Peters denials on conflict of interest questioned

Winston Peters in a standup with media on Monday regarding questions over a company with connections to people with close connections to NZ First (lawyer Brian Henry and Peters’ partner Jan Trotman) (1 News):

What in earth would the Auditor general investigate? Because an application was made and it failed.

If it came to the question of whether there was a conflict of interest, well in the case of one person who wasn’t even then a director, but became an executive director  after the failure, how would that in any way be caught by a conflict of interest?

And in the case of myself and Shane Jones, well I didn’t even know about it and nor did Shane Jones to the best of our knowledge, because it was handled by the process.

What on earth would the Auditor General investigate?

A journalist asks a question “But if you’re confident everything was done by the book…”

We’re not going to have you running off in a psycho case of attack on a political party without any grounds whatsover.

No no if you want to tell me why the Auditor General is justified give me the reasons. Don’t sit there indolently and snottily and lazily saying you’ve got a case when you ain’t got one, for even a preliminary inquiry.

….Yes, I am calling you psycho, because you can’t event even make out the case.

You’ve got to be psychologically maladjusted if you can’t make a case out for an investigation and you think it’s sound. The laugh’s on you because you’re meant to be a journalist.

In Parliament yesterday:

Question No. 4—Finance

4. CHRIS BISHOP (National—Hutt South) to the Associate Minister of Finance: How much money did NZ Future Forest Products Ltd apply for from the Provincial Growth Fund and what was the application for?

Hon Dr DAVID CLARK (Associate Minister of Finance): I can confirm that N.Z. Future Forest Products Ltd applied for a $15 million loan from the Provincial Growth Fund. As the information is already in the public domain, I can tell the member that the loan was to carry out a feasibility study for a new engineered timber operation in Gisborne. It’s worth noting that the application has been declined by Ministers.

Chris Bishop: On what date was responsibility for N.Z. Future Forest Products’ applications to the Government for funding through the Provincial Growth Fund transferred from the Hon Shane Jones to him because Mr Jones had identified a conflict of interest?

Hon Dr DAVID CLARK: The transfer occurred on 4 November.

Chris Bishop: Does that mean that the Hon Shane Jones was the Minister in charge of the Provincial Growth Fund from March 2019, when N.Z. Future Forest Products’ application was made, up until 4 November, when the responsibility was transferred to him?

Hon Dr DAVID CLARK: I wouldn’t characterise it as the member has. I’m not responsible for the period where Mr Jones—prior to the transfer on 4 November. Obviously, it was transferred to my office on 4 November. I received advice, and declined the application on 7 November.

Chris Bishop: Is he aware on what date the Hon Shane Jones became aware of the N.Z. Future Forest Products’ application to the Provincial Growth Fund?

Hon Dr DAVID CLARK: No.

Chris Bishop: Is he aware of what the conflict of interest is that meant the Hon Shane Jones transferred responsibility to him as Associate Minister of Finance?

Hon Dr DAVID CLARK: I’m advised that Minister Jones took advice from the Cabinet Office and acted appropriately in transferring the matter to me for my responsibility to make the decision.

SPEAKER: Order! Order! I am going to ask the member to—I mean, he can say no if he—

Hon Dr DAVID CLARK: Mr Speaker, I don’t have that detail. If the member does wish to put it down in writing, I’m sure we can find an appropriate answer.

Chris Bishop: Is he aware of whether the Hon Shane Jones wrote to the Prime Minister advising of the conflict of interest, as required by section 2.72 of the Cabinet Manual?

Hon Dr DAVID CLARK: I’m not responsible for that. I can confirm that the responsibility was transferred to me, obviously, on 4 November, and then, on 7 November, I declined the application.

This casts some doubt on what Peters has stated. perhaps journalists should go more psycho on this. Or at least do some more investigating.

Jaan Trotman was made a director in August. That now appears awkward given these dates.

National are again calling on the Auditor General to investigate – Jones oversaw PGF application for six months

“NZFFP’s application was made in March 2019 soon after the company was registered with Winston Peters’ personal lawyer Brian Henry appointed as a director, with Mr Peters’ partner Jan Trotman being appointed in August.

“This means Shane Jones was in charge of the process for nearly six months while NZFFP was discussing its application with officials.

“Multiple questions arise in this murky affair and the Auditor-General must investigate. Among them, why did it take Mr Jones so long to declare this conflict of interest? What advice led to Mr Peters also declaring a conflict, as he appeared to reveal in Parliament today, and when did he declare that conflict?

Peters declared a conflict of interest? On Monday he sgated “And in the case of myself and Shane Jones, well I didn’t even know about it and nor did Shane Jones to the best of our knowledge, because it was handled by the process”.

In question 1 yesterday:

Hon Paula Bennett: So does she believe it’s appropriate for the Deputy Prime Minister to call journalists “psychos” for asking questions and doing their job?

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: On behalf of the Prime Minister, when a journalist asks about an application to the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF), which was treated only by the independent PGF fund managers and never went to Ministers, and where both Ministers declared a potential conflict of interest and the application did not succeed and failed, one has to ask oneself what sort of mind is it that thinks that the Ministers are so useless that they failed to get the application approved in the first place. That’s what a psycho looks like.

Both Ministers? Jones and Peters?

There may be some justification for further investigation.

Leave a comment

53 Comments

  1. I’d love to see the application itself, detailing Brian Henry and Jan Trotmans expertise and long standing experience in forestry. And why they in particular would provide positive to the taxpayer.

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  20th November 2019

      Why would having an ex forex gambler,a sheap shearer,and a zoologist as your top 3 in Parliament confer any net gain to NZ taxpayers?

      Reply
      • Why would that have anything to do with this post? It would be good if you could stick to the topic rather than try to divert so much.

        Do you think that Peters has been open and honest about all of this?

        Reply
        • Blazer

           /  20th November 2019

          first poster makes a correlation that has no basis and needs challenging…as we know the process in place worked ,there was no award.
          Your fervour in fanning flames re Peters is a reflection of your politics I venture.
          I can present many so called conflicts involving politicians from all parties.

          Reply
          • Corky

             /  20th November 2019

            ”Your fervour in fanning flames re Peters is a reflection of your politics I venture.”

            What bs. Pete has probably just choked on his 2 shot latte.

            Reply
            • Blazer

               /  20th November 2019

              Fact I’m afraid…cast your eyes to the right on the forum and you will see FIVE TOPIC HEADERS about Winston Peters.

            • It’s been the biggest political story for three days now. Cast your eyes on Newsroom political articles, RNZ, Stuff. Cast your eyes on Kiwiblog, The Standard.

              Cast your eyes on The Spinoff: One possibility is NZ First has broken electoral law. The other possibility is worse

              Let’s pause and look big picture. We have a political party that is a keystone of the current government. Its members are ministers, with responsibility for (among other things) distributing $3 billion in government largesse around the country’s provinces.

              And now we are told that a legally-opaque Foundation intimately connected to the party has raised hundreds-of-thousands of dollars from “primary industry leaders, wealthy investors and multi-millionaires”. That foundation allegedly has used the money for the benefit of the party and its MPs. And no-one outside of the party and those that gave the money are made any the wiser.

              If this is legal, then there’s no way that it should be. You can’t have a country’s political system run in this way and be considered the second least corrupt nation on the planet. Or, at least, you can’t do it for long.

              https://thespinoff.co.nz/politics/20-11-2019/one-possibility-is-nz-first-has-broken-electoral-law-the-other-possibility-is-worse/

          • “Your fervour in fanning flames re Peters is a reflection of your politics”

            Funny considering your fervour in trying to divert from current issues.

            What I’m posting is a reflection on a major developing political story that has major implications for the integrity of our democracy.

            What is your problem with that? Why are you trying to play interference for NZ First?

            Reply
            • Blazer

               /  20th November 2019

              So iyo ,this story needs 5 separate threads to do it justice…or to keep it…live?

            • There has been significant new information on the story every day this week.

              And you continue to try to dump on the messenger and avoid addressing the stories that keep emerging.

              You tried to cast some sort of lame aspersion on my ‘politics’ – perhaps you could be transparent about your political motives here?

            • Blazer

               /  20th November 2019

              It’s about ‘balance’…have never seen National put under the same microscope when there is any controversy.
              New information daily ,hardly requires a new thread!Unless of course you have an obsession with this particular topic.

            • Funny – you’re trying to tell me what justifies a post versus what doesn’t?

              You’re revealing far more about your obsession – trying to divert from and discredit criticism and questions about Peters, Jones and NZ First.

              And very funny you referring to ‘;balance’.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  20th November 2019

              Makes a change from having Trump on the front page every day, B. Maybe Winnie should be impeached?

            • Blazer

               /  20th November 2019

              Not trying to tell you what justifies a post at all.Merely pointing out my opinion, that 5 in a few days maybe a bit OTT.

            • Duker

               /  20th November 2019

              What’s the crime PG?
              Loans from NZF foundation declared..check
              Spending on a party behalf only has to be declared for pre election period… hmm that’s next year. Any money spent this year doesn’t count..no check as isn’t required. See also loans
              Spinoff quote is a load of codswallop of might be , could be , and shouldn’t bees
              Reminding you again how The National Party uses same method to hide the names of donors to it’s electorate MPs….the MPs themselves may be the major donor to their own campaign …you will never know as they hide the names by playing switcheroo by shuffling money over $1500 to the party where no names are given before shuffling it back to the MPs account… That is played again when you want to donate over $100k and it magically becomes under $14k and no names..
              It’s strange as it was well regarded Chinese community leader…nothing wrong with his money…except it may have looked like he was buying a list place for his son if his name was used. JLR blew the lid on that one

            • I’ll leave the explanation to an electoral law expert.

              One possibility is NZ First has broken electoral law. The other possibility is worse

              If what has been reported is both true and not a breach of the rules for political donations, then New Zealand’s reputation for being squeaky clean looks like a joke, writes electoral law expert Andrew Geddis.

              https://thespinoff.co.nz/politics/20-11-2019/one-possibility-is-nz-first-has-broken-electoral-law-the-other-possibility-is-worse/
              Another electoral law expert Graeme Edgeler also saw the possibility of illegality, that was reported by Stuff yesterday.

            • Duker

               /  20th November 2019

              So NZF are like the all blacks, what does NOT being squeaky clean even mean?
              Is the gold standard nationals arrangements?
              I can see through the reef fish pile in …
              Guess who SFO really are investigating…. Wake us up when you have more than ‘not squeaky clean’ as we can get our own rinse aid
              We had this sort of claims about labour and donations a few years back… Completely unfounded back then and originated from national too.

      • It’s a different process Blazer. We generally elect amateurs to political office. Candidates set forth their resumes to the electorate who can vote for them or not. John Key, acknowledged as one of our most popular PM’s, was a novice to politics when he took office, having spent his career in banking, but thats how western democracies work. It government for the people by the people.

        What Winnie is offering seems to be offering is cronyism. Governance for a few and their friends.

        I think it’s a positive thing a sheep shearer could become a PM.

        Reply
        • Blazer

           /  20th November 2019

          Fair enough, except if you accept your argument ,you must wonder why on earth some people get directorships,given their lack of field experience.
          I can give you literally dozens of examples.

          Reply
          • Kitty Catkin

             /  20th November 2019

            The sheep shearer would not have spent his life doing nothing else before being PM: I assume that you mean Bill English. I was under the impression that he was a farmer. Correct me if I am wrong. Running a farm takes some skill and expertise.

            Reply
            • Blazer

               /  20th November 2019

              you are wrong.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  20th November 2019

              It certainly takes a work ethic as well, Kitty. A rugby player, an honours degree in English literature, a farmer, a Treasury policy analyst – sounds like an enquiring mind and active body. Would be anathema to Blazer.

            • Blazer

               /  20th November 2019

              A ‘rugby player’!OMG….a degree in English Literature=perfect for Minister of Finance….idea…lets borrow 60 billion dollars!Brilliant.

            • Duker

               /  20th November 2019

              English was never a sheep farmer, the family farm was taken on by his brother Hamish. Bill went to boarding school in silverstream Wellington when 13 and then University at Otago and Victoria. His actual job was a public servant at Treasury when the electorate vacancy in Southland came up…this required some trickery as he had a wife and family ..she is a GP…living in Wellington.
              Plenty of MPs grew up on a farm and had some farming skills…Helen Clark on a dairy farm comes to mind…that doesn’t make them a real practicing farmer.. but to play the national party identity politics game English was transformed from a Wellington bureaucrat into a fake farmer

          • Duker

             /  20th November 2019

            How could a Southland sheep farmer be the electorate chairman at Wellingtons Hataitai branch when the vacancy came up ?
            English was a fake even before fake was a thing

            Reply
    • Duker

       /  20th November 2019

      Silly boy Artcroft. the Henry family practically ‘invented’ the forestry Industry in NZ.
      There was NZFP , which was run by family patriarchs for a long time
      Look it up https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_family
      Brian Henry, a lawyer is merely the head of the family investment vehicle, which still owns large land areas and forests. If you know the right people they do take in others peoples investments as well . Trotman must know Brian Henry fairly well>

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  20th November 2019

        One prefers to give someone the benefit of the doubt, but the connection between these people and NZ First should have made them keep at a distance; Caesar’s wife and all that (not just above suspicion, needs to be seen to be above suspicion)

        Reply
        • Duker

           /  20th November 2019

          Considered and done. Even though Jones isn’t connected to the Henery family he left the room when the proposal came up for ministerial consideration….before that it was the public servant job. Guess what the applications we’re considered and not approved …presumably on lack of merit.
          Does that constitute a problem?

          Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  20th November 2019

        I didn’t know that BE had an honours degree in Eng, Lit; BA or MA ?

        Contrary to what Blazer seems to think, some people succeed because of hard work and intelligence, and his put-downs of BE look like envy and spite.

        Reply
        • Duker

           /  21st November 2019

          Thats the point it wasnt an ‘honours’ degree, as it was a BA. I think he was a good student , and was tapped by Treasury when they decided they really didnt need all those MA Hons 1st class ,in Economics anymore, and Bill later completed papers in economics at Vic while employed in Treasury. Dont think you could call that ‘hons’ either.

          Reply
  2. Gerrit

     /  20th November 2019

    This story must have legs for Blazer to keep running interference like he is.

    And with Peters is at his obfuscation best, there is much more to this story to unfold.

    Like did NZ First parliamentary wing have the financial income to repay the “loans” from NZFirst Foundation? Shades of the Spencer Trust set up?

    And Winston remarks that he ‘knows nothing” about how the NZFirst Foundation is governed or how it receives donations.

    Reply
  3. lurcher1948

     /  20th November 2019

    Todays BIG news tomorrows fish and chip paper….the public dont care

    Reply
    • Gerrit

       /  20th November 2019

      Hard to wrap fish and chips in digital news sources. Maybe Ardern with her vast experience in wrapping fish and chips can advice how to when news is presented as 0’s and 1’s.

      What you have to remember is that to keep the news “current”, it will be drip fed with new revelations when the public have digested today’s missives.

      Death by a thousand cuts. Seems like Fairfax have seen (or have copies) of invoices. How long before they are made public one at a t time?

      “Invoices, seen by Stuff, reveal the foundation spent $325,000 in about 18 months to March 2019 – with most of the money appearing to directly benefit the NZ First Party.”

      https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/117529946/what-nz-first-slush-fund-was-spent-on-campaign-hq-staff-overtime-and-a-shredder

      Next step will be the disclosure of contributors to the foundation and a marry up where the money was spent and what favours were curried (if any) to suit the contributors.

      Reply
  4. Things must be bad on the left. The Sub-standard has started whistling in the dark.
    https://thestandard.org.nz/why-is-jacinda-ardern-so-popular-part-2/ 🤣

    Reply
    • Duker

       /  20th November 2019

      Police must be ready to charge someone over Bridges ‘salami donation’ , so operation confuse and divert under way.
      Possibility of breaking electoral law …funny thats exactly what is a real police investigation underway not the possible ‘ possible’ NZF foundation.

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  20th November 2019

        Except if that were the case one would think the last thing they might want to make a diversion out of is another party potentially breaching the electoral donations act.

        Reply
        • Duker

           /  20th November 2019

          Except the NZF foundation loans are all declared on the annual return. The only question is spending during the pre election period which has to be declared under the ‘spending’ category not the donations one. The pre election period doesn’t start till mid year NEXT year or so. Case closed.

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  20th November 2019

            Geddis:

            “The only reason for structuring a party’s funding in this particular way would seem to be to stop the public seeing who originally donated the money. Which is, while technically legal, a complete undermining of the purpose of our disclosure laws.

            And then yesterday, Matt Shand’s Stuff article told us a whole lot more about the relationship between this foundation and the NZ First Party. According to his reporting, documentation shows that the foundation has received some $500,000 in donations, much of which came in amounts exceeding $15,000. This money has then been used to not only make loans to NZ First as a party, but also allegedly to directly pay for various expenses connected with the party and its MPs.

            If what is reported is correct, then one of two troubling conclusions follow. The first is that this use of the foundation breaches electoral law, in ways that Graeme Edgeler explained to Stuff. In short, the failure to either disclose the foundation’s spending on the party’s behalf as a donation, or the identity of those who have given to the foundation, may constitute a “corrupt or illegal practice”.

            That, obviously, would be A Very Bad Thing. And if it is the case, we might ask why the foundation has been able to operate in such a manner for a number of years without attracting any regulatory attention. But at least it would show that our laws work, insofar as they prohibit this sort of arrangement.

            For the alternative conclusion is, if anything, even more worrying. If it turns out that the foundation and the party somehow are operating lawfully, as we should note Winston Peters maintains, then that demonstrates our electoral law simply is not fit for purpose.

            Let’s pause and look big picture. We have a political party that is a keystone of the current government. Its members are ministers, with responsibility for (among other things) distributing $3 billion in government largesse around the country’s provinces.

            And now we are told that a legally-opaque foundation intimately connected to the party has raised hundreds-of-thousands of dollars from “primary industry leaders, wealthy investors and multi-millionaires”. That foundation allegedly has used the money for the benefit of the party and its MPs. And no-one outside of the party and those that gave the money are made any the wiser.

            If this is legal, then there’s no way that it should be. You can’t have a country’s political system run in this way and be considered the second least corrupt nation on the planet. Or, at least, you can’t do it for long.”

            https://thespinoff.co.nz/politics/20-11-2019/one-possibility-is-nz-first-has-broken-electoral-law-the-other-possibility-is-worse/

            But this is more relevant to PG’s other post today. What I was interested in was why you think Bridges & National would want to create a diversion with this issue if the SFO or police were going to charge someone over JLR’s allegations re their donations, as you surmised might be about to happen?

            Reply
            • Duker

               /  21st November 2019

              Hide the donors ? Im shocked …shocked that they could even think of this ….but wait I have spent time showing how National does this to exploit the arbitrage over disclosures for partys and that for Mps. Then theres the salami method with straw donors for biggies who want to buy a list spot during the Captains pick

    • Gezza

       /  20th November 2019

      She doesn’t exactly get a ringing endorsement from some of their more left than middle-left contributors.

      Reply
  5. dupererz

     /  20th November 2019

    I see the Herald headline “Act leader David Seymour says he might go to police over NZ First donation allegations.”

    Which probably means a couple of things. One is that he hasn’t had his share or relevance this week. Secondly he doesn’t actually care about the possibility of electoral fraud or any other illegality but about publicity. If he were serious about his concern and the principles involved he would have been off to the cops immediately then told us about it. The principle in play (as usual), is getting attention. Grandstanding of the first order. It worked.

    Thirdly, the Herald at the time of day this came out is desperate for something fresh to put up.

    Reply
  6. Don’t worry. If Bridges broke the law on donations, I’d be happy to see the book thrown at him. And National as a party will survive intact and may even go on to win the next election. NZF on the other hand is Winston Peters and he is thoroughly untrustworthy and so therefore is his party.

    Reply
    • Duker

       /  21st November 2019

      Like the recording by Todd Barclay of his secretary was a crime , and he had the book thrown at him and resigned in disgrace ?…pleeeese
      The story was that ‘non one realised it was listed in the crimes Act ‘. That too was a complete lie as Bill English as recorded at a social function just after the 2008 election and parts were released , including how flexible some of the promises were. The nats jumped up and down over ‘illegal recordings ‘ then. But the difference was it was legal as the person recording their own conversation with BE , like you can record your own phone conversations etc
      This is how PG put it about an MP who committed an actual crime ( not that he should have been locked up)
      “Todd Barclay was a minor National back bencher and is not standing in this year’s election. But the disproportionate media obsession with him looks set to continue.”
      https://yournz.org/2017/07/25/media-obsession-with-barclay-continues/

      Disproportionate media obsession ? What about the National party cover up , they even covered up the news English had been interviewed by a Police superintendent , getting it suppressed from the police files released. Covered up the 100s txts sent by English to Barclays electorate secretary in question ( who had worked for BE for yonks too)

      Reply
      • Blazer

         /  21st November 2019

        you are reminding the Natz acolytes of things they do not want to hear Duker.Well done! 😉

        Reply
      • I did a number of posts on the Barclay story. He turned out to be a poor choice for a safe seat.

        How many years ago was that?

        So you re still trying to run a diversion on a a topical and big political story this week. Why is that?

        You are least tacitly approving of what Peters and the Foundation have been doing. Why is that?

        If NZ First was in a coalition government with National I suspect you would have a quite different approach.

        Political activists trying to discredit the messenger is very Trumpian these days. Are you a Donald fan? or just a fan of his manic methods.

        Reply
        • Blazer

           /  21st November 2019

          I’m totally ambivalent re Trump.Didn’t think he could do any worse than the usual Wall St bought and paid for.
          Consigning past National Party crimes to past history is a bit rich.They were only a couple of years ago.
          Barclay even refused to be interviewed by the NZ Police!!
          Then you’ve got ‘pretty legal’,scandalous behaviour as outlined in Dirty politics and a raft of NP beat up dodgy actions but they never seem to stick or deter righ wing voters…what does that tell us?

          Reply
        • Duker

           /  21st November 2019

          Barclay ? Yes I looked it up. Thats where I got your quote dismissing the ‘media obsession’- and that was for a bona fide police investigation into a ‘crime’.
          Exactly what is NZF foundation done that isnt ‘pretty legal’ . Still waiting on that one.

          The reason I mention the Barclay thing is at least my stance is on the facts.
          Other partys have their trusts in the background too , only occasionally mentioned and certainly not have the accounts in the hands of the newspapers. years back there was some rukus about labours ‘Hugh Watt Society’

          Reply

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