First-up, read this media release from Murray McCully:
Goff reckless, cowardly and wrong - McCully
Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully has called allegations made by Phil Goff MP against former Pacific Forum Line director Peter Kiely “reckless, cowardly and wrong”.
“By attacking Mr Kiely without checking the facts Mr Goff has impugned the reputation of a highly professional individual without any justification.
“Central to Mr Goff’s allegation is that Mr Kiely held shares in shipping company Sofrana at the time PFL, of which he was a director, was considering an offer from Sofrana.
“Mr Kiely has never owned shares in Sofrana. The shares referred to by Mr Goff were held by Mr Kiely as a non-beneficial trustee for a Sofrana employee. Practising lawyers like Mr Kiely commonly hold shares for clients as non-beneficial trustee. If Mr Goff had asked he could have been told this.
“There was no obligation for Mr Kiely to disclose such matters to the Ministry when he was appointed a director. Only personal interests must be disclosed. There has never been a requirement for lawyers to disclose clients’ interests.
“Furthermore, when Sofrana expressed interest in PFL, Mr Kiely ensured that the PFL chairman was made aware of the non-beneficial trustee holding, and took the further step of ceasing to act as trustee. This is more than he was obliged to do. I have sighted the relevant documentation today.
“Mr Goff has done Peter Kiely a great disservice. I asked Mr Kiely to become a director of PFL in 2009 when it became apparent that the company was in real trouble. It was clear to me that decisions of the previous board had set the company on a course to make major losses. Mr Kiely had been a director from 1992 to 2002 during which time the company made substantial profits. He was an obvious person to ask to undertake such a difficult task.
“Despite the best efforts of the board, PFL lost $14m over two years, but the company was rescued from complete failure.
“Mr Goff, having made reckless allegations that are wrong, now owes Mr Kiely a fulsome apology. Unless, of course, he will make these allegations outside the Chamber, in which case the law of defamation will teach Mr Goff an expensive lesson.
“It is beneath contempt for an experienced Parliamentarian and former party leader to make such reckless and damaging allegations with such serious implications for the integrity of a highly-regarded professional person without checking the facts.”
Oh dear. Phil Goff has tried to fling mud, but he has ended up getting covered in it himself. And he's not the only one.
Jacinda Ardern thought yesterday that she had busted Social Development Minister Paula Bennett over the MSD paying for job-seekers to go to Australia. Ms Ardern made the mistake of trying to beat this up further today, with predictable results; check this out:
Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. Ms Ardern ought to have quit whilst she was ahead. Instead, she gave Paula Bennett a platform to advise the House that the policy Ms Ardern was complaining about was actually brought in by Labour, and that almost three times as many people had had flights to Australia paid for under Labour than recently on Ms Bennett's watch
Playing "gotcha politics" is all well and good; when you know what you're doing. Jacinda Ardern and Phil Goff fell into the elementary trap of asking questions that they did not know all the answers to; a rookie error which could perhaps be forgiven in Ms Ardern's case, but certainly not with regard to the experienced Phil Goff.
When will they ever learn?