff.

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  37. sparky (235 comments) says:

    I watched Parliament yesterday, and heard this, and just shook my head. The Labour Party shoot themselves in the foot all the time. You would think after all these years Phil Goff, would check things out properly before opening his mouth. Same with Jacinda Ardern, accusing the Government, for a policy there own party put into action. Hopeless.

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  38. Lee C (4,516 comments) says:

    Does ‘Zip it, sweetie’ strike anyone else as totally appropriate?

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  39. alex Masterley (1,490 comments) says:

    I have come to this late.
    You would think that Mr Goff would choose a better target than Peter Kiely.
    As a lawyer he is beyond reproach. I’ve known and respected him since he handed my arse to me as a young lawyer in the ’80′s.
    I see from the comments that trusts have been covered by other lawyers.
    What I can say is that the level of ignorance displayed by some about trusts, and obligations arising from trusts is cringeworthy.

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  40. RightNow (6,646 comments) says:

    Looks like Goff is going to keep it going a while

    Mr Goff said Mr McCully’s outburst was simply an attempt to divert attention.

    The Crown’s Owner’s Expectations Manual stated that directors must disclose any relationships which could create even a potential conflict of interest.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/8041740/McCully-demands-fulsome-apology-from-Goff

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  41. Keeping Stock (10,092 comments) says:

    @ Right Now – here’s hoping that no-one ever reminds Goff of the old adage “when you’re in a hole, stop digging”; in fact, I’ll even lend him a shovel :D

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  42. david (2,531 comments) says:

    Yep, Goff has another question in for oral answer this afternoon. Tune in at 2:00pm for the next exciting episode.

    Oh and Toad,, presumably the following are also dodgy by your definition. Any one of these people could be listed as owner of assets/investments in a trustee capacity.

    David Clendon as a trustee of He Waka Eke Noa Charitable Trust (Ugly Shakespeare Company)

    Catherine Delahunty as trustee or beneficiary (unspecified) of Kotare Research and Education for Social Change in Aotearoa Charitable Trust and Tairawhiti Beneficiary Advocacy Trust

    Kevin Hague as trustee of CR & M Hague Family Trust

    Mojo Mathers as trustee of Lamledra Hart Trust
    And owner of property via trust – Lamledra House (owned by trust), Gorran Haven, Cornwall, United Kingdom

    Metira Turei as trustee of Blueskin Bay Library Redevelopment Trust

    In fact they might even receive the water accounts and rates bills in their names for properties owned by the trusts
    I find your ignorance outstanding Toad. Keep up the good work.

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