A second secret trust for Cunliffe!

March 5th, 2014 at 7:04 pm by David Farrar

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!

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The Cunliffe speech

April 30th, 2012 at 3:18 pm by David Farrar

David Cunliffe delivered a speech yesterday that has many Labour and left activists praising it. It is a speech well outside his area of economic development (He is Economic Development, not Finance spokesperson after Shearer demoted him), and is an effective state of the nation or state of the party speech. I have seen these speeches before, and inevitably when portfolio spokespersons give speeches like this, they are wanting a certain job. Some extracts:

You know that at the last election, the one that we lost so badly, nearly 1 million people didn’t vote. Over 800,000 people: a fifth of the population didn’t vote.

Now you know, there are lots of reasons that people didn’t vote, and there were even more reasons why people didn’t vote for Labour. Let me give you just a few.

The major reason that voters didn’t vote for Labour, and sometimes didn’t vote at all, is simply that Labour failed to inspire voters that it was a credible alternative to National. …

I want to be clear from the outset that this speech represents my own views and does not pretend to represent overall Labour policy. All policies are being reviewed in the post-election period. 

All the classic signs. “My personal views”. “Why we failed”. The implication is “Why we continue to fail”.

When the right-wing party says that it’s going to cut your leg off, voters want the left-wing party to say that it’s not going to cut your leg off. Voters don’t want to be told that the left-wing party is also going to cut your leg off, but cut it off a bit lower down and give you some anesthetic.

 I think that’s a major reason that nearly one million voters deserted us at the last election. It wasn’t because we failed to communicate our policies. Quite the opposite. Those voters saw that our policies – with the exception of asset sales – were mostly the same as National’s. So we can’t really be surprised at the result.

This is a clear call to arms for the left activists. Never mind the reality they were promising $70 more a week to beneficiaries and the like, and most commentator said their policies under Goff were more left-wing than even under Helen Clark. Cunliffe needs the left activist base. The activist base is always less moderate that the supporters. The average National activist is well to the right of a National Government, and the average Labour activist well to the left of a Labour Government.

But you’d never know this if you listened to John Key. Like a quack doctor whose cure has failed, his response is to double the dose until the patient is dead.

 Sorry, John, but let me quote Sir Winston Churchill:

“The truth is incontrovertible, malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end; there it is.”

No matter how many politicians and economists still defend the economic policies that led us into this mess, the truth is steadily showing itself.

The obligatory Churchill quote every leadership speech has.

Labour has a new leader with strong values, who’s focused on reconnecting with the voters and has the courage to stand up to bullies. It’s up to us, as a Party, to share with our leader, our hopes, our fears and our dreams, to reconstruct the Party from within, to reclaim our natural constituency of decent, ordinary New Zealanders who believe in fairness and hard work.

This paragraph is astonishing. It strongly implies that the leader does not already share their hopes, fears and dreams. It is a call to action for activists to back Cunliffe’s views and policies and insist Shearer implements them, with a clear implication about what may happen if he does not.

But we didn’t. And we don’t have to back away from creating policies that can turn us away from the economic insanity of the last three decades.

David Cunliffe was a Minister in the last Labour Government. He is now saying that the economic polices of that Government were insane. This is what you do when trying to position yourself as a new leader.

What I find surprising in this speech is not that Cunliffe is making a leadership style speech, but that he has done so in such an unsubtle way. Normally these things are much more subtle and coded. I have never seen an MP urge activists to “share” their views with the leader, in a way which suggests he is out of touch.

The other interesting thing is events of the last week. First we have top Auckland Labour Party official, Greg Presland, who blogged last Wednesday praising David Cunliffe. He implied the Robertson camp was behind the attacks on both Cunliffe and Shearer, and openly said:

Cunliffe may now be Shearer’s best chance of survival as Labour Head Office and the Beehive are filled with Robertson supporters. 

Now bear in mind to have your top Auckland official openly talk about the leader not surviving, and how it is is only the good graces of Cunliffe keeping him alive. In National such an official would be outski. Party officials should never ever talk about how the Leader is struggling to survive.

Then two days later on Friday Chris Trotter blogged:

I was wrong about David Shearer. I made the mistake of believing that a politician with a brilliant back-story couldn’t fail to give us an equally brilliant front-story. …

It’s time for the Labour Caucus to put an end to “the unfortunate experiment” and begin a new one. They could call it “democracy” – and stop taking their party for Grant-ed.

A clear attack on both Shearer, and Grant Robertson, which by omission suggests Cunliffe should be Leader.

Then another two days later, Cunliffe makes a “True Labour” speech, with Tumeke noting:

It was given by David Cunliffe at 2pm Sunday at the Blockhouse Bay Community Centre on his personal beliefs for the economic vision for Labour. 70 people were there by invitation including myself, Chris Trotter and Peter Davis and I have never heard the explanation of why Labour lost the 2011 election and what vision is necessary to regain that support with the passion and intelligence that Cunliffe brought to it. 

Cunliffe launched a personal vision of what I’d call ‘True Labour’, a renouncing of the neo liberal agenda and an explanation that the reason a million enrolled voters didn’t bother to vote Labour was because despite a few policy differences, Labour was still the lighter shade of blue. 

Now I am sure this is all a coincidence because I am a trusting sort of person. But someone more cynical and suspicious than me might wonder about the timing of all this.

UPDATE: Am sure this David Cunliffe campaign website is also a coincidence and is really aimed for the general election in 31 months time.

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Nice try Greg

November 22nd, 2011 at 4:34 pm by David Farrar

Been released some amusing e-mails from one of the participants (should be easy to guess). Well known Labour activist and wannabee candidate Greg Presland e-mailed New Lynn and Waitakere candidates the following:


I am the acting chair of the Titirangi Ratepayers and Residents Association.  We are intending to hold a “meet the candidates” meeting on November 22, 2011 from 7 pm to 9 pm at the Presbyterian Hall, 244 Atkinson Road Titirangi.  As the area has parts of two seats in it we are inviting all candidates for the New Lynn or Waitakere seats to attend. …

I am in the process of arranging an independent chair for the debate part of the meeting.

Can you each confirm that you are available..  Can national secretaries send this email to their local candidates.

Greg Presland

This was sent on the 10th of November. Most genuine meetings have had incites go out well in advance of the final fortnight. Now Paula Bennett could have just replied with a I’ve already got something on that day (which she has) but her reply was:

Dear Greg -

I must admit your invitation did make me smile. I well remember 6 years ago as a very new candidate unwittingly going to this meeting that was a complete set up by the Labour Party and how appallingly it was run and how rude everyone was, fool me once and shame on me, fool me twice … well it ain’t going to happen. I will not be attending.  Since the boundary changes around 4 years ago, none of the Waitakere electorate is in the Titirangi catchment – hence why I wasn’t invited 3 years ago.

Anything involving you would be blatantly party political as you are the West Auckland Labour Party Chairman and constantly negatively blog about me under the psuedonym Mickeysavage, I could bring as many of my supporters to match the Labour stacking that will go on and everyone could have a mud slinging match, but what a waste of everyones time.

Enjoy your evening.


So it was an invite for a group that do not even live in her electorate by the main Labour activist in West Auckland. Don’t have to be a rocket scientist to work out there won’t be a single undecided voter there. Now Paula’s response was fairly polite. Then Greg replied with this:

Dear Paula

Six years ago I arranged for a local Headmaster of impeccable standing to chair the debate because I acknowledged that I have strong political views and I considered that an independent chair was appropriate.  There were at least two members of the National Party on the TRRA executive at the time and I was careful to make sure that the meeting was conducted properly.  I received no complaints and thought the meeting went well.

Last election we decided to have candidates from the Tamaki Makaurau seat, this time we thought that we should have Waitakere candidates again.  And you are wrong, part of the Titirangi area is in the Waitakere seat.  You should get out a map some time and check the boundaries.

This time Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse will chair the debate.  Am I missing something?

As for blogging well using taxpayers money to advertise constituency clinics deserves criticism and your particular style of politics is appalling.  Why someone who gained a degree using public funds should destroy the opportunity for others to do the same is beyond me.  And your disrespect for the rights of privacy of beneficiaries while supporting a Prime Minister that tramples over the independence of the media in trying to protect rights of privacy that were surrendered as soon as he called a press conference is distressing in the extreme.

May this election return a Government that will work in the best interests of ordinary Kiwis.

By the way I am not the West Auckland Labour Party chair.  There is no such position.

The funny thing is Greg sent that version of the e-mail with the paragraph part-bolded just to Paula. The next day he sent a sanitised one to all the other candidates, including Paula.

What is funny is Greg regards Penny Hulse as an independent chair. I have no beef with Penny, but she is a politician of the left and not independent, in the sense of someone apolitical.

Anyway good on Paula for not falling into the same trap twice.

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