Flashback: When Perk Buster Rodney Hide Was Busted
When Rodney Hide Perk Buster Was Busted
By Kevin List & Alastair Thompson
ACT Leader Rodney Hide
Rodney Hide the onetime super perk buster – but now rather more subdued Leader of the Act Party - has once again been in attack mode this week regarding a number of allegations swirling around Labour Cabinet Minister John Tamihere.
Not too long ago however the shoe was on the other foot. And today in the House the super perk buster was reminded of a scam that he failed to bust: namely, his dealings with an investment company that ended up fleecing New Zealand investors of millions of dollars.
Interestingly the allegations surrounding both Mr Tamihere and Mr Hide's dealings with Investment International both relate to events that occurred about five years ago.
Moreover it is also worth noting that when the allegations against Mr Hide last received a thorough airing in the house, it was by Mr Tamihere (in a double act with Clayton Cosgrove). It seems that mud-slinging about historical events is something that both Mr Hide and Mr Tamihere excel at.
Labour MP Clayton Cosgrove
New Allegations Made Against Rodney Hide
Speaking in today's snap debate in defence of his friend and fellow MPJohn Tamihere Clayton Cosgrove MP first accused Mr Hide of being part of a jacked up conspiracy against Mr Tamihere. He provided some detail about how this jackup was facilitated and then after calling Mr Hide a "creature" - and being made to withdraw and apologise - Mr Cosgrove then made a number of new assertions concerning ACT leader Rodney Hide and businessman Alan Gibbs..
"I note with interest that earlier Mr Cullen asked Mr Hide, had he had money from the outside? I remember during the pecuniary interests debate I asked Mr Hide – because it is not an offence or a breach of standing orders if someone says 'hey I want to go into Parliament but the salary of 120 grand or whatever it is just ain't enough for me', and somebody else says 'I'll give you 50 grand a year', it would only be a breach if someone was motivated by action as a result of that payment.
"Now we know that Mr Hide worked for Gilt Edged Securities for three years, which was a front to set up the ACT Party. And we know that Mr Alan Gibbs who is a sort of surrogate father funded that and paid Mr Hide. The question is….."
And then Mr Cosgrove was cut off midstream….
It seems possible that Mr Cosgrove will return to this theme tomorrow in the general debate.
Scoop Backgrounds Allegations Levelled At Mr Hide In The House
In January 1999 Mr Hide attended a seminar in Fiji as a guest speaker for Investors International – a United States based organisation run by Dr Rudolf Van Lin.
In September 1999 the Securities commission warned investors against putting money into schemes run by Investors International, stating that the company, based in Portland Oregon, had been the subject of court action in Australia. They stated further that Investors International Director Dr Van Lin had been prosecuted in the United States for the fraudulent offer and sale of unregistered securities.
NZ First Leader Winston Peters first brought this matter to the attention of the House in mid 2000 when he posed these questions of Mr Hide and his ACT colleagues.
"Why are MP's in this House facilitating straightforward tax evasion conferences, lending the legitimacy of this Parliament and their office to those sorts of activities? Why are ACT party members still involved? They come to this House and preach like paragons of virtue to the rest of us, but when it comes to certain business activities, they turn a total blind eye"
Mr Peters also wished to know:
"Who paid his [Mr Hide's] air fare? Who paid his accommodation? And what speaking fee he took? Because this organisation [Investor's International] is involved in two significant activities; the illegal transacting of unregistered securities and straight out tax evasion."
Mr Hide's airfares and accommodation were, it turned out, paid for by Investors International, however Mr Hide denied in the House ever being paid a speaker's fee. And as an honourable member his word was accepted by Mr Tamihere when the matter was debated in the House in May 2002.
"I acknowledge the honourable member's word that he never got paid, but as these inquiries start to unwind, we now know that every speaker received no less than US $2,500. Let me tell members that when people come into this House as honourable members and give their word that has to be accepted."
When interviewed by Scoop in 2000 regarding his attendance at the Investors International conference Mr Hide had painted a rosy picture of robust discussions regarding capitalism.
“My sense of it was that the people were people who worked as business people and appreciated coming together and talking about capitalism,” he said.
Unfortunately for some of these business people however, some of them did rather more than just talk about capitalism but also invested money into schemes organised by Investors International.
One a Mr Sydney Taare swore on an affidavit (obtained by Scoop ) that his family had lost some $60,000 dollars in a scam.
In the same Parliamentary debate that raised the issue of US$2500 speaker's fees Mr Taare's name was also mentioned by Mr Tamihere. Mr Tamihere pointed out that he had only recently met Mr Taare and disputed that Mr Taare's affidavit had been cooked up as alleged by ACT:
"That member [Mr Hide] has been around the press gallery screaming at the members of the press gallery that Mr Sydney Taare is a relation of Tamihere's and that the allegation has been cooked up. That is his allegation. I never met with Mr Taare until 21 days ago. We met him through the family that lost $411,000, and the evidence of that has been tabled by Mr Cosgrove. At no time has that member, or Gareth Morgan, or Dolf De Roos, or his mate David Henderson, used their high-profile public capacities to warn Kiwis."
Mr Tamihere further alleged, "they all got paid no less than $2500 to make the speeches."
Excerpts From Mr Taare's Affidavit 12 May 2002 Tabled In The House 23 May 2002
Could This Be For Real? See…
The Free Money For The Greedy Mystery (1)
& More Evidence In Money Mystery
Mr Taare outlined in his affidavit how he [Mr Taare] viewed Rodney Hide's role as a guest speaker at the International Investor's conference in January 1999.
14. We found the speakers at the conference to be generally boring, save for Rodney Hide and Dolf De Roos. In fact Rodney got the most applause from the audience in regard to his speech (Click Here For A Transcript). All of us Kiwis knew Rodney Hide to be an MP and knew that he had a name as a 'scam buster' and as a straight shooter and straight talker. We also knew he was not afraid to attack people if they were doing wrong or doing wrong by others.
15. Rodney's speech covered a number of things. I recall he talked about the Inland Revenue Department driving one of his friends to suicide. He also talked about politicians and government penalising business by taxation.
16 Myself and Mona discussed Rodney Hide's speech and thought that with a Member of Parliament and as he said a Member of Government, that his support of this conference helped satisfy us that the conference and the opportunities being provided to us would be fair and firm.
17. Following Rodney Hide's speech we were invited to a room by Linda to meet with a person who was going to provide us with our opportunity. We met with a person by the name of Roger Pearson who was the deputy to Dr Rudolph Van Lin. Roger advised us that there were significant investment opportunities available to us but we should not acknowledge him, or notice him for the rest of the conference…
Mr Taare later in his affidavit explains how a cousin of his put $400,000 into Investors International.
27. My cousin who invested $400,000, rang me and I assured him that prior to his investment all was well.
28. I advised him that Rodney Hide, a Member of Parliament had spoken at our conference and that his support of the conference gave us confidence to proceed to invest.
29. We were starting to hear rumours at this time from friends and family that this type of investment could be dodgy. There was no confirmation from the media, or politicians confirming these rumours.
30. There is no doubt that several factors lead us to invest and being duped. We were seduced into trusting people who we thought were advising us on solid investment. We saw a high profile politician endorsing the investment. We thought that there were significant returns available and we were overcome by greed.
Snippets from this sad tale of investment woe managed to surface in the media a few days after the affidavit was signed and sworn in the Auckland High Court 12 May 2002.
When The Shoe Was On Another Foot – What Mr Hide Did In 2002
Upon seeing his name in the media and in conjunction with the affidavit Mr Hide swung in to action. Mr Hide contacted Mr Taare and faxed a letter to him [Mr Taare] on Parliamentary letterhead, 24 May 2002
According to Labour MP, Clayton Cosgrove, Mr Hide's letter was faxed to Mr Taare's workplace and could have been seen by any of Mr Taare's workmates.
In his letter Mr Hide intimated he was sorry Mr Taare and his family had lost money and requested a copy of Mr Taare's affidavit. Mr Hide concluded his letter:
"I once again ask you for a copy of the affidavit that you have signed and which has been referred to in the above articles [Herald and Evening post] and on TV. The matter is very serious. If I don't receive a response from you by 5pm Monday 27 May I will assume that you are again refusing to supply me with your affidavit."
Mr Taare rang Labour MP Clayton Cosgrove late on the afternoon 24 May.
"Hey Clayton, Syd speaking again. Look it's 4:30, twenty five to five, can you give me a call as soon as you can please? I just need to talk to you….um…had some more…um…threatening material from Mr Hide, so I need to talk to you as soon as possible. This is urgent. Thank you very much. Bye."
Three days later Mr Taare received a letter from Mr Hide's solicitors Cousins and Associates in which Mr Taare's affidavit was alleged to be defamatory. Mr Hide's solicitors took exception to Mr Hide being described as endorsing the Investors International seminar. Grant Smith an associate of Cousins and Associates pointed this out to Mr Taare in his letter:
"The affidavit contains material that is defamatory of Mr Hide – in particular the statement, 'We saw a high profile politician endorsing the investment'."
It was further considered by Mr Smith that the dissemination in the media of Mr Taare's allegations had damaged Mr Hide's reputation. Mr Taare was then threatened with defamation should certain steps not be met.
"…Mr Hide is prepared to settle this matter without the payment of any damages by you if you provide a further affidavit in a form satisfactory to us by 5pm Friday 31 May 2002 that contains the following:
1. A complete and unequivocal retraction of the defamatory allegations made against Mr Hide;
2. An Apology to Mr Hide and his family;
3. Advice as to the whereabouts of the original affidavit;
4. Details of how the affidavit came to be prepared and who associated with its preparation;
5. The names of all parties to who you have provided a copy of this affidavit;
6. Confirmation that you have destroyed all copies of the affidavit you hold.
We note all of the above information will be obtainable through defamation proceedings. Please note if you do not confirm acceptance of these terms by 29 May 2002 this offer is deemed to be withdrawn. "
It does not take a rocket scientist to realise that today's re-runs of allegations about both Mr Tamihere and Mr Hide do little to encourage public faith in the integrity of our Parliamentarians.
But to be fair to Mr Hide, he has often denied (and there is no evidence to the contrary) that he knew what was going on in the backrooms in Fiji.
Further it is worth acknowledging that the supernatural returns being offered on the so-called "prime bank" investment schemes being offered in Fiji showed the investors involved to be both extraordinarily naive and arguably rather greedy, hence Scoop labelling the story the "Free Money For The Greedy Mystery".
Meanwhile to be fair to Mr Tamihere there is no evidence yet that he has done anything wrong in relation to the Waipareira Trust.
That said, neither MP has acquitted themselves particularly blamelessly when it comes to being forthcoming about their actions and/or mistakes.
In Mr Tamihere's case whatever else happens it does seem clear that after very publicly saying he was not going to accept a golden handshake, he then went ahead and did so. And while changing one's mind is not an criminal offence it is not a good look when it involves such a large sum of money and a charitable institution like the Waipareira Trust.
Meanwhile in Mr Hide's case when busted in a clearly compromising position in relation to his trip to Fiji by Mr Tamihere and Mr Cosgrove, rather than apologising for his apparent error in judgement it appears Mr Hide chose to attack one of the victims. Again this was not a good look.