3 News reports:
3 News can reveal Labour Party leader David Cunliffe failed to declare a financial trust, as MPs are required to do with investments.
He initially tried to keep the trust off the official record – but was forced to make a late change.
“I’m the beneficiary of the Bozzie Family Trust and a bare trust called ICSL which does savings and investments,” he says.
A check of the latest register of MP’s Pecuniary Interests shows only one of these two was actually declared on time – The Bozzie Trust, which owns his house.
Cunliffe says he didn’t forget about the trust, just that he decided not to disclose it because Greg Presland told him he didn’t have to!!!
ICSL is an investment trust. Cunliffe is one of 20,000 investors.
It manages $8 billion in investments; if evenly divided, that’s $400,000 each.
Mr Cunliffe refused to front to media on the issue, instead releasing a statement through his office saying it was initially left out because “legal advice” was it didn’t need to be disclosed.
Mr Cunliffe got further advice from the registrar, who said “if in doubt – declare it”.
The advice to declare it if in doubt is long standing. Cunliffe didn’t declare it, and worse he didn’t check at the time with the Registrar. Many many MPs check with the Registrar before they do their return. Cunliffe did not, because presumably he didn’t want people to know about the investment trust.
David Shearer forgot about a foreign US bank account. David Cunliffe decided not to declare an investment trust, on the basis of advice from a blogger at The Standard.
I feel sorry for Matt McCarten. he must be wondering what the hell he signed up for. If Matt does do the sensible thing and bails out, then maybe Labour could make Greg Presland their Chief of Staff as he already seems to be the chief advisor to the leader.
This non disclosure of the trust in the return would not be too bad a story by itself. But coming the same week as he got forced into revealing another secret trust used for his leadership campaign, well it really speaks for itself. A total shambles.
UPDATE: Greg Presland is alleging the fact in the TV3 story are wrong. Maybe he is just being set up as the fall guy, as Clare Curran was yesterday. More details to come in time it seems. The Herald is the news source alleging that the initial legal advice came from Presland.
UPDATE2: Presland is claiming he has been defamed by Patrick Gower and is asking people if he should sue for defamation!