The Kohanga Reo debacle

March 20th, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Radio NZ reported:

An Ernst & Young review has found the trust didn’t misuse public funds, but didn’t look into the financial dealings of its commercial arm, Te Pataka Ohanga.

Education Minister Hekia Parata says that’s because the commercial arm isn’t publicly funded.

The Taxpayers’ Union says that’s irrelevant, and has labelled the process a whitewash.

Its executive director Jordan Williams says the key allegation that public money, meant for teaching kids, was used for dresses, fuel and cash withdrawals, was ignored.

He says the Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples and Education Minister Hekia Parata have chosen to turn a blind eye to what are serious allegations.

The Serious Fraud Office is now investigating what Ms Parata has described as further ‘unsubstantiated allegations of mis-spending’ by the commercial arm of the Kohanga Reo Trust Board.

It’s a pretty terrible look for the Government to announce late at night an inquiry has cleared the Kohanga Reo Trust Board, and then the next day refer its subsidiary to the Serious Fraud Office.

The Herald editorial:

To obtain the right answers, it is necessary to ask the right questions. Asking the wrong questions invites only obfuscation or a muddying of the waters. So it is with the independent review of the Te . EY (Ernst & Young) was asked by the Ministry of Education “to assess the effectiveness of the financial internal controls over public funding received by the trust”. But that was not the central issue raised last October by Maori Television’s Native Affairs programme, which alleged two leaders of the trust’s commercial arm, Te Pataka Ohanga, had used business credit cards to buy dresses, accommodation and gifts worth thousands of dollars. Predictably enough, the review was silent on this.

That situation appeared to suit some of those involved. From the outset, the trust had sought to block the results of Native Affairs’ seven-week investigation. It went to the High Court to try to block the programme’s broadcasting before backing down. Yesterday, a spokesman, Derek Fox, insisted lamely that the relationship between the trust and Te Pataka Ohanga was the same as any other employer-employee relationship, and that the subsidiary was free to spend its money in whatever way it deemed appropriate.

The Government’s initial attitude also amounted to an attempt to brush the matter under the carpet. The Education Minister, Hekia Parata, sat on the review for a week before hastily convening a press conference at 8pm on Tuesday. She was, she said, “pleased to be here to assure New Zealand taxpayers that their monies had been expended appropriately”. That may have been largely so in the narrow confines traversed by the EY review. It found the trust’s controls were “effective for an operation of its size and complexity, but some improvements are needed around credit card returns and koha payments”. But Ms Parata, too, used the lamest of defences when the focus turned to spending at Te Pataka Ohanga.

According to her, it was a subsidiary owned entirely by the trust, and the Government was not responsible for monitoring its expenditure. Yet the ultimate source of Te Pataka Ohanga’s funding is the Ministry of Education. Public money is transferred from the trust to it, and the Government has every reason to ensure it is spent appropriately. And that, as Labour’s Nanaia Mahuta said, there is a high level of transparency and accountability.

Ms Parata’s inane placement of Te Pataka Ohanga beyond Government purview merely compounded the woeful waste of public money that resulted from the ministry’s ill-judged terms of reference. Fortunately, better sense prevailed late yesterday, and the Serious Fraud Office is to investigate the allegations of misspending. The minister attributed this change of tack to claims that she had continued to receive, and the need to restore public confidence. Even then, however, she did not back away from her contention that Te Pataka Ohanga was a private organisation and outside the Government’s scope. It had, said Ms Parata, no more power over Te Pataka Ohanga than over a stationery shop or an insurance provider.

By any yardstick, the involvement of public money makes that nonsensical. Clearly, there was a grievous abuse of normal governance process when the kohanga reo structure was set up. That includes Te Pataka Ohanga somehow enjoying a charity status.

I think there were a number of mistakes here.

The first is having an inquiry that did not have the ability to actually investigate the allegations around the subsidiary. It reminds me of the quote from Yes Minister:

‘Minister, two basic rules of government: Never look into anything you don’t have to. And never set up an enquiry unless you know in advance what its findings will be.’

Ernst & Young have no powers to investigate Te Pataka Ohanga, but the Auditor-General has extensive powers and I believe it would have been far better for the Auditor-General to be asked to investigate.

The second mistake was to trumpet the Ernst & Young report as basically having cleared the Trust, and making it look like the issue was now all settled. Ministers should have used their political nous to realise that the report would not settle the issue, as it didn’t cover the allegations that led to the report being commissioned. They could have released the report, yet said they were unhappy about the transparency of the arrangements where the taxpayers fund individual kohanga reo, which in turn contract back to the subsidary of the trust. They could have said in future they will insist all contracts (which are taxpayer funded) between the related entities be public and transparent. But it seems they didn’t want to.

Finally they did a referral to the SFO the day after the report was released, which looks Mickey Mouse. Was it really new allegations that emerged only after the report came out? Why were these allegations not known before the report?

So overall a very unimpressive response by the Government. it seems they didn’t see the woods for the trees.

Tags:

63 Responses to “The Kohanga Reo debacle”

  1. Manolo (13,514 comments) says:

    Poor Parata is out of her depth in Cabinet. Give her the Ministry of Womens’ Affairs and Families Commission :-)

    Vote: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  2. Sir Cullen's Sidekick (823 comments) says:

    Ha ha!! Judith Collins gone by lunch time, Parata gone by dinner time…Good bye uncle Key….

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 14 You need to be logged in to vote
  3. thor42 (958 comments) says:

    Parata is useless. She has *got* to go.

    Apparently she is massively demanding and domineering with her staff. That is almost always a sign of incompetence – someone trying to hide their flaws.
    A competent minister doesn’t need to have that attitude.

    [DPF: Don't believe everything you read. I know many ex-staff who speak very highly of her]

    Vote: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  4. aquataur (53 comments) says:

    Parata is a disaster

    as an ex Dep Sec of TPK she would have known that public money going to a subsidiary of an entity receiving it is still accountable for how it is spent. Do you think any SOE or other entity could hide its public accountability by funnelling money into wholly owned subsidiaries.

    This needs the AG to investigate -

    And what an indictement on EY – taking on an assignment like this and not having the terms include the sub ? Following on from their $250k audit of Len Brown and the shit they served up there, I think their reputation is shattered (or should be) I for one won’t use them again (from someone spending millions a year on advisors)

    Vote: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  5. Jim (404 comments) says:

    “So overall a very unimpressive response by the Government. it seems they didn’t see the woods for the trees.”

    Or knew exactly what was there and didn’t want to find it.

    Minister, two basic rules of government: Never look into anything you don’t have to. And never set up an enquiry unless you know in advance what its findings will be.’

    It follows that if you know that the findings will be bad, and you must look into it, then look elsewhere! :)

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  6. burt (7,945 comments) says:

    Ok, we’ve all had our fun. Parata, you can go back to Labour you have done your damage. Cunliffe, get back to National and stop wrecking stuff for Labour.

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  7. burt (7,945 comments) says:

    aquataur

    This needs the AG to investigate

    Precedent says that if the AG finds a mess the government will say the AG made a bad call and using urgency pass retrospective validations to bail themselves out. Supporters of the government will say it was necessary to clear the confusion and we should move on !

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  8. david (2,545 comments) says:

    It is a fine line to tread.

    Fact:

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  9. Ashley Schaeffer (429 comments) says:

    Why the fuck would Parata not want to get to the bottom of the problem in the first instance? What are they trying to cover up? Whose ass are they trying to save? If public money is being wasted/stolen and you as a Minister don’t appear to care enough to stamp it out and/or hold people accountable then you as Minister don’t deserve to be in Parliament.

    Vote: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  10. Maggy Wassilieff (309 comments) says:

    Any idea who the Minister was trying to protect?

    Vote: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  11. cha (3,823 comments) says:

    ‘Minister, two basic rules of government: Never look into anything you don’t have to. And never set up an enquiry unless you know in advance what its findings will be.’

    heh

    Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.

    Groucho Marx

    Vote: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  12. WineOh (570 comments) says:

    Derek Fox yesterday on National Radio was a disgrace, deliberately stonewalling and insisting that the subsidiary company had nothing to do with TPK and was not open for public scrutiny. He openly said that the directors were investigating matters internally, but that TPK had no right for influence on this… attempting to liken the relationship to the ministry buying supplies from Whitcoulls. Given that TPO is a wholly owned subsidiary of TPK, this fails the basic sniff test. Of course the ‘shareholders’ of the company have the power to hire and fire the directors, and move motions to directly influence the running of the organisation. He came off looking like there was a big dirty rat that was trying to be hidden from public oversight.

    With the level of dollars involved though, is this really a matter for the Serious Fraud Office? The examples given in media briefs amount to a few thousand dollars at most, so there must be much grenades buried in this.

    Course of action- Key has to look decisive but fair at the same time. TPK CEO will be forced to fall on their sword, trigger a management with close oversight from the ministry, and another major internal restructure. Hekia Parata can be used as a scapegoat for this and the other issues within the ministry, which is a shame considering how much has been achieved there against a hostile environment of teachers, unions and media. Education is always going to be a poisoned chalice for a right wing government that wants to bring change.

    Vote: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  13. Peter (1,652 comments) says:

    Parata needs to be sidelined.

    Vote: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  14. wreck1080 (3,778 comments) says:

    i mentioned this was a joke yesterday.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  15. david (2,545 comments) says:

    It is a fine line to tread.

    Fact: The University is publicly funded
    Suppose: a cleaning firm is contracted to clean the University Registry
    Suppose: the principal of the cleaning firm uses the firm’s credit card to go to the Melbourne Cup

    Is this an issue regarding University funding?

    Answer – only if the cleaning firm is an incorporated subsidiary of the University. In this case you would hold the university accountable on 2 grounds.
    firstly – the university must ensure that it’s funds are well spent so you would expect cleaning charges to be commercially competitive
    secondly – the directors of the subsidiary are there because the university appointed them to ensure proper governance. They are potentially in breach of this obligation to make sure that sound systems and commercial practice are followed in the company’s operations and financial management.

    All other matters including race, the place of KOHA, are irrelevant and must be ignored.

    Vote: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  16. emmess (1,382 comments) says:

    Isn’t koha just the Maori word for bribe?
    Much as I dislike Winston, if after the next election, if he could pull he head in and focus on getting rid of shit like this, the country would be much better off for it.

    Vote: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  17. Chris2 (765 comments) says:

    EY is a private multinational whose first priority is to maintain its income stream. That is not the same as undertaking a diligent independent audit.

    They glossed over things in the Len Brown enquiry, and now in this enquiry. It beggars belief that when they learnt of concerns outside the terms of reference that they did not advise their client and have the terms of reference widened. That smacks of incompetence.

    Enquires into Government agencies should always be carried out by the Auditor General, or the SFO or the Police – we already fund these agencies anyway. This work should not be carried out by private companies who’s main concern is charging as much per hour as they can get away with. And what qualification did the EY investigators have to undertake this work anyway?

    Vote: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  18. david (2,545 comments) says:

    It does make you wonder though if this model has been replicated in multiple areas of Government funded activities and whether audit requirements are adequate to detect deliberate attempts to siphon cash through the use of interested third parties.

    Vote: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  19. flipper (3,739 comments) says:

    Oh this is a load of horseshit.

    The AG is NOT the SFO, and KR could have told him/her to bugger off.
    The issue relates to improper spending of KR’s money, not taxpayer money.
    Last night Parata apparently received another complaint in writing.
    That changed everything…well, may be.
    Earlier this morning on GD I said:

    *** ”
    flipper (3,212 comments) says:

    March 20th, 2014 at 10:27 am

    Tauhei Notts (1,493 comments) says:

    March 20th, 2014 at 9:55 am

    *****

    I have posted on this in reply to Manolo (above).

    I am NOT defending KR or its subsidiary.

    KR is contracted to provide services to the Crown, as per the standard Treasury contracting model;
    KR has, presumably, provided the services, and then having invoiced the Crown, is paid.

    At that point, subject to audit of the service provided, the funds received are NO LONGER “public”. They belong to KR.

    What happened after that is a matter for KR.
    This situation (provision of a service for which fees (NOT grants) are paid ) is standard and applies to many, many NGOs.

    Question: If I worked for the Crown (perish the thought) and received a salary or a fee for providing a service, can it still be claimed that when I spend my salary or contract fees that I am, spending “public monies”.”

    Stretching the longbow does not come near that sort of rubbish. ”

    The Tuku Morgan case springs to mind.

    Google says:

    ” .. Prime Minister Helen Clark expects Maori broadcasting agency Te Mangai Paho to keep “a close eye” on its $1.6 million grant to former NZ First MP Tukoroirangi Morgan.

    The agency has given Mr Morgan the money to make a 10-programme documentary series for the new Maori television channel.

    Te Mangai Paho was heavily criticised for its role in the Aotearoa Television Network collapse in 1997.

    Mr Morgan was a director of Aotearoa and took part in an infamous shopping spree with its money which included a pair of $89 underpants.

    A Serious Fraud Office investigation cleared him of fraud … “

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 6 You need to be logged in to vote
  20. RRM (9,585 comments) says:

    There must be some mistake.

    Maori ™ Elites would NEVER rort a publicly funded system to line their own thieving pockets.

    No, such a thing would be absolutely unprecedented wouldn’t it?

    Vote: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  21. Fox (202 comments) says:

    Strike three Ms Parata – you’re OUT.

    Vote: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  22. mikenmild (11,158 comments) says:

    I think you are the one drawing the long bow flipper in trying to absolve the minister of responsibility for looking into this.

    Vote: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  23. mikenmild (11,158 comments) says:

    Fox
    Hmmm – is that you Derek?

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  24. Judith (8,211 comments) says:

    It is not a good look for the Government, especially Parata

    Education is an important issue in the election as is justice – and both Ministers appear to be having meltdowns.

    Instead of playing personalities, what are the positive things National can offer prospective voters on these issues that will undo the current harm being exhibited?

    What will they do to ensure we can have peace of mind?

    - Take the stage Smurfs – lets hear some good honest strategies here!

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  25. flipper (3,739 comments) says:

    Miken…

    When you really know what you are talking/.writing about, speak/write.

    KR is not a Government agency.

    Shifting the goal posts does not make Parata responsible. No Minister is responsible for KR. It is totally independent of Government.

    Only KR is responsible for its subsidiary…..no one else.

    But that does NOT stop the SFO from investigating the subsidiary lf it believes there are public interest grounds.

    Parata referred the NEW allegations to the SFO. We await their verdict”.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3 You need to be logged in to vote
  26. mikenmild (11,158 comments) says:

    If the Kohanga Reo Trust is totally independent of the government, why did the minister commission an audit of the trust?

    Vote: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  27. Manolo (13,514 comments) says:

    Isn’t koha just the Maori word for bribe?

    Yes, it is tantamount to bribery and extortion. No doubt about it.

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  28. Paul Williams (877 comments) says:

    Parata’s a contradiction for me. I hear, from a well placed source, that she’s very smart and very aware of the political risks associated with reforms she genuinely believes will improve schooling.

    However, I can’t think of a time she’s not bungled and often very badly. There’s probably not an education minister in the last two decades who’s performed as badly….Goff was a huge reformer, recall Tomorrow’s Schools, Lockwood introduced industry training and reformed tertiary, the late Brian Donnelly totally reformed special education, Mallard took hard decisions to close schools and took on the unions… Hekia reminds me a little of Creech but with even less output.

    Vote: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  29. mikenmild (11,158 comments) says:

    She makes such a hamfisted mess of things; it’s a bit painful to watch.

    Vote: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  30. Nigel Kearney (902 comments) says:

    It is a fine line to tread.

    Fact: The University is publicly funded
    Suppose: a cleaning firm is contracted to clean the University Registry
    Suppose: the principal of the cleaning firm uses the firm’s credit card to go to the Melbourne Cup

    Is this an issue regarding University funding?

    No, the issue is whether the cleaning company is providing the University with overall value for money. The cleaning company’s line item spending is not a public matter.

    The politest thing we can say about TPO is that it is not easy to analyze whether they are providing the Kohanga Reo Trust with good value for our money. That is why micro-management of their individual spending is being done instead.

    Ultimately this comes back to MMP. Our money is being recklessly chucked around so that National can enjoy the support of the Maori party. And National have to publicly appear to be happy to do so. At least it is cheaper than the cost of Kiwibank or the Families Commission or putting Winston in charge of the country’s finances.

    Vote: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  31. slernz (31 comments) says:

    What role did Sharples play in this cover-up? Both Sharples and Maori Party co-leader Turei have turned a blind eye to Maori discretions in the past. Was Sharples the right person to review this matter?

    Vote: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  32. wf (388 comments) says:

    I don’t think that this ‘bungle’ will interest the general voting public at all. It will shrug its collective shoulder and think that this is the way it works when Maori are involved and put it in the box with all the Waitangi settlements.

    Wedding dresses have joined the underpants, lol. They’re both history.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  33. Paul Williams (877 comments) says:

    It will shrug its collective shoulder and think that this is the way it works when Maori are involved and put it in the box with all the Waitangi settlements.

    I suspect the public will wonder why three two senior National Minister are so poorly managing their portfolios to allow serious questions to be raised about whether they incompetent or corrupt. Parata, Collins and Adams. Last time I looked, Collins and Adams were Pakeha.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  34. mikenmild (11,158 comments) says:

    Yes, I’m looking forward to DPF blogging on the Amy Adams conflict of interest…

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  35. flipper (3,739 comments) says:

    mikenmild (7,907 comments) says:

    March 20th, 2014 at 11:51 am

    If the Kohanga Reo Trust is totally independent of the government, why did the minister commission an audit of the trust?
    ***

    She met with the trust to discuss the general allegations “because it is considered to be important for education and for Maori” (paraphrased and from memory).

    It was at the invitation of the Trust that she commissioned the report.

    If Parata fucks up, then she deserves all she gets from Wira, the Prime Minister, her cabinet colleagues, the caucus, and the Mana electorate of the National Party.

    But saying she fucks up because some dilly trougher, employed by a KR subsidiary company, spends money on a wedding dress, or Koha (grant in lieu of salary?) is paid to someone, is just bloody silly.

    The ignorance (or a deliberate reluctance to learn the facts) of the media, and many who have commented here, is quite appalling. Supposedly KB is intelligent (well it is when I and others of like mind comment :-) ) but this anti-Parata and anti-Collins crap (and I am no admirer of hers) is pathetic.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 4 You need to be logged in to vote
  36. earlyfknsettler (10 comments) says:

    Maardi can do NO wrong, everyone knows this.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  37. mikenmild (11,158 comments) says:

    The terms of reference for the review were agreed between the ministry and the trust. It beggars belief that Parata and her minstry can commission a review that doesn’t address the allegations made, receive that review and announce that everything is hunky dory, and immediately turn around and say that ‘new’ information warrants a criminal investigation.

    Vote: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  38. Paulus (2,535 comments) says:

    I have come to the conclusion that the Media (sic) is suffering from Oedipus Complex.
    They hate women who are not lesbians and the like, and even more any of the women in the Cabinet.
    Try Collins first then Parata – they have tried earlier Ministers – sad really.

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 4 You need to be logged in to vote
  39. Judith (8,211 comments) says:

    @ Paulus (2,249 comments) says:
    March 20th, 2014 at 1:30 pm

    It is often said that for a woman to make it big business she has to be twice as good as any male competition, simply because being a woman, she will undergo greater scrutiny.

    It is true to a certain extent, not quite as much as before, but women are expected to do all they do, whilst wearing a skirt and high heels, which isn’t easy. They must do their job and look good – either part of that fails, then they have to have some ‘balls’ to keep up.

    A man can be coniving (Peters), manipulating (Cunliffe) and cunning (Key), and might get criticism for it, but when a woman is the same thing – she is a bitch.

    Having said that – I don’t like Collins, because she is all three of those things and dishonest to boot. Parata is just out of her depth in my opinion.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 5 You need to be logged in to vote
  40. flipper (3,739 comments) says:

    Miken…

    More often than not you are so thick that I wonder your ability to gain employment in the so called PS.

    Ministers do NOT agree terms of reference.

    Ministers set the frame work…and as you say the detail was finalised with the Ministry.

    If I were your Minister, could I order a review into how you spend your tax payer funded salary????

    The Ministry and KR probably disagreed on the detail, but agreed in what they could agree on. Neither the Minister nor the Ministry can tell an independent trust what to do. They can persuade, but not direct. And it seems likely that KR told the Ministry that they way they operate their subsidiary was a matter for them…so … “bugger off.” In other words, KR was happy to let EY enquire into their accounts, but not the accounts of a subsidiary. The Ministry may have thought they had that covered. But EY may have been told to bugger off.

    And then there is the Treasury contracting model. You know, arms length. You sell a service, we (the Crown) buy your service. No grant involved, ergo no public money involved.

    Nothing beggars your belief Mikey because you have no ability to see things as they are, not as you wish them to be.

    You could do worse than remove your PSA glasses.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  41. flash2846 (197 comments) says:

    Here’s the problem
    The Kohanga Reo National Trust is obviously a Maori organisation and hence in New Zealand it is not expected to be held to even a reasonable standard. Politicians and many common citizens will tiptoe around any wrong doing so they can be seen as being politically correct; i.e. not racist.
    It’s hard to be disappointed in these organisations when nothing positive is ever expected of them. More pigs at the trough, that’s all.
    This is definitely not the first time something like this has happened and it certainly wont be the last but these people will get away with it time after time.

    Vote: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  42. mikenmild (11,158 comments) says:

    flipper
    You are making a whole lot of assumptions there about what the trust and the ministry agreed. All we can really say is that after initial news of the scandal was broken by Maori TV, Parata announced an inquiry. Having received the report of that inquiry she grandly announced that all was fine. But it isn’t fine.
    I worry about your comprehension skills.

    Vote: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  43. flipper (3,739 comments) says:

    Worry not Miken…look in the mirror

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 8 You need to be logged in to vote
  44. Keeping Stock (10,161 comments) says:

    mikenmild said

    Yes, I’m looking forward to DPF blogging on the Amy Adams conflict of interest…

    You mean the ALLEGATION of a conflict of interest, about which the Taranaki Daily News had to publish this retraction?

    In Monday’s Taranaki Daily News columnist Rachel Stewart raised questions about the links between Environment Minister Amy Adams and the Central Plains Water irrigation scheme in Canterbury.

    The column suggested the minister had the power to dismantle a Water Conservation Order so that the Rakaia River could feed that irrigation scheme, and this decision would benefit farm holdings she owned.

    The Taranaki Daily News acknowledges the minister had no such power.

    Rachel Stewart wrote the Minister had done things “by the book” but also suggested that to say the Minister had not abused her role would be “a big stretch”.

    The Taranaki Daily News acknowledges that Minister Adams declared a pecuniary interest in the Central Plains Water scheme and transferred her responsibilities as Environment Minister to Minister Gerry Brownlee in April 2012.

    We also acknowledge there has only been one Cabinet decision made regarding the Central Plains Water Scheme and on that occasion, Mr Brownlee took the paper to the relevant Cabinet committee. Ms Adams, who does not own a dairy farm in Canterbury, excused herself from the Cabinet committee where it was discussed, and took no part in the discussions.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/taranaki-daily-news/9843127

    Vote: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  45. Tauhei Notts (1,632 comments) says:

    Okay,
    Now I have a better understanding. Te Pataka Ohanga Limited, which previously was named TPKL Ltd or something similar, is wholly owned by the Te Kohanga Reo National Trust. That trust must have legal status as the usual inter vivos and testamentary trusts hold shares in the names of the trustees.
    I cannot imagine why one would want to have The Trust investigated, without having a cursory glance at companies wholly owned by The Trust.
    I note that te Pataka Ohanga Ltd does not have file annual financial statements with the Registrar of Companies, whereas if a foreigner held 25% of the shares it would need to file ann fin stats. I thought that outfits like that company were not exempt from the need to file ann fin stats, as most closely held companies are.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  46. metcalph (1,394 comments) says:

    What I think happened is the Parata got spun by Fox into thinking that the auditors report answered everything and failed to speak to anybody else about the matter before the Press Conference.

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  47. mikenmild (11,158 comments) says:

    Fair enough KS – I hadn’t seen the retraction. I’d be interested in your take on the Parata situation.

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  48. toad (3,671 comments) says:

    @mikenmild 2:20 pm

    But Adams didn’t recuse herself from this decision re the extension of the ECan dictatorship where it seems pretty clear she did have a conflict of interest:

    Amy Adams was one of the two people who brought that paper to Cabinet (the other was then-Local Government Minister David Carter). So we have a person who owns a stake in an irrigation company (and a farm whose value will be significantly improved by irrigation) directly promoting governance arrangements designed to help the business she has shares in. As Rob points out, Adams “could reasonably be perceived as standing to gain or lose financially from decisions or acts for which [she] is responsible”, meeting the Cabinet Manual test for a pecuniary conflict of interest…</blockquote

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  49. mikenmild (11,158 comments) says:

    Sorry toad, I didn’t have a handle on the detail. I wonder if KS has any rejoinder to that part of the story.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  50. lastmanstanding (1,220 comments) says:

    The sad fact is that we don’t do good governance very well in NZ Oh yes we try and pretend all is well and we score very highly on the international charts for lack of corruption but the fact is in NZ corruption is very covert and very well hidden.

    It a result of a small market with a small number of very interconnected people all looking after each others sorry arses. In bigger economies they are more people so less chance for a small group to hide coverup etc.

    And whilst whitey is bad enough sadly Maori are worse. They try and defend the indefensible by saying But you don’t understand we do things differently to you. And if all else fails they play the good ole race card.. Your a racist.

    In every sector we find examples of corruption and coverup of the corruption. Protection of friends or even sometimes enemies if that’s going to protect our reputation.

    Its time we took the blinkers off and woke up and realized we are no better than other economies and we have far too many incidents like this one where people knew or ought to have known and did nothing. And then when they were found out they tried to cover up and protect the guilty so as to protect them

    As a long time Nat supporter I wont try and defend Parata. She is guilty of a major coverup. What I want to see is a full forensic investigation of her and her actions. What she knew. When she knew it. What she did when she knew it.

    And JK should be thinking carefully if long time Nat supporters are thinking the same as me. Which they should if they want to live in a corrupt free country.

    Vigilance is the key( excuse the pun) Ever vigilant.

    Vote: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  51. Bob R (1,353 comments) says:

    ***What I think happened is the Parata got spun by Fox into thinking that the auditors report answered everything and failed to speak to anybody else about the matter before the Press Conference.***

    @ metcalph,

    That doesn’t address:

    a) why the inquiry did not have the ability to actually investigate the allegations around the subsidiary.

    b) she had the review for a week before the Press Conference. It’s implausible that she would have simply received advice from Fox and no one else.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  52. griffith (1,111 comments) says:

    http://www.odt.co.nz/regions/central-otago/295264/multiple-failings-police-crash-probe

    Disciplinary proceedings cannot be started against police involved in the mishandling of an investigation into a 2005 car crash near Alexandra, despite the Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA) finding there were multiple failings by some senior staff.

    —-

    , the IPCA became involved in September 2008.

    Two Alexandra police officers were charged in the wake of the incident.

    Ford was found guilty in August 2010 of perjury and sentenced to 28 months’ jail.

    Cassidy admitted attempting to pervert the course of justice by failing to disclose a statement made by Ford at the time of the accident and, in November 2010, was sentenced to seven months’ home detention.

    Both officers resigned from the police.

    —-

    Because it had already been established that Ford committed perjury and Cassidy perverted the course of justice, resulting in the wrongful conviction of Mr Cribb, the authority focused primarily on how this occurred and why police did not uncover the truth earlier.

    Ask the wrong question and get ?

    The entire station would have known as would have the management that there was valid questions about fords driving that day. Management ignored this when they supervised the case against Gribb . I belive they deliberately tried to exonerate ford untill it was unsustainable. An attitude such as this displayed by senior management is unacceptable prosecute the public serve the police.

    Independent Police Authority. :lol:

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  53. bc (1,344 comments) says:

    What the Hekia?!

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  54. big bruv (13,450 comments) says:

    Every time Parata speaks I wonder what she is going to fuck up next. There is so much good news to be had out there and yet Parata keeps making a fool of herself.

    Is she persevered with simply because she is Maori?

    Vote: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  55. bc (1,344 comments) says:

    The ironic thing is that Hekia wants performance pay for teachers – but not for herself of course.
    Imagine what her performance pay would be?

    Vote: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  56. mikenmild (11,158 comments) says:

    I wonder how long it will be before her conduct starts to do any wider damage. John Key has hitherto backed her fully, but at some stage might be forced to consider whether he can continue to do so.

    Vote: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  57. Steve (North Shore) (4,516 comments) says:

    Who got the $50K? or does that not matter?
    $50K down the gutter with “koha” as the excuse.
    BULLSHIT

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  58. Manolo (13,514 comments) says:

    Is she persevered with simply because she is Maori?

    Yes. Isn’t the Pope a Catholic?

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  59. thedavincimode (6,573 comments) says:

    I can recall being very impressed with Parata after watching her maiden speech – not just the passion but the substance – after getting home from a restaurant one night. Ditto an interview on radio pinko with liebour’s time traveller whose name is as forgettable as his lack of Parliamentary presence but whom by all accounts was at the Battle of Hastings as a Pasifica observer.

    I guess I shouldn’t have had the second bottle – or perhaps it was three – before watching the maiden speech. As for the radio pinko interview, I just don’t have an excuse :oops: .

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  60. mikenmild (11,158 comments) says:

    No longer a fan, eh?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  61. btb (7 comments) says:

    Parata has to go. A complete muppet. Doesn’t get it. Education is the most significant issue to most Nerw Zealanders. She is asleep at the wheel and always has been. Go, get lost, you are not helping anyone, buy another pointless jacket you should feel very comfortable in it, and waste everyone’s time debating how it’s not vulgar. You have let down the most vulnerable in the country… Maori kids who can’t read. I hope you’re happy, no vote for you. Idiot.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  62. HB (288 comments) says:

    I thought this was a well written and reasoned blog post
    Publicaddress.net/busytown/schoolbully

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  63. Ben Dover (526 comments) says:

    PLA orders discussion of combat readiness

    The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) General Political Department has ordered the army and armed police across the nation to discuss combat readiness and effectiveness, the PLA Daily reported on Tuesday.

    The PLA Daily said the across-the-board discussion aims at instilling the concept of combat readiness, adding that the discussion will be the army’s prime political task this year.

    The PLA General Political Department has required military officers to learn modern military technologies and IT knowledge and to analyze what it takes to win a modern war.

    The discussion will entail weeding out military practices that run counter to the “combat-readiness standard” and learning the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Military Commission (CMC) chairman Xi Jinping’s remarks on national defense and army building, according to the PLA Daily.

    Xi, who leads the country’s reform on national defense and the armed forces, stressed that military reform should be guided by the objective of building a strong army at a key military reform meeting on Saturday.

    With “being able to combat and win battles” as the focus, Xi said at the meeting the reform should target key problems in strengthening combat preparedness and weak links in honing combat effectiveness.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.