Friday, 30 November 2007

Bitching and Moaning

There has been some moaning and bitching about this piece that I wrote on Political Animal and my Share Investor Blog regarding the conflict that Jeanette Fitzsimons and the Labour Government have over their championing of Windflow Technologies and a shareholding that Jeanette has in the company and her involvement in changing laws and stopping normal economic development to favour Windflow Tech.

I have been told by an anonymous individual and by someone else that calls herself Jeanette Fitzsimons that Fitzsimons no longer has shares in the company. Neither of these two persons were able to furnish any proof of such a statement.

I searched high and low to find any information to the contrary but common information from all sources on the net lead me to the same conclusion. My main source was from the Greens' Website.

Does Jeanette, a family trust or her family members own Windflow Tech shares? You would have to ask yourself this question considering her involvement in putting the brakes on oil, gas, hydro and coal energy and financially penalising those industries through her actions and those of her partner in Government, the Labour Party.

An interesting speech from Deborah Coddington related to the pecuniary interests of members of Parliament where she discusses some of the points that I have covered here and incidentally another source of little Jeanette's shareholding in Windflow Tech.


Coddington, Deborah, Standing Orders

2nd August 2005

[Volume:627;Page:22361]

DEBORAH CODDINGTON (ACT) : I rise on behalf of the ACT party to oppose Government motion No. 3, which relates to the pecuniary interests of members of Parliament. What is the problem that this is trying to fix? All this will do is be a burden for the honest, who will agonise over it. It is so complicated and so badly drawn up that it is very difficult to see where to begin and where to end. It will build a climate of dishonesty. The crooks, who do not give a stuff, will just make it up anyway—and who will have the time and energy to trawl through everything and find out whether members have been honest? It is like taking the rich list at face value. The rich list does not even take into account people’s liabilities. All it can do is take into account their assets. The poor, diligent, honest MP who struggles to declare everything under this measure will possibly trip up, or by accident exclude something, and the media will pick it up, have a field day, and destroy him or her for no reason at all.

This measure would not have caught Donna Awatere Huata. We asked her time and again whether she had any interest, any personal gain, and she lied to us. She would not tell us the truth. It would not have picked her up. If this Parliament really wants to get down on corruption, why does it not take note of what Ian Ewen-Street said yesterday when he talked about the scampi inquiry and Mr Peters’ involvement with Simunovich Fisheries? That has never been fully explored. For instance, provision 4(1)(b) in new appendix B states: “the name of every other company or business entity in which the member has a pecuniary interest …”. Is that direct or indirect? What if a member had shares in something like the New Zealand Investment Trust? That is a very respectable trust. If a member had shares in it, he or she would not have a clue about all the things that trust does. How on earth would one list them? How would trusts like that be listed? Land holdings are mentioned further on in this measure. If we tried to get information from members on all the land and property they own they would probably tell us to go away and mind our own business.

I was very interested in what Rod Donald, the co-leader of the Greens, said. A moment ago he said that the Green Party stood for high standards and that it was the cleanest party in Parliament. They would have no trouble declaring their pecuniary interests. Why does Rod Donald not start by reading what we already have under Standing Order 164, which states: “A pecuniary interest is a direct financial benefit that might accrue … as a result of the outcome of the House’s consideration of a particular item of business.” The Greens have a particular interest in high electricity prices. They opposed Project Aqua. They oppose any energy projects. Why is that? Because it is in their pecuniary interests to have high electricity prices, because of their financial interests, through their taxpayer-funded superannuation fund, in establishing the commercial viability of wind energy. They should tell us these things. If they do not tell us these things we have to go into Google to find them out. This statement is from a press release in May 2001: “the Green Party’s Superannuation Fund have joined the growing list of investors in local wind power company Windflow Technology. Windflow director … said ‘We’re delighted that the Greens are going to be part of our company. Windflow Technology is both environmentally and investor friendly,’ … Rod Donald, said ‘Our superannuation fund has a policy of ethical investing.’” Why do they not declare that when they come into this House to argue against any power project or development that anyone cares to put up, whether it be State-owned, or, heaven help us, one of the few private ones? Not only that, Jeanette Fitzsimons owns 30,000 shares in the Green Party superannuation fund. She is one of the top 10 shareholders. One of the biggest shareholders is UK millionaire, Sir James Goldsmith, and US billionaire Delane Wyeross also owns shares.

But they have directly benefited also from carbon credits. A subsidiary of Windflow Technology, New Zealand Windfarms, won Government backing of up to $10 million to set up a 60-turbine wind farm in the ManawatÅ«. This was in December 2003. Members should listen to what the business development manager—[Interruption] It is not a scandal at all. I never said it was a scandal. I am just pointing out the—we are not allowed to use that word, but the term “conflict of interest” perhaps is a way to describe it when one stands up in this House and says that everyone has to declare their pecuniary interests, and everyone has to declare how much money they are owed over $50,000, and any debt over $50,000. I do not see the point in that. Why have it declared that someone owes a member of Parliament $50,000 or more?

Members will not have to declare it if it relates to a spouse, a partner, children, step-children, or foster children, so the dishonest ones will put all these things in the name of their spouses, partners, children, step-children, or foster children and get them to pay them. The very thing that should be declared, and the very thing we should be most suspicious of—that is, electoral campaign expenses that could be covered up—is excluded. The very thing we should be suspicious of—where someone wants to try to buy one’s vote—is the only thing that we should be declaring, and it is excluded.

But I go back to this Greens’ thing. The business development manager of the wind farm said that it would not have been viable without the Government’s award of carbon credits. It was one of the two firms named by the Minister of Energy, Pete Hodgson, to take a share of 4 million carbon credits designed to cut greenhouse gas emissions. I think the public should know these things. The public should know that the Greens stand up in this House and accuse every other party, except Labour, of being dishonest and bordering on the corrupt, yet the co-leader of the Greens did not declare all of these things, which anyone can get on the website. The Greens are strangely silent whenever anyone brings the matter up, and it is an example of how this legislation is just a nonsense. There is no problem here that we have to fix. In general, most people who come into this place are honest. If they are not, then the media are not doing their job properly, because it is the job of the fourth estate to find out what is going on and report it accurately. ACT will not be supporting this motion.


C Political Animal 2007



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