Monday, September 22, 2008
John Key and his Thomas the Tank Engine lies
Key accused of lying over rail shares
John Key is struggling to explain why he did not disclose he had a much bigger stake in Tranz Rail, and traded in the shares when he was seeking official information about them and publicly commenting on them.
Finance Minister Michael Cullen said yesterday that Mr Key had lied, covered up the truth and acted unethically over the transactions in 2002 and 2003.
"Clearly, Mr Key was not simply not forthcoming, he actually lied," Dr Cullen said.
The records, unearthed by Labour's researchers, throw Mr Key on to the back foot just as the election campaign starts, and at a time when National was hoping to gain politically from the privileges committee investigation into NZ First leader Winston Peters.
The revelation explains why Labour has been pushing the issue of "trust" so strongly as its main campaign theme.
The records show that Mr Key's family trust bought 30,000 shares on February 15, 2002, for $108,000 and a further 20,000 shares four days later for $72,000.
In July 2002 Mr Key was elected to Parliament and was appointed associate transport spokesman for National. He asked a series of questions about Tranz Rail in October 2002 and again in April 2003.
On May 7, 2003, he bought in his own name 50,000 Tranz Rail shares for about $22,500.
On May 20 he had a meeting with Rail America, which had been interested in bidding for the company but withdrew. Later that month he complained to the ombudsman about Dr Cullen's refusal to release to him information on Tranz Rail.
On June 10 he sold the parcel of 50,000 shares in his own name for $51,000 - more than doubling his money. A day later he quizzed Dr Cullen at a committee about the company, but had to this point never disclosed his shareholding interest.
On June 13 his family trust sold its shares for $48,000 - a loss that meant Mr Key overall made a loss on the transactions.
He said in a June 13 newsletter: "It is critical for our transport strategy that we have an efficient fully operational rail network and I hope that the interest shown by Rail America will be picked up by others."
Mr Key only admitted his shareholding reached 100,000 after being confronted with that number by a One News reporter - first saying it had reached only 50,000.
"Actually maybe 100,000 from memory, sometimes 50,000, sometimes 100,000, yep," he said.
"Yeah, sorry, there was 100,000 in total."
He said he had not revealed the size of his parcel before because "no one has ever asked me the number I owned".
He said he had been open about when he sold them.
"I don't ever believe I have traded shares for my own personal benefit with information I have had from Parliament."
Dr Cullen said the issue was not one of insider trading but of ethics. Mr Key had breached Parliament's standing orders by not disclosing his interest.
Well, well, well, well, weeeeeeeeeeell – what do we have here? After attacking Clark viciously over the last month about knowing things and not saying anything over the bullshit Winston sideshow, after John Key told us in Parliament that he didn’t have any personal shares in a company he was asking questions about and only a trust IT NOW TURNS OUT John was lying about all of that and he did in fact have 50 000 personal shares which he sold and doubled his money on. Why didn’t he declare a conflict of interest the way that Richard Prebble did at the Tranz Rail hearing. Richard declared his conflict of interest as a director and shareholder of Mainfreight, at that VERY SAME HEARING John Key DID NOT declare his ownership of Tranz Rail shares. He not only lied about the number of shares he owned, he hid that fact from a hearing where others with conflicts of interest were open and forthcoming and he benefited from his personal sale of the personal 50 000 shares by doubling his money after asking questions about Tranz Rail and then promoting Rail America as a possible owner in his newsletter.
Incredibly, John Key kinda makes Winston look trustworthy, you can’t make this stuff up! King hit by Labour with much more to come, I predict either 10 days out from the election or the Wednesday before the election.