Key keeps lying – when will it end?
23 September 2008 Media Statement
Key keeps lying – when will it end?
After a day of trying to answer questions very carefully over his undisclosed conflict of interest in Tranz Rail John Key has collapsed under pressure on radio this evening and took his lies on the matter to a new level, Finance Minister Michael Cullen said.
“John Key can no longer be given the benefit of the doubt on Tranz Rail,” Dr Cullen said. “This is no longer just about what happened in 2002 and 2003 – it is about how Mr Key is conducting himself right now.
“His lies continue to pile up and his performance on radio this evening was extraordinary.”
Interviewed on Checkpoint this evening, Mr Key said:
- The only questions he asked of the Finance Minister were written questions, lodged by the National Research unit (presumably without his permission), and that pertained to technical issues around the government’s transport investment
o Fact: John Key did not only ask written questions in 2002 and 2003, but an oral question in April 2003
o Fact: Written Questions cannot be lodged without an MP’s signature
o Fact: The written questions sought detailed information on Tranz Rail, including dates, times and attendees of meetings Dr Cullen held with the board of Tranz Rail
- He only took part in select committee meetings regarding rail and Tranz Rail after he issued an order to sell the shares which he claims (but has produced no evidence of) was made on 9 June 2003
o Fact: John Key attended select committee meetings on 27 March and 30 April 2003 that directly involved Tranz Rail
o Fact: At the 30 April meeting of the select committee, Richard Prebble disclosed his conflict relating to Mainfreight while Mr Key sat silent
“The list goes on,” Dr Cullen said. “New Zealanders are seeing that John Key is willing to lie on matters that are of crucial public importance. He cannot be trusted and his word should no longer be accepted at face value on these issues.”
Timeline of Key’s Tranz Rail share conflict
15 February 2002
Through his family trust John Key buys 30,000 shares in Tranz Rail, owners of New Zealand’s rail system (dates for share purchases reflect appearance in register)
19 February 2002 –
Family Trust purchases an additional 20,000 Tranz Rail shares
July 2002 –
John Key elected to Parliament
30 and 31 October 2002 –
Key asks series of Parliamentary Questions relating to Tranz Rail and the future of the rail track. Ministers reply to questions. His shareholding interest is not disclosed.
27 March 2003 –
Key sits on Transport and Industrial Relations Select Committee while Tranz Rail is discussed
30 April 2003 –
Key sits on Transport and Industrial Relations Select Committee when Richard Prebble declares his conflict of interest. Key remains silent
9 April 2003 –
In Parliament at Question Time, Key asks detailed question of Finance Minister seeking information about ‘secret meetings’ between the government and Tranz Rail. His shareholding interest is not disclosed.
14 April 2003 –
Key asks Written Parliamentary Questions to Finance Minister seeking dates and details of government meetings with Tranz Rail
23 April 2003 –
Key writes to Finance Minister seeking copies of minutes from government meetings with Tranz Rail. Request declined on commercial secrecy grounds.
7 May 2003 –
John Key purchases an additional 50,000 Tranz Rail shares, this time in his own name
20 May 2003 –
In his Parliamentary role as Associate Transport Spokesman Key meets with Rail America to discuss their views on Tranz Rail. Shareholding not disclosed.
27 May 2003 –
Key complains to Ombudsmen Anand Satyanand over Cullen’s refusal to release commercial information on Tranz Rail
10 June 2003 –
John Key sells the 50,000 Tranz Rail shares he purchased in his own name
11 June 2003 –
John Key ‘intensely’ questions (Key’s own words) Finance Minister Michael Cullen on Tranz Rail issue. Cullen expresses his view that Tranz Rail is carrying hundreds of millions worth of liabilities.
13 June 2003 –
John Key sells the 50,000 Tranz Rail shares purchased through his family trust
18 June 2003 –
Key attacks government over Tranz Rail and plans to buy back the track. Recent shareholding interest is not disclosed.
16 October 2003 –
Key raises Tranz Rail in what appeared at the time to be an apparent hypothetical reference in the debate over Pecuniary Interests Legislation:
It might be a bit uncomfortable, but if I am a shareholder of Tranz Rail and I want to get up in this House and start talking about that company, then my shareholding is relevant.
13 October 2004 –
Securities Commission files insider trading proceedings against Fay Richwhite and associates for the sale of Tranz Rail in February 2002.
28 September 2005 –
High Court rules New Zealand has jurisdiction over United States-based defendants in the Tranz Rail insider trading case. Court however accepts Fay and Richwhite’s claim that too much time has passed to allow actions seeking millions of dollars of penalties.
29 November 2006 –
The Court of Appeal upholds the earlier High Court ruling that Mr Richwhite and his investment vehicle, Midavia should not face financial penalties, which could have potentially been worth tens of millions of dollars. It confirms the claim against the defendants exceeded the two-year time limit from when the trading took place.
18 June 2008 –
Richwhite and Midavia Rail Investments agree to pay $20m to settle the five-year-old case taken by the Securities Commission, without admitting liability.
26 June 2008 –
Businessday.co.nz reveals publicly for the first time that Key had at least 30,000 Tranz Rail shares – those shares were up for compensation as part of an insider trading payout.
1 July 2008 –
Labour-led government buys back New Zealand’s Rail System – launches KiwiRail. Key attacks purchase.
2 July 2008 –
Prime Minister highlights Key’s shareholding in Parliament. Key claims he never made public comments on rail while holding shares. Calls on Prime Minister to apologise
3 July 2008 –
Key admits his shares were sold on the 9 June and 12 June 2003.
Marie McNicholas: Mr Key confirmed tonight that the shares were sold in two parcels on June 9 and June 12 - making the last sale just six days before he issued the statement about the Tranz Rail negotiations.
4 July 2008 –
John Key tells Fran Mold of TVNZ: “In 2002 I bought shares, but sold them in 2003 prior to making any statements.”
8 July 2008 –
John Key’s office still denied Key had done anything wrong. Extra shareholding interest not disclosed.
Dom Post: A spokesman for Mr Key said yesterday that Miss Clark had made serious allegations about him in Parliament last week and been proven wrong.
1 September 2008 –
Securities Commission grants $36,000 in compensation to Key for the first 30,000 shares.