A beat up

September 18th, 2011 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Michael Field in the SST reports:

National party president Peter Goodfellow denies there is a conflict of interest between his investment in the fishing industry and the ministerial inquiry into allegations of slavery at sea.

The University of Auckland Business School and the Sunday Star-Times have both uncovered stories of around 2000 Asian men working in slave-like conditions on foreign charter vessels (FCV)s.

The revelations have prompted the inquiry into the pay and conditions on board these boats.

It can now be revealed that Goodfellow has a substantial interest in the fishing company Sanford, which last year held 23.54% of the allowable catch under the Quota Management System. The company uses four Korean FCVs and five of its own boats.

In its latest report Sanford said it would “work with officials to counter the ill-informed and politically motivated demonising” of FCVs.

Goodfellow and his brother William are on the Sanford board, each receiving an annual fee of $47,500, and 37% of Sanford stock is held by Amalgamated Dairies Ltd, a Goodfellow family-controlled company.

Goodfellow, in his own name, owns Sanford stock worth, on Friday values, $623,000.

The latest issue of Professional Skipper magazine said the ministerial inquiry should not amount to a “quick sweep under the table” and the magazine called for Goodfellow to “now step aside [as National Party president] and distance himself because of a potential conflict of interest”.

What nonsense. We have so many idiots who do not know what is and is not a conflict of interest. If Peter had been lobbying Ministers not to undertake an inquiry then you might have a conflict. If Peter had been appointed the the inquiry board, then there might be a conflict.

But being a director of a firm, which might be impacted by a ministerial inquiry is not a conflict.

One former party president was a lawyer. Does that mean the Government couldn’t make any changes in the justice sector?

Quote of the Week

June 15th, 2011 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

National Party President Peter Goodfellow was quoted as saying:

National had no inter­est in Labour’s infor­ma­tion of that kind and was not look­ing for it.

“We don’t con­done that sort of behav­iour at all.”

He declined to com­ment on Slater or his actions.

“I don’t have any con­trol over him. If you see what he has writ­ten about me you would prob­a­bly say I prob­a­bly don’t have any con­trol over him. I mean you are talk­ing to the wrong guy there,” he said.

Peter denying he has any sort of control over Peter would normally be the funniest thing in print. Most people will recall that Whale spent several months trying to get Peter not re-elected to the Board.

But Whale’s response is even better:

Damn right they have no con­trol over me, no one does, not even me.

That must be the most perceptive thing Whale has ever said 🙂

Misleading headlines

August 29th, 2009 at 10:15 am by David Farrar

When you see the Weekend Herald proclaim “Nats’ chief helps in fraud probe” you automatically think he may be in some way involved with an alleged fraud, and/or criminal wrong-doing.

In reality it transpires he is an indirect victim having lent $100,000 to a friend who invested with a man who seemingly is being investigated by the SFO.

It would have been nice if the headline reflected this, assuming that what has been reported is al there is to the story. To be honest seems a non-story to me.

In another Herald story, they profile Goodfellow’s baptism of fire. An interesting tidbit:

It is a rare glimpse: his now 92-year-old father, Douglas Goodfellow, has never given a public interview.

The family have managed to keep their low profile despite wealth and philanthropy on a massive scale – a Listener article from 1996 detailed how Douglas Goodfellow gave away $285 million to various unknown charities, the largest gift in New Zealand history at the time.

Goodness, that is a huge amount of charity, and done very quietly it seems.

The family are 16th on the NBR rich list with an estimated wealth of $550 million from interests ranging across fishing, finance and agricultural chemicals. The mild-mannered Mr Goodfellow – often compared to Ned Flanders from The Simpsons because of his moustache – told the Weekend Herald that recent weeks had been “difficult”.

I hadn’t heard the Ned Flanders nickname before, but sadly for Peter can see it catching on 🙂

Asked if the factional politics of the National Party in Auckland are “vicious” given the early pressure on his presidency, Mr Goodfellow prefers the word “robust”.

Ha, that is a euphemism!

He became the family’s first activist with the Young Nationals in the 1970s.

He recalled Tamaki MP and Prime Minister Rob Muldoon collecting him early one morning for an Anzac Day dawn service.

Good God. That could have been very traumatic!

Public show of support for Goodfellow

August 25th, 2009 at 11:59 am by David Farrar

The Dom Post report:

National Party president Peter Goodfellow has fronted up at Parliament with Prime Minister John Key and declared that he has the full confidence of the party and its board.

Mr Goodfellow, who has been under pressure over suggestions that some board members wanted him removed, said today that the end of his marriage was probably what lay behind the speculation. He wanted people to respect his personal life.

Many people involved in politics has messy splits.

“My personal life is my personal life and I don’t think there is anything in my personal life that affects my ability to be president.”

That is how it should be, but in politics the perception is often more important than the reality. Stories about one’s personal life can undermine effectiveness in a role.

Mr Goodfellow said Mr Key had been aware of matters concerning his personal life because he told him after he was elected party president.

It is easier to say this with hindsight, but it may have been prudent to have that discussion before the election for President. Even if you have done nothing wrong, the fact one is going through an acrimonious split that may result in bad publicity is a relevant factor.

Mr Key said Mr Goodfellow, who was at Parliament for National’s weekly caucus meeting, had the confidence of the board.

“Most people are guilty of making the odd mistake in their personal life. Most people are accepting of that. Peter has my full confidence… there is nothing I’ve ever seen or [been] aware of that would preclude him from being president of the National Party or an office holder of the National Party.”

Indeed, let he is without sin cast the first stone is the old saying. Few people act blamelessly in a relationship.

Sunday News on National

August 23rd, 2009 at 6:47 am by David Farrar

The Sunday News has a story on National Party President Peter Goodfellow, and the fact he is currently living with the ex-wife of fellow board member Scott Simpson, Desley Simpson.

They have majorly fucked up though with the photo they ran, which is of Scott Simpson and a former girlfriend, not Desley Simpson.

The story says:

THE under-fire National Party president has shacked up with the socialite wife of the man poised to succeed him if he is forced from the role. …

Now Sunday News can reveal that Goodfellow lives with Desley Simpson, the wife of Scott Simpson who is likely to fight for his job should he stand down.

I don’t want to get into great detail on this issue but it is important to note Desley and Scott’s separation happened well before Desley got together with Peter.This is not a case of a wife leaving her husband for a rival, as the story suggests.

The relationship is not secret – I doubt a single person at National Conference was unaware of it, especially as Desley was there at Peter’s side. Most people don’t think it is a big issue if someone’s ex-wife is now dating someone else in the party.

The two leading contenders for party presidency were Goodfellow and fellow board member Simpson.

Several well-placed National sources said that if Goodfellow, whose family is 16th on NBR’s 2009 Rich List with a wealth of $550 million, was to be moved from his position, Simpson would likely fight for the job.

As, could other board members.

Simpson told Sunday News he was aware his wife was in a relationship with the man who beat him in the race for president but was unfazed.

“My former wife and I separated four or five years ago and we have almost zero contact and that’s just the way it is.

So it isn’t really a love triangle. Desley and Peter got together around three to four years after Scott and Desley seperated.

National Conference wrapup

August 4th, 2009 at 12:37 pm by David Farrar

I’m old enough to have attended the last victory (won Government) conference for National. It was in 1991 and was also in Christchurch. Both saw a new Government nine months or so into office, and both coping with a nasty recession.

However in 1991, the conference was not just attended by the party faithful, but there were around 8,000 protesters, close to 1,000 Police (they cancelled leave for every police officer in the entire South Island), and bomb squad sniffer dogs. While the 2009 National Conference did not attract even a sole protester despite National now being in Government. I can’t ever recall a conference by National in Government that didn’t attract protests before.

And in spring of 1901, National was at 22% in the polls – 20% behind Labour. As we head into spring 2009, National is at 56% – 25% ahead of Labour. A remarkable contrast.

So the conference was obviously a buoyant one, with delegates and MPs in good heart. It was at the Christchurch Convention Centre, and here is the view from the Crowne Plaza next door.

DPF 004

The PM’s speech was of course the highlight, and it was very good planning he used it to announce a timely and major initiative. In Government, people like a speech of substance, not just bashing the other side. In fact John did not mention the Opposition once during his speech.

Bill English gave a very sober and insightful speech on the realities of the economy and the challenges ahead. And I thought Simon Power’s speech on all the justice initiatives was first class. Also was good to see the Young Nats President Alex Mitchell use his speech not just to fellate the party, as Young Nats sometimes do, but demand action on voluntary membership of student associations and warn against any moves to increase the alcohol purchase age from 18 to 20.

What didn’t work so well was the Ministerial forums. Maybe I’m just getting old and cynical, but hearing five minute brag sessions from Ministers about what they are doing turns me off. I’d rather have less Ministers with more time to talk policy in detail, than giving each Minister five minutes and time for only a couple of questions. I did enjoy joking that anyone who wanted to ask Paula Bennett a question should be obliged to first state their IRD number 🙂

Even more than that, what I personally would have preferred is a Ministerial Q&A session – say for 90 minutes. I know this was meant to be the victory conference, so maybe they may do it next year. But I think giving delegates the chance to ask questions of any and all Ministers is a good look, and gives delegates more of a chance for interaction.

Then we had the Board and Presidential elections. I’ve known the five people elected to the Board for pretty much a decade or more. They are all good people, who will do a diligent job on the Board. There are not any of them that I would not want on the Board as they bring a good mixture of skills, experience and geography.

But having said that, I am disappointed Wira Gardiner did not get on. As I had a role in the vote count, I thought it was inappropriate to “take sides” before the vote, but I do not share any of the reservations that Whale Oil had towards Wira. I’ve known Wira since his first wife was a candidate and he has been involved for at least two decades, including service as a Vice-President of the Party.

His record of achievement speaks for itself, in that he is now formally Sir Wira. Both Labour and National Governments have used him as a trouble shooter to sort out dysfunctional agencies. Someone with that governance experience would have been well placed to contribute to the Party’s Board. Plus there were also some obvious advantages in terms of relationships with the Maori Party – but that is a secondary consideration to me. Merit is what I value.

So why did Wira not get elected? Well there was a variety of reasons. Hekia, his wife, being an MP was one of them – but not really the major factor in my opinion. The main reason is that Wira was touted as a potential President, despite not being a current Board member. And it seemed there was a reasonable chance of Wira becoming President if he did get elected. By no means certain, but a reasonable chance.

What this meant, is those who did not want Wira to be President, followed Whale Oil’s advice and ranked him lowly to keep him off the Board. I have no doubt he would have been elected if he ruled out standing for President. Now I was not a delegate myself, so didn’t have to think about who I would leave off the Board if Wira got on. As I said, they are all good people – but there were only five vacancies.

Peter’s election as President was not a surprise. One press gallery journalist had quite a laugh on Sunday morning when they saw on my laptop I already had written a story announcing Peter’s election as President, and was just waiting for the official announcement to click the publish button.

I believe the number one objective for the President is to raise the money the party needs to function, and win elections. Peter’s business background should do him well in that regard and again respectivelly disagreeing with Whale, I expect Peter will remain President through until the 2011 election at least. Of course it will be up to delegates at the 2010 conference to make that decision on re-election to the Board.

Also have to mention the well deserved awarding of the Sir George Chapman trophy for service to the party went to our own blogging Homepaddock – Ele Ludemann. I won’t even mention how she was alseep in her room when they awarded her the prize 🙂


This is a hazy photo of the screen, but had to share this photo of Tauranga MP Simon Bridges forming part of the conference dinner entertainment, Simon took it all in good humour as the entertainers put him into a number of poses.

The conference saw Judy Kirk retire as President also after just under seven years in the job. This makes her the third equal longest serving President. Sir Alex McKenzie did 11 years, Sir George Chapman nine years and Sir Wilfred Sim and Ned Holt both also did seven years. I was counting votes during the farewell to Judy, but understand it was warmly given and received.

The number of people attending must be a record for a non election year. Around 700 people attended and there were 574 voting delegates. I saw many people there who hadn’t been to a conference for quite a few years.

It will be interesting to see what the mood is like in twelve months time at the 2010 conference.

Goodfellow elected President

August 2nd, 2009 at 9:08 am by David Farrar

Auckland businessman Peter Goodfellow has been elected National Party President by the nine person Board of Directors.

Peter was an existing board members along with Canterbury-Westland Chairman Roger Bridge.

Elected yesterday to the Board were former Northern Chair Scott Simpson, current Northern Chair Alastair Bell, current Southern Chair Kate Hazlett, Northland farmer Grant McCallum and East Coast Electorate Chair Pat Seymour.

John Key and Nathan Guy are also members.

The National Party Presidency

July 17th, 2009 at 10:30 am by David Farrar

At the end of the month, National will elect a new President – indirectly. With Judy Kirk retiring this is the first vacancy under the new rules, where the members elect seven Directors to the National Board, and the Directors (including the Leader and a Caucus Rep) elect one of their own as President.

This has made predicting who will win much harder, as you have to get elected to the Board first, before you even get a chance to convince your peers to make you President. And to make it harder, many of the Board nominees are of sufficient calibre to be a viable President.

Two of the seven elected Directors are part way through their term, so are guaranteed to stay on the Board. They are Roger Bridge, the Canterbury-Westland Chair, and Peter Goodfellow from Auckland – a long time party activist. Both Bridge and Goodfellow are potential Presidents, regardless of formal declarations. They would serve if asked/elected.

Leader John Key and Chief Whip Nathan Guy also get a vote. Presuming they vote as a bloc, they will be influential. Key, Guy and whomever becomes President makes three votes out of nine. They only need two more.

Incumbent Director Scott Simpson is standing again. A former Auckland Regional Chairman, he is also a Presidental candidate. Fellow incumbent Grant McCallum from Northland is also standing again and as far as I know not seeking the Presidency.

According to Whale Oil (I have not had time to check directly with HQ), there are six other canddate for the Board. They are:

  • Alastair Bell, current Northern Regional Chair
  • Dennis Catchpole from the CNI Region
  • Sir Harawira (Wira) Gardiner, former Maori Vice-President
  • Kate Hazlett, Southern Region Chair from Southland
  • Bruce Mills, Rangitikei Electorate Chair and long-time LNI Regional presence
  • Pat Seymour, East Coast Electorate Chair for many years

Of the six non incumbents, only Wira Gardiner is also a Presidential candidate Alastair is a potential candidate also but I think isn’t seeking it at this stage.

Whale Oil makes his preferences quite clear, not being a Wira fan.

However Matthew Hooton in the NBR this morning wrote:

All candidates have been thoroughly vetted, with Mr Key’s preference said to be party stalwart Wira Gardiner. Mr Key judges, correctly, that Mr Gardiner – a businessman, former senior public servant, soldier and Mr Fixit for both National and Labour governments – has the administrative backbone to prepare National to take the fight to Labour. Moreover, Mr Key sees Mr Gardiner as important to securing a third term, given the Maori Party will hold the balance of power in 2014, if not 2011.

I’m not sure whether or not Matthew is correct as to John Key’s preference. I suspect John is keeping his opinion fairly tight as he has to work with whomever gets elected.

I know reasonably well all the Board candidates (except Dennis Catchpole) and have warm friendships with many of them. I think National is fortunate to have a good range of talent to choose from.

I won’t be blogging my preferences, as I’m not a voting delegate. But also because I designed the voting software they use to count the vote, so it is generally inadvisable for me to enter the fray in case anyone suspects I have a secret sub-routine in there that will favour my preferred canddiates 🙂

President Sir Wira Gardiner?

March 25th, 2009 at 5:52 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports that (Sir) Wira Gardiner will stand for election to the National Party Board at the party’s annual conference, and Wira is not ruling out he may stand for the presidency.

The article also confirms the candidacy of current Director Peter Goodfellow, and the likely interest of Director Scott Simpson. All three are very good people, and the choice should be a positive one – not a major battle between competing ideologies or factions.

The presidency is no longer decided by the party’s annual conference but by the board of directors itself. The nine Directors select one of their own to be President. Since this change in 2003, there has been no vacancy with incumbent Judy Kirk re-elected without dissent. 2009 will be the first time there is competition for the role. However as there are only nine votes in play, it is quite possible that people will be able to work out who has the numbers in advance of the actual vote.