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MPs’ pecuniary interests: the weirdest items

The 2013/14 register has just been published. Some of the interesting ones:

  • One of the gifts to John Banks was a legal opinion!
  • David Cunliffe has not revealed the names of the two other donors to the TR Trust that funded his leadership campaign
  • Paul Foster-Bell has shares in Mighty River Power (presumably before he was an MP)
  • John Key’s most common gift was golf green fees.  Also the SAS gave him a framed print.
  • Andrew Little and Trevor Mallard had donations from Labour MPs for their legal fees
  • Ian McKelvie is the Chairman of Special Olympics NZ
  • Craig Foss was given a statue of Azog the Defiler

Political commentator David Farrar posts at Kiwiblog.

RAW DATA: Register of Pecuniary and Other Specified Interests of  Members of Parliament: Summary of annual returns as at  31 January 2014 (see the original document on the Parliament website here):


Comments and questions

Too many of these disclosures end in a Trust, such as John Banks' "Pukenui Family Trust", Maggie Barry's "MMB Trustee Limited for Maggie Barry Trust" and Kevin Hague's "CR & M Family Trust".

Those trusts, blind or not, could own half the countryside in their electorate or be an empty vehicle. The MP could be the sole beneficiary, be switched in as the sole beneficiary later or be a minor beneficiary. It's a huge gap in our understanding of what these MPs carry with them into parliament each day.

I have absolutely no problem with MPs having wealth, (quite the contrary), but we just need to be clear on where that wealth is placed.

I would encourage Sir Maarten Wevers and others to close this loophole during the review underway this year.

Surely the Foss gift was an insult and didn't need declaring?