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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Mere speculation

Patrick Gower's story doesn't answer my first question: is it only "blind" to John Key? ... and not the media/public?

He says he doesn't even know himself, because his interests are tied up in the blind trust - however a month after that trust was set up, he had a dinner conversation with a wine critic, caught on video, in which he spoke about the vineyard.

"You're a vineyard owner yourself aren't you," the critic asked Mr Key. "I am," replied Mr Key. "I have a little bit of a pinot noir and chardonnay-producing vineyard here in Otago, and it's been doing very well. It's successful. It's been exporting some wines, and it's a lot of fun."

Mr Key is talking about his trust being one of 11 shareholders in Highwater Vineyard. It is a part of Mount Michael Wines, a rising star in the industry.

But you won't find this declared on the MP's register of pecuniary interests, because his ownership is held by his blind trust.
It was set up when he came to power to guard against conflicts of interest.

"I don't know whether I own any assets or not," says Mr Key. "The only assets are in our blind trust. I don't know what those assets are."

At Christmas Mr Key gave away as presents 240 bottles of pinot noir with Highwater on the label.

"This is your own wine?" Ms Robinson asked Mr Key. "Yeah… I registered the trademark too… There's no getting past me."

The brand name 'PM's Pinot' has been trademarked by one of his trust's vineyard partners - Mr Key says he asked him to do it.

"I asked him to do that for something for Christmas, and that was a gift and I wanted that so that I could in future years give away wine to all the people that help me," says Mr Key.

An instant response from the PM's office over the TV3 blind trust revelation:

Is now a good time for the "blind trust" to sell off the John Key brand? Just asking.

"There's no getting past me" he said.

It's a bit of a game. An educated guess from someone peeping through his hands. Peek-a-boo, Mr Prime Minister - we see you.Officially he's not allowed to know - and in this instance the politician is so wealthy that he could actually claim to possibly own or have an interest in just about anything in NZ - so it is technically possible for only the trustees to know the actual situation... but c'mon. How likely is it going to be that his trust would have sold its shareholding in his own brand? That he established for the future.

He went into the "blind trust" with his eyes wide open. He must have known practically everything that went in. Unless it's all in cash and kept overseas there is going to be conflicts of interest issues, especially in a small country.

The blind trust concept is not holding up well to the reality that certain asset classes are not going to be sold down. If the media are going to force the blind man to see (what he can already see in this case) then we have a disclosure regime that is heading toward dysfunction.

UPDATE:More speculation.


At 27/5/10 8:23 am, Anonymous Kerry said...

Hes a typical tory bullshit artist......so very typical of the right.

Everytime he opens his mouth....lies lies lies lies lies.

And giving bottles of wine to reporters....."who have helped him"!!!!!

At 27/5/10 11:42 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

John Key peddles Booze.

No wonder (in terms of legislation) tobacco gets the bash, & booze remains oddly untouched.
Key doesnt want anyone fucking with his business.

What a guy.


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