Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Cash for honours?

Hager Book: Brash assisted to power by business lobby, New Zealand Herald, 24 November 2006:

The final chapters of The Hollow Men deal with the funding behind the National Party designed to add millions of dollars to the election campaign without breaching National's $2.24 million legal spending cap.

Hager claims following a meeting between Dr Brash and businessmen Peter and Michael Talley in 2004 the brothers offered Dr Brash $1 million to help get National elected.

The Talley brothers are alleged to have prepared a proposal called "The repackaging of Don Brash" in conjunction with Motueka lawyer Nick Davidson.

The written proposal included details of a plan to set up a company or trust named Vco to manage the funding.

Quotes from the proposal in the book say that by directing the campaign spending through the privately controlled Vco, they "would avoid any declarations of political party funding".

Money in Politics: Why businesses are donating to politicians, New Zealand Herald, February 28, 2015:
Talley's Group, a family-owned fishing and meat processing company based in Nelson, poured $42,500 into no fewer than nine separate races, mostly favouring National candidates fighting for regional seats.

Three members of the primary production select committee - Chester Borrows, Stuart Smith and Damien O'Connor - each received $5000.


National Party MPs Todd McClay and Sarah Dowie also received $5000 from Talley's, as did former West Coast mayor Maureen Pugh, who appeared on the cusp of entering Parliament on election night before special votes saw her seat reallocated to the Green Party, and the recently-resigned Mike Sabin. List MP Alfred Ngaro rounded out the list of recipients, but only received $2500.

Managing director Peter Talley was unable to answer questions yesterday about his donations. His secretary said he was out on the water and unable to take calls or check emails.

Fishing magnate knighted for philanthropy, services to business, New Zealand Herald, 1 June 2015:
Fishing magnate Peter Talley is a joint managing director of the Motueka-based Talley's Group.

With his brother, Michael, Sir Peter runs what was started as a fishing company by his Yugoslav immigrant father, Ivan Talijancich, in 1936. The company has expanded to include vegetable, dairy and meat divisions, including the takeover of meat processor Affco in 2010.

The National Business Review's 2014 Rich List put the Talley family's fortune at $300 million.

The media-shy rich-lister declined an interview request from the Herald, but in an emailed response said that while he was grateful and counted himself lucky, the honour was more about recognising what the business and family had been able to achieve.

Its an amazing coincidence that someone knighted for "philanthropy" just happens to be a big donor to the National Party. But I guess that's what happens when the Prime Minister thinks its a charity.