McCully caught up in conflict of interest claims
Wednesday 5 Dec 2012 5:15 p.m.
Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully has been caught up in what Labour claims is a conflict of interest over a business deal.
It's all to do with Mr McCully's hiring of a National Party supporter for an international shipping role.
Peter Kiely is a true-blue National man, a high-powered Auckland lawyer who can count the Prime Minister as one of his friends.
In 2009, he was appointed by another long-time friend, Mr McCully, as director of shipping company Pacific Forum Lines.
It was a public company that's since been privatised. Mr Kiely oversaw the sale, and now Labour is questioning his interests in another company that was bidding to buy it.
“Was it appropriate for Mr Kiely to have been a shareholder in Sofrana and not disclosed that information to his minister?” asks Labour MP Phil Goff.
The Companies Register shows Mr Kiely was a shareholder in Sofrana from 2008 until he pulled out in August this year.
“That is clearly an apparent conflict of interest,” says Mr Goff.
But Mr McCully says the shares were non-beneficial and he was holding them for someone else, so there was no need to declare a conflict of interest.
“If the member wants to besmirch people's reputations, he should be extremely careful doing so inside the House,” says Mr McCully.
The Foreign Affairs Minister has since put out a press release calling Mr Goff's accusations reckless, cowardly and wrong.
He's demanding an apology for Mr Kiely, but Mr Goff says absolutely not – it doesn't have to be financial to be a conflict of interest.