Media beatup over Key pecuniary interest

Media have run an alarming beat up out of a declaration by John Key revealed in the latest register of pecuniary interests.

Stuff: Prime Minister John Key linked to company specialising in foreign trusts

Prime Minister John Key has declared a financial link to a company specialising in foreign trusts.

The latest register of MPs’ pecuniary interests, released on Tuesday, listed the Antipodes Trust Group Limited as a debtor in Key’s entry.

On its website, the Antipodes Trust calls itself a specialist provider of trustee and associated services for foreign trusts using New Zealand as their jurisdiction of choice.

It lists lawyer Ken Whitney as an executive director.

A spokeswoman for Key said Whitney had been his lawyer for a long time.

“The difference between this year’s pecuniary interests and last year’s is that he has changed firms.

“The short term deposit is used to pay for any costs incurred from the Prime Minister’s family trusts. The surplus funds are reinvested short term with New Zealand trading banks.”

So it seems to be a non-story.

One News was worse, making a big deal of the ‘perception’ of something being questionable but conceding that there was no problem revealed at all.

John Key left red-faced over trust deposit disclosure

The Prime Minister is at the centre of an embarrassing disclosure in the midst of the Panama Papers leak.

Parliament’s latest register of MPs’ financial interests show John Key has a short term deposit with a company called Antipodes Trust Group.

The company advertises on its website that it is “a specialist provider of trustee and associated services for foreign trusts using New Zealand as their jurisdiction of choice.”

Documents in the Panama leaks have made references to foreign trusts set-up here and Mr Key’s political opponents say the trusts are shrouded in too much secrecy and effectively makes New Zealand a tax haven.

Mr Key says the deposit with Antipodes Trust Group has shown up in this year’s register of his pecuniary interests because, in the past 12 months, his long-time personal lawyer went to work for the Trust Group.

Mr Key says the deposit is to cover any costs incurred by a family trust administered by his lawyer, Ken Whitney, and any surplus from the deposit is invested with New Zealand trading banks.

There is no evidence that either Mr Key, Mr Key’s lawyer, or the Antipodes Trust Group have done anything illegal or are in any way linked to issues raised in the leaks of documents from Panamanian law firm Mossat Fonseca.

They have left out the repeated suggestions of their being ‘perception’ of a problem, but have linked the Panama papers and Mossat Fonseca to the story even though they have nothing to do with it.

This is an appalling story.

It’s nearly as bad as some at The Standard trying to make something out of Key’s deposit with company specialising in foreign trusts.

Key’s statement:

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Perhaps we should have an inquiry into media beat ups and perception mongering.