Tag Archives: New Zealand Herald

How much do we care about political party posturing #NZ

[excerpt]

### New Zealand Herald 6 Aug, 2017 11:34am
The PM has ‘the personality of a rock’: Labour’s deputy goes on the attack
Nicholas Jones – political reporter
Davis appeared along with new Labour leader Jacinda Ardern on TVNZ’s Q+A programme this morning.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

This post is offered in the public interest.

*Image by whatifdunedin

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Filed under Baloney, Democracy, Fun, Media, New Zealand, People, Politics, Public interest

Delta #EpicFail and Metiria Turei : How Could This Be?

Received from Christchurch Driver [CD]
Fri, 28 Jul 2017 at 11:44 p.m.

Readers, I can hear the rumblings already – is your correspondent so bereft of new information that he has to tailgate the exploding Turei benefit scandal to catch some attention ? Is this the equivalent of Sérgio Mendes & Brasil ’66, who started well but could only survive by making instrumental covers of Beatles’ hits? (I admit, Day Tripper is a particular favourite…)

Get in behind, readers. Have yourselves a draught of Bells, and let me untangle the web that starts with the inexplicable antics of Ms Turei.

Any sentient citizen must be, by now, aware that Ms Turei attempted to make political capital out of her long term benefit fraud last week to assist in marketing the Green Party’s new welfare policy. Sadly for Ms Turei, a thing called the internet means that her previous fictions about the circumstances around her early solo parent years are all easily discoverable, and the Whale Oil blog has done a telling summary of Ms Turei’s various mendacities. (Thanks Cameron).

Overwhelmingly, the Kiwiblog and other commentariat have excoriated Ms Turei’s inexplicable move, but again, Whale Oil offered the most penetrating analysis (and no, I am not a Whale Oil subscriber, or have ever been in contact with Cameron Slater…). Mr Slater made the interesting points, repeated by Barry Soper and others, that not only was Ms Turei guilty of benefit fraud, but also received a study grant as well. Ms Turei refused to name the father of her baby to WINZ, who has now been subsequently revealed as Paul Hartley, son of Ann Hartley, former Mayor of North Shore. Consequently, no child support has ever been received from Mr Hartley. Ms Turei confirmed that “Grandma” (Ms Hartley) provided support – very likely including financial support, which undoubtedly has not been declared.

One of the unfortunate unintended effects of the whole affair is that this will be red meat to many right wing types of a particular gender and particular demographic to start a predictable chorus of “Welfare Queens” abusing the system. Middle aged guys, this was old (and not true) even when Ronald Reagan used it to get elected in 1980. As noted in the comments below, the amount of white collar fraud that goes unprosecuted is about 30 times the estimated amount of benefit fraud, so to the white collar industries of accounting and law that seek to advise on the fine line between tax “minimisation” and tax “avoidance” : let those without sin cast the first stone.  

While all this is very interesting and will lead to the certain demise of Metiria Turei after the election, if not before as the Green’s poll numbers continue to stagnate or decline, the commentariat has missed the bigger issue which is “What Did The Law Society Know and What Did They Do About It ?”.

Ms Turei initially declined to say if the fraud was disclosed to the Law Society in her 1999 interview to determine if she was “a fit and proper person” to be admitted to the bar, but then decided immediately afterward that refusing to comment would put her on a par with Jonathan Coleman and Todd McLay, so confirmed on July 26 that she had been “upfront” to the Law Society, and there had been a “long conversation” about it.

What is fascinating about this, and an extreme concern for anyone who has had to rely on or transact with lawyers, is that the Law Society, the body tasked with determining who is a fit and proper person to become a lawyer – to uphold the law – then on Ms Turei’s version of events confirmed to Ms Turei that this dishonesty did not matter.  

Readers, I too spilt Bells all over the sofa when I read that the Law Society had known about this for nearly 20 years and been complicit in Ms Turei’s dishonesty. How could it be that the profession dedicated to upholding the law could decide that some didn’t apply to them ? Following on from this if the Law Society did not think it was relevant or significant that a prospective lawyer had engaged in several years’ worth of benefit fraud, then what is the situation regarding her first employer, Simpson Grierson (one of the largest law firms in the country). Either they were lied to about the fraud, or they also had a relaxed attitude towards employing law graduates indulging in benefit fraud.

As we have often remarked in the Delta Epic Fraud series, truth is indeed stranger than fiction, and the facts of the matter are that the Law Society have previously allowed struck-off lawyers with convictions resulting from dishonesty to be reinstated to the bar.

One such lawyer is one Chris Gilbert, upon whom the fortunes of the Christchurch City Council (and indirectly, the DCC), rest in terms of the liability for the Yaldhurst Noble subdivision debacle, in the latest litigation. In reinstating Mr Gilbert to the bar, the Law Society ignored the opposition of three lawyers and two branches of the Law Society, including the Otago branch, who said the gravity of the offending made him unsuitable for reinstatement. Mr Gilbert “misappropriated” $44,000 of client funds in 1987 and 1988. Compounding this, a few years later, Mr Gilbert appeared to think that the Society’s rules were all overrated anyway and proceeded to sign legal documents on the fiction that he was still in fact a lawyer ! Brandishing a wet bus ticket, the Law Society warned Mr Gilbert “there would be no third chances !”.

Readers, like you I regard law firms as a bunch of parasitic sharks, and yes there are plenty of law firms with lawyers you would cross the street to avoid. But Mr Gilbert is not one of those. Mr Gilbert….is the legal services manager at the Christchurch City Council and was offered a job by the CCC with full knowledge of his dishonesty. NZ Herald (2004)

Readers, two hands on the cup : The Christchurch City Council actually said that Mr Gilbert “was the best candidate for the job”. This was rather against the advice of the Waikato Law Society, where Mr Gilbert committed his first fraud: they said in an affidavit Mr Gilbert was not a “fit and proper person” to be a lawyer.

Now place the cup down – you won’t cope with this : The Law Society gave Mr Gilbert his “third chance” on the basis that he could only work for the CCC. In other words, he wasn’t allowed to act for private individuals who had the choice to take or leave his services and make complaints if warranted. Instead he could be responsible for issues involving huge amounts of ratepayer funds, because the Law Society appeared to think that position required a much lower standard of integrity.

Readers, why would the Christchurch City Council employ Mr Gilbert ? Readers, feel free to draw your own conclusions. The most incredible fact of this rather incredible tale is that Mr Gilbert was no short-term stopgap to tide the CCC over a tight staffing spot. Mr Gilbert has been the team leader of legal services at CCC for 13 years. He seems to be part of the institutional furniture, and appears to be indispensable.

Your correspondent is advised that in relation to the Noble Yaldhurst litigation, Mr Gilbert is not surprising the plaintiffs with bursts of even-handedness.  

This perhaps is one reason why the pace of the Christchurch rebuild is glacial – Minister Brownlee and the Government would be fully justified in having serious reservations about the competence of the Christchurch City Council, and not just in the building control division.

Readers, tonight’s conclusion is surprising – we as Dunedin ratepayers can look with relief at Mr Gilbert and know that within the DCC itself (although NOT Delta and Aurora) this would never occur under the present management.

[ends]  

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Welfare fraud targeted more than tax evasion
White collar criminals get a better deal than welfare fraudsters because the system is biased before they even get to the courts, a lawyer says. Research by Victoria University shows 10 times more welfare fraudsters were prosecuted than tax evaders even though tax evasion costs the economy 33 times more. The research shows tax evasion amounts to at least $1 billion a year compared with $30 million for welfare fraud, but the courts are much harsher in their treatment of welfare fraudsters. RNZ News (2016)

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Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

This post is offered in the public interest.

 

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Filed under Aurora Energy, Business, Commerce Commission, Construction, DCHL, Delta, Democracy, Economics, Finance, Hot air, Housing, Infrastructure, Media, Name, New Zealand, OAG, Ombudsman, People, Perversion, Politics, Project management, Property, Public interest, Resource management, SFO, Town planning, Transportation, Travesty

OIA Review: Bev’s off, thank god! #politicallyblinkered #shakethattreesomemore

Updated post
Sat, 5 Dec 2015 at 1:17 p.m.

LIES and SPIN, Bev

Beverley Wakem 1 [nbr.co.nz]### NZ Herald Online 1:40 PM Wednesday Dec 2, 2015
Official Information Act review finds ‘no deliberate misuse’
By Isaac Davison – NZH political reporter
A high-level review of the Official Information Act will not uncover any widespread political interference in the release of information, its author says. The Ombudsman’s Office will release the findings from its comprehensive, year-long review next week. Chief Ombudsman Dame Beverley Wakem said today that the investigation had not discovered malicious or deliberate misuse of the Act by ministers’ offices or by Government departments.

“We’ve really shaken the tree over this and haven’t been surprised by what’s fallen out,” she told a Parliamentary committee this morning.

She admitted that she had suspected political interference, but had found no hard evidence of it. Dame Beverley said people who had complained to her office could be perceiving political spin or “bad behaviour” when it did not exist, and she could not make any findings “based on hearsay”.
Read more

█ The release of the report will be Dame Beverley’s last act as Chief Ombudsman after 10 years in the role. She is being replaced by former Principal Family Court Judge Peter Boshier next week.

Gun shy ? (broken record – your 10 limp-wristed years, inter-agency OBFUSCATION, or lose your privilege, your confidence, your connections, your office budget….)

DemiLovatoVEVO Published on Oct 9, 2015
Demi Lovato – Confident (Official Video)

Sharon Murdoch (@domesticanimal) 5.12.15 Dame Beverley [Stuff.co.nz]Sharon Murdoch, Dame Beverley December 5, 2015 [Stuff.co.nz]

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9.11.15 Citifleet investigation: Final police report 29.10.15
5.3.15 John Key’s NZ spying on Pacific neighbours
15.1.15 New Zealand: Salmond on abuse of democratic freedoms
16.12.14 Chief Ombudsman | OIA review
24.10.14 John Key’s Godzone and the OIA
19.9.14 Chief Ombudsman Beverley Wakem to launch post-election inquiry
21.3.13 Public service causing “paralysis of democracy” with OIA requests
26.7.12 ‘The Public’s Right to Know’ – OIA Review
2.12.09 DScene – OIA requests about stadium endless?

█ For more, enter terms such as *audit nz*, *auditor general*, *citifleet*, *corruption*, *courthouse*, *cst*, *dcc*, *delta*, *department of internal affairs*, *dia*, *dvml*, *fraud*, *gambling*, *kaipara*, *nzru*, *oag*, *orfu*, *pokies*, *racing*, *rugby*, *sfo*, *stadium*, *ttcf* or *whistleblowers* in the search box at right.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

*Image: nbr.co.nz – Beverley Wakem

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Chief Ombudsman | OIA review

“The effective operation of the OIA is crucial to our system of open and democratic government, and this review will scrutinise how things are currently operating and set out a framework for systemic improvement where deficiencies are identified.” –Beverley Wakem, Chief Ombudsman

Beverley Wakem 1 [nbr.co.nz]### NZ Herald Online 2:11 PM Tuesday Dec 16, 2014
Government offices selected for OIA review
By Isaac Davison – NZ Herald political reporter
The Chief Ombudsman says a major review of the Official Information Act will scrutinise all 27 government ministers’ offices.
Dame Beverley Wakem today began her review of the way the public sector used the OIA, which she first announced in August.
Twelve government agencies have been selected for formal review, based on their size, number of OIA requests, complaints, and other criteria.
A further 63 agencies and all ministers’ offices have been asked to complete a detailed survey. At least one agency cited for good OIA practice would be included in the review.
The Ombudsman’s office would also seek input from past and present public servants, Opposition parties, journalists, academics and others.
Dame Beverley said the goal was to assess the quality and integrity of OIA practice in the public sector and to address any issues that were found.
Read more

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14.12.14 DIA regulates what? Not white collar crime, not with govt looking on!
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23.9.14 John Oliver on Eminem vs National #LastWeekTonight
19.9.14 Chief Ombudsman Beverley Wakem to launch post-election inquiry
23.9.14 John Key PM —real or fake? and one email
2.9.14 John Key PM, plus and minus
7.12.13 Corruption in NZ Sport: Where has John Key PM been hiding ???
21.3.13 Public service causing “paralysis of democracy” with OIA requests
26.7.12 ‘The Public’s Right to Know’ – OIA Review
9.2.10 John Key made NZ fall apart #FAIL
2.12.09 DScene – OIA requests about stadium endless?
21.11.09 Stadium: Key’s message to opponents….

█ For more, enter terms such as *corruption*, *fraud*, *whistleblowers*, *dia*, *department of internal affairs*, *stadium*, *gambling*, *auditor general*, *oag*, *audit nz*, *orfu*, *nzru*, *sfo*, *pokies*, *ttcf*, *racing* or *rugby* in the search box at right.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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Chief Ombudsman Beverley Wakem to launch post-election inquiry

█ What today’s ODT editorial doesn’t tell you, story sunk not headlining…..

“We may as well kiss democracy goodbye” –The Standard
By NATWATCH, published at 8:13 am, September 19th, 2014
The words of the title of this post are those of Ombudsman Dame Beverley Wakem …. Yet another typical scandal from the dirtiest government ever seen in NZ. Read more + Comments

Chief Ombudsman Dame Beverley Wakem to launch wide-ranging inquiry after election in respect of OIA practices

### NZ Herald Online 5:30 AM Friday Sep 19, 2014
Ombudsman ‘appalled’ by ex-Customs lawyer’s OIA allegations
By David Fisher
A former Customs lawyer claim that he was told to bury bad news matches similar stories which have sparked a wide-ranging inquiry by Chief Ombudsman Dame Beverley Wakem. She said she was “appalled” by Curtis Gregorash’s claim. “Having said that one of the reasons I am undertaking of selected agencies in respect of their OIA practices is that anecdotally a number of people have told me similar stories,” she said. She said a planned inquiry to be launched after the election could see the Ombudsman’s office using its Commission of Inquiry powers to compel evidence to be given under oath were there signs information was being hidden. “Ministerial offices will be figuring in our inquiry and that is all I will say.”
Read more

Tweet from Chris Slane (@Slanecartoons) tweeted at 9.18 AM on Fri, Sep 19, 2014 (1)

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Whistleblower Curtis Gregorash said he was subjected to an internal investigation after releasing information about Dotcom sought by the NZ Herald through the Official Information Act. The information released saw Customs staff discuss earning “brownie points” by passing on Dotcom information to the FBI.

### NZ Herald Online 5:30 AM Friday Sep 19, 2014
Ex-Customs lawyer claims he was told to bury info that could embarrass the Government
By David Fisher
A former high-ranking Customs lawyer says he resigned from his job after allegedly being told to bury information that could embarrass the Government.
Curtis Gregorash said he was told by senior Customs executives to refuse Official Information Act and Privacy Act requests, which he believed was at the direction of former Customs Minister Maurice Williamson. It comes at a time the Prime Minister’s office is under inquiry over the release of intelligence material through the OIA and accusations that former Justice Minister Judith Collins was manipulating OIA responses for political purposes. [Mr] Gregorash quit his role as Customs’ chief legal counsel in March this year after more than a decade as a government lawyer.

The lawyer turned whistleblower said: “I’ve sat on it for a long time. But the story itself is so awful it needs to be told. I think people really need to see what ministers and some senior executives do.

He had decided to speak because he believed the alleged instruction “was unlawful”, undermined the way the public service was meant to operate and was given for what was ultimately political reasons. “The direction came down (from the minister) through the CEO (Carolyn Tremain) and group manager (of legal services) Peter Taylor to me saying ‘you don’t release anything – I don’t care what the OIA says, I’d rather fight it in the courts’.”
Mr Gregorash said the alleged instruction came during a briefing from Mr Taylor to the legal team in which he referred to Ms Tremain and meeting with Mr Williamson. “I resigned over it. I couldn’t stare my staff in the face and say this is actually serious conduct that’s being presented to you in a lawful way.”
Mr Gregorash said the alleged instruction to withhold information was general – but became specific in relation to “sensitive” issues, including entrepreneur Kim Dotcom, wanted for copyright violation in the United States. “Mr Taylor directed me to withhold all information and pass the same direction on to my team.”
Read more

● In the public interest, lengthy citation of articles by David Fisher at New Zealand Herald (APNZ).

Related Post:
21.3.13 Public service causing “paralysis of democracy” with OIA requests

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

13 Comments

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Bad press for ORFU –NZ Herald

● The Trusts Charitable Foundation (TTCF Inc) ● The Trusts Community Foundation Ltd (TTCF Ltd) ● Otago Rugby Football Union (ORFU) ● Professional Rugby ● Centre of Excellence for Amateur Sport ● Harness Racing ● Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) ● Gambling Commission ● Pokies ● Rorts ● Organised Crime ● Serious Fraud ● Political Interference

### nzherald.co.nz 5:30 AM Wednesday Oct 24, 2012
Opinion
We’re relying on money poured through pokies
By Brian Rudman
The latest Pub Charity advertisement, promoting the $20,186,931 distributed to good causes over the past six months, has a certain similarity to the advertising blitzkrieg being conducted by the cigarette industry. Both try to distract us from the distinctly unpleasant underbellies of their respective industries.[…]Pub Charity chief executive Martin Cheer, in last Sunday’s advertisement[…]claimed that “charitable donations” that are “critical for causes from air rescue to opera” will be in jeopardy. He said Auckland Council was about to feed community groups and charitable organisations “a super size pile of bull about the future of charitable gaming machines in their territory” and that staff were using incorrect and misleading statistics to persuade community boards that “gaming machine funding is not that important or effective”. Mr Cheer’s comments are just a rehash of an earlier statement he issued in May, but they did draw my attention once more to where Pub Charities funds come from.

Two years ago, the former chief executive of the Community Gaming Association, Francis Wever, wrote to the Minister of Internal Affairs claiming that corrupt behaviour in his own industry was “all-pervasive and pernicious” with “endemic non-compliance”.

This year we read of how the Otago Rugby Union bought three South Auckland pubs then siphoned $5 million in pokie profits out of the areas – mainly Manurewa – to help prop up the failing Dunedin sporting body. What’s protecting the pokie industry from reform is that it props up respectable New Zealand.
Read more

● Brian Rudman is a Herald columnist looking at Auckland and national issues.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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Martin Legge backgrounds TTCF (pokie trust) and Portage and Waitakere Licensing Trusts #DIA

Comment received.
Gaming industry whistleblower Martin Legge backgrounds comments in David Fisher’s article ‘MP keeps heat on pokie trusts‘ (NZ Herald 24.7.12).

Martin Legge
Submitted on 2012/07/25 at 10:33 am

The full article has TTCF Chairman, Ross Clow claiming the new TTCF structure has reduced costs. What he has failed to tell readers is that the former structure returned in excess of 50% to the community for many years. That was in the time before TTCF began paying $600k per annum to a private company (TTCF West Auckland Ltd), a company purposely set up by the Portage and Waitakere Licensing Trusts, and of which Mr Clow and Warren Flaunty were Directors.

Portage and Waitakere Licensing Trusts are TTCF’s biggest and most powerful pub operators and despite already receiving $$millions per annum for hosting TTCF pokie machines at those bars, they demanded more from TTCF. This company was simply a means by which the licensing trusts transferred a large proportion of its own commercial staff and office costs off the balance sheet of their liquor business on to the balance sheet of a pokie trust (TTCF) who would use community funds to make the payments. It made the bottom line of a liquor business look better than it was.

In 2006 DIA warned TTCF against the costs but TTCF went ahead and did it anyway. After waiting 2.5 years before acting, DIA launched a 6 month long investigation into TTCF and the outcome was that just as they had warned, the costs associated with the Company were not actual, reasonable or necessary, and simply a duplication of services and a means to mislead the West Auckland Community into believing the grants were all coming from the licensing trusts.
Read more

The Trusts Community (previously Charitable) Foundation “…faced questions over payments to the Otago Rugby Football Union. Lawyers at the sport’s central body, the NZ Rugby Union, handed over material to the DIA of information found while carrying out its recent financial rescue.”
-David Fisher, 24 July

Related Post:
24.7.12 Mention in NZ Herald dispatches: TTCF and friends ORFU

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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