Cunliffe failed to declare investment trust
"We deserve transparency like Cunliffe often says - Would the protectors of our democratic processes please step-up and launch an investigation on behalf of all of NZ."Featured comment
Labour leader David Cunliffe, already in hot water over a secret trust used to solicit donations for his leadership campaign, now faces questions over why he initially failed to declare an investment trust to Parliament's Register of Pecuniary Interests.
Mr Cunliffe invested in the ICSL Trust in March 2012. Set up by ASB Bank, ICSL reportedly manages $8 billion on behalf of 20,000 clients - an average of $400,000 per investor.
The Labour leader did not declare he was a beneficiary of the ICSL Trust when he registered his financial interests for the annual Parliamentary Register of MPs' Pecuniary Interests for the year to January 31, 2013.
Mr Cunliffe's original return, which formed part of the Register made public in February 2013, declared only the Bozzie Family Trust, which owns his family home in Auckland's upmarket Herne Bay (the property owned by a trust because his wife was a lawyer and the trust was for liability reasons).
He did not declare the ICSL Trust until July 2013. The ICSL Trust was subsequently added to an "additional information" page for the Register on the Parliamentary website.
Mr Cunliffe told TV3, in a statement, that he did not initially declare the investment trust after receiving legal advice that he did no need to disclose it (according to the broadcaster's report).
The Labour leader said he later chose to declare the ICSL Trust in July after receiving advice from the Registrar, who said "if in doubt, declare it."
Another factor that changed between February and July 2013: there was heightened interest in MP's financial interests following the revelation that (then) Labour leader David Shearer forgot about a New York bank account containing at least $NZ50,000.
The July 2013 update included a flurry of late disclosures as MPs were inspired by the Shearer controversy to come clean, or otherwise had reason to elaborate on their initial declarations.
Email mistakenly sent from Cunliffe's office
On a more minor note, yesterday also saw the Labour leader acknowledge that a broadband policy document was mistakenly emailed to ICT Amy Adams' by a member of his staff, not anyone working with Clare Curran - who played the role of fall-girl for the gaffe.