Pecuniary Interests

Trevor Mallard blogged:

There was some publicity recently about Jonathan Young’s carelessness in relation to his declaration of pecuniary interest.

This week it is all about the hapless Chris Finlayson who is already in serious trouble for the way he kept on changing his description of his relationship with a Supreme Court judge in whose favour he intervened.

Trevor calling Chris hapless is a bit like me calling Usain Bolt slow.

Now it has emerged that Finlayson helped set up a company in 2006, after he became an MP,  and became a director then and has failed to declare it on any return since that date.

Trevor goes on to declare that Chris must stand down as Attorney-General due to this issue.

I’m amazed after the incidents of 2008, any Labour MP who was an MP in 2008 ever has the decency to try and talk with credibility about the Register of Pecuniary Interests. Hypocrisy is not an adequate term to describe this. It is more akin to the CEO of BP going lectures on environmental protection and good public relations.

In case anyone has forgotten let me remind you that every single Labour MP voted that Winston did not breach the rules of the Register when he did not declare a $100,000 personal donation from Owen Glenn, and also tens of thousands of donations from the Velas.

Even worse, Glenn was seeking appointment as a Consul, and the Velas had racing interests which benefited greatly from funding for the industry (such as prizes) which Winston got Labour to agree to.

Now this was exactly what you have a Register for – the abuses uncovered by the Privileges Committee (with help from the SFO) were as severe a conflict as one can have. Undisclosed personal donations from people you were championing.

And what was Labour’s response to the compelling testimony and proof, that exposed Winston as a liar and have broken the rules? They voted against the recommendation of the Privileges Committee, and oh yeah banked $100,000 cheque from the Velas a few days before the 2008 election, when it would not have to be declared until afterwards.

So pardon me while I vomit up, as I see any Labour MP thinking they have any integrity on this issue. It was a low point for parliamentary integrity – and not a single Labour MP had the guts to vote with their conscience.

Anyway back to Trevor’s allegations, I quote from a statement put out to those inquiring:

Since 2006 I have been a  director and shareholder of Te Puhi Trust (2) Limited, with two other directors.

The incorporation is a corporate trustee for a family trust. The incorporation owns no assets – Te Puhi Trust (2) limited exists only to be a trustee for the family trust, Te Puhi Trust (2), whose beneficiaries are the family and charitable causes.

I have no pecuniary interest in any of these entities, as confirmed in a letter from the trust’s lawyer today. Accordingly, I did not declare the directorship of the corporate trustee for the family trust as a pecuniary interest on the Register of Pecuniary Interests. There is no precuniary interest.

I have sought advice this morning from the Registrar of Pecuniary Interests as to whether a directorship with no pecuniary interests should be declared on the Register of Pecuniary Interests. I expect to have an answer tomorrow.

Now it is possible that the Registrar may say this should be disclosed, but if this is the case this is a technical breach which involves no possible actual gain by not having declared it. If Winston was a 95 on a 1- 100 seriousness scale, this is around a 2 or 3.

Trevor compares the issue to the problems David Parker had in 2006. Now I will agree that the A-G needs to be held to a higher standard of accountability than a normal MP. But the problem David Parker had is that his declaration that a company had resolved not to have an auditor was disputed by an aggrieved minority share holder who said this declaration was false as he had not agreed. It later transpired that the aggrieved share holder was no longer a share holder, but Parker actually thought he was a share holder when he signed forms saying share holders had unanimously agreed. But his case had an alleged victim claiming disadvantage.

Anyway let’s enjoy the hypocrisy of Labour claiming there is no need to disclose $100,000 donations towards your personal legal fees, but that you do need to disclose a non-pecuniary directorship.

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